Praise be to Allah.
Seeking knowledge is one of the most virtuous of good deeds, and it is the best way in which a person may spend his time, and the best path that will lead the Muslim to Paradise.
Ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Study is prayer.
Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (1/104).
Sufyaan ath-Thawri said:
There is no deed after the obligatory duties that is more virtuous than seeking knowledge.
Hilyat al-Awliya’ (6/361).
Az-Zuhri (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Allah is not worshipped with anything like seeking knowledge.
Jaami‘ Bayaam al-‘Ilm (1/119).
It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn Wahb said: I was with Maalik ibn Anas when the time for Zuhr or ‘Asr prayer came, when I was reading to him and studying with him. I collected my books and got up to pray, and Maalik said: What is this? I said: I am getting up to pray. He said: This is something strange. What you are getting up for is not better than what you have been doing, if your intention is sound.
Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (122).
Undoubtedly listening to the lessons of the scholars both in person and in recordings is one of the most important means of attaining knowledge. Nowadays, praise be to Allah, Allah has made many means available to us to benefit from what the scholars teach in their lessons, including lessons that are recorded on tapes, CDs and other media. There are a number of benefits in listening to these recorded lessons:
1.. It trains the student to listen attentively, which is a refined etiquette and good attitude that helps the student get used to receiving knowledge and learning from the speaker, and stop looking for opportunities to make himself the focus of attention.
Sufyaan ath-Thawri said, as was narrated in Rawdat al-‘Uqala’ (34):
The first step in attaining knowledge is remaining silent, then listening, then memorizing, then acting upon it, then spreading that knowledge.
2.. It allows the student to listen again to the words of the scholar if he did not understand him the first time, because some comments may be difficult for the student to grasp, but if he listens to it again it will become clear to him.
3.. It makes it easy to write down some beneficial points, as he can pause the recording or listen to some parts again.
4.. It shortens the long distances for seekers of knowledge who are not able to travel to learn from the scholars directly. Nowadays the Islamic audio library contains hundreds of commentaries and beneficial lessons, which saves the student a great deal of time, effort and money.
5.. It is possible to take these lessons with you and listen to them in different circumstances: on the road whilst driving, whilst working, and the like. This is making good use of time and filling one’s free time.
But these benefits and advantages do not mean that we can do away with attending classes and learning from the scholars directly. Each method has its benefits and advantages, and the successful seeker of knowledge is the one who makes good use of all opportunities, and knows how to take nectar from all the flowers of the garden.
We hope that by His grace Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, will decree reward for everyone who listens to the recorded lessons, and that He will send down tranquillity upon them and bestow His mercy upon them, as it says in the well-known hadith:
“No people gather in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it together, but tranquillity will descend upon them, mercy will overshadow them, the angels will surround them and Allah will mention them to those who are with Him.” Narrated by Muslim (2699).
And Allah knows best.