Advice on the Right Methodology in Seeking Knowledge – [A Reminder to Ourselves (Commoners) About Reading Books among Ourselves]
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
There are two paths of deviation at present with regards to learning:
 Learning from books without referring to the scholars! This is a path of deviation and many have deviated as a result of it. He (i.e. the person) will either misunderstand what is in the books or understands in a way other than what is intended because it has not been explained and made clear to him.
 The author (of the book) may be deviated in his views or knowledge and fills it (i.e. the book) with mistakes in affairs of knowledge. Then this ignorant youth reads and adopts it.
Therefore, the books are not to be solely depended upon. And even if the books are sound, you will not be able to understand by merely seeking after it (i.e. reading). The khawaarij were not misguided and misguiding others with their intellects and fear of Allaah, except that they disassociated themselves from the scholars and depended on their own understanding and that of those similar to them. They took instructions from one another, and thus they caused harm to themselves and to the Ummah. This is the result for disassociating from the scholars.
Reminder to ourselves (Commoners)
So let us be attentive to this very serious affair! We have students of knowledge in the various Maraakiz who sit with the scholars and acquire knowledge from them. They have been taught how to take from the books and how to approach them. They constantly travel to sit with the scholars and participate in seminars and sittings of knowledge. They teach in the Maraakiz in the UK and the scholars like Shaikh Ubaid recommend their lessons, rather the Shaikh consider them to be from his students. And there are others who graduated from Madeenah university and are known to be trustworthy in their understanding, Aqeedah and Manhaj – far removed from the corrupt manhaj of the hizbiyyoon.
Yes indeed, the students continue to translate the beneficial books of the scholars but neither the scholars nor the students hold the view that we isolate ourselves with books, especially when it is the case that the majority, if not all of us, are able to attend lessons in many Masaajid and Salaficentres. We do not find a single scholar or any of their students recommending that we isolate ourselves with books or tapes whilst we are able to attend lessons in person. On the other hand, when we gather to read books to one another, who among us is qualified to restrict what is general, declare something general that should be left unrestricted, detail what requires detail and clarify what is ambiguous?! Obviously, we commoners are not able to do so until the people of knowledge give us recommendations. Rather, even the students of knowledge are not all at the same level. See here: http://www.salaficentre.com/2015/07/the-mubtadiu-beginner-student-of-knowledge-the-mutawassit-intermediate-and-the-muntahiy-one-who-has-reached-a-high-level-by-shaikh-muhammad-bin-haadi/
Therefore, if it is the case that even the students of knowledge are to know their limitations, then how about us (Commoners)?! How can we ever isolate ourselves with books, whilst the trustworthy students are giving study circles and we are able to attend?! Yes, we read in our spare time and make sure that we ask the scholars and the trustworthy students about what we have read; but we make sure that we never isolate ourselves from the lessons of those qualified to teach us whilst we have the ability to attend. And Allaah knows best.