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Shaykh Zayd al-Madkhalee was asked in his first lesson of Sharh Usool al-Sunnah of Imaam Ahmad (mp3) the following:
You know of the situation of the Muslims in the lands of disbelief that many of the youth, non-Arabs, they do not understand the Arabic language. In our city for example, there is a brother who translates the statements of the Scholars from their books... small concise books such as Sharh Usool al-Thalaathah of Shaykh al-Uthaymeen and some other books. But he was criticized and it was said that you must have a specific tazkiyah (commendation) from a senior scholar from Saudi for example, a Salafi scholar, so what is your saying regarding this matter?
The Shaykh answered:
My saying regarding this is that whoever has learned something from the sciences of the Islamic religion and Islamic jurisprudence and has attained precision in that, there is no harm (for him to teach), rather he has reward when he teaches (others) by it. And it is not a condition that he brings a tazkiyah but it should be looked at, what is he teaching the people? If he is teaching them what is correct, through shari'ah rulings with its evidences, then this is desired. Hence, it is not a condition that he is given a commendation by a Shaykh. And if he errs, then necessarily, there will be found one who will criticize the error if he errs. So it is not permissible for him to teach the people something that is not correct. And this matter is like the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Convey from me, even if it is a verse", meaning, this is an evidence to show that whoever carried a small amount of knowledge and the people are in need of knowing it, it is obligatory upon him to convey that and it is not permissible for anyone to criticize him, unless he sees him misguiding the people, speaking about Allaah without knowledge, giving verdicts without knowledge and laying down principles without knowledge. So all of this is not permissible firstly, and it is not permissible to remain silent upon him, but he is to be advised to learn until he has acquired a portion of knowledge and he then teaches the people. So he is not prevented the while he is correct and when he errs he is not corroborated upon that.
And when he suffices with just translating the speech of the Scholars and does not add or decrease?
Shaykh Zayd responded:
When he quotes (and conveys) the sayings the scholars with academic integrity then there is no harm, this is the way of the seekers of knowledge, they quote from their Shaykhs and from the ealier (scholars) who authored works and compiled the compilations of the Sunnah. He quotes from them but with academic integrity, and it is better for him that he gains understanding of what he is quoting from them such that if is asked, he is able to explain the matter with respect to the Islamic ruling in a religious matter so that no error is fallen into. So quoting itself, it must also be accompanied with understanding of what a person is quoting (and conveying), so a person could sometimes say something that is distorted or (what is) a typographical error (in print) or what is erroneous, so he brings harm to the listener. So there must be understanding alongside the quoting.
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