70 Etiquettes of the True Seeker🖊

Excerpted from Shaykh Mohammed Daniel’s Explanation of Imam Zarnuji’s Ta’lim al-Muta’lim (The Methodology of Learning)

For the dedicated student of knowledge it is vital they follow this advice to be blessed with the barakah of sacred knowledge or they will remain deprived and only obtain raw data that will serve to be a proof against them on the Day of Judgment

Before the class the student should:

1. Ensure to revive or rectify your intention for every class

2. Cleanse the heart from all nastiness as it is the key to a sound body and mind

3. Take knowledge from the qualified and observant, never from the irreligious

4. Take knowledge from traditional scholars not the self-read who solely depend on books

5. Take knowledge from the specialists in their respective fields, very few are capable in all

6. Once you have done this well, trust the expertise and entertain good thoughts of your teacher

7. If studying with more than one teacher organise your learning with priority given to the Fard ‘Ayn

8. Do not compare or show your teacher that you prefer another teacher over them

9. Do not rush, but start with the mutoun (short basic texts) before moving onto larger ones

10. Once you have booked your teacher, do not cancel or postpone their class for petty reasons

11. Do not miss classes unless there is an emergency situation or your parent’s need you

12. Wear clean clothes preferably white of colour and apply perfume (for males only)

13. Perform wudhu before sitting in any gathering of ilm wherein the Quran or Hadith is taught

14. Observe good personal hygiene by using miswaak, trimming moustache and clipping nails

15. Ensure that your stationery is complete so that you can take good notes

16. Look after and respect your books. The Quran should always be at the top of a pile of books, then Tafseer works then Sahih al-Bukhari and so on.

17. Always seek permission to enter the teacher’s home, never take it for granted

18. If the teacher is sleeping, do not wake them, but wait patiently to wake or return later

19. Attend classes punctually and sit down prepared before the arrival of the teacher

20. You should not walk in front of the Shaikh unless you are protecting him

21. Upon arrival if late, salute your peers audibly and then salute your teacher and apologise

22. Enter the class tranquilly, not breathing heavily inevitably distracting others

When in class the student should:

23. Begin your classes with a quiet basmalah and salawat then pray for beneficial knowledge

24. Sit respectfully, directly in front of your teacher, look at them and listen attentively

25. You should never sit in the place of the Shaikh

26. Do not sit in front of peers blocking their view of the teacher

27. Do not climb over others to sit in class or distract people when entering

28. Do not sit higher than the teacher or lean on the wall before seeking permission (if medical excuse exists).

29. Do not disagree with your teacher in front of others, discuss privately any such issues

30. Do not look for faults in your teacher, for if you do this you will lose out unable to find anyone worthy

31. Do not laugh hysterically, whisper or speak out of turn during class

32. Do not fidget with mobile phone, clothing etc or glance around during the class

33. Do not read to the teacher when they are distracted or tired

34. Do not be jealous of your peers or have animosity towards them

35. Do not perceive any component of knowledge as insignificant, but write it down

36. Do not lie and say you understand, when you do not understand

37. Do not busy yourself in optional worship in the presence of the teacher

38. Seize every moment you have to benefit from the teacher

39. Only answer the questions of peers, if the teacher encourages you to do so

40. Always address the teacher with respect and wait for their response

41. Never be shy from asking questions when the opportunity is given

42. Exercise forbearance towards your teacher and peers

43. Even if you know lesson from before, continue to listen attentively

44. Exercise patience with the bad mood a teacher may have occasionally

45. Realise that if your teacher rebukes or scolds you, it is for your good

46. Whoever shows no patience while studying remains will remain in the darkness of ignorance

47. Respect your peers as it is regarded as a part of respecting your teacher

48. Do not leave abruptly without permission, rather write a note seeking permission

After the class the student should:

49. Verify with your teacher the correct recital of verses before memorising

50. Do not unnecessarily remain around the teacher as they have commitments

51. Do not learn directly from books, rather consult your teacher first

52. Revise your notes after lessons preferably in a study group with peers

53. Regularly recollect and repeat the knowledge that you have memorised

54. Memorising on a light stomach before the time of Fajr is the most effective

55. Always maintain the honour of your teacher even outside of class

56. You should respect his children and close ones

57. Advise your peers regarding beneficial classes they can attend

General Traits that the student of sacred knowledge must consider:

58. Learn the art of asking sound questions, not trivial or silly ones

59. Learn to exercise humility with your teacher and class-fellows

60. Demonstrate firmness of purpose with a zest for knowledge

61. Make efficient use of your youth and free time before they leave you

62. Disconnect yourself from trivial pursuits and excessive social activities

63. Do not postpone learning opportunities as they may never return

64. Do not eat and drink too much as this will cause lethargy & excessive sleep

65. Do not marry a wife who has no value for sacred knowledge, she will distract you

66. Do not marry more than one wife because you will either neglect them or your studies

67. Do not shock your body with sudden lack of sleep, but train it to reach there

68. Keep your mind clear by sufficing yourself with little provisions and a simple lifestyle

69. Consume a healthy diet staying away from oily foods and consume dried fruits like raisins

70. Maintain balance in your food selection, coupling foods with warming and cooling characteristics

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