Path of The Successful Teachers of Religious and Worldly Sciences- By Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:

All praise belongs to Allaah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon the one [i.e. Muhammad] after whom there is no Prophet. To proceed:

There is no doubt that knowledge is the mainstay on which the foundations of human life are based. And the knowledge that is most worthy to be given importance and concern is the knowledge of the Islamic Sharee’ah, because through it is known the wisdom (or purpose) for which Allaah [The Exalted] created us and sent the Messengers. And by way of this knowledge, we acquire knowledge and awareness regarding Allaah and worship Him based on that, as Allaah stated: [وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ – I (Allaah) did not create the Jinn and humankind except to worship me alone]. [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat. Aayah 56]

Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] stated:

[وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولًا أَنِ اُعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ – Indeed, We have sent a Messenger to every nation, saying, “Worship Allaah alone and keep away from all false deities]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 36]

Based on these two Aayaat, one knows the wisdom behind the creation of Jinn and humankind, and the wisdom behind the advent of the Messengers. Any nation without sound belief or sound religion is an ignorant nation regardless how advanced and developed it is, as Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] stated: [أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلً – Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (i.e. even worst than cattle)]. [Surah Al-Furqan. Aayah 44] (see appendix a) A good life is the life of the people of (Islamic) knowledge and faith, as Allaah [The Exalted] said: [يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ – O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life]. [Surah Al-Anfaal. Aayah 24] (see appendix b)

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

[مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ – Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 97]

Beneficial knowledge can only be obtained through a teacher, and no person can be a teacher unless he is knowledgeable about the subject he (or she) teaches others, because the one who is deprived of something is not able to give it to others. The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets, therefore the teacher’s task is one of the most difficult tasks because it requires that one acquires the most perfect Islamic characteristics as much as possible, such as beneficial knowledge, noble manners, continuous righteous deeds, patience, perseverance, being able to bear hardship whilst nurturing the student (pupil, learner) upon uprightness and upon a pure Islamic nurturing. The teacher’s success in this mission depends on the extent to which he (or she) acquires perfect Islamic qualities.

The role model and leader for everyone is our master and leader Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-Haashimee [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. He was the most perfect of people in all noble qualities, and he faced many difficulties and great hardships whilst guiding people and teaching them, but he was patient, endured every hardship and difficulty in order to spread his religion and bring his Ummah out of darkness into light. May Allaah reward him for that with the best and most perfect reward. Indeed, a righteous generation was nurtured through him- a generation that is considered to be the best of generations known to humankind throughout history. It is well known that this stems from the good nurturing and guidance which he gave his companions, and his patience upon that path after Allaah granted them success and directed them to the truth.

One of the most important tasks for a teacher – in every place and era- is to follow the path of the first and foremost teacher, Muhammad [peace be upon him] and that one strives to know this path, so that it is implemented on oneself and the students as much as possible, and that one makes a lot of effort. The Ummah is greatly in need of the righteous teacher- the teacher who receives knowledge and what the students are educated with from the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of His Messenger and the path of the Salafus Saaleh [pious predecessors], nurturing them upon honesty, trustworthiness, sincerity, veneration of Allaah’s commands and prohibitions, competition for every virtue and caution against every vice, (especially) in this era in which the callers to destruction are many (i.e. those who violate sound belief and morals) and few are those who call to sound rectification. (see appendix c)

So, based on what has preceded (above), it is known that the teacher’s task- alongside the fact that it is one of the most difficult tasks- is one of the most honorable jobs, the greatest in benefit and the most valuable if the teacher is blessed with sincerity, good intention and effort, because one will be rewarded in the same manner as the one who benefits from his (or her) knowledge. (see appendix d) The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The best of you is the one who learns and teaches the Qur’an”. And he said, “By Allah, that Allah guides a man through you is better for you than a herd of expensive red camels”.

There is no doubt that the teacher is the religious nurturer of the student, therefore he (or she) should have virtuous morals and a good character, so that students may follow this example. He (or she) should also be one who fulfils that which is obligated in the Sharee’ah, far removed from what is prohibited, one who preserves time, jokes a little, broad-minded (within what is allowed in the Sharee’ah), friendly, good-natured, clement, pleasant, independent, able, broad in knowledge and has a lot of knowledge in the Arabic language to be able to perform the duty to the fullest.

There is no doubt that whoever is concerned with studying the human self in all respects and searches for the reasons that lead to knowing the methods by which sciences can be instilled in it easily and with ease, he (or she) will get good results in revealing those affairs of the self that are not immediately obvious, the feelings and perceptions associated with it and the extent of its acceptance of the information to be implanted in it. And one will extract information – from this study and research – that is in fact one of the general rules on which the edifice of education is based. These rules can be summed up in the fact that if any teacher wants to instill information in the minds of the students, he (or she) must first of all have complete knowledge of the lesson, extensive knowledge of teaching methods, effective delivery, able to direct the attention of the students – in a distinct and clear way – to the foundations of the lesson and restrict it to the main topic lest students become confused in their ideas and miss benefits. And in seeking to make them understand the sciences delivered to them, the teacher should use persuasion, methods of presentation, comparison and representation, focus attention on the essential matters that are the basic rules for each of the lessons, instill in them the general fundamental principles associated with things and then – little by little- touch on the other details that are connected to the main subject matter. (see appendix e) The important thing in every matter is its foundation and the subsidiary affairs branch off from the fundamental principles.

The teacher should consolidate the subjects and bring them closer to the minds of the students, make them like the lesson, desire to listen, and teach them its benefit and purpose, whilst taking into account each student’s understanding of what is suitable through the language (words, expressions) they understand, because not all students are the same. The teacher should allow discussion with them and tolerate their errors that occur from the discussions because they are the result of the search for facts. The teacher should encourage them to carry out every research that leads to finding out the truth, whilst taking into account the social circumstances, the different characteristics of people, the customs and the atmosphere, because indeed these matters have a great impact on the psyche of the students, which is reflected in their understanding, behaviour and work. This is why it is a known fact that the intelligent, attentive teacher who takes these matters into (consideration) has a greater impact on students than other teachers.

The teacher’s task is similar to doctor’s task, and from the teacher’s obligations is to know the tendencies of the students and the level of their intelligence. On the basis of this knowledge, the teacher evaluates the basic criteria that follows on from this approach in engaging their different minds and levels of understanding. These are among the most important reasons for the teacher’s success in his (or her) task.

The most important obligatory subject matter -without exception – is that attention is given to the rectification of the sound Islamic creed based on the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the guidance of the righteous predecessors. Thereafter, attention is given to the other subject matters of the Sharee’ah, and then the other sciences which humankind cannot do without, provided that the outcomes of these (worldly) sciences do not divert one from the knowledge [i.e. sound Islamic monotheism] for which the creation [i.e. humankind and jinn] was created, and that these (worldly) sciences are harnessed for the public welfare without standing in the way of beneficial knowledge (i.e. the Sharee’ah).

Indeed, Allaah -by His grace and great wisdom- guided those who have been guided to learn beneficial knowledge and teaching it, benefited the people and the country through them, and they attained success with a good mention of them by the people, a good reputation, increased reward and a good end. And others were deprived of success because of their straying from the right path, so their sciences became a disaster for them and their students. They became misguided in the labyrinths of unbelief, atheism and heresy, and misled others; so they brought upon themselves the same sins committed by those whom they misguided. This is based on Allaah’s perfect Justice and Wisdom, and His recompense for those who deviated from the truth, turned away from the right path and pursued (evil) desires- that they are to be humiliated by being forsaken and through deviation from the truth, as Allaah said: [فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ – So, when they deviated (by choice), Allaah deviated their hearts]. [Surah As-Saff. Aayah 5]

Allaah said: [وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ – And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly]. [Surah Al-An’aam. Aayah 110]

The verses that convey the same meaning of these above verses are many. We ask Allaah to bless us and all the Muslims with beneficial knowledge and righteous deeds, show us kindness, grant us sound understanding in the religion and steadfastness on it, rectify the rulers of the Muslims and their leaders, and support the truth through them, and indeed Allaah is able to do everything. May Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon His servant and Messenger Muhammad, the companions of the Messenger and those who follow their guidance until the day of judgement. [Majmoo Fataawaa Wa Maqaalaat Ash-Shaikh Ibn Baaz. Vol 2. page 316. Slightly paraphrased]

Appendixes: Pdf here: appendixes_1


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