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.Silsilah  سلسلة‎  Kette der Weitergabe


 

 
   

Centuries ago, Arabia did not have schools for formal education. Students went to masters who taught them. Upon completion of their study, they received Idschaazah (permission) which acted as the certification of education. A graduate then acted as a master having his own students. This chain of masters was known as Silsilah. Somewhat analogous to the modern situation where degrees are only accepted from recognized universities, the certification of a master having a verifiable chain of masters was the only acceptable legitimation: "Theoretically one can only receive instruction in these practices (Talq'in) from an authorised teacher of the  Tariqah, and only after pledging a vow of obedience (Bay'ah) to this Shaikh. The Schaikh gives his Muridiin (disciples) permission (Idschaaza) to practice the tarekat; he may also authorise one or more of them to teach it to others, i.e. appoint them as his Khaalifah. In this way a hierarchically ordered network of teachers may emerge. Each shaikh can show a chain of authorities for the tarekat he teaches, his silsila or spiritual genealogy. Usually the silsila reaches back from one's own teacher up to the Prophet, with whom all tarekats claim to have originated although there have been modifications along the way. A Suufi's silsila is his badge of identity and source of legitimation; it provides him with a list of illustrious predecessors and shows how he is related to other Suufis." Silsila can be of a partial knowledge or a book as well. All Hafidth (memorizers of Qur'aan), Muhaddiths (narrators of Hadiths), Qariis (reciters of Qur'aan with correct accent and pronunciation) are given a chain of credible narrators linking to the Islamic prophet Muhhammad . Even today, when there are formal religious schools known as Madrasah, traditional madrassas will mention in their certification the chain of masters linking to Muhammed.

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