Updated: Reminder to Ourselves and the Youth- a Principle Related to Those Whom We Love And Take From!
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Know The Level of Your Teacher -Neither Raise Him Above His Level Nor Ask Him What He Should Not Be Asked!
Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi (may Allaah preserve him) was asked whether it is important for the student of knowledge to know the (different) levels of the scholars as well as regarding what is said during the times of Fitan: ‘’We refer back to the senior scholars….’’
The Shaikh Responded saying that:
*This is emphasised and one must know the (different) levels of the scholars..
*One should be acquainted with the different levels of the scholars, likewise the different levels of the Imaams of the Sunnah and the Huffaadh are to be known- the levels of the Mujtahideen in the various Madhabs, the Mujtahideen who are qualified to make Ijtihaad in every affair of the religion in which ijtihaad is permissible, and those known to be qualified to give fataawa in the Madhabs etc
*Those who are knowledgeable in the subject matter of Fitan are to be known – those who are specialised in acquainting the people with it and this is a principle found in the sharee’ah. The Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) specified Hudhaifah (radiyallaahu-anhu) in the subject matter of Fitan and Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu) did not used to ask anyone regarding this affair; rather he used to ask Hudhaifah (radiyallaahu-anhu). This is a principle related to acquiring knowledge of fitan – you do not ask everyone; rather you ask those specialised in the affair- those who know it’s reports; those who pursue studies in the affair and know it’s signs…
*Despite the fact that Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu) was one with (great) intuition, he did not use to ask everyone among the Sahaabah (about the Fitan); rather he used to ask those who acquired knowledge about this Fitan from the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam). So he used to ask Hudhaifah (radiyallaahu-anhu).
*Likewise, there are those scholars who have knowledge of the affairs of fitan, who write books about it and they know its signs and its people. So they are foremost or most worthy of being referred to. [Paraphrased and abridged…Listen to audio here: https://app.box.com/shared/codsgx113f
Reminder to ourselves and the youth!
So let us understand this very well, so that we may proceed upon clear-sightedness in our love for the teachers and in acquiring knowledge. If this is what is required of the students of knowledge in relation to their relationship with the scholars (i.e. that they know the levels of the scholars in order to know who to ask regarding different affairs), then likewise we need to know regarding the affair of those whom we love and take from among the students of the scholars.
We should be well aware of what to ask our teachers and what not to ask them. We do not contend with others when they genuinely inform us that our teacher is not worthy of being asked such and such question. We do not harbour suspicion when told that our teacher has not reached a level where he is to be asked certain detailed affairs of the Dawah, which have been acquired (only) by those elder students who have sat with the scholars for over twenty years and still sit with them.
If we are confused regarding this affair, then ask the elder students of knowledge because throughout the years- from 1996 to date- there have been occasions when we’ve asked them questions, even in affairs of fiqh, and they clearly informed us that those questions are not for them to answer; likewise regarding many other affairs related to Dawah.
If our teacher loves or trusts us more than others, we still do not ask him everything and make him a reference point in affairs he is not worthy of being made a reference point. Likewise, regardless who praises our teacher- be it a scholar or another elder student- this does not mean that we make him a reference point in that which he is not worthy of being made a reference point. In this regard, let us quote Shaikh Abdus Salaam Burgess (rahimahullaah) and Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi (hafidhahullaah). Shaikh Abdus Salaam (rahimahullaah) said:
Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu anhu) said: ”The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they acquire knowledge from their elders, their trustworthy ones and their scholars, for if they acquire it from their young ones and evil ones, they will be destroyed.”
Shaikh Abdus Salaam Burgess (rahimahullaah) stated in Awaa’iq At-Talab pages 29-35 that this ruling is not an absolute (or unrestricted) one against the young ones, for indeed there were a group of the Sahaabah and the Taabi’een who taught and gave verdicts in their young age, whilst the elders were present. However, the likes of these people are hard to find among those who came after them. So if they are found and are known for their uprightness, soundness and depth in knowledge and their firmness is manifested, whilst there are no elders to be found, then knowledge of the Sharee’ah is acquired from them, if they are free from fitnah. So the intent is not that the knowledge possessed by the young person (i.e. the student of knowledge who is known to the scholars) is boycotted, whilst the elders are present; rather the intent is that the people are placed in their rightful positions. The right (place) for the young one is that he is benefited from in studies, revision and research. As for issuing fatwa and questions sent to him (i.e. like the scholars are sent written questions to give fatwa), then no. Likewise, he does not enter into authorship (i.e. authoring books without the permission and guidance of the scholars). [Source: Awaa’iq At-Talab’ by Shaikh Abdus Salaam Burgess (rahimahullaah)…the above statement is an excerpt and a slight paraphrase, so refer to the Shaikh’s Risaalah on pages 29-34 for more benefits] http://www.salaficentre.com/2016/01/a-short-benefit-for-the-one-who-enquired-about-the-statement-the-blessing-is-with-your-elders-i/
Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi (hafidhahullaah) was asked about the affair of refraining from fitna when it occurs and the ruling of the Islamic legislation in that regard; so the Shaikh stated that refraining from entering into a fitna is with regards to a fitna in which truth is not distinguished from falsehood—the fitan that is bewildering about which the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has clarified and in which a mujtahid is not left with any room to perform Ijtihaad. So in such a case a person sticks to the Jamaa-ah (i.e. the main body of Muslims upon the correct methodology) and their Imaam (i.e. the Muslim Ruler). And if there is neither the Jamaa-ah (i.e. a group of Muslims upon the correct methodology) nor an Imaam (i.e. a Muslim Ruler), the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) commanded a person to abandon all the groups and sects. But all praise be to Allaah the Jamaa-ah is present, the Imaam is present and the scholars are present and widespread among us.
As for refraining from clarifying the affairs to the people, then this is not what is intended by the hadeeth of the Prophet—refrainment is only employed when none listens to you; rather everyone seeks to aid his own opinions and is amazed with themselves, and there is no one to guide the people to the truth. As for the affair of clarifying the truth to the people this is something sought after, but this clarification is of two types:
*Specific Clarification:This is what is carried out by a student of knowledge when there is a need in doing so in accordance with his ability, knowledge and awareness.
*General Clarification Given To Everyone: This is given to the general public in affairs of universal public safety and well-being which may result in trials. This clarification is to be given by a person whose speech carries an impact and what he says will draw the attention of the people, and will carry an effect and benefit by the permission of Allaah.
And this does not mean that we have now become scholars when we do this; No! No! No! Rather we clarify what we know in accordance with our ability and when it becomes obligatory to do so.
Therefore, it is clear from the statements of Shaikh Abdus Salaam and Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi regarding where the seeker of knowledge below the level of the scholars should stop. Unfortunately we find some of the Hizbiyyoon and deviants such as the likes of Yasir Qadhi, Abu Eesaa Niamatullaah and others being raised to the level of Shuyookh and speaking in affairs that do not concern them. As for the Salafiyyoon, they do not raise anyone above his rightful status, rather those who teach them in the West refer them back to the scholars and they never give themselves a status the scholars have not certified for them.
Finally: keep the company of all the Salafi teachers, especially the elder ones – those who are experienced in many affairs of Dawah and have been specifically mentioned by the scholars. That is because they have spent years either sitting with the scholars or visiting them every year – numerous sittings and consultations with the scholars, such as the likes of Shaikh Rabee, Shaikh Ubaid, Shaikh Muhammad Bin Haadi and others (may Allaah preserve them all). May Allaah protect us and our teachers. Aameen.
And Allaah knows best.