Peace be upon you!
I want to study politics and Islamic economy, therefore I should have a strong Shari`ah knowledge. I memorize the whole volume of the Qur'an and would like to know what should I study in regard to Fiqh, Hadith, and `Aqidah? I perused the curriculum of the Institute for Preparing Preachers in Egypt, and I found that the book they study in Hadith is "Bulugh Al Maram," in `Aqidah "Ma`arij Al Qabul," and in Fiqh is "Manar As-Sabil," so what is your opinion in this curriculum? If this curriculum is good, I want to replace the book of "Manar As-Sabil" with either a book in the Shafi`i Fiqh or a general book on Fiqh such as: "Fiqh As-Sunnah," so what do you think?
Could you kindly guide me, and thank you in advance!
All praise be to Allah and peace be upon His Messenger, upon his family, his Companions, and those who follow him.
May Allah reward you for your keenness on seeking knowledge and seeking the service of Islam and Muslims in the quest of knowledge, then spreading it and calling to Allah. We ask Allah (may He be Exalted) to grant you and us guidance, integrity, and persistence in doing good.
We ask Allah to facilitate the acquisition of beneficial knowledge for you and us and to act accordingly. I give you glad tiding with Allah's Saying: "Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge." [Surat Al Mujadalah: 11].
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone travels on a road in quest of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned man over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion." [Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban on the authority of Abu Ad-Darda' (may Allah be pleased with him) and Al Albany graded it as authentic].
Before we speak about the method of knowledge seeking, I would like to mention a short synopsis on the etiquette of knowledge seekers that should be maintained, of these etiquette:
First, sincerity in seeking knowledge. It was reported in the Hadith of Ka`b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: "If anyone seeks knowledge to contend with the scholars on its strength or to wrangle with the foolish and thereby turn people's faces towards him, then Allah will admit him to Hell." [Reported by At-Tirmidhy].
Second, persistence on seeking knowledge and bearing the burdens. Ad-Darimy wrote in his Sunan a chapter on going on a journey in quest of knowledge and bearing the burdens to achieve that.
Al Bukhari wrote a Chapter on going on a journey in quest of knowledge. Jabir ibn `Abdullah went on a journey for a month to `Abdullah ibn Unays to seek one Hadith.
Third, choosing the people from whom a person gains knowledge. It is obligatory to accompany a pious Sheikh of sound `Aqidah, and knowledgeable of what he teaches. Al Khatib Al Baghdady said: "A learner should go to the jurists who are famous of good religion and were not known for sins."
Moreover, he reported by his chain of transmission from Muhammad ibn Sirin who said: "This knowledge is like religion, so check from whom you take it." [Reported by Muslim in his introduction].
Fourth, avoid taking knowledge from books only. Al Khatib said: "A person should take his Fiqh directly from scholars not from sheets and books."
Moreover, he reported from Sulayman ibn Musa that he said: "Do not recite the Qur'an at those who learn Qur'an from the book and do not take knowledge from them."
Fifth, humbleness. Al Khatib Al Baghdady reported with his own chain of transmission on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I spent a year without asking `Umar ibn Al Khattab about an Ayah which I wanted to learn out of respect."
Sixth, gradating in quest of knowledge, so you should begin with small books then learn knowledge bit by bit according to your capacity. You should balance between sciences, so your study should not be limited to one science and the study of that science should not suppress other sciences.
In order to know more about the etiquette of knowledge seekers, you may refer to the book of "Hilyat Talib Al `Ilm" of Sheikh Bakr ibn`Abdullah Abu Zayd (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul), "Adab At-Talab" of Ash-Shawkany, and "Tadhkirat As-Sami` Wal Mutakallim" of Ibn Jama`ah.
As for the chosen method for knowledge seekers as a start:
• In `Aqidah: You should begin with the book of "Faith" of Dr. Muhammad Na`im Yasin, "Sharh Kitab At-Tawhid" of Ibn `Uthaymain, or the series of: "`Aqidah in light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah" of Dr. `Umar Al Ashqar.
• In Tafsir: "Taysir Al Karim Ar-Rahman" of Sheikh As-Sa`dy, "Zubdat At-Tafsir" of Dr. Muhammad Al Ashqar, or "The abridged Tafsir of Ibn Kathir" of Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa`y along with "Muqadimah Fy At-Tafsir" of Sheikh Ibn Taymiyah.
• In Hadith: "Sharh Al Arba`in An-Nawawiyyah" of Imam An-Nawawy, "Umdat Al Ahkam" and its explanation "Taysir Al `Allam" of Sheikh `Abdullah Al Bassam then "Bulugh Al Maram" of Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalany.
• In Sirah (the Prophet's biography): "Noor Al Yaqin Fy Sirat Sayyid Al Mursalin" of Al Khudry or "The Sealed Nectar."
• In grammar: "At-Tuhfah As-Sunniyyah Fy Sharh Al Muqaddimah Al Ajrumiyyah" of Muhammad Muhyi Al Din `Abdul-Hamid "An-Nahw Al Musaffa" of Muhammad `Eid, "The abridged of Arabic grammar," of Fo`ad Ni`mat, or "Lexicon of Arabic Grammar" Antoine Dahdah.
• In Islamic Jurisprudence: "Al Wadih" of Dr. Muhammad Sulayman Al Ashqar, "Al Wajiz" of `Abdul-Karim Zidan, or Usul Al Fiqh of Abu Zahrah.
• In Hadith Terminology: "Nuzhat An-Nazhar Sharh Nukhbat Al Fikr" of Al Hafizh Ibn Hajar or "Sharh Ibn `Uthaymain `Ala Al Manzhumah Al Bayquniyyah.
• In the field of softening the hearts: "Mukhtasar Minhaj Al Qasidin" of Ibn Qudamah and "Ad-Da' wa Ad-Dawa'" of Ibn Al Qayyim.
As for the method which you mentioned, it is suitable as a beginning.
We advise the questioner of listening to the tapes of scholars who explain these sciences, especially the tapes of Muhammad ibn Salih Al `Uthaymain and Sheikh Muhammad ibn Muhammad Al Mukhtar Ash-Shanqity.