3 Rabīʿ al-Awwal '44 — Review

Book Review: Obstacles In the Path of Seeking Knowledge

Author: Sheikh ʾAbd al-Salām ibn Burjis ibn Nāṣir Āl ʾAbd al-Karīm

Publisher: Dār al-ʾIlm Publications

Pages: 112

Bismillāhir-Raḥmānir-Raḥīm

Obstacles In the Path of Seeking Knowledge is a book that is aimed towards informing the reader on the obstacles of knowledge, so that the reader can be aware of them and avoid them. It includes various narrations of the Salaf (the pious predecessors), since they were the most guided and mindful to Allāh (عز و جل).

Personally, I think this is a very beneficial book, may Allāh reward the author and publisher. I've benefitted a lot from it, it discusses must-read information about how the Muslim should seek knowledge and what he should avoid.

In the back cover of the book includes a narration that az-Zubri said to Yūnus ibn Yazīd:

"Do not look down upon knowledge since knowledge consists of valleys. So whatever you take from it, let it be a significant portion before you convey it [to others]. And take it over days and nights. Do not take knowledge all at once. For certainly, whoever seeks to take it all at once will lose it all at once. Instead, take it little by little days and nights." (1)

One of the obstacles mentioned in this book that surprised me greatly was the third obstacle: Relying Upon Books Rather Than Scholars. It mentions the fact that you should not be restricting your knowledge to only books and abandoning the scholars. It also includes narrations of the dislikes of this act, which I have included in one of my other articles:

Imām as-Shāfiʾī (رحمه الله) said:

"Whoever seeks knowledge from the bellies of books will squander the rulings."

Some used to say:

"From the greatest trials are those who become sheikhs through papers." (2)

Sulaymān ibn Mūsá said:

"It used to be said: do not take Qurʾān from the muṣḥafiyūn (i.e. those who learned exclusively from the muṣḥaf) and do not take knowledge from the ṣaḥafiyūn (i.e. those who took knowledge from pages)." (3)

Another one of the beneficial topics that caught my interest was the fourth obstacle: Taking Knowledge from Lesser People of Knowledge. This mentions the dangers of taking knowledge from lesser people of knowledge that are young. This is disliked because taking knowledge from the youth is generally not a good idea, as they have not overgrown the evil pleasures of the youth.

ibn Masʾūd (رضي الله عنه) said:

The people will continue to remain upon good so long as they take knowledge from those who are eldest among them [akābirihim] and those who are the most trustworthy [ulamāʾihim], and their scholars [ulamāʾihim]. But if they took it from the youngest [ṣighārihim] and most evil among them [shirārihim] they would be in ruin."

Concluding this, here are some of the benefits of this book :

1. Learn the correct way to seek knowledge.

2. Learn to avoid the common mistakes of the students of knowledge.

3. Benefit from the various narrations of the Salaf, may Allāh be pleased with them all.

This book is an absolute must-have for the student of knowledge. He can benefit from it and learn the correct ways to seek knowledge.

May Allah bless you, and shukran.

Sources :

1. Jāmi Bayyān al ʾIlm wa Faḍlibi Volume 1, Page 104

2. Tadhkirah as-Sami wa al-Mutakallam, page 87

3. Tashifat al-Muhaddithin, volume 1, pages 6-7