Types of Ijaza
by Sh. G. F. Haddad
Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah:
I would like to know the names of the different types of 'ijaza. A scholar once went over them one time but it's been so long that I cant remember them.
There are several types of ijaza mujarrada or "pure narrative permission" i.e. devoid of munawala which means handing over the text(s) covered by the said ijaza:
1- ijazatu muʿayyanin li-muʿayyan fi muʿayyan: narrative permission by one or more specific individuals to one or more specific individuals for one or more specific texts or a set of texts such as "the Sahihayn" or "this volume, which contains all my narrations." This is the highest type.
2- ijazatu muʿayyanin li-muʿayyan fi ghayri muʿayyanin: the same as the above but for an unspecified text or set of texts such as "all my narrations."
3- ijazatu al-ʿumum or universal permission for all the Muslims i.e. contemporaries. Several noble scholars did this, for example most recently Sayyid Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad rahimahullah, and there is disagreement about its worth and validity.
4- ijazatu majhul or permission to an unknown such as saying "Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Dimashqi" when several potential licensees bear that name; and ijazatu fi majhul such as saying "the Sunan" when there are many such texts. This 4th type is worthless.
5- ijaza muʿallaqa or conditional permission such as adding "if you wish", "if he wishes" etc. It becomes valid only upon fulfillment of the condition.
6- ijazatu al-maʿdum or permission to the nonexistent, such as "Fulan's offspring" though unborn at the time of ijaza. This 6th type is worthless. The would-be licensee has to be born at the time of ijaza, even if only one minute old according to the majority while many said he has to be older.
7- ijazatu ma lam yatahammalhu al-mujizu li-yarwiyahu al-mujazu idha tahammalahu al-mujiz: permission to narrate what the giver of permission has not himself permission to narrate yet, but when he gets it, then the licensee can narrate it at that time. The correct position is that this type is invalid. One can only give what one already has.
8- ijazatu al-mujaz or the permission to narrate one's permission and so forth. The correct position is that this is permissible, and an entire chain of transmission might be formed mostly of such a type but one must ascertain the validity and content of each such permission.
(a) munawala or handing over the text(s) covered by the permission, either as a loan, to be copied then returned, or as a gift to be owned;
(b) mukataba or correspondence containing the permission, without actual encounter;
(c) iʿlam or verbal notification of permission;
(d) wasiyya or bequest, a notification of permission in absentia; and
(e) wijada or find, which consists in finding narrative material in someone's handwriting (or its equivalent such as an authorized, verified publication) and subsequently narrate it from them whether a contemporary or not: these are all types of riwaya or narration (not types of permission), and may be combined with the above types of permission to strengthen them in descending order, the absolute highest type of permission being the combination of (1) with (a).
Sources: Ibn Jamaʿa, al-Manhal al-Rawiy fi Mukhtasar ʿUlum al-Hadith al-Nabawi (p. 84-87); Tahir al-Jaza'iri, Tawjih al-Nazar ila Usul al-Athar (1:479-485).
Important benefit: Imam al-Dhahabi said: "Beware, narration of hadith is other than the hadith itself." I.e. its practice still eludes us and we must correct our intention in order to be granted its light.
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.