Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am in several educational Islamic forums online, and most of them are not under the guidance of scholars (See: Discord – Islamic Thought, Durkastan). Yes, they may have casual students of knowledge, and it is probably true that they derive their knowledge from scholars, but gaining knowledge there does not feel holistic. They give quick, convenient answers to polemical questions, but I feel like this is not a replacement for education under a shaykh. Is this good?
Thank you for your question. Learning Islamic knowledge is a process of reading small books and then working up to reading bigger books, all with qualified teachers.
How to study
I don’t know the website that you speak of, but the traditional method of studying the religion begins with good intention, a couple of years of Arabic and tajweed, and then reading the smaller books of fiqh, aqidah, and then working your way up, and starting other Islamic sciences as well. If you are part of a system that does this, then you are on the right track. If you are not, then you can find such a track at SeekersGuidance.
Where to study
If you are unable to study online, then you should consider studying with local reliable scholars or going to a place where you can study Sacred Knowledge. This would be more difficult if you are a single female, so online would be best to start with. Some who are not able to study full-time may consider studying part-time, in the summers, or on weekends; whatever you do will add up by the grace of Allah.
I also recommend a daily litany of reading the Quran and memorizing Qu’ran. You should start this whether you are studying or not studying. There will be tremendous blessings in this, and Allah’s words will lead you to study in the right place. Pray the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to send you righteous people who want to study like you and open the way for you. May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
Please see these links for more excellent information:
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.