Category Archives: Intention

The student of knowledge is cautious when talking about ahaadeeth and all affairs of the Religion

With regards to a person talking about ahaadeeth, the Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah mentions about the hadeeth The religion is an Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice)[1] :

And likewise it is from acting sincerely to the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam that you do not enter into declaring ahaadeeth to be authentic or weak when you do not have the ability to do that. So no one goes into this except the people of (that) field and the people who are specialised, from those who are firmly grounded in knowledge and narrations.

As for that reckless attitude towards ahaadeeth which has become manifest among many of the younger people, their authenticating and their criticising them (the ahaadeeth), without having knowledge and without having studied and gained experience beforehand, and without acquiring knowledge from the scholars, then this is something extremely dangerous and is insolent behaviour towards the Sunnah of the Messenger sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.  

And it is not from acting sincerely towards the Messenger of Allaah that the ignorant people meddle (in these) and call themselves “muhaddithoon” based on (just) being acquainted with one of the books of hadeeth or having memorised a number of them. This is because merely memorising ahaadeeth does not make them muhaddithoon. Rather the muhaddith is only one who is has specialised in the knowledge of narrations; and this is a tremendous field of knowledge that is taken from the scholars and from the people of knowledge and experience.

And it is not for every single person to peruse the books of hadeeth and then declare (ahaadeeth) to be authentic or weak or to explain and expound on them from his own (mind) without having a correct understanding – because this is from acting deceptively towards the Sunnah of the Messenger sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. And it is obligatory to act respectfully towards the Sunnah, and for no one to enter into (discussing) it except for one who is specialised in this knowledge.

((Al minhat ul rabbaaniyah page 115-6 of Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

[1] Reported by Muslim (55) and by al Bukhaaree in mu’allaq form.

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The student of knowledge constantly monitors his intention in all his actions

With regards to the student of knowledge never ceasing to watch carefully over his niyyah when doing good deeds, the Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah mentions after quoting the hadeeth of the first people to be judged on the Day of Resurrection and that they will be cast into the Hellfire due to the corrupt intention behind their good deeds:[1]

So this (hadeeth) is from that which emphasises to the Muslim that he must make his intention purely and sincerely for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, whenever he establishes any act from the good deeds, such as prayer and fasting and the Hajj and ‘Umrah, and giving charity, and the seeking of knowledge and teaching it, and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and calling to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic – and other than that.

Therefore, it is befitting that he constantly watch over his intention and that he try to remember his intention in every action he does, in that he makes it purely and sincerely for Allaah and that he drives away ar riyaa- (doing good deeds for show) from himself. (This is) because the person is a human being, and there occurs to him (the temptations of) showing off and love of being acclaimed and love of being praised.

So it is upon him to drive this (corrupt) intention away when it comes upon him and to make his intention purely and sincerely for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

((Al minhat ul rabbaaniyah page 22 of Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

[1] Reported by at Tirmidhee (2382), Ahmad in his Musnad (2/321) and others from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radi Allaahu ‘anhu.

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The student of knowledge acts with wisdom and fine manners when dealing with rumours

With regards to the student of knowledge being the foremost to silence rumour mongering in a way that has wisdom and good manners and not being one who spreads rumours, the scholar Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah advised the students:

And I advise you likewise to not squander your time with insulting and reviling, not (doing so) to the rest of the people nor to those in authority from the scholars or leaders.

We say: everyone makes mistakes, no doubt; and no one is rendered free from making mistakes except the one whom Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, has rendered immune (from that). However should we take errors upon ourselves by way of other people’s mistakes?

No. If someone other than us makes a mistake, we ask Allaah to grant him success in coming to what is correct. This is the most that we can do if we are not able to get to him in order to explain to him that he is upon error.

And therefore I say: always we hear about such-and-such a person that he said such-and-such statement which we hold to be an error and something not correct.

But do we accept this merely on the basis of hearing it, thus building our belief about this man (on that) – the person about whom we have heard that which was said?

The answer: you hear something which you disapprove of about a person, be he a person of knowledge or other than a person of knowledge, a leader or other than a leader. (It may be) something you disapprove in and of itself or it may be something which you disapprove of seeing occurring from this person (in particular). So do you grab hold of what you heard in this way right from the first instant?

The answer: No. So what then is it obligatory for you to do?

The answer: Firstly, before anything else, it is obligatory to verify the authenticity of the report – because it may be that something is reported about a person which he did not (actually) say or do. So it is a must that you verify the report in the first instance.

And I will give you a principle which Shaykh ul Islaam rahimahullaah mentioned in his refutation of the Raafidees in Minaaj us Sunnah: if a statement of a Raafidee was mentioned, he would say firstly in reply to it:

I want to know from you the authenticity of the narration.

And this is something correct because if the report is not authentic then you feel at ease – meaning you have been sufficed.

So when you hear something about someone which it is destested that it should occur from him, then you firstly verify the report.

Then if the matter is established in your view – that the person who has transmitted the report is a trustworthy person and he does not have desires (which he is acting on), then the next stage is binding upon you – and it is is that you verify: Is this statement or this action (actually) something evil?

So as long as this man (who is being criticised) is a person whom you hold to be a person of goodness, and it seems not possible that he would do the evil deed, then it is a must that you verify – is this action an evil?

This is because a person may consider something at first glance to be an evil action, then after reflecting it becomes clear to him that it is not an evil action. So we often hear about so-and-so something which makes our skin shudder and which the souls have an aversion to, but then when we calm down, we find that it is not (actually) an evil action.

Thus it is a must that you ponder – is this an evil action or not?

 

These are the two stages, and they are:

Verification, firstly

Then reflecting and pondering – is this an evil action or not an evil action?

 

The third stage – if you are convinced that it is an evil action, then upon you is to contact the person about whom this report has been transmitted, and you say to him:

O so-and-so, such and such has reached me about you; is it correct?

Because many of our zealous brothers, when he is certain about a statement that it is something evil, then he goes to the one to whom the statement or action was ascribed and says to him:

We have heard such-and-such about you. How can you say that? How can you do that?

We seek refuge with Allaah! Is this from respectful behaviour?

The answer: No! Especially if the one you are addressing is older than you.

So it is obligatory that you go to him and say:

It has reached me about you that such-and-such. Is this correct?

So you know that it is correct but you (still) say to him: Is this correct?

And it may be that he says: Yes, I did say that.

So you say to him: May Allaah give you good. What was (your) approach behind (making) this statement? What was (your) approach behind (doing) this action)? – before you pass a ruling that it is an evil act.

This is because it may be that there is an evidence for it which was hidden from you. Or he is in a situation which necessitates that he does this action, but you did not know.

So this (occurred with) ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar radi Allaahu ‘anhu that he related from the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam as to how a person should sit in his prayer. Then one of his sons saw him sitting cross legged in the prayer, in contradiction to what he had reported from the Messenger, so he said to him:

O my father, how is it that you sit cross legged?

He said to him: Indeed my legs are not able to support me.

Thus does he now have an excuse for going against the Sunnah or not?

The answer: He has an excuse because it may be that for this man to whom the evil action or the objectionable action is ascribed, he has an excuse which leads him to say this statement or do this action.

However this discussion should be with good manners and tactful speech. So then either it becomes clear to you that he is upon the correct position, so you give in – or it does not become clear to you that he is upon the correct position. And with that you have established the proof upon this man and fulfilled your obligation.

And if we were to proceed in our affairs upon this manner, then the affair would be good and the end results praiseworthy. However many of the people are overjoyed to hear something which they use to criticise so-and-so; and they fly off with it to the farthest lands to spread it; and this is a problem which it is obligatory to be on one’s guard against or to distance oneself from.

(Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ilm p147 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

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The student does not learn or teach knowledge in order to seek after money or worldly status

With regards to the student of knowledge seeking and teaching knowledge purely for the sake of Allaah, Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah comments on the hadeeth:

“And a man who gained knowledge and he taught it, and he recited Qur-aan; so he will be brought in order to inform him of His blessings so he will acknowledge them;

So He will say: What did you do with regards to them?

He will say, “I learned knowledge for Your sake and I taught it; and I recited the Qur-aan for Your sake.”

So He will say: You have lied! Rather you learned it so that it would be said “He is a person of knowledge” and this has already been said.

And you recited Qur-aan so that it would be said, “He is a person of recitation.” And this has already been said.”

Then he will be ordered to be dragged upon his face until he is thrown into the Fire.”[1]

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And this is from that which makes it binding upon the student of knowledge to purify his intention for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, in seeking knowledge.

So his goal should not be seeking to be raised up or a worldly position of responsibility or attaining the fleeting attractions of this worldly life through his knowledge and his teaching it.

Rather his intent is only for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic because gaining knowledge and teaching it is from the noblest of righteous deeds ; so he does not divert it (away from its correct intention) and intend the dunyaa by means of it.

Rather he only wishes the Face of Allaah by it; and whatever wealth he is given – if he is given (it) – then it is something which (just happens) to follow on and it was not something he intended.

((Al minhat ul rabbaaniyah page 21 of Shaykh Saalih al Fawzaan hafidhahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)


[1] Reported by at Tirmidhee (2382) and Ahmad in his Musnad (2/321)

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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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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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The student of knowledge has a pure intention in his seeking knowledge

With regards to the virtue of seeking knowledge with a pure intention, the Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments:

Rather some of the scholars say that seeking knowledge with a pure and sincere intention is more excellent than fighting in the Path of Allaah because fighting in the Path of Allaah contains only blocking the enemies and fighting against them such that there is no fitnah and that the Religion is entirely for Allaah.

However seeking knowledge is something that the whole ummah (Muslim nation) is in need of, such that they can worship Allaah upon clear-sightedness; and (even) the people who fight (in the Path of Allaah) are in need of it such that they know how they should fight and how they deal with the war booty and how they advance and how they retreat.

So the ummah is in need of knowledge, in every situation and at every moment.

Therefore I urge you, O young people, to turn towards and have diligence upon seeking Sharee’ah knowledge, and to have purity and sincerity of intention in that – in that you intend by it seeking closeness to Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, by obeying His command; and that you intend protection of the Islaamic Sharee’ah and defending it and spreading it among the servants (of Allaah).

Then you attest to the truthfulness of this intention through your actions, in worship and manners and dealings (with other people).

Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ‘ilm pages 341, translated by Nasser ibn Najam

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The student of knowledge does not have al hasad; rather he loves that knowledge be spread by himself and by other than himself

The noble scholar Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al Uthaymeen rahimahullaah commented:

And if you were asked about (the meaning) of al hasad (envy), then the answer would be:

That from the scholars are those who said:

Al hasad is to wish for Allaah’s blessing upon someone to come to an end.

This is how most of the scholars have explained it.

And Shaykh ul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah said:

Al hasad is that he hates that which Allaah has blessed someone else with, even if (the one with hasad) does not wish that (blessing) to come to an end.

So if a person hates that which Allaah has blessed someone else with, by way of knowledge or status or wealth or offspring or family, then this is al hasad, this is al hasad  – that you hate that which Allaah has blessed someone other than you with.

If you wish that you should have this blessing – meaning that you have the like of that which Allaah has blessed someone other than you with, then listen carefully to the reply:

Allaah,the Most High, said:

And do not wish for that with which Allaah has blessed some of you over others. For the men is the reward of that which they have earned, and (likewise) for women is the reward for that which they have earned. And ask Allaah of His Bounty.

Soorah an Nisaa (4) aayah 32

This is the solution. That with which Allaah has blessed some of us with over others, then we should not wish that we have it to the exclusion of people other than us – nor should we hate that which Allaah has blessed (that other person) with.

But rather ask Allaah of His Bounty – the One who gave to someone other than you has Full Ability to give the like of that to you (as well).

So if you see that Allaah has given knowledge to a person then do not hate that, especially if that is knowledge of the Sharee’ah  – because if Allaah has bestowed the blessing of Sharee’ah knowledge upon a servant and he fulfils that which is obligatory upon him by way of spreading the knowledge and calling people to goodness, then this is from Allaah’s blessing upon you yourself.

This is because you (also) love that the Sharee’ah of Allaah should be propagated amongst the servants of Allaah – is this not the case?

So if it is propagated by you or by other than you, then this is (all) good –so why should you hate it?

But if Allaah has favoured him over you with knowledge and calling to goodness,then ask Allaah from His Bounty.

(Quoted in Wasaayaawa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ilm p48 – 49 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

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How do you purify your intention when seeking knowledge?

So if someone says to you: How does ikhlaas in seeking knowledge come about? It comes about through a (number) of matters:

1 – It is that in doing that (seeking of knowledge), you have as your intention that you are complying with Allaah’s command because Allaah, the Most High, commanded with that (seeking of knowledge). So He said: “Have knowledge that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah. And seek forgiveness for your sin.” (Soorah Muhammad (47) aayah 19) And he – sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam –  encouraged [us] upon knowledge; and encouraging upon a matter necessitates loving it and being pleased with it and commanding with it.

2 – It is that in doing that, you intend to preserve the Sharee’ah (Islamic legislation) of Allaah, because preserving the Sharee’ah of Allaah occurs through learning, and it comes about through preserving [it] in the chests [of people], and it comes about through writing down, writing down the books.

3 – It is that in doing that, you intend to protect the Sharee’ah and defend it, because were it not for the people of knowledge, then the Sharee’ah would not have been protected and no one would have defended it. And therefore you find, for example, Shaykh ul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah and other than him from the people of knowledge who resisted and blocked the people of innovation and clarified the false and futile nature of their innovations, we see that they (these people of knowledge) attained a great deal of good.

4 – It is that in doing that, your intention is to be following the Sharee’ah of Muhammad – sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – because you are not able to follow his Sharee’ah until you have knowledge of this Sharee’ah.

(From The Explanation of the Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge of Shaykh al Uthaymeen, p14, translator Nasser ibn Najam)

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Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on the intention behind learning

And Imaam Ahmad said: Al ‘ilm (knowledge) – nothing is equal to it, for the person who makes his niyyah  correct.

They said: How is the niyyah made correct, O Aboo ‘Abdillaah?

He said: (The person) has as his intention removing ignorance from himself and from other than himself.

(Sharh hilyah taalib il ‘ilm p13 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

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