Doubt: There Is No Difference Between Seeking Knowledge With The Scholars & Seeking Knowledge From Books & Audios | Shaykh ʿAbdullāh al-Bukhārī

Shaykh ʿAbdullāh Al-Bukhārī On The Baseless Claim That There Is No Difference Between Seeking Knowledge With The Scholars And Seeking Knowledge From Books & Audios:

The Question: “There is someone who says, and this is the last question, there is someone who says that there is no difference between the student of knowledge…rather seeking knowledge from the scholars and seeking knowledge from books and audios in terms of acquiring knowledge; in fact, audios are better because they can be stopped; meaning the recording and repeated. And he goes on to say where is the difference between the one who sits in front of a scholar and the one who listens to him [the same scholar] during a live broadcast in terms of acquiring knowledge?”

Shaykh ʿAbdullāh al-Bukhārī: “There is someone who says… it has occurred previously in many questions that we have addressed before –may Allāh bless you-, that speech is often spread; isn’t that correct? And some of the students from our brothers here have conveyed what some of them say. Does everything that is said require from us that we pay attention to it? Meaning everyone who says something, must I consider it and address it? Some speech is so clearly invalid that it does not require someone to invalidate it. In the biography of Imām Aḥmad, from [the book] Siyar [Aʿlām al-Nubalāʾ], al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Dhahabī mentioned that Imām Aḥmad was seated in his gathering, wherein he would teach, and there were approximately five thousand students in attendance.

Five hundred of those students wrote; whereas the remaining students observed his guidance, conduct and his way. They learned from his guidance and from his way. Is this found in an audio? This is a blessing. The ability to record is a blessing; a favor [conferred upon us]. Do not turn it into something which merits the punishment of Allāh and thus you bely the favor of Allāh upon you by way of this statement.

So don’t ever make them equal and it is not possible to make the two equal under any circumstances. And no one who recognizes [true] knowledge would say this and make listening to audios the same as sitting with a scholar or a teacher. Never, there is a major difference and great disparity between this and that.

So the matter –may Allāh bless you-, is one in which the falsehood is clear. And the corruption contained in it is likewise clear. It does not require any further teaching. However, does this mean that the one who is unable to reach [them] that he should not study? No. He should learn and listen. All praise is due to Allāh, these are [from the] means of conveying good. So listen to them [recordings and audios].

However, it is obligatory to note, and we have mentioned this many times, and as such it is something that needs to be highlighted, there might be a word mentioned during the lesson that was mistakenly said by the Shaykh or the scholar or other than this which is uttered as a slip of the tongue or the like. Perhaps he holds it to be correct or it is possible that he worships Allāh based upon it and perhaps he spreads it. It is important to be deliberate and take one’s time and to pay attention. Any problematic expression or other than this which is recorded, if one is able to communicate with him, one should attempt to meet with him during Ḥajj or ʿUmrah or during a visit with him or other than this.Yes, that Shaykh should be asked for an answer about it or something similar. As for making the two equal, then this is from the worst forms of falsehood.

And you should look into the books which contain biographies –may Allāh bless you- look at Tahdhīb al-Kamāl, whenever a narrator’s biographical account is mentioned, Ādam ibn Abī Iyās al-ʿAsqalānī for example so & so and so & so. [It is mentioned that] He narrated from [so & so and so & so] and then a number of names are mentioned. And [it is mentioned] from those who narrated from him. All of this –may Allāh bless you- is either based upon hearing directly from someone or by way of an intermediary who either heard directly from him so either a direct transmission or a transmission by way of an intermediary and like this; and why would they travel? Why would one of them burden himself by going here and there in order to acquire and seek knowledge and a single letter from a ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh ().

Tell me, by your Lord, is the one who sits with Imām ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz and takes from him [directly] and the one who listens to him and asks him [questions directly] if he is able to ask or has discussions with him and who took from him whatever he gave. Is he the same as the one who listens to these lessons and discussions in the east and the west? Are they the same?

An example of this, this is an example and you may use it to compare other situations –may Allāh bless you-. And don’t many of those who feign knowledge today cause great harm? And as they say, the internet is overflowing with people who present themselves as people with knowledge.

Don’t some of them brag that they sat with Ibn Bāz, Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn and scholars you would not be able to count; Ibn Bāz, Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn and al-Albānī and so on and so forth; and his age is such that I don’t think that he could have been older than someone who is breastfeeding or around that time or close to being weaned off of breast milk or just after that by a short while?!

And some of them, to the extent that I, during the year 1422H approximately, one of them came to me from one of the [two] Americas and he said O Shaykh my creed is correct and such & such and I said by Allāh, –may Allāh bless you-, the deficiency is not in your creed. Meaning, we didn’t say that you negate the loftiness of Allāh; however the deficiency lies in your conduct, call, methodology and way.

He said I have written my creed. I said, by Allāh, give it to me so that perhaps I might look at it and discover something in it; this creed. And unsurprisingly, I read it and sure enough, it contained in terms of problems and serious issues –may Allāh bless you- and many deficiencies in matters of creed.

However, when I looked at what he wrote, I noticed in his introduction that he mentioned that by the favor of Allāh I am a student who has learned at the hands of the scholars and then with the name of Allāh he states, I begin with ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz, and so you are connected to [the scholars] of the Ummah?!

Everything became confused; the righteous and the wretched, the corrupt and the one who corrupts. The confusion is great and the substance is very little. Do you see? So I met with him afterwards and said by Allāh, at first the issue was only linked to your way and your methods, your methodology and even your creed –may Allāh bless you- which were in need of revision. But you have many deficiencies. So when exactly did you study with so & so and so & so? When did you study with them?

By listening to them… So by listening to them [via recordings] they become your Shaykh?! With an audio?! He counted them as his Mashāyikh; boasting of something that he was not given. Boasting of what he was not given; and we ask Allāh the Mighty and Majestic to cure us and you of these problems and serious issues and make us among those who guide others and are from among the guided; those who are righteous and bring about rectification. And may the prayers of peace and blessings of Allāh be upon the Prophet (), his family and companions.”

Translated By: Abul-Layth Qāsim Mutiva

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