Imaam al-’Aajuri (rahimahullaah) says in his book Akhlaaq Ahl al-Qur’aan:
~
“The first thing that he (the student of Qur’aan) must do is utilise the taqwa of Allaah in secrecy and in openness by developing waraa’ (piety) in his eating and drinking, in his sense of dress and in his home, with insight of his era and the fasaad (sins and evil) of his people so that he is cautious against them with regards to his Deen. He is highly devoted over his state of affairs and deeply concerned with correcting what has become corrupt in his matters. He guards his tongue and yet is distinguished by his speech.
~
If he studies the Qur’aan then he does so with complete understanding and intellect. What concerns him is fully comprehending that which Allaah has made mandatory on him to follow and adhere to, and desisting from what He `azza wa jall has forbid him from. His concern is not ‘When will I finish the Qur’aan?’ But rather his deep concern is ‘When will I be fully content with Allah and independent of other than Him?’
~
‘When will I be from the Muttaqeen? When will I be from the Muhsineen? When will I be from the Mutawakkileen (relying only on Allaah)? When will I be from the Khashi’een (humbled to Allaah)? When will I be from the Saabireen (patient)? When will I be from the Sadiqeen (truthful)? When will I be from the Kha’ifeen (fearful)? When will I be from the Raajeen (hopeful)?
~
When will I become ascetic in this world? When will I yearn for the Hereafter? When will I repent from sins? When will I recognise the successive blessings of Allah? When will I thank Him for it? When will I deeply understand the public address from Allaah (i.e. this Qur’aan)? When will I sincerely comprehend what I’m reciting? When will I overcome my soul’s desires? When will I strive for Allaah with a true striving? When will I guard my tongue? When will I lower my gaze? When will I protect my chastity and when will I have hayaa’ (modesty/shyness) of Allaah with a true and honest hayaa‘?

Sixthly – General books on some areas:

Nahoo (Arabic grammar) -

1. متن الآجر و ميية         – الصنهاجي

This is a short and simple book.

2. ألفية ابن مالك     – ابن مالك

This book is a summary of the rules of nahoo.

With respect to the life and times of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

3. زاد المعاد        – ابن القيم

This is a very beneficial book. The author relates the life of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in all circumstances whereby he derives from them many rulings.

4. روضة العقلاء       – ابن حبان البستي

This is a beneficial and concise book in that it incorporates many points of benefit and traditions of the scholars, the muhaddithoon (scholar of hadeeth) and other than them.

5. سير أعلام النبلاء          – الذهبي

This book is beneficial and it is befitting for the student of knowledge to read and refer to it.

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

Hassan Al-Basree said:

I never gazed with my eyes, spoke with my tongue, used my hand or stood on my feet but after contemplating if it was in obedience or disobedience of Allaah. If it is in obedience, I would move forward. Otherwise, I would take a step back.”

Jaami’ul Al-Uloomi wal-Hikaam

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…)

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)

Third point: Collecting books.

It is befitting for the student of knowledge to adhere to collecting books. However,  you must begin with the important then move along in order of importance. If you are not in a financial position to do so, then it is neither good nor wise to buy many books which will force you at some stage to forfeit its value. This is ill-minded purchasing. If you cannot afford to buy books, then it is possible for you to borrow from any library.

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

Secondly – Browsing and reading the book with speed. This does not in itself attain comprehensive and planned reading as it did in the first type.

The ideal way to read a book is to think and reflect on the meanings of the words and to seek assistance from those who understand from the people of knowledge. No doubt, in this regard, the most deserving of books is the Book of Allaah. So you must be patient and persevere, since no-one has been given anything as good and encompassing as patience.

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

From the morals and manners of the Salaf was they would conceal the secrets of the people. They would say, “The hearts of the free are graves full of secrets.

Nameemah (carrying tales) is to spread or relay to a third party or others some words which cause harm to the one from whom the words were initially heard. It is also defined as: Uncovering what is disliked to be uncovered. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “The Qattaat will not enter Paradise“ [1] i.e., the one who practiced nameemah. It is also reported concerning the explanation (tafseer) of the statement of Allaah “And his woman a carrier of firewood” [2] that she would practice nameemah and spread gossip.

Yahya ibn Abee Katheer (rahimahullaah) would say, “The one who does nameemah is worse than the magician even though no one realises. What the one who gossips can do in a period of time a sorceror cannot do in a month. Gossip has spilled blood and given rise to great tribulation expelling people from their countries and other evil things.”

Khaalid ibn Safraan (rahimahullaah) said, “Despise the one who gossips even if he speaks the truth. Nameemah is relating (tales) and accepting this is recommending the narrator. The acceptance is then worse than the nameemah.”

Know this O brother and beware of exposing the secrets of your brothers or relating to others what you hear from them. All praise be to Allaah the Lord of the worlds.


__________________________
[1]
Reported by Al-Bukhaari (10/472) in al-Adab, Muslim (2/113) in al-Imaam, at-Tirmidhee (8/182) in al-Birr…and Abu Dawood (13/219) in al-Adab.

[2] Sooratul-Lahab 0:4

  • Transcribed from: “From the Characteristics of the Salaf” by Shaykh Ahmed Fareed, p89-90

First point: How to conduct yourself with a book?

Firstly - Knowing its subject: It is imperative to know the subject of the book so that you can derive benefit from it.

Secondly: Knowing its technical terminology: Knowing the terminology will assist you in saving a lot of time. This is what the scholars do in the introduction of their books. For example, we know if the author of “بلوغ المرام ” was to say “متفق عليه” he means that which is agreed upon in authenticity by Imaam Al-Bukhaaree and Imaam Muslim. However, the author of “المنتقى” differs in this matter. So if he says “متفق عليه” he means that which is agreed upon in authenticity of Imaam Ahmad, Imaam Al-Bukhaaree and Imaam Muslim.

The same is the case with the books of fiqh where they differentiate between “القولان”,   “الو جهان”, “الروايتان”, and “الا حتما لان”.

As for “الروايتان” then this is according to Imaam Ahmad, and “الو جهان” is according to the major scholars from his adherents, and “الا حتما لان” wavers between “القولان”, and “القولان” is more general than all of these.

Like this, he needs to know for example if the author says “اجما عا” or “وفا قا”. So if he said “اجما عا” he means amongst the ummah, and if he said “وفا قا” he means amongst the three Imaams, as is the terminology used by the author of “الفروع” a book dealing with the fiqh of the Hanbalee madhhab. Similarly, the rest of the authors of the other madhhabs, each one has his one terminology, so it is imperative to know the terminology of the author.

Thirdly – Knowing its style and expressions: You find if you were to read a book for the first time, especially if it is a book of Islaamic knowledge, it may offer you expressions which require you to carefully consider and think about each meaning. So if you were to read the book a few times, you would understand it sufficiently such, that it would be as if you had written it.

There is a matter which is external to the issue of your conduct with a book and that is making beneficial notes in it, either in the margins or in the footnotes. It is important the student of knowledge takes advantage of the opportunity to do this. If you come across an issue that requires explanation, evidence or justification, and you fear you may forget it, then you must make a note of it either in the margin, which is either on the right or the left of the page or in the footnote, which is at the bottom of the page.

There is much which slips by a person, such as these points of benefit. If you were to have made a note of it, it would not have taken a minute to do, and then if you were to refer to it at a later time, it would remind you. So it is imperative for the student of knowledge to pay attention to this, especially with the books of fiqh. You may pass by an issue in some books which mention its ruling, however, you then may come to a standstill because of a problem. If you were to refer to the books which are broader in scope than this particular book which is before you, you will find a statement which makes the issue clearer. You should then make a note of this statement as you may wish to refer to it at another time if necessary, without having to refer to the original book from which you had taken note. You will find this is something that will save you much time.

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

Sixthly: Evil suspicion

It is obligatory upon the student of knowledge to take precaution against evil suspicion about another. For example, his saying: “He does not give in charity except to show-off”, or “the student does not pose this question except seeking to show-off so that it is known he is a student with understanding.” It was the habit of the munaafiqoon (hypocrites), that when an almsgiver came forward to offer a large amount of charity, they would say: “hypocrite!”, and if he was to offer a small amount of charity, they would say: “Allaah is not in need of this charity”; and Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has said regarding them:

Those who defame such of the believers who give charity voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity except what is available to them, so they mock at them, Allaah will throw back their mockery on them, and they shall have a painful torment.116

So be careful of falling into evil suspicion about someone who appears upright. There is no difference in having evil suspicion about your teacher or your friend, since that which is obligatory is to offer a kind thought to one who is evidently upright. As for he who is evidently not upright, then there is no harm in having evil suspicion about him in your heart. However, it is upon you to confirm this until this false impression is removed from your heart. This is because some people often have evil suspicion about someone based upon a false impression which has no basis.

So if you have evil suspicion about someone regardless of whether it is a student of knowledge or not, then it is obligatory upon you to verify whether there is clear evidence which permits to harbour such evil suspicion. If there is, then there is no harm in this. However, if it is a totally false impression, then this is not permissible towards a Muslim whose uprightness is evident, since Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions…117

Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) did not say all suspicion, because some suspicion has a basis and is acceptable,

…indeed some suspicions are sins.118

…and not all suspicions. As for suspicion which causes hostility towards someone, then there is no doubt it is a sin. The same is the case for suspicion which has no basis. However if there is a basis, then there is no harm for you to have evil suspicion.

It is imperative for the person to assume a level that befits him, and not compromise it with corruption and evil. Rather, he should be wary of these mistakes which have preceded. This is because the student of knowledge has had honour conferred upon him by Allaah through knowledge, and has thus made him a model and example, such that Allaah has commanded the turning of the affairs of the people in matters of difficulty to the scholars, as He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

…so ask the Ahl adh-Dhikr (people of the knowledge) if you do not know.119

And He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

When there comes to them some matter touching safety or fear, they make it known, if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them. 120

So that which is evident O student of knowledge is that you are respected. Therefore, do not lower yourself to a demeaning level, rather be like that which is befitting for you to be.

(more…)

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