The modern classroom has come a long way in the manner of appearance. Many tools and delivery systems are now in place, thanks to the technological advancements of our time. Changes have also occurred because of the cultural and social transformations that have taken place in the last hundred years. The globalization of the world, the blending of cultures and the standardization of social systems has turned it virtually upside down. The phenomenon is most apparent in the classrooms today, where needs and tools are being reassessed and methods are being revised continuously. The education theory itself has gone through many changes and has even flipped its stance on many an issue, yet one particular element remains unchanged – there are only two people that really matter: the teacher and the student.

All development in education notwithstanding, these two remain the only things that really matter. Take away everything from a classroom and leave these two, the classroom will still remain alive; take away these two, and all you have is a room with scarps of paper and a desk.

Allah (swt) dispatched the revelation to the mankind ever since they very first walked the Earth, and chose in every era, by Supreme Wisdom, the one from amongst them, who would teach His instructions to them. These chosen individuals were the very best of the lot, for to impart knowledge, one must be elevated to a higher pedestal, as knowledge, like water, will flow only downwards.

These were the first ‘teachers’, and they set the precedent to be the mentors and guides for humankind, as long as they would inhabit this earth.

Dear teacher, you are one blessed with sharing the role of Allah’s chosen people and enjoy the status second to only those apostles, whose teacher was Allah Himself. You have inherited this noble task from the noblest of all creation and shoulder the responsibility of sufficing for your students. The task is great and the rewards are likewise.

You may teach the Quran or mathematics, Ahadeeth or chemistry, Fiqh or geography – your responsibility cannot be stressed enough. You are the well that the thirsty drink from, the fire that ignites minds, the powerhouse that feeds intelligence, the mine, from which gems are discovered, the mentor who inspires and much more.

You are the one who shall initiate in your students the joys of learning, the passion for discovery, and the realization of the ultimate purpose in life. No matter what subject you teach, your actions will determine, whether the individual in your care shall swim with ease in the troubled waters of the world and enjoy Paradise in the next, or drown in confusion and purposelessness in both.

You are the role model; good or bad, it is for you to chose. You are to make men and women into humans, the task that Allah (swt) assigned His Messenger (sa). Hence, there can be no better method to achieve this than the method of His Messenger Muhammad (sa), the finest of His creation and the greatest of all teachers.

As I write this, sitting in the Suffah, I pray that Allah (swt) be your Guide and Helper.

Jahangir Mahmud.
Masjid-an-Nabwi, Madinah Minawwara, 2008

Written by Maulvi Jahangir Mahmud (jahangir@ser.com.pk)
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