Category Archives: Acquiring Knowledge

The Methodology of Learning (Part 1)

Teaching the Learner, the Methodology of Learning is a book written by Burhan ad-Deen az-Zarnooji. Like Ibn Jama’ah, Burhan ad-Deen az-Zarnooji was from the 6th Century. He was from a place called Zarnooj in Turkistan. This book is his only work that has been discovered.

You can find the Arabic PDF version of this book here

Introduction

All praise be to Allaah Who favored the Children of Adam with knowledge and action over the rest of the world. And may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, the master of the Arabs and non-Arabs, and upon his family and companions from whom knowledge and wisdom spring.

And what follows:

I have observed that many seekers of knowledge in our time work hard towards knowledge but do not attain it (i.e. they are deprived from its benefits and fruits, which are gained by acting upon it and spreading it). This is because they mistake its path and abandon its conditions, and whomsoever mistakes the path will be misled and fail to reach his objective, be it little or great. Therefore, I desired to elucidate the methodology of learning according to what I have seen in books or heard from my learned and wise teachers.

Shaikh Hasan Bukhaari commented on this book, saying

  • The fruits and benefits of knowledge are not a certificate which you get or a test which you pass. Rather, it is acting upon what you learn and teaching it to others.
  • Whoever does not enter from the right gate to knowledge will not reach his goal. Knowledge has one way of entry and that is by taking care of its manners. If you lack manners, you will not reach your goal.

Chapter 1 – The Nature of Knowledge and Understanding and its Merits Read the rest of this entry

Means which will aid a person in Seeking Knowledge (Part 14)

Advice no. 13 – الثبات و التثبت
Firmness and Verification

Adorn yourself with firmness and verification, especially when facing calamities and serious situations; and from it, patience and firmness in receiving (knowledge) and spending ones hours in seeking knowledge from the Scholars. For indeed, whoever stays firm will sprout.

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The etiquette of attending the Assemblies of Knowledge (Part 2)

 Compiled by Umm Umamah Al-Athariyah

3) The Student of Knowledge should refrain from excessive talking and laughing in the assemblies of knowledge 

These assemblies are encircled by angels who are taking the names of those who are attending. Those angels mention the names to Allaah, and Allaah mentions their names to those who are present with Him in the Highest Dwellings. Therefore, the student of knowledge should sit in a dignified and tranquil manner, as was the behavior of our righteous predecessors.

Usamah ibn Shareeq رضي الله عنه narrated: “We sat with the Prophet ﷺ as if there were birds perched on our heads. None of us would speak. [While we were in that state] a group of people came and said, ‘Who are the most beloved servants to Allaah?’ He ﷺ said, ‘Those who are best in conduct.‘”[Saheeh At-Targheeb and graded Saheeh by Al-Albaani]

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, the companion of Imam Abu Hanifa, once entered the assembly of Imam Maalik.  He said: “I entered the assembly of Imam Maalik and I saw his students sitting in front of him as if there were birds perched on their heads. I said, “As-Salaam Alaikum.” None of them replied except Imam Maalik. I said, “What is the matter with you, are you in prayer?” They stared at me with the sides of their eyes and did not talk.”This is how they venerated and honored these gatherings of knowledge.  Read the rest of this entry

The etiquette of attending the Assemblies of Knowledge (Part 1)

Ibn Al-Qayyim رحمه الله said that the good manners of a person indicate his success and happiness, and his impoliteness indicates his wretchedness and ruin. There is nothing like good manners in attaining the good of this world and the Hereafter, and there is nothing like bad manners in causing deprivation of the good in this world and the Hereafter. [Madaarij As-Salikeen 2/391]

The Scholars of the past and present emphasized the matter of manners in their books and assemblies. This is because the gatherings of knowledge are where the student of knowledge begins to learn.

The Salaf used to respect and venerate the gatherings of knowledge because they knew its status with Allaah. There are many narrations from the Prophet ﷺ which emphasize the importance of the gatherings of knowledge. For example, he ﷺ said:

مَا جَلَسَ قَوْمٌ مَجْلِسًا, يَذْكُرُونَ اَللَّهَ إِلَّا حَفَّتْ بِهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ, وَغَشِيَتْهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ, وَذَكَرَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ 

People will not sit in an assembly in which they remember Allaah without the angels surrounding them, mercy covering them, and Allaah mentioning them among those who are with Him.” [Muslim] Read the rest of this entry

The State of Mind of the Seeker of Knowledge when he Receives Knowledge by Shaikh Saleh Aal Shaikh

Those who listen to knowledge differ. They differ in their desires as to what they listen to and they differ in their readiness. Their hopes are not one and their readiness is not one. Rather, their hopes and readiness differ:

  • There are some among them who listen to the knowledge whilst they have the desire to learn. These are the majority of the students of knowledge, and all praise is due to Allaah. 
  • There are among them, those who listen to the knowledge but out of a desire to evaluate the teacher or see his position in knowledge, i.e. how good a teacher he is and how capable he is of teaching.
  • There are among them who come one time and are absent ten times.

And there are many types of desires. What concerns us is the one who comes desiring the knowledge. When the student of knowledge comes desiring to learn he should be in a certain mentality and spiritual state. 

As for the state of his heart and soul: his intention to acquire knowledge is to remove ignorance from himself. And this is sincerity in acquiring knowledge. Knowledge is an act of worship; therefore, it obligates sincerity. Thus, the most important thing that the student of knowledge should take care of when coming to any class is his sincerity. And sincerity is to intend to remove the ignorance from himself. Read the rest of this entry

A Word on Seeking Knowledge by Shaikh Saleh Aal-Shaikh حفظه الله

Shaikh Saleh Aal-Shaikh mentioned in his explanation of Kitab at-Tawheed: 

فإن الاهتمام بالعلم، والرّغب فيه، والحرص عليه، والإقبال عليه، دليل صحة القلوب؛ لأن القلب إذا صحَّ لنفسه، وعرف ما ينفعُه فإنه سيحرِص على العلم؛ ذلك لأن الله جل جلاله مدح أهل العلم، ورفعهم على غيرهم درجات، قال سبحانه ﴿يَرْفَعْ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ﴾ [المجادلة:11]، وقال جل وعلا ﴿أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ﴾ [الزمر:9], فعدم استواء من يعلم مع من لا يعلم, هذا إنما يذكره ويعيه أهل الألباب؛ (إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ)

Indeed, giving importance to knowledge, desiring it, being keen to attain it, and directing one’s attention to it is an evidence of the wellness of the heart. This is because if the heart is well and recognizes what benefits it, it will be keen to attain knowledge, because Allaah praised the people of knowledge and elevated them above others in ranks. He said in Surat Al-Mujadalah [58:11]:

“Allaah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.”

And in Surat Az-Zumar [39:9]:

“Is one who is obedient to Allaah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allaah’s Signs and verses).”

The lack of equality between the those who know and those are do not know are only remembered and heeded by the Ulol Albab (Men of Understanding).  Read the rest of this entry

Means which will aid a person in Seeking Knowledge (Part 13)

Advice no. 10 – الإعراض عن الهيشات `

Turn away from Commotion

Protect yourself from clamor and commotion, for indeed mistakes lie under clamor, and this contradicts the etiquette of seeking (knowledge).

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Means which will aid a person in Seeking Knowledge (Part 12)

Advice no. 9 الإعراض عن مجالس اللغو

Turn away from the Gatherings of Al-Laghw

Do not stand on the carpet of those who commit evil in their gatherings and tear the veil of manners, pretending to be unaware of that. If you have done that, then your crime against knowledge and its people will be great.

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