The Graduate and Non-Graduate Camps! [No Room For Those Seeking – Openly or Discreetly – to Create This Mirage Within The Ranks of Students of Knowledge]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
How to Combind Between Studies In Masaajid and University
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: “How does a student of knowledge combine between the lessons of Sharia colleges with the lessons of scholars in mosques?”
Answer: I cannot answer this, because everyone knows himself, but I can say that if the regular university lessons clash with the lessons of the scholars, I think a person should be keen on the university lessons if he is to succeed because the period of study at the university is short. And as you now know that positions of leadership in Dawah, education, administration and headship are based on certificates. If a person does not have a certificate, no weight will be given to him regardless of the level of his knowledge. If a student of knowledge seeks knowledge at the university in order to obtain a certificate with which he can reach leadership positions, then this is a good intention and there is nothing in it that would be tantamount to seeking knowledge for other than the sake of Allaah in his intention. This is why if two people are presented: one of them has a university degree and the second does not have a certificate, and the second is more knowledgeable than the first, the one who has a certificate is given priority in leadership positions. Therefore, I see that if the lessons in the Sharia colleges clash with the lessons in the Mosques, the student gives precedence to university studies; but if there is no clash, then studying in mosques is compatible with studying at university. The affair is clear that it is possible to combine this and this, given that studying in mosques has now become easy, because most of those who study in mosques have a recorder that records their lectures, the students’ questions and answers. Therefore, if a person takes some of these audio tapes and listens to them in his spare time, it is as if he has not missed anything. [Majmoo Fataawaa 26/161-162]
The Shaikh also said: One’s intention is regarded to be corrupt if knowledge is sought only to receive a certificate or a desire for an elevated worldly status by way of it; but a person’s intention is regarded to be good and not in opposition to sincerity if he wants an elevated status in order to benefit the people, because he knows that at present it is impossible for a person to achieve a high and beneficial position for the Ummah unless he has a certificate. So based on a person’s (sincere) intention and choices, the certificate is not considered harmful and its obtainment enters into the statement of the Messenger: “And what comes to you from this wealth without asking for it or having greed for it, take it; and if not given, do not run for it”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 1473] [Sharh Hilya Taalib Al-Ilm. page:22]
Studies associated with certificates does not automatically give us superior understanding
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated whilst discussing the affair of certificates: “If one were to find a scholar who is good in various affairs of knowledge but has no certificate, it will not be possible for him to teach even in high school and this is the reality. And you will find that the one lesser in knowledge than this scholar will be accepted (as a teacher) at a university as long as he has a certificate”. [An Excerpt from Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. page 22]
The Imaam also said: “It maybe that a person come long (whilst) holding the certification of a doctorate (PhD), and take up the position of teaching in the faculties and universities, yet he is the most ignorant of people. And if a secondary grade student came, he would be better than him (in understanding and knowledge). This is witnessed. At present, there is to be found one who has a doctorate certificate, but he does not know anything of knowledge- either he succeeded by cheating or succeeded by a superficial success that did not establish knowledge in his mind (and heart), but he is employed because he has a doctorate. A person comes along – a good student of knowledge, from the best of people and better than this one with a doctoral degree a thousand times, but he is neither employed nor teaches at a faculty; why? Because he doesn’t have a doctorate”. [An Excerpt from Sharh Riyaadus Saaliheen. Audio number 74a]
No Rigidity to Be Tolerated: Besides the fact that Aqeedah is the first obligation, there is no one single method to impose on the people in the path of seeking knowledge: Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The path followed in seeking knowledge under the scholars vary depending where a person is residing and the method adopted by the scholars of that country”. [Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. pages 77 onwards]
Experience of Some of Our Beloved Youth Prior to Travelling to Madeenah
Whenever some of our younger brothers return for the summer break and we ask them about their studies, they always remind us that “Prior to travelling to Madeenah, the subject matters related to Aqeedah and Fiqh were not a strange affair to them, because they’ve heard them taught by our local Mashaayikh from the books of the senior scholars. So, besides some specific areas of study that are new to them when they arrive in Madeenah, the issues of Aqeedah and Fiqh were not new to them. They also mention that they’ve seen middle aged teachers in Madeenah who are very proficient in their specific fields, and that we are blessed to have access to the likes of Shaikh Abu Hakeem – in particular – who has regular lessons on various topics, such as Tafseer, Aqeedah, Manhaj, Fiqh, Mustalah, Faraa’id and other subject matters. They also remind us of the fact that teaching in a language other than Arabic is much harder because the teacher has to understand the subject matter in Arabic first, explain the subject in another language as well as use expressions that can be understood by the common people”.
In addition to this, we must also bear in mind that the era – in which Shaikh Abu Talhah, Shaikh Abu Hakeem, Shaikh Abu Idrees, Shaikh Abdul Ilaah, Shaikh Uwais and others were in Madeenah – was very different, because besides the fact that some of them were at the university, they also had much greater access to the likes of Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali, Al-Allaamah Ubaid Bin Abdillaah Al-Jaabiri, Al-Allaamah Hammaad Al-Ansaaree, Al-Allaamah Muhammad Bin Abdil Wahhaab Al-Bannah, Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad, Al-Allaamah Ahmad Bin Yahyah An-Najmi and others. Likewise, we have elder brothers amongst us such as the likes of Ustaadh Bilal Husain, Ustaadh Abu Tasneem and others who travelled to Al-Allaamah Muqbil Bin Haadi Al-Waadi’ee. Those who sat with these scholars on a regular basis, or whilst studying at the university, and those who travelled to them over a twenty-five year period – learning from them, seeking their advice on a regular basis on affairs of Dawah and teaching, and are still adhering to the sound methodology of the Salafus Saaleh- cannot be compared to those who attended the university and had less access or far lesser access to the senior scholars. This is why some of those youth – whom we speak to regularly when they return for their summer break- realise the quality of that which they have acquired in Birmingham and elsewhere before travelling to Madeenah. We do not force anyone to attend lessons, but these youth are still seen – in Birmingham – sitting in the lessons of Shaikh Abu Hakeem, Shaikh Abu Khadeejah and Shaikh Abu Idrees.
Imaam Al-Bukhaari [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “A man will not become well facilitated until he takes knowledge from one above him, one similar to him and one below him”. (1)
Imaam Abdullaah Ibnul Mubaarak [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “A man will not be from the (students or scholars) of Hadeeth until he writes from someone similar to him, someone above him and someone below him”. (2)
Imaam Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “A man will not be from the (students or scholars) of Hadeeth until he takes from someone above him, someone below him and someone similar to him”. (3)
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said, “The entire life of a person is spent in seeking knowledge – from the cradle to the grave. He does not feel proud to acquire truth from a young or older person and he never rejects truth, whether it is stated by a Muslim or unbeliever. Musa [peace be upon him] was spoken to directly by Allaah and the Tawraat was revealed to him, which contained Hudaa [i.e. that which guides a person to Eemaan, truth and protects one from misguidance] and Noor [i.e. a guiding light in the midst of the darkness of ignorance, confusion, doubts, beliefs and deeds that appear to be truth but are falsehood in reality and evil desires], but when he knew that another person possessed knowledge of that which he did not possess, [Allaah informed us he (Moosaa) said]: [لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا – I will not give up (travelling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travelling. [Surah Al-Kahf. Verse 60] He went on foot – neither had a car nor a riding beast, nor a horse; (rather) he travelled on foot”. (4)
Therefore, neither is the affair about inflating one’s status nor is the affair about discreetly seeking to divide students into a graduate camp and non-graduate camp; rather the affair is about learning the basics of our religion, humility and seeking Allaah’s refuge against misguidance, kibr and ujub. Indeed, what is to be given precedence is that we strive to excel one another in obedience to Allaah based on sincerity, adherence to the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] and the understanding of the pious predecessors. There should be no room for blameworthy envy and seeking to hide the virtue of others. Damratah bin Thalabah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they do not envy one another'”. Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The hadeeth is clear in its prohibition against envy. And what is intended by the (word) envy is when one wishes that the blessing bestowed upon another person should cease, regardless whether the envier wants that blessing for himself or for another person, or wants that the blessing given to the one he envies should cease- whether the blessings is related to an affair of the religion or a worldly affair. Envy is forbidden and indeed the command to seek Allaah’s protection from the evil of an envier has been stated in the Qur’aan: [وَمِن شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ – And from the evil of the envier when he envies]. Therefore, one should be careful of envy! Indeed the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “Do not envy one another”. (5)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated that there are three types of envy: The First Type: This type is very little and does not lead the (envier) to harm (others)-either by way of (hatred in) his heart, (speech of the) tongue or (deeds of the) hand; rather the person has some envy in his heart but he only deals with his Muslim brother through what Allaah loves. The Second Type: The envier desires that the blessing (bestowed on the one he envies) should cease. He hates that Allaah should give blessings to His slaves; rather he (desires) that the envied person should remain in that state (of deprivation). The Third Type is Al-Ghibtahl: It is when a person wishes to be like another person without desiring that the blessing possessed by that person should cease. The person who has this type of envy is not blamed; rather this is very similar to praiseworthy competition to excel another in good deeds. (6)
Mu’aawiyah Bin Abee Sufyaan [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, “I am able to please all the people [i.e. with regards to what is lawful) except the one who is envious of a blessing (bestowed on others), because never will he be pleased until that blessing ceases”. (7)
Imaam Al-Fudayl Bin Iyaad [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “There’s none who loves leadership, except that he will envy, transgress, seek after people’s fault (i.e. falsely) and hates that anyone else is mentioned with good”. (8)
Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said that the noble Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “There is no envy except in two cases: a man whom Allah has given Al-Hikmah [i.e. knowledge of the Qur’aan and Sunnah] and he acts according to it; and a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously”. [Al-Bukhaari’ Number 73]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him] said, “These people have Ghibtah [i.e. they desire the blessings bestowed on others but do not have a blameworthy envy]. Hasad (envy) in this hadeeth means Ghibtah, but (as for blameworthy) envy, it is to wish that the blessings bestowed upon a person, such as wealth, knowledge and other that, should cease to exist – regardless whether you want to have the same or merely wishing that the blessings be taken away from him. This is a disease of the Yahood [i.e. those Yahood who knew the truth brought by the Prophet], but they rejected it out of envy] and we ask Allaah to alleviate [this disease] from the Muslims, for indeed it is destructive disease – and Allaah’s refuge is sought. Therefore, the Hasad [Envy] intended in this hadeeth is Al-Ghibtah, which is to wish for the same blessings given to another person [without wishing that he be deprived of it]. For example, Allaah gives a person knowledge and the (ability) to perform good deeds, so you wish that Allaah should also give you knowledge and the (ability) to perform good deeds just as it has been bestowed upon that person. This is Ghibtah and it is praiseworthy. It is striving to excel one another in good deeds. Allaah said: [وَفِى ذَٲلِكَ فَلۡيَتَنَافَسِ ٱلۡمُتَنَـٰفِسُونَ – And for this [i.e. paradise] let (all) those strive who want to strive (i.e. hasten earnestly to the obedience of Allah)]. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the students of knowledge to strive in acquiring knowledge and hasten towards all that is good, but without blameworthy envy; rather they should do this based on Ghibtah and hastening earnestly to the obedience of Allaah. (9)
Therefore, regardless what we learn in a Masjid, the institute we attend and who we sat with, neither should we put ourselves forward nor seek after that which we are not entitled to. We ask Allaah for Ikhlaas, Sidq, Thabaat and Husnul Khaatimah Aameen.
Some Lessons and resources In Some of The Salafi Masaajid That Are Available to all Salafiyyoon Before and After Travelling to Madeenah:
There are many other Salafi Masaajid with various lessons. Also may Allaah bless our brothers and sisters who are enrolled at Markaz Ibnul Qayyim under the supervision of Shaikh Khaalid adh-Dhufayri https://markzibnqayyim.com/ and those travelling to Shaikh Abdul Ilaah in Morocco [may Allaah preserve all of them]
1: Quoted by Shaikh Abdullah Al-Bukhaari in Sharh Umdatul Ahkaam. Lesson 1
2: Taareekh Baghdaad by Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee 5/68
3: Al-Jaami Li-Akhlaaq Ar-Raawee 2/218
4:Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm. 245-248. Slightly paraphrased
5: At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. 1/270
6: Badaa’i al-Fawaa-id’ 2/237
7: Taareekh Baghdaad 59/200
8: Reported by Ibn Abdil Barr in Al-Jaami. Number 971]
9: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 51-52
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