In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
All The Salafiyyoon, Especially The Elder Students Know The Importance of Travelling to The Scholars
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him] said:
It is obligated on us to nurture ourselves, our children, our students and those whom our statements can reach to honour knowledge and fear Allaah based on what is found in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. Therefore, the goal behind knowledge is to obey Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] and His Messenger – affirm and believe everything Allaah and His Messenger have stated. Nothing reaches us from the Qur’aan or the authentic Sunnah, except that we must believe in it, give it complete respect, veneration and reverence. This is what the noble companions and the pious predecessors used to do, for indeed they gave the highest regard to this knowledge and the scholars. And due to the fact that they gave the highest regard to knowledge, a man would travel -from the eastern regions of the earth to the western regions, and from the northern regions to the southern regions- to hear the hadeeth of the Messenger and seek understanding of the knowledge found in the Qur’aan; rather during the era of the Messenger, a man would travel from the furthest regions of the Arabian peninsula to Allaah’s Messenger to learn his religion, accompany the scholars and the callers to (the religion of) Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted].
The Taabi’een travelled, rather the Sahaabah travelled. Jaabir [may Allaah be pleased with him] travelled from Madeenah to Shaam for the sake of one hadeeth and Abu Ayyoub Al Ansaari [may Allaah be pleased with him] travelled from Madeenah to Misr for the sake of one hadeeth. Likewise, the Imaams of Hadeeth and Tafseer travelled from the eastern regions of the earth to the western regions to learn. Why was this the case? That is because they knew the status of knowledge, its nobility in the Dunyah and the Aakhirah, and that Allaah raises the status of its possessors. (1)
The Shaikh also stated: In which era do we find the scholars hastening to the houses of the people? Rather, the students of knowledge travelled to the scholars and the Sahaabah [May Allaah be pleased with them] were the first. Jaabir Bin Abdillaah heard that a man amongst the companions of the Messenger in Shaam had a Hadeeth, so he bought a camel and rode on it to shaam. It took him a month to get there and a month to return, for the sake of one hadeeth. A man (i.e. a scholar or a student of knowledge) explains Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, Saheeh Muslim, Sunan Abu Daawud, Sunan At-Tirmidhee, Sunan An-Nasaa’ee or a book of Fiqh or something from it, but you say, “No, he must accompany me and he must come with me!” Who gave you this authority in the Sight of Allaah [i.e. that you make such a demand]? O My brothers! It is obligated on us to recognise the status of knowledge. (2)
The Shaikh also said: O my brothers! Let us behave in a good manner, especially the students of knowledge. O my brothers! At present the connection between a student and his teacher is limited to the classroom. He listens to the lesson and after it finishes he leaves in a hurry. It is as if he does not know anything about the teacher- neither in a house nor in any other place. And they say, “The scholars run away from the students!!” It is obligated on the students to behave well towards the scholars and to come to their houses. Do they want the scholars to run behind the students?! The Salaf did not know this behaviour. (After) being deprived of good manners, we expect the scholars to be our followers. Many people want the scholars to be their followers – giving directions to the scholars like they would give directions to a senile old person. A particular scholar can meet thousands of people and benefit them, but as for going to the house of every person and knocking at his door, this is neither legislated by Allaah nor is it obligated on the scholars. (3) [End of quote]
Indeed, the above is well-known to the Salafiyyoon of the West, especially our elder teachers. This is why Shaikh Abu Talhah, Shaikh Abu Khadeejah, Shaikh Abdul Ilaah, Shaikh Abu Hakeem, Shaikh Owais at-Taweel, Shaikh Abu Iyaad, Shaikh Abu Idrees, Shaikh Abu Omar Faarooq (may have mercy upon him), Shaikh Abu Fudayl, Ustaadh Bilaal Husain, Ustaadh Yusuf Bowers, Ustaadh Abu Haaroon, Ustaadh Abu Tasneem and others travelled to sit with the scholars- some travelled to Dammaaj during the lifetime of Al-Allaamah Muqbil Bin Haadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him], some travelled to Saudi once or twice a year to sit with the likes of Al-Allaamah Rabee, Al-Allaamah Ubaid Bin Abdillaah Al-Jaabiri and some, such as the likes of Shaikh Abdul Ilaah and Shaikh Abu Hakeem, stayed in Saudi for 10 years or more whilst regularly attending the lessons of the scholars. They were not only attendants, but rather they are well-known to the scholars.
There has not been a time period – from when elder brothers were introduced to Salafiyyah, except that a group of brothers did travel to sit with the scholars, learn from them, seek their advice on Dawah affairs as well as invite their upright students to the UK, such as the likes of Shaikh Abdus Salaam Burgess [may Allaah have mercy upon him]. This is a well known affair, therefore, the newcomer should be informed that this affair has always been emphasised and acted upon by the Salafiyyoon. The Salafiyyoon, especially the elder brothers, have never stopped visiting the scholars and learning from them, rather the only reason these travels ceased for some time was due to the lockdowns. There is not a single one amongst the elder brothers who clings to books and abandons sitting with scholars, rather prior to the lockdowns they visited the scholars whilst carrying on with the lessons in the Maraakiz.
As for the path of seeking knowledge, read here: https://salaficentre.com/2022/07/20/valuable-experiences-some-scholars-and-students-speaking-about-the-path-to-acquiring-knowledge-and-solidifying-ones-salafiyyah-from-day-one/
As for those of us who have not travelled to sit with the scholars, then indeed, and all praise and thanks be to Allaah, we continue to sit in the study circles of the elder students and the humble younger teachers. Likewise, our youth are advised to seek knowledge and worldly provision, so that they become self-sufficient. Read: https://salaficentre.com/2022/06/10/seek-knowledge-a-worldly-profession-and-provision-an-affair-our-youth-must-be-reminded/
Finally, with regards to the credentials of the elder teachers, then indeed either a fame seeker or an envious person would seek to belittle or warn against their efforts. This affair has already been clarified by Shaikh Abu Idrees [may Allaah preserve him]: Warning Against those who belittle elder Students of Knowledge who are not Graduates: https://soundcloud.com/learnaboutislam/warning-against-those-who-belittle-elder-students-of-knowledge-who-are-not-graduates-abu-idrees
Therefore, it it incumbent upon us to make this known and bear witness to the truth. And we ask Allaah to include us amongst those who fulfil the command in the following Aayah:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّٲمِينَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ شُہَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَوِ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَۚ إِن يَكُنۡ غَنِيًّا أَوۡ فَقِيرً۬ا فَٱللَّهُ أَوۡلَىٰ بِہِمَاۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ ٱلۡهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْۚ وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا
O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah; even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do. [Surah An-Nisaa. Ayah 135]
To be continued…InShaaAllaah
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 73-74. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm 126-127]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 123-124]