Knowledge from Books
The traditional manner of transmission, not only allowed the student to observe and soak the
state of his teacher, but it also more importantly, allowed the teacher to observe the calibre of
students receiving knowledge. In this manner, students who were thought not to be, for one
reason or another, suited to the class, would be asked to leave. However, books take this
away in that ‘ilm presented in book form can be read by anybody, even when they have no
understanding to the background of what they are reading:
Imam al-Awza ‘i said:
This ‘ilm was a noble thing when it was received and
memorised from the mouths of men. But when it came to be in
books, it lost its glow and passed on to people unworthy of it.
[Cited by Khalidi, Tarif, in: Arabic historical thought in the classical period, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1996) p 22].
Imam al-Shafi’i said:
Whoever takes knowledge from books loses the regulations”
[Reported by al-Nawawi in the introduction to al-Majmu’]
check attachment for full...
[note: an old amal press file, its nice to read.....enjoy...]