Ulama and Students of Deen

By HADHRAT MAULANA ASHRAF ALI THANVI (Rahmatullah alayh)

In particular I address the Ulama and students of the Deen and say, You content yourself with pride on account of only the possession of knowledge. You consider yourself qualified for the lofty ranks of ‘ilm. Every now and again, whether appropriate or inappropriate, you quote to the masses the Hadith, ‘The superiority of an Aalim over an Abid is like my (i.e. Rasullulah’s – Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) superiority over the most inferior amongst you.’

But, are you aware what kind of knowledge has this excellence? Does this superiority only apply to knowledge or knowledge accompanied with practise? If there were no dire warning of punishments in the Kitaab and Sunnah for non-practising Ulama, then to some degree your averment could be entertained. But, when there are these warnings (in the Quran and Hadith) how can knowledge alone be a medium of pride.

You display considerable pride, thinking, ‘We are Ulama.’ Remember, without self-annihilation you are nothing. You have to annihilate yourself and understand that you are nothing. As long as you have not attained this attribute of self-annihilation then understand you are ruined.

Man should never have pride, no matter what pedestal he occupies. How can he have pride when he is an embodiment of defects and faults? Always strive in pursuit of cultivating humility. Only then will there be safety. If humility is not inculcated, there will be no safety ahead.

Nowadays some (learned ones) suffer under the deception that delivering a speech in Arabic is a great excellence and a source of pride. I maintain that no matter how eloquent you become in Arabic and even if you become Abul ‘Ilm (the father of knowledge), you will not be able to converse in Arabic as Abu Jahl had. If only knowledge of Arabic and ability to speak in Arabic were ‘ilm, then Abu Jahl would be a greater Aalim. But, in spite of the superiority of his Arabic, he remained Abu Jahl (the father of the ignorant).

Nowadays, once a person has studied a couple of Arabic books, he is given the title of Molvi whereas in actual fact he is not a Molvi. A Molvi is a person who understands the laws of the Shariah and practises accordingly in both the Zaahiri and Baatini spheres. He has to be a man of Allah. A man of Allah is never a jaahil.

I take qasam (oath) and say if the greatness of Allah Ta’aala enters into the heart, you will become ashamed if someone addresses you as ‘Maulana Sahib’, ‘Hafiz Sahib’, etc. When one gains kamaal (perfection or excellence in the moral and spiritual realms) then one will realize that one is in actual fact a jaahil.

I always maintain that the Ulama are in greater need of moral reformation. We (i.e. Molvis) do very little, but publicize it (our little) much because the desire is only to create a name among people.

“Nowadays the Talabah (students of Deeni Madaaris) are not concerned with Uloom (true knowledge). Their concern is simply to complete a course (of study). They consider it a great Mi’raaj (ascension into the heavens), progress and perfection to have a big turban tied around their heads and be doled out a long certificate. Thus, they (think) they have become Molvis and Maulanas. However, this is not an occasion of happiness nor a sign of having achieved any excellence (kamaal). Nowadays some students although they are turbaned (and officially titled Molvi), lack entirely in ‘ilm and aql (intelligence).

33 Reasons to study under a Tutor

Knowledge is attractive and it’s something everybody needs. However, when the correct procedure is not followed, the desired results are lost. The trend of self-study that has become ever so popular in the current times actually contributes to the destruction of pure knowledge. The boom of the internet and its search engines have also contributed to this trend. What follows is an in-depth look at the “Need for a Tutor”

 

Introduction

To acquire knowledge under the expertise of a fully qualified, Sunnah-conscious Alim of Din is absolutely essential. Failure to do so will result in misguidance. In fact, the system of tutorship has been adopted throughout time and was even the practice of the Ambiya (‘alayhimus salam) and our pious predecessors. This is the only way in which one will acquire pure authentic knowledge. An added benefit is that one will also discover how to respect the people of knowledge. (see: Adabul ikhtilaf of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah, pg.162 and Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.159)

A common supplication of the Salaf (pious predecessors) was:

التعوذ بالله من تشييخ الصحيفة

“They would seek refuge in Allah from having paper as their shaykh/tutor”

(Ma’alim Irshadiyyah of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah, pg.179)

 

What follows are a few substantiations for this phenomenon;

 

Quranic Verses

  1.     In this world, there will always be a) Those who know, and b) those who don’t. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala instructs us in the Quran, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” (Surah: 21, Verse: 7)

2. The Holy Quran was revealed by Almighty Allah Ta’ala for guidance and knowledge of the ummah. But, without the explanation of Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) the meanings would definitely be misunderstood. Allah Ta’ala addresses Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) in the Quran

And we have revealed to you the Quran, so that you may explain to the people what was revealed to them.”

(Surah: 6, Verse: 44)

This is the strongest, most evident proof for this issue.

 

Substantiation from Hadith

3.     Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) said:

«يا أيها الناس تعلموا، إنما العلم بالتعلم والفقه بالتفقه، ومن يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين»

 “O people! Acquire knowledge, for it can only be acquired through tutorship. You will only understand if you are made to understand (i.e, by a teacher). Allah Ta’ala grants the understanding of religion to those whom he intends good for.” (Tabarani and others; see Fathul Bari and ‘Umdatul Qari, before Hadith: 68)

There are several narrations with similar wordings that can be seen in the above two sources.

 

The famed commentator of Sahih Bukhari; Hafiz ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) explains: “This means that reliable knowledge is only that which is acquired from the Ambiya (Prophets) and their heirs (the ‘Ulama)”

A similar explanation is echoed by ‘Allamah ‘Aini (rahimahullah) in his commentary of Sahih Bukhari.

They both have graded this narration as “hasan” (sound)

 

4.     While emphasizing this point ‘Allamah Shatbi (rahimahullah) writes: “The proof for this in the Sahih Hadith: “Indeed Allah will not take away knowledge (from this world) by snatching it away at once, rather He will do so by taking away the ‘Ulama” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith:100)

He writes further: “There is therefore no doubt that the keys to knowledge are its bearers” (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.174)

 

5.     Under the commentary of the above Hadith, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) quotes a narration from Musnad Ahmad that says: “Indeed, the departure of the people of knowledge is actually the exodus of knowledge itself.”

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 100)

 

The Pattern of the Ambiya (‘alayhimus salam)

6.     Nabi Dawud (‘alayhis salam) is said to have benefited immensely from Luqman Al-Hakim, before Dawud (‘alayhis salam) received prophethood. (Tafsir Qurtubi)

 

7.     Luqman Al-Hakim actually advised his own son with the same:

“O my son! Sit in the company of the ‘Ulama and stick your knees to theirs, for Allah revives the hearts with the wisdom (acquired from them) just as he revives barren land with the rain”

(Jami’u Bayanil ‘ilm; ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.164)

 

 

8.     Sayyiduna Musa’s (‘alayhis salam) sojourn to Nabi Khidhr (‘alayhis salam) is well-known and enshrined in the Holy Quran.

 

9.     Sayyiduna Yusha’ ibn Noon (‘alayhis salam) stayed in the company of Nabi Musa (‘alayhis salam) for a long while before receiving prophethood himself.

 

The Statements of the Salaf

10.  Furthermore, during the era of the Tabi’un, whenever anyone would claim to have any knowledge, he would be questioned as to whom he had acquired that bit of knowledge from. (Introduction to Sahih Muslim)

 

11. Khatib al-Baghdadi (rahimahumullah), the famous muhaddith of the fifth century, states in his book, Taqyidul-Ilm (pg.61), “Many scholars of the classical times had – at the time of death – either destroyed their books themselves or instructed others to do so on their behalf. This was due to fear that it may end up in the hands of ignorant ones who would not understand its verdicts and would only take the apparent meanings there from.”

He thereafter cited the names of classical scholars who had done so. From among them were: Imam Abidah al-Salmani, Imam Shu’bah ibn Hajjaj, Imam Abu Qilabah and Imam ‘Isa ibn Yunus (rahimahumullah)(Ibid pgs.61-62)

 

12.  When Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) was informed of a group of people that sit in a “halaqah” (circle) discussing Fiqh (Issues of jurisprudence) in the Masjid, he enquired: “Do they have a leader (Teacher)?” The reply was negative to which he responded: “These people will never acquire (true) fiqh ever” (Adab al-Ikhtilaf pg.164 and Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.163, both of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah, Al-Faqih wal Mutafaqqih, vol.2 pg.83)

 

13. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) was once asked if knowledge could be acquired from one who did not sit in the company of the Ulama (and who sufficed with books only). He replied in the negative and said:

“Knowledge should not be acquired except from one who has memorized, accompanied the scholars, practiced upon his knowledge and has piety in him.”

(Adabul-Ikhtilaf pg.165 and Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.163)

 

14. Ibn Rushd (rahimahullah) writes: “In the earlier times knowledge was found in the chests of men. Then it was transferred to books, but the keys still remain in the chests of men. Therefore a student definitely requires a tutor who will open up for him the discussions and ways of understanding” (Footnotes on Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.174 and Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.174)

 

15. Katib Baghdadi (rahimahullah) writes: “It is necessary for a learner to have a teacher under whom he could study, and one whom he could refer to for answers to difficult matters. (Al-Faqih wal Mutafaqqih, vol.2 pg.83 An-Nasihah li Ahlil Hadith, pg.259)

 

16. Imam Shatbi (rahimhaullah) mentions: “Books alone will not benefit a student in any way, unless there are ‘Ulama who will open up (the discussions and explain it) to them. This is common fact.” (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.178)

 

The System of the Salaf

One who studies the life of the Scholars of the past, will easily notice the lengthy periods they would spend on sojourn and in the company of their tutors. This is referred to as: “Mulazamah” or “Tulus Suhbah”.

This is clear in the lives of the Sahabah and Tabi’un and all those that followed. They acquired their knowledge from the bracket of believers before them. A Tabi’i could only attain the term “Tabi’i” after coming into physical contact with a Sahabi.

Merely sufficing on attending a few lessons (or a Maqra-ah, like has become common nowadays) isn’t considered as “Mulazamah”-perseverance. (see footnotes on Ma’alaim Irshadiyyah, pg.177)

 

17.  Imam Malik (rahimahullah) said:

“Some men would sometimes attend the lessons of his teacher for thirty years!”

(Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.171)

 

18.  Here are ten examples from an exhaustive list:

1)     Nu’aim Al-Mujmir (rahimahullah) spent twenty years in the company of Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu’anhu) (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.171)

2)     Thabit Al-Bunani (rahimahullah) spent forty years with Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ’anhu) (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.171)

3)     Nafi’ ibn ‘Abdillah said: “I spent forty years attending the lesson of Imam Malik (rahimahullah) (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.172)

4)     Al-Qa’naby also spent twenty years with Imam Malik (rahimahumallah) (Tartibul Madarik)

5)     Imam ‘Abdur Rahman ibnul Qasim (rahimahullah) spent seventeen years by Imam Malik. (Tartibul Madarik; see: Safahat min sabril ‘Ulama, pg.116)

6)     Muhammad ibn Ja’far was with Shu’bah (rahimahumallah) for twenty years (Khulasatul Khazrajy, pg.330)

7)     Abu Safwan, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdil Malik was with Ibn Juraij (rahimahumallah) for ten years (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 3353)

8)     Muhammad ibn Bashar was with Yahya Al-Qattan (rahimahumallah) for twenty years.

9)     Salamah ibn Shabeeb spent forty years by Imam ‘Abdur Razzaq (rahimahumallah) (Al-Jami’u li akhlaqir rawi, vol.2 pg.265)

10)  Imam Muslim accompanied Imam Bukhari (rahimahumallah) for six years. (Siyar A’lamin Nubala)

 

19.   The Hanafi Jurist, Ibn Nujaim (rahimahullah) explains the reason for this: “… and so it may become known that knowledge cannot be attained without constant referral, repeated effort and tutorship.” (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg. 172)

20.  Imam Shatbi (rahimhaullah) mentions: “The proof for the success of this system lies in the fact that every upright scholar that became popular and acceptable to the masses in his era actually had a teacher who enjoyed the same in his time.” (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.176)

 

Also see Imam Shafi’is (rahimahullah) advice at the end of this article.

 

21.  Their lengthy sojourns

Another point of discussion here is the lengthy periods the salaf would spend on sojourn. Merely sufficing on the books doesn’t force a person to travel abroad and remain there for the periods of time that the salaf spent.

1)     Imam Baqy ibn Makhlad (rahimahullah) had embarked on two sepearte journeys in search of knowledge; the first one lasted fourteen years, and the second: twenty years! (Safahat min sabril ‘Ulama, pg.60)

2)     Imam Ibn Mandah (rahimahullah) spent forty five years away from home! (Safahat min sabril ‘Ulama, pg.65)

3)     Imam Ya’qub ibn Sufyan Al-Fasawi (rahimahullah) said: “I remained on sojourn for thirty years”! (Safahat, pg.61)

 

22.  Scanning the earth

During these journeys, the scholars would leave no city, village or town which had teachers of knowledge un-visited.

 

a)     Ibnul Jawzi (rahimahullah) writes regarding Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah): “He travelled the entire (Islamic) world twice before compiling his Musnad” (Saidul khatir; Safahat min sabril ‘Ulama, pg.54)

b)     Ibnul Muqri (rahimahullah) said: “I travelled from the East to the West (of the Islamic Empire) four times, and I visited Baitul Maqdis alone ten times”!!! (Safahat min sabril ‘Ulama, pg.64)

c)      Several Muhaddithun have compiled booklets in which they narrated forty ahadith from forty different sahabah, which they heard from forty diverse Shuyukh that lived in forty different towns!

 

23.  Not just one Tutor!

The Salaf never appease themselves with just one or two tutors. Their teachers sometimes numbered in the thousands!

1)     Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) said: “I have written hadith from 1080 teachers” (Hadyus Sari, pg.670)

2)     Imam Ibn Hibban (rahimahullah) said: “I have perhaps written ahadith fom more than 2000 teachers” (Tadhkiratul Huffaz, vol.3 pg.921)

3)     Ibn Mandah (rahimahullah) had 1700 Shuyukh” (Tadhkiratul Huffaz, vol.3 pg.1032)

4)     Imam ‘Abdullah ibnul Mubarak (rahimahullah) had acquired knowledge from 4000 teachers. (Tadhkiratul Huffaz, vol.1 pg.276)

5)     Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) is said to have had 4000 teachers from the Tabi’un only! (Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami in Al-Khairatul Hisan; see Atharul Hadith, pg.176)

6)     Hafiz ‘Iraqi (rahimahullah) writes about Imam Qasim ibn Dawud Al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah): “He said: I wrote Hadith from 6000 shuyukh”!! (footnotes on Safahat, pg.64)

 

Disdain towards those who failed in this regard

24.  My most respected teacher, Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah (an unparalleled muhaddith of these times) mentions beautifully in his book, Adab al-Ikhtilaf: “They (the ‘Ulama) never paid attention to one who did not have any ustadh (teacher), neither would they consider such a person worthy of even being spoken to due to him being prone to mistakes.”

He further says: “Qadi Iyad (rahimahullah) and others have narrated that when Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah)was requested by the ruler of his time (al-Mu’tasim) to discuss a certain matter with ibn Abi Du’ad, he (Imam Ahmad) turned his face away and said:

“How can I converse with a person whom I have never seen at the door of any ‘Alim ever!”

(Adabul ikhtilaf pg.144)

 

25.  When Abu Ja’far Ad-Daudi objected to a view of the upright Scholars of his time, they retorted: Keep quite! You have no teacher!”

(Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.164)

 

26.  Shaykh ‘Awwamah (may Allah protect him) also states: “All of us have a lineage. A student also needs a family tree for his knowledge, which consists of his teachers. One who has no teacher, is actually illegitimate in his knowledge; like a person whose identity and lineage is unknown. He holds no weight.” (Golden guidelines -English-, pg.8,  Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.160 and Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.164)

 

The Harms of Failure

27.   Imams Muhammad ibn Sireen, Hakam ibn Atiyya and Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah (rahimahumullah) have all said that the primary cause for the misguidance of the Banu Isra’il was the books that they inherited from their forefathers. (Taqyidul-Ilm pg.61 and its footnotes)

 

28.  In fact, since the compilation of knowledge is also an indirect cause of the people slackening in attending the lessons of the ‘Ulama, Imam Awza’i (rahimahumullah) said:

“Knowledge was sublime for as long as it was obtained from the mouths of the learned men. But when it ended up in books, its nur (divine light) disappeared.”

(Taqyidul-Ilm, pg.64)

In one version he says:

“…when it ended up in books, those who were non eligible crept in!”

(Sunan Darimi, Hadith: 467)

NoteThe purpose of the previous two quotations is to prove that mere studying of books is incorrect and void of divine assistance. The ideal would be to study those very same books under the auspices of a learned teacher. Undermining the books of Shari’ah is not the intent.

 

29.   Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah provides another angle to this discussion by saying: “How could we expect respect from one who hasn’t acquired knowledge from the ‘Ulama, and hasn’t remained in their company for a lengthy period whereby he could have inculcated their habits? How could such a person recognize the value of the ‘Ulama? Hence when he criticizes them verbally or with his pen, it brings no surprise! It is guaranteed, that he who attends the gatherings of the ‘Ulama will indeed begin to respect them” (Adabul Ikhtilaf, pg.172 and Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.172)

 

30.  ‘Allamah Ibn Hajar Haitami (rahimahullah) writes: “Whoever attained knowledge from the books only, became a deviate that misled others too.” (Fatawa hadithiyyah; see Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.165)

 

31.  Al-Shatbi (rahimahullah) writes: “Most of the deviated sects and individuals who opposed the sunnah were culprits of failing in this regard.” (i.e, they never had tutorship) (Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.176)

 

Conclusion

32.  It’s a sad trend nowadays that people attend a few lessons of a particular Islamic subject and then try to figure out the rest by themselves. It gets worse, when some merely engage in “self study” by relying upon books, computer programs or on searching the internet for information with which they fill up their “fatwas” or “articles” without any guidance or supervision of a qualified specialist in that field.

 

33.  I end this discussion with the translation of a famous poem which is attributed to Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) and is quite famous on the tongues of the ‘Ulama. He says:

Oh my brother!
You will never acquire knowledge
Without the following six essentials;
Intelligence, desire, poverty,
Sojourn, tutorship of a shaykh (teacher)

Accompanied by a long consistent period (of studying under him)

(Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.162, also see footnote on Ma’alim irshadiyyah, pg.174)

 

Note:

Whatever has been written above was done out of concern for the misinformed sincere seeker of knowledge.

The 33 quotations cited in this discussion are enough to convince such individuals against falling prey to this evil trend.

 

Final caution:

According to my seniors, online courses are not sufficient substitutes. This may be resorted to in extreme cases and for the purpose of learning the basics of Din only. It is not a justified means for higher Islamic study. This, as well the recent dangerous trend of “Maqra-ahs” (swift recitals of Hadith Books with no adequate commentary) needs a detailed discussion which I hope to engage in soon insha Allah.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

regular_signature_ml_muhammad

 

 

This article is also available as an e-book. Click here

Boost your Memory

The scholars have enlisted many practices for boosting the memory, however most of these practices are based on experience and are not from the Hadith. There is no harm in practicing upon these as long as one is aware of the above.

My Honourable teacher, Al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (may Allah protect him) usually recommends -among other things– the following salat on Nabi (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to be recited frequently daily between Maghrib and ‘Isha Salah:

“Allahumma salli wa sallim wa barik ‘ala sayyidina Muhammadiw wa alihi kama la nihayata likamalika wa ‘adada kamalih”
Here under are more such practices:

Actions or foods that strengthen the memory

1. The correct Intention.

2. Practicing upon the acquired knowledge.

3. Propagating knowledge.

4. Muzakarah/Takrar (discussions) of knowledge.

5. To revise the lesson in one’s mind.

6. Writing / to take notes.

7. Cupping.

8. To scent a good fragrance.

9. Honey.

10. Raisins.

11. Cow’s milk.

12. Rose water.

13. Frankincense.

14. Resin of Mastic tree.

15. To eat and drink less.

16. Fasting.

17. Reciting the Holy Quran while looking into it.

18. Reciting the first four verses of Surah Baqarah, Ayatul-Kursi, with the two verses that follow it and the last three verses of Surah Baqarah before sleeping.

19. Sallutations upon Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)- as directed above-

20. Salatul hifz.

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) was once asked as to what was most beneficial for increasing the memory, he replied:

21. True greed for knowledge, and

22. Persistent mutala’ah (studying).

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) had prescribed the following four methods:

23. The use of a Miswak.

24. Sitting in the company of the ‘Ulama (Scholars).

25. Sitting in the company of the Pious.

26. Abandoning futile talk.

References for the above:

Al-Faqih wal Mutafaqqih, vol.1 pg.103, Al-Jami’u li akhlaqir rawi, pgs. 400-406, Muqaddimah ibn salah, pg. 247, Sunan Darimi, vol.1 pg. 155-158, Al-Hath ‘ala talabil ‘ilm of ‘Askari, pg. 73, Ta’limul Muta’allim, pg.41, At-Tibbun Nabawy of Abu Nu’aim, pg.210, and Zadul Ma’ad, vol.4 pg.376

Deeds or foods that weaken the memory

1. Sins.

2. Sour Apples.

3. Vinegar.

4. All those things that cause phlegm.

5. Moist coriander.

6. Salted meat.

7. Hot bread.

8. Eating from a pot.

9. The leftover drink of a rat.

10. Reading tombstones.

11. Witnessing a crucifixion.

12. Looking at stagnant water.

13. Looking at one’s own private parts.

14. Looking at the private parts of a woman.

15. Masturbation.

16. For a person in need of a Fard bath to look at the sky.

17. Looking into the mirror of a cupper (one who does cupping).

18. Using a broken comb.

19. Urinating in stagnant water.

20. Urinating on the side of the road.

21. Urinating under a fruit tree.

22. Urinating into ash.

23. Making wudu in an impure place.

24. Wiping the hands or face with the tail of the clothing/kurta/qamis etc.

25. Entering the Masjid with the left foot or leaving with the right.

26. Dusting clothes in the Masjid.

27. Sweeping with a cloth.

28. Using a pants or turban as a pillow.

29. Excessive joking.

30. Laughing in the graveyard.

31. Excessive worries of the world.

32. Cupping on the nape.

33. Throwing of live lice.

References for the above

Al-Mu’jamul Kabir of Tabarani, Kitabul ‘ilm of Ibn Abi Khaithamah, pg.31, Al-Jami’u li akhlaqir rawi, pgs.400 and 404, Ta’limul Muta’allim pg. 43, Al-Maqasidul Hasanah pg. 519, Tazhkiratu Sami’ Wal Mutakallim pg. 77, At-tibb of Imam Dhahabi, pgs.174-175 and Raddul Muhtar.

Lastly,

The best times and places for memorizing

Khatib Al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has mentioned the following in his book: “Al-Faqih wal-Mutafaqqih”

“The best time for memorizing is the time of sehri (early dawn), thereafter the time of mid-day.

The mornings are better for memorizing than the evenings, and on the whole the night is better than the day.”

He further states: “And the best of places for memorizing are those rooms which are above ground level and all such places where there are no distractions.

It is better that one abstains from places of greenery, riverbanks and the road side because such places naturally distract the mind.

References for the above

Al-Faqih wal-Mutafaqqih, pgs. 103 – 104. Also refer to : ” Qimatuz zaman ‘indal-‘Ulama of Sheikh ‘Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah) pgs. 100-105 and Wafayatul A’yan, vol.2 pg.245.

Note: Majority of the above are mainly based on the experiences and advices of the ‘Ulama and are not from the Quran or Hadith. Therefore, one should not regard them as such.

Caution: Some the foods mentioned above may agree with certain individuals and not others. Please consult reliable herbalists.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Boost your Memory

Four deeds for increasing the memory

The following was written by  Al-‘Allamatul Muhaddith, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) for the benefit of students of knowledge and all others who need it.

Shaykh writes:

The four deeds below are effective in increasing one’s memory and protection from forgetfulness:

1. Pray two rak’ats of nafl salah; in the first rak’ah after Surah Fatihah, recite

فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ

Fafahhamnaha Sulayman, wa kullan aatayna hukmaw wa ‘ilma, wa sakh-kharna ma’a Dawudal jibala yusabbihna wat tayr, wa kunna fa’ilin.

Translation:

‘We explained the decision [as mentioned in the previous ayahs] to Sulayman (‘alayhis salam) and granted wisdom and knowledge to both of them. We placed the mountains and birds at Dawud’s (‘alayhis salam) service and they all engaged in Allah’s glorification [with him]. We are the ones Who can do [Who can make such things possible].’

– In the second rak’ah after Surah Fatihah, Recite Surah Kawthar. After the Salam, recite the following du’a:

اللّٰهُمَّ افْتَحْ عَلَيْنا حِكْمَتَكَ وَ انْشُرْ عَلَيْنا رَحْمَتَكَ وَ أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنا بَرَكاتِكَ وَ لا تُنْسِنا ذِكْرَكَ وَ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلىٰ خَيْرِ خَلْقِكَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ آلِهِ وَ أَصْحابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ

Allahummaf tah ‘alayna hikmataka wan shur ‘alayna rahmataka wa anzil ‘alayna barakatika wala tunsina dhikraka wa salli wa sallim ‘ala khayri khalqika Muhammad wa alihi wa as-habihi ajma’in.

Translation:

O Allah, open Your wisdom for us, spread Your mercy upon us, do not let us forget Your remembrance, and send blessings and salutations upon Your greatest creation Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), his family, and all his companions.

2. After reading any book, recite the following du’a:

سُبْحانَ اللّٰهِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ وَ لا إِلٰهَ إِلّا اللّٰهُ وَ اللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ وَ لا حَوْلَ وَ لا قُوَّةَ إِلّا بِاللّٰهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ عَدَدَ كُلِّ حَرْفٍ كُتِبَ وَ عَدَدَ كُلِّ حَرْفٍ يُّكْتَبُ إِلىٰ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

Subhanallahi wal hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbaru wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil ‘aliyyil ‘adhim ‘adada kulli harfin kutiba wa ‘adada kulli harfin yuktabu ila yawmid Din.

Translation:

All Glory and praise belongs to Allah! There is none worthy of worship besides Allah! Allah is the greatest! There is no might and power except with Allah the Most High (May Allah Ta’ala be praised with this) to the number of letters that have been written and that will be written till the Day of Qiyamah!

3. Before the lesson recite:

اللّٰهُمَّ افْتَحْ عَلَيْنا حِكْمَتَكَ وَانْشُرْ عَلَيْنا رَحْمَتَكَ يا ذا الْجَلالِ وَالْإكْرامِ

Allahummaf tah ‘alayna hikmataka wan shur ‘alayna rahmataka ya dhal jalali wal ikram.

Translation:

O Allah! O Possessor of Grandeur and Honour! Open up Your wisdom to us and spread Your mercy upon us!

4. Recite the following form of salat/durud on Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) frequently between Maghrib and ‘Isha Salahs:

اللّٰهُمّ صَلّ وَ سَلِّمْ وَ بارِكْ عَلىٰ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ وَّآلِهِ كَما لا نِهايَةَ لِكَمالِكَ وَ عَدَدَ كَمالِهِ

Allahumma salli wa sallim wa barik ‘ala sayyidina Muhammadiw wa alihi kama la nihayata likamalika wa ‘adada kamalihi.

Translation:

O Allah send blessing and salutations upon our Master Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his family to the amount of Your limitless perfection and the number of his perfection.
– End of article.

Note: These deeds are proven through experience [and not necessarily from Hadith] to be effective in increasing one’s memory.

May Allah Ta’ala make it beneficial for all.

The Importance of Making Zikr and Acquiring Correct Deeni Knowledge

Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ilyaas (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned:

Those who join the work of Tableegh, I instruct them to engage in zikr and recite the third kalimah. They should also be punctual on reciting the Tasbeeh-e-Faatimi after their fardh salaah and on reciting durood shareef and istighfaar one hundred times in the morning and evening. Together with this, they should be punctual on the recitation of the Qur’aan Majeed daily with the correct pronunciation and tajweed.

Apart from performing other nafl salaahs, I also emphasize upon them the importance of performing the tahajjud salaah. I encourage them to associate with the learned Ulamaa and benefit from them, as acquiring ilm is extremely important. If one suffices on acquiring deeni knowledge but is not concerned about zikr (the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala which aids one to remain pure and assists him in fulfilling the dictates of the knowledge and applying it correctly in all departments of his life), one will find darkness in his heart, and if one suffices on zikr without acquiring the correct deeni knowledge and application, this may cause him to fall into many fitnahs.

(Malfoozaat Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ilyaas (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) pg. 40-41)

Source : ihyaauddeen.co.za

Not everything is suited for everyone

In addition to possessing knowledge, wisdom and diplomacy is important.

The same tone will not be used for all. Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) used various methodologies to impart knowledge; at times he would ignore the person to whom he wanted to pass the message, on other occasions he would give extra attention to the one he wanted to draw closer to him. Sometimes he would address the culprit directly, and at times he would merely indicate with a general address. One needs to assess the situation thoroughly before selecting the method of counsel.

On the occasion of the death of his son; Sayyiduna Ibrahim (radiyallahu ‘anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) addressed him (a lifeless body) with the words: “Undoubtedly the eye will tear and the heart will grieve, but we will only utter that which pleases our Rabb. O Ibrahim! We are saddened by your separation.”

The commentators of Hadith explain that this was his method of passing the message to those who were present at that gathering, i.e, although he (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was seemingly addressing the deceased, in actual fact he wanted to teach this lesson to those who were present.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 1303)

On this occasion, Nabi (sallallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used the indirect method of passing the message.

The Honourable Syrian Muhaddith; Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah) has a book dedicated to this topic entitled:

“Muhammad (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) as a Teacher, and his methodologies of teaching”

The readers are strongly encouraged to read this unique book.

Remember! Sometimes, failure to use the proper tact brings adverse results…

 

Gauge your Audience

Similarly, one should always gauge the audience, and address them according to their level of understanding. This is a fundamental principle in knowledge.

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) provided a practical lesson when he included the following sub heading towards the end of end of the “Chapter of Knowledge”:

“Chapter on sharing knowledge with some and not others, for fear of them not understanding.”

Imam Bukhari then cites the following:

Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) says:

!حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون، أتحبّون أن يُكَذَّبَّ اللهُ ورسولُه؟

Quote those Hadiths that people are familiar with. Do you want Allah and His Messenger to be rejected?! [i.e, by quoting things that people might end up denying…]

(Sahih Bukhari, before Hadith: 127)

In other words, not everything can be shared with everyone.

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) comments on this narration: “This shows that the general masses should not be exposed to issues that are not explicit (i.e. المتشابه)”

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 127)

‘Allamah ‘Aini (rahimahullah) has echoed the above, and he writes further: “Certain discussions should be kept secret from those who misunderstand it or use it to justify their laziness.”

(‘Umdatul Qari, vol.2 Pg.294)

‘Allamah Shatbi (rahimahullah) has also commented on this in a similar fashion. See Al-Muwafaqat fi Usuli Shari’ah, vol.4 pg.137.

 

Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) has included the following in the introduction to his Sahih:

قال عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه: ما أنت بمحدث قوما حديثا لا تبلغه عقولهم إلا كان لبعضهم فتنة

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu’anhu) said: “By quoting such Hadiths to the masses which they cannot completely grasp, you will be creating fitnah (distraction/confusion) for them.”

(Introduction to Sahih Muslim, narration: 14)

‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) writes about such sensitive narrations: “…even if the narrations are sahih (authentic) and can be interpreted correctly, they should only be told to those who can understand them for fear of fitnah on those who may misinterpret them or reject them… Khatib Baghdadi (rahimahullah) states: among the types of narrations that the ‘Ulama have preferred not be mentioned to the general masses are: the Hadiths which have special relaxation in the rules for certain conditions or individuals (أحاديث الرُخَص) as well as the incidents of discord between the Sahabah (radiyallahu‘anhum).”

(Fathul Mughith, vol. 3 pgs. 271-273, also see Tadribur Rawi, vol. 4 pgs. 530-531)

 

Imam Malik (rahimahullah) strongly opposed the habit of those who quote Hadiths which discuss the attributes of Allah to the general public. It is sad that today we have people who do just this; In the name of correcting people’s “Aqidah (belief) they actually confuse the masses by citing the Hadiths of Sifat (attributes) of Allah Ta’ala and other confusing topics of belief! May Allah guide us all. Perhaps Imam Malik’s (rahimahullah) statement applies more today than ever before.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 127)

 

‘Allamah Shatbi Al-Maliki (rahimahullah) quotes that Imam Malik (rahimahullah) had several Hadiths and discussions of knowledge which he had kept to himself, and did not publicise.

(Al-Muwafaqat fi Usuli Shari’ah, vol. 4 pg. 138)

He also writes: “It is clearly understandable that not every part of knowledge needs to be shared. In fact, there are three types of knowledge of Din:

  • That which demands propagation. This is the case most of the time.
  • That which should never be propagated (to the general people). Among the issues that ‘Allamah Shatbi has cautioned against discussing in public is the reasoning (العِلَل) behind fiqh (Juristic) rulings as well as the wisdoms (الحِكَم) behind the commands of Allah. (Al-Muwafaqat fi Usuli Shari’ah, vol.4 pg.138)
  • That which can only be shared under certain conditions, or in a particular era or with specific people.

(Al-Muwafaqat fi Usuli Shari’ah, vol. 4 pg. 137)

Note:

One should also note that sometimes, a Hadith may just have a sentence or two that could be misunderstood by the audience. When citing such Hadiths, one must either explain those parts clearly, or even omit them, as long as this omission does not alter the general purport of the Hadith. There are several examples of the Scholars of the past making such omissions, when it was needed.

(See some examples in: Musnadul Humaydi, Hadith: 17, Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 4977 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 225. Also see Shaykh ‘Awwamah’s book: ‘Hadhfu tarafim minal Hadith)

Knowledge is for practice

Knowledge is for practice

There currently seems to be a widespread notion that: knowledge is for propagation, instead of practise. Therefore as soon as we come across a useful piece of information we immediately think of forwarding it instead of first planning to implement it in our lives!

Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) said:

“No person’s feet will be allowed to move on the day of Qiyamah until he answers the following questions:

How he spent his life,
How he spent his youth
How he earned his wealth and where did he spend it
How much did he practice on the knowledge he acquired.”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2416-2417. Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has classified the second narration as sound and authentic –hasanun sahih-)

Inspiration from the past

Our Predecessors were always more concerned about their practise (‘amal) than they were about information.

Imam ‘Amr ibn Qais Al-Mula-i (rahimahullah) said:

“Whenever you hear of an act of good (in the Hadith) practice upon it, you will be counted among the people of that deed.” (Tadribur Rawi, vol.4 Pg.547)

Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah) said:

“I have practiced upon every Hadith that I have written.” (ibid. See one such example of his practice in Fathul Bari, hadith: 1184)

Note: Only his ‘Musnad’, consists of approximately thirty thousand Hadiths which is much less than the amount he actually acquired in his entire life!…

Imagine how far one would progress if he were to implement the above!

Khatib Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has a booklet entitled:

إقتضاء العلم العمل

‘Knowledge demands practice’

In his opening passage he writes: “…knowledge is the tree and practice is the fruit. One who doesn’t practice on what he knows is not considered an ‘Alim.

…Never be satisfied with practice that is void of knowledge, or knowledge that is not followed by practice. Join both even if you end up with a little of each (a bit of knowledge and a bit of practice).

There is nothing worse than an ‘Alim (scholar) who has been abandoned by the people because of his evil practice, and a jahil (non ‘Alim/ ignorant) whose ways have been adopted by the people due to his ‘ibadah (practice).

…Just as money is of no use unless it is spent, so too is knowledge unless it is used (practiced upon).

Sahl Ibn Muzahim (rahimahullah) says: “Although the ignorant one will not be excused for his ignorance, but the one who knows and didn’t practice will receive a worse punishment.”

One wise person said: “I prefer to leave out something due to ignorance instead of knowingly abandoning it.”

(Introduction to Iqtida-ul ‘ilmil ‘amal, pgs.14-16)

Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) says: “At one time, when people would acquire knowledge we would immediately see the effect of it in their manners and on their tongues, eyes and hands.”

(Al-Jami’ of Khatib; Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.409)

Practice before sharing

Imam Sufyan Thawri (rahimahullah) said: “Acquire Hadith, memorise and practice upon it. Only once you’ve implemented it in your life should you pass it on.”

(Fathul Mughith, vol.3 pg.220)

In our case, it would be: Practice (or at least intend to do so) before you forward, share or re-tweet any piece of knowledge.

This will -insha Allah- have a greater effect on the ones we share it with.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the full understanding of the above. Amin.