1) A call to respect teachers.
2) Humbleness with teachers.
3) The rights of scholars.
O Muslims! There is no doubt that each one of us struggles so that his child becomes successful, and he rejoices when his child is studying and working hard, or when he becomes a scholar. On the other hand, he becomes saddened if this child is not successful and is expelled from school. These are natural feelings and sensible behavior, but we must prepare right from the beginning in order to provide the proper techniques to achieve the happy ending.
The first thing we should start with, in my opinion, is to get students accustomed to respect their instructors and fulfill their rights, especially when the teacher is a righteous and honorable one. This behavior is an Islamic one which is proven by the texts of the Sunnah. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “Seek knowledge and train to be dignified and calm while seeking knowledge, and humble yourselves with those whom you learn from” (Tabaraani).
Arrogance with the one you learn from is an evil trait and one who has such a characteristic will never succeed; slighting the teacher, mocking him and humiliating him are characteristics of hypocrites, as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “Three types of people would not be mocked except by a hypocrite, an old Muslim man, a knowledgeable person and a just leader” (Tabaraani).
O Muslims! Humbleness with the teacher is a way leading to success, and results in attaining knowledge. This is how Islam instructs us and guides us, and this is one of the rights of the teacher upon the student, and all people within the community should fulfill this right. Oppression of teachers and scholars will only happen in a period during which corruption prevails, and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam sought refuge in Allaah from such times, and supplicated to Allaah not to make him witness such times.
Sahl Ibn Sa’d As-saa’idi, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “O Allaah! Do not let me reach a time during which scholars are not followed, and honorable people are not respected” (Ahmad). If we look at the story of Prophet Moosaa with Al-Khadr, as Allaah informs saying which means, “(Moses) said: 'You will find me, if Allaah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in (any) order'” (Al-Kahf: 69). This is how the character of person seeking knowledge should be; he must know that his honor and might is in his humbleness with his instructor and scholar.
Abu Haamid Al-Ghazaali, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said, ‘Knowledge cannot be acquired except through humbleness’.
The scholars have set some etiquettes for students while dealing with a scholar, such as not addressing him by his name except by attaching a title which reflects respect and honor like sir, my teacher or my Shaykh.
O Muslims! The reason we emphasize on this is because we have heard that some people abuse teachers in front of their children, and they may even insult and humiliate them. How would such parents expect their children to become successful?
O Muslims! ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, gave a comprehensive and complete advice concerning the rights of the teacher or scholar upon his student saying, ‘One of the rights of the scholar is that you greet people generally and then greet him with a special greeting; sit in front of him; do not point with your hand in his presence, nor wink with your eye; do not quote someone else who said opposite of what he said; do not backbite anyone in his presence; do not hunt for his faults, and if he makes a mistake accept his excuse; dignify him for the sake of Allaah; if he needs anything, rush before everyone to serve him; do not whisper in his presence; do not grasp him by his garment; do not insist for answers when he becomes tired; do not ever feel you have accompanied him enough, because he is like a palm tree from which people wait for fruits to drop from’.
May Allaah be pleased with ‘Ali. He gathered in his advice what suffices the need, but will we comprehend?