Why has it been traditionally forbidden to study Islam on your own, and do the reasons apply today?

My thinking is that the only reasons are that you could be misled into false interpretations, however this doesn't seem to apply today where we have youtube, English translations of various traditional books, and so on, all of which serve to ensure that you do not end up misinterpreting what you learn.

Note that this is not about whether learning with a Shaykh is better than doing so on one's own, which is clear (i.e. learning with a Shaykh of course has many benefits you cannot learn on your own), but rather if it is possible to learn on your own.

I think it is definitely possible in this day and age, and Allah knows best.

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    The thing is who will you listen to at youtube, which books will you read? You might be misled into false interpretations there too.
    – Kilise
    Sep 10, 2016 at 11:32
  • you should check up this: quora.com/…
    – Kilise
    Sep 10, 2016 at 15:54
  • Good question. Personally, even though I was born into Islam, I learned a lot more recently by following 3 top scholars in my eyes. Nouman Ali Khan, Mufti Menk and Omar Suleiman. Sep 10, 2016 at 17:39
  • Following some "scholars" in youtube will only give you a understanding of the religion from their point of view and perspectives. Surely it is not forbidden to learn from youtube and books but it is really not recommended, because of the depth of the religion. I would say that the vast majority do not got the skills needed to handle that by themselves. For example there are series on usul al fiqh (100 videos, 1 hour long each) in youtube that are very useful, it's like attending a class. So those videos would be good. But like watching khutbas and stuff, that isn't real knowledge.
    – Kilise
    Sep 10, 2016 at 22:16
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    can you give prooflinks to/about/for that it is "traditionally forbidden"?
    – qdinar
    Mar 29, 2017 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


I can understand what "forbidden" means. I do not understand what "traditionally forbidden" is. Something is either forbidden or it is not forbidden. The former requires proof, the latter does not because the bases in Islam is the permission ( قاعدة الأصل في الأشياء الإباحة). Without evidence, I would tend to dispute the assertion that it is forbidden. (If I am mistaken, please include your sources).

Some scholars advice that the first thing to do is learn the Quran "by heart". I disagree. Learning the Quran by heart takes time that could be spent reading the Sira (life of the prophet), or exegeses (read more than one on any given verse that you have trouble understanding). If you do all this and still have time, then sure, learn by heart if you have a strong enough memory.

Now, if you're asking "is it okay to pick one YouTube channel and follow it", then I would advice against it for any topic, not just Islam. Multiply your sources, and if they contradict each other, they usually do on one thing, on verse in particular, one interpretation. If that's the case, you have access to approximately 30 exegeses that you can find online. If you do not understand the exegeses, ask your question here and the community will do its best in answering.

This is hard work. But it's worth it.

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