Class Notes 8.30.2013
Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge
This is covering things the Shaikh has compiled for our benefit. Many books have written on this subject as below.
أدب العالم والمتعلم للنووي
تذكرة السامع والمتكلم في أدب العالم والمتعلم لابن جماعة
تعليم المتعلم طرق التعلم للزرنوجي
Knowledge is one thing but the etiquette is something else.
Some of the teachers the Shaikh studied focused more on adab. This is what increases the knowledge as it makes it filled with blessings.
One who is protective and careful with adab will help him be observant over the sunnah which helps to be observant of the obligatory.
The first part of adab is sincerity.
Famous saying of Imam Ghazali:
تعلمنا العلم لغير الله .. فأبى أن يكون إلا لل
Imam Ghazali was an orphan and his mother could not pay for his upbring. He was put into a Madrasah Nizamiyah. He was placed there not for the sake of pleasing Allah with his seeking knowledge but rather to get his basic sustenance of food. This was his intention in the beginning and he says he did not really get any real knowledge. It was only after that did he really gain knowledge and reach the rank he did.
One must prepared to the lesson whether that is bring a writing instrument or computer. There is tabi who was studying with Ibn Abbas and he had nothing to write on so he wrote on his hands because he saw that the knowledge was so precious and did not want to miss it. Someone who comes to a lesson without what he can benefit with like a pen is not really a seeker of knowledge. One should come to lesson not being distracted by hunger needed to use the bathroom or anything else.
One must prepare for the lesson by reading ahead. This will prepare the student for greatest benefit. This includes preparing from other texts and commentaries. Very few students do this. Many will review after it but the best situation to do both. The least is to do review.
Come to gathering dressed nicely with clean clothes. Imam Shafi said using a goodly scent increases one’s intelligence.
From the adab is patience. There should some level of trials either from eating less or sleeping less which will help you value the knowledge. Having a leasurly life is the not way of seekers of knowledge.
One should straight and not recline. Do not stretch one’s legs. One should follow the example set my Gibrael when he came in the famous hadeeth. He placed his hands on his thighs. He sat with his legs crossed legged. Sitting on the chairs is not a problem as that is the norm now.
One should speak with kindness to the teacher and make prayer for him in his question such as saying May Allah forgive you. One should try to limits one’s questions. One needs to show up to the lesson prior to the arrival of the teacher.
One should have the utter regard and respect for the teacher however one should not have such respect thinking that they do not make mistakes. This is known as taqdis. This leads to having low opinions of other teachers and creates factions.
One should not consider any amount of time in seeking knowledge is too much. In reality, it is too little. One should seek knowledge without a limit. One should not say that what I have studied suffices.
It is recommended to stand up for one’s teachers. It is also fine to kiss his hands or his head. Most do not like their students to stand up for them.