Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally
Question: As salam alaikum,
Recently, I have been on a rather short umrah trip. After some time, I realised that I made the umrah by just reading it from an article and some conversation with friends.
I have an opportunity to be performing the Hajj this year but I am afraid that i will not be trained properly. I can do my own reading and watching videos in the internet, does this count?
Answer: wa `alaykum assalam
May your ‘umrah be accepted, and may your upcoming hajj be facilitated for you.
Validity of Actions
Most of the rites we have to perform are fairly basic, and a large segment of the population does get their knowledge in a manner similar to how you went about your ‘umrah, such as personal research or conversation with others. Validity, however, remains intrinsic to the actions themselves, and is not contingent upon how one came about this information. That is to say that by the grace and mercy of Allah, if actions are sound, they do count, so to speak.
Studying with Local Teachers
It is nevertheless highly recommended that one study with local teachers. You should be able to find local Shafi’i teachers that can provide you with information about performing the hajj, in addition to the information you can find on the internet.
You’ve mentioned some of the benefits of studying with a teacher; please see this as well, in which Shaykh Faraz Rabbani notes additional benefits:
Why Learn From a Teacher?
You can also take a look at some of the answers here, related to following a school of law:
A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)