For many of us, this time of the year marks the beginning of the academic year. Below I have compiled 10 important points a student should strive to implement in the journey of seeking knowledge, outlining points of guidance and motivation for consistency and success inshāAllāh.
Make abundant, heartfelt du’ā for Allāh to grant us tawfīq, to keep us firm on the straight path and to make us imāms.
Du’ā is affirming your reliance in Allāh. A person must tie their camel before making du’ā. You must be willing to put in the effort and time to achieve your goals, and then make du’ā being certain that Allāh will grant you the best outcome.
– Shaykh Abu ‘Abdillah Yunus
- Company with People of Knowledge
Keeping company as much as possible with those who have clean hearts (wise scholars, righteous companionships etc). I believe this to be of paramount importance which we do not have enough of.
“Be in the company of those who bring ‘ilm to life.”
– Ustadh Alamgir Islam
- Striving For Taqwā
Consider the statements of Allāh, “And whoever exalts the Sacred Matters of Allāh, then that is better for him with His Lord.”  “And whosoever exalts the Symbols of Allāh, then it is truly from the taqwā of the hearts.” 
Sacred Matters of Allāh and from His Signs are knowledge and its people. Whoever exalts the wahy (revelation) and its people – without exceeding the limits – then it is an indication of him pleasing his Lord, and it is an indication of taqwā.
– Ustadh Abu ‘Ubaid
- Educating Ourselves Regarding Sīrah and History
Sh ‘Abdul Muhsin al-Qasim (raḥimahu Allāhu) when advising people to read biographies would say: “You will live amongst people not from your era.”
A person should learn from the people of the past, in the gems they have imparted and the way they would act with other people.
- Take a Mentor
A mentor can guide you to take a structured path based upon knowledge and experience. Traditional teaching has been based upon seeking permission before taking the next step. Having a mentor can assist you on this journey. From the key benefits include: benefitting from the company, supervision and a shortcut to progression.
- A Lifelong Journey
We must have the mind-set that seeking knowledge does not have an end point.
‘Abdullah b. al-Mubarak (raḥimahu Allāhu) was an all-rounder in all the sciences that you can think of. They asked him, “How long are you going to continue writing knowledge?” His reply was, “Perhaps it is a word of benefit which I have not written down before.”
- Learn to Walk Before You Run
It is often said, “The more you learn about the Deen, the more you realise how little you know.” Generally, a person must spend years in knowledge before being placed in a position that is ahead of their time.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) spent many years increasing his understanding and he received prophecy after he was forty years old. One of the wisdoms of this is that he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) developed the understanding and experience required prior to his role as a Prophet.
As some scholars state, “In six months you can grow a cucumber, but to grow an oak tree it takes time.”
– Shaykh Akram Nadwi
- Attitude in Seeking Knowledge
The journey of knowledge must include struggle. Knowledge is to be travelled to, and it must be us who make the effort. It is of no surprise the people of the past reached great heights where they would travel from one country to another for one hadīth.
Sit at the feet of scholars and develop a personal relationship with them. Do not limit yourself to listening to snippets of clips on YouTube.
“We should all have our portions of real human interaction with people of knowledge and take from their ādab and insights. There are numerous blessings found in those gatherings that cannot be found elsewhere, even in books.”
– Shaykh Alomgir ‘Ali
- Test Yourself by Summarising What You Learn
Test yourself in understanding by summarising a particular topic you are learning. This is a good gauge of your understanding. Our Shaykh Haitham advises a student to learn a small text of each science and attempt to summarise the key points. This is very much in line with a statement from Einsten, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
- Read a Good Portion of Qur’an Before Beginning Your Lessons of ‘ilm.
Ultimately our learning should be focussed around the book of Allāh and, through this approach, much barakah will be found in your journey bi’idhnillāh.
The Qur’an translates our success in our key purpose in this life, to worship Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā).
“Be as talented and gifted as you may be, you’re still only as good as your salāh.”
– Ustadh Asim Khan
Notes: Al-Qur’an, 22:30  Al-Qur’an, 22:32
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