♥ Status of teachers in Islam ♥
(By: Muhammad Baqir Qarashi)
Islam has paid considerable attention to teachers for their being the first
brick in the structure of social development and perfection and the cause of
guiding and developing behaviors and mentalities of individuals and communities.
The Prophet cared for teachers and showed their elevated standings. Once, he
passed by two circles of people; the first was supplicating to God while the
other listening to a teacher. He commented, "The first is begging Allah who
may or may not give them. The second was learning. I have been sent as a teacher."
Hence, he joined the second.
Teachers are exemplars
Teachers are indisputably their pupils' exemplars. Pupils acquire the good
traits and sound trends, as well as the virtuous behavior and equanimity, from
their teachers whose guidance and conducts penetrate to their hearts. On that
account, teachers must over discipline themselves and train on virtuous and
noble morals and manners to be the best exemplars of their pupils.
As a caliph appointed a teacher for his son, he instructed, "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."
An educationist states, "Teachers are the good exemplars to whom the pupils
Another educationist says, "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."
It is said that admonitions of masters that neglect applying them are being very
unstable in hearts.
Abul-Aswed ad-Dueli composed a couple of verses in which he said:
O, man that teaches others! You should have taught yourself first
Warn not against a manner while you are doing
This is the great shame on you
Begin with yourself in interdicting sins
If you do it then you are truly wise
Only then, your admonition will be acceded
And your words will be ensued and teaching be useful.
Self-disrespect and immorality of some teachers have been the cause that
resulted in the present youth's irregularity and deviation from the social
Teachers enjoy abundant rights on their pupils since they are sources of their
perfection and familiarity with life experts. They are also sources of their
mentalities' illumination. Therefore, teachers' rights are preferable to
fathers'. Pupils are required to show their teachers the highest pictures of
respect and reverence.
Imam Zain-ul-'Abidin says, "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."
These golden words have been definitely suffocated with teachers' rights that
bring about the nation's guidance in behavior and morals.
Teachers' Qualities and Responsibilities
The ancient Muslim educationists referred to a number of qualities and
responsibilities that the teachers should apply on their teaching life. These
qualities may participate in making the teachers the noble exemplars and
achieving the prosperity of education and teaching for creating a generation of
equanimity and good manners. The following is an exposition of these qualities:
- Teachers should offer their disciplinary activities for Allah's sake. Their
acts must aim at reforming the Muslim young generations. They should avoid
thinking of riches or positions. Deviation is the inevitable fate of any teacher
that intends to gain good livelihood or high positions through his missions.
- Teachers should be of extraordinary faith in Allah the Exalted, and should
perform the rituals for showing the Islamic norms and destroying the seditious.
They should also acquire noble traits so that Allah will cast understanding in
Ibn Masud said, "Knowledge is not the abundance of narration. It is an
illumination that Allah casts in minds."
- Teachers should clean their bodies and practice the other ablutionary
activities such as clipping the nails and avoiding unpleasant smell.
- Teachers should copy the virtuous and pious men among the Prophet's companions
and their followers.
- Teachers should be concerned with the serviceable knowledges and avoid the
useless and disputable.
- Teachers should be concerned with the knowledges that take to the affairs of
Shaqiq al-Belkhi asked his student, Hatem al-Asem about the questions he had
learned. "How long have you been with me?" asked the teacher. "Thirty three
years," answered the student.
"What have you learned all these years?" asked the teacher.
"I have learnt eight questions," replied the student.
The teacher expressed his sorrow and said, "I have finished my years with you,
but you have learnt eight things only!"
"That is it," expressed the student, "I do not want to lie."
"Well," said the teacher, "Let me hear."
"They are the fondness of the good deeds, shoving the caprices away, decency and
god-fearing, befriending the right, antagonizing the devil, adhering to
obedience, leaving the humiliation of seeking earnings to people, and depending
on God," counted the student.
The teacher expressed his great admiration and esteem and said, "O Hatem! May
Allah prosper you. As I looked in the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms, and the
Quran, I found these eight questions to be the pivot of these Books."
- Teachers should not engage themselves in positions higher than their abilities
until they accomplish their profession and grant the certificate of master
As-Shibli says, "He whoever has the front before attaining suitability is
meeting his shame."
- Teachers should discipline the pupils with their accounts and deeds in
addition to words and admonition.
- Teachers should love their pupils and guard them against harm.
- Teachers should pardon and acquit the pupils who make mistakes. They should
use intimation in attracting their attentions to their faults. If they do not
conceive, teachers then may state the fault openly. Then comes the reproach. The
Prophet 'alaihissalatu wassalam said, "Teach without chiding. Teachers are
preferable to the scolders." He also said, "Use leniency to those whom
you teach and those who learn you."
- Teachers should welcome the attendant pupils and ask about the absent.
- Teachers should not answer questions they ignore. They may confess they do not
Ibn Mas'ud said, "O people! He, whoever is familiar with something, should
say it, otherwise he should say : Allah is the most knowledgeable. This saying
is a part of knowledge."
- Teacher should realize the levels of the pupils and offer to them according to
their understandings. They should intimate to the smart, elucidate for others,
and repeat for the unintelligent.
- Teachers should refer to the unchanging rules and the exceptions of the
materials they teach. They should also urge them on working and ask them to
repeat the matters they had to memorize. They should also ask them for testing
their understandings and order them of moderation especially when signs of
physical or mental fatigue are shown. They should recommend the bored ones of
rest and relaxation.
- Teachers should not ask for intolerable matters that do not fit the students'
minds and age. They should not ask the students of reading books that are
mentally unattainable. They should test before referring to a subject to be
perceived. After test, teachers may refer to books that accord the pupils'
minds. They should not engage the pupils with several subjects at the same time.
- Teachers should not teach when they are annoyed or complaining an illness,
hunger, or anger since these states may harm the students and themselves.
- Teachers should neither prolong nor shorten the lessons unacceptably.
Likewise, they should neither raise nor reduce their voices inadequately.
- Teachers should allot certain times to receiving the scope of the pupils'
memorized items. In the ancient times, teachers allotted Wednesday night and
Thursday morning to recalling. Friday was the day off.
- Teachers should treat the pupils equally and avoid any sort of discrimination.
The Prophet is reported to say, "Teachers who have three students- of
different social classes- and do not treat them equally, will be in the line of
the traitors on the Resurrection Day."
- Teachers should supervise the pupils' tendencies and mental desires so that
the suitable subject is chosen. They should lead the pupils who seek another
subject to the correct direction.
- Teachers should reward the hard-working pupils and praise them before the
Ibn Maskub said, "Pupils should be praised and rewarded for any good manner
and favorable act they show."
- Teachers should be accurate in treating the pupils. They should count their
breaths and account their entire movements and activities.
The desires of seeking knowledge should be evolved in the pupils' minds.
Teachers should refer to the most significant matters that advance them and
their societies plentifully. Pupils will surely pursue knowledge resolutely if
this noble tendency is sewn in their minds and, consequently, the conceptual and
scientific life will be prosperous in the country.
Because they applied those programs, the teachers of the early eras of Islam
could produce those virtuous generations of such high traits and perfect
maturity, and achieve the most remarkable scientific renaissance the sparks of
which have covered all of the ages.