Should Muslims be Restricted from Learning with a Range of Teachers?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


My community sometimes behaves like a cult. They always discourage me from learning the Islamic faith from anyone other than themselves.

I know that the faith I learned from them is the right one. They teach me things like Allah exists without place or time. They are great enemies of the contemporary sect, which compares Allah with creation.

However, this enmity and fear of others have driven them not to recommend anything that is not from them.

However, this way and manner is the one that currently worries me the most. As a Muslim, I don’t want to live with the idea of investigating every other Muslim first and asking whom they learned what from and whether their beliefs are correct.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide our hearts, tongues, and deeds to that which perpetually pleases Him.

Checking Sources

Seeking religious knowledge from reliable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable scholars among the Ahl Al-Sunna wa Al-Jama‘a (Orthodox Islam) is extremely important. Asking about the reliability of the sources of one’s knowledge is a longstanding tradition in Islamic scholarship. The Isnad (chain of transmitters) and the related sciences around it, were born by asking about the sources of knowledge.

Avoid Sectarianism and Extremism

Still, one should avoid sectarianism as much as possible. One could easily slip into sectarianism when one refuses to or is prohibited from seeking knowledge from various reliable, trustworthy, and traditional scholars. How would students know that their knowledge is correct if they never could learn with various teachers?

The concern for the sources of one’s religious knowledge is commendable. Still, the concern should be balanced by a set of good criteria by which you may select your sources of knowledge.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.