(Lesson 1; audio/text):
And beginning with these shorter works is the foundation for the students of knowledge, so the student of knowledge should begin by learning little by little, taking from the initial points of knowledge and its fundamentals and then proceed in stages through it.
So these brief works are the path leading on to the longer works. So it is not possible for the longer works to be understood except after the brief works have been understood and then the person has proceeded on from them in stages. And therefore they said about the meaning of His saying, He the Most High:
وَلَـكِن كُونُواْ رَبَّانِيِّينَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تُعَلِّمُونَ الْكِتَابَ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَدْرُسُونَ
But rather be rabbaaniyyoon (wise scholars who cultivate the people) by your teaching them the Book and your studying it
The word rabbaaniyoon - they are those who begin with the small matters of knowledge before the greater ones. They cultivate themselves and their students beginning with the smaller matters and moving on to the larger matters, and this is something natural, because all things begin from their roots and their foundations and then they grow bigger and larger after that.
As for the person who pounces upon knowledge from its top, then this person will just tire himself out and will not attain anything. Whereas the one who begins with the fundamentals and proceeds in stages, this is the person, who by the permission of Allaah will be proceeding in the correct way and with sound direction.
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah.
(If you would like to study Usool-uth-Thalaathah you can do so here)