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I would like to study Islam, but I don't know how

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I apologize for my frantic tone, I am extremely stressed out by this.

Hello, good members of Shiachat. I have a question for you regarding how to study Islam, I simply have no idea how to approach the matter. With languages, I'd get a beginners book, then intermediate, then advanced; but Islam is the most and complicated subject in the world, there's 80 different beginners, all completely different, and I have no idea what the first step is. I was recommended two great sources of information, https://www.al-islam.org and http://www.shiavault.com. But I am paralyzed with the lack of structure and direction. I have no issue with reading every book featured, but I need to know what order to read the books in, and in what order to tackle the broad subjects. I don't want to flounder in one subject because I didn't study its prerequisite. It would be like starting Calculus before Algebra.

And I also would like to understand another matter. Whenever I come here I am absolutely stunned by the rainman-esque level of knowledge, specifically when it comes to citation. A question is posed and somebody would rattle off citation after citation like a wizard.

"You're wrong because of Hadiths  X:x,X;d, X;a, X;r, X;d, X;s, X:q, X:t, X:23, X:33, X:32, X:34, X:65,X:12".  Then the other guy says, "Well, if you'd check Hadith X, specifically 3:55, 6:33, 5:12, 6:98, 9:09, 2:34, you'll see blah blah blah....". "Hmmmmm well, yes, but, I must say that Hadith 3:55, which you've mentioned, is tha3eef because the 15th chain down from the primary source was known to be a habitual liar, and his goldfish and cat were kaffirs.

How on earth do you do this? Knowing all these Hadiths, the history behind them ( and anything they'd throw at you), and then somehow keeping it all in your brain.

Again, I apologize for my anxiety, but my ignorance is killing me and I am desperate. I eagerly await your advice, and thank you in advance.

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3 hours ago, ireallywannaknow said:

Where is your starting point? Are you coming from a different religion? How much do you already know about Islam?

If you already know the basics of Islam, I would choose a topic that me and delve into that. 

Thank you for your response. I'm not a convert, but I may as well be considered one in terms of how much I know...

I'd say I understand Islam as well as an average American Christian understands Christianity: Only vaguely familiar with the prominent figures and message, if that. What exactly are these "topics"?

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Don't be overwhelmed brother. I know there is so much knowledge out there, but God also doesn't want to burden our soul beyond what it can take. Some people have so much knowledge but it isn't of any benefit to them. Some people gain knowledge, and they become arrogant and have not achieved the purpose - to gain nearness to Allah.

You need sincerity in seeking knowledge. You also need to be thirsty for knowledge. Your soul is yearning for guidance and it is overwhelmed by all the knowledge out there - which is a very good sign mashallah.

Here is my advice:

(1) Contact a local Shia Mosque and let them know that you need a mentor who can guide and help you. There are many shiekhs out there who you can sit with and discuss Islam from the very basic. In addition, try to attend as many Islamic events as you can and make Shia friends - you will learn a lot in the process.

(2) Al-Islam.org is your friend. I recommend the following book (I've searched a lot of books and I'm gonna list a book which is very basic). This book also discusses Islamic laws such as ablution, purity etc.

https://www.al-islam.org/elements-islamic-studies-allamah-saeed-akhtar-rizvi

(3) Enrol yourself in an online course, or go to an Islamic seminary. However I would recommend this when you familiarize yourself with the basics. 

(4) Learn Islamic laws, because that is how you will practice Islam. I don't know if you have converted, but do pick a marja who is knowledgeable and learn from him.

May Allah help you in your journey to seek knowledge.

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7 hours ago, Guest Invisible_Space said:

is tha3eef because the 15th chain down from the primary source was known to be a habitual liar, and his goldfish and cat were kaffirs.

Lol. You get an A+ for sense of humour. 

I understand why you would be feeling overwhelmed.  Slowly you will get  familiar with different historical events, hadiths, fiqh rules etc and these things will seem less intimidating.

I would suggest doing the following:

1. Make a account on Shiachat :sunglasses:

2. Read the following three books;

- 'The fourteen infallibles' by Dr.Ammar Nakhshwani, easy to understand simple language, clear account of the lives of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Bibi Fatima(sa) and Imams (as) from both Shia and sunni books,infact he has more sunnis authors as reference so that will give you a pretty balanced view. By reading this book you will have basics of the Islamic history covered and it's an easy read. 

-Risala of Ayatullah Sistani,  he is the marja followed by most of the Shia Muslims. You can change your marja later if you want but this will familiarise you with Islamic jurisprudence and tbh there isn't a lot of difference in the rulings of different marjas. There are lots of threads on SC about picking a marja but that's step 2. Or if you find the Risala too technical you can begin by reading this 

https://www.al-islam.org/a-code-of-practice-for-muslims-in-the-west-ayatullah-sistani

- Risala tul Huqooq by Imam Ali Zainul Abideen(as) 

https://www.al-islam.org/treatise-rights-risalat-al-huquq-imam-zain-ul-abideen

That is it!!! 

Read these three books and feel free to ask any questions that come to your mind. InshAllah once you are done with these three books you will feel more confident delving into deeper subjects.

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https://m.youtube.com/user/islamiccentre1998

This channel has a lot of academic lecture series.  Sheikh Shomali has series on islamic philosophy, akhlaq, theology, logic, fiqh and so on.  If you want really good tafsir I recommend shaykh bahmanpour

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@ali_fatheroforphans Ali_FatherofOrphans, I didn't even consider going to a Sheikh for help (as obvious as it is), I'll definitely do that today. Also, thanks for the book recommendation, looks to be a good pick for a beginner such as myself. Thank you for your advice. @enigma313 Enigma313, thanks for sharing, looks good so I'll definitely use this resource in my studies. @starlight Starlight, I will definitely read all 3 recommendations, and your tips have helped mend my anxiety. Thank you. @.InshAllah. .InshAllah., I had been scouring the net for a good Tafseer, but unfortunately almost everything was in Urdu, alhamduliLah I've found a good resource and a useful channel, thank you. @Ashvazdanghe Ashvazedanghe, that first link in particular is amazing, this is the structure I needed, thanks for sharing.

I can't thank you guys enough for your pointers, you've seriously helped me out. 

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No one has proven a reliable way to study.  There is many dangers, and it probably won't be your fault if you don't believe in Islam as a result of the affair of religion no longer being strong.

Just as the religion of Moses and his successors passed on was no longer proof till a real manifest proof (Mohammad) came explaining it and manifesting it properly, the same is true today.

We failed the two trusts miserably and most people can't be blamed for disbelieving just as people can't be praised for believing, it's become a religion believed for same reason other religions are believed and disbelieved in for same reasons other religions are disbelieved.

 

It is studied in the same way misguidance of other religions are studied, and there is no clear distinction in this age.

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