Teachers are some of the most influential people in the society and have great importance in building a nation. They bear the responsibility of forming the student’s personality and educating them. Islam has acknowledged this importance of teachers and granted them a high rank in the society while emphasizing their rights at various occasions.
The Prophets sent by Allah were also appointed as teachers to guide the people about principles of right and wrong and to direct them towards the right path. The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was also sent as a teacher and an instructor to preach morality and draw the line between good and evil once and for all.
To understand the life of Holy Prophet ﷺ as teacher and an instructor we must study the life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the Holy Quran as the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a practical demonstration of the teachings of the Quran.
For those who don’t know how to read the Quran please visit the website Online Quran Lessons. We offer online Quran classes and also teach how to learn Tajweed online. Our course details also include a study of the life of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ who is the perfect role model for us to follow.
TEACHER AS AN EXEMPLAR:
Teachers are, beyond the shadow of doubt, exemplars of the students. The students are a reflection of the teacher’s thoughts and ideas and are a practical demonstration of their teachings. Therefore it is extremely necessary that the teacher must possess a sound mind along with virtuous and noble morals and manners to be a positive impact on their pupils.
As an educationist states:
TEACHERS ARE THE GOOD EXEMPLARS TO WHOM THE PUPILS REFER INADVERTENTLY
MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE PURSUING STATES OF THE SPEAKERS. THOSE WHO ARE NOT ARE VERY RARE. HENCE, TEACHERS SHOULD CARE FOR THEMSELVES MORE THAN IMPROVING THEIR WAYS OF TEACHING.
We can also relate here the example of a caliph who once appointed a teacher for his son and instructed him in the following words:
THE REFORMATION YOU WILL PROVIDE TO MY SON SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR SELF-REFORMATION. FLAWS OF PUPILS ARE TOTALLY RELATED TO YOURS. THEY WILL DEEM GOOD ONLY WHAT YOU DEEM GOOD AND DEEM EVIL ONLY WHAT YOU DEEM EVIL.
Therefore it is time and again emphasized that as a teacher is an ideal for his students he must focus on maintaining sound thoughts and healthy morals so as to be a positive influence on the society.
THE RIGHTS OF A TEACHER:
Teaching is a profession that is respected by all religions and all societies of the world and a teacher enjoys a status higher than many individuals of the community, but Islam has especially emphasized the higher rank of a teacher and commanded its followers to pay special respect to them.
We can find numerous examples in the life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, His family and His companions where they have highlighted the value of a teacher and have confirmed to their higher status. Not only this, but there are also various ayah of the Holy Quran in which Allah has stressed upon the rights of a teacher.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
DO NOT MAKE THE CALLING OF THE MESSENGER AMONG YOU AS YOUR CALLING ONE OF ANOTHER.
Discussing the rights of a teacher, the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported to have said:
YOU SHOULD NOT POINT TO HIM [TEACHER] WITH YOUR HANDS; YOU SHOULD NOT SAY, ’SO AND SO SAID SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU SAID
The descendent of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Imam Zain ul abideen, highlights the status and rights of a teacher by saying:
THE RIGHT OF YOUR INSTRUCTOR IS DIGNIFYING HIM AND COMMITTING TO SOLEMNITY IN THEIR CLASSES AND GOOD LISTENING AND ATTENDING. YOU SHOULD PROVIDE FOR YOUR INSTRUCTOR WITH MENTAL PRESENCE AND CONCEPTUAL ATTENDANCE AND HEART RETAINING AND SIGHT PROPINQUITY. THE WAY OF ALL THESE IS LAXNESS OF DESIRES AND CONFINE OF LUSTS. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE THE EMISSARY OF WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN RECEIVED TO THE IGNORANT YOU MAY MEET. THEN, YOU SHOULD CONVEY PROPERLY AND NEVER BREACH THE MISSION IF YOU SHOULD PERFORM.
2- Another descendent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, Imam Jaafar Sadiq is reported to have said:
YOUR TEACHER ENJOYS THE RIGHT OVER YOU THAT YOU SHOULD HONOUR HIM AND PAY HIM RESPECT IN DIFFERENT ASSEMBLIES. YOU SHOULD BE VERY ATTENTIVE TO HIS WORDS. YOU SHOULD NOT RAISE YOUR VOICE ABOVE HIS.
IF ANYBODY ASKS HIM A QUESTION YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE A REPLY THERETO. YOU SHOULD NOT CONVERSE WITH OTHERS
IN HIS PRESENCE AND YOU SHOULD ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO BENEFIT FROM HIS KNOWLEDGE. YOU SHOULD NOT SPEAK ILL OF ANYONE BEFORE HIM. IF ANYBODY SPEAKS ILL OF HIM IN YOUR PRESENCE YOU SHOULD DEFEND HIM. YO U SHOULD CONCEAL HIS SHORTCOMINGS AND BRING HIS VIRTUES TO LIGHT.
YOU SHOULD NOT ASSOCIATE WITH HIS ENEMIES AND SHOULD NOT DISPUTE WITH HIS FRIENDS. IF YOU ACT ON THESE LINES THE ANGELS OF ALLAH WILL TESTIFY THAT YOU HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO HIM AND HAVE ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE FOR
THE SAKE OF ALLAH AND NOT TO ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF THE PEOPLE.
AND THE RIGHT OF YOUR PUPILS ON YOU IS THAT YOU SHOULD REALISE THAT IN GRANTING YOU KNOWLEDGE AND OPENING ITS PATH FOR YOU, ALLAH HAS APPOINTED YOU TO BE THEIR GUARDIAN. IN CASE, THEREFORE YOU TEACH THEM PROPERLY AND DO NOT FRIGHTEN THEM AND ARE NOT FURIOUS WITH THEM ALLAH WILL, THROUGH HIS KINDNESS, INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.
BUT IF YOU DRIVE THE PEOPLE AWAY FROM KNOWLEDGE AND AS AND WHEN THEY APPROACH YOU FOR IT YOU FRIGHTEN THEM AND GET ANNOYED WITH THEM IT WILL BE ONLY APPROPRIATE THAT ALMIGHTY ALLAH MAY TAKE AWAY THE LIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE FROM YOU AND MAY DEGRADE YOU IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLE.
THE STATUS OF TEACHERS:
Islam has time and again emphasized the transcendence of teachers among all individuals through various ayah and hadith, some of which have been quoted here for your reference:
ALLAH ELEVATES TO HIGH POSITIONS THOSE FROM AMONGST YOU WHO ARE FAITHFUL AND THOSE WHO HAVE ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
SLEEP OF A SCHOLAR IS SUPERIOR TO ONE THOUSAND RAK’ATS OF PRAYERS OFFERED BY A DEVOUT PERSON
Imam Jaafer Sadiq indicates the elevated status of a teacher in the following words:
ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT ALLAH WILL BE PLEASED WITH A PERSON WHO HONORS AND RESPECTS A MUSLIM SCHOLAR; AND HE WILL BE ANNOYED WITH ONE WHO INSULTS A MUSLIM SCHOLAR
THE STATUS OF AN ISLAMIC SCHOLAR:
A person who teaches anything good to another is regarded as a teacher and is worthy of honor and respect however a teacher who preaches about the teachings of Islam, the message of the Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ deserves special credit and appreciation. The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was also sent as a preacher of Islam and the Holy Quran, which is evidence enough of the dignity of teachers.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
THE BEST OF YOU ARE THE STUDENTS OF THE QUR’AN AND THE TEACHERS OF IT.
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In another hadith, narrated by Abu Hurairah, it is stated that:
THE WORLD IS CURSED, THAT WHICH IS IN IT IS CURSED, EXCEPT DHIKR E ALLAH (REMEMBERING ALLAH) AND WHAT FOLLOWS IT, OR A LEARNED PERSON, OR A STUDENT.
At another occasion the Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
THE WORLD IS CURSED AND THAT WHICH IS IN IT IS CURSED EXCEPT A TEACHER OF KHAIR (GOOD) AND A STUDENT OF IT
The quoted ayah and hadith are an evidence of the extremely prestigious status that Islam provides to anyone who plays part is spreading good by teaching what he knows and instructing people to the right path.