The Shaykh was asked which books he advises a student of knowledge to read in the areas of ‘Aqeedah, Tafseer, Hadeeth and its science, and Fiqh.
He specifically stated that a student should memorize and understand (in the topic of ‘Aqeedah):
(1) al-Usool ath-Thalaathah,
As for (7) Kashf ush-Shubuhaat, then he said that if a person memorizes it, then that is good, but he did not stress it as with the above works.
Also, he did not stress memorizing (8) al-Waasitiyyah, but instead said that a student can either memorize it or learn it and understand it well.
As for the other subjects, I do not recall him specifically saying that a student should memorize anything except for the one who desires to learn about the differences between the four madhaahib in Fiqh. He said that it is befitting for such a person to memorize a matan (lower level Fiqh manual) for each of the four madhaahib.
In the area of hadeeth, he mentioned:
(1) al-Arba’een an-Nawawiyyah,
Although he did not specifically say that one should memorize them, I have heard other Scholars (such as Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh) say that one should begin his course in hadeeth with the memorization and study of al-Arba’een. The more famous explanations for it are that of an-Nawawee (d. 676) himself, which is a very brief explanation for beginners, that of Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed (d. 702), which is perhaps a middle-level explanation, and that of Ibn Rajab (d. 795), which is more advanced and thorough than the rest.
The Scholars have also recommended that the more advanced and dedicated students should memorize and learn the other two: ‘Umdat ul-Ahkaam and Buloogh al-Maraam by ‘Abdul-Ghanee al-Maqdisee (d. 600) and Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaanee (d. 852) respectively.
As for tafseer:
He said that a person should start with the tafseer of ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee (d. 1376), titled Tayseer al-Kareem al-Rahmaan fee Tafseer Kalaam il-Manaan, because its author is a well-known Salafee (and hence does not fall into the same ta’weel and mistakes of the other lower-level tafaaseer, such as al-Jalaalayn).
He then said that if a person can find a Salafee teacher to guide him, he should study Fath ul-Qadeer of Shawkaanee (d. 1250) – this is because the teacher will help him:
Finally, he mentioned Tafseer Ibn Katheer, stating that it is okay if a student studies from one of the various abridgements available nowadays (like that of ar-Rifaa’ee).
Taken From 22 Question About the Salafee Da’wah.