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What Steps Should I Take To Become an Islamic Scholar?

Question:

How does a sister of Islam become a student of knowledge? How can a sister find a scholar to study under, or a school to attend full-time to become a scholar, where the classes are not on-line but in person to achieve the full benefit of learning?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. Sister, you will find that 150+ courses right here at SeekersGuidance will bring you far beyond your personally obligatory knowledge, and I encourage you to finish the certificates that we offer. Please see these links in order to find more answers to your question:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-i-become-a-scholar-by-studying-with-seekersguidance/
https://seekersguidance.org/tag/becoming-a-scholar/

Other than what the scholars have mentioned above, I only know of Dar al-Uloom schools, which offer programs of Sacred Knowledge and memorization of the Qur’an. Graduates of these schools are usually sent to different parts of the world to become imams at mosques or to lead tarawih in Ramadan. May Allah give you the best of this world and the next and help bring your sincere intention to learn for the sake of Allah to fruition.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

What Should I Do If My Father Will Not Let Me Practice My Religion?

Question:

I am in the twelfth grade, and I have two issues. I want to study in a madrasa and become a scholar, and I want to marry any religious woman who covers properly. My father will not allow either because we are from a modern family.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are in this predicament and that your father has different standards for you. The bottom line is that your father does not own you, and you should proceed in the way that you desire. Your parents should be obeyed in the permissible, but not in disobedience.

Marrying a woman who is not religious could ruin your life and the religion of your children, so you are making the right choice by choosing a partner for religion. I cannot commend you more for this mindset, ma sha Allah.

As for your career, it is very honorable to study Sacred Knowledge, and scholars are the inheritors of Prophets because of what they convey. As a man, you must have a plan for financial stability as well, and I pray that you can accomplish both. I know Muslim scholars who have engineering degrees, and I know doctors who spend all of their free time studying Islam.

You should pray istikhara and follow your heart. I pray that you can find that balance in order to study your religion and still support a family. Nothing is more deserving of respect than a scholar who supports his family independently and brings benefits to others. May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

Please see these links for more detail:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-i-pursue-a-career-that-goes-against-my-parents-wishes/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/i-want-to-study-islam-abroad-but-parents-insist-on-me-staying-at-home/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/seeking-knowledge/avoid-pursuing-islamic-studies-paying-parents-mortgage/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/seeking-knowledge/modern-scholars-importance-seeking-knowledge-reader/

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Is It Necessary To Acquire Sacred Knowledge Before Action? 

Question: Do I need to know the ruling of something before doing it?
Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Assalamu ‘alaykum dear brother/sister in faith,
Allah commands us to worship Him, alone, and to follow the Sunna of His Messenger (Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him and his folk).  This requires knowledge.
It is an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn) upon every Muslim to acquire the knowledge of :
(a)   The Islamic creed
(b)  The Fiqh of Worship
(c)   The Fiqh of those matters that one encounters in their immediate (or future) dealings
This is to ensure that one does not fall into sin – in belief or action — without realizing it.
Make sincere repentance for any negligence in fulfilling this obligation, then devise a consistent plan on how to rectify based on the priorities mentioned above.
Consider enrolling in the following courses :

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/what-muslims-believe-and-why/

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/living-right-halal-and-haram-and-living-prophetic-excellence-hanafi/

May Allah bless your journey to knowledge, which – like Paradise — has a beginning, but no end.

Allah, Most High, knows best.

[Ustadha] Iman Badawi

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is Entertaining Un-Islamic Views In Debates Permissible?

Question: In debates and essay writing at school, we sometimes have to defend un-Islamic views. Is this permissible?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Yes, it is perfectly fine. This is part of education and exists in Islamic education. All we have to do is to make sure we phrase the discussion properly.

For example, if we were to debate the arguments for and against the existence of God, we would not say, “God doesn’t exist because there is no empirical evidence that He does.”  Rather, we would say something like, “It could be argued that God cannot possibly exist because there is no empirical evidence that He does.”

We would also avoid mocking ideas that are true: we would just phrase the argument in a way that shows feigned empathy without actually adopting false views.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

 

Should I Study Medicine or Become a Scholar?

Question: My parents force me to study medicine to the extent of abusing me, but I love Islamic studies and want to become a scholar and professor. They threaten me by saying that they will not pay for me and this field pays nothing. They say they will send me to do a tailoring job and marry me off. Alhamdulillah, there are many scholarships available, but they still abuse me emotionally and mentally. Though I have always been a topper of my school still they taunt me.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration and suffering regarding your parents. They should be proud of you, not taunt you, and support your wishes. Rest assured that they only want the best for you and that you be able to fulfill your obligations.

 

Pray Istikhara

The short answer is that your parents cannot force you to do what they want by any means. In Islam, a parent’s control does not reach this far. My advice to you is to pray istikhara and follow that. If it is positive, then you should be sensitive and kind to your parents and gently tell them that you will follow your dream. Make the intention to be independent and try not to ask them for money. They cannot force you to become a tailor or marry, either.

 

Alternative

If it is negative, then you should follow medicine, but use all of your free time for Islamic classes and to learn Arabic. I know many who are doctors in the West, but use their free time for Sacred Knowledge and learn with their children and spouses. They are very pious, God-fearing, and practicing men.

Please see these links as well:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-i-pursue-a-career-that-goes-against-my-parents-wishes/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/i-want-to-study-islam-abroad-but-parents-insist-on-me-staying-at-home/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/seeking-knowledge/avoid-pursuing-islamic-studies-paying-parents-mortgage/

May Allah reward you for wanting to please them and for doing your best to achieve a balance.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Is Willful Ignorance Of the Sacred Law Sinful For a Muslim?

Question: Is willful ignorance of the Sacred law sinful for a Muslim? If one is well-read in Islam, do they have a right to come to their own conclusions regarding the halal and the haram and/or beliefs?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.” [Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi, Tabarani]

Just as it is obligatory to have the correct beliefs, to obey all of Allah’s commands, and to abstain from all of His prohibitions, it is obligatory to seek out the knowledge on those things. That obligation cannot be done without the knowledge, and seeking knowledge of it is obligatory. [Birgivi, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

 

Making Opinions About Religion

It is not permissible to hold an opinion as to whether something is Halal or Haram or which beliefs is the correct belief unless one has the prerequisite knowledge to do so.

The prerequisite knowledge is a level far above merely being well-read. One must master multiple sciences in order to speak about the Qur’an or the Hadith in an interpretive way. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever speaks regarding the Qur’an without knowledge, let them prepare their seat in the Hell-Fire.” [Tirmidhi]

Thus the only people who have the authority to give legal opinions are the scholars who have taken their knowledge from other scholars in an unbroken chain back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and have been authorized by their teachers and the senior scholars that they have reached such a level.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
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

How Do I Obey My Parents If They Follow a Different Madhab?

Question: If one has different fiqh positions to one’s parents, does one still have to obey them in that which is sinful in one’s own opinion or madhhab?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

No, one does not have to have to obey them in that which is sinful in one’s own opinion or madhhab. (Al- Fatawa, Bulqini)

However, it is far superior to try one’s best to do what they ask as long as what they are asking is not sinful or offensive across all schools of fiqh.

For example, your father wants you to eat with your left hand. You should not do that. However, if he wants you to join prayers while you are traveling, and he is Shafi’ and you are Hanafi, you should just join following one of the other schools.

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophetic-guidance/parents-rights-to-children-muwasala/
https://dev.seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/how-to-deal-with-overbearing-parents-who-want-control-of-my-money/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/parents/being-a-daughter-a-woman-and-living-this-life/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophetic-guidance/serve-parents-now-late/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Are Religious Gatherings without Qualified Scholars Beneficial?

Question:

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?

Answer:

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

 

Seeking Knowledge

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:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/seeking-sacred-knowledge/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/shaykh-faraz-video-knowledge/

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

How Do I Deal with Waswasa During Istinjaa?

Question: How do I deal with misgivings (waswasa) that occur when doing istinjaa?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

 

Preface to the Answer

Before answering your question, you must realize that these doubts, these what-ifs, are from Shaytan, and Allah Most High has explicitly commanded us to oppose Shaytan. It may prove as a challenge to you at first, but you must ignore these types of doubts and misgivings as best as you can.

Only by successfully ignoring them will they go away along with your sufferings. It is not cautioned to take the strictest opinion, but rather caution is acting on the way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Anything beyond that ends up in self-inflicted hardship.

 

Undue Hardship

Allah Most High tells us, “Strive for ˹the cause of˺ Allah in the way He deserves, for it is He Who has chosen you, and laid upon you no hardship in the religion—the way of your forefather Abraham.” [Qur’an; 22:78]

Religious responsibility requires a level of effort and burden, but undue hardship is not part of one’s responsibility in Islam. Acting on doubts and misgivings is from this undue hardship; Allah has only tasked us to act on reasonable surety or certainty and to ignore all else.

 

Answer

To answer your question, the basis of all liquid is purity. Unless you are reasonably sure of the contrary – which necessitates some sort of proof – consider the wetness pure and by extension your hand and clothing. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]

 

Summary

The answer provided here will suffice you for this question, however, the nature of these types of misgivings (waswasa) is that, if not treated, they may grow and spread to other aspects of your religion. I implore you to consider the following advice:

1) Seek a deeper understanding of the rulings that purification and prayer are based on. Consider the courses offered here at www.seekersguidance.org/courses

2) Whenever such doubts occur, especially those regarding impurities, only act if you are reasonably sure or certain of the matter. Take solace in knowing that Allah Most High only tasks His slave with that which is in their ability, no more. Anything beyond reasonable surety is not in the scope of your ability, and therefore you will not be asked about it, even if hypothetically speaking, you were wrong.

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

Reflections on Seeking Knowledge: A Student at Seekers

Reflections on Seeking Knowledge: A Student at Seekers

Zain Ali

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

 

The Beginning 

Let’s take it back maybe ten years. If you were to tap me on the shoulder and ask me, “what do you want to do when you’re older Zain?” I’d give you the same answer I gave everyone at that young age not yet a teen; “Islamic studies.”

 

Now, the answer to the question was not because I understood the weight of that bold answer, nor because I deserved it, but rather, because of what was instilled in me from a young age.

 

Since those young days, one of my favourite verses (aya) from the Qur’an was (and is) Allah’s saying, I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me” (Quran, 51:56), partly because it was one of the only verses (if not the only verse) in the Qur’an that I knew the meaning for, and partly because it had such a straightforward, logical, black and white meaning; my job on this earth is to worship God, how can I do it? 

 

What is the best way? What would make God most pleased with me? I found my answer with my Qur’an teacher, he would always encourage us to study Islam because that was the greatest thing we could do for our afterlife.

 

Thus my wanting to study islam was not because of who I was or anything great about me, rather it was the wisdom of my teachers Allah bless them and enable them all.

 

Fast forward some years: It was a pleasant Monday night, 7:30 pm July 17, 2017, I came into SeekerGuidance for my first class. I sat on the lush pillowy carpet ready to listen and take notes in my notebook. 

 

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani started the lesson, I had never taken a law (fiqh) class in my life, all I knew about the rulings of prayer and worship was taught to me informally. Shaykh Faraz was teaching Nur al-Idah, an intermediate book on the laws (fiqh) of worship (way above my level) and he was reading the chapter of “The Conditions of Prayer.” I remember taking notes and thinking to myself, “wow, I’ve never even thought of so many possibilities in this scenario!” Just sitting in that class was such a benefit because it was answering thoughts and questions I had that I didn’t ever bother to ask. 

 

From that day onwards, I never looked at the subject of law (fiqh) in the same way and it quickly became one of my favourite things to read and think about. 

 

I finished school and started attending full time at Seekers, and it was and is to this day truly life-changing. My attendance at Seekers has been nothing but a blessing to me to this day. I had no idea what I was truly entering into, I just really wanted to do something that would bring me closer to my Lord and I pray that he accepts it from me. 

 

The Weight of Seeking Knowledge

Seeking knowledge is in no way all easy, fun and games or a “shoot in the breeze” as commonly thought by many people. Many peoples idea of islamic studies is like weekend madrasa, come in, read some Qur’an, mess around and go home. I even remember someone I knew saying, “if I don’t get into a good university program I’ll just take a year off and do some islamic program or something.” We want our teachers to be the most brilliant, smartest and best of people. Sacred knowledge is of the greatest of things one could seek! 

 

Shaykh Faraz once mentioned to us that a scholar from the early predecessors (salaf) said, “If the kings knew the pleasure we have (in seeking knowledge), they would fight us for it.” And I remember hearing Shaykh Hasan al-Hindi say in one of his lectures on Tadhkirat al-Sam’i fi Adab al-’Alim wal-Mut’alim; a book on the etiquettes of seeking knowledge, “All that increases you in honour increases you in responsibility,” (كل ما تزداد شرفا تزداد تكليفا). I remember the first time Shaykh Faraz mentioned that a true student has to minimally be studying ten hours a day, I thought he was joking! 

 

I had the blessing at this time to be around Ustadh Amr Hashim and Ustadh Sufyan Qufi, two of our instructors at SeekersGuidance and both amazing personalities and examples to be around. One, the epitome of balance, patience and overall; amazing character. The other the pinnacle of striving and hard work. Both of these men had a deep impact on me in my early time at SeekersGuidance before they both moved abroad for their studies. 

 

A Humbling Experience

I used to carpool with Ustadh Sufyan, and if there was one thing I learned from him it was his drive and love for seeking knowledge. He would be studying any time I was with him to the point that even in our drives to classes he would be listening to the khutbas of Shaykh Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti (Allah have mercy on him) and be taking notes. There was nothing that seemed to be able to deter him from seeking knowledge. I once saw him go through what I would consider hardship and when I asked him about it he told me, “I don’t care, nothing can prevent me from seeking knowledge.” I observed the value and importance of time at his example and the embodiment of hard work. 

Ustadh Amr taught me more purely through his character than his words. I cannot remember a single time when he told me “no,” or “why did you do that?” 

 

Even though he was much more senior to me in knowledge, wisdom and age. I was younger than I am today and definitely less mature, yet he always turned a blind eye to my faults. Whenever I asked him for advice he would never say “no, don’t do that,” or “why would you do that?” But rather always suggested a better thing to do without chastising or telling me what I did was wrong. 

 

I remember the first week or two of my studies as a full-time student at Seekers, there was a new Arabic class and Ustadh Amr and I were both attending the class. After the first class, we had some homework, I barely knew any Arabic whatsoever and didn’t really understand how to do the homework. I came to class and Ustadh Amr asked me, “did you do the homework?” “I tried but I don’t really know what I was supposed to do,” he then proceeded to ask me to help him. 

 

I tried to refuse but he pushed me to advise him how to do the Arabic homework. He didn’t tell me he knew Arabic nor that he was Arab, I found out several weeks later when I heard him talking in Arabic. And that was the first time I tried to teach an Arab how to do morphology of Arabic words. Such was his humbleness. I observed good character, humility and patience at his hands.

 

Achieving Excellence and Mastery 

When I first started at Seekers, I wasn’t fully cognizant of what I had been blessed to enter into. SeekersGuidance embodies a traditional method of teaching with taking modern means. 

 

The program at SeekersGuidance expects mastery in your studies, and mastery requires diligence and hard work. If someone in university or high school wanted to pass their course, the only thing they needed to make sure was that they got 50% of their questions right on their tests and exams. 

 

It was after starting my studies at Seekers that I realized that there was no option for someone studying the Islamic sciences to get short of 100% in anything related to their studies. If someone were to ask me a question and I made a mistake in my answer, I would have indirectly claimed that the ruling of Allah was A when it was actually B. As Shaykh Faraz says, “you either know the subject matter or you don’t, there’s no in-between.” Would you allow a surgeon to do surgery on you when you knew he wasn’t completely sure how to do a surgery? No, nobody would! 

 

The scholars of this religion are God’s doctors whose job is to treat you and I, to teach us to be better servants of God most High. 

 

This is what I’ve observed from the example of Shaykh Faraz and this is the way of the great scholars of our religion, Allah bless them all. The method of the scholars is very unlike many modern ways of schooling. 

 

A student has to master a science before he can even be considered as knowing the subject matter, let alone a teacher in that science. Students repeat study of each science several times, at a basic foundational level, then studying that foundation a second time while building upon it with some derivative discussions, then studying it again but with a focus now on the reasoning or the “why,” and “how.” 

 

There are levels of study and mastery in the way of our great scholars and teachers, something that appears to be fading into the background here in the west but SeekersGuidance is striving to uphold that standard.

 

If you were to ask me what is one thing I’ve realized whilst studying with SeekersGuidance, I’d say the intense blessing there is for someone to be able to study islam. It’s a great blessing and we should all try to take advantage of it. It’s not a light matter either, it’s crucial to the lives of all people, without knowledge we are blinded; bumping, stumbling and tripping yet without knowing! May Allah protect us all. 

 

SeekersGuidance is like a well in the middle of the desert, you have an opportunity today which was never available in history. Wherever you are, whatever state you are in, you can access absolutely free life giving water in your state of thirst. You can drink ten buckets of water or take one sip, do not let this opportunity go to waste!

 

Our communities need people who have drunk from this well today more than ever, they are in need of guidance and help, you can help by seeking knowledge – completely free of charge!

 

Sidi Zain Ali

 

 


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The Essentials of Belief for Muslim Youth

 

 

Articles

“From knowing nothing to becoming a student of knowledge” by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

The Importance of Seeking Knowledge – Shaykh Salih al Gursi

Counsels for Students of Knowledge – Shaykh Salih Al Gursi

Seeker’s Expectations – How to Seek Knowledge

Steps to Success on the Way to the Light of Knowledge – Nur Sacred Sciences

The Aim, Purpose, and Consequence of Consistent Spiritual Routines – Imam al-Haddad, with Commentary from Faraz Rabbani

The Intentions for Seeking Knowledge – Imam Abdullah al-Haddad

The Way of The Seeker: How To Seek Islamic Knowledge Successfully
Student Assembly: The Way of the Seeker – Student Notes by Sr. Haleema

The Struggles and Concerns of Sincere Seekers – Video and Notes from the Student Assembly

Why Learn From a Teacher? – Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Studying Tips for SeekersGuidance’s Student

The Importance of Study in One’s Spiritual Development – Imam al-Ghazzali

Embracing Knowledge, an Introduction to Ustadh Abdullatif Al-Amin – Seekers Highlight

The Intentions for Seeking Knowledge by Imam Abdullah al Haddad

Ten Adab of Seekers of Knowledge by Ayaz Siddiqui

Five Counsels for Seekers of Islamic Knowledge from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Seek, Act and Strive – Advice From Habib Ali al Jifri For Seekers of Knowledge