One of our teachers when we studied the life of ‘Abdullah ibn Al Mubaarak (rahimahullah); he emphasized something – practicality of gaining knowledge and including
analytical knowledge as well.
Since we live in the west;
I, personally, have not seen a book that comprehensively discusses how WESTERN students of knowledge can gain knowledge (outside of programs such as Arees Institute and other institutes, in general).
Memorization – though, a key in becoming a student of knowledge; by no means is it an impediment in being a student of knowledge. And so many of the books these days focus on this aspect, where as lacking in other important aspects.
The key is a lot of the books discuss how to systematically become a dedicated full time student of knowledge…. in the east. I am regretful that a lot of students in the west take so much out of context and begin to dwell on this “forget the dunya studies” aka “madinah university syndrome” dream of leaving off ‘everything’ to ‘study.’ They end up milling around, with wrong intentions, wrong syllabus, and no more a pragmatic solution – and end up in 2-4 years doing nothing and achieving nothing in terms of study.
As we LIVE in an environment that does not alott us the rigorous schedules of Fajr till ‘Asr studying and memorizing;
I believe, living in the WEST, we need to be practical.
Does that entail we cannot memorize Sahihayn? Of course not. And i know some, (meaning: few) students who have memorized books such as
Bulugh al Maram, even Sahihayn. etc.
What I am suggesting is fully taking in our situation and being pragmatic in terms of how to use our time MOST effentially.
This is from what I personally have gathered. M
1. Memorizing the Qur’an is the CRUX. No matter you are in the east, west, north, or south. The issue is Not to be engrossed in so many classes and etc. that one forgets the book of Allah – i firmly believe this is one of the MAIN PROBLEMS that western students face.
LEARNING PRIORITIES. And this was a problem we had to get over, and we see in many students they leave off memorizing the book of Allah for things that shaykhul islam ibn taymiyyah rahimahullah mentioned as, “in the outside looks like they are beneficial, but in reality people are engrossing themselves in that which will ultimately have no benefit.”
2. Knowledge of Arabic.
No more excuses.
You are not a (proper) student of knowledge if you do not know arabic.
Sorry to be harsh, but we’re all ‘wannabes’ until you know and learn arabic.
One’s depth of understanding is expanded million fold once we learn arabic.
And our knowledge is expanded to past ‘oh x publishing company just translated the new y book by the famous shaykh z.’
Does that mean you cannot traverse on becoming a student of knowledge in the meantime while you learn? of course not.
The objective here is optimism. You can do SO much while you’re learning arabic!
One of them is see number 1. Memorize Qur’an. and we will also mention others below..
3. Having studied primers in each field of the sciences-
by study we mean with a shaykh, an institute, or otherwise some kind of formal study.. There is also many commentaries available online in audio that a real student has the time to listen to all
Fiqh – al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhadhdhab or Al maqasid (being wary of the appendices if it’s the english translation) for example by An Nawawi in Shaf’iee Fiqh. and Fiqh us Sunnah by Sayyid As-Sabiq in Comparative. When one increases in Arabic
can move towards, ‘Umdat al Fiqh, and ‘Umdat al Ahkam, etc.
Also emphasizing in some works like The Book of Pre requisites, Pillars, and Recommendations of the Prayer by ibn AbdulWahhab, etc.
‘Aqeedah – Usool ath thalatha, Kitaab at Tawheed, Al Qawaa’id ul Arbaa’ah, An Nawaaqidul Islam, Kashf ash shubuhaat all by Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab. Al ‘Aqeedatul waasitiyyah, hamawiyyah, tadmuriyyah by ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah, and many many others (see the ‘Aqeedah folder for a comprehensive list here)
(The lists in what to cover in Usool ud deen, Usool ul fiqh, mustalahul Hadeeth, ‘Uloom ul Qur’an, arabic, etc. can be overwhelming for this post so i will leave it off; as it has been also mentioned in some posts above, etc.).
4. In hadeeth specifically. A student needs to memorize 40 hadeeth an Nawawi. This is essential and covers so many principles in Usool ud deen that are VITAL, i mean ABSOLUTELY vital for western sense! I mean anything from the ‘meat issue,’ to prayer, to intention, to ‘aqeedah, fiqh, etc. Covers masha’aAllah a lot.
Get your hands on every explanation and audio on it. Heavenly Pearls by Abu Abdis salam. Ibn al ‘Utheimeen rahimahullah’s explanation. J. Zarabozo 3 volume set. the Almaghrib class coming up. Memorize it and study it in depth. It will GROUND you so well in the study.
Also notice how steps 1-4 all are cohesive? They help build one another?
While you memorize qur’an it builds arabic.
When you memorize hadith it builds arabic.
When you study arabic it builds your understanding of Qur’an and Hadeeth.
When you study fiqh and ‘aqeedah exposes you to new vocabulary and you can incorporate your knowledge of Qur’an and Hadeeth and your study of Arabic.
This is practical.
The point is how can one go about achieving this?
WHAT DOES A WESTERN STUDENTS SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
After being GRILLED about memorizing Qur’an.. how do I go about studying the other fields? What should I Give priority to?
etc. answering all these important questions
Utilizing Fajr and off time; between uni studies, and specific days to study – or extracurricular activites and ‘general lectures’ and choosing how to prioritize and make ones schedule, etc.
I could write more but I hope insha’aAllah we students come together and WRITE up a PIECE with the approval of instructors and publish it. As we all can help with something tangible to give,
when someone asks next time..
“ya akhi/ya ukhti HOW can i be a student of knowledge here?”
We can have a different answer other than “dude go to madinah,
or read x book written by famous shaykh” – which is not practical for that person.
We can hand them
an AlMaghrib Institute Teacher Approved and Published- Student prepared Guide and Syllabus.
– How to be a successful memorizer of Qur’an in the west
– Pitfalls in steps to knowledge
– Perfecting one’s niyyah
– how to pracitcally achieve study habits alongside Uni studies!
– finding balance
– the practical aspect of knowledge in the west.
– how to make a proper schedule
– how to avoid distractions
– Fiqh of Priorities (fiqh al awlawiyaat)
(all this in addition to any institutes, we attend of course)
I know this will be covered insha’aAllah as well in ‘Ilm Summit. So insha’aAllah those students who Allah blessed them to go, take good notes!
And we can compile insha’aAllah something for Ummat Muhammad and so many can benefit from..