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Knowledge should be Attained in Stages – Importance of a Good Teacher – Shaykh Fawzaan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Shaikh Salih al Fawzaan حفظه الله comments regarding His Statement (The Most High):

مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُؤۡتِيَهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحُكۡمَ وَٱلنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُولَ لِلنَّاسِ كُونُواْ عِبَادٗا لِّي مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن كُونُواْ رَبَّٰنِيِّـۧنَ بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَبِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَدۡرُسُونَ

It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: “Be my worshippers rather than Allah’s.” On the contrary (he would say): “Be you Rabbaaniyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others) because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.” (Surah Aali-Imraan:79)

What can be understood from this verse is that the teacher should move gradually step by step with the student when teaching Islamic knowledge, so that the student learns the smaller (and easier) affairs of knowledge before progressing on to the larger (more difficult) affairs. This is so that the students can be nurtured to learn in gradual steps, because knowledge is like a huge sea which has no coast line (knowledge is vast with no end point) therefore he should take from it step by step in order that he reaches an amount from which he is able to benefit himself with. As for if the beginner student goes straight to learning the larger affairs of knowledge whilst still being a beginner, then his seeking of knowledge will become difficult for him and as a result he will not attain anything.

With regards to this affair, we have noticed the mistakes of some teachers, those who start by teaching huge affairs of knowledge to the people, like for example the compilation of the Sunan, large books of Tafsir and Aqeedah before beginning with small chapters and introductions to Islamic knowledge and sciences, and it is for this reason we find our scholars رحمهم الله follow this path of cultivation, simplifying instead the affairs of knowledge for the students at its beginning and then moving on.

It is for this reason why the authors from amongst the scholars have compiled summaries to each field of knowledge and these summaries do not go beyond a few pages. They compiled summaries in relation to Fiqh, Tawheed, sciences of Hadeeth, Hadeeth terminology, Usool al-Fiqh and in Usool at-Tafsir, so that the beginner student can memorise the text and then after that the teacher can explain them to him step by step so that the knowledge enters its proper door (in the most appropriate way) and so that it enables the student to ascend through the levels of knowledge, like the the statement of the one who said:

“من ضيع الأصول حرم الوصول “

“Whoever causes his foundation to be lost, he will be deprived of the reaching his objective.”

Meaning ًwhoever does not start by learning these summarised and introductory affairs of knowledge will be deprived in reaching his objective he set out to pursue. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

۞وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰۗ وَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِنۡ أَبۡوَٰبِهَاۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

“It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who fears Allah. So enter houses through their proper doors, and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 189)

Source: Min Ahkhaam Al-Qur’aan by Shaikh Salih al Fawzaan حفظه الله  vol.1 pgs. 27 – 28

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