Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum,
Is there any place for autodidactism in traditional Islam for muslim who cannot afford formal education abroad or live in countries with no Islamic educational institutions?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The scholars mention that knowledge is in hearts and not in the lines of books. And it is the scholars who are the keys to the books in that they unlock the scholarly language, assumptions, and implications through their years of training, worship and acting upon their knowledge.
However, there is still benefit therein in learning to become a better Muslim, and in order to strengthen your belief and certainty, by reading the books which were authored for such purposes. Examples include Riyad al-Salihin by Imam Nawawi and some of the works of Imam al-Haddad, masterfully translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi.
With that, there is no harm in striving to learn some Arabic on your own, and similarly some general prophetic biography (sirah), if taken from reliable sources, but avoid trying to derive law from traditions (hadith) and similarly from works of law themselves. Such knowledges necessarily require teachers.
Knowledge is a light which Allah casts into the heart.
In the meantime, consider taking some of the following free classes: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP) and: Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – Part One and: Prophetic Conduct: Islamic Manners in Everyday Life
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani