March 2010


Fifth point: Categorizing books.

Books are divided into three categories:

First category: Good books.

Second category: Evil books.

Third category: Books that are neither good nor evil.

So adhere to making your library free of any books which have no good in them or have evil in them. It is said that there are some books on good manners, however they waste time and bring about no benefit. And there are harmful books which have specific thoughts and a specific manhaj (methodology), so these books must also be excluded from your library despite them being on manhaj or ‘aqeedah.

For example, the books of the innovators which are harmful in ‘aqeedah, and the books of rebellion and revolution which are harmful to manhaj. Generally, all books that are harmful should be excluded from your library; since books are nourishment for the soul, like food and drink for the body. If you were nourished with that which is similar to these books, then you would be afflicted with great harm, and as a result, you would pursue a path differing to the manhaj of the upright student of knowledge.

Recommended books for students of knowledge:121

Firstly - ‘Aqeedah:

1.   ثلا ثة الا صو ل                        -      شيخ الاسلام الامام محمد بن عبد الو ها ب

2.   القواعد الأر بع                        -      شيخ الاسلام الامام محمد بن عبد الو ها ب

3.    كشف الشبهات -      شيخ الاسلام الامام محمد بن عبد الو ها ب

4.   كتاب التوحيد                       -      شيخ الاسلام الامام محمد بن عبد الو ها ب

العقيدوة الو اسطية –                          شيخ الاسلام ابن تيمية  .5

This book comprises the Tawheed of Allaah’s Asmaa (Names) and Sifaat (Attributes), and it is amongst the best that has been written in this field, and it is worthwhile reading it and referring to it.

العقيدة الحمو ية             –   شيخ الاسلام ابن تيمية    6.

7. العقيدة التدمرية              -   شيخ الاسلام ابن تيمية

These two treatises are broader than “العقيدة الو اسطية”

8. العقيدة الطحاوية – أبو جعفر حمد بن محمد الطحا وي

9. شرح العقدة الطحا وية – أبو الحسن على بن أبي العز

10. الدزر السنية في الاجوبة النجدية – عبد الرحمن بن قسم

Secondly - Hadeeth:

1. فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري – الحافض إبن حجر العسقلاني

2. سبل السبلام شرح بلوغ المرام – الصنعاني

This is a comprehensive book combining both hadeeth and fiqh.

3.  نيل الأوطار شرح منتقي الأخبار – الشوكاني

4. عمدة الأحكام – اشوكاني

This is a specialized book, in addition to the fact that all the ahadeeth mentioned are to be found in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree and Saheeh Muslim, so there is no need to search into their authenticity.

5. الأربعين النووية – أبو زكرياتة النووي

This is a good book, because it mentions etiquette and its approach is also good, as well as it mentioning some very important rules, such as the saying of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

(more…)

“The Attainment of knowledge in relations to the sunrise. Upon its rise. When the sun is at its lowest, it is as if you are obtaining knowledge from liars, mimics and impostors. And as the sun rises, it is from sages and scholars. And when the sun is at its highest, it is Allaah’s revelation through Angels and Prophets. The significance of the sun is that when it is at its lowest; the darkness you cast on the earth by your shadow is the largest. And as the sun rises, the shadow minimizes. And when the sun shines directly from above, at its highest, there exists no darkness. And for those ignorant that seek naught. There is no sun in their life. They live in pure darkness….

Suhaib Ibn Najeeb

Concerning the Imaam, the Shaykh – Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah), it has been narrated by Shaykh Badar ibn Naadir al-Mashaaree:

“When he returned from America after (medical) treatment, he was asked as to his health and condition. So the Shaykh said some words worthy of being written in gold:

“Know that both illness and good health do not come before or after their (decreed) time. Indeed my time has been written and your time has been written (even) before Allaah created the heavens and the earth. So believe in this, for certainly I have believed in this.”

  • Transcribed from: Safahaat Mushriqah min Hayaat al-Imaam Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen – p111 || Ref: Audio cassette entitled: “Ahabba Liqaa.a Rabbihi

Imaam al-Aajurree:

“The seeker of knowledge should know that – the Mighty and Majestic – has made the worship obligatory upon Him; and that this worship is not possible except with knowledge, the seeking has also been made obligatory upon him.”

 Akhlaaqul-Ulamaa, p43

Books are my best friends – best friends that I can ever have;  they teach me, please me, lead me to a spacious mind, and acquaint me with profound ideas that are of rich value. Every word, every line, every sentence, every paragraph, every page surrounds me in worldly Paradise.

Then do remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me; and do not deny My favours.

2:152

Ibn Abbaas (radiallaahu ‘anhu) said: One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) when he said, “Oh boy!” I will teach you some words. Be mindful of Allaah (Commandments of Allaah), He will preserve you. Be mindful of Allaah, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allaah Alone for help. And know that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allaah had preordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allaah had pre-destined against you. The pens have been lifted and the ink of the pages has dried up.”

At-Tirmidhee

Commentary:

1. No one has the power to change the Decision of Allaah.

2. Whatever trouble one suffers in this world, it does not last forever. Every trouble is followed by prosperity, pleasure and happiness.

3. One should never ask other than Allaah’s help in supernatural things because it amounts to ascribing partnership with Allaah. If a person is mindful of the Rights of Allaah, then Allaah in return takes care of his needs and helps him.

Kumayl ibn Ziyaad[1] said, “‘Alee ibn Abee Taalib (radiallaahu ta’aala ‘anhu) took me by my hand and brought me out in the direction of the desert.[2] Once we had travelled into the desert, he sat down, took a deep breath and then said:

“O Kumayl ibn Ziyaad! The hearts are receptacles, so the best of them are the most attentive. Memorise what I am about to say to you.

The people are of three categories: The upright scholar (‘Aalim Rabbanee)[3], the one seeking knowledge upon the path of salvation, and the hooligan type rabble who follows anyone who cries out[4], turning whichever way the wind blows. This last category has not been illuminated by the light of knowledge and they have not fallen back upon the support that offers safety, strength and security.[5]

Knowledge is better than wealth, for knowledge guards you while you have to guard wealth. Knowledge increases the actions, but wealth gradually decreases as it is spent. And the love of the scholar is Deen – it being professed through this act of love.

Knowledge secures obedience for the scholar during his life and praise after his death. But the benefit of wealth stops once it finishes.

The people who hoard are [in reality] dead while they live their lives. However the scholars remain as long as time remains – for their bodies may no longer be present, but their examples are found in the hearts.

Look! Indeed here – [and he pointed to his chest with his hand] – there is knowledge! If only I could find for it people who will carry it![6]

But indeed I have befallen upon those who comprehend quickly[7] but are not trustworthy. They use the Deen as a tool for [obtaining] the Dunyaa, using the proofs of Allaah against His Book and using His favours to overcome His servants. Or else I have befallen upon those who are docile in their obedience to the people of the Truth. They have no insight or understanding in their lives, with doubt piercing into their hearts with the first attack of uncertainty – they are neither this way nor that. [Do they not know where the Truth is? If someone said to one of them that he had made an error - when he had indeed made an error - then he would not realise, because such a person is infatuated by his own ignorance of the reality of the matter. Hence such a person is a trial for the people. Indeed, the one who is better than all of these is the one to whom Allaah has given knowledge of the Deen. And if a man does not know his religion, then this is enough of a proof that he is ignorant][8]. Or else such a person desires lusts and delights, being compliant to desires or tempted by collecting wealth and hoarding it. Those two [types of people] are not among those who call the people to the Deen, but they are more like the freely grazing livestock.[9] Thus knowledge dies with the death of its carriers.[10]

By Allaah, indeed the earth will not be devoid of one who stands up for Allaah with proof, in order that Allaah’s proofs and clear arguments do not become obsolete. These people are few in number, but in Allaah’s estimation, they are greater and more important. It is through them that Allaah pushes His proofs, until they take these proofs to others who are like them, and then plant [these proofs] into the hearts of such people.

Knowledge has entered these great people upon its true reality. Hence they find soft what the ones who live in affluence would find rugged and difficult, and they are accustomed to that which the ignorant are adverse to, for they may physically be companions of this world, but their souls are attached to the higher objective. These are the Khulafaa appointed by Allaah[11] in His lands and they are the ones who call to His Deen.[12]

There it is! How I long to catch sight of them!

And I ask Allaah’s forgiveness for me and for you. Now you may get up if you wish.”[13]

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Fourth point: Adhering to the important books.

It is obligatory upon the student of knowledge to adhere more to the major books of the past, instead of those written recently. This is because some authors of today do not possess firm and well-rooted knowledge. As a result, if you read that which they write you will find it is shallow and superficial. They may transmit something in their own words distorting it into a long expression and rendering it absolute rubbish! So it is upon you to adhere to the major books of the Salaf, for certainly they are better and more blessed by far than the books of the successors.

In most cases the books of the later modern authors have little meaning and much wording and expression; you read a complete page and it is possible for you to summarize it in a line or two! However, with the books of the Salaf you will find them effortless to read, resilient, easy and satisfying. You will not find one word except that it has a purpose and meaning.

Amongst the most highly regarded and important books which are obligatory upon the student of knowledge to adhere to are the books of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimatullaahi ‘alayhum).

From that which is known is that the books of Ibn Al-Qayyim are much easier to read and understand whilst those of Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah are very high powered because of his more abundant knowledge and brilliance of mind. Despite being his foremost student, Ibn al-Qayyim was independent in his own right: If he saw his Shaykh differed with that which he felt was correct he would speak up.

Thus, he made clear his differing in opinion, and therefore he (rahimahullaah) is a distinct individual of independent thought. However, there is no surprise when he agrees with his Shaykh (rahimahullaah) in that which he saw as true and correct. Whilst there is no doubt if you carefully contemplate the general opinions of Shaykh al-Islaam you will find they are correct, and this is an issue for one who reflects on both their books will come to know of.

  • Transcribed from: The Book of Knowledge || Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah)

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