Translation: Taalib Alexander
In this series of articles Dr. Muhammad bin Haadee al-Madkhalee, a professor in the faculty of Prophetic Traditions (Hadeeth) at the Islaamic Universty in Madeenah, discusses the methodology the aspiring student of knowledge should follow in developing his or her grasp of Islaamic knowledge. The shaykh’s methodology is based upon that expounded by the Salafi scholars, whom preceded him, which emphasises graduation in studies to ensure the student is firmly grounded in each science and at each level. In this article, the second in the series, the shaykh discuss the study of the Islaamic creed and theology (‘Aqeedah).
As for what is related to the Islaamic monotheism, which is a fundamental of fundamentals which the Scriptures were revealed an the messengers sent – salutations and peace of Allah be upon them all – and by it is success in both worlds – the material world and the Next Life – and in this material life from the anger of Allaah and His punishment:” It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with oppression, for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.” (The Noble Qur’aan, al-An’aam : 82) and safety in the material life and the Next Life, and guidance in the material life and guidance in the Next Life to the path of bountiful gardens (Paradise).
From the greatest with which he preoccupies (himself) with from this field: Firstly, ‘The Four Principles (‘al-Qawaa’id al-‘Arbah’) ; secondly, The Three Principles (‘al-Usool ath-Thalaathah’); thirdly, The Book of Monotheism (‘Kitaab at-Towheed’), fourthly, al-Aqeedah al-Wasitiyyah; firthly, Talkhis al-Hamawiyyah; then it does not hurt an individual if he reads after that what Allaah wills, then he reads ‘al-Hamawiyyah’ for its major principle, then he reads after that the commentary of the Creed of al-Tahawee (‘Sharh al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah’) it will not harm him (if) after that he reads what Allaah wills but he must memorise the Four Principles (‘al-Qawaa’id al-‘Arbah’), and he must memorise The Three Principles (‘al-Usool ath-Thalaathah’), and he must memorise The Book of Monotheism (‘Kitaab at-Towheed’) as The Book of Monotheism which is the right of Allaah upon his servants (‘Kitaab at-Towheed’) is the greatest of what has been written in this field, indeed Allaah The Exalted has caused great benefit from it, thus, this is what I advise.
From the most important of these books: The Introduction of ‘Ibn Abee Zayid al-Qairawaanee’ and it is a beautiful primer, its author is a leader from the leaders of the Sunnah but the later scholars have played with it: the later Malaki scholars, they have dragged it (according) to their false creed, to the creed of the ‘Asha’ree rhetoricians, taking it out and corrupting it from that which was intended by its author – may Allaah have mercy upon him – so when you take this primer by Ibn Abee Zayid al-Qairawaanee, and he is the junior Malik, for indeed what is obligatory upon him if he takes (studies) it that he takes (studies) it upon the hands of the People of the Sunnah, and not to take the explanation of those later scholars.
And likewise from the beneficial books (is the) al-Jaami’ by ‘Ibn Abee Zayid al-Qairawaanee’, and it has a number of printed editions, and it is available in the shops.
And what is also from the great (books) that (should be) mortised (is the book) ‘Sullam-ul-Wasool’ by the teacher of our teachers Shaykh Haafith Hakamee (may Allaah have mercy upon him) for indeed this sullam –ladder – is truly a ladder.
And what is best (of ) what should be memorised also in this field (is the book) al-Jawharah al-Fareedah’ in what is related to actualising the creed also by the shaykh – may Allah have mercy upon him – for it is a jowharah – jewel – in truth, opposite is what is called ‘al-Jowharah, Jowharah al-Luqaanee for indeed in Islaamic monotheism (it is according to) the People of scholastic rhetoric.