Research on How to seek knowledge

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    Knowledge in Islam

    Allaah created man and provided him with the tools for acquiring knowledge, namely hearing, sight and wisdom.


    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “And Allâh has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allâh)
    [al-Nahl 16:78]


    Islam is the religion of knowledge.
    The first aayah of the Qur’aan to be revealed enjoined reading which is the key to knowledge.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists).
    He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).
    Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.
    Who has taught (the writing) by the pen.
    He has taught man that which he knew not”
    [al-‘Alaq 96:1-5]

    In Islam, knowledge comes before action; there can be no action without knowledge,

    as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “So know (O Muhammad) that Laa ilaaha ill-Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women”
    [Muhammad 47:19]

    Allaah warns every Muslim against speaking without knowledge,

    as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “And follow not (O man, i.e., say not, or do not, or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allâh)”
    [al-Israa’ 17:36]

    Emphasizing the status of knowledge and the scholars, Allaah calls upon the scholars to bear witness to His Oneness,

    as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Allâh bears witness that Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”
    [Aal ‘Imraan 3:18]

    Knowledge and fear of Allaah may be attained by knowing His signs and creation. The knowledgeable are those who know that, hence Allaah praises them by saying (interpretation of the meaning):
    “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allâh”
    [Faatir 35:28]

    The scholars occupy a noble status in Islam, and which is higher than the position of others in this world and in the Hereafter.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge”
    [al-Mujaadilah 58:11]

    Because of the importance of knowledge, Allaah commanded His Messenger to seek more of it.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “and say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge’”
    [Ta-Ha 20:114]


    Allaah praises the scholars, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allâh’s Signs and Verses)”
    [al-Zumar 39:9]

    Those who have knowledge are the quickest of people to understand the truth and believe in it:

    “And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Qur’aan) is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility”
    [al-Hajj 22:54 – interpretation of the meaning]

    Islam calls us to seek knowledge.

    The Messenger :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made seeking knowledge an obligation upon every Muslim, and he explained that the superiority of the one who has knowledge over the one who merely worships is like the superiority of the moon over every other heavenly body.

    He said that the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets and that the Prophets did not leave behind dinars and dirhams (i.e., money), rather their inheritance was knowledge, so whoever acquires it has gained a great share.

    And he :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that seeking knowledge is a way to Paradise. He :saw: (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.”
    (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, 10)

    Islam calls us to learn all kinds of beneficial knowledge.
    Branches of knowledge vary in status, the highest of which is knowledge of sharee’ah, then knowledge of medicine, then the other fields of knowledge.


    The best of all branches of knowledge are the sciences of sharee’ah through which man comes to know his Lord, and his [His?} Prophet :saw:and religion. This is the knowledge with which Allaah honoured His Messenger :saw:; He taught it to him so that he might teach it to mankind:

    “Indeed, Allâh conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Qur’ân), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them (in) the Book (the Qur’aan) and Al-Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet (i.e. his legal ways, statements and acts of worship)], while before that they had been in manifest error”
    [Aal ‘Imraan 3:164 – interpretation of the meaning]


    The Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wishes good for a person, He makes him understand the religion.”
    (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 69)

    Concerning the matter of paying attention to the Qur’aan and learning and teaching it, the Messenger :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’aan and teaches it.”
    (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4639)

    There is no goodness in knowledge which is not confirmed by action, or words which are not confirmed by deeds:

    “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do?
    Most hateful it is with Allâh that you say that which you do not do”
    [al-Saff :2-3]

    The ummah needs knowledgeable people at all times and in all places.
    A nation without knowledge and scholars will live in illusions and sink in darkness. If a person knows what Allaah has prescribed ..?? {where does this go?} Whoever conceals this knowledge and deprives the ummah of it, Allaah will place on him a bridle of fire on the Day of Resurrection, and he will deserve to be cursed, except for the one who repents.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allâh and cursed by the cursers.
    Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful”
    [al-Baqarah 2:159-160]

    Knowledge brings a great reward. The one who points the way to something good is like the one who does it. When the knowledgeable person dies, his reward with Allaah does not cease when he dies, rather it continues to increase so long as people benefit from his knowledge.

    The Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man dies, all his deeds come to an end except for three – an ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge or a righteous son who will pray for him.”
    (Narrated by Muslim, 1631)

    If the scholar spreads his knowledge among the people, he will have a reward like that of those who follow him. The Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever calls people to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in the slightest, and whoever calls people to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.”
    (Narrated by Muslim, 2674)

    Proper understanding of Islam is one of the best of good characteristics with which a Muslim may be honoured, as the Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wishes good for a person, He makes him understand the religion.”
    (Agreed upon).

    Reading Qur’aan, learning it and teaching it, are among the best deeds, as the Prophet :saw: (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There should be no envy (hasad) except between two people, a man to whom Allaah has given (knowledge of?) the Qur’aan, so he recites it night and day, and a man to whom Allaah has given wealth, so he spends it (in good deeds) night and day.”
    (narrated by Muslim, 815)

    From Usool al-Deen al-Islami by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem al-Tuwayjri
  3. Abu Sarah
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    the ruling on seeking Islamic knowledge

    Seeking Islamic knowledge is fard kifaayah:
    if enough people undertake this duty, it becomes Sunnah for the rest of them.

    Seeking knowledge may become obligatory on each individual, i.e. fard ‘ayn, in the case of knowledge of an act of worship he wants to do or interaction he wants to engage in.
    In this case he has to know how to worship Allaah by this act of worship, or how to engage in this interaction. But knowledge other than this is fard kifaayah, so the seeker of knowledge should have the intention of undertaking something which is fard kifaayah, so that he may attain the reward for one who is doing something obligatory whilst he is seeking knowledge.


    Undoubtedly seeking knowledge is one of the best of deeds; indeed it is a kind of jihaad for the sake of Allaah, especially in these modern times when bid’ahs have begun to appear in Muslim societies and are becoming widespread, and ignorance is common among those who issue fatwas without knowledge, and people have started to argue a great deal.

    These three issues all make it essential that young people be keen to seek knowledge.


    1 – Bid’ahs whose evil is apparent

    2 – People who issue fatwas without knowledge

    3 – Extensive arguing about issues which may be clear to the scholars but there are people who argue about them without knowledge.

    For this reason we need scholars who have deep and extensive knowledge, who have an understanding of Islam, who are wise in advising the slaves of Allaah, because many people nowadays have theoretical knowledge, but they do not focus on finding the best means of reforming and educating people.

    They do not realize that if they issue a fatwa saying such and such, it becomes lead to greater evil, the extent of which no one knows except Allaah.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 23
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    The ruling on learning the fiqh of buying and selling and financial transactions

    it's essential to learn the fiqh of buying and selling and financial transactions

    If the Muslim understands that the purpose and aim of his being created in this world is to adhere to the laws of Allaah, and to worship Allaah by doing so, then he will also understand that it is essential for him to learn the rulings of Allaah’s laws and learn what his duties are.

    That is because what is needed in order to do what is obligatory is also obligatory.

    It says in the hadeeth that the Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.”
    Narrated by Ibn Maajah (224) and classed as hasan because of its many isnaads and corroborating reports by al-Mazzi, al-Zarkashi, al-Suyooti, al-Sakhaawi, al-Dhahabi, al-Manaawi, and al-Zarqaani. It is also in Saheeh Ibn Maajah by al-Albaani.

    The scholars have stated that the meaning of this hadeeth is saheeh.


    Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    But its meaning is saheeh in their opinion, even though they differed somewhat concerning it. End quote.
    Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (1/53).
    Al-Nawawi said something similar in al-Manthooraat (p. 287), as did Ibn al-Qayyim in Miftaah Daar al-Sa’aadah (1/480).


    Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr also said:
    The scholars are unanimously agreed that acquiring some types of knowledge is an individual obligation, which each person must learn for himself, and acquiring other types of knowledge is a communal obligation – if some people acquire it then the obligation of others is waived. End quote.
    Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi (1/56).


    The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have described the knowledge which must be learned on an individual basis, and they have spoken of the amount of knowledge which each Muslim must acquire.

    They said that this includes learning the rulings on selling for those who engage in trade, so that they will not do anything haraam or fall into riba (usury) without realizing. There are reports from the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) which support that.


    Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “No one should sell in our marketplace except those who have knowledge of Islam.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (487) who said: it is hasan ghareeb. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

    Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever engages in trade before learning will fall into riba, then fall into riba.”
    Mughni al-Muhtaaj (2/22).


    Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:
    What all people must learn is that which they cannot afford to be ignorant of such as bearing witness verbally and believing in the heart that Allaah is One and has no partner or associate, and that His names and attributes are eternal; He has no beginning and no end, and He has risen over the Throne.


    He should bear witness that Muhammad :saw: is His slave and Messenger :saw:, and that all people will be resurrected after death to be rewarded or punished for their deeds, and that the Qur’aan is the word of Allaah, and that what is in it is true.


    He should affirm that the five daily prayers are obligatory, and he must know what is essential for the performance of the prayer, such as purification and other rulings.


    He should affirm that fasting Ramadaan is obligatory, and he must know what invalidates the fast and what is essential for the completion of the fast.


    If he has enough wealth and is physically able to perform Hajj, he must know what zakaah is due on, and when it becomes due, and on how much it is due. He must perform Hajj once in his life if he has the means.


    And there are things that he must know in general and he has no excuse for not knowing: such as the fact that zina and riba are forbidden, as are alcohol, pork, eating dead meat and all impure things, embezzling, bearing false witness, consuming people’s wealth unlawfully, all kinds of wrongdoing and oppression, marrying one’s mother or sister or any of those who are mentioned with them, and killing a believer unlawfully.
    And he must know all other things that are mentioned in the Book and that the ummah is agreed upon. End quote.
    Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (1/57).


    It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (30/293):
    Ibn ‘Aabideen said, quoting from al-‘Allaami:
    It is obligatory for every accountable person, male or female , after learning about religion and guidance, to learn about wudoo’, ghusl, prayer, fasting, zakaah for those who have the nisaab (minimum threshold of wealth) and Hajj for those for whom it is obligatory.
    Merchants must also learn the rulings on trade, so that they can avoid doubtful and makrooh things in their transactions; the same applies to those who follow professions.


    Everyone who works with something must learn the rulings concerning it so that he can avoid what is haraam.


    Al-Nawawi said: As for selling, marriage and the like – which are not obligatory per se – it is haraam to engage in them until one has learned their conditions. End quote.


    Al-Ghazaali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    If a Muslim is a merchant and riba is widespread in the land, he must learn about the prohibition on riba. This is knowledge which is an individual obligation, i.e., knowledge of how to do what is required. End quote.
    Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen (1/33).


    ‘Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Shaqeeq said to Ibn al-Mubaarak:
    What can the believer do with knowledge except seeking it? What is he obliged to learn?
    He said: Cannot afford to do anything without knowledge, and he cannot avoid asking.
    Narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (1/56).


    Al-Ghazaali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    Every person in his daily life is bound to face new issues with regard to his worship and dealings with others. So he must ask about everything, whatever new issues he encounters, and he must hasten to find out about what he expects to face before he faces it.
    Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen (1/34).

    Our advice to those who work in trade and buying and selling is to read some of the books that have been written about the fiqh of transactions, such as al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhi by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, and Ma la Yas’u al-Taajir Jahlulu by Prof. ‘Abd-Allaah al-Muslim and Salaah al-Saawi






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    Women and the pursuit of knowledge

    The one who calls people to Allaah must equip himself with knowledge.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “Say (O Muhammad): ‘This is my way; I invite unto Allaah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allaah, i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism with sure knowledge). And Glorified and Exalted be Allaah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah; those who worship others along with Allaah or set up rivals or partners to Allaah)’”
    [Yoosuf 12:108]

    Allaah has given us many ways nowadays that make it easy to seek knowledge without any hardship and without having to go of the house; that is by means of cassette tapes, the computer and the internet.

    Women – and also men – must follow the right way of acquiring knowledge, starting with what is easy before embarking on difficult matters. It is also essential to use a balanced approach and not to take on more than you can handle so that you will not give up.

    We advise our sisters in islam to do the following:

    Be sincere towards Allaah in seeking knowledge – and indeed in all your affairs; if you intend to dispel ignorance from yourself and from others, and to draw closer to Allaah first of all, then this is worship. And you should not seek to show off to people with your knowledge or to argue with the foolish.

    You should memorize some of the Qur’aan. This can only be achieved by following and sticking to a daily program of memorizing a certain amount. It may be a good idea to commit to learning a small amount, and do not increase it even if you find that you have more time and energy on some occasions, for a small deed that is done regularly is better than a large deed done intermittently.


    You should read summaries of all branches of knowledge, and leave the detailed works until later. In almost every branch of knowledge there are books which give a gradual approach, starting with brief discussions and ending with lengthy and detailed analysis.
    You should strive to memorize these texts if you can, because memorizing evidence, whether from the Qur’aan or Sunnah, and memorizing the texts of knowledge will help you to follow the correct path to knowledge.
    The scholars said,“Whoever memorizes the texts has excelled.”

    You should strive to study the commentaries on these books. The best is to listen to recordings. We recommend the sister, and every Muslim, to listen to the lessons of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen, because there is no branch of knowledge that he did not discuss on tapes that are easy to get hold of and they are now available on the internet.


    She should look for sisters who can help her to seek knowledge, with whom she can read and study.
    Just as she allocates time for reading Qur’aan, she should also allocate time for all other branches of knowledge. She should read a little about Tawheed and about hadeeth and fiqh and all other branches of knowledge.

    you should seek the help of Allaah in her pursuit of knowledge and da’wah. Putting one's trust in Allaah, pursuing the appropriate means, and praying to Him to make things easy are all among the greatest and most beneficial means of reaching one's goal. Shyness should not prevent you from seeking knowledge and asking questions.
    One of the salaf said,
    “No shy or arrogant person will ever seek knowledge.”

    So shyness should not stop you from asking questions about Islam. And arrogance is harmful in this world and in the Hereafter; one of its harmful effects in this world is that it keeps a person from asking and learning.
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    Seeking knowledge when one is older

    You should note that the greatest blessing that Allaah can bestow upon His slave is to guide him out of misguidance and save him from going astray.

    When Allaah opens the heart of His slave to acquire and teach Islamic knowledge, this is a great honour that Allaah bestows upon him. This makes the person more grateful towards his Lord and makes him strive to please Him.

    That includes striving to acquire the knowledge that has been handed down from the leader of the Messengers :saw: (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

    You should strive to memorize the Book of Allaah and whatever you can of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah :saw: (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and useful texts.

    You should read and study the books of the scholars, and keep company with righteous shaykhs whose ‘aqeedah and understanding are sound, and who follow the methodology encouraged by scholars such as Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) and other prominent scholars.

    Remember that the path to knowledge is long, but it is easy for the one for whom Allaah makes it easy. So strengthen your resolve and seek the help of your Lord, and do not worry about your age. Perhaps what is left of your life will be better for you than what has passed, by Allaah’s leave.

    Remember that the greatest companions of the Messenger of Allaah :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not acquire knowledge until they started to get grey hairs, and they were older than you are now. It did not take long until they became masters of knowledge and worldly leaders. In them is an example for everyone.

    There is the example of al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam and Ibn Hazm and others who started to seek knowledge at and older age.
    So seek the help of Allaah and do not feel helpless

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    How to seek knowledge

    that's a serious matter, but it is easy for the one whom Allaah enables to do it. Knowledge is a sign of guidance.

    The Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
    “If Allaah wants to do good to a person, He gives him understanding of the religion.”
    This is understood to mean that whoever Allaah does not wish good for, He does not give him understanding of the religion.


    Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Chapter: it is essential to know a thing first before saying or acting upon it, according to the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
    ‘So know (O Muhammad) that Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah),’
    [Muhammad 47:19]


    So one should start with knowledge. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, i.e., they inherit knowledge. Whoever gains knowledge has gained great good fortune, and whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, Allaah will make easy for him the path to Paradise.

    Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning):
    ‘It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah’
    [Faatir 35:28]


    And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    ‘but none will understand them except those who have knowledge’
    [al-‘Ankaboot 29:43]


    ‘And they will say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!”
    [al-Mulk 67:10]


    And He said:
    ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?
    [al-Zumar 39:9]


    The Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
    Knowledge is gained by striving for it.”


    Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘Be faithful slaves to your Lord, patient and learned.’ And it is said that the good instructor is the one who starts teaching people simple matters of knowledge before more difficult ones.”


    It was narrated that Qays ibn Katheer said: “A man came from Madeenah to Abu’l-Darda’ in Damascus and he said, ‘What brought you here, my brother?’ He said, ‘A hadeeth which I have heard that you narrate from the Messenger of Allaah :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ He said, ‘Have you come for any other reason?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Have you come for trade?’ He said, ‘No. I have only come to seek this hadeeth.’ He said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, Allaah will make easy for him the path to Paradise. The angels beat their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and those who are in the heavens and on earth pray for forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the water. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind knowledge, so whoever gains knowledge has gained great good fortune.’”
    (narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2606; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani).


    These are some of the virtues of knowledge, and this is just a drop in the ocean. If we were to mention all the virtues of knowledge, it would take too long. Perhaps what we have mentioned here will serve as a reminder to the one who has a heart or gives ear whilst he is heedful (cf. Qaaf 50:37).


    With regard to the way to gain knowledge, it is to fear Allaah (taqwa) and to be aware that He is always watching, in secret and in the open. Then one should learn from the scholars whose knowledge and religious commitment can be trusted. If you find a scholar who meets this description, then cling to him and consult him in order to gain knowledge. If you cannot find a scholar, then look for a seeker of knowledge (taalib ‘ilm), and if you cannot find such a person, then you must study by using tapes and books that deal with the basic issues of Islam according to the correct methodology of sharee’ah.


    If you ask, what are the books that we should study?
    The answer is:

    First of all you should take a gradual approach to acquiring Islamic knowledge. For each branch of knowledge there are specific books. The first thing you should study should be ‘aqeedah (basic tenets of faith, doctrine), then the sciences which will help you to understand the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as Arabic grammar, usool al-fiqh, mustalah al-hadeeth, then fiqh and Tafseer… before all of that you should start by memorizing Qur’aan, because all other branches of knowledge are studied to help one to reach a correct understanding of the Qur’aan.
    Here we will give you a list of books, organized in order of priority.


    On ‘Aqeedah:
    start with the book al-Usool al-Thalaathah [available in English as “The Three Fundamental Bases of Islamic Theology”],
    then Kitaab al-Tawheed [available in English as “Kitab al-Tauhid” ], then Kashf al-Shubuhaat,
    all by Shaykh Muahmmad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab.

    Then read Kitaab al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah [also available in English as “Principles of Islamic Faith”] by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.


    After studying and understanding these books, move on
    to Kitaab al-Ajrumiyyah, on Arabic grammar,
    then Kitaab al-Usool fi ‘Ilm al-Usool, on usool al-fiqh,
    then Kitaab Usool al-Tafseer
    both by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy on him.

    Then study al-Arba’een al-Nawawiyyah [al-Nawawi’s 40 Hadeeth, available in English in several translations] on hadeeth,

    then ‘Umdat al-Ahkaam, also on hadeeth.

    Then start studying fiqh, and it is OK to study the fiqh texts of any of the recognized schools of thought,
    such as
    Bidaayat al-Saalikeen,
    ‘Umdat al-Fiqh,
    Matan Abi Shujaa’,
    and Matan Khaleel.

    We do not want you to be biased towards any of the madhhabs, rather your study should be organized and based on the well-established principles, so that your pursuit of knowledge will be enhanced and you will follow the evidence, not be biased towards any particular madhhab.


    It should be noted that the books mentioned above are to be studied so that you memorize and understand them.

    Try to get hold of tapes of the scholars who have commented on these books, such as Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen, and others.


    After studying fiqh, read two books on Tafseer.

    Start with Tayseer al-Kareem al-Rahmaan fi tafseer kalaam al-Mannaan by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him),
    and Tafseer Ibn Katheer [an abridged version in 10 volumes is available in English].


    These are the most important books which the seeker of knowledge should study. When you have finished them, there are more advanced books which we will tell you about when you have finished these books. Keep in touch with us.

    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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    Etiquette of the seeker of knowledge

    There is a certain amount of etiquette for seeking knowledge which the seeker of knowledge should follow. We will give you this advice and this etiquette for seeking knowledge; may Allaah cause you to benefit thereby.


    1 – Patience

    dear All, seeking knowledge is one of the highest of pursuits, and heights cannot be scaled except by working hard and stribing.

    Abu Tamaam said, addressing himself:
    “Let me scale the heights that cannot be scaled, for reaching high things is difficult whilst reaching low things is easy.
    You want to scale the heights without any effort, but honey cannot be gathered without beestings.”

    Another poet said:
    “You seek to attain glory, and those who seek to attain glory
    Strive their utmost and roll up their sleeves for that purpose.

    They strive hard but most of them become tired.

    But those who have patience and perseverance attain the heights of the glory that they desired.

    Do not think that attaining glory is as easy as eating dates;
    You cannot attain glory until you swallow the bitterest medicine.”

    So be patient and persevere. If jihaad requires an hour of patience, then the seeker of knowledge must be patient until the end of his life.


    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning)
    “O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allâh, so that you may be successful.”
    [Aal ‘Imraan 3:200]


    2 – Purity of intention in action

    Adhere to purity of intention in what you do. Let your aim be to seek the Face of Allaah (i.e., the pleasure of Allaah) and the Home of the Hereafter. Beware of showing off and the love of making oneself appear to be superior to one’s peers.

    The Messenger of Allaah :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever seeks knowledge in order to compete with the scholars or to prove himself superior to the ignorant or to make the people look up to him, Allaah will cause him to enter Hell.”
    (narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 2654; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i).

    To sum up, you have to be pure both outwardly and inwardly from every major and minor sin.


    3 – Acting upon what you know
    Know that acting upon what you know is the fruit of knowledge. Whoever knows but does not act upon his knowledge is like the Jews whom Allaah likened to the ugliest things in His Book,
    when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
    “The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Tawraat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practise its laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them). How bad is the example of people who deny the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allaah. And Allaah guides not the people who are Zaalimoon (polytheists, wrongdoers, disbelievers)”
    [al-Jumu’ah 62:5]

    And whoever acts without knowledge is like the Christians, who are the “daalleen (those who have gone astray)” mentioned in Soorat al-Faatihah. With regard to the books which you should study, they are mentioned Here plz refer to :Important books for the seeker of Islamic knowledge
    .

    4 – Always being aware that Allaah is watching

    You must always be aware that Allaah is watching you, in secret and in the open. Your attitude towards your Lord must always be balanced between fear and hope, which for the Muslims are like the two wings of a bird. Turn to Allaah wholeheartedly and let your heart be filled with love for Him, your tongue with remembrance of Him (dhikr). Be happy and rejoice in His rulings and His wisdom.

    Always call upon Allaah (du’aa’) in every sujood, asking Him to bless you and grant you beneficial knowledge, for if you are sincere towards Allaah, He will support you and help you, and will cause you to attain the level of the righteous scholars.


    5 – Make the best use of time
    Make the most of your youth and your whole life by learning. Do not be deceived by procrastination and wishful thinking about the future. Every hour of your life that passes cannot be replaced. Do away with whatever you can of distractions and obstacles which prevent you from striving your utmost to attain knowledge. Hence the salaf encouraged keeping away from one’s family and keeping a distance from one’s homeland, because when a person is distracted he will not be able to understand facts of knowledge and subtle issues. Allaah has not given man two hearts in his chest, and similarly it is said that knowledge will not give you a part of it until you give it your all.


    6 – Be cautious
    Beware of being preoccupied in the beginning with the disputes among the scholars, or among people in general, because this confuses the mind. Also beware of musannafaat , because they will waste your time and make you confused. Instead, give your all to the book which you are reading or the topic which you are studying until you become competent in it. Beware of moving from one book to another (before completing the former), for that is a sign of boredom and failure. You must pay attention to each branch of knowledge, in order of importance.


    7 – Precision and focus
    Strive to verify that which you want to memorize so that you are certain of it, either from a shaykh or from someone else who can help you. Then memorize it properly and continually repeat it and review at specific times each day, lest you forget what you have memorized.


    8 – Studying books
    After you have memorized the summarized books properly, with their commentaries, and you have understood any difficult passages in them and understood the important points, then move on to studying the detailed versions, always reviewing what you have learned and noting the valuable points, subtle issues, strange minor issues, solutions to problems and differences between similar rulings, in all branches of knowledge. Do not think little of anything useful that you learn or any basic principle that you understand; instead, hasten to note and memorize it.


    Let your concern to seek knowledge be uppermost; do not be content to learn only a little when you are able to do more. Do not be content with a little of the legacy of the Prophets :saw:(may the blessings of Allaah be upon them), and do not delay learning anything that you can, or be distracted or put off by wishful thinking. Delay is a problem, and if you learn something now you can learn something else later.


    Make the most of your time, when you are free and when you are busy. Make the most of your youth when your mind is fresh and you have less distractions, before you become distracted by false ambitions and the desire for worldly possessions.

    You should try to obtain as many of the books you need as you can, because they are the tools of learning. Do not make getting and keeping a lot of them (without benefiting from them) the only share of knowledge that you have, and collecting them the only share of understanding that you have. You also have to use and benefit from them as much as you can.


    9 – Choosing companions

    Strive to choose righteous friends who are preoccupied with seeking knowledge and are of a good nature, who can help you in achieving your aim, add to the benefits you have already gained, encourage you to seek more knowledge and stop you from feeling bored and tired; friends who are religiously-committed, trustworthy and of good character, who are sincere towards Allaah and who are not merely messing about.
    (See Tadhkirat al-Saami’ by Ibn Jamaa’aah).

    Beware of the bad companion, for he may influence you and people are like birds, they will resemble one another [i.e., “birds of a feather flock together”]. So beware of mixing with people like that, for that is a sickness, and prevention is better than cure.


    10 – Finally, good manners towards the shaykh
    Knowledge cannot be gained only from books; you must also have a shaykh whom you trust to open the door to knowledge and keep you from making mistakes. So you must have good manners towards him, for this is the way to success, learning and strength. So you must honour, respect and be polite to the shaykh. Observe the utmost standards of etiquette when you sit with your shaykh and speak with him. Ask questions in a proper manner and listen attentively. Be polite when studying the book with him and do not try to argue with him or compete with him. Do not initiate conversation with him or walk ahead of him or speak too much in his presence, or interrupt him or interrupt him when he is teaching. Do not pressurize him to give you an answer, and avoid asking him too many questions, especially in front of other people, for this will make you appear to be showing off and make him bored with you. Do not call him directly by his name or nickname; rather say “O my shaykh” or “O our shaykh” (Yaa shaykhi or Yaa shaykhunaa)

    If you think that the shaykh has made a mistake, do not let that make him lose respect in your eyes, because that will deprive you of his knowledge. Who is there who is entirely free from error?
    See Hilyat Taalib al-‘Ilm by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd


    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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    Dealing with the lack of interest in seeking knowledge

    Lack of interest in seeking Islamic knowledge is a major calamity.

    There are a number of things which we must do, including the following:

    1 – sincerity of intention towards Allaah in seeking knowledge.
    If a person is sincere towards Allaah in his pursuit of knowledge, and knows that he will be rewarded for his efforts and that he will be in the third level of the ummah, then his interest will be increased.

    “And whoso obey Allaah and the Messenger (Muhammad), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqoon (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”
    [al-Nisaa’ 4:69 – interpretation of the meaning]

    2 – keeping company with friends who will encourage you to seek knowledge and will help you to discuss and research, and you will not got bored of their company so long as they help you to gain knowledge.

    3 – Being patient with yourself, by disciplining yourself when you want to turn away.

    Allaah said to His Prophet :saw: (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
    “And keep yourself (O Muhammad) patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, and other righteous deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world”
    [al-Kahf 18:28 – interpretation of the meaning]

    So be patient, for if you are patient and get used to seeking knowledge, that will become a characteristic of yours. Then a day when you have no opportunity for seeking knowledge becomes a long (i.e., boring) day. But if you give yourself free rein in following your whims and desires, this is wring, because the soul is inclined towards evil, and the Shaytaan encourages people to be lazy and not to learn.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, P. 105
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    Ways to strengthen one’s memory and combat forgetfulness

    It is human nature to be forgetful,

    as the Arab poet said:
    “He is only called man (insaan) because of his forgetfulness (nasiyaan), and it is only called the heart (al-qalb) because it changes so rapidly (yataqallib).”

    In the past they said that the first one to forget (awwal naasin) was the first man (awwal al-naas), meaning Adam, peace be upon him. Forgetfulness is something that varies from person to person according to each individual’s nature; some may be more forgetful than others.
    Some of the things that may help to combat forgetfulness are the following:

    1- Keeping away from sin, because the bad effects of sin result in a bad memory and the inability to retain knowledge. The darkness of sin cannot co-exist with the light of knowledge.

    The following words were attributed to al-Shaafa'i, may Allaah have mercy on him:

    “I complained to [my shaykh] Wakee’ about my bad memory, and he taught me that I should keep away from sin.
    He said that knowledge of Allaah is light, and the light of Allaah is not given to the sinner.”

    Al-Khateeb reported in al-Jaami’ (2/387) that Yahya ibn Yahya said: “A man asked Maalik ibn Anas, ‘O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah! Is there anything that will improve my memory?’ He said, ‘If anything will improve it, it is giving up sin.’”

    When a person commits a sin, it overwhelms him and this leads to anxiety and sorrow which keeps him busy thinking about what he has done. This dulls his senses and distracts him from many beneficial things, including seeking knowledge.

    2- Frequently remembering Allaah, may He be glorified, by reciting dhikr, tasbeeh (saying ‘Subhan Allaah’), tahmeed (‘Al-hamdu Lillaah’), tahleel (‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah’) and takbeer (‘Allaahu akbar’), etc.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “…And remember your Lord when you forget…”
    [al-Kahf 18:24]

    3- Not eating too much, because eating too much makes one sleep too much and become lazy, and it dulls the senses, besides exposing one to the risk of physical diseases. Most of the diseases which we see result from food and drink.


    4- Some of the scholars have mentioned certain foods which increase the memory, such as drinking honey and eating raisins and chewing certain kinds of gum resin.

    Imaam al-Zuhri said:
    “You should eat honey because it is good for the memory.”

    He also said:
    “Whoever wants to memorize hadeeth should eat raisins.”
    (From al-Jaami’ by al-Khateeb, 2/394).


    Ibraaheem said,
    “You should chew resin gum, because it gives energy to the heart and gets rid of forgetfulness.”
    (From al-Jaami’ by al-Khateeb, 2/397).


    As they mentioned, too much acidic food is one of the causes of laziness and weak memory.


    Another thing that can help the memory and reduce forgetfulness is cupping (hijaamah) of the head, as is well known from experience.
    (For more information see Al-Tibb al-Nabawi by Ibn al-Qayyim).

    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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    Important books for the seeker of Islamic knowledge

    Books of ‘Aqeedah (basic tenets of faith):

    1- Thalaathat al-Usool
    2- Al-Qawaa’id al-Arba’ah
    3- Kashf al-Shubahaat
    4- Al-Tawheed

    These four books were written by Shaykh al-Islam Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him).


    5- Al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah which deals with Tawheed al-Asmaa’ wa’l-Sifaat (The Oneness of the Divine names and attributes). This is one of the best books written on this topic, and it is worth reading and studying.

    6- Al-Hamawiyyah

    7- Al-Tadmuriyyah

    These two books are more comprehensive than al-Waasitiyyah. These three books were written by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.


    8- Al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah, by Shaykh Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tahhaawi

    9- Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah by Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Abi’l-‘Izz

    10-Al-Durar al-Saniyyah fi’l-Ajoobah al-Najdiyyah, compiled by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Qaasim (may Allaah have mercy on him)


    11-Al-Durrah al-Madiyyah fi ‘Aqeedah al-Firqah al-Mardiyyah by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Safaareeni al-Hanbali.

    This book contains some general statements which go against the madhhab of the salaf, such as his saying,
    “Our Lord is not an essence or an attribute or a physical entity, exalted be He.”

    Therefore the seeker of knowledge has to study it with a shaykh who is well versed in the ‘aqeedah of the salaf, so that he can explain the general statements in it that go against the ‘aqeedah of the righteous salaf.

    ==================================================

    Books of Hadeeth
    1- Fath al-Baari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari, by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani (may Allaah have mercy on him).

    2- Subul al-Salaam Sharh Buloogh al-Maraam, by al-San’aani, and his book Jaami’ bayna al-Hadeeth wa’l-Fiqh


    3- Nayl al-Awtaar Sharh Muntaqaa al-Akhbaar by al-Shawkaani

    4- ‘Umdat al-Ahkaam by al-Maqdisi. This is an abridged book; most of its ahaadeeth are narrated in al-Saheehayn so their authenticity does not need to be researched.


    5- Al-Arba’een al-Nawawiyyah,by Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a good book because it includes etiquette and a good methodology, and important basic principles, such as the hadeeth, “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.”
    (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, 1 – 201; al-Tirmidhi, 2318; classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 73; classed as saheeh by Ahmad Shaakir in al-Musnad, 1737)


    This principle – if one made it the path upon which one walks – would be sufficient. Another principle is given concerning when one should speak, “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him say something good or else remain silent.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Adab; Muslim, Kitaab al-Luqtah, Baab al-Diyaafah).


    6- Buloogh al-Maraam, by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani. This is a very useful book, especially because it mentions the narrators, and quoted the opinions of others scholars, who said whose hadeeth is saheeh and whose is da’eef, and he comments on the hadeeth to say whether they are saheeh or da’eef.

    7- Nukhbat al-Fikr by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani. This is considered to be a comprehensive work. If the seeker of knowledge understands it completely then he will have no need of many other books of mustalah (the science of hadeeth).
    Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) has a useful way of writing, which involves examining every issue in depth and categorizing the topics he discusses. If the seeker of knowledge reads it he will find it stimulating, because it is based on making one think. I say: it is good for the seeker of knowledge to memorize it because it is a useful summary of the science of mustalah (science of hadeeth).

    8- The Six Books (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Muslim, al-Nasaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and al-Tirmidhi).

    I advise the seeker of knowledge to read them often, because that will serve two purposes: reviewing the main sources of Islam and reviewing the names of hadeeth narrators. If you often review the names of hadeeth narrators, then whenever you come across the name of one of the narrators of al-Bukhaari in any isnaad, you will know that this is one of the narrators of al-Bukhaari, so you will benefit from this knowledge of hadeeth.


    ==================================================

    Books of fiqh
    1- Aadaab al-mashiy ila’l-Salaah by Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him)


    2- Zaad al-Mustaqni’ fi Ikhtisaar al-Muqni’ by al-Hajjaawi. This is one of the best texts of fiqh. It is a blessed book, brief and comprehensive. Our shaykh, ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) told us to memorize it, even though he had memorized the text of Daleel al-Taalib.


    3- Al-Rawd al-Murbi’ Sharh Zaad al-Mustaqni’ by Shaykh Mansoor al-Bahooti


    4- ‘Umdat al-Fiqh byIbn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him)
    5- al-Usool min ‘Ilm al-Usool. This is an abridged book which serves as an introduction for the seeker of knowledge.

    ==================================================

    Books of Faraa’id (laws of inheritance)

    1- Matn al-Rahbiyyah by al-Rahbi

    2- Matn al-Burhaaniyyah by Muhammad al-Burhaani.
    This is a useful and comprehensive abridged book dealing with all the laws of inheritance. I think that al-Burhaaniyyah is more comprehensive than al-Rahbiyyah in some ways, and it gives more information.

    ==================================================

    Books of Tafseer
    1- Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-‘Azeem by Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him). This book is good for tafseer based on reports and it is useful and trustworthy. But it does pay much attention to matters of grammar and style.


    2- Tayseer al-Kareem al-Rahmaan fi Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a good, easy and trustworthy book, and I recommend it.

    3- Muqaddimah Shaykh al-Islam fi’l-Tafseer. This is an important introduction.

    4- Adwaa’ al-Bayaan by al-‘Allaamah Muhammad al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a comprehensive book covering hadeeth, fiqh, tafseer and usool al-fiqh.

    ==================================================

    General books on some subjects


    1- On (Arabic) grammar: Matn al-Ajroomiyyah. This is an abridged book.

    2- Also on Arabic grammar: Alfiyyah Ibn Maalik; this is a summary of the science of grammar.


    3- On Seerah (Prophet’s biography): The best book that I have seen is Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a very useful book in which he mentions the biography of the Prophet :saw:(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from all angels, then he discusses many rulings.


    4- Rawdat al-‘Uqalaa’by Ibn Hibbaan al-Busti (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a useful book despite its brevity. He compiled a large amount of useful material and stories of the scholars, muhadditheen and others.

    5- Siyar A’laam al-Nubalaa’ by al-Dhahabi. This book is very useful and the seeker of knowledge should read and refer to it.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 92
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    a list of books on al-raqaa’iq (heart softening reports)

    The best book of all for softening the heart is the Book of Allaah, hence Allaah calls it maw’izah (good advice)

    as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
    “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur’aan, enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that which is in your breasts, — a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things) for the believers”
    [Yoonus 10:57]


    There is no book that reforms hearts and heals them of disease like the Qur’aan. Hence the Muslim should not turn away from it towards other books.

    The Muslim should read Qur’aan a great deal with proper focus and humility, pondering the meanings. He will see the effect of that on his heart. He can also refer to one of the brief tafseers in order to understand the meanings of any verses that he finds difficult, such as the Tafseer of al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him).


    With regard to what the scholars have written on al-raqaa’iq (heart softening reports), their writings are many and varied.

    Some form parts of other books and some form separate books. In the books of hadeeth such as Saheeh al-Bukahari and Saheeh Muslim etc there are chapters on al-raqaa’iq.

    With regard to separate books, we have chosen the following list for you, but it should be noted that these books are simply a help: there is nothing wrong with the Muslim reading them and benefiting from them, but that should not replace reading and studying the Qur’aan.

    Al-Bahr al-Raa’iq fi al-Zuhd wa’l-Raqaa’iq by Ahmad Fareed
    Al-Zuhd wa’l-Raqaa’iq by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak, edited by Habeeb al-Rahmaan al-A’zami.


    Al-Fawaa’id wa’l-Zuhd wa’l-Raqaa’iq wa’l-Maraathi by Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Nusayr al-Khaldi, edited by Majdi Fathi al-Sayyid.


    Maw’izah al-Mu’mineen min Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen by Muhammad Jamaal al-Deen al-Qaasimi

    Madaarij al-Saalikeen
    Al-Jawaab al-Kaafi
    Tareeq al-Hijratayn wa Baab al-Sa’aadatayn

    These three books were all written by Ibn al-Qayyim.

    Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif by Ibn Rajab.
    Muqtatafaat min al-Mawaa’iz wa’l-Adab by ‘Ali Saalim Aal Haarith.

    Al-Ta’leeq ‘ala Manzoomah fi’l-Sayr ila Allaah wa’l-Daar il-Aakhirah by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di.

    Tazkiyat al-Nafs by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, edited by Dr. Muhammad Sa’eed al-Qahtaani.

    Al-Sirr al-Maknoon fi Riqqah al-Quloob wa Dam’ al-‘Ayoon by ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Deewaan, Dar al-Muslim.

    Mawaarid al-Zam’aan li Duroos al-Zamaan by Abd al-‘Azeez al-Salmaan.

    Al-Tadhkirah fi Ahwaal al-Mawta wa Umoor al-Aakhirah by Abu ‘Abd-Allaah al-Qurtubi al-Mufassir, edited by Mahmoud al-Bastawaysi

    Ahwaal al-Qiyaamah by Abd al-Malik Kulayb
    Al-Qabr wa ‘Adhaabuhu wa Na’eemuhu by Husayn al-‘Awayishah
    [available in English under the title The Grave: Punishment and Blessings]
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    Dealing with books of knowledge

    Dealing with the book involves several things:

    1 – Knowing the subject of the book – so that he can benefit from it, because he needs to specialize.
    It may be a book of sihr (witchcraft) or trickery or falsehood. So he has to know the subject of the book so that he can benefit from it.

    2 – He has to know its terminology.
    Because knowing the terminology means that you will save a lot of time. This is what the scholars do in the introduction to their books,
    for example we know that

    when the author of Buloogh al Maraam says “agreed upon”, he means that the hadeeth was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim,

    whereas the author of al-Muntaqaa uses this phrase in a different manner – when he says “agreed upon”, he means that the hadeeth was narrated by Imaam Ahmad, al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

    Similarly in books of fiqh, the scholars use the words qawlayn, wajhayn, riwaayatayn and ihtimaalayn differently.

    Riwaayatayn (two reports) means two reports from the imaam;

    wajhayn (two views) means two views among the companions, i.e., the companions of the leaders of the madhhab;

    ihtimaalayn (two possibilities) is used in cases of uncertainty as to which of the two views is correct; and qawlayn (two opinions) is more general in meaning than that.


    Similarly, we also need to know what an author means if he says ijmaa’ (consensus) or wifaaq (agreement).

    If he says ijmaa’, he means consensus among the ummah,
    and
    if he says wifaaq he means agreement with the three imams,

    as is the usage of the author of al-Furoo’ concerning Hanbali fiqh. Similarly the followers of each madhhab all have their own terminology, so it is essential to know the terminology of the author.


    3 – Knowing the style and phrases used in the book. Hence you will find that when you read a book for the first time, especially the academic books which are filled with knowledge, you will come across a phrase whose meaning you will have to ponder over, because you are not familiar with it. But if you read the book again you will become familiar with it.

    There is also something which needs to be added to the book, which is writing comments in the margins and at the foot of the pages. This is something which the seeker of knowledge needs to make the most of. If he comes across something which needs further explanation or evidence, and he is afraid that he may forget it, then he should make a note either in the margin or at the foot of the page. Often a person misses out on such benefits because he does not make notes which take no more than a minute or two to do. Then when he comes back he may or may not remember it.

    The seeker of knowledge has to pay attention to that, especially in books of fiqh. In some books you may come across a matter and its rulings which causes you to be confused and have doubts. If you refer to books which are more comprehensive than the book you are reading, and you find something which explains the matter, then you should make a note of it so that you can refer to it again if you need to, without having to refer to the original book from which you have quoted it. This will save you time.

    ==============================================================
    Reading books is of two types

    1 – Reading in depth to ponder and understand. This necessarily takes time.

    2 – A quick reading to get an idea of the subject of the book, the topics covered and the content of the book. This is done by thumbing through the book and skimming it. This does not involve the same level of thinking as the first method. The best way to read books is to ponder the meanings and seek help from scholars who have understanding. It comes as no surprise that the book which is most deserving of such a reading is the Book of Allaah. You must be patient and persist in reading, for man has not been given any greater gift than patience.

    3 – Collecting books
    The seeker of knowledge should be keen to collect books, but he should prioritize. If a person does not have much money, then it is not good and is not wise to buy a lot of books and have to pay for them, because this is bad management. If you cannot buy books with your own money, then you can borrow them from any library.


    4 – Being keen to read important books
    The seeker of knowledge must be keen to read the most important reference books, not modern works, because some of the modern writers do not have deep knowledge, so if you read what they have written you will find that it is superficial. They may quote things verbatim, or they may distort them to make them longer, but it is all waffle. So you have to read the most important reference works written by the salaf, because they are better and more blessed than many of the books of the later generation. Most of the books of the later writers are short on meanings but long-winded. You may read a whole page which could have been summarized in one or two lines. But you will find the books of the salaf to be easy, straightforward and well written, with not even one word that has no meaning.

    Among the best books that the seeker of knowledge must be keen to read are the books of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and his student Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on them both).

    It is known that the books of Ibn al-Qayyim are easier, because the style of Ibn Taymiyah is strongly-worded because of his abundant knowledge and alert mind, and Ibn al-Qayyim saw the knowledge of Ibn Taymiyah as a well-built house, and his own role as that of organizing and adorning.

    But Ibn al-Qayyim was free minded; if he thought that his shaykh’s view differed from what he thought was correct, he would speak up.

    When he thought that the pilgrim should go out of ihraam for Hajj then re-enter ihraam for ‘Umrah, because Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) thought that if the person who has not brought an animal for sacrifice enters ihraam for Hajj or Qiraan, he must go out of ihraam for Hajj then enter ihraam for ‘Umrah, whereas Ibn Taymiyah thought that this applied only to the Sahaabah, he [Ibn al-Qayyim] said, “I am more inclined towards the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbaas than to the opinion of my shaykh.”
    He clearly stated that he was of a different view, so he was independent in his thinking. But it comes as no surprise that he followed his shaykh (may Allaah have mercy on him) in matters which he thought were true and correct. Undoubtedly if you think about most of the opinions of Ibn Taymiyah you will find that they are correct. This is something which anyone who ponders his books will know.


    5 – Evaluating books

    Books may be divided into three types:
    1 – Good books
    2 – Bad books
    3 – Books which are neither good nor bad.

    Try to make sure that your bookshelf is free of books which have bad content. There are books which are described as literature, but they simply kill time without producing any benefit. And there are harmful books which contain specific ideas or promote incorrect ideology. These also should not be allowed on your bookshelf, whether that is because the methodology the use is wrong, or because of their wrong understanding of ‘aqeedah, and revolutionary books which promote a harmful ideology.

    In general, no harmful book should be allowed on your bookshelf, because books nourish the soul just as food and drink nourish the body. If you nourish it with books such as those it will cause you a great deal of harm and you will follow a methodology which goes against the methodology of the seeker of sound knowledge.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 87-91
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    The ruling on reading the books of the people of misguidance

    We do not advise you to continually read the books of the people of misguidance

    The Muslim should protect his beliefs (‘aqeedah) and faith, and be concerned to ensure that his nature and thinking remain sound. He should shun specious arguments and confusion for the sake of his religious commitment and heart, for hearts are weak and specious arguments may deceive them when presented in an attractive manner by the people of innovation and whims and desires, but in fact they are weak and specious arguments.


    Looking at books of innovation and misguidance, or books of shirk and myths, or books of other religions which have long been distorted, or books of heresy and hypocrisy, is not permissible except for the one who is well-versed in Islamic knowledge and whose aim in reading them is to refute them and explain where they went wrong.

    As for one who is not well-versed in Islamic knowledge reading them, in most cases he will become confused as a result. That has happened to many people, even seekers of knowledge, until it ended in kufr, Allaah forbid. In most cases the one who reads these books thinks that his heart is stronger than the specious arguments presented therein, but then suddenly – when he reads a lot – he finds that his heart has absorbed more of the specious arguments than he ever imagined it would.


    Hence the scholars and the righteous salaf were unanimously agreed that it is haraam to read these books, and Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi wrote an essay entitled Tahreem al-Nazar fi Kutub al-Kalaam (Prohibition on reading the books of kalaam (“Islamic” philosophy)).
    We will quote here the comments of a number of scholars about the prohibition on non-scholars reading these books:


    It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (34/185):
    The Hanbalis said: It is not permissible to read the books of the innovators, or books that contain both truth and falsehood, or to narrate them, because that is harmful and adversely affects one’s belief (‘aqeedah).

    Al-Qalyoobi said: It is haraam to read books of fabricated heart-softening reports (raqaa’iq) and fabricated reports of military campaigns (maghaazi).
    End quote.


    In al-Ifaadaat wa’l-Inshadaat (44), al-Shaatibi issued a fatwa saying that it is not permissible for the common folk to read the book of Abu Taalib al-Makki that is entitled Qoot al-Quloob, because of the weird sufi ideas contained in it.


    Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (13/525):
    With regard to this issue it is better to differentiate between the one whose faith has not become strong and deeply-rooted, for whom it is not permissible to read any of these things, and the one whose faith is deeply-rooted, for whom it is permissible, especially when seeking arguments to refute the arguments of the deviant ones. End quote.


    Muhammad Rasheed Rida said in al-Fataawa (1/137):
    Students and the common folk should be prevented from reading these books lest they become confused about their beliefs and the rulings of their religion, lest they become like the crow who tries to learn how to walk like a peacock then forgets his own way of walking and does not even learn how to hop. End quote.


    In Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb (al-Tawheed wa’l-‘Aqeedah/267), Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    With regard to Sufi books, it is not permissible to keep them or read them, except in the case of a person who wants to know what is in them of innovation so that he may refute it, so his reading them is of great benefit, which is to confront and deal with this innovation so that the people will be safe from it. End quote.


    The Standing Committee said in Majallat al-Buhooth al-Islamiyyah (19/138):
    It is haraam for every accountable adult, male or female, to read the books of innovation and misguidance, and magazines which publish myths and false claims and call for deviation from sound morals, unless the one who reads them is able to refute the heresy and deviation contained in them and can advise their authors to mend their ways and can denounce their actions and warn people against their evil. End quote.


    Why expose yourself to evil and specious arguments, when you are safe and have no need of that. Praise Allaah for your being safe and sound, and thank Him for the blessings of guidance and steadfastness; protect that and do not expose it to that which may diminish it.
    Life is too short to be spent in the pursuit of falsehood. Truth, goodness and beneficial knowledge are abundant and if a man were to spend his whole life in studying useful books of knowledge such as books of tafseer, hadeeth, fiqh, heart-softeners, asceticism (zuhd), etiquette, etc, he would not be able to quench his thirst for knowledge, so how about if he is distracted by books of myths and misguidance which are written by the Raafidis and some of the Sufis.


    Listen to the advice of the great scholar Ibn al-Jawzi about paying attention to beneficial knowledge,

    as he said in Sayd al-Khaatir (54-55):
    As for the scholar, I do not say to him: Focus only on useful knowledge or limit yourself to some of it;
    Rather I say to him: Start with that which is most important, for the wise man is the one who understands how short life is and acts accordingly, even if there is no way to learn everything in one’s lifetime, rather he should do the best he can.
    Then if he gets what he wants of knowledge, he has made provisions his journey, and if he dies before that, then his intention will help him.
    What is meant is that he should reach his full potential by means of knowledge and action. End quote.
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    Disadvantages of limiting oneself only to books

    There are two ways of acquiring knowledge:

    1 – Acquiring it from trustworthy books, which have been written by scholars who are known for their knowledge and trustworthiness and whose ‘aqeedah (belief) is known to be free of innovations (bid’ah) and myths.

    Taking knowledge from books can help a person to reach a certain level, but there are two obstacles:

    The first obstacle is that this takes a long time, because one needs a lot of time and a lot of painstaking effort until he gets the knowledge he wants. Many people may not be able to overcome this obstacle, especially when they see that those around them have wasted their time without gaining anything, so they get bored and tired, then they do not get what they want.


    The second obstacle is that the knowledge of the person who acquires knowledge from books is usually weak, because it is not built on a solid foundation. Hence we find many mistakes made by those who take their knowledge from books, because they have no guidelines or principles with which to deal with minor issues referred to in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. We find some people come across a hadeeth which is not mentioned in the reliable books of Saheeh and Musnad, and this method goes against the principles followed by the scholars and indeed by the ummah, then they take this hadeeth and build their belief on it. Undoubtedly this is wrong, because the Qur’aan and Sunnah have principles around which the minor issues revolve, and if there is something that contradicts these principles and cannot be reconciled with them, then that should be abandoned.


    2 – One of the ways of gaining knowledge is to learn from a scholar who is trustworthy with regard to his knowledge and his religious commitment.

    This way is quicker and is more reliable,
    because in the first method the seeker of knowledge may go astray without realizing it, either because of misunderstanding or because he is lacking in knowledge, or for some other reason.

    But in the second method he can discuss, give and take with his teacher, which will open to the student many doors to understanding and examining, how to defend the correct views and refute weak views. The student should prioritize and read book which summarize knowledge before studying it in depth. In this manner he will progress gradually. He should not move on to the next level before he has thoroughly grasped the current level; in this way his progress will be sound.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 68-70
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    Acquiring Islamic knowledge from tapes

    Question:
    Are tapes regarded as one of the ways to gain knowledge? What is the best way to benefit from them?
    Answer:

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked this question, and he replied as follows:


    No one doubts that these tapes are one of the means of acquiring knowledge.

    We do not deny that Allaah has blessed us through these tapes from which we have gained a great deal of knowledge, because they have brought us the words of the scholars no matter where they may be.

    Here in our homes, there is a huge distance between us and this scholar, but it is easy for us to hear his words via this tape. This is one of the blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon us. Indeed it is proof both for us and against us, for knowledge has spread widely through these tapes.

    With regard to how we may benefit from them:
    This depends on the situation of the person himself.

    Some people may benefit from them whilst driving, others may listen to them whilst eating lunch or dinner, or drinking coffee.
    The point is that the way in which benefit is derived from them depends on the individual himself; we cannot lay down any general rules.


    From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 193

    =====================================================================


    Question:
    Some seekers of knowledge content themselves with listening to tapes of the scholars giving their lessons. Is this sufficient for gaining knowledge? Can they be considered to be seekers of knowledge? Will that affect their belief?
    Answer:

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Undoubtedly these tapes spare them the need to be present with the scholars if they cannot be present, but being present with the scholars is preferable, and is better for the purpose of understanding and discussing. But if they cannot be present then this is good enough.
    But can they be seekers of knowledge when they are restricted to this?

    We say, yes, that is possible if a person strives hard, just as it is possible for man to become a scholar by taking knowledge from books. But the difference between taking knowledge from books and tapes, and learning directly from the scholars, is that learning directly from the scholars is a more effective way of gaining knowledge, because it is an easy way which enables one to discuss matters, unlike listening or reading, which needs a great deal of care in order to gather and gain knowledge.

    With regard to the question,
    will limiting oneself to tapes have any effect on their belief?

    Our response is: yes, it will have an effect on their belief if they listen to tapes of bid’ah and follow them. But if they listen to tapes of trustworthy scholars, that will not have any effect on their belief, rather it will increase them in faith and steadfastness, and in following the correct belief.


    From: Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 219
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