Chapter 14: Studying and Teaching

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Grandpa, after that, what other concerts did Zul go to?” Sarah asks curiously.

Hehe… As far as I know, Zul never went to any other concerts after that. That was the first and last concert Zul ever attended.” Grandpa Aki said smiling at his granddaughter.

Ok, I’m going to continue the story. We have a long way to go.” Grandpa Aki pauses and then continues his story…

*****

Insya-Allah, today we will continue with the first hadith from our book Mustika Hadith…” Zul starts his sermon in Surau Kampung Kubang Kekura.

Since beginning his third and fourth-year Thanawi, Zul has started to teach in the Kuala Terengganu area. His usual class will be at Surau Kuala Bedah in Kuala Bekah and Surau Kampung Kubang Kekura. Khairul or his friend Zuan will usually drive the motorcycle while Zul will ride on the back when Zul went to deliver his sermons. Whenever Zul is scheduled to deliver a sermon, the surau will be filled with congregants wanting to hear his sermon. His language is simple so that the public could easily understand him, at the same time, casually he will include anecdotes of the salafussoleh, making his sermons interesting for people who listen and follow him.

After the sermon, the surau’s committee would prepare several desserts or meals. Oftentimes, this is when Zul will get asked religious questions by the congregants who attend his sermon. “Ustaz, what is the ruling of eating squirrels?” Out of the blue, Haji Din asks an odd question when they were all eating. “I can’t believe that Haji Din has an exquisite palate… He’s interested to eat squirrels, a rare delicacy…Hahaha…” Pok Mat the surau’s Bilal teases Haji Din and everyone there, bursts into laughter.

Our scholars have differing opinions on the issue of eating squirrels. Imam al-Nawawi ruled it permissible while some scholars from madhhab Syafie ruled it prohibited. [1] Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari also ruled it permissible since its incisor teeth is weak although it is a type of fox. [2] Our Malay scholar, Syeikh Daud al-Fatani also ruled it permissible. [3] However, Syeikh Arsyad al-Banjari ruled it prohibited. [4] Personally, I’m inclined towards the opinions of Syafi’ite scholars that prohibited it. Squirrels are wild animals that are nearly extinct. As far as I know, the government restricted the hunting of squirrels. Obeying the authorities is obligatory [5]. Wallahu a’lam.” Zul answered in detail.

Haji Din, Pok Mat, I’m going back now, it’s getting late…” Zul informs as he gets ready to go home. Pok Mat shake hands with Zul and gave him an envelope with two RM10 notes as a gift for him.

Even when Zul was still studying in Thanawi, he’s creative in his ways of attracting more villagers to attend the sermons at Surau Kampung Kubang Kekura. Every so often, he would invite his Arab teachers in SMAASZA to give the sermon. Ustaz Taha and Ustaz Sa’id al-Qasabi are among his teachers who had given sermons at Surau Kubang Kekura. Zul will stay standing beside them acting as the translator. Every word is noted on his paper and then he would directly translate it.

Here, read what I’ve written.” Zul gave the paper he used for his translation to Khairul. At the time, the sermon by Ustaz Taha has just ended. Khairul frowned deeply. “I can’t understand a single thing written here!” Khairul exclaimed, sniggering. “If you want to be a translator, you have to write everything the speaker said. Just write it in Arabic, don’t translate any of it yet. Afterwards, you directly translate it from your notes…,” Zul advised Khairul on the technique he uses when translating the sermon live.

*****

If he ever had any free time, he would also follow the classes in Pasir Tumboh which was led by Tuan Guru Haji Hashim and Tuan Guru Haji Atiqullah. There are just extra talaqqi classes he took other than the classes he’s already attending led by Tuan Guru Haji Abbas, Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Rahman Fatani and Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, as well as the syllabus taught during his Thanawi years in SMAASZA. Among the books he studied were Maṭlaʿ al-Badrayn, Iqnaʿ, Tafsīr al-Jalālayn, Matn al-Ajurrūmiyyah, al-Naḥw al-Wāḍiḥ, Matan al-Binā’ wa al-Asas, Bulugh al-Marām, Jawharat al-Tawḥīd, Penawar Bagi Hati and others.

There are various benefits of learning religious knowledge through the talaqqi method. Allah SWT states:

وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُوا كَافَّةً ۚ فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

“And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.”

Al-Alusi said: “In truth, the usage of ‘to teach’ (لِيُعْلِمُوْا) is more accurate when compared with ‘to warn or remind’ (لِيُنذِرُوا) and ‘so that they become knowledgeable’ (يَتَفَقَّهُوْا) compared with ‘so that they might be cautious’ (يَحْذَرُونَ). However, these words are specifically chosen and used instead of other terminologies to show that the objective of a teacher is to guide and remind. While the purpose of a student is to attain the fear of Allah SWT and not to feel at ease and arrogant with his knowledge.”

Syeikh al-Maraghi said: This verse is revealed to complete the rulings related to the struggle to achieve something. Which is the ruling of seeking knowledge and delving into the affairs in religion. This means, by seeking comprehensive detailed knowledge, it’s a form of struggling, using arguments and presenting pieces of evidence which is also one of the most important pillars in the aspect of calling towards faith and upholding Islam. [6]

When we understood this statement of Allah SWT, it clearly shows the commandment of seeking knowledge through learning in person in a class with the teacher. This is the basis. This is supported with a hadith from Abi Darda’ R.A, the Rasullullah PBUH said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ بِالتَّعَلُّمَ وَالْفِقْه بِالتَّفَقُّهِ

“O mankind, indeed knowledge is learned and fiqh is with tafaqquh (understanding).” [7]

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said: “Religious knowledge is not attained except from the mouths of scholars.” [8]

Imam Muslim narrated in the muqaddimah of his book Sahih Muslim from Muhammad ibn Sirin, where he said:

إِنَّ هَذَا الْعِلْمَ دِيْنٌ فَانظُرُوْا عَمَّنْ تَأْخُذُوْنَ دِيْنَكُمْ

“Indeed, this knowledge is religion, hence, consider from whom you take your religion.” [9]

Abdullah Ibn Mubarak said:

الْإِسْنَادُ مِنَ الدِّيْنِ لَوْ لَا الْإِسْنَادُ لَقَالَ مَنْ شَاءَ مَا شَاءَ

“Isnad is a part of religion, if isnad didn’t exist, a person may say whatever he wishes (according to his nafs).” [10]

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[1] See Majmūʿ Sharḥ al-Muhazzab, (9/12)

[2] See Asnā al-Maṭālib Sharḥ Rawḍ al-Ṭālib, (1/564)

[3] See Maṭlaʿ al-Badrayn wa Majmaʿ al-Baḥrayn, (2/26)

[4] See Sabil al-Muhtadin, p. 258

[5] Wajib

[6] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 6/2937

[7] Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir (395)

[8] See al-Faqih wa al-Mutafaqqih, 2/192

[9] See Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim, 1/12

[10] See Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim, 1/11

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