By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam
27 July 2021
Teachers, Spiritual or Academic, Open the Canvass of Knowledge and Guide Us On To the Path of Success in the Life Here and Hereafter
1. Our tryst with our teachers at different stages of our lives makes us understand the mysteries of the world.
2. The first teacher of a child is his mother as per the saying, ‘mother’s lap is the child’s first school’.
3. Those of us who use their wisdom with a sense of service to humanity understand spiritualism and its teachings.
4. For the best use of our acquired knowledge, we need to be introduced to the spiritual essence of life.
Grooming of a Personality
We come into the world, our fists tightly closed. And go from here our fists wide open. We have all the wisdom, knowledge and intellect in our closed fists. But without the guidance of a teacher, we are unable to use those wisdom, knowledge and intellect. Teachers, spiritual or academic, open the canvass of knowledge and guide us on to the path of success in the here and hereafter life.
At the time of birth, we are nothing less than an angel that carries no sins in his scroll of deeds (Aamaal Naama). The slate of our life is clean and clear of everything good or bad. Our life begins with the trait of innocence.
Our tryst with our teachers at the different stages of our lives makes us understand the mysteries of the world. The first teacher of a child is his mother as per the saying, ‘mother’s lap is the child’s first school’. She introduces us to the ethos of the religious, social, cultural and civilisational life we are born in. This learning is important as it plays a pivotal role in the mental and psychological make of a man.
After the Introductory lessons given by the mother, the rendezvous with the teachers at the schools, colleges and universities begins. We are introduced to books of arts, science, technological, medicine and commerce where we find ourselves in a whole new world of knowledge. Our teachers are our guide to this enormous world, where every single point carries an ocean of knowledge in itself. Teachers at the academic institutions guide us, to the world of education with love and affection that is no less than a mother. There we witness the uniformity as that of our houses where all the siblings are equal.
This part of our learning journey ends after the completion of our worldly knowledge imparted in the schools, colleges and universities. There is no word, no feeling that could express our gratitude for the devotion of our teachers.
Loads of bookish knowledge and certificates of our being educated is not enough for leading a life of satisfaction that is full of humility and nobility. We feel a vacuum. There is a feeling of emptiness in life. This vacuum and emptiness end with the knowledge of spirituality. The course of spiritualism opens the door of understanding our responsibility towards the world society of human beings and all the other creations of Allah, the Almighty. And we can understand how we use our knowledge for the betterment of the human society that has given us so much love and care. Those of us who use their wisdom with a sense of service to humanity understand spiritualism and its teachings. For the best use of our acquired knowledge, we need to be introduced to the spiritual essence of life.
Many of us who do not get an opportunity to learn lessons of spirituality that introduces us to our Creator and the ethos of His creations are unable to return to society the love and care that has been given to them. Spiritual teachers and Gurus are the pivots of the enlightening life. The enlightening life introduces us to the originality of our birth in the world that we do not take birth just like that rather our birth to this world is to fulfil our responsibility towards the fellow human being.
Spiritual teachers like the Sufis, the saints and the Gurus introduce us to the divine world that consists of godly traits like the beauties of nature and environment and make us listen to the hymns that the environment keeps reciting in praise of its creator, Allah, the Most Graceful. Thus we are introduced to ourselves as we, the human beings, do also have ingrained in our personality various traits of Allah, the Almighty so that we could fulfil our responsibilities bestowed upon us by Him. Thus the spiritual guides introduce us to those innumerable mysteries of life that are not open to all but the ones that are true servants of their Creator.
Teacher’s Status in Islam
After the father, it is the teacher who acquires the highest status in the life of a man, according to Islam.
All the prophets of Islam, sent by Allah the Most Gracious, to every region and every community, are taken as a teacher. It is they who taught their communities about the Oneness of Allah and all His mercies and the trait of forgiveness. They, therefore, are highly respectable for human beings of all ages and times.
Allah the Almighty has on various occasions’ commanded people to acquire knowledge even if one has to travel to distant places. In this connection, the Holy Quran says that Allah bestows the highest ranks to those who acquire knowledge. Consider the following Ayat:
Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mujadilah: 11) - Muhsin Khan
Quranic Verses and the Significance of Teachers and Teachings
Read, ˹O Prophet, in the Name of your Lord Who created—(Al-Alaq: 1)
“And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge.” (Al-Isra: 36)
(The angels) said, “All glory is yours!? We have no knowledge except that which you have taught us? Verily you are the Knowledgeable, the Wise. (Al-Baqarah: 32)
“Like (a favour which you have already received) in that We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our verses, and purifying you, and instructing you in scripture and wisdom, and in new knowledge.” (Sura Al-Baqarah: Ayat 151)
Thus do We make Our signs clear in diverse ways that they might say: 'You have learned this (from somebody)'; and 'We do this in order that We make the Truth clear to the people of knowledge. (Surah Al-An'am:105)
“And Allah taught Adam all the names.” (Al-Baqarah: 31)
(God) said, “Oh Adam!? Make known to them their names.”? And when (Adam) had made known to them their names [God] said, “Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth and that I know what you reveal and what you conceal?” (Al-Baqarah: 33)
“Is he who was dead by ignorance and We gave him knowledge and set for him Light of Belief whereby he can walk amongst men; like he who is in the darkness?” (Quran; 6:122)
Prophetic Traditions on the Significance of a Teacher
Prophet (pbuh) said, “… But I am a teacher. I shall join the group assembled for learning.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
A prominent Sahabi, Muwiyya Ibnul Hakam As- Sulani (Ra) says about Rasul (pbuh), “I have never come across a teacher more excellent than him either before or after him. By Allah Subhanahu Taa’la, he did not scold, beat or call me names.”[Muslim]
Biblical Verses That Acknowledge Teachers as Guides to Humanity
Prescribe and teach these things. - 1 Timothy 4:11
Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol. - Proverbs 23:13-14
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. - Psalm 32:8
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? - 1 Corinthians 12:29
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. - James 3:1
Hinduism Acknowledges Teachers as Bhagwan
BG 4.34: Learn the Truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him with reverence and render service unto him. Such an enlightened Saint can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.
BG 4.35: Following this path and having achieved enlightenment from a Guru, O Arjun, you will no longer fall into delusion. In the light of that knowledge, you will see that all living beings are but parts of the Supreme, and are within me.]
BG 4.33: O subduer of enemies, sacrifice performed in knowledge is superior to any mechanical material sacrifice. After all, O Parth, all sacrifices of work culminate in knowledge.
BG 4.32: All these different kinds of sacrifice have been described in the Vedas. Know them as originating from different types of work; this understanding cuts the knots of material bondage.
Teachers are given the highest rank in the social hierarchy by every religion. They are venerated by one and all. All the Abrahamic and other religions and religious faiths bestow honour and highest rank among all human beings.
We celebrated ‘Guru Purnima on Saturday, 24th July remembering all our spiritual teachers thanking them for their guidance that introduced us to the spiritual world. Purnima means ‘full moon’. It marks the division between the two lunar fortnights every month. Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashadha (month of Hindu calendar). Guru Purnima is a celebration of paying tributes to the Spiritual Gurus.
And Allah Knows the Best.
Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.
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