By Sheikh: Khaled Al Muslih
In what is to follow: So fear Allah, servants of Allah, and know that among the most important pillars of nation and community-building are teaching and education, since with them nations and generations are shaped, and upon them civilizations are established and communities built; ethics commended and souls sanctified, goals defined and objectives realized. The nation had been, prior to the delegation of the Prophet with the mission, living amidst the glooms of ignorance and darkness, where superstition and misery dominate; and had neither objectives nor goals.
A nation lost and wanting in sheer ignorance, grinded by partisanships, torn by vanities and cants, infested by superstitions and idolatries, crushed by castes and racialism, does not have in the fact of nations an impact or an effect, despised by Allah, the Creator of human beings. In the authentic compilation of Muslim, according to the Prophet: ((Allah looked down upon the people of earth. He abhorred (them) Arabs and foreigners, except remnants from the people of the book)) .
So Allah sent with His mercy and grace the rendered blessing Mohammed to lead people out from darkness to light. He, Almighty, says: Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error. [Al-Imran: 164].
He came as sanctifier, educator and reformist instructor. He strived to achieve this end with the utmost endeavour, and provided the self and everything invaluable until what he aimed for got realized. He raised his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, according to the most perfect discipline, and provided them with the best education, so that they were a unique generation which has no match or parallel. Allah said: You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it would have been best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. [Al-Imran: 110].
They became the masters of nations, the leaders of the world and the decision-makers in it. Great kingdoms complied and yielded to them, in a short period of history; Chosroes snapped, Caesar cracked and people entered into the religion of Allah in crowds. Glory to Almighty Allah! And praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
O believers! This big transformation and great success he achieved in forging nations and generations, to the extent that the nation rose up from the slopes to the summits of mountains, was the result of a firm educational, instructional and missionary approach, which has its features and characteristics. It is a balsam and a genuine medicine to what had descended on the nation from decline, breakdown, humiliation and lowliness.
Preachers and people of teaching and education ought to ponder upon the approach of the Prophet and his style in his teaching, education and advocacy, and to study this approach carefully and with scrutiny in order to determine its features, deduce its characteristics and properties; for the last of this nation will not be put right except by what put it right in the first place.
Here are, O brothers, these features and characteristics:
From the characteristics of this Godly approach is the servitude of people to Allah and their liberation from all that which dents their bondage to Allah Almighty. This is a common characteristic among all the apostles. Allah, the Exalted, said: For We assuredly sent amongst every People an apostle, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil" [An Nahl: 36]. The essence of the call of all the Apostles is the servitude of creation to Allah. This characteristic fulfils the purpose of creation and meets the call of fitrah (inborn natural predisposition). Allah, the Exalted, said: I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. [Adh-Dhariyat: 56], and the Prophet said: ((Every new-born child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian)) Statement agreed upon .
Fitrah is the monotheistic accreditation of Allah with worship. The absence of this characteristic, from teaching and educational syllabi, leads to imbalance of scales and disruption of concepts, the destruction of human resources, the clashing of human instincts and the fast disappearance of virtues, ideals and values. From the characteristics of this Prophetic approach is teaching people to rectify and refine the aims, especially if the knowledge per se was a legitimate religious one. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: the Messenger of Allah said: ((If anyone acquires knowledge of things by which Allah's good pleasure is sought, but acquires it only to get some worldly advantage, he will not experience the fragrance of Paradise)) i.e. its odour. Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others with a sound chain of narration. .
As to worldly knowledge, evoking a valid intention and a good aim from filling the needs of the nation or other is a reason that warrants reward from Allah Almighty, help and good fortune; as a valid intention is akin to beneficence and piety. The Exalted One said: Allah is with those who fear and those who do goodness. [An Nahl: 128].
This is by no mean equal to whom makes of teaching and education a ladder to progress with to occupational positions or social statuses, or make of it a way for building personal glories and self gains. There is no doubt that these cheap intentions affect instructional and educational action in a very detrimental way, for the person who sleeps and does not love is not like the one who lives by the dreams of love.
And one of the characteristics of the Godly approach is to relate knowledge to action, for knowledge is a tree and action is a fruit. The Prophet used to teach his companions knowledge and action, for knowledge without action is pretence against its author.
[If a young person’s knowledge does not boost his heart with guidance, his secret actions with justice and his morals with good,
Announce to him that Allah has given him a grace, which may offend just like the one who worships idols] (poetry verses)
O believers! Among that which roots the severance of knowledge from action and firmly establishes it is this contradiction experienced by many of the learners; as that which they receive contravenes and contradicts much of what they sense and see, and even what they live with and pursue in social life.
The best example of which, is the role of knowledge and its fields teach that lying is a vice and a sin. Then we hear from some media that lying comes in colours and forms; its judgment varies depending on its colour and form. We also learn that no means of communication between males and females except through legitimate marriage, and then we hear and see here and there that among the relationships between the sexes, is what is called friendship or fellowship, including what is called innocent honourable honest love and other names that remind us of his saying: ((Some people of my nation will assuredly drink wine, calling it by other that its name)) Narrated by Ibn Majah, An Nisa’i and others with an acceptable chain of narration .
It is no wonder that this contradiction between the means of guidance in the society has detrimental effects on nations and societies, not least the entrenchment of the separation between knowledge and action, the intellectual dichotomy and the deepening of psychological turmoil; since it is common knowledge that the upper hand is eventually for what societies impose, and not for ideals and theories taught in books and curricula.
Among the characteristics of this Godly approach is to take into account the capacities and the standards, so that everyone is given what is convenient for him and meets his needs. From this, we realise the mistake of what some of the educational departments practice, from full equality between males and females in curricula and syllabus, stages and levels. The mistake even reaches its ultimate goal when mixing males and females in schools and colleges. No doubt this is a big mistake, which the nation continues to reap its afflictions and harvest its regrets and sighs in many Muslim countries. How not and the All knowing Almighty had said: “And no wise is the male Like the female” [Al Imran: 36]. Whoever purports to equate males to females has indeed opposed Allah in His creation and His laws, so it is imperative to segregate the two genders in all stages of education, and to give to each what convenes them, suits them and what they need of science and knowledge.
 Narrated by Muslim in the Book of Paradise and the Description of its bliss (2865) from the Statement of ‘Ayadh bin Hamar, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by Bukhaari in the Book of Funerals (1385), and Muslim in the Book of Destiny (2658) from the Statement of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad (8252), and Abu Dawood in the Book of Knowledge (3664), and Ibn Majah in the Introduction (252).
 Narrated by An Nisa’i in the Book of Drinks (5658) according to a man from the Companions of the Prophet, and Ibn Majah in the Book of Trials (4020) according to Abu Maalik Al-Ash'ari, may Allah be pleased with him, and see: At-Targheeb (3/263).
The second Sermon
In what is to follow: From the features of the prophetic approach to teaching and education, is the continuity of the educational process and its non limitation by a phase at which it ends. The Prophet urged the nation to keep on reciting the Quran, which is the origin of science and the source of knowledge of religious legislature, he said: ((Keep on reciting the Quran, for by Him in Whose Hand my life is, Quran runs away faster than camels that are released from their tethers)) Statement agreed upon .
One of the scholars said: "You remain still an educated scholar. If you overlook it, you are an ignorant". Knowledge for us is from the Inkwell to the grave. However, when this understanding is missed by many of our educated folk, we saw among graduates, those for whom the last thing they do is reading, learning and researching, receive their graduation documents. This is no doubt what weakens knowledge and dispels it, for knowledge with knowledge increases, grows and stands firm, as the former (Poet) said:
[Today one thing and tomorrow likewise, from select knowledge you pick up One achieves by it wisdom, for the torrent is rather the gathering of drops] (poetry verses)
A feature of this approach of the Prophet is the revival of knowledge through its propagation and making it available, and the expansion of the circle of those benefiting from it. The Prophet said: ((May Allah bless a man who hears a tradition from us, gets it by heart and passes it on to others. Many a bearer of knowledge conveys it to one who is more versed than he is)) Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi with a sound chain of narration , and also said: ((Allah and His angels send blessings on those who teach people goodness)) Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, with a good chain of narration .
Making knowledge available and disseminating it is one of the issues of righteousness, which brings closeness to Allah Almighty. It is incumbent upon the holders of knowledge in its various branches and categories to disseminate their knowledge and transmit it among people. Let each one of us be:
[Like the sea that makes a gift to a relative of pretty jewels
and sends to the one far away clusters of clouds]. (Poetry verse)
Among the features of the prophetic approach to teaching and education is to consecrate all the abilities, spread the spirit of participation, gifting and construction among the children of the nation, and bring them up to bear the burdens and carry out the responsibilities.
A quick glance at the Conduct of the Prophet manifests this important feature. Who killed Abu Jahl, the Pharaoh of this nation? Aren’t they the two sons of ‘Afra' the young men?! Did not the Prophet tie the banner for Osama bin Zaid to fight the Romans, while he was not even twenty years of age?! Did not the lady Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, go out with the Prophet in his battles healing the sick and giving a drink to the injured?! Yes, indeed all this happened.
Educators, teachers and guardians ought to employ all the abilities of the nation in the service of Islam and to support its causes; even the weak and the needy, with them the nation triumphs. The Prophet said: ((Seek for me your weak persons, for you are provided means of subsistence and helped only through your weaklings?!)) Narrated by Abu Dawood with a good chain of narration , and in another narration ((through their prayers and supplications)) .
O believers! These are some of the features of the Godly Prophetic approach in reforming the nations and building the generations. These features have yielded their fruits, and Allah has brought out with it the best of people evolved for mankind. It was the fill of the hearing, sight and the feeling with the heart of the entire world for a long time. When the nation deviated from these features and abandoned these properties, this left a huge rift in the nation and a mingling in teaching and education. It caused many relapses and catastrophes, and there is no avenue to emerge out of this calamity and to get rid of this dilemma except by sticking to the prophetic approach in advocacy, teaching, education and orientation.
We all have the responsibility to redress these deviations, each according to his ability and capability. The father should redress the education of his children and complement the shortfall, which is in the other educational areas. Educational departments and their institutions have to review their curricula and teaching methods therein. Society has to mobilize all its capabilities and means of influencing it in order to achieve the desired objective, from forging the generations and forming men, for the real resource that nations own is its children and men. No mistaken person should think that teaching and education are the responsibility of a particular side only, but rather we are all responsible, and the Prophet had said: ((Each one of you is a shepherd, and each one of you is responsible for his flock)) .
 Narrated by Bukhari in the Book of Virtues of the Quran (5033), and Muslim in the Prayer of travellers and its shortening (791) from the Statement of Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by Ahmad from the Statement of Jubeir bin Mot’am, may Allah be pleased with him (16 312), Abu Dawood in the Book of Science (3660), and At-Tirmidhi in the Book of Science (2656) from the Statement of Zayd bin Thaabit, may Allah be pleased with him. See also: The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (1/197).
 Narrated by At-Tirmidhi in the Book of Science (2685) from the Statement of Abu Umamah Al-Baahili, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by Abu Dawood in the Book of Jihad (2594) from the Statement of Abu Ad-Darda’, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by An-Nisa’i in the Book of Jihad (3178) from the Statement of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him.
 Narrated by Bukhari in the Book of Wills and Testaments (2751), and Muslim in the Book on Government (1829) from the Statement of Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with both of them.