Laurel Text for Vashti al-Ashariyah

In the name of the all knowing and all seeing comes the Malik Logan. In the name of the all merciful and all forgiving comes the Malika Ylva.

Knowledge resides in the breasts of mankind, rather than in the lines of books. For this truth we call al-Mu’allim, the teachers of the people in the nature of wisdom. With their teachings they spread wealth throughout the land, for it is said: “Whoever is granted wisdom has been granted abundant wealth.”

Vashti al-Ashariyah has sat at the feet of the teachers to learn in humility, though she is of great and noble lineage. With surpassing wisdom she has learned, and with unsurpassed patience she has taught. While others might have horded their knowledge for gain, she has spread it throughout all the lands on which the sun shines and left us all the better for it.

She has studied at the feet of Diachbha al-Hayik, who studied at the feet of Dejaniera of the Thousand Hearts, and who were both granted license by the blessings of Our predecessors. And We have seen her recitations of law and learning, transmitted without flaw in their entirety.

Therefore do We, upon petition of the Weaver and the Thousand Hearts and the Mu’allim, hereby grant her ijazah and authority to transmit all of those things which she has learned and to sit as Mu’allim; and appoint her as Sahiba al-Khāzin, to administer our House of Wisdom. And in furtherance do we grant her a stipend in accordance with her rank, and supplies as she shall need to perform her duties.

All of this we have done on the 16th of Jumada al-Awwal, in the 1444th year Anno Hegirae.

Logan                   Ylva

Malik                    Malika


Text based on the structure of Ijāzah, medieval licenses granted to scholars throughout the Islamic world. This text specifically based on the Ijāzah li-al-tadrīs, which is the Islamic equivalent of the European licentia docendi or license to teach.

“There were no set texts for ijāzahs, which could vary in length from a single paragraph to a sizable volume, but they did follow a relatively standard outline: (1) an opening prayer, praising God and blessing the Prophet Muḥammad; (2) an introduction of the student, with genealogy and flattering epithets that were intended to indicate his academic accomplishments and relative scholarly merits; (3) some description of the circumstances under which contact occurred and under which the ijāzah is being granted; (4) permission to transmit or teach, expressed by the term ajaāztuhu (I hereby permit him) and followed by the list of works subject to this permission; (5) a summary of the authority’s own chains of transmission, establishing his right to transmit said works; (6) the authority’s own bibliography, listing the works he has written for which he is granting permission to the student; and (7) a colophon giving the precise date on which the document was granted and often recording the place as well.” Reza Arjmand, Handbook of Islamic Education, Chapter 2: Ijāzah: Methods of Authorization and Assessment in Islamic Education (Springer, 2018).

The quotation about wisdom not being in the lines of books is from Arjmand, supra. The quotation about wisdom and wealth is from Surah al-Baqarah 267-269.

An Ijāzah would frequently include a Isnad, a statement of lineage of the granter of the license. Rather than list the lineage of the granters, which would be the crowns of Calontir, the last two generations of Vashti’s laurel (and thus academic) lineage were substituted. Given in period it would have been the equivalent of her laurel who gave her the license, this seemed appropriate.

Numbers 5 and 6 from the above list were cut out because they were primarily related to licenses to transmit specific texts or hadith, rather than a general license as is appropriate for a Laurel; and also because they would have been a listing of Logan and Ylva’s bibliographies. Part 1 was modified to be less overtly religious, while still maintaining the tone and feeling that would be appropriate.

Al-Hayik is the Arabic translation of ‘the Weaver’, and ‘Thousand Hearts’ the translation of Dejaniera’s surname ‘de la Mille Coeur’.

Sahiba al-Khazin is the female form of the title of the minister in charge of the Bayt al-Hikmah, the House of Wisdom which was established as part of the legendary Library of Baghdad. See, e.g., Adel Abdul-Aziz Algeriani and Mawloud Mohadi, The House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikmah) and its Civilizational Impact on Islamic Libraries: A Historical Perspective, 8 Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 5 (September 2017).

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