- Some are old and act as if they are students in their eagerness to learn. They even send their answers / research to other mashaayikh to get their approval.
- They spend every living second with knowledge.
- They eat little so they can study more.
- If they are asked what they want to eat they may say something and later go against that and refrain from eating that food.
- They text and read messages about knowledge.
- They are never seen except there is a book in their hand!
- They go against their desires a lot, even in things which aren’t haraam.
Bakr Abu Zaid mentioned from the manners when a student sits with his teacher:
- Not to continually interrupt
- Avoiding extensive questioning in front of an audience as it causes self delusion to the student
- Abdullah ibn Mas’ood mentioned, narrate to the audience as long as you can see they are interested and when you see slackness in their eyes then stop narrating to them.
One of the people of the past mentioned, I don’t eat or sleep unless I’m extremely hungry or have been overcome with sleep. My desires are fulfilled by learning, revising and gaining benefits from wherever possible.
This same Imam became an Imam at the age of 20! Yet at the age of 50, he was still studying with mashaayikh!
The ulema mention that a person should spend their day between revision, memorisation, reading, and depending on his level, research and this is with his ibaadah and so on.
In our times, we sleep 8 hours a night, eat 3-6 meals a day, drink 2 litres of water. This is in addition to work and whatever else a person does!
Where is the time for Allah and knowledge!
Today mashaayikh travel for 6/7 hours, don’t sleep for over 24 hours, don’t eat for 15/16 of those hours and only eat once in two days. However, you show them a book and they stay up and read it like an excited person.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal [May Allah have mercy on him] said, when he was asked: (what do you say about the books of Al-Shafei that are with the Iraqis, are they more beloved to you or the ones with the Egyptians?
So he replied: Go for the ones that he has developed in Egypt, since he placed these [other] books in Iraq but did not establish [them well], but when he went to Egypt he firmly established it) ‘Manaqib Al-Imam Shafi’i’ 1/263 by al-Bayhaqi.
A person won’t really have a good understanding of a science until he lives with it: Meaning he studies, revises, reads and learns with it. And this is at the very least 3-4 years before he gains some sort of decent understanding. So please struggle hard and be patient on your talab.
For example, one sheikh has read al fiyyat of Ibn Malik and its explanation on sheikhs maybe 4-5 times. That’s 3-4 volumes of hundreds of pages on grammar!!!
Sheikh Yahya read al Bukhari maybe 150 times.
One of the shuyookh of Mauritania studied for 20 years then was called sheikh and had understanding.
So let us stop being hasty insha’Allah and take our time and really try hard, as this is one of the paths of Jannah so obviously it requires effort!
As for those who say we have this or that, family, work and so on then it’s possible this path isn’t for you and it might suffice to learn the basics. But remember that those that Allah wants good for He grants them understanding of the religion!
A scholar of the past would say people have come to know me while I hate to be remembered.
This was due to their sincerity, yet we live in a time where everyone wishes to be known and famous, even students of knowledge!