Seeking knowledge through repetition


The salaf (rahimahum Allah) were keen to apply effective tools and methods when it came to seeking knowledge and maintaining it. One of the more successful tools they promoted was the act of repetition. They used to read books and letters many times over so to have the knowledge settle in their hearts. I have translated some examples.

In the biography of Ahmad bin Al-Furat (Abu Mas’ud al-Razi): “He used to repeat every hadith five hundred times.” [Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 1/58]

“A man said to him, ‘We forget hadith.’ He replied, ‘Which one of you goes back through his memorization of one hadith five hundred times?’ They said, ‘Who has the strength to do that?’ He said, ‘This is why you do not memorize.’ [Tahdhib Al-Kamal, Al-Muzi, 1/424]

In the biography of Abi Bakr Al-Abhari Al-Maliki, he said, “I have read the abridged Ibn AbdulHakam five hunded times, ‘Al-Asadiya’ seventy-five times, and ‘Al-Muwata’ as well, ‘Al-Mabsoot’ thirty times, and the abridged Ibn Al-Barqi seventy times.” [Tarteeb Al-Madarik, Qadhi ‘Iyyad, 1/427]

It has been reported about Bakr bin Mohammed bin Abi al-Fadhl Al-Ansari, “Perhaps when he was in the beginning of his seeking knowledge, he would repeat an issue four hundred times.” [Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, 12/227]

It was reported from Ibn Hisham that he read ‘Al-Alfiya’ more than a thousand times. [Tarikh Al-Jabarti, 2/150]

Al-Muzani said, “I have read ‘Al-Risala’ five hundred times, there is not a time except that I benefitted with something new.” He said also, “I have been looking [i.e. studying] ‘Al-Risla’ for fifty years, I cannot recall that I looked at it once and I benefited from something which I did not know previously.” [Tahdib al-Asma wal Sifta, Al-Nawawi, 1/59]


Act according to your knowledge


It was said to Bishr bin Al-Harith: “They say you do not memorize hadith.”

He replied, “I memorize one hadith (at a time) and if I act according to it, then I would have memorized it. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said: ‘The Muslim is he from whose TONGUE and HAND a Muslim is safe’. Until I act according to this, then I would have memorized a hadith.

[Al-Muntakhab min Kitab Al-Zuhd wal Raqa’eq, P.81]


Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyyad said, “A scholar will continue to be ignorant with his knowledge until he acts according to it.”

[Iqtidha al-‘Im wal ‘Amal, 43]

The wise man


“Yahya Al-Laythi was a scholar from Andalus and he was sitting with Imam Malik in Madinah when someone said, ‘The elephant has arrived.’ So the students went out to see it.

Imam Malik said, ‘Why did you not go out to see it if there is not one in the land of Andalus?’

He replied, ‘I have come from my country to see you and to learn from your guidance and knowledge, and not to see an elephant.’

Imam Malik was astonished by him and named him Al-‘Aqil (the wise man).”

Shaikh Mohammed Salih Al-Munajjid via #Twitter

“If Allah desires good for someone”

Our Ummah is in desperate need of knowledge and students of knowledge; ones that guard the faith with the armor of Qur’an and Sunnah. Without knowledge, falsehood becomes widespread and innovation rampant. The true scholars are the ones who help navigate the Ummah, steering our issues back to the teachings of Allah and His Prophet. Some of us, deluded by worldly perceptions, equate money to success but the fact states that those whom Allah wishes good for are guided to understanding His religion…and that’s the greatest success. Allah says, “Allah will raise in rank those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge [58:11].

From the beauty of Knowledge

It is reported that Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahu Allah) said: Al-Shafi’ee saw me sitting in his circle, and there was some ink on my shirt I was trying to hide. He said, “Young man, why are you hiding it? Having ink on ones clothes is a sign of lofty conduct: to the sight it is black, but to the insight it is white (with the light of knowledge).”

It is reported that ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak (rahimahu Allah) said: “Ink on the clothes is the perfume of the scholars.”

– Some put this in verse (from Arabic): The ink-pot’s ink is the perfume of men As saffron is the perfume of women So the former befits the garments of those men As the latter the garments of wives.

It is reported that Imam Ahmad said, seeing the students of hadith approaching with their ink-pots: “These are the lanterns of Islam.”

[Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Al-Jami’ li-Akhlaq Al-Rawi, articles 508, 509, 512]

The Salaf & the struggle for knowledge

‘Ubaid bin Ya’eesh said: “I stayed thirty years not eating with my hands at night but my sister would  feed me while I write”

[Al-Jami’ Li’Akhlaq Al-Rawi wa Asami’, 2/178]

Abdulrahman bin Abi Hatem said: “We were in Egypt for seven months and we did not eat broth, our day was split for gathering with scholars, and in the evening for copying (writing down) and meetings. So one day I was with an elderly companion of mine and it was said to me that he is sick, so on our way we saw a nice fish and we bought it. When we arrived home, the time for the gathering (of knowledge) arrived, so we did not have time to prepare it and we headed towards the gathering. We continued in this manner until three days had passed and the fish had changed  so we ate it raw because we did not even have time to have it fried. Knowledge is not attained with comfort of the body”

[Tathkirat Al-Hafith, 3/830]

Ibn Al-Katheer said, “Al-Bukhari would wake up at night from his sleep, he would light the lantern, and then write down a beneficial thought which crossed his mind. He would then put out the lantern, and then wake up again and gain. He would do that numerously until it reached twenty times (a night).”

[Al-Bidawa wal Nihaya, 11/31]

Nasr Al-Samarqandi said: “Knowledge is not attained except when he postpones his shop, his garden is ruined, he abandons his brothers, and when his closest relative dies, he does not witness his Janazah (i.e. due to lack of time)”

Ibn Al-Qassim said, Seeking knowledge caused Malik bin Anas to remove the roof of his house and sell its wood”

[Tareekh Baghdad, 2/13]

Names and Attributes of Allah

The Prophet (salah allahu ‘alayhi wa asalam) said:

“Allaah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one; whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaari, 2736, and Muslim, 2677]

Shaikh Bin Baz, rahimahu Allah, said:

“From Eemaan (faith) in Allaah is to have eemaan in those of His Asmaa’ul-Husnaa (Beautiful names) and Sifaatul-Ulyaa (Lofty Attributes) that occur in His Great Book and that have been affirmed by His trustworthy Messenger (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) -without tahreef (distorting the wording or the meaning), tateel (divesting or denying the Attributes), takyeef (asking how) or tamtheel (resembling Allaah to any of His creation). Rather,it is obligatory to leave them as they came, without takyeef (asking how) or tamtheel (resembling Allaah to any of His creation). Along with this, it is also obligatory to have eemaan in the meaning that Allaah-the Mighty and Majestic-has been described with, in a way which befits Him: without resembling Him to His creation in any of His attributes.”

Attached here some further links:

IslamQA – Names and Attributes of Allah

Explanation of The Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah Shaikh Abdulrahman Al-Sa’di