For the student of knowledge, following the correct position in any matter takes precedence over everything, even if that contradicts the position of the scholar he is studying under

During a lecture on the 14th of Dhul Qa’dah in 1417 AH, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah was asked by one of the students at the university:

Question: O Noble Sheikh, may Allaah preserve you, some of the students of knowledge seek knowledge under one of the scholars then he (the student) clings fast to this scholar and he (the student) does not accept taking knowledge except from him, and he does not take other than his statement; and he leaves off everything else, even if it is from the senior scholars!

So what is your opinion of the one who does this?

Answer: My opinion is that this is more important for the lesser student of knowledge who has (not long) started (seeking) knowledge – that he stick to the statement of the one whom he considers to be a scholar who will guide him to the (correct) path, because if he (the student) starts to take from every scholar, he will lose his time, his mind will be muddled and he will forget much of what he has learned.

So when he develops and he comes to have an acquisition (of knowledge) with him, then he can attend the sittings of this (scholar) or that one, and the readings of this book or that book.

As for the lesser (student) then it is certainly not befitting for him that he muddle his mind; so let him remain with a particular scholar about whom he is confident of his knowledge and his trustworthiness and his religion and so he persists with him.

Questioner: But, O Noble Scholar, the previous question contained (the phrase) that: he does not acknowledge the statement of anyone other than him (his own scholar), even if it comes from the senior scholars!

Answer: As for his not acknowledging the statement of anyone else, even if that is what is the correct (position), then this is a mistake.

So it is obligatory upon him (the student) that when he comes to know what is the correct (position), that he follow it – regardless of whether or not it is in agreement with the statement of the scholar that he has attached himself to.

But it is (also) obligatory upon him (the student) when he comes to know that this (second) scholar has made a statement which opposes the statement of his (the student’s) scholar and he (the student) believes this (second) position is the correct one – it is obligatory upon him (the student) that he present it to his (own) scholar such that he can discuss it with him.

This is because it may be that some matters which are unknown to the senior scholar which are not unknown to the lesser one – even if the senior scholar has knowledge with him which the lesser one does not have, and he has evidences and clear proofs which the lesser one does not have.

Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ‘ilm page 275, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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Filed under Fine manners, Intention, Manners towards the teacher, What to avoid

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