Your capital – O Seeker – is from your Shaykh

Follow his pious manners and noble character, as for acquisition and dictation [of knowledge] then that is extra profit. However, do not be taken by an exuberant love of your shaykh, lest you fall into abomination without realizing and all those around you realist.

So do not imitate him in his voice, tone, walk, movements, or appearance; for he did not become a great shaykh just by this, so do not fall by following him in this.

The Shaykh‘s enthusiasm in his lessons

This is dependent upon the seekers’ capacity to listen, frame of mind, and how much he becomes emotionally involved with his shaykh in his lessons. For this reason beware of becoming a tool for cutting off his knowledge by being lazy, slack, or slouching and allowing the mind to wonder during his lessons. Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (rahimahullaah) said: “The right of benefit should go to its zealous wanter, and not presented except to the person interested in it; so if the muhaddith sees slackness from the listener then let him become silent, for some of the ‘People of Culture’ said: The enthusiasm of the speaker depends upon the capacity of the listener.” He then narrated through his chain of narrators to Zayd ibn Wahb that he said: “‘Abdullah (i.e. Ibn Mas’ood) said: Narrate (hadeeth etc) to the audience as long as they glance at you with their eyes, and if you see slackness from them then halt” (al-Jaami‘ (1/320)).

Writing what the shaykh says during the lesson or revision

Understand that this differs from one shaykh to another. And it has etiquette and a condition:

As for the etiquette, you should notify your shaykh that you are going to write, or that you have written in revision form.

As for the condition: you should indicate that you wrote it from listening to what he said in his lesson. (al-Jaami‘ (2/36-38)).

  • Transcribed from: The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge | Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
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