Guidance For The Youth Of The Ummah-Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan (hafidha-hullaah)
Specific Advice to the Young Men:
As for you O young men! It is obligatory upon you to pre-occupy yourselves. First and foremost, seek beneficial knowledge with the support of the scholars, be it the schools, the institutes, the academies or in the mosques. Attend the lessons of the scholars, those known for knowledge, steadfastness and fear of Allaah, and are free from bizarre views and strange statements. It is obligatory upon you to hold onto the upright scholars, those who direct to that which is correct. So take from them the creed, knowledge, manners, etiquettes and the correct methodology, which you are to implement in yourselves and in your dealings with others, for indeed the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets. And just as the young companions of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) used to seek knowledge from the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and from the scholars amongst them, likewise, you should seek knowledge from the inheritors of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and they are the scholars. Be acquainted with knowledge through its people, be it either in the schools or by attending seminars, lectures and religious admonitions or by reading the beneficial books.
Advice on the Right Methodology in Seeking Knowledge:
There are two paths of deviation at present with regards to learning:
Learning from books without referring to the scholars; this is a path of deviation and many have deviated as a result of it. He (i.e. the person) will either misunderstand what is in the books or understands in a way other than what is intended, because it has not been explained and made clear to him. The author (of the book) may be deviated in his views or knowledge and fills it with mistakes in affairs of knowledge. Then this ignorant youth reads and adopts it. Therefore, the books are not to be solely depended upon. And even if the books are sound, you will not be able to understand by merely seeking after it. The khawaarij were not misguided and misguiding others with their intellects and fear of Allaah, except that they disassociated themselves from the scholars and depended on their own understanding and that of those similar to them. They took instructions from one another, and thus they caused harm to themselves and to the ummah. This is the result for disassociating from the scholars.
I advise you to busy yourselves with beneficial knowledge with the support of the scholars, and that you avoid being absorbed and speaking about the people; backbiting, tale carrying, disparagement and slander. Indeed, this is evil that disperses, divides the youth of the ummah and causes them to become factions and parties. There are those who have no other concern except ‘’this one says and that one says that’’. Seek knowledge until you become acquainted with the truth. As for seeking after the mistakes of the people before being acquainted with knowledge, and saying, ‘’this person says and that one says, and be mindful of this one person and that one’’……….this is not a sound methodology;
Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’O you who believe! If a Faasiq (liar-evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done’’ (49:6)
A Warning against the Callers to Misguidance:
O young men! Be warned against the callers to misguidance, because they are many today. The prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) warned against them. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’What I fear most for my nation, is those leaders who will lead astray’’ -and they are those who lead them to misguidance.’’
And he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’What I fear most for my ummah is every hypocrite with a sharp tongue.’’ This is the one who possesses eloquent impressive speech, and he is able to promote his dubious views, whilst falsifying the reality and delivering it to the people. Then the ignorant one thinks that it is knowledge and proof, whilst it is illusion and deceit. So it is obligatory upon you to direct your attention to knowledge and acquire it from those who are well known to be well versed in it. Do not restrict yourself to reading books and listening to audiotapes, for indeed some of the people have taken these audiotapes for learning. And amongst them is one who reads a book or listens to an audiotape, and then says: ”I took from the book of such and such or from his audiotape”. This is a grave mistake. Knowledge is acquired from the scholars. As for these books, they are designated to the scholars. Questions are to be asked regarding them and explanation and clarification given; clarification with regards to what is found in them of truth and mistakes.
For example, if you want to learn about medicine will you read the books on medicine and then implement and give treatment to people based on what you have read? Perhaps this methodology would lead you to kill many people, because you are not a doctor, rather you are a fake doctor). And there is threat of a punishment upon the one who practices medicine but is not qualified to do so. Therefore, if this is the case with medicine, then what about the religion, whilst you have not obtained knowledge through a correct methodology; rather you learnt either by way of what you have heard from audio tapes and books you have read or what has been said to you….etc. This is not a path to knowledge.
However, we say: there is benefit in the books and tapes together with your sitting with the people of knowledge, and that you ask the teacher questions about what is unclear regarding what you have read or heard. Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’And ask the people of the reminder if you do not know’’ (16:43). And the ‘’people of the reminder’’ are the scholars.
So do not depend on your understanding or that of other than you from those similar to you, or those beneath you (in rank or value); rather it is incumbent upon you to ask the people of knowledge. Allaah did not say: ‘’Ask one another’’; rather He said: ‘’Ask the people of the reminder’’ in particular. This is my advice to all the youth that they focus their attention towards beneficial knowledge and to acquire this knowledge from the scholars who are trusted with their knowledge. Some of the salaf said: ‘’Indeed this knowledge is Religion, so look to the one you take your religion from’’. Will you take your religion from an ignorant one or one who misguides others? This is not correct. Will you take your religion from a book? This is not correct. You do not take your religion except from a scholar who is fearful of Allaah. Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah’’ (35:28)
Therefore, take from the scholars who with two conditions:  he is a scholar and  he is one who fears Allaah. If he is a scholar but is not fearful of Allaah, you do not take from him; and if he is one who is fearful of Allaah, but does not possess knowledge, you do not take from him. It has been reported from the prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) that he said:
“Amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine people. Then he set out asking (whether his repentance could be accepted or not). He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept on asking till a man advised to go to such and such village. (So he left for it) but death overtook him on the way. While dying, he turned his chest towards that village (where he had hoped his repentance would be accepted), and so the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment quarrelled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village (towards which he was going) to come closer to him, and ordered the village (whence he had come), to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. So he was found to be one span closer to the village (he was going to). So he was forgiven”. (Reported by Bukhari)
All this good reached him as a result of submitting his questions to the scholar. As for the ignorant worshipper, then what comes about from him is known. This is the difference between the answer of an ignorant person and that of a scholar. And for this reason, he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all the stars” (reported by Abu Daawood No: 3641)
So What Is The Difference Between The Moon And A Star? The moon illuminates the world for the people, as for the star its illumination is limited to itself. The worship of the worshipper is only for himself and the people do not benefit from it. As for the scholar, the benefit he has with him is extended to the people, just as the light of the moon is extended to the people. So do not forsake the scholars, rather it is obligatory upon you to receive them with acceptance. Take from them and submit your questions to them as long as they are alive amongst you. And neither depend on your understanding nor that of the ignorant ones and the fake scholars, those who have not studied under the people of knowledge; rather they are either self-taught or taught by those similar to them. The path of these ones and that of those who take from them is error, because they approached knowledge through other than its correct course. Allaah said: ”It is not (piety, righteousness) that you enter the houses from the back, but (piety, righteousness) is (the quality of the one) who fears Allaah. So enter houses through their (proper) doors, and fear Allaah, that you may be successful.’’ (3:189)
Therefore, knowledge is to be approached through its doors and not at its highest level; rather there is the affair of gradual progression from the easy issues of the religion to the difficult ones. As for those who take knowledge in one swoop and approach it through its highest point, these ones will not reach anything except ignorance and beguilement. And if only their ignorance and beguilement was limited to themselves! But the trouble is that they direct others, issue verdicts and speak about Allaah and His Messenger without knowledge. This is a sinful path; a path to seeking knowledge which is in the increase at present.
Stick To the Scholars:
Many of the youth have forsaken the scholars and do not take from them. The great trial and tribulation that came about from this has been seen, when someone appeared making claims of jihaad and that of knowledge, so there came about ruin, terror and killing in the land. This is the result of keeping away from the scholars. That is because those ones kept away from the scholars and went to those like them from amongst the callers to misguidance and the people of deviated views. So they brainwashed and informed them of these views. This is the result of disassociating from the scholars, the society, the jamaa-ah of the Muslims and their leader.
And when the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) informed Hudhaifah Bin Al Yamaan (radiyallaahu-anhu) about the trials, he said: ‘’O Messenger of Allaah, what do you command me if I come across that? He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’Stick to the Jamaa-ah of the Muslims and their Imaam’’ (i.e. the Muslim Ruler) (reported by Bukhari No: 7084)
This is a safeguard from trials, but if you abandon the Jamaa-ah of the Muslims and their Ruler, then indeed you will be destroyed in the trials, just like what took place with those ones and their likes. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”There are three matters, which the heart of the believer does not have an aversion towards: (That is), performing actions sincerely for Allaah, giving sincere advice to the rulers of the Muslims, and sticking to the Jamaa-ah of the Muslims. For indeed, their supplication encompasses them’’
And Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’O you who believe! Have fear of Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)’’ (9:119) that is: be with the Jamaa-ah of the Muslims, and with the sincere scholars, and with the Muslim rulers, so that you may be safe from trials and confusing views.
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