When studying Islaam it’s important that you prioritize according to your life and where you’re at. It’s often propagated to take after these intricate templates and study history of the scholars of the past in order to guide and outline learning. But it’s not always helpful, especially if you’re not an Arabic native.Also, approaching Islamic studies in this academic and mechanical manner may deter one. Sometimes learning what you need is enough, especially if you’re busy or preoccupied. Here are some pointers to make learning as hassle-free as possible so that it can be a smooth experience.
- Return to your initial intentions and what brought about wanting to learn; was it wanting to know the meaning and context behind some Qur’aanic verses? Was it because you wanted to read classical books in a cursory manner, like al-Fawaa’id by Ibn al-Qayyim? Or did you get confused about the sujood as-sahw and wanted to know what to do when you miss a step in the salah?
- It’s important that you start from what initiated the desire and not hijack it to extend to some grand plan that you’re not currently connected to. This is because what you’re already open to is the path of least resistance and you’d have the easiest time to learn through that. And it’d create a momentum just by the fact that you’re in a flow.
- Also, if you’re not well-versed in knowledge you need to use regularly like the fiqh of salaah or the fiqh of trade if you’re an entrepreneur, then it’s more important to pursue that than say alfiyya by Ibn Maalik. Learning Tawxid is absolutely fundamental and imperative because that’s the first pillar of Islaam.
- Learn the basic, simplified version of the topic before you delve into the elaborate commentaries. Use your discernment as a yardstick. What’s important is that you learn what you’re most in need of, not master it.
- Know that knowledge is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s meant to bring you closer to Allaah and equip you with the tools you need in your life. It’s not to become a well-known teacher, or to write books, or be able to memorize long books because that’s what you’ve read one of the salaf doing. You’ll be asked to account for everything you’ve learnt and whether you’ve implemented it. Don’t hoard it because you’ll be ‘taxed’ on it.
- Center your ability in your learning and make it as simple and pragmatic as possible. Don’t inconvenience yourself unnecessarily or push yourself in ways that aren’t sustainable. Start where you are, with what you have, and what you can dispense of.
- Realize that sacred knowledge is divine light received through the heart. It’s not an intellectual affair. Don’t miss sight of the forest for the trees. It’s a dynamic and vibrant knowledge that’ll escape you if you don’t honour it. Cultivate real gratitude by being focused on the process, not the goal.
- Ask Allaah to teach you and guide you to what’s best for you in every moment. Ibn Taymiyyah raximahullaah was reported to say that whenever he’d be stuck or confused about something he’d go to an abandoned masjid, prostrate in the sand and ask Allaah
يا معلم إبراهيم علمني ويامفهم سليمان فهمني
O the teacher of Ibraaheem, teach me. O the one who made Suleymaan understand, make me understand