Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
“How can the Muslim progress and ascend in the field of calling to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic?”
Shaikh al-Albaani said, “In reality when I was giving that brief word about beneficial knowledge and righteous actions I had felt like saying something that was connected to [the topic of] calling to Allaah, now this question has come along which has opened up the way for me to talk about that which I had thought of but did not do.
So as for how a person advances himself or progresses in the path of calling to Allaah, then that, without doubt, requires two things in my opinion.
The first: That his ties with the people of knowledge are persistent, whether with those of them who are alive through their books or those who are alive and are calling to Allaah. Namely, that he should have a connection to the highest degree with the books of the people of knowledge who are known for their correctness in affairs of creed [aqeedah], such that he never cuts off from referring back to, reading, and taking more and more from their knowledge since that will help him to ascend and proceed in his calling to Allaah, the Blessed and Most High.
The second: That he should increase in his connection to the people of knowledge who are alive, especially those among them who are known to have correct aqeedah and gracious, pleasant manners, Since we know that a good example has an enormous affect on the people who follow them. When a man, or a scholar or a Shaikh who is followed has some form of deviation, whether it is ideological or in his manners, then it will not be far fetched to find that this person or Shaikh has an [adverse] affect on those people who contact him or who take knowledge from him.
And there are many well-known hadiths from the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, encouraging one to accompany and associate with righteous people, like his, صلى الله عليه وسلم, saying, “Do not accompany except a believer, and let none but someone who fears Allaah eat your food.” [Reported by Ahmad and others, Shaikh Al-Albaani declared it to be hasan].
So the Prophet’s, صلى الله عليه وسلم, counsel in this hadith is that we accompany the Muslim who fears Allaah and this is only because the affect of a righteous person is contagious such that the one who accompanies him will receive some of that good. This is why in Sahih Bukhari the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “The example of the righteous companion is like the perfume seller. He will either give you some perfume, sell you some, or at least you will smell a pleasant fragrance from him. And the example of the evil companion is like the blacksmith. He will either burn your clothes or you will smell a wretched smell from him.”
Thus, whoever wants to progress and ascend in the path of calling to Allaah has to safeguard these two matters:
1) That he is well-connected with the books of the people of knowledge of the past who were known for their beneficial knowledge and correct aqeedah.
2) And that if it is easy for him to get in touch with the people of knowledge and righteousness in the community in which he lives then he should contact them whenever he is able to, so that he can be influenced by their way, and benefit from their manners and conduct.
This is what appears to me to be the answer to this question.”
Al-Fataawaa al-Kuwaitiyyah, pp. 11-13.