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If  someone  feels  that  he  is  capable  of  practicing  the  Qur’ān  and ahādīth  without  an  ustād  after  having  studied  a  little  Arabic  or after residing for a while in an Arab country and learning elementary Arabic,  or  due  to  him  having  a  very  good  ability  of  understanding and reasoning, then he has fallen into deception. This is irrational and foolish.  It  is  imperative  to  study  under  the  guidance  of  an  ustād. There  are  so  many  ahādīth  that  cannot  be  understood  without  an ustād.

For  example,  it  appears  in  one  hadīth  that  Nabī  salallahu alayhi wasallam  said,  “An excellent  person  is  he  who  does  not  possess  a  flourishing  business, unknown  to  others  and  engages  in  ῾ibādat  (worship)  in  seclusion and  in  the  open.”  Thereafter the narrator said, “Then  Nabi salallahu alayhi wasallam tested the quality of the coin.”

One  will  be  unable  to  understand  the  meaning  of  testing  the  quality of  the  coin  without  professional  guidance.  The  ustād  will  explain that  in  the  ancient  times  people  used  to  place  the  coin  between  the thumb  and  middle  finger  and  click  their  fingers  causing  the  coin  to give  off  a  sound,  through  which  the  quality  of  the  coin  would  be understood.  In  the  similar  manner,  Nabi  salallahu alayhi wasallam  clicked  his  fingers, indicating  to  the  speedy  departure  of  this  person  from  the  world. Only  a  few  will  cry  over  him  and  he  has  a  very  small  estate. (Mishkaat, Vol 2, Pg 442)

Similarly,  in  the  past  there  was  no  tradition  of  placing  nuqtas  (dots for the alphabets). The names of several narrators are such that when written without dots they appear identical.  For example, one narrator’s name is حَبَّات – Habbaat. A second narrator’s name is  خَيَّات –   Khayyaat and a third narrator’s name is  حَنَّات – Hannaat.

When these names are written without dots, they all appear identical. How  will  one  be  able  to  differentiate  between  them  without  the guidance of an ustaad? There are some names that will be confusing even if dots are placed. One narrator’s name is أسِيْد  – Aseed. A second narrator’s  name  is اُسَيْد  Usaid  and  a  third  narrator’s  name  is اُسَيَّد – Usayyad.  The  names  seem  alike  despite  the  dots  being  placed  and only through the ustād, will one be able to identify the name.

Malfuzaat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi, Pg. 138