Aqeedah (Belief) Sciences of Qur'an and Hadith Seeking Knowledge

11 Anchors for the Beginner

Shaykh ‘Ali Rajab al-Salihi’ al-Azhari’s Approach Towards Building a Student

Shaykh ‘Ali was from the great scholars of al-Azhar. He wrote that 11 sciences (‘Uloom) should be mastered by anyone who truly wanted to start on a path towards becoming from the people of knowledge and da’wah (the call to Islam). This curriculum is still taught in al-Azhar (though modified with some short comings and some improvements), forming the basis of my own approach towards learning and teaching.

The 11 Subjects that a Serious Student should Focus on

  1. Logic
  2. Theology
  3. Usul al-Fiqh
  4. Fiqh
  5. ‘Ilm al-Ma’ani (rhetoric)
  6. ‘Ilm al-Bayan (rhetoric)
  7. ‘Ilm al-Bad’i (rhetoric)
  8. Grammar
  9. Morphology
  10. Sciences of Qur’an
  11. Sciences of Hadith

A Method

Dr. ‘Abdu al-Rahman Hijazi told me, “Many years ago, if a person wanted to enter al-Azhar, he would have to memorize the Qur’an. Then, while in secondary school, he would study one of the basic books in each subject (it was commendable for a young child to memorize one from each subject) in preparation for entering the high school system.

More to Come 

I would encourage serious students to use this as a map to evaluate their studies and progress. Make sure that you master at least one text from each subject, following a path of progression set out for you by a trusted teacher. I plan to write, and record, about this more in the future, mentioning texts, some info about their authors, the authors reason for writing them and some tools that will help master the texts, insha’Allah (if Allah wills).

We ask Allah for tawfiq (good fortune),


About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

Add Comment

  • Jazakallah Khair for sharing this list of the 11 anchors for the begining student! I’ve never heard of this list so I found it very interesting. I look forward to reading other posts in this series, Inahallah!

  • sheikh Suhaib for anchors 5-7 if we find a modern book that has basics in all 3 together would that be sufficient? Or is it better to find separate texts for each?

  • Ma shaa Allah! Baraka Allah feek. I really admire your website and your inspirational and moderate approach. No wonder if you are a student of our Azhar. 🙂

  • Subhanallah: “Shaykh ‘Ali was from the great scholars of al-Azhar. He wrote that 11 sciences (‘Uloom) should be mastered by anyone who truly wanted to start on a path towards becoming from the people of knowledge and da’wah (the call to Islam).”

    Mastering the 11 subjects is only a prerequisite!! Lol, al Hamdulilah i have learned that I don’t know nothing.

  • Assalamu alaykum imam suhaib. i am a regular follower of your website, and this article really did bring me down to earth alhamdulillah

    a particular question imam. i am a student of islamic online university, do you think, that following on their methodology i would be able to fulfill the above-mentioned prerequisites in sha Allah? and what was meant by logic, could you elaborate on that a bit more?

    Jazak Allah khair for taking time out to answer 🙂

  • Salam alaykum,

    Thank you very much for this.

    I’m wondering if you can refer us to a beginner book in Logic. And also if there are explanations online MP# (Arabic or English).

  • Salam, I am on a verge where I’m so thirsty for knowledge of deen al Islam though I feel as if I don’t know where to start I am looking in to different things at once at one point the Tafseer of the Quran than I find out about Sabah al nuZul than I started to get in to the lives of the prophets alahum asalam than the shahabas r.a and I heard the best way to learn is to start with aqeeda and fiqh but my main goal is to memorize the Quran with exact understanding . The memoriZing of surahs and belief of the last messenger Mohammed saw is not knew to me I grew up on it alhamdullilah but I never looked into why and how his saw character was until know and that the Quran is not only a book of sentences but has a story behind the sentences until now. I knew about our prophets but not about their lives and what they dis for us until know . I knew about Allah and loved him no matter what but didn’t know how much he loved us and cared for us and wants to forgives us and wants as many of us to just obey him until this year so I feel yea its the will of Allah swt though I feel 21years of my life was a waste I wish that I tried my all with every breath as im doing now to obey Allah swt in those 21 years because it would of maybe been just a drop of trying to give back what he’s given is no matter what I feel well never repay him and I wish I could he deserves more than a person prostrating and worshipping him allday and night until the last breath though we sit there and disobey him may he guide us to be the slaves that he deserves. I was just wondering what’s the best way to go subject by subject or alittle of each at different times..I just feel my head filled and I’m so forgetful whatever I read I forget the details is there a way that you think would help me become a person of duawah I want to have every answer to a why? That someone may ask I’m thinking memorizing the Quran is the best way or is it aqeeda and fiqh and sunnah or all at once? I just feel I have to do everything I can to repay Allah swt even if it was just a drop of comparison to what he’s given us . I ask him swt for his help and guide and ease upon what I intend . Salam jazak Allah alf khare

  • Useful thanks. Interesting to see what is there and what isnt. E.g. Logic is included but other areas like Islamic History, aqida, Seerah aren’t.

    Theology is included but not sure what it includes and how it is distinguished from the other topics (perhaps some of what I’ve noted as missing is included) or perhaps it covers comparitive religion…

  • JZK for this. However, very strange not seeing aqeedah there as looking at the senior ulema from the recent past such as shaykh Mohammad ibn Ibrahim, bin Baz, Uthaymeen etc may Allah have mercy upon thrm all, aqeedah is always their main focus as I presumed(forgive me if I’m incorrect and correct me) was the main focus of the Prophet when he started receiving revelation and ALL muslims should know the bare basics of aqeedah.

    An extreme example: a student could master all those sciences and be hugely deficient in aqeedah praying to graves etc, so where would all those have got him?

    Allah knows best.jzk.

  • In regard to the aqeeda ;;;;;;;I’ve come to believe that it’s written though they have wrote it as Usul Al Fiqh:::::then under it they just stated Fiqh……most scholars have different sayings when speaking about aqeedah ,,,,,ex. Some say atawheed or as Sunni or usul al deen and I’m thinking by saying usul al fiqh they mean aqeeda since fiqh is written usul meaning importance of fiqh which is aqeeda they back eachother up in order to learn or teach fiqh you must and should start with knowing and learning the aqeeda…..I’m still a beginner in this so I’m sorry if I’m wrong but I’m hope I’m not.

    • As salamu alaikum Hayati,

      As I understand, usul al fiqh deals with what can be used as a proof for giving a ruling, whereas fiqh deals with the rulings on actions and aqeedah deals with what one believes or iman.

      Sh. Abdullah Ali is teaching a class on usul al fiqh. Inshallah, you and I and others will find it beneficial.

  • Assalamu ‘Alaikum,

    Shaykh Suhaib can u please briefly mention how logic is studied in Islam and what would be a proper beginning text?

  • I deeply apologize and i kept in thought that I may be wrong but didn’t want to give up a thought that I had right ir wrong that I may be benefited from and alhamdullilah I have you benefit from a right and a wrong know I put it together and I hope Ive got it right with the help of your state . So usul al fiqh is meaning basically al sunnah that there is proof of our beloved prophet saw saying it and fiqh is probably coming from the shariah correct me if I’m wrong.. So I guess they did leave aqeedah out .with the courses of the fiqh I don’t have access to that I relying on Allah swt to guide me to seek all that knowledge but the access I have is not much though I take what Allah swt has given me and make it much and as beneficial as possible. I’m still beginner so I apologize and if there is free courses may be a podcast that gives great

    • As salamu alaikum Hayati,

      There is a pretty good series of lectures free on youtube. Search for fiqh class 01 on youtube. The brother also has a series on tajweed and arabic. May Allah place all of our scholars, teachers and callers.

Leave a Comment