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!
Some of the people of the past would say that seeking ilm is more important than eating and drinking! Why? Eating is needed once, twice or thrice a day but as for ilm, we need it all the time!
Seeking knowledge is from the easiest of paths to Jannah, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have hardships.
One of the people of the past gave fatawaa all day long for 70 years. The people asked him, when do you make time to do other things? He said that he divides the night into three: a third for ibaadah, a third for writing and a third for sleep!
Some would revise all night and sleep a bit after Fajr only.
Some would revise and when they became tired they would wash their faces with freezing cold water and carry on.
They wouldn’t follow their desires in anything due to their pursuit of ilm, whereas today we need 7-8 hours of sleep, three meals, relaxing time and so on.
One Shaykh used to study 17 different lessons a day and ate once a day, and he is still alive today, may Allah preserve him.
We must struggle, for Jannah is expensive!
Statement of Ibn Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him):
“If the learned ponders how the hours he spent learning saved him from the humiliation of being dominated by the ignorant and from the distress of having no access to the facts, and how those hours provided him with the joy of discovering that which is hidden from others, he would excel in praising Allah, the exalted, full of majesty, and would be more pleased with the knowledge he has and would deepen his desire to increase his knowledge.”
Imam Shafi’ee (rh) said, “After the obligatory deeds, nothing is more beloved to Allah than studying knowledge.”
Qatada (rh) said, “A door of knowledge that a man preserves for rectifying himself and those after him is better than constant worship for a whole year”
Ibn al Jawzi (rh) mentions that ilm is the most honourable thing to attain. It cannot be attained except through hard struggles, late nights, repetition, abandoning desires and delights and resting. This is the path to Jannah.
The people of the past said, there is no action on the face of this earth better than seeking knowledge; for the one who fears Allah and has the correct intention.
- 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!