Friday 4 May 2018

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 refer inadvertently."

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 traditions.

Teachers' Rights

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 their minds.

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 the Hereafter.

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 teachers.

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 know.

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 mates.

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.

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