The Prophet's approach in education and disciplining

By Shaikh Khaalid ‘Abdullaah Al-Musleh

 

 

First Khutbah

O worshipers of Allaah! Fear Allaah The Almighty and know that disciplining and education are of the most important pillars of building nations and societies. By disciplining and education, nations and generations are built, civilizations and societies are developed, souls and morals are purified, goals are clarified and targets are achieved. The nation before the advent of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was living in the darkness of ignorance. In addition, myths and miseries were prevalent, and people had no goals or targets.

It was a lost nation that was living in arrogant ignorance. Fanaticism, superstition and racism were quite prevalent during this period. This nation had no place in the history of nations. It was abhorred by the Creator. In Saheeh Muslim, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was reported to have said, "Allaah The Almighty looked at the people of earth and disliked them all, Arabs and non-Arabs, except for remnants of the people of scripture."

Allaah The Almighty then showed His mercy and conferred His blessing upon people to turn them from the darkness to light. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means), {Indeed Allaah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Quran), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them (in) the Book (the Quran) and Al¬-Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, (i.e. his legal ways, statements, acts of worship, etc.)], while before that they had been in manifest error.} [Quran 3: 164]

He (the Prophet), peace and blessing be upon him, came as a good teacher and reformer; he exerted the greatest efforts to achieve this goal. In addition, he sacrificed his whole life and every precious thing for achieving his target. He, peace and blessing be upon him, disciplined his companions perfectly, may Allaah be pleased with them, and gave them the best knowledge; thus they were a unique and unprecedented generation. Allaah The Almighty says (what means),  {You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allaah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqun (disobedient to Allaah - and rebellious against Allaah's Command)..} [Quran 3: 110]

They also became the masters of nations, the leaders of the world and the decision makers. They controlled the great empires like those of Cyrus and Caesar in a short period of time, and people entered the religion of Allaah The Almighty in multitudes. Glory be to Allaah, and all perfect praise is due to Him!

O believers, this great change and considerable success in building nations and generations was a result of a prudent educational approach that raised the nation from the feet to the peaks of mountains. This approach with its features and attributes is the remedy of the nation's diseases of defeat, subservience and humiliation.

The preachers and teachers should contemplate the Prophet's approach in disciplining, education and call. They should study this approach carefully to define its features and deduce its attributes and characteristics. They should also know that this nation will never be reformed except by following the very same methodology that reformed it in the past generation.

My fellow Muslims, let us discuss these features and characteristics:

The features of this heavenly approach include inviting people to worship Allaah The Almighty, in addition to freeing them from worshiping any associates to Him. All Prophets, may Allaah exalt his mention, were sent to achieve this goal; Allaah The Almighty says (what means): {And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allaah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allaah The Almighty.} [Quran 16: 36]

 All prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, were sent with the same message; that is inviting their peoples to worship Allaah The Almighty Alone. And this message achieves the goal of creation and fulfills the natural disposition; Allaah The Almighty says (what means): {And I (Allaah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).} [Quran 51: 56] It was also narrated that the Messenger, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allaah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Zoroastrianism." [Agreed upon i.e. Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The natural disposition is to worship Allaah The Almighty Alone, and the lack of this feature from the educational methodologies may lead to imbalances, disorder of concepts, destruction of human capabilities and conflict of the natural dispositions, in addition to the loss of virtues, ideals and values.    

This approach also includes teaching people how to correct and clarify goals, especially if learning is related to religion. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "Whoever learnt knowledge by which the Face of Allaah is to be sought, but does not do so except for attaining a goal of this world, (he) will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.” [Reported by Ahmed, Abu Daawood and others with a good Sanad (i.e. chain of transmission)]

As for the worldly knowledge, man should have a good intention while seeking this kind of knowledge. He should intend to use it in fulfilling the needs of the nation in order to get a great reward from Allaah The Almighty and to find the way easy to achieve success. The good intention is included in benevolence and piety. Allaah The Almighty says (what means): {Truly, Allaah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are Muhsinun (good-doers, - see the footnote of V.9:120).} [Quran 16: 128]

On the contrary, some people seek knowledge to ascend to higher career or social positions or seek a path of personal success. There is absolutely no doubt that these cheap intentions have the worst effect on the educational process.

Among the features of the Divine approach is that learning should be followed by practice, because learning is a tree and practice is a fruit. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, used to teach his Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, that learning should be followed by practice, and that learning without practice would stand as a Hujjah (argument) against learners on the Day of Judgment. Once a poet said:

If a man’s knowledge neither increases his heart’s guidance, Nor straightens his path, nor beautifies his character .. Then give him glad tiding – (he’s gained naught but) God’s hatred - By which he is similar to the slave of idols.     

O believers! What confirms the separation of learning from practice is the contradiction seen by several learners; what they learn differs from what they witness and practice in their social lives. For example, we are learnt that lying is a vice and sin, then some mass media justify it by stating that lying is of different kinds and its ruling depends mainly on the situation itself. In addition, we are learnt that the relationship between men and women should be through legal marriage, then we hear that men and women form friendships or illegal relationships which they call 'innocent love'. This remembers us by the saying of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, "People of my nation will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name." [Reported by An-Nasaai, Ibn Majaah and others with an acceptable Isnaad (i.e. chain of transmitters)]

There is absolutely no doubt that this contradiction has negative impacts on nations and societies, leads to the separation of learning from practice, in addition to causing schizophrenia and critical psychological disorder. It is known that, at the end, the upper hand is for the traditions imposed by societies  rather than value and theories that are studied in books and curricula.

Among the features of this Divine approach is taking capabilities and human factors into consideration. This means that the needs of the learner's capabilities should be fulfilled. We can now recognize the mistake made by the educational institutions of treating boys and girls equally, especially as regards methodologies and curricula. There is another serious mistake, which is mixing boys with girls in schools and colleagues, and several Muslim countries are still reaping the relevant negative consequences. Allaah The Almighty says (what means): {"And the male is not like the female.} [Quran 3: 36). Thus, whoever calls for treating male and female equally, he then breached the Law of Allaah The Almighty. Boys must be separated from girls in the different educational stages, and their needs of science and knowledge should be wisely fulfilled according to their gender.

 

The Second Khutbah

Among the features of the Prophet's approach in disciplining and education is the continuity of the educational process. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, urged his nation to keep revising the Noble Quran that is the main source of sciences and religious knowledge. It was narrated that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "Keep on reciting the Quran, for by Him in Whose Hand my life is, the Quran runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes." [Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

One of the scholars said, "You will remain an educated scholar if you are eager to learn, but if you do not have need to learn, then you will become ignorant." Learning in Islam is from cradle to grave. However, this concept was lost among our educated people, especially as some of them do not seek knowledge after receiving his certificate of graduation, which leads to the loss of knowledge. We should know that knowledge is increased by continuous learning. Once a poet said:

Today knowledge and tomorrow the like of it and through this process the individual will obtain the wisdom he needs, for the river becomes such by the gathering of droplets of water.   

This Divine approach also includes reviving education by spreading it and expanding the circle of the beneficiaries. It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "May Allaah cause that person to shine, who hears my statement, comprehends it, safeguards it and delivers it [to others], for a person who carries a word of understanding delivers it to one who is more intelligent than him.” [Reported by Ahmed, Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi with a Saheeh (sound) Isnaad]

It was also narrated that he, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "Allaah and His Angels shower blessings upon those teach people the good." [Reported by At-Tirmithi with a Hasan Isnaad]

Education and spreading it are of the righteous deeds by which man comes closer to Allaah The Almighty. Thus, learners should spread knowledge among people, and they should be like those about whom the poet said:

Like the sea that offers unique jewelry to the nearby (people) … And offers clouds to the far (people).

Among the features of this prophetic approach in disciplining and education is utilizing all capabilities and spreading the spirit of cooperation and development among people, in addition to teaching them how to bear burdens and responsibilities.

A quick glance at the life of the biography of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, clarifies this feature. Who killed Abu Jahl; the Pharaoh of this nation? Two young children killed him, didn’t they? Did not the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, appoint Usaamah ibn Zayed who was less than twenty years old as a commander in the battle against Romans? Did not the Muslim women, may Allaah be pleased with them, go with the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, in his battles to dress wounds and offer water to the injured? All this already took place!

Thus, teachers, educators and guardians should invest the nation's capabilities in serving and supporting Islam; even the weak and poor people can back the nation. It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, " Seek among your weak ones, for you are given provision and help only because of the weak amongst you." [Reported by Abu Daawood with a good Sanad] [4]. In another narration, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "By their prayers and supplications."

O believers! These were some of the features of the Divine approach in reforming nations and building generations. These characteristics led to good results, and brought forth for people the best nation. This nation was the light of this world for a long period of time. However, the deviation from these features and characteristics resulted in a big fissure in the nation and caused setbacks and calamities. The only way to overcome this problem is the compliance with the Prophet's approach in learning, educating and guiding people.

We all are responsible for overcoming these deviations; the father should bring his children up with good manners and handle the deficiencies in the educational entities. In addition, the educational institutions should revise its methodologies and curricula. The society should also best utilize its capabilities in building generations and strong men, for the real wealth of any nation is its men. He would be mistaken who believes that a certain entity is responsible for learning and education. It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "All of you are shepherds and each one is responsible for his flock."

   

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#1 The Prophet's approach in education and discipliningMaira 26 Dhul-Hijjah. 1438 AH
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