By Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwiand translated by Syed Huzaifah Ali Nadwi
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There are many types of students of Ḥadith, the best of them are those who study the books of Ḥadith from both aspects of the usūl and the furūʾ with a complete grasp of the asānīd, mutūn, rijāl and the ʿilal of the aḥādīth, comprehending their meanings and contents, and are able to apply them to their lives. Indeed these are the true heirs of the prophets, the instructors of goodness and the callers to the right path. By acquiring the higher ranking and renowned asānīd as well as the lower ranking and lesser known, the beauty and appeal of their knowledge is then further adorned.
Unfortunately in our time, there have emerged some youth who are not proficient in the Arabic language and its literature, have no grasp of the Qurʾan, Ḥadith, fiqh of the furūʿ (applied fiqh) and juzʾiyyāt (its particular issues) nor do they know of the biographies of the scholars and the pious. The majority of what they have acquired are partial samāʿāt (hearings) obtained by way of indirect extortion, indistinct and obscure readings, void of any understanding and insight, and delusional general ijāzāt (permissions/licenses). They are constantly obtaining these samāʿāt and ijāzāt over the phone and via the internet from elderly male and female scholars without being aware of what is being read to them, neither the section nor the book.
They consider the multiplication of these samāʿāt and ijāzāt a form of superiority, and so whenever they come to know of a scholar in a nearby or distant place, they pounce upon him without any display of etiquette towards him nor any regard of his obligations or reverence. The scholar is inundated with his works yet they cause him a great inconvenience and put him in further difficulty. And when the scholar cannot entertain their request, they make assumptions, offend him and develop a prejudice towards him.
My advice to you, o young students of the noble sciences!
- Do not waste your time in exerting yourselves and rushing towards these samāʿāt and ijāzāt that do not benefit you in knowledge. Apply yourself to the mastering of the Arabic language, reflecting on the book of Allah, inspecting the lives of the pious and examining the fundamental books of Hadith with respect to the isnād, matn, rijāl and the ʿilal.
- Observe a great deal of adab before turning to the reading or listening of Hadith. Know that the blessings of knowledge are linked to the fear of Allah and adab. I do not think it far-fetched to say that by causing grief and inconvenience to the scholars and shuyūkh this will not only result in the withdrawal of the mercy of Allah from you but it will a cause of depriving you the knowledge that you claim to gain, having dedicated yourselves in its path.
- The greatest respect is that you be courteous, humble and modest, affectionate and loving towards your shuyūkh.
- Do not make calls or send messages to them over the phone unless you have exclusive permission from them.
- Know that the shuyūkh have many different tasks and obligations including teaching, writing, earning a livelihood and taking care of their families. If you are not able to spare them the trouble and assist them in what they are preoccupied with in any way, then at least do not distract their attention away from what they are preoccupied with as you will only burden them with grief and sorrow.
- Beware of causing them trouble, making them angry, saying bad things about them, feeling prejudice against them, backbiting about them or causing them hurt or pain as the woeful consequences of all the above will fall back upon you, thus depriving and causing misery for you.
- Turn to your Lord and worship him in the best way possible, as little knowledge coupled with the worship of Allah is plenty.
O Allah! Forgive us for our mistakes, have mercy on us, and make us righteous humble scholars who turn repentantly to you.
Disclaimer: Translations have not been checked by the author and represent the work of the translator