There are some callers [that] affiliate themselves with shaykh al-fulaan or shaykh so-and-so, in spite of the fact that it is not known of him [/them] sitting with the shaykh, except a few sittings that which do not exceed the amount [of ones] fingers; so we need from you to pinpoint and shed light [upon] when a student or man is [considered] from the students of that shaykh and counted amongst them?
If you refered back to the biographies of the Salaf – (ya'nee) meaning the scholars/teachers (shuyookh) of that imaam, which the biography is about, and his students, you'll find that they counted from their scholars/teachers those whom they narrated on them one or two hadeeth. But the terminologies vary — and Allah knows best — so when it is said: “I am from the students of fulaan” and “I studied with so-and-so,” the people are misled [to assume that] indeed he studied with him [meaning the shaykh] “Saheeh al-Bukhaari,” “Saheeh Muslim,” “Sunan Abi Dawud,” “Sunan at-Tirmidhi” and Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah, to the end. if one [has this] false impression and the people understand [it like] this, then it is obligatory upon him [the caller, student or man] to stay away from this and clarify to them [meaning the people] the extent [of] what he learned from him [the shaykh], [and] not mislead [nor deceive] the people. Because many of the people say: “I studied with shaykh Uthaymeen” [rahimahullah], “I studied with shaykh Bin Baaz” [rahimahullah], “I studied with shaykh al-Albaani” [rahimahullah], “our shaykh said,”... [and] the people get the false impression that indeed he [the caller, student or man] is from his [the shaykh's] students who were constantly with him and learn from him knowledge [and or sciences of the religion]! If the people think [or assume] that, then upon him [the caller, student or man] is to make [it] clear, [by] saying: “I studied with him, in one sitting [or gathering], from book such-and-such,” “I read upon him something from Saheeh al-Bukhaari,” “I read upon him something from ahaadeeth as-Saheehah or ad-Da'eefah,” “I sat with him in one meeting,” to the end, clarify to the people. He can say: I am from his students, but with the condition that he doesn't mislead the people that indeed he was [one] who continually accompanying him [meaning the shaykh], and verily he learned from him this and that and such-and-such.
[Al-Hamdulillah, as we see our shaykh (hafithahullah) made clear the fact that one does not mislead nor deceive and is free from mubhamaat (vague) and mutashaabihaat or mushtabihaat (unclear) statements, especially in the realm of religious knowledge, since “Verily this knowledge is our religion...”(2) so there's an amaanah (trust) involved in this affair and it must be upheld.]
Translators note: That which is between the brackets [ ] has been added by the translator to complete the English translation and or for addition benefit.
1A statement of Ibn Sireen (rahimahullah), Related in the introduction of Saheeh Muslim, Ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musanif, Ibn Abi Haatim in Jarh wa Ta'deel, to the end.