There is no one worthy to be worshipped but Allah, Muhammad is His (last) Messenger.
First, a little introduction about Knowledge – religious knowledge is like light passed from Rasulullah (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam) down through the Sahabah and further down until it reaches the students of knowledge. It is up to us to ascertain how we can gain maximum benefit from this light, but if we don’t respect it, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) can and will take it away from us.
1. There are some areas of knowledge that are fard (obligatory) for every Muslim to know. It is important for us to first understand our religious obligations e.g. how to pray, fast, make wudu, etc. Essentially, every student should have a thorough knowledge of the basic fara’id – the fard `ayn.
2. Every student should make sure that their intention is only to please Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) and NOT to gain fame, wealth, or become well-known. If we have incorrect intentions then whatever we gain and benefit would be for that purpose and not for Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala).
3. You should choose the most learned, pious, and the most advanced person in age as your teacher. The most elderly person should be selected because of the experience they possess. If this is not possible then at least the most learned and pious. Once that teacher is selected their opinion should be taken on what you should study and their opinion should be respected. This means that you shouldn’t go to your teacher and say, “I think I’m ready to study Sahih Bukhari” when he/she wants you to learn Arabic first. You can say that you feel weak in a certain area and would like to study that asking for suggestions on what books you should study.
4. All students should have complete respect for the knowledge they are studying andof their teachers. In regards to teachers, they should not be questioned too much. In regards to knowledge, we shouldn’t place our books on the floor, and in fact, we shouldn’t put our pens on top of our notes or doodle in the margins! Furthermore, no matter how many items you are learning something you should have the same reverence for it.
5. Students should be regular and consistent. They should not miss their classes and be there on time. If a student is continuously missing classes it means that other things are more valuable to them.
6. Reliance on Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) is key. We should develop ourselves so that we have trust in Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) that all of our worries will be taken care of. We should look for a means and then rely on Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) that He will sustain us through those means. Also, we should not underestimate the power of du’a, the more you ask the more likely your prayers will be answered. Du’a should not be restricted to the hereafter, it is said that even if you need new shoes you should ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) for the means. Whatever we need we should ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) for it, we don’t know what obstacles lie in our path which Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) will remove.
7. Take advantage of your time. Learn during your youth, study after fajr and between Maghrib and `Isha. As a student of knowledge, time should not be wasted, use the night and tahajjud time to revise unless you are really tired.
8. A student should be a kind and compassionate person, not jealous, harsh, or mean. These are not characteristics of the Prophets (Alehe Salam) or our pious predecessors. You must have a clean heart to take on this knowledge.
9. Seek benefit from scholars and learned people. Also, don’t try to memorize the knowledge your gaining, take good notes.
10. Abstain from sins and haraam. Stay away from doubtful food. The students of the past would not go out and eat in the market place for fear of the doubt in the food and what effect it would have on their hearts. The very least we can do is make sure everything we eat is halal; how do we expect this noor to penetrate the haraam? Also do not neglect the Sunnah of RasulAllah (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam), if you neglect it you are deprived of his (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam) practices. Think of the fara’id as a house, the sunnah as the fence surrounding that house, and the etiquettes are the gate surrounding the community that you live in. If the gate isn’t there, Shaytan can penetrate your fence, if the fence isn’t there he can penetrate the fara’id.
Furthermore, we have to realize that there is knowledge, and then there is the acceptance and application of that knowledge. If you have no application, no one will benefit from your knowledge. Always ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) to accept the knowledge you are seeking. He doesn’t need us to spread His deen. He can always replace us. We must act upon and teach the knowledge we are gaining, it is not meant to be hidden.