Authority of Permission or Shaykh al-Ijāza (Arabic: شیخ الاجازة), the plural form Mashāyikh al-Ijāza (مشایخ الاجازة), or Mashīkhat al-Ijāza, (مشیخة الاجازة) refers to a master or a teacher who gave the permission to others to transmit hadiths or books of hadiths. Not all transmitters of hadiths had the position of Shaykh al-Ijaza. A transmitter of hadiths who had such a position was considered by some Shiite scholars of rijal to be reliable.
Reason for Appellation
The word, "shaykh", in Arabic means a senior or old person, and its plural form is "mashayikh", "mashikha" and "shuyukh". A senior teacher or scholar is called "shaykh" because they are older than their students and spent a long time for their studies. In the terminology of hadith, "shaykh" refers to transmitters of hadiths from whom other people heard or transmitted hadiths.
Permission of Hadith
"Ijazat al-riwaya" or permission for the transmission of hadiths refers to a permission given by a teacher or a master to their reliable students or other reliable people to transmit hadiths or books of hadiths. The teacher who issued such a permission was known as "Shaykh al-ijaza".
Significance for Rijal
Shiite scholars of rijal disagree over whether being a Shaykh al-ijaza implies one's reliability or praiseworthiness or not:
- Some people maintain that being a Shaykh al-ijaza implies reliability. For instance, al-Muhaddith al-Bahrani is said to take Mashayikh al-ijaza to enjoy the highest degree of reliability. Abu 'Ali al-Ha'iri considered it to imply the praiseworthiness or acceptability of a transmitter of hadiths. Al-'Allama Bahr al-'Ulum considered hadiths from Sahl b. Ziyad to be reliable because he was a Shaykh al-ijaza. The reliability of Mashayikh al-ijaza is also attributed to al-Shahid al-Thani, his son Hasan, al-Shaykh al-Baha'i, al-'Allama al-Majlisi, and their praiseworthiness is attributed to Mamaqani and al-Wahid al-Bihbahani.
- Other people, such as Mirza Abu l-Qasim al-Naraqi, believe that being a Shaykh al-ijaza implies reliability only if the person who received the permission transmits hadiths from reliable people only. Al-Naraqi believes, however, that being a Shaykh al-ijaza implies reliability much less than being a Shaykh al-ta'ifa. Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Mujahid holds that the reliability of a Shaykh al-ijaza depends on whether or not probable beliefs (zann) are sufficient for knowledge of someone's reliability. Since zann is, for him, sufficient for reliability, he believes in the reliability of Shaykh al-ijaza.
- According to Ayatollah al-Khoei, being a Shaykh al-ijaza does not imply the person's reliability. He argues for his view by appeal to the fact that al-Najashi considered Hasan b. Muhammad b. Yahya and Husayn b. Hamdan al-Khudayni to be unreliable transmitters of hadiths, although they were Mashayikh al-ijaza.
- It is said that the reliability of Shaykh al-ijaza is first implied by al-Shahid al-Thani and was explicitly expressed, for the first time, by Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi in his Rawdat al-muttaqin.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from شیخ اجازه in Farsi Wikishia.