Is it beneficial to have weekly gatherings in which the religion is learned and advice is given without a scholar present to guide the session and correct misunderstandings?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
Although it is best to take one’s Islamic knowledge from a scholar, it is still possible to have a fruitful gathering. Consider the following advice:
In the absence of a scholar, one should:
(1) Keep religious discussion confined to one’s level of religious knowledge.
(2) The discourse should not be regarding religious rulings or interpretations of text; rather, it should be based on encouraging one to embrace Islam wholeheartedly.
One may take a book of a suitable level to read and discuss. Likewise, one could have a group watching of online Islamic courses. Here are some suggestions for books that are deep but don’t require advanced knowledge of the subject:
The Book of Assistance by Imam Abdullah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad
The Beginning of Guidance by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
Consider the courses offered at www.seekersguidance.org
The above advice is merely a possible option that can be adopted in the absence of a scholar. They should not, however, be seen as a substitute in any regard. The ideal solution would be that one of you venture to seek knowledge at the feet of a local scholar or even abroad if none are available.
This would equip them to return to their community and take on the role of disseminating Islamic knowledge.
Please see the following as well:
I hope this helps.
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences