Category Archives: Practical tips on learning

The student hates that the permissible differences amongst the people result in them accusing each other and splitting from each other

With regards to the student of knowledge being known as someone whose preoccupation is gaining knowledge and not the permissible differences that occur between the Muslims, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah was asked:

Noble Shaykh, how would you advise the youth who are practising (their Religion) and amongst whom there has spread differing and bad feeling and hatred, and some of them make accusations against others of them – up to the point that they have forgotten their standing in front of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic (on the Day of Judgment)?

He replied:

I advise them with that which has preceded from my speech – that this (behaviour) is not from the affair of the Muslims.

Rather Allaah, the Most High, said to His Prophet Muhammad sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:

Indeed those who divide their religion and became sects, then you have no concern with them at all. Their affair is only with Allaah who will inform them of what they used to do.

Soorah al An’aam (6) aayah 159 

We do not deny that there will be differences occurring in the ummah; differing has been amongst the Islamic nation since the era of the Messenger ‘alaihissalaatu wassalaam.

However we do reject that this differing – that in which ijtihaad is allowed – should give rise to enmity and hatred, to the extent that your (own) brother from your mother and your father should become an enemy to you on the basis of this!

And I have already explained in the first part of (my) speech that this is the cause of time being wasted and barakah (blessing) being removed from one’s lifetime and knowledge and action.

And that it is befitting for a person that he busy himself with that which is of concern to him and which will benefit him.

And in the hadeeth that the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam (said):

From the excellence of a person’s Islaam is that he leaves off that which does not concern him. [1]

(Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ilm p91 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)


[1] Reported by at Tirmidhee (2317) from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah

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The student of knowledge proceeds on his journey of gaining knowledge in the correct stepwise manner, beginning with memorisation of the Qur-aan

With regards to the importance of the student of knowledge gaining knowledge in the correct stepwise manner, `Abdus Salaam ibn Burjis (d.1425AH) rahimahullaah comments:

So the first (stage) of knowledge is: memorization of the Book of Allaah, the Majestic and Mighty, and working to gain understanding of it.

And everything that helps in understanding it, then it is is waajib (obligatory) to seek after that.

And I am not saying that memorizing all of it is fard but rather I do say that indeed that is obligatory, binding upon who loves to become an ‘aalim (scholar), but not by way of being fard (on every Muslim).

So whoever memorises it before his reaching maturity, then devotes himself to that which he will use to help him understand it  -  from the Arabic language, then that will be an enormous help for him in that which he wants from it – and from the sunnahs of the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Then he looks to the abrogating (aayaat) of the Qur-aan and its (aayaat) which are abrogated and its rulings; and he stops at the differing of the scholars and their agreement in that; and it is a matter which is easily understood for the one whom Allaah grants ease in understanding it to.

Then he looks to the Sunnahs which are authentically transmitted from the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. So through these, the student arrives at that which Allaah, the Majestic and Mighty, intended in His Book. And these will open up for him the rulings of the Qur-aan.

And in the life of the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam there is information which draws attention to many of the abrogating and abrogated issues in the Sunnah.

Quoted in ‘Awaa-iq ut talab of ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjiss rahimahullaah pages 30-31, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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The student of knowledge’s memorisation is good because he leaves off sins

With regards to the effects of sins upon the ability of the student of knowledge to memorise, ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjis (d. 1425 AH) rahimahullaah said:

Disobeying Allaah, the Most High, is an obstacle to attaining Sharee’ah knowledge – because it (Sharee’ah knowledge) is a noor (light) from Allaah which He casts into the hearts of whomever He wishes from His servants.

And noor (light) and dhulmah (darkness) do not come together in a heart.

Therefore ibn Mas’ood radi Allaahu ‘anhu said:

Indeed I consider that a man (might) forget knowledge which he has already learned because of a sin which he does.

And may Allaah have mercy upon ash Shaafi’ee who said:

I complained to Wakee’ about my memorisation being bad

So he directed me to leave off sins

And he informed me that knowledge is a noor (light)

And the light from Allaah is not bestowed upon a person who is sinful

Quoted in ‘Awaa-iq ut talab of ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjiss rahimahullaah page 38, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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ibn Qutaybah’s advice about taking knowledge from the sighaar

With regards to the quote from ibn Mas`ood radi Allaahu ‘anhu about seeking knowledge from the senior scholars as opposed to the sighaar (the lesser ones), `Abdus Salaam ibn Burjis (d.1425AH) rahimahullaah comments:

And ibn Qutyabah[1] rahimahullaahu ta’aala held the opinion that the sighaar (lesser ones) were the ones who were lesser in age. So he said about the narration of ibn Mas’ood mentioned above:

He (ibn Mas’ood) intended – that the people will not cease to be upon good as long as their scholars are the elders, and their scholars are not the youthful ones, because for the old man, the pleasure of youthfulness, and its self containment and its foolishness have disappeared from him. And he has taken on experience and knowledge as his companions.

So doubt does not come upon him in his knowledge; nor does desire get the better of him; nor does greed make him turn away and nor does Shaytan make him slip up with the errors of the young person. Thus with age there is dignity and honour and reverence.

And it may be these matters– matters which the old person is secure from – enter upon the youth; so when they enter upon him, and he gives fataawaa (Islamic rulings), he is destroyed and he destroys (others).

(to the end of his statement) [2]

(Awaa-iq ut talab of ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjiss rahimahullaah pages 24, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)


[1] Died 276AH

[2]Naseehah ahl il hadeeth’ page 16

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Taking knowledge from our elders i.e. from the senior scholars

With regards to people seeking knowledge from the youngsters at the expense of seeking it from the senior scholars, `Abdus Salaam ibn Burjis (d.1425AH)  rahimahullaah comments:

And indeed the phenomenon of taking knowledge from the younger ones amongst the students of knowledge has become widespread in this era.

And in reality this phenomenon is a chronic disease, an enduring sickness, preventing the (true) student from what he intends and something by which he twists away from the correct path which would lead to knowledge.

And that is because taking knowledge from the younger people – those whose feet have not become firmly grounded in knowledge and whose beards have not become white in it (seeking knowledge), despite the presence of a person who is greater than them in age and one whose feet are more firmly grounded – then this weakens the foundation of the beginner and prevents him from taking benefit from the knowledge of the senior scholars, and from acquiring their manners which knowledge and time have made good – and other than that from the justifications that are suggested by the narration of ibn Mas`ood radi Allaahu `anhu when he said:

“The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they take knowledge from their senior ones and from their trustworthy ones and from their scholars.

So if they take it from their younger ones and their evil ones, they will be destroyed.”

Quoted in ‘Awaa-iq ut talab of ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjiss rahimahullaah page 23, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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Imam ibn al Mubaarak on the seeking of knowledge

The renowned scholar of hadeeth, ‘Abdullaah ibn al Mubaarak  (died 181 AH) rahimahullaah said:

“The beginning of al ‘ilm (knowledge) is the intention,

then listening carefully,

then understanding,

then memorising,

then action,

then propagating.”

And he rahimahullaah also said:

“There is nothing more excellent than seeking knowledge for the sake of Allaah.

And there is nothing more hateful to Allaah than seeking knowledge for other than Allaah.”

Quoted in ‘Awaa-iq ut talab of ‘Abdus Salaam ibn Burjiss rahimahullaah pages 11 to 12, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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The student of knowledge is in need of a teacher

With regards to the student of knowledge needing to have a teacher, the Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments:

And there is no doubt that the teachers will be questioned about the students because they are their shepherds; and every person is a shepherd and will be questioned about his flock.

The students are in need of the teachers and the scholars with regards to direction and guidance because the scholars have gained experience from matters which the students have not. And with them are (aspects) of knowledge which the students do not have.

Therefore the student is in need of the teacher from the aspect of knowledge and the aspect of actions (which bring about) experience.

Thus it is binding upon him to have the utmost eagerness to select the teachers who are known for knowledge and who are known for trustworthiness and religion, and known for their sound methodology and for their tending (to matters) in a correct way such that he can take from their knowledge firstly, then from their manhaj secondly.

Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ‘ilm pages 199-200 by Nasser ibn Najam

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The student of knowledge is known for his attention to memorising and understanding the Qur-aan

With regards to the books that the student of knowledge must work hard to memorise and understand, the Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments in response to the question :

What are the books which you advise (us) to read and memorise, and what are the books you advise (us) to not read and have a grasp of?

The answer:

This cannot be said except by a person who has read all the books in the world, and knows what is (to be) read and what is not (to be) read. And this is not within my capability.

However I will say that the most important book which a person memorises and reflects on and of which he knows the meaning is: the Book of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

Upon you is the Book of Allaah, memorising and understanding and acting (upon it) and in terms of manners.

Indeed the character of the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the Qur-aan; and the Qur-aan was sent down to the people so that they might reflect upon its aayaat and so that the men of understanding might remember– just as Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, said:

A Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its aayaat and so that men of understanding may remember.[1]

And the Companions did not used to go beyond ten aayaat until they had learned them and what they contained by way of knowledge and action.They said, “So we learned the Qur-aan, knowledge and action together.”

Upon you is the Book of Allaah, then the authentic Sunnah of His Messenger sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam.

And it is known that there is ascribed to the Sunnah that which is not authentic, but Allaah has sent scholars – and all praise is for Allaah – to clarify what is authentic from it from that which is not authentic.

So perhaps you could memorise Umdat ul ahkaam or Buloogh ul maraam, so that you have a portion of the Prophetic Sunnah with you. Then (also) the books of creed and belief, such as al ‘Aqeedah al waasitiyyah of Shaykh ul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, and the books of Tawheed such as Kitaab ut Tawheed of Shaykh ul Islaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhaab, and so on.

And it is a must that the student of knowledge has with him a scholar to whom he can read so that he (the scholar) can guide him to that which he sees to be best.

Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ‘ilm pages 265 – 266, translated by Nasser ibn Najam


[1] Soorah Saad (38) aayah 29

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The importance of learning the manhaj

With regards to the importance of learning the manhaj, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments:

And our encouraging the students upon (following) the manhaj of the salaf necessitates our urging them to have knowledge and awareness of the manhaj of the salaf – is this not so?

So let us look at the books which have been written about this, such as siyyar a’laam an nubalaa and others besides it, such that we become aware of their path; and we proceed upon this upright path.

As for if we were to say, “We follow the salaf!” and yet we do not know what they used to do, then this is a deficiency (in us) without doubt.

(Sharh hilyah taalib il ‘ilm p22, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

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TEST YOURSELF – awliyaa

QUESTION: What is the response to the person who claims that he calls upon the awliyaa (beloved servants of Allaah) only as intermediaries between him and Allaah, and that he acknowledges that it is Allaah alone who is the Creator and the Sustainer?

ANSWER: Then this misguided person is just like the mushriks of old who also acknowledged tawheed ur ruboobeeyah, but made shirk in their worship by calling upon other than Allaah – claiming that their objects of worship were merely intermediaries between them and Allaah.

«Is it not that the religion of pure tawheed is for Allaah (alone)?

And those who take awliyaa other than Allaah (claim): We worship them only so that they might bring us closer to Allaah!»

Soorah az Zumar (39) aayah 3

And Allaah passes the verdict of kufr upon these people in the same aayah.

«Indeed, Allaah does not guide the liar, the disbeliever.»

Soorah az Zumar (39) aayah 3

(Taken from the Kashfush Shubuhaat Questions and Answers available on this website. This question was prepared using Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan’s explanation.)

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