In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Three benefits of having an actual teacher and not relying on books alone
By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen may Allah have mercy on him
The Shaykh mentions this point of benefit in his explanation of “Hilyatu Taalibil ‘ilm” under the chapter “The Methodology of Seeking Knowledge: To acquire knowledge from the scholars” on page 105. He was explaining the statement of Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd:
“The basis of acquiring knowledge should be by way of dictation and acquisition from the teachers, and by being in the continuous company of the scholars and taking from the mouths of men, and not from the scrolls and the depths of books. The first type of student (the one who takes from teachers) falls under the taking from ones relative when they talk; the second takes from a book which is inanimate; therefore how can the ties of lineage be possible?”
Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen comments by saying:
Verily, what is obligatory for the student of knowledge is to give great deal of attention in obtaining knowledge from scholars, because he will benefit in numerous ways:
First Benefit: Short cuts. Instead of him scrutinizing the belly of the books, looking for the most correct statement and its reason and looking for the weak statement and the reason for its weakness, the scholar will replace that. The teacher will aid the student to an easy path, and he will allude to the differences from the people of knowledge in masaa’il (issues). Showing him whether the difference is of two, three, or more opinions. The scholar will also clarify the most correct opinion with the evidence. This is no doubt beneficial for the student of knowledge.
Second Benefit: Quickness in comprehension. The student of knowledge will grasp more understanding quickly when reading books to a scholar. That is because when he reads books, by himself, he may pass by troublesome and ambiguous expressions. He would need to ponder and repeat the expression (until he understands), and this takes away from his time and effort. And perhaps he may even understand these expressions from an incorrect manner and acts by it.
Third Benefit: The connection between the students of knowledge and the nurturing scholars. The student becomes connected with the people of knowledge, from the small to the big.
These are (some) benefits of obtaining knowledge from the scholars. However, it is obligatory to choose from mankind scholars who are experts, trustworthy, and strong. With him is knowledge and comprehension, and it should not be superficial. (The scholar) should be trustworthy and have acts of worship, because the student emulates his teacher.
Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam
الفقير الى الله