Is Having a Tazkiyyah a Condition Before Knowledge Could be Taken From a Person?
Author: Shaykh Sulaymaan Ar Ruhailee (hafithahullah)
Translator: Abu ‘Abdis Salaam Siddiq Al Juyaanee
The brother says,
Q: Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatahu, O our Shaikh may Allah reward you and benefit (you and others) with your knowledge. We have with us (in our lands) students of knowledge whom we only know good about them –may Allah benefit (others) by way of them. They teach us the books of ‘Itiqaad (‘Aqeedah) and Sunnah. Some brothers have come to us and have spread (the following) concerning the students:
Firstly, knowledge is only to be taken from the Akaabir.
Secondly, It's a must that there be a Tazkiyyah from the ‘Ulama for the one who is establishing (the likes of) these classes.
So this has led to the abandonment of some of the classes of which there is not present (or available) other (classes) in our area/province. So what should be our stance in this regard? (We hope) you give us direction (in this affair) may Allah bless you.
A: There's no doubt, that knowledge indeed should be taken from the Akaabir (Major Scholars) and a person must have a Tazkiyyah. However, who are the Akaabir (Major Scholars)? The Akaabir are those whom their knowledge has magnified (their status) and they are known for knowledge, even if they are young in age, even if they are youth. There were Akaabir from the Sahaabah who were young in age; knowledge was taken from them and their knowledge illuminated the world. This affair is from the important affairs in this issue, and it is, that the one who is young could be magnified (in status) by his knowledge; such that he is known by his profound beneficial knowledge. This (scenario) took place in abundance amongst the Salaf, starting with the Sahaabah may Allah be pleased with them (and it took place) after the Imaams.
A Tazkiyyah (is also) a must; for verily, this knowledge is Deen. So it is a must that we carefully look at the one we take our Deen from. However, what is a Tazkiyyah (and how is it attained)? A Tazkiyyah is achieved by way of three affairs:
The First Affair: A textual (i.e. written and/or verbal) Tazkiyyah from the reputable ‘Ulama, giving him Tazkiyyah. The ‘Ulama or some of them have given him a textual Tazkiyyah; a Tazkiyyah is not confined to one, two or three scholars. Rather (it would constitute a Tazkiyyah), if a (single) scholar from the reputable scholars (give him a Tazkiyyah) or a group of them (stating) that so and so has Tazkiyyah and he is suitable that knowledge be taken from him.
The Second Affair: It is well-known (by the ‘Ulama) that this student gives classes and no one from the people of knowledge has disapproved (of him doing so). It is well-known that he teaches and none of the reputable people of knowledge have disapproved of his classes. This is a Silent Tazkiyyah. This (is a Tazkiyyah) because it is not suitable that the ‘Ulama with their (lofty) status that they (know) that this person is from those who should be prevented from being studied with and yet they don’t say anything.
The Third Affair: And this is the most important affair in this issue and that is, that his knowledge gives him Tazkiyyah. So he doesn’t teach anything except the Sunnah. What I mean by this, is that he only speaks the truth and that he only takes from the ‘Ulama of the Sunnah and that he agrees with the books of the ‘Ulama of the Sunnah. (In addition to this) he does not refute any of the speech of reputable ‘Ulama nor does he contradict the Sunnah, this one, his knowledge gives him Tazkiyyah.
The ‘Ulama don’t personally know every student of beneficial knowledge. However, they would look into the knowledge he presents. Does he teach the Sunnah? Does he respect the views of the ‘Ulama of the Sunnah? Does he convey the speech of the ‘Ulama of the Sunnah? If this is the case, his knowledge gives him Tazkiyyah and knowledge is taken from him.
The statement that, “Verily knowledge is not taken except from the one who the ‘Ulama have given a written/verbal Tazkiyyah to;” (verily) this (statement) closes the door on much good. Many places have students of knowledge therein who teach the Sunnah and the explanations of the people of the Sunnah and they teach in accordance to that which they have learned. However, they do not hold a (textual) Tazkiyyah from a specific scholar. However, it is not known about him that which disparages him as relates to his knowledge; so if we say, “Don’t take knowledge from him,” knowledge would not remain in many places, the door of good would be closed, the people of innovation (would take his place) in teaching and the people of the Sunnah would be stopped and halted. The people of the Sunnah would then (have no alternative) except to take knowledge from the people of innovation or take knowledge from the internet or other than it. This is not correct and this does not benefit.
Therefore, we say, (a person) must have a Tazkiyyah and it is not permissible that we are lax (in this affair) and just take knowledge from anybody. However, what is a Tazkiyyah (and how is it attained)? It will either be by a textual (i.e. written and/or verbal) Tazkiyyah from one or a number reputable known ‘Ulama of the Sunnah, or by it being well-known (that a student) teaches and is benefited from, and the ‘Ulama do not disapprove of him doing so or by (way of his) correct sound knowledge that is free from that which disparage it and thus the student who teaches is known by way of it (i.e. this sound knowledge).
Next without doubt it is incumbent upon every (student) that they (teach according to what they know) and stops at their limit and that they do not go beyond what they have learned. So they teach the people according to the boundaries of their knowledge. Many of the Muslim lands are in need of those who would teach them the fundamental principles. So whoever firmly knows (and has studied) these fundamental principles from the people of Sunnah should teach the people. However, (this doesn’t mean) he would become like Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah. You know some students of knowledge would take a book or two then after that go and start teaching and become big headed and thus start refuting the ‘Ulama of profound knowledge. They would give Islamic verdicts in every affair and speak about every matter. There's no doubt that this is misguidance. However, the Muhsin (good doer/good student of knowledge), he is the one that does not go beyond that which he has learned and he spreads the good and the Sunnah. (Thus) it is not permissible for us to stand as a hindrance in the face of the spreading of good and the spreading the Sunnah. This is what has reached us from the actions of the ‘Ulamaa, like Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) and Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) and how they use to interact with the students of knowledge. As for the one who is known to be refuted (by the people of knowledge) or he has that which disparages his knowledge (i.e. Bid’ah etc) or he is unknown from every angle, then the likes of this one, it is not for us to take knowledge from him. And Allah knows best.