A Different Approach to Studying Books

Some teachers have an interesting way of teaching: they teach few books, depending on the science, but go through it in two or three different ways; beginner, intermediate and advanced. This saves the student going through many different books.

A mistake many students make is going through loads and loads of books and not actually mastering them. Meaning, they complete the book, move on and don’t research masaa’il or refine their notes.

This then becomes a question of ikhlaas: why does a person want to cover so many books? To show the people what and how much he has studied or to teach the people?

We can definitely benefit from this approach in Uloom al ‘alaa (the secondary sciences) which are used to master other main sciences from them; Nahw, Usool and so on.

For example, in Nahw one could do al-Ajrumiyyah on two or three levels and then move straight to al-Fiyya if they have mastered al-Ajrumiyyah.

Why Study One Madhab and Have Only One Teacher at First?

  • What is the purpose of following a madhab and sticking to one in the initial stages of seeking knowledge?
  • Why is it better to only have one teacher at the beginning?

We follow a madhab to have structure in learning.

We stick to one madhab initially because there are many different opinions and learning about more than one, in the beginning, can become confusing. It is learning about the basic opinions of the masters of the madhab.

Having more than 1 teacher at the beginning can confuse the student and they won’t get the most from their teacher as they will be splitting their time between them. It also depends on the structure of each teacher; they will be different and this will make it even more confusing for the student.

It’s strange to see those that try to study many madhabs at the beginning, or they say we follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah only and no madhab!

Studying Knowledge Systematically

If someone wants to study all the different madhabs at once what do we say?

Why is there a methodology in seeking knowledge? Why don’t we learn Arabic straight away?

Because this is the way of the scholars.

Start with basic knowledge then intermediate and then advanced.

We don’t need to learn Arabic to learn fiqhi issues and it’s not a priority at the beginning because there are more important things to learn.

One can be fluent in Arabic but not have adab (manners) with elders, knowledge and so on.

Books To Study In Hadith

  • 40 Nawawi
  • Umdatul Ahkaam
  • Buloogh al Maram
  • After this it can be advised to move on to Nayl al Awtar, the sharh of Muntaqa al Alakhkbar.
  • A student should also read books like Riyadh ul Saaliheen, Shamaail Muhammadiyyah and al Adab wal Mufrad.
  • Alongside this, one should focus on Bukhari and Muslim a lot.

Then there is Mustala al Hadith, ilm al Rijal and Takhreej al Hadith, each of which require books to be studied.

How To Master Nahw

In Nahw a person needs to master Ajrumiyyah, Qatr al Nada and then Alfiyyah Ibn Malik.

The main thing is to start with the Abbasid explanation and then move onto the detailed ones.

Practice is most important  so don’t just make it theory. Insha’Allah links to books will be posted as well but for now the best explanations are:

  • Doctor Ayman Amin Abdul Ghani from Egypt is superb too and has a basic sharh on the poem and then the text in depth.
  • Qatr sharh: Sharh Abdullah Fowzan
  • Alfiyyah sharh: Ibn Aqeel

You could also start with Mulhat Iraab instead of Ajrumiyyah

Good supplements are:

  • Nahw al waadih
  • النحو المستطاب

Lots of exercises for practice.

Failing To Seek Knowledge

A famous scholar from Shaam, mentions two reasons why students fail to progress in seeking Ilm:

  1. Due to intellectual incapability. This person asks Allah for help.
  2. Due to a poor methodology of studying.

This is the main reason people don’t get far. They jump from book to book, teacher to teacher and don’t settle or take a teacher as a guide, especially when first seeking ilm.

Qualified To Teach

A scholar of the past said, if you believe you are qualified to teach but no one else has said you are qualified then the ruling is you are not qualified to teach.

So a person needs to be careful when they teach and what the teach.

One should learn from qualified teachers and one must then ask those qualified teachers if it’s ok to teach.