Competent teacher in the light of the blessed Seerah of Mustafa ﷺ

The Greatest and Noblest Nabi صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  is the wisest and most successful educator in the universe. Allah Almighty has Himself sent him after making him an educator. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  has said, ‘إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ مُعَلِّمًا’ i.e. I have been sent after I have been made an educator. (Sunan Ibn Majah, vol. 1, pp. 150, Hadees 229)

In each of the previous two months issues of ‘Mahnamah Faizan-e-Madinah’ an article was published under the title of ‘Those who reform generations’ about the qualities of a good teacher. Under the same topic, it has been mentioned below how the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  would advise and teach. Teachers should adopt this method and reform their students.

From the study of blessed Ahadees and the blessed life of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  it becomes obvious that he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  would reform and teach blessed Sahabah [companions] and Sahabiyyat, his family members رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُم  and children of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah in a very good and pleasant manner. Obtained from the blessed life history of Mustafa صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ , given below are “Madani pearls” for a teacher. Read them:

Welcoming student

A teacher should enter the class happily with a smile on his face and should welcome all the students including the one who come to the institution after him. It is stated in a blessed Hadees: Sayyiduna Safwan رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  has said: I went to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ . At that time, he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  was sitting leaning against his blessed shawl in the Masjid. I humbly said, ‘I have come here to gain knowledge.’ He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  replied, ‘مَرْحَبًا بطالبِ الْعِلْمِ’ i.e. Welcome to a student! He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  further said, ‘Angels shade a student with their wings.’ (Al-Mu’jam-ul-Kabeer, vol. 8, pp. 54, Hadees 7347)

The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  also made the following will to his blessed companions: Soon groups of people will come to you to gain knowledge. When you see them, say to them, ‘According to the will of the Rasoolullah ( صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ ), welcome! Welcome!’ He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  then said, ‘And teach them’. (Sunan Ibn Majah, vol. 1, pp. 161, Hadees 247)

Paying attention to the one who asks questions

If a student asks a question, then answering to his questions inattentively is not beneficial. Answer to his questions by paying special attention to him. It has been narrated: A person came to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ and asked a question. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  raised his blessed head towards him. The narrator said, ‘He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  raised his blessed head towards him because he [the one who asked the question] was standing. Then he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  answered to his question.’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, pp. 65, Hadees 123)

Advising students to keep quiet and to pay their attention

Before saying important things and giving advice, a teacher should quieten all the students and ask them to listen to him attentively. Otherwise, there is a danger that many students may not benefit from important points. It is stated in a blessed Hadees: The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  stood in ‘Arafat and at that time the sun was about to set. He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  said, ‘O Bilal! Quieten people for me’ [i.e. quieten them so that I will speak to them], so Sayyiduna Bilal رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  stood up and said, ‘Keep quiet for the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ .’ (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 2, pp. 130, Hadees 7)

Sayyiduna Khabbaab رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  has said: While we were sitting at the door of [the house of] the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ , he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  came to us and said, ‘Listen’. We humbly said, ‘Surely, we have heard’ (i.e. we are ready to listen). The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  said, ‘Listen’. We humbly said, ‘Surely, we have heard.’ The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  said, ‘Listen’. We humbly said, ‘Surely, we have heard.’ (Sahih Ibn Habbaan, vol. 1, pp. 251, Hadees 284)

To address a student by his name or Kunyah

When a teacher wants to talk to any of the students or some of them, he should talk to them by mentioning their names and Kunyah. In this way, he will get their attention more. In the narrations of the life history and Ahadees of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ , words like ‘Ya Aba Bakr’ [یَا اَبَا بَکْر], Ya ‘Aaishah’ [یَا عائِشَة], ‘Ya Fatimah’ [یَا فَاطِمَة], ‘Ya ‘Ali’ [یَا عَلِی], ‘Ya Aba Zar’ [یَا اَبَا ذَر], etc., have been abundantly mentioned.

Choice of topics and their sequence

It is necessary for a competent teacher to choose topics as per the need of his students and his expertise. The lesson he wants to teach should be sequenced in such a nice manner that students learn it gradually.

From the study of the blessed life of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  it becomes obvious that in the early days, he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ focused more on the topics of beliefs. When blessed companions رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُم  strengthened their beliefs, he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  taught them the acts of worship and affairs, etc., depending upon the situation. If we consider this beautiful choice and sequence of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ , we will come to know that firmness of beliefs is very essential for concentration on the acts of worship, fairness in affairs and perfection in manners.

The blessed sayings of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  contain a great wealth of knowledge about medicine, psychology, botany and many other arts and sciences, but the education of beliefs comes first. Following the same method, a teacher should also impart the knowledge of the topics first which are more important than the others.

Teach lesson again at students’ request

Every student does not have a strong memory. Some students understand their lesson at the first attempt, whereas some others need to revise their lesson twice or more. If any student requests a teacher to explain or teach the lesson again, it should be done, as this has also been learnt from the blessed life history of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ . Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  has said that the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  said, ‘O Abu Sa’eed! One who is pleased that Allah Almighty is the Lord, Islam is a [true] religion and Muhammad ( صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ ) is the Rasool, Paradise is Wajib for him.’ Pleased, Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  humbly said, ‘Ya Rasoolallah صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ ! Please repeat it to me.’ The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  did (i.e. repeated the same). (Sahih Muslim, pp. 806, Hadees 1884)

Encouraging student when he asks question

A teacher should always remember that the one who comes to gain knowledge also asks questions. The teachers who encourage their students when they ask questions become popular amongst them and benefit them. Further, by doing so, they also motivate students to have deep longing for gaining knowledge. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  would encourage blessed companions رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُم  when they asked good questions. Sayyiduna Mu’aaz Bin Jabal رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  has narrated that he humbly said, ‘Ya Rasoolallah صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ ! Tell me about the deed which leads to Paradise!’ He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  replied, ‘Excellent! Excellent! Undoubtedly, you have asked me a question about a great (thing). And undoubtedly, it is an easy deed for the person for whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. Offer Fard Salah and pay Fard Zakah.’ (Musnad Abi Dawood At-Tayalisi, pp. 76, Hadees 560)

Students asking questions continuously

Some students keep asking questions one after another. If these questions contain benefit in general, a teacher should answer to them instead of rejecting them. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Bin Mas’ood رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  has said: I asked the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ , ‘Which deed is the best in the court of Allah Almighty?’ He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  replied, ‘Offering Salah at its [stipulated] time.’ He رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  humbly asked, ‘And then which one?’ The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  replied, ‘To do good to your parents.’ He رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  asked, ‘And then which one?’ He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  replied, ‘To perform Jihad in the path of Allah Almighty.’ He رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ  said, ‘The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  told me about these (deeds). If I had asked more (questions), he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  would have told me about more.’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, pp. 196, Hadees 527)

Making Du’a for students

Another attribute of the teacher who is sincere and has love for knowledge and for students is that he makes Du’a to Allah Almighty for the success of his students. There are many such events in the blessed life of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ . Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Abbas رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُم ا has said: The Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  embraced me and said, ‘O Allah Almighty! Bestow the knowledge of the Holy Quran upon him.’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, pp. 44, Hadees 75)

Verbal explanation and practical demonstration

By nature, man not only listens to the one who advises and guides him but he also does see his deeds. A good quality of a good teacher is that he educates his students both by his sayings and by his practices. If he wants to set his students to a new work or to give a new assignment to them, he should make students understand it by means of a practical demonstration so that they learn it quickly and correctly. The sayings of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  are the proofs of this method of education. It has been narrated that once a blessed companion came to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  and asked about the timings of Salah, he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  led the Salah the next two days in a way that he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  led every Salah at its beginning time on the first day and he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  offered Salah at its ending time on the second day. He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  then asked, ‘Where is the person who asked [me] about the timings of Salah?’ When the person came, the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ  said, ‘The time of your Salah is between these two timings [i.e. the beginning and ending timing of each Salah].’ (Sahih Muslim, pp. 243, Hadees 1391)

How should a teacher explain? From the blessed life history of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ an article on ‘how to explain’ will be published in the issue of the next month, اِنْ شَـآءَ اللّٰہ عَزَّوَجَلَّ.

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