Ustadh Tabraze Azam writes on the adab or etiquette of Allah’s elect among the scholars and students of knowledge as attested to by various sources.
In our desire to become true students, we have to uphold the kind of adab, or right etiquette, that colors Allah’s elect. People of knowledge are chosen by Allah Most High, and we cannot do anything more but to aspire to the way of those whose scholarship is recognized by one and all in the hope that we may become of them in our own distinct ways. It is reported that Imam Abu Hanifa said, “If the jurists (fuqaha) aren’t the elect (awliya’) of Allah, then Allah has no elect servant (wali).”
The one who acts according to his knowledge with sincerity is the true faqih, even if he knows only a little. What we see from the righteous, godfearing scholars is that they had a tremendous amount of adab in their seeking of sacred knowledge. Imam al Halwani, a giant of the early Hanafi tradition, famously remarked, “I’ve never touched even a piece of paper without wudu.” This was his state with that which will [eventually] contain knowledge, so what then of the knowledge itself? Being true students is a tall order, and we can only hope that if we traverse in the right direction with the right attitude, that Allah will complete this matter for us.
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