In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Question to Shaikh Ubaid [hafidhahullaah]: Is it permissible for the one who seeks knowledge from some Shaikh – by way of books and audios – to say to him [i.e. the Shaikh], “Our Shaikh” and thus he becomes a Shaikh of his?
Answer: There’s no harm in considering someone as one’s Shaikh, but I bring your attention to the fact that there are two ways of acquiring knowledge. The first path: Seeking knowledge in person and sitting to acquire knowledge from the scholar directly-sitting in his presence, learn good manners from him and good Tarbiyah. This is the ideal way and the loftiest. This is the way of the Sahaabah in acquiring knowledge from their Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] – those who were with him in Madeenah and those who traveled to him. They acquired knowledge directly from the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and taught their people. Likewise, this is how the Taabi’oon acquired knowledge from the Sahaabah; they took knowledge [directly] from the Sahaabah, especially the seniors. Likewise, those who followed the Taabi’een did the same up to this era of ours. This is the correct and loftiest path of acquiring knowledge from a Shaikh.
The second path: It is to acquire knowledge from books and audios. There is no harm in this and it benefits, but it does not contain that which is found in the first method; rather it is for a woman and the one who is unable because of the difficulty in reaching the Shaikh due to distance, for one might not be able to sit in the presence of a scholar even in his own country. Not all women are able-some of them are sometimes able and unable at other times, and some are not able. So, these people benefit [i.e. from the books & tapes], but also they are not advised to enter into challenging [or very difficult] issues related to differences of opinion between the scholars; rather they entrust those affairs to the people of knowledge.
And whoever is a teacher – one who gives instructions in knowledge [nurturing others] or an Imaam of a Masjid in his city district or town- we advise him to be at the service of the people and that he takes those questions of theirs which he is able to answer and respond to them in his city district. And those questions that carry difference of opinion and requires investigation, he offers his services to the people by sending those questions to the people of knowledge and take answers from them. This is a good service with regards to the Muslim helping another Muslim. [paraphrased] [Listen to audio here: https://safeshare.tv/x/aIVf6vxUqh8#
All praise is due to Allaah, we have never claimed that we are students of knowledge nor do we stop the people from attending the study circles; rather all the Salafi Masaajid and Centres either have a resident student or a student who travels to them. This suffices as clarification, so that none claims or thinks that we are claiming to be what we are not. We post articles in this website to share Fawaa-id with our community, attend the duroos we can attend, benefit from the books and audios of the scholars and ask about that which is unclear to us. Finally, we have stated more than once what this website is for; see here once again: https://salaficentre.com/2016/09/new-clarification-reminder-regarding-purpose-website/