The ‘Danger’ of Learning Religion on Your Own

By: M Rizka Arrosyid | IN TERRACE the life of the world, seeking knowledge is very important. Even in Islamic perspective, seeking knowledge is not merely recommended, but obligatory for every man and woman. The obligation to study is a continuous process, where the end point is when a person dies.

Islam is a religion that highly respects, glorifies and emphasises the interests of science. Anything connected with science will be noble. The scholars are noble because of their mastery and practice of science. A place becomes noble when occupied for a science assembly. Allah Ta’ala said:

يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمََ

“Allah Ta’ala will raise (degrees) those who believe among you and those who are given several degrees of knowledge. And He is all-knowing what you do. ” (QS: al-Mujadalah: 11).

From there it seems clear, that a glory comes from knowledge. Knowledge changes someone who is originally despicable to become noble, who is not a nobody to be heard by his voice. So a Muslim should also glorify knowledge. Among them is maintaining the characteristics of science itself. Especially the science of Islam.

The science of religion cannot be understood only by reading books (self-taught) and searching on the internet only. But there is also a need for guidance from ustadz who are experts in their fields.

Said bin Ya’kub once asked Imam Ibn Mubarak, “We find advice in books, can we take it?” Imam Ibn Mubarak replied, “It’s okay if you find on the wall written advice, take it, then you get advice.” He said again to Imam Ibn Mubarak, “What about fiqh?” Imam Ibn Mubarak replied, “Not straight (fiqih) except by listening.” (al-Jami ‘li al-Akhlak ar-Rawi, 2 / 318-319)

Reflecting on the scholars, there are examples that should be practiced by Muslims today. Let’s open your eyes, take a look! Look at the pages of the history of the best generation of this people. Let the nose touch, smell the scent of the kindness that they walk.

How amazing, they are very strict in maintaining scientific sanad. Dear friends, tabi’in, tabi’ut tabi’in, also previous salaf scholars learn directly from the source, face to face (face to face).

It is a long journey to study, no matter if the distance is thousands of kilometers. The teacher in the opposite country was visited, did not care even if the hot sun roasted his whole body. Therefore, a scholar named Abdullah bin al-Mubarak said;

Sanad is part of religion. Without sanad, then anyone will speak as he pleases . ” (Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim, 1/15)

Sanad is divided into two; riwayah and creeping. Sanad scientific studies riwayah It is useful so that the text being studied is not corrupted, either in the form of falsification of the text or writing errors which will have implications for the error of meaning and meaning of the written text. While the scientific study is based on sanad creeping (contextual) has the aim that there is no misunderstanding in studying a scientific text.

Reality today

In his book A History of Knowledge: Past, Present, and Future, Charles Van Doren, an American scholar, described that today is known as the age of the explosion of science (knowledge explosion). Van Doren’s description is true.

Every year, hundreds of books and journals are published. New science and web pages are always popping up and scattering everywhere. In just seconds, through internet technology, for example, we can find out various events in various parts of the world, from the eastern horizon to the western horizon.

In this sophisticated era, many instant things are easily obtained. Wherever, under any circumstances, and whenever we can access the religious knowledge that is needed through print media, the internet, and others.

In connection with the law of use, of course everything is legal, it is permissible in Islam. If a Muslim learns from this source he will not sin at all.

It’s just that, it would be better if the understanding from reading books was confirmed with the guidance of a cleric who is qualified in his field. People can dig their own knowledge on their own, but be sure that their knowledge will not be perfect.

Danger, always watch out!

What’s worse, studying religion without the guidance of the cleric is very prone to failing to understand religious knowledge. Put someone who wants to know the meaning of the Koran. In fact lafadz al-Qur’an can be metaphor, contains a double meaning and is global in nature. So we need details to find the true meaning of it.

Without studying and without asking one of the ustadz, teacher or pious person, it is certain that he will encounter difficulties. And often, difficulties and confusion that are not directed causes a person to fail to understand. If he fails to understand, the conclusions he draws have the potential to be wrong and misleading.

Therefore, the function of seeking religious teachers is a process to maintain religious purity and ensure the authenticity of the inherited disciplines. This is based on the order of Allah Ta’ala in the Koran that Muslims are ordered to return the trust to those who are entitled.

إن ٱلله يأمركم أن تؤدوا ٱلأمنت إلى أهلها وإذا حكمتم بين ٱلناس أن تحكموا بٱلعدل إن ٱلله نعما يعظكم به إن ٱلله كان سميعا بصيرا

Indeed, Allah instructs you to convey the message to those who are entitled to receive it, and (instructs you) when establishing laws among humans so that you determine it fairly.(QS: An-Nisa ‘: 58)

Also ordered to ask the knowledgeable person (ahlu dhikr) if you don’t know something.

فَسۡ‍َٔلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلذِّكۡرِ إِن كُنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

“So ask people who have knowledge if you don’t know.” (Surat an-Nahl: 43). Wallahua’lam bish showab. *

Ma’had Aly Annur, Waru Baki, Sukoharjo, Central Java



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