We have tried to put together methodologies for a student to study the various Islamic sciences below. You will notice that we haven’t mentioned many books to read because that’s not the main goal. Books are a means and not the goal in and of itself. Rather one needs to make sure they master the book and implement it if it’s a science that requires implementation.
Above all points, check your intention. Why are you doing this, seeking knowledge? Some intentions which can be made:
- To remove ignorance from oneself.
- To remove ignorance from others.
- To protect and preserve the Shari’ah.
- To leave a great legacy.
- To take a path to Jannah.
- To do one of the best actions.
- To be from those that fear Allah.
- To call to good.
and many others.
1. A person should try to study each science with a scholar as much as possible. Self study is not and has never been praised.
2. Constantly revise your notes.
3. Do not make your goals the completion of the book to the extent that you leave the book as you entered it! Rather master the information.
4. Focus on the main books in each science. Extra books can be returned to inshaa Allah.
5. Though this is number 5 in the list, it is by far the most important; to clean one’s heart from diseases. If one’s heart is full of diseases, such as jealousy, envy, arrogance, showing off, then they will not succeed in life as a normal Muslim or even a Muslim, let alone a student of Knowledge.
6. Study the text first, have lots of explanations of the same text and refer back to them. Each will have it’s own benefits and this is part of benefiting from the text.
Books For The Heart
All of these need the other and there are many more which need to be added. None are comprehensive and this is more of a practical topic than anything else. You learn and check yourself. Not just reading and moving on.
- Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Ibn al Jawzi (rh). General reminders
- Disturbers of the Heart by Ibn al Jawzi (rh). Some disease of the heart mentoned here
- Disciplining the Soul by Ibn al Jawzi (rh). Some good advices here.
- Ihya Uloom Al Deen by Al Ghazzali (rh). Needs a copy with good verification undertaken as it’s full of fabricated narrations.
- Mukhatasar Minhaj ul Qaasideen by Ibn al Qudaamah (rh). A more authentic, summarised version of Ihyaa.
- Madaarij al Saalikeen by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah. Mentions the different stations a slave must go through.
- Miftaah Dar ul Sa’adah by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah.
- Tibb ul Quloob by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah. Diagnosing the heart. Signs of a heart which is alive, dead and in between.
In Nahw, a person needs to master:
- Ajrumiyyah by Abi Abdullah Mohammad bin Mohammad bin Ajeroom. A basic book, very blessed.
- Mulhat Iraab by Qasim b. Ali al-Hariri. You could also start with this book, quite a bit longer than Ajrumiyyah though, but in poetry form.
- Qatr al Nada by Ibn Hisham.
- Alfiyyah by Ibn Malik.
Practice is what is important so don’t just make it theory.
- Doctor Ayman Amin Abdul Ghani from Egypt. Superb in Arabic and has a basic sharh on the poem of Ajrumiyyah.
- Qatr sharh by Sharh Abdullah Fowzan This shaykh is fantastic in uloom al a’laa, tertiary sciences, such as langauge, usool. This is a beautiful Sharh.
- Alfiyyah sharh by Ibn Aqeel or ibn al Uthaymeen.
Good supplements are:
- Nahw al waadih
- النحو المستطاب
Seerah of The Prophet (saw)
- al Arjuzza al mi’iyyah al Izz ibn Abdul Salam– excellent for a beginner with a teacher. 100 lines of poetry, in chronological order. Easy to understand and good to memorise if you know Arabic.
- Mukhatasar Seerah by Abdul Ghani al Maqdisi, the author of Umdatul Ahkaam. Very basic and easy to understand with basic facts, translated into English.
- Fiqh of Seerah by shaykh Abdul Kareem Alzayd – Fantastic book, looks at the seerah and the main parts of his (saw) life have benefits extracted, making it very practical.
- The Noble Life of the Prophet (saw) by Dr Salaabi (3 Volumes). Same for ‘Umar (ra), Abu Bakr (ra) and so on. Very in depth and excellent to read. Refutes many mis-conceptions and concoctions all throughout.
- The Sealed Nectar by Sheikh Mubarakpuri. One of the most authenticate versions of the seerah.
- Al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyyah by Imam al-Tirmidhi. Doesn’t go through it historically but by what he (saw) looked like, what he ate, wore and so on.Good explanation by shaykh Abdul Razzaq ibn Abdul Muhsin al Badr.
- Al-Shama’il by Ibn Katheer. Similar to Imam al Tirmidhi’s one.
- Ash Shifaa by Qaadi al Iyaad. Seerah from different angles. Looks at fiqhi benefits, spiritual benefits and general rulings.
- Provisions for the Hereafter (Mukhtasar Zad Al-Ma’ad) by Ibn Qayyim (rh) Beautiful as it looks at it from a fiqh perspective, extracting benefits which aren’t found elsewhere.
- Al-Khasais-ul-Kubra by Imam As Suyooti. Mentions things specific to the Prophet (saw).
- Seerah by Al ‘izz ibn Abdul Salaam. Similar to the above.
- Qurrat alabsaar by shaykh Ahmad al Maknaasi. Written by a Morroccan shaykh, in poetry form, used in Morrocco and Muaritania.
- Seerah by Ibn Hisham – An edited version of the original seerah book of Ibn Ishaq.
Books in Hanbali Fiqh
Ibn Qudamah (rh) wrote an entire syllabus on the madhab.
- First book, Umdatul Fiqh, has one view.
- Second book, Al Muqni’, has sharh (Zaad al Mustaqni’) by Imam al Hajawi (Author of Al Iqna’)
- Third book, Al Kaafi, has more than 2 views and evidence.
- Then he wrote his masterpiece, Mughni, sharh of Al Khiraqi. This is comparative fiqh and at this stage, it’s suitable for the student but NOT at the beginning of his studies.
There are many other books and methodologies, this is the main one our mashaayikh choose and it has produced results.
Hadith Study Books
For The Study of Narrations
Imam An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith
Explanations from (This is not an exhaustive list):
- Ibn Rajab (rh)
- Ibn al Uthaymeen (rh)
- Shaykh Aali al Shaykh (rh)
- Shaykh Mustapha Baghaa (rh)
Umdatul Ahkaam by Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi
With brief comments from Shaykh al Sa’adi (rh) then Ibn al Uthaymeen’s (rh) explanation which wasn’t completed. From here the more difficult or longer ones such as Ibn al Mulaqqin’s (rh) explanation and also Ibn Daqeeq al Eid’s (rh) sharh which is the most difficult.
Buloogh al Maram by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rh)
With the explanations from Shaykh Bassam (rh) who has one for Umdatul Ahkaam too which is also beneficial. From here Ibn al Uthaymeen (rh) has 2 explanations on it. There are many other explanations too such as Allaan’s and others each with their own benefits.
Books on The Names and Attributes of Allah
- Al-Asna Fi Sharh Asma Allah Al-Husna Wa Sifatihi by Imam Qurtubi (rh)
Allah’s Names and Attributes by Al-Bayhaqi (rh)
- Abdul Razzaq al Badr (Nice points on each name and not too lengthy)
- Ibn al Uthaymeen (rh) (More theological. Gives important principles to understand them by and also gives a very authentic list at the back of the book with the Hadith or Verse with the Name included)
- Al Sa’di (Very brief information on each Name. Excellent for beginners)
- Tafseer Asmaa al Husnaa by Al Zujajj (One of the first ones ever written by the great Maaliki scholar and linguist. It looks at the language meanings of the Name)
- Maahir Muqaddim (Joins lots of definitions and meanings from many other books and mentions how each can be used)
- Ibn al Qayyim (rh) (Not complete but mentions some explanations and good principles to understand them)
- Ratib al Nablusi (A 4 volume collection. They mention stories, facts and personal experiences of the Shaykh)
- Khalid al Sabt (Brief and to the point. Very concise with lots of benefit as is the trademark of the Shaykh)
- Shaykh Ridwani has one of the biggest collections! It’s very large and in depth.May Allah preserve those that are living and have Mercy on those that have passed away from these great scholars.
Ibn al Qayyim (rh) mentioned, we take the Name of Allah and try to base our character around it. So have them memorised and when the situation arises, use it in your du’a and even more so, try to have it as part of your character.