The era of the ubiquitous internet has produced more Google Sheikhs than followers of the true deen. It was the way of the Salaf (the followers) to learn from authentic scholars before disseminating any knowledge or expressing any opinion relating to deen. Then, students of knowledge did their ‘Tarbiya’ (training) patiently under the people of knowledge. The learnt many branches of knowledge. The Quran and Hadith of the Prophet Salalahu Alaihi Wasalam were their student’s companion.
This was the time when students learned Tafseer (translations of the Quran), Sariah (Islamic jurisprudence), and Arabic grammar and language. It was only after such thorough studies that one dared utter their ‘opinion’ on anything relating to the religion.
Then enter the internet. The Tarbiya with the learned scholars was put aside in favor of the screen. So-called students of knowledge opted instead to “self- learn” without going through scholars. Virtually, Google became the destination for all such knowledge seekers.
Below we take a look at three reasons why you need the guidance of authentic scholars in your pursuit for true knowledge.
With knowledge seekers too shallow in their understanding of the deen, most became like village marriage and divorce lawyers who wouldn’t know a thing even if a tort case smacked them right in their face. These are those who studied in the dark without the guiding light of a righteous sheikh.
#2.Purifies Your Deen
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “If any one of you improve (follows strictly) his Islamic religion then his good deeds will be rewarded ten times to seven hundred times for each good deed and a bad deed will be recorded as it is.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 35)
How can one strictly follow the deen if their knowledge is from questionable sources? We learn the deen so that we can get to improve the way we practice it. We don’t learn just for the mere sake of learning. How could you benefit from the blessings mentioned in the above Hadith if you got our knowledge from deviant sect you know nothing about or some kid behind a screen just out to lead Muslims astray? The next time you Google anything on Islam, bear in mind that your answer might just be coming from an eight year old with a lot of time in his hands.
The deen is wide and one must be well read to have a holistic understanding of it. You can’t read the translation of some verses of the Quran and one Hadith and conclude that you can form your opinion on a matter. Learning from a scholar is like taking instructions from one perched on a hilltop; he guides you to the right path because he sees all around you. Learning deen solely from the internet is nothing more than taking directions from someone who probably has never been to your location.
I must hasten to add that not everything on the internet is made-up. There are some sites out there that are authentic. However, you must be steeped in your understanding to differentiate what is authentic and what is not. So go back to square 1; get a scholar to teach you the deen.