Monday, October 28, 2013

Can Islamic Knowledge be Obtained from Books Alone?

Can Deeni Knowledge be Obtained from Books Alone?
To acquire knowledge under the expertise of a fully qualified, Sunnah conscious Aalim of Deen is absolutely essential. Failure to do so generally results in absolute misguidance. In fact, this has been the practice of the Ambiyaa, as well as our pious predecessors (salaf-us-saliheen).
The Holy Qur'an was revealed by Almighty Allah Ta'ala for guidance and knowledge of the Ummah. But, without the explanation of Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwas allam the meanings would definitely be misunderstood.
Allah Ta'ala addresses Rasulullah  [Sallallahualaihiwa sallam] in the Qur'an,
'And we have revealed to you the Qur'an, so that you may explain to the people what was revealed to them.' [an-Nahl 16:44]

Hadhrat Umar ibn al-Khattab R.A. was careful to prevent the dissemination of unverified knowledge – chainless knowledge – that was to proliferate after his time. He said: “Whoever finds a book containing knowledge that he did not hear from an Aalim (scholar), let him dip it in water until its ink is diluted.” [Narrated by Khateeb al-Baghdadi in al-Kifaya (p. 352) and Imam al-Sakhawi in Fath al-Mughith (2:153).]

This hyperbolic ruling stresses the rigorous normative method in the conveyance of knowledge in Islam followed by the Sahaba and early generations.
Hafiz Khateeb al-Baghdadi (RA), the famous Muhaddith of the fifth century, states in his book, 'Taqyidul Ilm' "Imam al-Awzaa'iee (RA) says, 'Knowledge was sublime for as long as it was obtained from the mouths of the learned men. But when it ended up in books, it's Noor (divine light) disappeared. ' "(pg.64)
(Note: The purpose of the previous  quotation is to prove that mere studying of books is incorrect and void of divine assistance. The ideal would be to study those very same books under the auspices of a learned teacher. In no way do I intend to degrade the books of Shari'ah whatsoever.)

 Imam Malik (RA) was once asked if knowledge could be acquired from one who did not sit in the company of the Ulama (instead he sufficed with books only). He replied in the negative and said, 'Knowledge should not be acquired except from one who has memorized, accompanied the scholars, practiced upon his knowledge and has piety in him.' (refer Adabul Ikhtilaf pg.145)
Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah (an unparalleled Muhaddith of his time) mentions beautifully in his book, 'Adabul Ikhtilaf', 'They (the Ulama) never used to pay attention to one who did not have any Ustadh (teacher), neither would they consider such a person worthy of even being spoken to due to him being prone to mistakes.'

He further says,'Qadi Iyad and others have narrated that when Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was requested by the ruler of his time (al-Mu'tasim) to discuss a certain matter with ibn Abi Du'ad, he (Imam Ahmad) turned his face away and said'How can I discuss with such a person whom I have never seen at the door of any Alim ever!' (Ibid pg.144)

See also:
Learning from a Teacher & the Importance of (chain of transmission) Isnad

Legitimate Islamic Learning: From whom to learn the Deen.

No comments:

Post a Comment