In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen said:
Some people say that someone who does not grasp current affairs is not a scholar, yet they forget what the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Whoever Allah wishes good for, He grants them understanding in the religion”. Then they lose sight of the reality that preoccupying oneself with current affairs distracts a person from understanding the religion and may even keep people from engaging in correct worship, which is to worship Allah alone while devoting one’s heart to Allah and reflecting on Allah’s divine revelation (i.e. the Qur’an) and His universal signs (i.e. the things He has created). In reality, preoccupying the youth with current affairs prevents them from understanding the religion Allah has ordained because the heart is a vessel that does not take another thing when it is filled with something else; thus, it is not possible to fill it with this and that. Being preoccupied with seeking understanding in the religion, fulfilling acts of worship, pure Islamic monotheism, and sincerity are the better to do for the individual than learning about current affairs and what such and such a person is about. It is possible that one receives knowledge of current affairs through flimsy and fabricated media narrations, or bases knowledge of current affairs on the analysis and speculations of a person. The one engaged in the subject of current affairs may seek to establish an analysis that is far from what the current affairs are or they look into affairs that have been concocted for them by the enemies (regarding) a specific event, but this event turns out to be something else and does not exist at all, so all those plans come to naught. Therefore, it is important that one learns what Islam expects of them- the understanding related to one’s self, rectification of the heart through sound belief and wishing good for the Muslims, and this is related to the understanding of halaal, haraam, and other affairs of a similar nature. (However), if necessary, one can acquire knowledge about current affairs; but when it comes to matters that haven’t actually happened yet, such as lies, deception, analysis, and speculation, attaching absolute emphasis to it has no foundation.
[An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm’ pages 194-195. slightly paraphrased]