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Al-Mabdi al-Asharah lil-Ulm

Alhamdulillahir-Rabbil-alamin was-salatu wasalamu ala Rasulillahil-Karim.


Subhanaka laa ilmalanaa illa ma allamtanaa innaka antal-Alim ul-Hakim.
Wa la hawlah wa la quwatta illa biLlahi l-Aliyyil-Azhim.

As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,


Id like to say welcome to all students as was the custom of the Prophet s.a.w.s. when he welcomed
them by saying marhaban. Marhaban bikum.
Before we start the actual lesson Id like to make some general remarks.

GENERAL REMARKS
- This is my first online lesson so please forgive me for any mistakes I make and overlook my
shortcomings. Im not a native speaker of English so forgive my English as well.
- Added to this: I am not shaykh so please dont address me as such, barak Allahu fikum. Im just a
student like all of you and shaykh Mohammed Daniel has allowed me to teach wal-hamdulillah and
we ask Allah to reward him. To be more clear and specific, to remove any misconceptions and
doubts:
Shaykh Mohammed Daniel has given his full approval and encouraged me to teach this course, I have
his blessing. He has seen the contents of the material Im about to teach. Im indebted to him for all
of this. Im not a senior student of knowledge and to call myself a student of knowledge would even
be too much honor. Im aspiring to be a student of knowledge and with regards to Arabic Im still at
the basmalah so to speak. I teach this course as I feel it is an obligation to pass on what I learned as
this is the zakat on knowledge.
- Forgive us for the changes in dates and timings.
- Whenever we attend a lesson, a dars about ilm, we should check our intention(s). Id like to share
with you the intention of knowledge, the niyyat ul-ilm as this was passed on to me by one of my
teachers, may Allah reward him.
Read the intention. This can be found online, even with audio.

This is the intention that was passed down to us by the Yemeni imam, imam Abdullah ibn Alawi alHaddad rahimahullah.1 For those who are interested, we can find this intention in (amongst others):
1. Al-Khulasah fi Awrad wa Adiyyah Waridah wa Mathurah by Habib Umar b. al-Hafiz hafizahullah
2. Kitab an-Niyyat by Muhammad b. Alawi al-Aydurus which is an amazing book by the way.
I encourage you all to try to memorize this intention.
- This is not an ijazah course, besides the fact I dont give ijazah and dont belong to the people of
ijazah. Neither will a certificate be issued.
- The level of this course is for beginners but the approach is academic. We will come across some
words and technical terms which are not very well known to the common people. I will explain these
words and technical terms where necessary.
- Many people have asked me if the course is based on a text or a book. The answer is shortly: no.
I didnt base this course on a specific book. There is a specific book though on the subject by the late
Azhari shaykh Ali Rajab al-Salihi rahimahullah with the title: Tahqiq Mabadi al-Ulum al-Ihda Ashar
which I can recommend for those who want to go deeper into the subject. It can be found online but
the quality of the print is not very good. Shaykh Ali Rajab al-Salihi also said that every serious
student of knowledge should focus on 11 sciences:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

Logic / mantiq
Aqidah
Usul al-Fiqh
Fiqh
Ilm al-Maani
Ilm al-Bayan
Ilm al-Badi
Grammar / nahu
Morphology / sarf
Quranic sciences
Hadith sciences

I will mention one book though later on from which I took a lot of beneficial material.
- The purpose of this lesson is to try and answer questions many people have on how to seek
knowledge.
- Questions can be asked after the lesson.
- Every participant will get a transcript of the lesson afterwards by e-mail inshaAllah.

With this being said we can move to the introduction of the topic.
1

See: http://abdulkarimyahya.com/wpcontent/uploads/2011/11/The+Intention+for+Seeking+Knowledge+of+Imam+al-Haddad.pdf

INTRODUCTION
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said in an authentic hadith (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim,
mutaffaqun alayhi = agreed upon):

Whoever Allah wishes well for, He gives him knowledge/understanding of the din. I dont translate
the word din as religion because of the Judeo-Christian connotation it has. See the introduction of
shaykh Ali Laraki in his translation of the Murshid al-Muin, pag. XXIV!
How can we make sure we obtain an (correct) understanding of the dn of Allah? How do we master
a science of the din or how do I start mastering a science?
To every study of a craft, science or discipline, belong certain principles and/or fundamental starting
points (ul or qawid) which need to be respected/taken into account by every student of
knowledge, every tlib ul-ilm. Study requires a method and these principles are part of a method of
study. Thus the student of knowledge needs to follow a method in his studies.

THE DANGER OF LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES


As the ulam have said in the following verse:

Literally translated to English: The one who leaves (or lets go) the principles, for him the arrival is
forbidden.
Or in another verse:

Man hurima al-usul, hurima al-wusul.
Translated to English: The one for whom the principles are forbidden, the arrival is forbidden. 2 We
can read this in the book by shaykh b. al-Uthaymin for example on usul al-fiqh.
And the other way around as well:

Man hafiza al-usul, damina al-wusul
The one who guarded/kept the principles (in mind), the arrival has been guaranteed.
And there are other similar verses like these we can find in the books of the scholars.

See the muqaddimah (introduction) of Shar al-Ul min Ilm al-Ul by shaykh Muammad b. li alUthaymn raimahullah. See: http://www.ibnothaimeen.com/all/books/article_18345.shtml

This is a very important principle, or qidah, or in other words: a very important basic rule. What is
this principle about, what does it mean, what does it entail? What are some of the benefits (fawid)
and lessons we can take from this principle? Here are some:
1. Without a method you will not succeed in your studies.
2. Without a method you will not reach your goal (the arrival).
3. Without principles, fundamentals/foundations, you cant build anything and you will not be able to
finish what you want to build.
4. Principles guarantee success with the will of Allah s.w.t.
5. Without the roots (ul) you cant reach the branches (fur) of a science. One first needs to
master the basic principles before one can delve into the details.
In the famous (Mliki) text Al-Murshid al-Mun by imam Ibn shir (d. 1040 AH) we can read
something in the chapter headings that also points to this. Before verse 48 we read: From the roots,
whose branches are an aid to arrival. In Arabic: Muqaddimatun min al-uli munattun fi furiha
alal-wuli. Al-wul here means to attain the desired goal (and this is hinted in the chapter heading
before verse 6 of that same text actually where the author speaks of al-murd).
6. Isn (excellence) and itqn (perfection). The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered us in the authentic
adith to observe isn and itqn in everything we do. When we speak of isn we immediately
think of the so called Hadith Jibril and hadith nr. 17 (killing and slaughtering with isn) in the
collection of 42 adth by imam an-Nawawi (d. 676 AH) raimahullah. Imam as-Suyuti (d. 911 AH;
raimahullah), and others, have related in their books that the Prophet s.a.w.s. has said: Indeed,
Allah loves one when he does a work, he does it with itqn.
Other similar statements have been related and are known from the ulam like:
Whoever does not perfect the foundation is prevented from reaching [their aim in
knowledge.
-

Whoever wants to attain knowledge in one go, will lose it in one go.

Overcrowding the ear with knowledge misguides ones understanding.3

For more about the method of seeking knowledge I refer to the chapter (2.) The Methodology of
Seeking Knowledge in the book by shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd (d. 2007) raimahullah called Hilyat Talib
ul-Ilm, which has been translated into English. I also refer to the book Instruction of the Student,
The Method of Learning, which is an English translation of imam al-Zarnujis Talm al-Mutaallim
Tarq at-Taallum. One can read these books on their own but to study them with a teacher is better
and preferable.

See: The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge, Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd, pag. 35. See:
http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/The%20Etiquette%20of%20Seeking%20Knowledge.pdf

In any case there need to be sound principles or starting points, i.e. by the ulam accepted and/or
generally accepted starting points. These principles have been written down by the ulam so they
can be known and learned by every student of knowledge.
So as we can see there is a danger in leaving the principles.

One of the first scholars of Islam who wrote about these principles is imam Sad ud-Dn at-Taftazni
(1322 1390 after Chr.) from Khurasn raimahullah in his book Al-Muawwal Shar Talkh alMifth on the science of balghah, rhetoric/eloquence. Imam at-Taftazni was a great scholar and
also wrote a well-known commentary on the creed of imam an-Nasafi raimahullah which has been
translated to English for those that are interested. In his Muawwal he spoke of three
muqadimmtul-ilm, three introductory principles to ilm, knowledge:
1. Marifatul-add: gnosis of the definition
2. Al-maw: the subject
3. Al-ghyah: the purpose or goal
Other scholars who wrote about these principles will be mentioned later.

THE POEM
Which principles / starting points are we talking about?
The above quoted verse (man taraka al-usul, hurima alayhi al-wusul) speaks of ul. Another word
for ul is mabdi. We speak in this connection of the so called al-mabdi al-asharah, the ten
principles or points. I.e.: the ten principles which need to be observed when studying any (Islamic or
non-Islamic) science or subject. Traditionally or from early on one starts with these ten points before
one studies a subject, science or discipline. Nowadays many students dont observe these ten points
anymore, moreover these points are not taught anymore by many ulam to their students, partly
probably because they themselves never learnt them. As a consequence students dont start their
studies well prepared.
These ten points have been mentioned in a short poem written by the imam, the logician and
grammarian, Ab al-Irfn Muhammad (Ibn Ali) al-abbn (raimahullah; from Egypt, d. 1791 after
Chr.) in his shiyah on the shar of his shaykh Ahmad al-Mallwi on al-Sullam (a work about
mantiq, classical logic, by the well-known Mliki scholar and imam Abd al-Rahman al-Akhari), which
runs as follows:

Transcription:
Inna mabdiya kulli fannin asharah al-addu wal-mawu thumma al-thamarah
Wa nisbatun wa faluhu wal-wi wal-ismu wastimddu ukmu al-Shri
Masilun wal-bau bil-baiktaf wa man dar al-jam za al-sharaf

We can find the audio/video on this poem online here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr9r8nsMsjI

Important sidenotes:
- The singular of mabdi is mabda, this comes from the verb badaa: to begin.
- I speak of poem here and this might be a little confusing for some people who might
understand/conceive poetry as something else. Strictly speaking these are only lines that rhyme and
in Arabic we call these rhyming lines buyt / abyat, and one line is called a bayt;
- I also speak of science here. This term might also confuse people . Instead of science we can also
speak of art, branch of knowledge, subject or even course.

English translation of the poem:


The Ten Introductory Aspects / Prerequisites
(Implicitly -taqdiran- the author says here: Ilam = Know) Verily, the principles for every science (or:
art) are ten.
The definition, the subject, then its fruit.
The relationship (to other sciences) and its virtue and the founder (or: erector).
The name and the sources and the judgment according to the Lawgiver [Allah] (about that).
Issues (or: questions) and some satisfy themselves with a part (or: something) of it.
And the one who knows them all acquires excellence (or: honor ).

Does anyone know this poem? Has anyone heard this poem before?

The ten principles which are thus mentioned in this 3 line poem are:

1. ( al-add) The definition (or: tarf) of that science (fann or ilm). A science is often defined by
one or more definitions, depending on the book one consults.
In Arabic add means the end of something. A add is also a limit or a border.
Think of the udd penalties in the Quran which are prescribed for certain crimes which are also
limits in a way.
It was the habit of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) to correct false
definitions and to indicate the true and correct definitions and understanding of things, he would
always ask his Companions questions such as: Do you know the definition of strength? They said,
Strength is to subdue others! So he corrected their definition to what Allah defines it as: Strength
is defined as one who can subdue himself when enraged! This hadith is well-known. Here he
corrected this misunderstanding, strength is not to subdue others as we all tend to think, but rather
strength is to subdue oneself.
There is a distinction with the description (rasm) of something. Description is a detailed meaning of a
concept or a phenomenon, whereas definition is a short meaning of a concept or a phenomenon.
This is the main difference between the two words.
Before we talk about something we have to define it and this can also take place by defining what it
is not.
We live in times of confusion and many problems arise out of the fact people dont define the terms
they use and are not aware of the proper definition of a term or word anymore.
Matters are known by their definitions, said shaykh Adib Kallas rahimahullah. So it is of utmost
importance that one learns the definitions of what one studies.
Sidenote: In Arabic we have two words for science:
- Fann
- Ilm
They can be used interchangeably. Fann generally refers to art or technique and in a way a science is
an art or technique that one masters.
2. The subject or theme of that science. What is that science about? Once we know this we
know the distinction with other sciences.
The first two points are the essence of the matter .
3. The fruit or fruits of that science i.e. the utility/benefit (al-fidah) / the benefits or the
consequences/results of study and application of this science.

4.

al-nisbatu ila ghayrihi min al-ulm: The relationship of that science with other sciences. How
can this science be categorized / classified?
5. Its favor, virtue, precedence or merit/value, in other words: its status amongst other subjects.
Another word for fadl is rutbah, which means rank or place. Muslims have always ranked their
sciences. Which science is most important? Know that there is a hierarchy. There are what we call
martib al-ulm, degrees of knowledge.
See also Quran 58:11:


Allah will raise (in degree) those of you who truly believe (and act accordingly) and in degrees
(darajt) those who have been granted the knowledge (especially of religious matters).
6. Al-wi is someone who expounds on a science and explains it further. In other words:
the founder, or pioneer, the first person who wrote or spoke about it; where does he come from?
7. The name or title of that science. Where does the name of that science come from? What is
the root verb? Is it a foreign word? Was it known in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the Sabah,
the Tabiin or Atb at-Tabin (the Salaf us-lin; may Allah be pleased with them all)? Who gave
the name to that science?
8. Sources and references for that science: the Quran, the Sunnah and/or adith, qiys and
ijm etc. This is important to establish the authenticity of that science.
9. The legal (and Islamic) judgment of the Lawgiver / Allah about this, the judgment
according to the shariah: is it (collectively or individually) obligatory to learn this science? Or is it
recommended, allowed, disliked or even forbidden? We always need to know the ruling on
something.
10. ( Important/most important) problems or questions that arise in that science. What, when,
who, how and why.
Every student of knowledge should memorise this short poem.
This is the most famous poem on these principles. There are different versions of this poem and the
order of the 10 principles also differs in each poem. Another well-known scholar who wrote a similar
poem is imam Ibn al-Muqri at-Talmasni al-Mliki (d. 1040 AH). He wrote4:

**
**
**
**
4

See: http://abdullahasn.wordpress.com

Transcription:
Man rma fannan falyuqaddimu awwalan ** ilman bihaddihi wa mawduun tala
Wa wadiun, wa nisbatun wa mastamda ** minhu, wa fadluhu wa hukmun yutamad
Wasmun wa ma afada wal-masailu ** fatilka ashrun lil-muna wa sailu
Wa baduhum fiha ala al-badiqtasar ** wa man yakun yadri jamiuhantasar

Translation:
Who(ever) wants to learn an art, he must first begin with ** knowledge of its definition and all what
has been said about the subject, then
Who founded it, its relation and its origins ** its virtue and ruling about it
And the name and what benefits him and the questions ** and those are ten for he who wants and
requests
Some people only took them partly ** but he who really knows, he will gain all of them

Not unimportant is the last verse of the firstly mentioned poem which makes it clear that certain
conditions (shur) need to be met if one wants to be and become and outstanding student. These
conditions are the 10 principles. The 10 principles are also called al-muqaddimt al-asharah and the
keys to the gates of the sciences and we can also call them al-mabdi al-wul or al-mabdi alassiyyah. All these words basically mean the same although we cant speak of synonyms strictly
speaking.
In other words: 10 basic principles that will lead to, if you stick to hem, mastering a specific science
and excel in it. And then you have reached your goal: al-wusul.
Not every poem has exactly ten principles. Some have less, some have more. What this last point
concerns we can mention the following, based on my research of the literature available to me.
Some scholars have added an eleventh principle: ( sharafuhu) Its honor.
Other scholars even talk about a twelfth principle: ( nashtul-ilm) The origin and
development of the science.
Other scholars again talk about a thirteenth principle: ( ghayatuhu) its purpose or al-maqd.
We also encounter a fourteenth principle: ( at-tadq bistimddihi wa
biukmihi) The consensus about or the confirmation of its sources and judgment.
Lastly a fifteenth principle: branches (furu) of that science.

In total, based on my research, we can distinguish 15 principles. I have learned these principles of
one of my own teachers and I have heard several other teachers online talk about them.
These principles are (still) taught at the primary school of al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, as we can read in
an article by prof. M.A.S. Abdel Haleem on aqidah, known for his outstanding English Quran
translation and other works on Islam.5
Well-known Islamic teachers from the U.S. and Canada who mention these 10 principles in their
online lessons are:
- Hamza Yusuf in his online lessons on the tafsr of Surah Yasin6 and in his lesson Introduction on
logic.7
- Abdullah b. Hamid Ali (Lamppost Productions) in his online lessons on ul al-fiqh.
- Abu Taubah (may Allah hasten his release) from whom I learned these ten principles in his lessons
on tajwd. He was the first teacher who taught me these principles and who gave me ijzah in the
hadith of ramah and I recited it to him on the airport of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where I met him and
spent around 4 hours with him.
- Mohamed Ghilan in his second lesson on Muslim Theology, the Creed of Deliverance, Aqidah anNaja by shaykh Muhammad b. Jafar al-Kittani rahimahullah.
- Moosa Richardson in his review and translation of lessons by the Saudi shaykh Amad Bazml of
the Hanbali fiqh book Manhaj as-Slikn8 by shaykh Abd ar-Ramn b. Nir as-Sadi (d. 1956 AD)
raimahullah.
Contemporary known Arab scholars who discuss these principles are for example:
-

Shaykh Usmah al-Azhari from Egypt:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRoWO47-5Vc

Shaykh Muammad al-asan Ould ad-Did from Mauritania:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asJswejBJdE

We can watch their lessons on these principles on YouTube.

See:
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/617311?uid=3738736&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=2110271
7793301
6
See on YouTube: The Heart of the Quran: Reflections from Surah Yasin, part. 2
7
See on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFBzIP19NLs
8
See: http://www.miraathpublications.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Miraath-Publications-Review-of-theBook-Manhaj-as-Salikeen-Lesson-1-English-only.mp3

Books, texts, documents and websites where we can find these principles are for example:
- al-Jmi lil-Mutn al-Ilmiyyah
In this book, a collection of basic texts for the student of knowledge, there is an extensive
explanation of this topic and for several sciences the 10 principles are given.
I took some material to prepare this course from this book. Every student of knowledge should have
this or a similar book in his bookcase.
- Nuzhat al-araf Shar Bin al-Afl fi Ilm al-arf, author unknown
- al-Tufah as-Saniyyah bi Shar al-Muqaddimah al-jurumiyyah (only 6 of the 10 points) by
Muammad Muyi ud-Dn Abd al-amd
- al-Madkhal ila Ilm al-Muala by Abil-Hasan Ali b. Amad b. Hasan al-Rzii
- al-Tail li Ul al-Takhrij wa Qawid al-Jar wal-Tadil by shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd
In this book we can see in a footnote that there are several works specifically written on these 10
principles.
- Abjad al-Ulm by Siddiq Hasan Khan
- Shar al-Bjri ala Jawharah at-Tawd by al-Bjri
- al-Mulakhkha al-Mufd fi Ilm al-Tajwd by Muammad Amad Mabud
- Hawshi al-Ujhri ala Shar al-Zurqni ala Manzmah al-Bayquniyyah by al-Ujhri
- Erluterung der Hadithwissenschaft (in German) by ustadh Neil bin Radhan, on the science of
hadith
- Al-Bustaan, Vol. One, by Sheikh M.A. Fakier; this is a book with several Shafii fiqh texts in Arabic
and English, from South Africa
- Dar al-Hadith forum (http://daralhadith.lefora.com/) with regards to the Shafii fiqh course related
to the text at-Taqrirat as-Sadidah9
- See also: http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb042294Texter/tasawwuf_principles_my.html
- Study Pack for the course The History of the Khalifas and The Politics of Power by The Muslim
Faculty of Advanced Studies from the UK, see: http://themuslimfaculty.org/
- as-arf ul-Kfi published by Dr al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah
- M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, Early Islamic Theological and Juristic Terminology: "Kitb al-udd fi 'l-ul"
by Ibn Frak

See: http://daralhadith.lefora.com/topic/17207452/Translations-of-Class-Audio#.Umy27RDvf4U

- Tafsr al-Ftiah al-Kabr, by Amad Ibn Ajbah raimahullah. A reference to this work one can find
in the main tafsir of Ibn Ajbah Al-Bar al-Madd and the English translation of the autobiography of
Ibn Ajibah (from the French by Jean-Louis Michon), published by Fons Vitae.
These are the books and texts I have in my own collection. As we can understand from this list not
much is mentioned about these 10 principles in the English literature. We need to consult Arabic
books mainly.
I have given this lesson before in the local mosque I teach at. We have not heard these 10 principles
before at Cordoba Academy as far as I know and with this lesson I hope to initiate something. As
teachers and students we need to take care we start our studies in the right way. I dare to claim here
that it is even obligatory (wjib) for every serious student of knowledge to start with this 10
principles.
One last point before we go into the benefits we can extract from these 10 principles.
If we consider what we have learned until now we can conclude this all has to do with the
philosophy of education in Islam and it touches on what is called epistemology, in short the theory
of knowledge. It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which
knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. It is basically about the sources
of knowledge and the question how do we know what we know?. I just wanted to have mentioned
this before we continue. In this lesson there is no space to expand on this. Just a little point worth
mentioning to put things in a clearer perspective is about imam al-Ghazali ramatullahi alayhi. He
can be called, in my humble opinion, a Muslim epistemologist because he dared to ask the question:
How do I know religion is true? I refer to his autobiography Al-Munqidh min ad-Dalal, translated
into English as Al-Ghazalis Path to Sufism, his Deliverance from Error.

BENEFITS
From these 10 principles we can extract the following lessons and/or benefits (fawid), these are not
exhaustive by the way.
1. That we need to seek knowledge gradually, step by step. Allah says in the Noble Quran (17:106):



English translation: And (it is) a Quran that We set forth in parts with clarity so that you may
recite and convey it to people with deliberation (in order that they can absorb it), and We sent it
down in successive Revelations (each perfectly suited to its occasion and its wider purpose).
And Allah s.w.t. has said in the Noble Quran (25:32):

English translation: Those who disbelieve say (by way of yet another false argument for unbelief):
Why has the Quran not been sent down on him all at once? (We send it down in parts) so that
we may (impress it on your mind and) establish your heart with it, and We are conveying it
distinctly and gradually, (one part supporting the other, and providing guidance and instruction for
emerging occasions).
In fact: To seek knowledge gradually is an advice that all scholars give.
2. Knowledge has levels and degrees, martib or darajt. The two main levels are: far ayn and far
kifyah. Individually and collectively obligatory.
3. That we need to conduct our studies fully, purposefully and thoroughly.
4. That we need start with the basics and not want to jump into the deep immediately.
5. That we start with studying 1 science and that we try to master this science as well as possible.
6. That every science needs to be studied with a teacher who can pass these principles on to his
student(s).
7. That studying a science takes time and patience.
8. That definitions are essential. Things are known by their definition. Definitions give us meaning.
Islam is the a religion of meaning.
9. That a science can always be ascribed to someone and that this happens justly and correctly: we
need to honor and respect those who deserve to be honored and respected. They are the ones that
preceded us and laid the foundations for us.
10. That referring to sources is obligatory, important and necessary.
11. That we always need to know the ukm, the legal judgment, on something. Think of al-akm alkhamsah, these apply to all human actions: wjib/far, mandb/sunnah, mub, makrh and arm.
12. That knowledge needs to practised. Think of the (title of the) book by imam Khab al-Baghddi
(d. 463 AH) raimahullah: Iqti al-Ilm al-Amal. Cordoba Academy has offered courses on this book
in the past and many students have received an ijazah in this extremely beneficial book. Imam alGhazli (d. 505 AH) raimahullah has said: Knowledge without actions is vanity and actions without
knowledge is insanity. May Allah reckon us amongst the sane.
13. That we always need to see things in a wider perspective. These 10 principles teach the student
of knowledge to see the science he/she studies in the right proportion and framework. We need to
be balanced and moderate. We are an ummah of moderation.
14. That we as students of knowledge know why we study a certain science and why want to master
it. In other words: that we know very well what we are doing or that we are aware of that. This has to
do with your intention (niyyah) and your sincerity (ikhl). The Prophet s.a.w.s. has said in a wellknown and authentic hadith: Innamal-amlu bin-niyyt. Verily, actions are based on intentions.
Everything starts with ones intention.

Our intentions to study can be manifold and in this regard I refer to Kitb an-Niyyt by shaykh alabb Muammad b. Alawi al-Aydarus, that was mentioned earlier on. One important intention can
be to lift our own ignorance and the ignorance of those around us as imam Amad b. anbal
raimahullah has said.
15. Everything has a beginning (bidyah) and an end and/or ending (nihyah).
In relation to these last two statements we can quote the famous scholar Abdullah ibn al-Mubrak
(d. 181 AH) raimahullah, who said: The beginning of knowledge is intention, then listening, then
understanding, then action, then preservation, and then dissemination. (See: Qi Iy, Tartb alMadrik)
16. Dont loose sight of the kulliyt (generals) while delving in to the juziyyt (details, particulars).
We have become an ummah of juziyyt and forget the kulliyt as one teacher has once said. We
focus so much on details and completely fail to see the bigger picture. We see the trees but not the
forest.
17. That we have to be serious and dedicated in our studies.
18. That we need to lay foundations on which we can build our studies.
19. Learning knowledge must be prioritized. We need to know what comes first and has priority.
20. Through these principles we find out if we are interested to study a certain science.
21. Every science has its own mabdi and consequently its own technical language.
22. The earlier quoted Prof. M.A.S. Abdel Haleem says: The mabdi can be seen as a sound starting
point which from the outset gives the reader a clear picture of the science he is about to study and
its context. This is considered to be an essential part of the approaches preferred in the method of
education in traditional Islamic education.
23. The roots must always precede the branches. Mabdi are ul and ul can be translated as
roots. Knowledge is like a tree which has roots, branches and fruits. The 10 mabdi are like seeing
the roots of the trees of the forest before seeing the trees.
24. Ibn ul-Jawzi, the great Hanbali polymath (d. 597 AH), raimahullah said: Dont delve into a
science before mastering what comes before it.10
25. A student of knowledge is always proactive. This means he/she needs to have a vision. Our vision
and focus is and should always be on the khirah in the end but we shouldnt let this world get out of
sight either. Originally this terms comes from the science of psychology because it refers to a certain
state of mind. As students of knowledge we need to have a certain state of mind.
26. The Maliki jurist and sage Ibn AaAllah (d. 709 AH) raimahullah said in his famous and
wonderful ikam: The beginnings are the manifestations of the ends. The way that things begin
reflects how they are likely to end. A good beginning promises a bright future; a solid foundation
10

See: Sincere counsel to the Seekers of Knowledge, pag. 68. Download here:
http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Sacred%20Knowledge.pdf

supports a strong and lasting structure. Or as they say by way of proverb: A good start is half the
work.
Each of us needs to reflect and ponder about these lessons and Im sure we can extract more lessons
from these 10 principles. I came up with these lessons based on my reflections and what I have read
preparing for this lesson. In order to do this properly every student who participated in this course
will be send a PDF with a transcript of this lesson as I said before.

So now we know this what I would like you to do is to go and find out for yourselves. What Islamic
science do you want to learn and study? What are the 10/15 principles with regards to that science?
Ask your teacher, a fellow student, read a book, do some research. Try and find out. I hope I have
given you an incentive now inshaAllah.

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE
To give you a start I will now briefly discuss the 10 principles with regards to the science of tajwd.11
These are taken from the earlier mentioned book al-Jami lil-Mutun al-Ilmiyyah.
1. Its definition:
- Linguistically (lughatan): Betterment, improvement
- Technically (ialan): Articulating every letter from its articulation point and giving the letter its
rights and dues of characteristics.
Rights of the letters are its required characteristics that never leave it. The dues of the letters are its
presented characteristics that are present in it some of the time, and not present at other times, i.e.
the madd, idghm.
2. Its subject: The letters and words of the Glorious Quran
3. Its fruit: Preserving the tongue from mistakes in pronunciation of the Glorious Quran during
reading.
4. Its relationship to other sciences: It is from the sciences of the shariah related to the Glorious
Quran
5. Its virtue: It is one of the most honored of sciences and one of the best of them due to its relation
to Allahs words.
6. Its founder:
- Practically: The Prophet s.a.w.s.
- Academically: The scholars of qirah (styles of recitation of the Quran)
11

Taken from the book al-Jmi lil-Mutn al-Ilmiyyah en http://www.abouttajweed.com/learningtajweed/principles-of-tajweed.html.

7. Its name: Ilm at-Tajwd or at-Tasn


8. Its sources: From the Quran and the Sunnah
9. Its judgment:
- From the viewpoint of application: Far al-ayn (indivual obligation) for every qri (reciter), Muslim
or Muslimah.
- As a science: Far kifyah (communal obligation).
10. Its issues: For example the rules for the nn skinah and tanwn, the rules for the nn and the
mm al-mushaddah, the rules for the mm skinah etc.
This ends our example.

Now we know this we need to implement it in our studies. Ilm must always lead to amal, they go
hand in hand.

Aqulu qawli haadha astaghfirullaha li wa li saairil-muslimin, fastaghfiruhu innahu huwal-GhafururRahim.


I thank your for your patience with me and for listening to me. Jazakum Allahu khayran.
We ask Allah for tawfiq and a good ending.
Was-salamu aleykum wa rahmatullah.