1. Ikhlaas – Sincerity: Our intention must be to gain knowledge for the sake of Allah (SWT), to seek His pleasure.
Jabir ibn ‘AbduLlah رضي الله تعالى عنه narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Do not acquire knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain mastery over the gatherings. Since whoever does that, then: The Fire! The Fire! [Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Sunan ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad and others]
Sufyan ath-Thawri رحمه الله تعالى said, “I have never tried to cure anything that is more difficult to cure than my niyyah”2. To make sure we purify our hearts from any evil feeling against the fellow students of knowledge and Muslims in general:
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم “…Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body which if it is good, then the whole body is good, but if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart.” [Sahihayn]3. Our body should be purified of sins. We must make sure we have Taqwa of Allah (SWT):
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Teaching others good and forgetting himself is like a candle that gives light to others and burns itself.”
- Our purpose of learning should also be to implement on ourselves what we learn.
5. Good studying habits:
- Early morning for memorization
- Later on, study a new topic
- Afternoon for revision of older topics
- Evening for doing research.
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “A person will follow the religion of his friend, so be careful whom you choose as your friend”
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described a good a friend as a man who sells perfume. If a person stays in his company, he will smell sweet. He صلى الله عليه وسلم described a bad friend as a blacksmith. If a person stays in his company, he will eventually smell unappealing.7. He should try to study Islam at an early age:
- Studying in a young age is like inscribing on a rock and at an old age is stick tapping in water.
Scholars have said, “If you give yourself all to gaining knowledge, then you will gain something, otherwise you will gain nothing”9. Taking notes:
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Trap knowledge, trap knowledge.” The Sahabah رضوان لله تعالى عليهم said, “How, O’ Messenger of Allah?” Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “By writing it down.” [Khatib al-Baghdadi and others, Sahih]
- When the Salaf were during a class and when their paper used to run out, they used to start writing on their sleeves. When the place would run out, they would take off their shoes and write on their upper clean part. They would, then, go home bare feet on scorching sand. As soon as they would reach home, they would copy the ‘Ilm down on paper.
Etiquettes of a Student of Knowledge with his Shaykh (Teacher):
1. He should choose the proper Shaykh:
Muhammad ibn Sirin رحمه الله تعالى said, “This knowledge is that you learning is the Deen, so be careful of who you take the Deen from.”2. He should respect his Shaykh:
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “He is not from us who does not love and show mercy to the young one and respect the elder ones and know the right of the scholars.”
‘AbduLlah ibn ‘Abbas رضي الله تعالى عنه once took the stirrup of Zayd bin Thabit رضي الله تعالى عنه who was a much older and knowledgeable Sahabah and he was leading his horse. So, Zayd رضي الله تعالى عنه said, “How can you do this if you are the cousin of Prophet?” ‘AbduLlah رضي الله تعالى عنه replied, “This is how we have been commanded to treat our scholars!”3. He should have proper adaab (manners) with his Shaykh:
Imam ash-Shafi’i رحمه الله تعالى once said concerning Imam Malik رحمه الله تعالى, “When I would sit in front of Imam Malik, I would turn the pages gently so as not to disturb him.”
The Salaf رحمهم الله تعالى used to say, “You are going to be treated the way you treat your shuyookh.”
Imam ar-Rabi’ رحمه الله تعالى, the student of Imam ash-Shafi’i رحمه الله تعالى, said, “By Allah, I never had the guts to drink water in front of Imam ash-Shafi’i.”
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to Abu Hurairah رضي الله تعالى عنه, “Beware of excessive laughter because laughing too much causes your heart to die.”4. He should love and pray for his Shaykh:
Shu’bah ibn al-Hajjaj رحمه الله تعالى said, “When I would hear a hadith from a person, for the rest of life I would always be in his service.”5. He should be patient with concerning the faults of his Shaykh:
The Salaf رحمهم الله تعالى would say, “Whoever is not patient with concerning the faults of his Shaykh will not learn anything.”6. He should properly in front of his Shaykh:
In the famous hadith of Jibreel عليه سلام when he came to ask the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about what is Iman, Islam and Ihsan, he sat next to Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم knee to knee and kept his hand on his صلى الله عليه وسلم’s knee.