find out more about the traditional Islamic method of certification called Sanad or Isnaad
AUTHENTIC TRADITOINAL CERTIFICATION
What is a Sanad/Isnaad or Ijazah Certification?
Sanad and Isnād /Isnaad (Arabic: سند أو إسناد) is a traditional method of certification used in Islam throughout our 1400+ years of history. We have had this system of certification that pre-dates many of the certifying systems in the world today. This ancient method uses a unique method of Isnaad (Chain) where the learner can trace their educational lineage back to the author of the book. For example, a Sanad for the Quran would be when a reciter or Hafiz (Memoriser) of the Quran gives a 'chain' of authenticated narrators, each mentioned the one from whom he learnt the Qur'an and authorized him to teach it, till mentioning the prophet Muhammad.
A Sanad could be either verbatim (passed by memorising the sanad and passing it down through speech) or it could be in a written format (teacher passes on a parchment or certificate that contains the names in the sanad). Most recently, it is formerly written as a list or Shajarah (Lineage Tree) and then once the seeker has qualified in the respective field it is then given by the teacher who has taught the individual. This parchment will have the name of the seeker, the signature of the teacher and the names of all the predecessor teachers throughout history who have followed this same method till present. Many people narrate this chain or a part of this chain when they are narrating a Hadith. For example, you will find in a hadith collection of Muwatta where it may state "Imam Malik, heard from Nafi, who heard from Ibn Umar, who heard from Umar, who heard the Prophet (saw) say....". This is an example of a sanad or chain of transmission in a hadith going back to the Prophet (saw). Similarly when you achieve a sanad from the Shaykh for the module texts you will study, the sanad will go back to the author of the text.
This will authenticate you according to Islamic Tradition, that you have studied, understood, assessed, certified and given ijazah (permission) to teach and narrate the text further.
Who is eligible to receive a Sanad?
The sanad system traditionally has been passed on from teacher to student, regardless if the student is male or female. Meaning both males and females are eligible for a sanad. However, in terms of age we say the person must be mature enough to understand the science or text being taught. To make it easier to assess we say he/she should be at least 16+ years, however, this is a guide age and each person will have a different level of intelligence and maturity.
How do you receive a Sanad?
Receiving a Sanad is just like any other process of receiving a certificate, however, in Islam there are a few things you must consider or have advised to make sure the authenticity of Islam or the book studied remains as pure as possible.
Firstly, Just like many of the principles of religion, you should first make a pure intention that you are wanting to receive this sanad for the sake of Allah and his religion.
Secondly, you should question yourself and be sure you are certain you understand the text being studied well enough to pass it on as a teacher of the text. Make sure to read over the notes and revise before the exam so you are ready.
Then you will take the exam (pass mark with ijazah is usually 75%)
If you pass the exam (50%) you will receive a certificate only. If you pass with Ijazah (usually 75% unless stated otherwise), you will receive an Isnaad/Sanad to the book.
You may choose to receive the Sanad straight away or you can delay it so you can receive the Sanad from the blessed hands of the Shaykh at a later date (this may be at a graduating ceremony)
Be aware! When you receive a sanad you automatically agree to a spiritual contract of trust that you make with the teacher and author of the text (regardless if they are living or have passed away). You agree to pass on or teach the text without adding or deleting anything from it. Remember though, Islam is a religion that promotes tolerance and open-mindedness, so when teaching you may give your own or another’s opinion on a matter, however, you are advised to state: “this is my opinion” or “this is not the opinion of the author” or “this is the opinion of….” or the likes thereof.
If you decide to pursue this path of knowledge, then we wish you all the very best in obtaining your Isnaad certifications. This is a huge responsibility of the ummah so may Allah preserve you for preserving the Islamic Sciences for the benefit of the Ummah. Ameen!
Who will you receive your Sanad through?
You will receive your sanads through the CEO and Head Teacher of Maturidi College: Shaykh Atabek Shukurov an-Nasafi. Shaykh Atabek has a wealth amount of knowledge and isnaads in many texts, that he has obtained in his 30+ years of studies from around the globe. He has travelled from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Eygpt and even Turkey from where he has sat in circles of knowledge and attended various institutes of knowledge to obtain knowledge, wisdom and many certifications (isnaads) from some of the greatest Ulama of our time.
An example or sample of what an authentic Islamic Sanad looks like is shown below. This will give you a better understanding or visually demonstrate to you what a sanad is:
Importance of a Sanad and what our Predecessors said about it?