Belonging to Respected Professions
by Abu Shama
Why Teachers should belong to Respected Professions
In the lengthy introduction of Sahih Muslim, Imam Muslim makes mention that it is impermissible for knowledge seekers to humiliate themselves.
They should avoid entering professions that are viewed by the general public as lowly professions or looked down upon. E.g. like a street sweeper. This reflects badly on them, and will be held against them if they want to hold a circle of knowledge. It becomes a barrier between them and having a position of respect when people wish to acquire knowledge from them.
People of knowledge preserve the honour of knowledge, and in return it becomes an honour for them. As long as they preserve their knowledge, the knowledge will preserve their honour. So the people of knowledge should not deliberately dishonour the knowledge by working in the ‘mean’ professions and thus putting this sacred knowledge in the inappropriate position.
One of Shaykh Haytham Tamim’s teachers was Professor Syed Ramadan al-Boutti, his father Mullah Ramadan was a very sincere and pious man. He once told his son:
‘O my son, if I knew a profession that brings someone closer to Allah other than being a scholar; I would have directed you to it.’
There are numerous accounts of scholars who could not find employment for their daily provisions. One particular scholar wanted to work in his city but everyone recognised him, and they would not employ him because of his honour. Consequently, he used to disguise himself and leave early in the morning to work in a neighbouring city to earn his provision.
There was an account of three scholars who were finding it difficult to make their ends meet. After several failed attempts at trying to find employment, they decided they would have to beg as hunger and desperation was taking its toll. Just then they received a knock on the door. A man stood there asking if they were such and such. Once they confirmed their identity, the man said ‘I have a gift from the Ameer (ruler) mentioning your names.’ They were Allah’s people carrying out the good work and guiding the people to worship Allah. Allah Almighty did not want them to humiliate themselves, so He sent them their provision. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said;
‘Your Lord, the Most Blessed and Most high says: ‘O son of Adam, dedicate your time to my worship and I will fill your heart with wealth and your hands with sustenance.’ [Tirmidhi]
‘For him who fears Allah He will appoint a way out and He will give him provision from an unimagined source.’ [Tirmidhi]
This is a series compiled following lectures on ‘The Manners and Etiquette of the Teacher and the Students’. The course was based on a book written by Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah and conveyed to us by our Shaykh Haytham Tamim.
Qadi al-Qudat, Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah was born in 639 AH (1241 AD). Originally from Syria and later moved to Egypt. He was educated at Hama, achieved excellence in religious studies and jurisprudence, and became a leading promoter of the Shafi’i Fiqh. Eventually, he attained the high status of Shaykh al-Islam and held the high position of Chief Justice. Imam al-Dhahabi has observed that Qadi Ibn Jama’ah was well versed both in prose and poetry, and had left abundant notes on Fiqh, Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh, and Tarikh(History). He commanded respect and influence, and had a large number of students and followers. He died at Cairo in the year 733 A.H. (1332 A.D.), aged 94, and was buried by the side of the great Imam Shafi’i.
His book on the subject of Adab al-Alim wal-Mutaalim
It was in the year 672 AH (1273 AD) that Ibn Jama’ah completed this book as a guide for both students and teachers to help improve quality of their academic life and work.
Ibn Jama’ah – Etitquettes of Seeking Knowledge
Abd Al Barr – Jami’ Bayan Al Ilm
Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi – Al Jami’ li Akhlaq Al Rawi
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