The Prophet as a Teacher

According to the Quran, the Prophet (pbuh) is responsible for tabligh (delivering the message): "O Messenger, proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith." (Al-Maida 5/67). "The Messenger's duty is but to proclaim (the message). But Allah knoweth all that ye reveal and ye conceal" (Al-Maida 5/99).

The primary reason for the success of the Prophet in calling people to Islam in the Arabian Peninsula in such a short time was its emphasis on education. This call gave new life to people. The Prophet reached the hearts and minds of people through educational activities. He helped people to feel more human. When people learned the qualities of Islam and witnessed how individuals who became Muslim were transformed, they accepted the invitation of the Prophet.

[dropcap] The lexicographical meaning of "tabligh" is to deliver, inform, and spread. As a term, it points to the Prophet's delivering the message to humans exactly as he received it from Allah. This is one of the inalienable qualities of prophets. If the thing to be delivered is information, a message, or news, then teaching is an issue, as well. In fact, some dictionaries define "tabligh" as teaching. This shows the relation between "tabligh" and teaching. "Tabligh" is not randomly delivering a message in some form of expression to people. A message will be considered to have been delivered if it is correctly understood and comprehended by the person receiving it. Thus, the person to whom the message is delivered should understand the meaning of the message exactly the same way the source person does. If the meaning of the message is not understood in exactly the same way by both the person who receives it and the source person, then the message is not delivered. In short, there should be correct communication between these two people. In this context, it is possible to see "tabligh" as a form of communication and a task of education and training.

In Quran, Allah states that prophets are obliged to deliver His messages and describes prophets as an "instructor and trainer: "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 3/164). "It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error" (Al-Juma 62/2).

[blocknumber type="circle" text="01" color="#FFF" background="#f16a10"]These verses all prove that the Prophet was a teacher assigned the duty of delivering the message of God. Indeed, the Prophet himself emphasized that his primary duty as a Prophet was to teach by saying, "I have been sent only as a teacher to you." To explain his duty he also said, "I have been sent only to complete moral virtues."[/blocknumber]


[row] [col class="span9"]The most important reason behind the effectiveness of the educational activities carried out by the Prophet (pbuh) was the truth of the content. But, the appropriateness of style in presenting the content was also important. We should pay attention to "whom" and "how" the Prophet taught as well as "what" he taught. He had methods for teaching. His style was not random.

The Prophet was very sincere in what he was teaching and he applied what he taught in his daily life. So he was showing people how to apply those principles he taught. The people he assigned to teach others were also knowledgeable and skillful, and they had superior characteristics.[/col] [col class="span3"][/col] [/row] [bubble background="#FFF" color="#666" border="3px solid #ccc" author="Quran, surah Al-Ahzab 33/21)"]Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.[/bubble]


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The Prophet was not only teaching the fundamentals of religion, but he was also acting as a model for people with his attitude and behavior. He was showing them how to put the things he was teaching into practice in their lives. In other words, he was supporting and complementing his teaching with his personal life. Therefore, Allah introduces him to us as an exemplary guide: "And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character" (Al-Qalam 68/4). "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah" (Al-Ahzab 33/21).

Certainly the Prophet was not alone in carrying out the educational activities which would encompass all humanity alone. Just as it was not possible for him to reach everyone and everywhere, it was not possible for him to reach everyone in exactly the same way. Therefore, he worked on educating people with his Companions. Indeed, every Muslim was responsible for learning the religion and teaching what he learnt to others. So every Muslim was a student and a teacher at the same time within the limit of his opportunities and capabilities.



Last modified on Thursday, 17 July 2014 13:43
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