The Key Feature in a Teacher
Attendance and punctuality are the key features in any teacher, more so a teacher of the Qur-aan and Hadith. In order to produce excellent results in the classroom, a teacher has to imbibe the attribute of punctuality in his/her life. In fact, punctuality is the stepping stone towards success in any field.
Coming late to class regularly is a sign of irresponsibility and deprives one of the noor (light) of ilm. Remember that every child in the class is an amaanah and every minute of which you spend in the classroom is an amaanah. Every teacher will be questioned about these two aspects by Allah Ta’ala. When a parent has sent his child to your class, he has certain expectations from you as a teacher. Most definitely, no parent wants to see that his child’s educator is late for classes regularly. What kind of an example are we setting for our learners?
Furthermore, we, as teachers, are paid by our committees for the time we spend teaching. Remember that no amount of wealth can repay a teacher for his knowledge. In reality we are being paid for our time. How important then is it for a teacher to fulfil the proper time requirement? If a teacher is regularly late for classes, then what is he being paid for? Will that wealth which we are accepting at the end of the month be lawful for us or not? The Fuqaaha (Jurists) have mentioned in their books that if you have a bucket of pure clean water and a few drops of urine fall into that bucket, the little urine will contaminate the entire water. Similarly, the few minutes that we come late to class will contaminate our entire salary.
Our Akaabir (elders) were very particular in this regard. They would ensure that they would record the number of minutes they were late during the month and return that amount of salary to the madrasah, thus securing the barkat (blessings) in their earnings.
The following are some incidents regarding Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi (RA) and the importance he gave towards being punctual for Madrasah.
Incident No. 1
Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Saahib (RA) was very particular about being on time for all his lessons. It was inconceivable that Hadhrat (RA) would be absent for any lesson. Whilst studying Bukhaari Shareef, he did not miss a single lesson from the beginning of the kitaab to the end. He did not miss even one Hadith from his asaatiza. Once, Hadhrat Sheikhul Hadeeth Saahib (RA) fell ill. Hadhrat Mufti Saahib (RA) wrote a letter to Hadhrat Sheikh (RA) seeking permission to visit, stating that by coming to Sahaaranpur from Deoband, he would be absent for one lesson only. Hadhrat Sheikhul Hadeeth Saahib (RA) replied, “One lesson is indeed very great. In my opinion, to miss out one Hadith by your ustaadh is a loss that can never be recouped.” Thus Hadhrat (RA) postponed the visit to his Sheikh.
Incident No. 2
Moulana Mufti Zaheerul Islaam (RA) mentions regarding Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Saahib’s punctuality as follows:
“I had joined Hadhrat (RA) in September 1956 and remained with him until April 1960. Thereafter, I began teaching at several institutions. But in all those years, I never saw Hadhrat (RA) change his routine in any way. Madrasah commenced at 6:30 am daily. Hadhrat (RA) would enter the classroom promptly at 6:00 am. Never did the changing of the seasons or any bonafide excuses affect his routine in any way. In 1365 AH, Hadhrat (RA) moved to Deoband. He ensured that even on his last day at the Madrasah he completed his time. If Hadhrat (RA) was delayed from class for a legitimate reason, or he had to speak to someone during class hours, or somebody came to ask a mas’alah, request duas, or if someone came to make mashwarah with him, he would calculate the number of minutes utilised for this purpose and would record it in his diary. It was his habit that whenever he went to receive his salary, he would take this diary with him. He would calculate the time in hours and days not spent for the madrasah. Thereafter, Hadhrat (RA) would repay that amount of his salary back to the madrasah, although this directive did not come from the authorities.
Madrasah classes ended at 11:00 am. All the asaatiza would leave their classrooms at this time but Hadhrat (RA) would remain in class until 1:00pm. Thereafter, he would have meals and rest for a while. Zuhr Salaah was at 3:00 pm and classes commenced again at 3:15 pm. Hadhrat (RA) would complete his Zuhr Sunnats and proceed straight to the classroom. He continued with lessons until someone informed him that salaah was about to commence. Asr was at 5:30 pm and he would only stop teaching at this time and join the salaah. He would never leave the classroom to relieve himself during lessons but would make all the necessary preparations beforehand. He would also never leave the class to fulfil any of his personal obligations during the madrasah time.
Hadhrat (RA) would make it a point to leave the first period free for those asaatiza who served as Imaams in the local masaajid or were living some distance away from the madrasah so that the lessons would not be delayed in any way. He always advised those asaatiza who were close to him to adhere strictly to the madrasah times and regard every minute as an amaanah. Hadhrat (RA) also wished that the pupils be punctual for their lessons.
Incident No. 3
Hadhrat Moulana Haamid Hasan (RA) was the father of Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi (RA). In his old age he had fallen ill and many people were continuously coming to visit him. In spite of this, he continued teaching his students at home so that no harm is caused to their studies.
Incident No. 4
Hadhrat Sheikhul Hadeeth Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (RA) never missed lessons for any reason at all. Even when his uncle, Moulana Muhammad Ilyaas Saahib (RA), returned from Haj, he did not go to welcome him at the station, out of fear that he may be delayed for his lessons. Hadhrat Sheikh (RA) says, “I am extremely disturbed by those who cause harm to the students. Many years of my teaching career have passed yet I have never requested leave. Even whilst I was ill, I continued teaching. This was all done out of the fear that some disturbance and difficulty would be caused to the students.”
In essence, the key factor that brings the most amount of barkah in our ilm is istiqaamat (steadfastness). If we as asaatiza are weak in this regard, then what can we expect from our students? May Allah Ta’ala bless us all with the ability to fulfil this great amaanah in the way that will please Allah Ta’ala. Aameen.