AlhamduliLlaahi wa biHi nasta'een, to proceed.
It's my glee that some of my friends both virtual and factul, whenever they meet me, from the questions they ask me is, how do I write? How do I have time to write? Which time do I write?
This question befits me not, but the scholars who wrote (are writing) big volumes of books (offhand), who checked the manuscripts of scholars of the ancient libraries; comparing as many as possible before they write a page or conclude on a verification.
Inshaa Allaah, I'll only share what I learn and experienced from the atomic effort Allaah granted us. Indeed, He is the Helper!
Asid Note: Writing books does not interprets to a scholar; every writers are not scholar and vice versa. There are scholars that has no book, there are scholars that have only pamphlet.
(Here, I say, the volume of books is not the issue, but the content. There are small books that contain benefit that you will never find in big books).
Likewise, there are those who are not up to pupil of knowledge who write book (example; the writer of this article). The determinant to accept their books are.
a) Outside the book:
i) Scholar's accreditation,
ii) His 'adaalah (uprightness)
b) Inside the book;
i) The content.
ii) The manner of presenting evidence; from Al Quran and As Sunnah according to the understanding of the pious predecessor.
iii) Abstinence from partisanship.
General Ways of Writing
Here, Allaah Willing, every writers and learners will benefit from the suggested ways of writing. After it, peculiarities of religious write-up follows it, to serve a gift for the pupils like me.
1) Continuous and Extensive Reading (Research): That is why an anxiom says: All writers are learners and readers but not vice-versa.
2) Experience: This is the spirit which incites writer. It is the reason behind any book(either to correct/criticize/educate).
3) Long Time Pondering: It is an heartily exercise by meditating on how/where to start, needed diction, target audience and ways to tie the attention of the reader.
The aforementioned brings up:
4) Highlight: Writing of the headwords/Topic, subtopics etc.
5) Development: Backing up of the highlighted points. This returns to the basic knowledge of the writer, that's his learning and reading stock. Hence his mind goes back to tens or hundreds or thousands of references and citations, which need mentioning precise page(s).
This also has steps, viz;
a) Looking for reference material: The prospective writer may not possess the book or journal or treatise or the likes in his library, hence he needs to visit other library or download online.
b) Authentication Stage: That is the checking of grammar, punctuation marks, verification of the cited citation and pages. Indeed, this stage is brain racking, especially for who reads extensively, his mind will not quiet citing except he wishes summary.
And sometimes, he may remember a citation or remember he sees something like it in a book which he deems fit to cite, thus he will strain himself by checking many books, reads between the lines. Sometimes he finds it, and sometimes to no avail.
Aboo Naasir said in Ad Durar Class:
The verifier of At Tahdheeb in 35 volumes compared 8 manuscripts before he concludes.
Recently (2018), I wish to add to my series narrations with special name. The hadeeth that came to mind is hadeeth at talqeen. And from the principle of the series is to cite past and present scholars that give the narration the name. Unfortunately, I found the naming of the hadeeth online, and it's not good enough to rely on online information for knowledge based research. So, I need to check in between the books. I checked all my little available materials but to no avail. Later I found it in the books I didn't expect after I have relaxed. AlhamduliLlaahi.
c) Proof Reading Stage: This should be done by any other competent person, and he/ she's expected to correct any errors and admonish the writer on his view about the book.
d) Final Stage: It depends on either he accepts the view of the proof reader (he should accept it though) and do proper correction as the proof reader suggests.
Peculiarities of Religious Write-Up or Book.
Islaam is conservative religions which needs no dick and harry ink. So there are ways to write-if one must write- about Islaam. Mind you, writing about Islaam is from the ways of calling to the path of Allaah.
So hold these duo golden verses;
قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Say (O Muhammad): "This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah i.e. to the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah; those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah)." (Yoosuf:108)
He The Sublime also says:
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.) that of which you have no knowledge (e.g. one's saying: "I have seen," while in fact he has not seen, or "I have heard," while he has not heard). Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah).(Israa:36).
And the Prophet sallaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam said;
Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his seat in the Fire.(Introduction to Saheeh Muslim).
So the issue is neither wants the name in prints nor quench ones thirsty for writing, but between the paradise and the hell (may Allaah protect us).
It is recommended to begin writing with the sermon of necessity. This is rewardable and far better than any framed introduction.
Topic or title is of two types;
i) One that needs need definition. This is also of two types.
a) The one that share linguistic and technical meaning, like; Jihad, tijaarah (buying and selling), dayn (debt) etc.
b) The one that the linguistic and technical meaning are so differ, like; salah, zakah, tajweed etc.
(There is prophetic evidence for this, but for the sake of brevity, let's go).
There primary basic sources of citing or extracting evidence:
i) Al Qur'an
ii) As Sunnah
iii)Consensus of the scholars
iv) Analogical deduction.
Utilization of Evidence
Utilization of evidence strictly deals with the nature of the topic or issue. There are two types of the nature of the topic, viz;
a) Common topic or issue: This is the topic that has direct evidence from al Qur'an and As Sunnah, like; the ruling of salah, sawm, zakah and others.
Writing about this is easy. WaliLlaahi lihamd! Yet, some fail on this because of; partisanship, self-whim and unqualified.
b) Contemporary topic or issue; This is the topic that has no clear cut evidence in the duo sources, like; ruling of heart transplant, sperm insemination, smoking of cigarette and weed, having al Quran on phone etc. Though, Al Qur'an and As Sunnah are all encompassing books that suit all ages and all kind of people.
This is a bit technical and needs patience and reliance of well-grounded scholars (not scholar). No student should dare facing this issue, because it is based on Ijtihād.
Arrangement of the Evidence
Al Qur'an should be cited first, then the prophetic traditions. This is according to the opinion of who say: Al Qur'an is the first source of law, while as Sunnah is the second source. Otherwise As Sunnah can also be cited first, because they are both revelation (Adh Dhikr-Remembrance) from Allaah. This is the opinion of Al Albaanee (in Haddeth Hujjah bi Nafsihi). Though, it is more correct, but the ordering base on the first calms the mind.
• Citation of clear cut evidence, then those that are not, but corroborating it.
• Citation of the understanding of the pious predecessors; the most knowledgeable among them in the field (like Ibn Abbas on Tafseer, Zayd bn Thaabit on inheritance etc). Though, this is not always correct.
•Citation of the opinions of the contemporary scholar(s)
•Comparing the opinions (if needed) and chose the most authentic with clear mind.
Reference is the trust of knowledge as said by Shaykh Bakr in his Hilyah. So, do not write except with reference. Know, the more the boom filled with athaar and scholars’ opinion, the more the authenticity. Thus, avoid your opinion, except you are qualified.
The related rules;
•Do not cite out of context.
•Do not plagiarize.
• Do not cite from the books of innovators except for refutation.
• It will add value to the book, if the page and the edition of the book are mentioned.
Managing time is the quality of a principled and focus individual. There is no way to have a outstanding feat except one manages time.
Time is expensive and irretrievable material of which each individual needs to embark on the desired activities, either good or bad.
Writing takes more time as it was preceded by learning, reading and researching. So, he who wants to write should;
•Allot time for different subjects.
•Avoid unnecessary relationship.
•Minimize sleep, especially in the night
•Reduce online activities
• Be determined and focus.
•Always be with writing materials.
•Avoid unnecessary talks.
This is the end of the article. Our end prayer is Alhamdulillaah.
Written by: Adebayo DhikruLlahi (Aboo Sahl Al Atharee Laspalmas)
Erin Osun, Nigeria.
Thurs 9 August, 2019.