Why Did Imaam Yahyah Ibn Yahyah An-Naysaabooriy Prolong His Studies In The Gatherings of Imaam Maalik?! – [A Short Faa’idah And Excerpt From Shaikh Rabee’s Majmoo’ah]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
When one sits with the Ulamaa, he will learn – first and foremost – manners and etiquettes. The people used to travel to [Imaam] Maalik [rahimahullaah] from different regions of the earth, and one of those [people] who travelled to him was Yahyah Ibn Yahyah Al-Naysaabooriy [rahimahullaah] – the great Imaam, about whom Imaam Ahmad said, “I have not seen someone like him. He [i.e. Yahyah] read Al-Muwatta to Maalik, then he remained with him; so Maalik noticed that and [wondered] why Yahyah was still with him! So, he patiently waited and after a long time he asked Yahyah, “Why are you [still] sitting here [i.studying with me]? He said, “To learn from your manners.”
Sadly, you see that many people refrain from coming to the scholars and acquiring knowledge from them. This – and Allaah knows best – is the cause of self-deception and evil manners. And due to this, you will find that they are upon a more [severe state of] self-deception, ignorance, insolence and bad manners than others. When a person relies on himself and he is not taught by a teacher [i.e. by an upright teacher who has a recommendation to teach], but rather he teaches himself, then this is a sign of sickness.
The [best and most appropriate] path is to acquire knowledge from the scholars, for they will direct you to the book that is suitable for your intellectual capacity [or level of understanding] and ability. The scholar knows and has definitely acquired experience before you.
Source: An Excerpt from Majmoo Kutub Wa Rasaa’il Wa Fataawaa Fadheelatish Shaikh Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Umayr Al-Madkhali. Vol 1. page 37. Slightly paraphrased