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Author Topic: The Methodology of Studying: What & How - Mufti Ismail Moosa  (Read 1357 times)

samah

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Quote from: Mufti Ismail Moosa
Assalamu alaykum,



Masha Allah, I am really intrigued by seeing the great zeal and thirst of knowledge which all of you have. May Allah Ta’ala increase your zeal and bless you all with knowledge…Amin.

Having browsing through this thread, I could not help but offer some comments, for the honourable students to consider. I am just looking at the practicality and possibility of some of the choices.
 

Firstly, the importance of the Arabic language cannot be underestimated, nor adequately emphasised. One will only be able to truly appreciate the Islamic sciences if he understands it in directly from the Arabic. Numerous commentaries of the Quran and Ahadith go at length discussing the Arabic, grammar, choice of words, balagha etc. In fact, many laws of Fiqh are derived solely because of the usage of the Arabic language.

Having said that, it should be realised that one does not have to master Arabic in order to start with books of Hadith and Fiqh. Rather, one should study Arabic alongside the books of Hadith and Fiqh, and then in turn use Hadith and Fiqh to master Arabic. For example, in the Darul Ulum, students start with the Arabic of Nur al-Idhah and the Arabic of Riyadh as-Salihiun immediately after they complete their first book of Sarf i.e one month after classes start! They then use Nur al-Idhah and Riyadh as-Salihin for tarkib and vocabulary. Thus, if you really want to master any of the Islamic sciences, atleast start with just one GOOD book in sarf, and one GOOD book in Nahw.  Then gradually you build up on the Arabic, together with studying other books in Tafsir and Hadith. Remember, Quran and Hadith is the basis of the Arabic language, and we can learn sufficient vocabulary etc through these exalted sciences.
 

Secondly, first see how much you already know, and base your decision on that. For example, if you did not do anything in Hanafi Fiqh/Usul etc, I doubt studying an intricate book at the very beginning will be of any benefit.
 

Thirdly, when choosing any book, keep a goal infront; what do you want to achieve? Do you want to study the basics of every science, or do you want to master one science first before going onto the next science? How many sciences do you intend studying concurrently?

The choice of books will depend vastly upon this.  A brother above alluded to this by stating that it should be like a ladder. Thus, if you want a good understanding of Hanafi fiqh, for example, you can start with a basic book (Nur al-Idha/Tuhfa al-Muluk/Tashil adharuri), then go onto a reliable matn (Quduri/Mukhtaar/Wiqayah), then go onto Adillah and answers to contrast views (Ikhtiyaar/Aathaar as-Sunan/Sharh Ma’ani al-Aathaar) etc. On the contrast if you are not a Hanafi and merely desire to just get a basic understanding  of Hanafi Fiqh, then just study Nur al-Idhah and one book on Adillah, and then move on. The same applies for the other fields.

In short, without keeping goal infront, mere choosing books is just like shooting aimlessly.
 

Now, once a person has a goal, he should see how much time he can dedicate to it and now choose the books accordingly. Its no use choosing huge books which run into volumes if you can only give one hour a week. Rather then, choose something small, according to your availability.

The best is to give time everyday to study. As for the Sahabah learning only 7 verses, then memorising and practising upon them,  firstly, rather hasten your pace of memorising and practising :)

Secondly, that did not mean that the Sahabah did not spend the rest of their time in the company of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). They spent everyday (or every alternate as in Sahih al-Bukhari) with him and continued to learn new things.
 

Likewise, all our salaf as-Salih, from the Sahabah right up till the present day had and a continue to have daily lessons. I am now recalling so many Muhaddithoon between the years 50 AH to 260 AH who would teach 1000 Ahadith a day! Imam Nawawi would teach 13 subjects each day. And of course, I can go on citing many more examples. Upto this day, almost all Islamic institutes continue to have daily lessons. And mind you, we test students the previous days lessons, and Alhamdulillah, many do memorise their work. I know many students who know Mukhtasar al-Quduri, Nur al-Idhah, As-Siraji, Mishkaat al-Masabih, Sahih al-Bukhari etc off by heart (with doing lessons everyday). In short, it is better and easier to learn 5 lines 5 times a week, instead of learning and memorising 25 lines on only 2 days.
 

If we go by the assumption of only learning in baby steps, then how will we ever progress in all the different sciences? How will it ever be possible to cover voluminous books such as the following with only one lesson a week:

"Al Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, Kitab al Umm, Al Bidayah wan Nihayah, Awjazul Masalik, Fath ul Bari, Musnad of Imam Ahmad, Ihya ulum ad-Din, Nayl al-Awtar,  Al-Lubab, books on Tafsir etc"

I’ll estimate just Fath al-Bari to be in minimum 8 years (based on number of pages, Explanation needed etc), if one has two sessions a week (2 and half hours).  Add another 3 hours every weekend for 6 years to cover Kitab al-Umm. Musnad Ahmad has around 30 000 Ahadith, so see how many years you need for that (I’ll estimate maximum 40 Ahadith with translation in one session. With two sessions a week, a person will cover 360 Ahadith a month. So about minimum 90 months should be needed for Musnad Ahmad, provided it is done with consistency. And with that, I seriously doubt an average student will memorise all 30 000 Ahadith by then. Thus, a person who did a little daily would have much more knowledge than that student who done alot only on weekends.) I’ll assume Al-Lubab will take a year if it is done five times a week, for 30/45 min daily (that too, if we assume that it is good for a beginning student to study that). As for Tafsir, I’ll estimate a minimum of three years if we have a daily session of 30 minutes.

To do the other books, more time will be needed. Thus, rather choose the books according to the time you can give.

If you are only looking at two subjects a week, rather choose smaller works and decide how much you want to do in each field.

And finally, please do realise that if you really want to acquire knowledge, you will have to sacrifice.

Undoubtedly, studying on more days will be difficult, but this is much easier than the difficulties the pious predecessors (and even the present day students who actually go to official institutes and dedicate years, not hours) have to go through.
 

These are just a few points which crossed my mind.
Please excuse typos/grammar errors etc. since I wrote all this in haste.

Jazakallahu khairan,
 

Wassalam,

Ismail


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