In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Can you call someone your shaykh if you read their books or listened to their tapes?
by Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree May Allah preserve him
Question: Is it permissible for one who seeks knowledge from a scholar, by the way of books and tapes, to say that the scholar is his shaykh?
Answer: There is no issue with saying that the scholar is his shaykh. However, I want to inform you that learning knowledge has two paths.
The way of taking knowledge verbally and sitting with a scholar. This is obtaining knowledge directly from a learned person by sitting in front of them and gaining good cultivation.This is exemplary and the best path (for one to embark).
This was how the Companions took knowledge from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Those in Madina took knowledge directly from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and then they taught their people.
The same goes for the Tabi’een with the Companions. They took knowledge from the Companions, especially among the kibaar from them. Likewise, the same was for the Tabi’ Tabi’een up until today. This is the correct way of learning and the best type.
Obtaining knowledge from the path of books or tapes. There is no problem in this and it is beneficial. However, it is not the same as the first path, and it is not advised for everyone. It is advised for those who are unable (to be with the scholars) because of long distance and (also) for women.
Sometimes women aren’t able to sit with a scholar even if they are in the same land. Therefore, they will benefit (from tapes and books), but they are advised to not engage in issues with problematic differing. Entrust those affairs to the people of knowledge, or one who is a learned teacher, or an Imaam of a masjid. Send these questions to them so that they can be answered.
Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam
الفقير الى الله