How to Read the Books of the People of Knowledge

  Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Āl al-Shaykh

Seeking knowledge is a lengthy path that is not possible to embark upon except by abandoning play and amusement and approaching it in a serious manner. This is because Allāh the Exalted, the Most High, described what He revealed to Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), and He (Allāh) is the most truthful in speech, as a weighty word. Allāh the Exalted, the Most High says, “Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty word.” [Sūrah al-Muzzammil, 73:5]


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  One must know that books from any science whether it is books of tafsīr, ḥadīth, fiqh, ʿaqīdah etc. are divided into the ‘matoon’ or the basic, abridged texts, the intermediary level books and the books of detailed explanation. Consequently, the one who delves into the detailed books before the basic ones has indeed missed a very important point in establishing the proper manhaj of seeking knowledge.


Seeking knowledge is a lengthy path that is not possible to embark upon except by abandoning play and amusement and approaching it in a serious manner. This is because Allāh the Exalted, the most High, described what He revealed to Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), and He (Allāh) is the most truthful in speech, as a weighty word.  Allāh the Exalted, the most High says, 

“Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty word.”
[Sūrah al-Muzzammil, 73:5]

And this weighty word is the kitāb and the sunnah. Thus, when it was said to Imām Mālik Ibn Anas, the Imām of Darul-Hijrah (Madīnah), “These are easy questions", concerning some questions he could not answer, he replied, “Do not say this, for regardless whether the knowledge is small or big, there exists no such thing as easy because Allāh the Exalted, the Most High described it as a weighty word.” 

Translation by Ḥishām ibn Zayd

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