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Some Aathar on Knowledge:

Ibn Rajab said:

The scholars have differed concerning this issue. Which one is better, studying sacred
knowledge or performing voluntary prayers and reciting the Qur'an and words of
remembrance? Knowledge is better for him who studies sincerely for Allaahs sake and
has a good and clear mind. However, this should still be joined with a good amount of
prayers and worship. If you find him to be a serious student but notice that hes lacking in
his worship, it is a lazy and worthless person youre dealing with, and this person is not
truthful when he says his intentions are good.

As for when one studies hadeeth and fiqh simply as an intellectual pursuit, worship is
better in such a case. In fact, the difference between the two is like the difference between
the normative and superlative. This is a general categorization, and by Allaah, I have only
seen a few who are sincere in seeking this knowledge.

[Ibn rajabs explanation to Aboo Ad-dardaas hadeeth, p.96]

Ibn Mubarak, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "I heard Abu Haneefah say: 'When
something is reported from the Prophet , we take it. And when something is reported
from the Companions, we choose from their opinions. And when something is reported
from the Taabi'een, we contest with them (with our views as to which is correct).' "
[Akhbaar Abee Haneefah of As-Symaree, pg. 10 on the authority of Aby Yoosuf and
Eeqaadh Himam Uleel-Absaar, pg. 70]

When his book al-Muwatta' was mentioned to him, Maalik bin Anas Al-Ashahee, the
Imaam of Madeenah, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him, said: "It
contains the hadeeth of Allah's Messenger and the statements and opinions of the
Sahabah and the Taabi'een. I also voiced my opinion based on Ijtihad and on what I
found the people of knowledge upon in our lands, not transgressing that for the views of
the others. "
[Tarteeb-ul-Madaaril (1/193)]

Ash-Shaafi'ee, may Allah mercy on him and be pleased with him, said: "Knowledge is of
several categories:
1. The Book and the Sunnah, if it is an authentically reported Sunnah
2. The unanimous agreement of the scholars in those matters in which proof from
the Book and the Sunnah are not found
3. When some or one of the Companions of the Prophet said something and we don't
know of any opposition to that from the rest of them

4. When the Companions of the Prophet differed among themselves, yet he did
not object with them
5. Qiyas (Analytical deduction) of one of these categories,

One should not go to another source apart from the Book and the Sunnah so long
as they are both present (i.e. the proof is found in them); Knowledge should be
taken from the highest source."
[Al-Madkal ilaas-Sunan-il-kubraa, pg.110]

Ahmad bin Muhaamad bin Hanbal said, "If a hadeeth of the Prophet exists on an
issue, we should not take the opinion of someone else that is in opposition to it -
regardless if he one of the companions or those that came after them.
And if there exists conflicting views from the Companions of Allah's Messenger on a
particular issue, we may chose from their opinions. However, we do not transgress from
their opinions to the views of someone else.
And if no statement from the Prophet or the Companions exists on an issue, we may
choose from the Taabi'een..."
[Al-Musawwada, pg. 276]

Shaykh Muhammad Bazmool, "A student of knowledge must accustom himself to

connection issues with their evidences from the Book and the Sunnah, according to the
understanding of the Salaf-us-Saalih."
[The Foundations of Seeking Knowledge pg.20 ]

Which is better, seeking knowledge or standing in night prayer?
Seeking knowledge is better than standing in night prayer, because seeking knowledge, as
it was mentioned by Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy upon him):

Nothing compares to seeking knowledge, for the person who has corrected his intention.
He intends to remove ignorance from himself and from others.

Thus, if a person stays up the first part of the night seeking knowledge sincerely for the
face of Allaah, whether he is learning or teaching the people, then this action is better
than standing in night prayer. However, if a person has the ability to combine between
the aforementioned matters (seeking knowledge and the night prayer), then this
is preferred. It is because of this that the Prophet (saw) instructed Abu Hurairah to
perform the Witr prayer before going to sleep.

The Scholars mentioned the Messenger of Allaah (saw) advised Abu Hurairah to perform
Witr prayer before going to sleep because Abu Hurairah would spend a large portion of
the night reviewing the narrations he heard from the Messenger of Allaah (saw).

[Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen, Majmoo Al-Fataawa 26/50]

Ibn Uthaymeen was asked as to what he says about the statement: Whoever takes his
books as scholars, his mistakes are more than accuracy?

He (rahimahullaah) responded thus:

As for the statement: Whoever takers his books as scholars This is not completely
true, nor is it completely mistaken. As for the person who takes knowledge from any
book he sees, then there is no doubt that this person will error much.

But as for the individual who focuses on the books of the well known, trustworthy,
knowledgeable people, then this individual will not error much, but rather, he will be
correct in most of what he transmits.

[Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen, Majmoo Al-Fataawa, 26/197]

Suggestions For Those Attending Seminars/Conferences

1. Make your intention for attendance sincerely to benefit yourself in your religion.
2. Lower your gaze when walking through the halls and at all times. Indeed one of
the elements that assist a student in his quest for knowledge is taqwa.
3. Purchase all the material needed (books, notebooks, pens, recorders, etc) before
attending the conference.
4. Find a group of righteous individuals to review with during breaks and at night.
5. Do not gather with others except that there is some religious benefit mentioned.
6. Try to sit close to the speaker; this is encouraged in the famous hadeeth of Jibreel
7. If you find yourself falling asleep during a lecture, change your sitting place.
8. The student should review the information taught before going to sleep at night
and in the morning. This will help a person to preserve what he heard during the
day. It is noticed that many people spend the night chatting with their friends; this
is a major hindrance in the path of the student of knowledge and is alos a reason
why a person finds it difficult to perform Salaatul Fajr in congregation.
9. After the conference os over and a person returns home, it is important that for the
next few days or weeks, the student reviews all of the knowledge taught. The
notebook should not be placed on the bookshelf, never to be touched until the
following year. The only way a person truly benefits is when he reviews the past
information efficiently.

An Important Piece Of Advice For Sisters Attending Seminars/Lectures:

1. Sisters with children should take turns taking care of each others children.

2. For example, 4 sisters (A, B, C, D) would like to attend the lesson, but all of them
have children. They should divide the lectures daily.
3. Sister A takes all the kids for the first lesson while sisters B, C and D attend.
Sister B takes the children for the second lesson while sisters A, C and D attend.
If the sisters follow this method, inshaa Allaah, all will benefit.
4. And at night once all the children are asleep, all the sisters can gather and share
the missed notes (and of course, adjustments can be made to this suggestion to
suit specific needs).

[Taken from Clear Advice For Benefiting From Islaamic Lectures, Pp. 73-74]

Suggestions For Seminar/Conference Organisers

1. Make sure flyers are passed out early.

2. Make sure the audience is aware of what is being taught prior to the lectures/lessons.
3. Try to keep the timings according to what is mentioned on the program schedules.
4. Try to distribute photocopied study materials before the lessons.
5. Attempt to make 2 separate rooms for females, 1 room for sisters with children, the other
for sisters with no children.
6. Dont allow vending during lecture timings.
7. Announce all lectures 10 mins. before the lecture begins, this will allow people to gather
in the lecture hall early.
8. Encourage the brothers staying in the hotel to perform Salaat in
congregation, especially Salaatul Fajr.
9. Dont hesitate to make necessary changes during the seminar if needed.
10. Distribute a feedback questionnaire on the last day of the conference in order to review
the communitys opinion and make necessary changes in the future.

[Taken from Clear Advice For Benefiting From Islaamic Lectures, p. 73]

The Excellence Of Knowledge

The Prophet (saw) said:
The excellence of knowledge is greater than optional actions and the best of your
religion is piety.
[Saheeh At-Targheeb Wat Targheeb, 65]

Aboo Dardaa said:

Whoever holds that going off in the morning or going off later in the day to gain some
knowledge is not jihaad, then he is deficient in his intellect and deficient in his opinion.

Kab al-Ahbaar said:

The student of knowledge is like the one who goes off in the morning, or later in the day

to fight in the way of Allaah, the Mighty and the Majestic.

Indeed some of the Salaf have clearly stated, amongst them Maalik, Ash-Shaafiee and
Imaam Ahmad, and it is stated word for word by Aboo Haneefah that:
The most excellent of actions, after the obligatory duties, is seeking knowledge.

Ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned:

Optional knowledge is better than the excellence of extra and optional worship. This
is because the benefit of knowledge is general, it benefits its possessor and it benefits the
rest of the people as well. Whereas the benefit of worship is particular to the person who
does that worship. Also because with the scholar, his benefit and knowledge remains
after his death. Whereas worship is cut off from him at his death.
[Miftaah daaris Saaadah, 1/120]

Sufyaan Ath-Thawree, (rahimahullaah), said:

The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and
obey Allaah, otherwise it is just like anything else.
[Related by ibn Rajab]
Al-Hasan al-Basree, (rahimahullaah), said:
Whoever learns something in the name of Allaah, seeking that which is with Him, he
will win. And whoever learns something for other than Allaah, he will not reach the goal,
nor will his acquired knowledge bring him closer to Allaah.
[Related by Ibn ul Jawzee]
Ibn Masood, (radiallaahu anhu), said:
True knowledge is not measured in relationship to how much you memorize and then
narrate, but rather, true knowledge is an expression of piety [protecting oneself from what
Allaah prohibited and acting upon what He mandated].
Ibn Masood, (radiallaahu anhu), also said:
Study and act upon what you learn.
[Related by Abu Na`eem]

Beneficial Knowledge- Imam Ibn Taymiyyah

Abul `Aasim al-Qaasim bin Yoosuf bin Muhammad at-Tajeebee as-Sabtee al-Maghribee

I requested our leader, the shaykh, faqeeh, imaam, respected scholar, vanguard of the
predecessors, leader of the later generations, reviver of the Deen, expresser of rare and
wonderful ideas with great eloquence and literacy, the most knowledgeable person I have
met in the lands of the East and West, Taqi ud-Deen Abul-`Abbaas Ahmad bin
Taymiyyah (may Allaah enable us to continue benefiting from him):

[some questions deleted]

To point me towards those books which I may rely upon regarding knowledge of
hadeeth, and other sciences of the sharee`ah.


Ibn Taymiyyah answered:

All praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds.

As for which books one may depend on for the different branches of knowledge, then this
is a vast topic, and again, the answer to this varies according to peoples backgrounds in
different lands. This is because in each land, one field of learning or way or mode of
thinking may be easier than another, but the source of all good and blessings is that one
seeks help from Allaah in acquiring knowledge inherited from the Prophet, sallallaahu
`alayhi wa sallam, because that is what is truly fit to be named knowledge. Anything else
is either not knowledge at all even though people call it so, or it is knowledge which is
not beneficial, or it is beneficial knowledge, in which case it is necessarily true that there
exists in the inheritance of Muhammad, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, that which replaces
it, being similar to it or better than it.

Thus the persons effort should be to understand the purposes of the Messenger,
sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, in his commands, prohibitions and his various other
sayings. When the heart is contended that something is indeed as the Messenger,
sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, intended, then he should not waver from it as far as
possible, whether it is regarding his duties to Allaah or to the people. In all branches of
knowledge, he should strive to hold firmly to principles narrated from the Prophet,
sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam; if he is in doubt regarding any matter about which the
people of knowledge have differed, then he should supplicate to Allaah with the du`aa
which appears in Saheeh Muslim narrated by `Aaishah, radiyallaahu `anhaa, that when
the Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, stood for the night prayer, he would say,

O Allaah! Lord of Jibreel, Meekaaeel and Israafeel, Originator of the Heavens

and the Earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Present! You judge among your slaves

regarding what they have differed in. Guide me to the truth regarding that in which
they have differed, for truly, You do guide whomsoever You wish to a path that is

This is because Allaah the Exalted has said, as narrated by His Messenger from Him,

O My slaves, all of you are astray except those that I have guided, so seek guidance
of Me and I shall guide you. [Muslim]

As for a description of good books and compilations: people will have heard from me
what Allaah has made easy on other occasions. I will say this much now, that out of all
the compiled books which have been divided into chapters, there is none more beneficial
than the Saheeh of Muhammad bin Ismaa`eel al-Bukhaaree. However, this alone is not
enough to cover all the major principles of knowledge, nor can it fulfill all the objectives
of one who seeks to dive deep into the various branches of knowledge. It is imperative
that other ahaadeeth, as well as the words of the people of understanding and the people
of knowledge of different specialised fields be known, for the Ummah has progressed
tremendously in all fields of learning. He whose heart Allaah enlightens He guides him
through what reaches him; but he whose heart Allaah blinds, many books only increase
him in confusion and misguidance, as the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said to
Ibn Labeed al-Ansaari,

Did the Jews and Christians not have the Tauraat and the Injeel? So what benefit
did these bring them? [al-Bukhaaree in Khalq Af`aal al-`Ibaad, an-Nasaaee, Ahmad,
al-Haakim, ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh]

So we ask Allaah Almighty that He sustains us with guidance and firmness, instills in our
hearts our correct direction, protects us from the mischief of our own selves, that He does
not allow our hearts to deviate after giving us guidance and that He bestows on us Mercy
from Him, for He is the Most Generous.

All Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, and His Blessings be on the most noble of
the messengers.

Destroying Correct Cultivation

Words From Ibn Uthaymeen

It is essential for a student of knowledge to safeguard his time from being wasted. And time
wasting occurs in a number of ways:-

Firstly: That one leaves committing to memory and revising what one has read.

Secondly: That one sits with his friends and indulges in vain and idle talk which contains no

Thirdly, and this Is the most harmful of them upon a student of knowledge: That he has no
concern except pursuing peoples statements with he said this and he said that and with what
occurred and what is taking place regarding an issue that is of no concern to him. And there
is no doubt that this is from a weakness of [his] Islaam, since the Prophet sallallahu alayhi
wa sallam said: Part of a persons good Islm is to leave alone that which does not
concern him. (Ibn Maajah)

And busying oneself with qila wa qala (they said and he said) and excessive questioning are
time-wasters. And it is, in reality, a disease which, when it comes into man we ask Allaah
for well-being it becomes his greatest concern. Due to this, he may even sometimes show
enmity (ada) to one who does not deserve enmity, or show allegiance (wala) to one who
does not deserve allegiance, because of concerning himself with these issues which pre-
occupy him away from knowledge, under the pretext of championing the truth, whilst this
is not the case!

Rather, this is part of pre-occupying oneself with an issue that does not concern him. If,
however, a report comes to you without you having pursued or sought it, then all people
receive news, but they do not busy themselves with it, nor does it become their greatest

This is because this pre-occupies the student of knowledge, corrupts his affair; and opens up
for the Ummah the door of bigoted partisanship (hizbiyyah), which then splits the Ummah.

[Kitabul Ilm (204-205)]

Benefiting From Knowledge

Imam Ibn ul Jawzee

From Sayd Al-Khaatir (138)

I have met many mashaaykh and the affair of one was different from that of the other, and
their knowledge capacity were of varying levels. And the one whom I benefited from his
company the most was the one who used to apply what he knew, even though there were
those who were more knowledgeable than him.

I met a group from the people of hadeeth who memorized and knew a lot, however they
would permit backbiting under the guise of jarh wa tadeel (ed.: accreditation and
disreputation, science of criticism of narrators), they would take monetary payment in return
for narrating hadeeth, and they would be hasty in giving answers, even if they are wrong, lest
their status diminishes.

I met Abdulwahaab Al-Anmaatee, he used to be upon the methodology of the salaf. One
would never hear backbiting in his gatherings nor would he take payment for teaching
hadeeth. Whenever I read a hadeeth that contained in it a heart-softener, he used to cry
continuously. I was very young at that time, (but) his crying affected my heart. He had the
calm of those whose description we hear about from the narrations.

I met Abu Mansur Al-Jawaaliqee, he was very quiet, very careful about what he said, precise,
and scholarly. Sometimes he would be asked a question, which may seem easy; one that our
young ones would rush to answer, however he would withhold from answering until he was
certain. He used to fast a lot and remain quiet often.

Thus, I benefited from these two more than I benefited from the others, and I understood
from this that: guiding people by ones action is more inspiring than doing so by words. So
Allah, Allah, one should implement what he knows for it is indeed the greatest foundation.
And the miskeen, the true miskeen is the one who wasted his life learning what he does not
practice, thus he loses the pleasures of the dunyah and the goodies of the akhirah. (In addition
to) Coming forth bankrupt (on the day of judgment) with strong evidences against himself.

Ask Those Who Know

Shaykh Muhammad Nasir-ud-Deen al-Albani

Question: Some who are seeking knowledge are very hasty in giving rulings in matters of
halaal and haraam, and this is a common noticeable defect. What is your advice to such

Al-Albaanees reply: We have spoken on this issue long before, and we said that Allaah the
Wise has divided the Muslim community into two types of people: the Ahl adh-Dhikr, and
those that depend on the Ahl adh-Dhikr. As Allaah says to the ordinary people: then ask
those who possess the Message (Ahl adh-Dhikr) if you do not know. (Soorah 21:7 and

The Ahl adh-Dhikr are, as we all know, are the Ahl al-Quraan and the Ahl al-Hadeeth, those
who know the authentic from the unauthentic, the general from the specific, the abrogating
from the abrogated, and other such principles of Fiqh and Hadeeth.

Hence, it is not allowed for a Muslim to begin giving fatwaas on the basis of some hadeeth,
simply because he came across it in some book, although he does not know if it is saheeh
according to the criteria of the scholars of hadeeth. On the other hand, he knows that he is not
sufficiently well-versed in knowledge and competence in the Arabic language to explain the
meanings and ideas behind the Kitaab and Sunnah. Therefore, anyone who has not decided to
undertake acquiring knowledge and persevere in it for many years, until the people of
knowledge testify that he can guide the people and direct them towads good, it is not
permissible for him to thank that he is an alim (scholar) simply because he has read some
ahadeeth and memorized some aayaat. We often hear of some of them who cannot even read
the Quraan properly, nor the ahaadeeth of the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). This is
why I advise the seekers of knowledge to study two fundamentals:

a) the principles of fiqh and

b) the principles of hadeeth.

I have mentioned before that it is not easy for one to deduce the intended aim of the
Lawgiver from any text unless he consults as far as possible, all the texts of the Quran and
Sunnah. I will give a clear example: Allaah says: Forbidden for you are dead meat,
blood (5:4). If a beginner who is studying the Quraan and has no knowledge of hadeeth
is asked regarding dead fish, he will immediately bring this aayah as proof to clearly forbid it
since it prohibits dead meat. But were he to look into the ahaadeeth, he would know that the
Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, excepted two types of animals, fish and locusts, from
this prohibition, so he could rule accordingly.

Briefly, the student must learn these two fundamental branches of learning to help to
understand the Quraan and Sunnah as correctly as possible.