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The Pitfalls of Self-Acquired Religious Knowledge

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftionline.co.za

Q: In the present times we find a lot of people over enthusiastic in matters of religion which of course is not wrong. However they begin to believe that having learnt word to word translation of the Quran and having read the literal translation of some Hadiths they have  understood the real true meanings of the sacred texts. So much so they start indulging in debates and arguments in religious matters and begin to believe, based on their self acquired knowledge, that only they are in the right path and everyone else is wrong.

My question is:

1. Is self acquired knowledge through reading books alone the correct method?

2. Can One really understand the real meanings of ayats of Quran and the meanings of Hadiths by just reading the English translations?

3. What is the correct method of acquiring religious knowledge.

I have heard a saying “Books teach Words. Men train Men”.


A: No. It is extremely dangerous to access bigger kitaabs and to check into the translation of the Qur’aan or Hadeeth without a professional guide.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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