The Importance of seeking knowledge with its people, and books and audios only being supplementary aids.


Those that study from books while listening to audios, if they were to be proficient in it, can they suffice themselves with it?

And is it possible for a person to be proficient in a science from the different fields of science by listening to audios only?

Bearing in mind that this question has come from someone who is unable to travel to the scholars.


Allah, the Most High, said:

(وَمَا كَانَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُوا۟ كَآفَّةً ۚ فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُوا۟ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُوا۟ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ)

“And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out to fight (Jihad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in (Islamic) religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).”

And it’s authentically been reported from Ibn ‘Abbas, for him to have said:

“The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said:

(تَسْمَعُونَ وَيُسْمَعُ مِنْكُمْ وَيُسْمَعُ مِمَّنْ
سَمِعَ مِنْكُمْ)

“You are listening, and you are listened to, and those that listened to you are listened to.”

[Reported by Abu Daud, and it’s in the Sahih Al-Musnad of Al-Wādi’ī, may Allah have mercy upon him]

In these evidences and other than it, shows that it’s a must that this knowledge is taken by connecting oneself to the chain of narration of the revelation; so a person takes from those that have taken, until this chain of narration reaches the Companions who have taken the revelation from the Prophet ﷺ from Jibrīl from Allah, the Most High.

This is the avenue for correct establishment, and a person would not become a student of knowledge who has become proficient in a field or a number of fields, who is relied upon in his understanding and his taking and his conveying.

Except through this avenue.

And Allah, the Most High, said:

(وَلَيْسَ ٱلْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُوا۟ ٱلْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلْبِرَّ مَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَأْتُوا۟ ٱلْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَٰبِهَا ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ)

“It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who fears Allah. So enter houses through their proper doors, and fear Allah that you may be successful.”

And the books of the people of knowledge and their written explanations and their audios, repel a person from the state of necessity.

It would suffice him from having to take it from other than its rightful people.

And it would lift from him ignorance in the affairs of knowledge which are Fardl ‘Ayn (obligatory upon everyone to know), and that which is obligatory upon him to know of the religion.

As for what relates to that which is Fardl Kifāyah (that which when it’s established by some, the obligation of having the knowledge of it falls away from others) of the affair of stepping forward to teach the people and establishing Da’wah, then this is an additional affair, and it’s a must that the legs have been crossed in front of the people of knowledge, as has preceded.

Whereby they will clarify what is obscured, and you will be safe from what occurs from the angle of Tashīf (spelling mistakes, changing of words, mistakes in printing etc), and they will explain what is confusing, and direct you to the correct understanding and the way of sound understanding by building the subsidiary affairs upon the foundations.

And by taking from them you will shorten the path upon yourself, you will also benefit from them praiseworthy conduct and mannerisms, and other than this which is not taken except through face to face and witnessing them in person.

Al-Hāfidh Adh-Dhahabi, may Allah have mercy upon them, in the biography of ‘Ali bin Ridwān Al-Misri, said:

“He didn’t have a shaykh, rather he busied himself with taking from books, and authored a book on obtaining profession through books, and that it’s more successful than through teachers, and this is wrong.”
[End of speech from “As-Siyar” (18/105)]

The basis of those that knowledge is taken from, is that it’s from those that are known to have sought it, and are declared upright by the people of knowledge, and only one praise from those that are qualified, and whose statement is taken into consideration in this affair, is sufficient.

Because the affair is how it was said by Imām Ibn Sirīn, may Allah have mercy upon him, in what has been narrated from him as found in the introduction of Sahih Muslim with an authentic chain of narration:

“Verily this knowledge is religion, so look at he who you take your religion from.”

And those that haven’t taken the knowledge from its people, and have intentionally turned away from this and instead taking from books and audios, then these people are not to be felt happy with what they have with them, this is if they obtained some knowledge.

You would find them being deceived with themselves, thinking they are upon something when in reality they are not upon something.

Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:

“Whoever was to seek knowledge from the midst of books would lose the rulings.”

[End of speech]

And it has been established from Imām Sa’īd bin ‘Abdul-‘Azīz At-Tanwagi, that he said:

“They would say: don’t take knowledge from a Suhufi (someone who only took from books), and don’t take the Qur’ān from a Mushafi (someone who only learned from the Mushaf).
[End of speech]

And Shaykh Sālih Al-Fawzăn, may Allah preserve him, was asked:

A man teaches people legislative sciences and the creed of the Salaf, while he hasn’t taken knowledge from the Mashāyikh and the scholars, is knowledge taken from him?

Whereby his answer was:

“It being that he hasn’t got knowledge based establishment from the scholars, and is only a student of papers or books, then knowledge isn’t taken from him, because the methodology of the Salaf is not understood except through studying with the scholars.

This knowledge is through taking directly from the scholars, it’s not through mere reading only, it’s through taking from the scholars directly, but reading is an aid only.

It’s not relied upon solely, so this type of person it’s said to him: pretender of knowledge, and knowledge is not taken from him.”
[End of speech]

As for those whose trustworthiness and uprightness has become known, and his following of the truth, and it was the case that he has taken knowledge from the books of the people of the Sunnah and their audios.

Not out of intentionally avoiding sitting with the people of knowledge or wishes to put himself forward in Da’wah.

But due to incapability in achieving this, and for this you find him benefiting his brothers with what he has learned and he doesn’t exceed into that which he doesn’t know.

As Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, forbade speaking upon ignorance:

(وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلسَّمْعَ وَٱلْبَصَرَ وَٱلْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْـُٔولًا)

“And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.) that of which you have no knowledge (e.g. one’s saying: “I have seen,” while in fact he has not seen, or “I have heard,” while he has not heard). Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah).”

Making speaking about Him without knowledge greater than making partners with Him, Exalted is He, due to it containing a combination of all evil, Allah, the Most High, said:

(قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّىَ ٱلْفَوَٰحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَٱلْإِثْمَ وَٱلْبَغْىَ بِغَيْرِ ٱلْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِۦ سُلْطَٰنًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ)

“Say (O Muhammad ﷺ): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.”

So it’s upon him to be trustworthy, to know his own level, and to relay to those benefiting from him the speech of the people of knowledge, and if something was to confuse him or his brothers, he is to return to the people of knowledge.

This person would be upon good, while sitting with the people of knowledge would be better for him, without a doubt, especially in this time when trials, and the presence of pretenders to understanding and knowledge, are numerous.

And know that the fruits of sitting with the scholar is not merely taking knowledge from him, rather:

➖taking knowledge.
➖praiseworthy mannerisms.
➖also, you will benefit from the scholars, – an affair of utmost importance –:

How to conduct in times of fitnah, with those that are correct and those that are in opposition, you will learn how to speak, when to speak and with what to speak with.

And success is granted by Allaah.

And in the fatawaa of the standing committee of knowledge-based research and legal rulings, comes the following:

Q: Is it true that knowledge is not taking except from the mouth of the scholars, being in the circles of the lessons, or is it that it’s also taken from other avenues like books and audios, without actually taking it directly from the Mashāyikh and the scholars, i.e the fall proof way?


“It’s a must that knowledge is sought by way of the scholars who act upon this knowledge, and not merely from books and audios, because the scholars clarify that which is obscured, and explain that which is confusing, and direct towards the correct understanding.

Knowledge-based books and audios are only means which are used as an aid to the student of knowledge, when and if they were books and audios which were good, and authored by the scholars, but they are not to be sufficed with.”
[End of speech]

Bakr Abu Zayd
‘Abdul-‘Azīz Āl-Shaykh
Sālih Al-Fawzān
‘Abdullah bin Ghudayān
‘Abdul-‘Azīz bin ‘Abdillah bin Bāz

Answered by:
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.


Translated by:
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani