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22037: Is it better for the seeker of knowledge to stay with only one shaykh?


Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi mentioned one of the aspects of seeking knowledge, which is to stay with  one of the scholars or one of the shaykhs. What is your opinion?

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked this question, and he replied: 

It is good if a person focuses on one shaykh and makes him his main source, especially if he is a young beginner, for if the young beginner seeks knowledge from a number of people he will be confused. For people are not all of one opinion, especially nowadays. In the past, here in the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) people never deviated from [the books] al-Iqnaa’ and al-Muntahaa, so their fatwaas were all the same and the bases of their fatwaas were all the same; no one differed from another, except in his delivery and style. But now, everyone who has memorized a hadeeth or two says, “I am the imaam to be followed. Imaam Ahmad was a man and we are men.” So now there is chaos. Everyone is issuing fatwaas and sometimes you hear fatwaas from these people which may you weep and laugh at the same time. I was thinking of recording these fatwas, but I was afraid that this might make me one of those who seek out their faults of their brothers, so I did not do it lest we transmit things that are as far from the truth as the earth is from the Pleiades.  

I say: adhering to one scholar is very important when the seeker of knowledge is just starting out, so that he will not be confused. Hence our shaykhs forbade us to read al-Mughni and Sharh al-Muhadhdhab and other books which contain numerous opinions when we were starting out. One of our shaykhs told us that Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan Baabiteen (may Allaah have mercy on him), who was one of the great shaykhs of Najd, only read al-Rawd al-Murabba’ and never read anything else. He read it repeatedly but he discussed it in great detail and in great depth. 

If a person has gained a great deal of knowledge, then he should look at the views of the scholars so as to benefit from them in both academic and practical terms. But when one is just starting out, my advice is to focus on one particular scholar and not go to anyone else. 

From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 107
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