Dear shaykh I seek guidance on aqidah issues, I am 16 years old, I am reading through tafseer ibn kathir as I want to learn more about deen and become strong in deen. In my spare time I like to learn more about deen and read about aqidah. I want to know about ibn kathir, was he a great Alim, and can I read tafsir alone and learn myself? Jazaak’Allah shaykh I wish to come visit you in South Africa I hear so much about you from Darul uloom friends. Please keep me in your doas shaykh
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
It is encouraging to note your zeal for Deen. May Allah Ta’ālā shower you with knowledge and make you a means of spreading the message of Islam.
Hafiz Ibn Kathiīr is known as one of the greatest scholars of tafsīr throughout Islamic history. He was born in 701 AH and spent his entire life seeking knowledge in various fields such as hadīth, tafsīr (Quran exegesis), tārīkh (history), etc. One of his greatest works is Tafsīr al-Quran al-A’zīm, more widely known as “Tafīr Ibn Kathīr”. It is one of the most accepted books in the field of tafsīr (exegesis of the Quran) and is used extensively by many great ‘Ulamā when discussing the tafsīr of the Holy Quran. Although it is a masterpiece in the field of tafsīr, it might be overwhelming for a non-Ālim to properly comprehend the details found in the book. As such, it is our advice that you either find a scholar to study this book under or you refer to a tafsīr book that is easier for you to understand such as Ma’āriful Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmānī.
Similarly, the field of aqīdah is very complex and if studied incorrectly, could lead one to stray away from the teachings of the Ahl an-Sunnah wa al-Jamā’ah and in turn be detrimental to one’s Iman. It was the habit of the ‘Ulamā to study their Deen directly from teachers, especially relating to subjects as sensitive as ‘aqīdah. Therefore, if you truly desire to learn more about ‘aqīdah, then you should find a scholar who has knowledge in this field and study directly under such a scholar.
We make du’ā that Allah Ta’āla grants you success in this life and the hereafter. Ameen.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
 Al-Bidāyah wa an-Nihāyah, vol. 1, pg. 9-10, Dar Ibn Rajab;
Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Azīm, vol. 1, pg. 21-24, Dar Ibn al-Jawzī
 إن أخد العلم عن الشيوخ: هو مفتاح العلم الصحيح، و عنوان فلاح الطالب و ظفره، و لا خير في علم من لم يتلق العلم عن العلماء المتقنين
(معالم الإرشادية لصناعة طالب العلم، ص ١٥٩، دار اليسر و دار المنهاج)