In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Teaching is a very exalted career because it is similar to Prophet's mission:
Dear brothers, this is a new lesson of the series Children Upbringing in Islam, and we are still tackling the social education. The topic of today is about respecting the elders and the teachers. I would like to start it with what the Prophet PBUH said in the following Hadith:
((Verily I have been sent as a teacher.))
This means that teaching is one of the most exalted careers, and it is a craft related to the Prophet's craft (conveying the Message of Allah).
﴾ And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims." ﴿
The moral discipline the righteous ancestors used to have and mention was due to the teachings of scholars who used to consider their career their mission in life. One of our teachers at the university said to us once, "If you want to wish misery to someone, supplicate Allah to make him a teacher, and if you want to wish prosperity to someone, supplicate Allah to make him a teacher as well." How is that? He said so because the teacher who has a message to convey to his students is the happiest person, whereas the one who has no message to convey is the most miserable one.
Misery is to have a son unlike what you hope:
Allah the Almighty says:
﴾ And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims." ﴿
The Ayah is very clear, and it refers to the fact that the best among the people in the Sight of Allah is the one who calls people to Allah:
﴾Than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims." ﴿
It is not in the best interests of this Ummah (nation), of the generations and of their progress to shake the foundations of knowledge.
The teacher and the physician will not offer advice if they are not appreciated. Thus, the father who intends to educate his son properly, who is wise and who is a true believer, is keen on teaching his son to respect the teacher, because this Ummah will not rebuild itself and reclaim its glory without the teachers.
An interviewer on a TV channel once asked me, "How can we strengthen this Ummah?" I said to him, "We can do that by start with children, because they are the new generation and the future, whereas adults are the present and old people are the past." Our children are our future, and I am not exaggerating if I say the only trump card we have in our hands as Muslims is our children. Hence, unless your son turns out to be exactly as you wish, you will be the most miserable person on earth, because he is your continuity in life.
If you are walking in the street and you run into three teenagers who are smoking cigarettes, your blood will boil out of rage if your son is one of them, but if the second is your nephew, your anger will be less, and if the third is your nephew's friend you will not be much affected. You are outraged because your son is your continuity, and he is part of your existence.
By Allah, I received once a phone call from an honorable sister whose son has gone astray and far from Allah's Method. He used to come back home at 2:00 AM in the morning, and she did not know who he was with, and upon asking him he would not answer her but rather he would insult her. I swear by Allah that she almost died out of agony. In fact, when you look after your son, you are looking after yourself, when you raise your children according to Islam, you are reconciling with yourself and when you provide your children with upbringing of the best kind, you are bringing about indescribable happiness to your heart. Allah describes this happiness in the Quran when He says:
﴾ And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious - see V.2:2 and the footnote of V.3:164)." ﴿
Respecting the teacher is a civilized manner:
I said to the interviewer, "We should start with children." Building a strong and morally disciplined Ummah who can reclaim its role in leading other nations starts with children, but how can we do that? We can do that by starting with teachers, because they are the only means to resurrect the Ummah from its coma. With all due respect to other careers, the doctor deals with patients, the lawyer deals with clients who have problems, the carpenter deals with wood and the blacksmith deals with iron, but the teacher deals with the apples of our eyes (our children), and he educates the most innocent class in the society. The teacher deals with our continuity, so it is not in the best interest of our Ummah and of our families to undermine the position of the teacher (in front of our children). Thus, you should not talk harshly about the teacher in front of your child even if the teacher makes a mistake, but accustom your child to respect his teacher, because when the child respects his teacher, he will learn a lot from him.
Dear brothers, respecting teachers is a civilized manner, and disrespecting him reflects backwardness. I was told that in Germany the best house in any city there is the house of the teacher, and in any official ceremony, the teacher is given the chance to deliver a speech even before the president himself, and this is one of the traditions over there.
The teacher is in charge of educating the new generations, but unfortunately, all top students at baccalaureate enroll themselves at the faculty of medicine in our country, whereas the top students in advanced countries enroll themselves at the faculty of law, because they know that whoever has a license in law may become a governor or a minister. Also, they know that such people will take the responsibility of important matters of their nation, so they must have high IQs, given lawyers in some countries are appointed very sensitive positions in the government.
In my point of view the teacher, in whose hand the future of the rising generations, is the most important person, because the future of any nation will be in the hands of children (in the future). If this teacher is depressed from within, his salary is not enough even for 5 days, his education is not up to the expected level, he does not own the price of a book to read and he cannot meet his needs, how can he build a reliable generation? How can he pass knowledge to others? How can he mentor children? How can he set a good example for them? How can he make a role model out of himself? In some advanced countries, teachers who are in charge of educating children are the cream of the crop in the nation.
It is only through the teacher that you teach your son how to be honest, how to avoid carelessness, how to respect the elders, how to cherish the scholar, how to manage time, how to fix his life, how to enhance his relations with others and how to set a purposeful goal in his life Therefore, the one who educates your son is an asset, for if he is righteous, your son will turn out to be righteous, but if he is corrupted, your son will be corrupted too.
Building the Ummah starts with education:
Dear brothers, I repeat again that building the Ummah starts with teachers. Ask the old people among your relatives about their teachers, you will notice how they will keep invoking Allah to have Mercy upon their teachers' souls, because they were not only teachers, but they were missioners who sought the honorable Face of Allah since they believed that knowledge is the highest rank at all. In one of the oldest schools in Damascus called At-Tajheez a quote is carved at its entrance that says, "Knowledge is the Highest Rank at all".
﴾ And taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allah unto you (O Muhammad PBUH). ﴿
I hope that fathers and mothers never speak badly about teachers (even if they erred), because this will undermine their position in the eyes of their children.
Fathers should keep the teacher’s position in front of their children:
Dear brothers, pay attention to the following Hadith:
(('Amr bin Shu'aib (may Allah be pleased with him) on the authority of his father who heard it from his father reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "He is not one of us who shows no mercy to younger ones and does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders".))
According to one of the instructions of the Prophet PBUH do not befriend the one who does not acknowledge your value as much as you acknowledge his In other words, do not befriend the one who undermines the value of education. By Allah, and I am not exaggerating, I have spent more than 35 years in teaching at schools and universities, and every year I am happier than the year before, because I am teaching a new generation, and if I set a good example for them, they will learn from me. Besides, I have the chance to build their souls, minds and morals. Who can be happier than the one who has the chance to build souls which may bring about goodness to the entire Ummah?
Whenever you come across a devoted employee who serves people, who has mercy in his heart, who meets people's needs and who treats them fairly, you will definitely say that this person has got excellent upbringing when he was a child. In fact, the well-raised person is valuable, so it is not in your best interest as a father to undermine the position of the teacher in front of your child. The Prophet PBUH said:
((Acquire knowledge and teach people. Learn along with it dignity and tranquility and humility for those who teach you and humility for those whom you teach.))
We should instruct our children to show respect to their teachers. If one day the student takes a bouquet of roses to his teacher, his teacher will feel being appreciated, and this appreciation will encourage him to care more about his students. Whenever a relative of mine complain about his child's teacher, I advise him by saying, "Go to this teacher, sooth his heart and show him that his efforts are appreciated, and he will be more caring to your son." I would like to address the principals and the directors of education in this lecture and say to them, "Meet the needs of the teacher, provide him with his basics of life and preserve his dignity, and he will give his students the best he can."
Meeting man's needs and preserving his honor are basic in his life:
I used to say, "Provide man with his needs and preserve his dignity and get his best." If you are a manager in a company, give your employees what preserves their dignity and get their best. This policy is essential in managing business, for when you give your employee all his needs, you are actually preserving his dignity which he is keen on. In this case you owe him, so in return he will give you the best he can. I also used to say, "Give the worker his daily bread and preserve his dignity, and he will give you back everything he has." As I said earlier, this is part of business administration. I hope that the research at universities will be about businesses administration in Islam and how you can get the best of your employee.
I told you once that I visited a factory in this blessed city, and its owner told me that his products had been already sold (for six months in advance), and their prices were fully paid to him. The reason of his success is perfecting his job, but where did that perfection come from? It came from the high salaries he used to give to his workers who in return devoted themselves for the best interest of this business.
Man's success lies in meeting the needs of people around him:
Let me repeat what I have said, give man his daily bread and preserve his dignity and get his best. Accordingly, if we provide the teacher with his needs and preserve his dignity, we are actually helping him keep up with the latest updates in education, read reference books and buy useful books. In other words, by giving him high salary, we cover his needs and preserve his dignity and in return we get his best. I used to be a principal of a high school 40 years ago, and at that time I prepared a very comfortable timetable for teachers, and I was keen on preserving their dignity, so whoever among students used to cross the lines with any of the teachers would be punished by expelling him.
Believe me the success rate in baccalaureate at that school was 99%. Just meet the teachers' needs, and they will give the students the best they have. Since I used to be a teacher, I knew what teachers suffered from, so I tried to give them what brought comfort to them and what preserved their dignity, and only then they gave the best they could. This is also applicable in business, commerce, institutions, hospitals, schools, universities and homes. Hence, if the child needs something, the successful father will give him the needs he is entitled to have and will preserve his dignity at home. As a result, he will be disciplined, and none of the member of the family will cross the lines.
A father said to me once, "By Allah, my children stand before me just like soldiers", and this is because he helped them build their future. The father who looks after his children, who meets their needs, who gives them all the facilities and who preserves their dignity, will be served by them devotedly. I always say, your success lies in making sure that none of your children wishes for your death, but rather they wish that you live long. The children of the successful father wish him a long life, whereas the children of the stingy father wish for his death. Of course they will not say it loud, but they will say it inside themselves, and whenever their father gets sick and the doctor says that he is fine, they will become upset and wish that it were a terminal disease that might end his life.
Father's success lies in being loved besides being respected:
I keep repeating that the father is highly respected in the Islamic culture, but his success is not achieved in being respected only, but in being loved by his children, and the price for this love is benevolence. The Prophet PBUH said:
((Whoever belittles the following three persons is not a Muslim but a hypocrite; first, an aged Muslim; second, a scholar (of religion); and third, a just ruler))
If there is an upright judge, an upright district manager, an upright mayor or a man in power who treats people fairly and who does not oppress anyone, this person deserves to be respected, and whoever does not respect him is a hypocrite. Also, the one who belittle whoever has a high scientific degree, and he devotes himself to teaching is considered a hypocrite.
((Whoever belittles the following three persons is not a Muslim but a hypocrite; first, an aged Muslim; second, a scholar (of religion); and third, a just ruler.))
It is related in the Prophetic Sunnah that the Prophet PBUH used to make this Du'a (supplication):
((O Allah, do not allow me to reach the time when the scholar is not followed, the forbearing one is not treated with modesty.))
This reminds me of the following Hadith:
((Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "When your leaders are the best of you, the richest are the most generous among you, and your affairs are consulted among you, then the surface of the earth is better for you than its belly. And when your leaders are the worst of you, the richest are the stingiest among you, and your affairs are referred to your women, then the belly of the earth is better for you than its surface.))
This Hadith reminds me of an incident from the Prophetic Sirah (biography). It was reported that our Master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was sitting once next to the Prophet PBUH when our Master Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, came in, so Ali stood up and gave his seat to Abu Bakr, and upon that the Prophet PBUH said:
((Grace for meritorious people could only be acknowledged by meritorious people.))
Knowledge cannot be learned without humbleness and attentive listening:
Accustom your child to respect your guests, the elders, the aged Muslim, the teacher and the scholar. I hope that every father prevents his son from copying his teachers at home, because it is mere undermining to the career, and the one who does so must be punished. There are a lot of Ahadeeth which forbid copying people and consider it a sin. Some fathers laugh when their son copies his teacher, but this is not in the best interest of the father or the son.
((It was narrated from 'Abdur-Rahman bin Ka'b bin Malik that Jabir bin 'Abdullah told him that: the Messenger of Allah put two men from those who had been slain in Uhud in one shrud, then he would ask which of them had learned more Qur'an and when one of them was pointed out, he would put him in the Lahd (grave) first.))
The Prophet PBUH cherished knowledge and he honored the one who had knowledge by putting him first in the grave. Some scholars said, "Knowledge will not be sought without humbleness and attentive listening." By being humble you will be able to learn all sorts of knowledge. If you know someone who has sought knowledge for 40 years, who has acquired all kinds of degrees, who has read so many books, who has written books and who has done researchers, will you not acquire some of his knowledge if you ask him politely? Whoever consults men is actually borrowing their minds (their enlightened thoughts). Therefore, one polite request might help you learn from the experience of others.
Some said, "He, who does not take knowledge from real men, is actually moving from one impossible situation to another." It is easy to buy books and read them, given the highest second budget in any country is the one allocated for education, so why does any educational institution not give the students books and ask them to read them without teachers, will it not be more easier to do so? Yes, it will, but knowledge must be sought through a teacher, because the latter sets an example for his students.
The greatness of the Prophets lies in applying what they call people for:
There is a point I hope is clear to all of you: What is the mission of the Prophet PBUH? When Allah sent this man to be a Prophet what was his main mission which he was Divinely assigned to? I think, as you all do, it was to convey Allah's Message to people:
﴾ O Messenger (Muhammad PBUH)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. ﴿
I add to this main mission (i.e. conveying Allah's Message) another mission which is to set an example for people. Any person is capable of giving you information which you learn and teach to those around you, but the greatness of Prophets, peace be upon them, is that they abided by what they called people for. It is said, "The Noble Quran is a speaking universe, the universe is a silent Quran and the Prophet PBUH is a walking Quran (i.e. he derived his perfection from it).
At present, we are not in need of Islam learned through books, CDs, cassettes, essays or lectures, but we are in dire need of a real Muslim in action who is honest, trustworthy, just, merciful and humble. The only one who can turn societies from being disbelieving cruel societies who kill other nations, who extort the treasures of other countries and who humiliate human beings to civilized societies is the teacher. "He, who does not take knowledge from real men, is actually moving from one impossible situation to another."
Good listening and respect are among man’s rights on his brother:
It was reported that Imam Ash-Shafi'i would not make a sound when he used to turn the pages of the book in front of his teacher due to its annoying sound. Some people make all sorts of noises in the Masjid, like throwing shoes from a distance and making a loud sound, whereas other people do that quietly. Thus, making noises marks poor manners, and the more polite man is, the lower his voice will be. As I have just mentioned to you, Imam Ash-Shafi'i never made noise upon turning the pages of a book in front of his teacher.
Ar-Rabee' bin Sulaiman (one of Ash-Shafi'i's students), may Allah have Mercy upon his soul, said, "I have never dared to drink water while Ash-Shafi'i is looking at me out of respect." I would like to refer to an unacceptable situation that takes place in wedding ceremonies. While a scholar is about to give his speech, coffee and ice-cream are served, and the noises that are resulted from that are irritating. It is said, "Eating and learning never get along with one another." These upsetting noises are never made when singers are performing Inshaad (singing Islamic songs) in wedding ceremonies, but when the scholar is about to give his speech, food are offered, and all sorts of noises with dishes and spoons are made. Thus, I encourage speakers to refrain from giving their speeches unless there is full attention from the guests, because this is a right they are entitled to.
Being towards one’s teacher makes the teacher more devoted:
The Prophet PBUH was never seen stretching his legs. Of course some people may have arthritis, and they are excused, but we are talking about the healthy person, for he should not stretch his leg before his teacher. The Prophet PBUH is the master of mankind and is the first teacher. Yet, he never stretched his legs in any assembly. Man shows his politeness while sitting, asking and giving a speech. Some students address their teachers using the plural pronoun (Antum [you]) out of respect, and it is much nicer than using the singular pronoun (Anta [you]), because it reflects exalted manners.
Someone told me that a scholar was invited to a TV Channel (which is not religious at all) to talk about Al-Khandaq expedition, and when he finished talking, there was so much undermining to the subject, which reflects impoliteness.
Your good manners, as a student, are manifested in using the plural pronoun, in asking for permission and in showing respect to your teacher which will make the latter devote himself to teaching you the knowledge he has. Some scholars said, "O son, we are in need of your good manners more than your knowledge, for with your good manners, you get everything you want."
The more knowledgeable man becomes, the more he fears Allah:
I said earlier in this lecture that the teacher and the physician will not offer their advice unless they are appreciated. Hence, teach your child to respect his teacher, which is the right thing to do. I know a teacher who gives his full attention to the polite student, and he looks after him and devotes himself to teach him properly, and if this student raises his hand to ask, the teacher will humbly allow him to talk, but do you think he will do the same with a rude student? I do not think so.
Once a secondary school student said to me, "I do not fear Allah", so I said to him, "You are absolutely right", to which he got angry and said to me, "Why, do you think so?" I answered him, "Because the farmer's little son also does not fear the ten meter long snake in the wheat field since he does not comprehend the danger he is in. Who do you think fear the snake? He is the one who comprehends its danger (i.e. the adult)". The Prophet PBUH said:
((The foundation of wisdom if the fear of Allah))
Accordingly, the more Islamic knowledge you acquire, the fearer of Allah you become.
Once I visited someone's factory to find him with a gloomy face, so I asked him about the reason, and he said, "Let me show you what upsets me." His factory was a huge one and there were lots of machines working like a clock and everything was fine, so I said, "What is wrong? It seems to me that everything is fine", then he looked up to a joist in the ceiling and said, "Have you noticed this small crack in it? An architect who got a PHD told me that the foundation of the factory slid due to salty water, and when it slid, it caused this crack in the joist, and do you know how much will it cost me to repair this damage? It will cost me 75.000" This event took place in the 1970s, so the amount equals 5 millions now. I said, "If you brought an ignorant person to show him the crack, he will say it needs putty and paint to be fixed." Well the difference between painting and correcting the foundation is the same difference between knowledge and ignorance. Hence, the more knowledgeable you are the fearer you are of Allah and the more concerned you will be about your deeds.
The well-educated child is tolerant towards his teacher's temper:
We will talk in details about manners next lecture insha' Allah (if Allah wills), and let me discuss one last manner for today's lesson. When the teacher has a temper, the polite student is instructed by his parents to be tolerant with his teacher's temper. There is even an Ayah in the Quran which teaches us how to react to people who have a temper. Musa (Moses) PBUH used to have a temper; Allah says:
﴾ And he threw down the Tablets﴿
Listen how his brother Harun (Aaron) PBUH reacted to him:
﴾ He [Harun (Aaron)] said: "O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head! ﴿
You noticed how our Master Harun PBUH reacted? Having a temper is a disposition, and I always refer to the following Hadith in this regard:
((The believer may acquire all sorts of characteristics…))
Thus, there are the outgoing believer, the solitary believer, the very generous believer, the less generous believer, the isolating believer and the sociable believer.
((The believer may acquire all sorts of characteristics except treachery and lying))
Dear brothers, I invoke Allah the Almighty to help us finish this series of lectures, so that we may apply them to our households and to our children while raising them properly.