Advice on the Right Methodology in Seeking Knowledge – [Isolating Oneself With Books and Mutoon]
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan was asked whether it is enough to read the books and Mutoon of the people of knowledge without attending the sittings of the scholars….so the Shaikh replied, saying that this is misguidance- (regarding the path of the one) who limits himself to the books. This method is misguidance, rather one (has to go to the) scholars. Knowledge has to be acquired from the scholars.
*Books are only a means similar to a weapon when you have it in your possession -are you be able to use it without learning how to use it. You have to learn how to use a weapon from those who know how to use it. They will give you instructions on how to use it.
*The scholars are the ones who will train you to use the books – they know what is beneficial and sound in the books, and what is not beneficial. That is because many books are books of misguidance and evil, so none can distinguish what is in them and explain them except the people of knowledge.
*It may be that the reader acquires a wrong understanding – he reads and acquires a wrong understanding, such as one who says: I read a hadeeth in Saheeh Al Bukhaari that there is cure for every illness in black seed; so he goes and consumes black seed and dies. That is because he did not ask the people of knowledge.
*The scholars are the ones who know what is correct and what is incorrect. They are the one who are acquainted with the sound meanings and what is not sound. They are the ones with experience in this affair.
*Will you take a book among the books of medicine and read it, then harm the people…and say I am a doctor! If this is not (allowed) in the field of medicine, then how about the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger?! Therefore, one must go to the scholars. [Paraphrased and Abridged] Listen to audio here:
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:
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.