Raising Fine Men

Vol 1-Issue 2 Raising fine menHerbert Hoover once quoted, “A boy has two jobs. One is just being a boy. The other is growing up to be a man.” This can be a journey filled with adventure; learning and much achievement, provided parents do their job well. It’s quite a formidable challenge but it’s undoubtedly worth it.

Role As Allah’s Servant

A man, who has a strong bond with Allah, can never fail as a great human being and a glorious believer. To him every intention made and action done is worship. He ensures that he never displeases his Rabb and when he makes a mistake, he hastens to amend it and ask for forgiveness. This is the believer we need to raise in our homes as Muslim parents.

Allah says in the Quran:”Verily, those who say: ‘Our Rabb is (only) Allah,’ and thereafter stand firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Such shall be the dwellers of Jannah, abiding therein (forever), – a reward for what they used to do.” (Al-Ahqaf 46:13-14)

Role As A Son

Allah commands, “And we have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents…” (Al-Ankabut 29:8)

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated, the Prophet (sa) said, “May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both, attain old age during his lifetime, and he does not enter Jannah (by being dutiful to them). (Muslim)

Allah has commanded to show kindness towards parents many times in the Quran. Today, however we witness two extremes with regard to children. Some parents are far too demanding and expect a service beyond their child’s capacity in terms of time and attention. Conversely some parents do not want to take any help from their children in spite of their frail and weak state. Subsequently their children become oblivious to their duties and occupy themselves with their own pursuits in life.

We should maintain a healthy balance where we can allow our sons to serve us and earn a reward for it. Simultaneously parents should maintain their dignity and grace, providing them with love and guidance.

Role As A Brother

A good Muslim brother, may it be as a real brother at home, or as a brother of every member of the Muslim Ummah, will understand his duties. Brotherhood in faith is a bond that actually binds all Muslims regardless of blood relations.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs, whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomfort of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Role As A Husband

Allah commands Husbands with regard to their wives, “…and live with them honourably…” (An-Nisa 4:19).

Allah describes the marital relationship as, “…They are Libas (i.e. body cover, screen or Sakan) for you and you are the same for them…” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

Parents should teach their sons to fulfill their role as a good husband. He should not just be a breadwinner but actively involve himself at home too. This can be done by providing time to his wife, taking care of her personal needs, communicating with her and helping her resolve any conflicts.

This is important to keep the institution of marriage intact and firm. A man who is happy at home stays away from many evils of the society. He is also more likely to deliver his rights to everyone else too if he is a good husband.

He should not be pulled like a rubber band in between his spouse and his parents. Both have essential rights and both should not be neglected. Especially in a troubled marriage, parents should never take sides and advise their sons to be patient and kind.

Role As A Father

Today’s materialistic struggle for more leaves little time for fathers to spend with their children. They may be able to pay bills, provide luxury and comfort to their kids but they are hardly around to spend any quality time with them, leave alone teach them a thing or two.

Teach your son to be a father rather than a visiting guest in the house. A son can learn much from his father in a man-to-man relationship. If his father provides the appropriate role model to him, many wrongs can be set right.

When Fatima (rta), came to visit Prophet (sa), he got up for her, took her by the hand, kissed her and made her sit where he was sitting; and when he went to visit her, she got up for him, took him by the hand, kissed him, and made him sit where she was sitting. (Abu Dawood)

This beautiful example teaches us three lessons: A good Muslim father appreciates daughters and loves them. He gives respect to his children and teaches them to respect him. He does not hesitate to show his love for his children.

Prophet (sa) said, “A father gives his child nothing better than a good education.” (Mishkat) This does not only mean academics meant to build up a career, but the norms of a cultured and decent living which is approved by Allah and His Messenger (sa).

Role As A Friend

As wise parents, we should always look for families supporting values that can offer meaningful friendships to our kids. Especially in cases of boys who spend considerable time outdoors. It is best to help our children grow friendships at school, Masaajid, social clubs etc before they reach their teens. Till such time kids idolize their parents and are more likely to listen to them. Talk to them about their friends; have them come over so you can observe their habits.

The worst mistake that any parent can make is to pay no attention to the company their son is keeping. Many times bad habits are brought home from bad companions due to peer pressure.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the Musk-seller and the Blacksmith. As for the musk-seller, he may either give you some or sell you, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the blacksmith, around him you may get your clothes burned, or have to sniff an offensive smell from him.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

Role With Relatives

Our present life style generally gives preference to friends over relatives. However as responsible Muslim parents we must teach our sons the vital place of family relations in a believer’s life. Maintaining cordial relations and providing selfless support to relatives is our duty and their right.

The Prophet (sa) said, “O community of Muhammad, by Him Who has sent me with truth, Allah cannot accept the charity of those whose relatives are in want of his kindness and help, while he is distributing it among others, leaving them out. By Him in Whose power is my life, on the Day of Judgment Allah will not look at such a man.” (Tabrani)

The children are ordained not to severe ties with relatives even after the death of their parents.

A man came to Prophet (sa) and asked, “Messenger of Allah, is there any kindness left that I can do for my parents after their death?” The Prophet (sa) replied, “Yes. You can invoke blessings on them and forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honour their friends.” (Abu Dawood)

Role With The Fair Sex

Allah commands: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)…” (An-Nur 24:30)

He also says, “…Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).”(Al-Isra 17:36)

Ibn Abbas (rta) reported, the Prophet (sa) said, “No one of you should meet a woman in privacy unless she is accompanied by a Mahram (a relative within the prohibited degrees).” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

Joking with our boys about girlfriends, permitting them to chat on the phone or internet with girls and encouraging them to mix up freely with females in parties or elsewhere, does it suit us as Muslim parents to follow such a course? Our sons will only learn to respect women if we train them to do so, otherwise they will always consider them as an object of fun and play.

Allah warns us in the Quran:”And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial, and that surely with Allah is a Mighty Reward.” (Al-Anfal 8:28)

Once the Messenger of Allah (sa) was delivering a speech. Meanwhile, (his little grandsons) Hasan and Hussain (rta) arrived, stumbling and wearing red shirts. He came down from the pulpit, took them, and ascended it with them. Then he said, “Allah has said truly: ‘Your property and your children are only a trial…'” (At-Taghabun 64:15)… Afterwards he resumed the speech. (Abu Dawood)

We must make every possible effort to bring up good believing kids and leave the rest to Allah. Along side we can pray earnestly, “…Our Lord, grant us spouses and off springs who will be the comfort of our eyes…” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

True Stories Of Exemplary Mothers

Many years ago in Uzbekistan, a baby boy was born blind. His mother, a strong Mu’minah, did not lose faith in the Power of Allah to cure him. She persistently prayed for her son’s sight. Within a few years the boy was cured.

She was widowed, the boy an orphan. She travelled with him to Makkah so that he could receive Islamic Education. She arranged that he attend the circles of the scholars. Consequently, he began excelling in the science of Hadeeth. He travelled to distant villages in search of the most authentic sayings of the Prophet (sa).He would pray two Rakahs before accepting a Hadeeth. His mother named him Muhammad ibn Isma’il. And many of us know him today because of the book he compiled, Saheeh Al-Imam Al-Bukhari!

In another land, in another time, chilly Baghdad winds would wake up another boy. Much before Fajr, his mother would bundle him in warm shawls and escort him through the darkness, making sure he reached the Masjid safely. After Fajr, she would wait for him as he read Hadeeth to the biggest scholars of the land. Then, long after the sun had come up, she would meet him outside and together they would walk home. She was a strong mother indeed, for her son grew up to become an Imam of the Muslim Ummah, named Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

Common Pitfalls To Avoid

  • Considering boys to be superior.
  • Forgoing lessons in morality
  • Exempting them from household work.
  • Turning a blind eye to questionable behaviour.
  • Turning over your authority to them.
  • Encouraging them excessively to be ambitious.
  • Raising them as selfish and inactive members of the community.
  • Considering every choice of theirs as private, personal and final.

Ibn Sina

Rym Aoudia sheds light on the life and accomplishments of a pioneer in early research and medicine 

The great Muslim physician and philosopher Abu Ali al-Hussain ibn Abdullah ibn Sina (980-1037 C.E) is known as Avicenna in the West, which is the Europeanized Hebrew translation of his name (Aven Sina). He was born in a village near Bukhara, now Uzbekistan. His native language was Persian, and his father had him very carefully educated. He was an intelligent child, and by the age of ten, he had memorized the Noble Quran and was highly knowledgeable in the Arabic language. For six years, he had dedicated his time to the study of Muslim jurisprudence, philosophy, natural science, logic, geometry, and advanced mathematics. He also focused greatly on the study of medicine, and by the age of seventeen, he became a well-known physician and came to be known as the, “doctor of doctors”.

Being a famous physician, Ibn Sina had the opportunity to cure many important people. As a seventeen year old, he cured Nooh ibn Mansoor, the King of Bukhara, of an illness that puzzled many renowned physicians. In return, he was allowed to make use of the king’s distinctive library. He also treated Shams al-Dawlah, the king of Hamadan, from a severe colic.

With his father’s death, Ibn Sina had to support himself and therefore traveled to Jurjaniyah and offered his services to the Khawarzmian dynasty. Meanwhile, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna demanded Ibn Sina’s attendance in his own court. Ibn Sina decided to escape instead, and went to Gurgan (Turkmenistan) and then to Jurjan (Iran). Afterwards, he journeyed to Ray (Iran) and began his service with Prince Shams al-Dawlah.

In Ray, Ibn Sina achieved a position as a vizier. This position displeased the military and made Ibn Sina go into exile once again.  When Shams al-Dawlah became sick, he called on Ibn Sina to cure him.  After curing the Prince, he held his position again as a vizier. Later on he served Prince Ala al-Dawla in Iran. Fifteen years after serving him, Ibn Sina decided to journey back to Hamadan (Iran).  Ibn Sina died in this journey, and is now buried in Hamadan

Despite the positions held in royal courts, Ibn Sina continued seeking knowledge and writing books. His major contribution to medical science was his famous book “al-Qanun fil al-Tib”, known as the Canon of Medicine in the West. The book is an immense encyclopedia of medicine extending over a million words. “al-Qanun fil al-Tib” consists of five books.  For seven centuries, the Canon served as a vital source in medical teaching and practice.

Another great work is “Kitab al-Shifa”, the Book of Healing, which is a philosophical encyclopedia. The book consists of 20 volumes, and it is the longest treatise on philosophy ever written by a single man.  He also had other philosophical works, such as, “al-Najat” and “Isharat”.

Not only was Ibn Sina an eminent physician and philosopher, he was also a great poet and was politically active. He wrote books on mathematics, astronomy, psychology, geology, and logic. With all these accomplishments, Ibn Sina had to work hard and was known to greatly exhaust himself.  He was therefore advised to lead a moderate life. Yet, he simply replied, “I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length.”

Even though he died at the early age of fifty seven, he left behind many momentous books.  Some sources attribute more than a hundred books to Ibn Sina, while others attribute more than two hundred. Nevertheless, Ibn Sina provided the world with knowledge that served many generations, and which is appreciated even today.

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 4     Beautiful names“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them…” (Surah Al-Araaf 7:180)  Dr.Sadaf Shiekh and Umm Saad re-discover the Majesty of the Creator’s names.

1. Ar-Rahmaan: The Compassionate

The term Rahmaan comes from the Arabic word Rahmah. This name is exclusively for Allah, which encompasses every type of mercy that Allah has. Rahmah means tenderness, which makes one show kindness to others. Thus, Ar-Rahmaan means that Allah has much mercy and love for His creation.

“And He gave you of all that you asked for and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them…” (Ibrahim 14:34)

“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah…” (Al-Nahl 16:53)

Since Allah has bestowed so much from the time when man was a drop of fluid in his mother’s womb till the time he dies, he should feel embarrassed to disobey Him. Another aspect of this name can be understood by the following Hadeeth, “Allah the Exhalted said, I am Ar-Rahman. I created the Rahm (womb, family relations) and derived a name for it from my name. Hence whoever keeps it, I will keep ties with him. And who ever severs it I will severe ties with him.” (Tuhfat Al – Ahwadhi 6:33)

2. Ar-Raheem: The Merciful

This is also derived from the word Rahma. But the difference is that Allah is Ar-Rahman to His creations but Ar-Raheem to the believers only. “And He is ever Raheem (merciful) to the believers.” (No reference of ayah)

Ar-Raheem is less general and softer than Ar-Rahman. Mercy is the patience and forgiveness that Allah holds for us and which flows from Him to all His creation, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to goodness. The Mercy of Allah is for everyone, while His justice and punishment are kept for those who turn away from the goodness. The benefits that we receive from others are because of Allah’s mercy to them and us. Allah says, “…My mercy embraces all things…” (Al-A’raf 7:156)

Allah has also described others by this name, “Verily there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourself. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad sa) is anxious over you, for the believers he (sa) is kind and Raheem.” (At-Taubah 9:128)

A true Momin considers how generous and compassionate Allah has been to him in all of his affairs. To achieve more of that mercy, he humbles himself to Allah with sincere humility, supplications, best of speech and good deeds.

3. As-Samad: The Independent

This is one of the greatest names of Allah. Allah mentions this name in Surah Al-Ikhlas, which is equivalent to a third of the Quran. Al A’mash reported from Shaqiq who said that Abu Wail said, “As Samad is the master whose control is complete.” (Al Tabari 24:692)

Ikrimah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “That Allah As-Samad means the one Who all of the creation depends upon for their needs and their requests.” Ali bin Talhah (rta) reported from Ibn Abbas (rta),  “He is the Master Who is perfect in His sovereignty, the Most Noble Who is perfect in His nobility, the Most Magnificent Who is perfect in His magnificence, the Most Forbearing Who is perfect in his knowledge, and the Most Wise Who is perfect in his wisdom. He is the One who is perfect in all aspects of nobility and authority. He is Allah, glory be unto Him. These attributes are not befitting anyone other than Him. He has no co-equal and nothing is like Him. Glory be to Allah, the One Irresistible.” (Al Tabari 24:692)

Upbringing Children the Prophet’s (sa) Way!

Vol 1-Issue 2 Upbringing Children

When Allah grants us parenthood, He also gives us an enormous responsibility.

Loads of books are being written about the up bringing of children. Various theories are put up from time to time, but for a Muslim the best example is in the life of the Prophet (sa). Now let us understand some basic responsibilities as a parent.

To choose a good life partner

Only a good Muslim woman who knows her responsibilities as a believer can bring up children as good Muslims. So when a Muslim man marries he must first consider this quality. The Prophet (sa) said,” A woman may be married for four reasons: Beauty, wealth, family lineage and faith. So marry a woman of faith.” (Abu Dawood)

Similarly, children need a good Muslim father to have a correct upbringing, so this aspect should be thought of too, and just materialistic concerns are not enough. Think about it, do we not first check the soil in which we plant a seed?

To give our children a good name:

Since a person’s name is a pivotal part of his identity, much emphasis has been placed on selection of the best suitable name for a newborn child. The Prophet (sa) said, “On the day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your father’s name. So give yourselves a good name.” (Abu Dawood)

Today we are prone to selecting names that are unique or sweet sounding. It is astounding to know that even parents sometimes have no clue to the meaning of their child’s name. It is a child’s right to be given a name that personifies the character of a strong believer.

To follow Sunnahs of the Prophet (sa) when a child is born:

These Sunnahs are not obligatory but are highly recommended:

A) Reciting the Adhan in the baby’s ear

B) Tahneek (initial feeding of the child at the hands of someone pious)

C) Tasmiya (naming)

D) Aqiqah (sacrifice for the new born / shaving the hair)

E) Khitan (circumcision of the male child)

To provide sustenance to the infant:

The mother of the child has to breastfeed for two years as is clear from this ayah of the Quran: “And the mother shall breast feed their children for two full years for those desiring to complete the (limit of the term of) breast feeding, and the feeding and clothing of them rests upon the father in a suitable manner…” (Al-Baqarah 2-33)

Medicine today proves that children who are breastfed are not only likely to be physically stronger and mentally more intelligent but emotionally also their bonding with their mothers is far better due to the closeness and security they experience in their formative years. Similarly the father is responsible for providing the child’s needs.

To show kindness towards children:

Children should be treated with love. Kindness should be the basic method of teaching. Anas (rta) who served the Prophet (sa) as a child said “I served him for nine years, but I do not know that he ever said to me about anything I did, why I did that, or about anything I had neglected, why I had not done that.” (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet’s (sa) wife Aisha (rta) said that a poor woman came to her together with her two daughters. Aisha (rta) gave her three dates. The woman gave a date to each of them, and then she picked up the remaining date and brought it to her mouth to eat it but her daughters wanted it. She then divided the date that she had intended to eat between them. This kind treatment of hers impressed Aisha (rta) and she mentioned it to the Prophet (sa). At that, he said, “Truly, Allah has assured Paradise for her because of this (action) of hers, or He has rescued her from Hellfire.” (Sahih Muslim)

To teach them good morals and manners:

To give children religious knowledge is Fard  (obligatory) on a parent. The Prophet (sa) said, “Instruct your children to pray when they are seven years of age, and spank them if they do not pray when they are ten.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Prophet (sa) also said, “Allah will give shade to seven (kinds of people) on the day when there will be no shade but His.” The second of those whom he mentioned is ‘a youth’ who has been brought up in the worship of his Lord.” (Sahih Bukhari)

To treat our chidren equally:

One of the methods of wise upbringing is for the parents to treat all their children equally.

The father of a companion of the Prophet (sa), Numan ibn Bashir (rta) went to the Messenger of Allah (sa) and said, “I have given a gift to my son from Amrah bint Rawahah but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (sa) asked, “Have you given (an equivalent gift) to each one of your sons?” The father replied in the negative. The Messenger of Allah (sa) then said, “Fear Allah and be just to your children.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

Unfortunately many Muslim societies are influenced by non-Muslim cultures. In these societies daughters are considered inferior to the sons. Although the Prophet (sa) said

“Whoever has three daughters, and is patient, then gives them food and drink and clothes them from his earnings, they will be for him a shield against the fire of the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad)

To show patience towards children:

Shaddad (rta) narrated, the Prophet (sa) went out carrying Hasan or Hussain (rta) and when he came forward to lead the prayer, he put the child down and commenced the prayer. He prostrated himself and stayed in this position for such a long time. I raised my head and saw the child on his back, the people said, “O Messenger of Allah, you prostrated for such a long time.” He said, ” My child was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had had enough.” (Ahmad and An Nisai)

To make friends with our children:

Adolescent children are learning many new things from the outside world. This is the time when they need to be made friends with. The parents’ relationship with them should be such that they can confide in them. The peer pressure at this age can compel a child to choose wrong ways. Parents should act as anchors to children throughout their lives so that by the will of Allah they can be guided to the straight path.

To pray sincerely for our children’s guidance:

Last but not the least, it is important to pray for our children. Quran says: “…Our Lord, bless us with right guidance in all our matters.” (Al-Kahf 18:10)

We may pray: “My Lord, make me steadfast in Salah, and from among my children as well. And, our Lord, grant my prayer.” (Ibrahim 14:40)

It also teaches us to pray, “And seek help in patience and As-Salaat (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for al Khashi’un…” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Months and More

Sabahat Anwar explores the meanings, significance and historical background of Islamic months

Jumâda-ul-Awwal- 5th month of the Islamic calendar


Jumad means ‘freezing’. When the months were being named, this month fell during winter – when water freezes; hence it was named Jumadal Ula.

Jumâda-ath-Thani- 6th month of the Islamic calendar


This month occurred towards the end of winter – when water freezes, hence it was named Jumadal Akhir.


No ibadat has been specified for the above two months, but as mentioned before, fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, when gates of Paradise are opened and on Ayaam-e-Bidh (13th, 14th and 15th of each month) should be observed as per Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) practice.

Rajab – 7th month of the Islamic calendar

Allah with His perfect wisdom and knowledge has chosen and preferred some days and months to others. He states in Quran: “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Taubah 9:36)

The names of these four months, of which Rajab is one, are mentioned in the following Hadeeth:

Abu Bakrah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) gave his Farewell Sermon and said: “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’ban.” (Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari)


Rajab has the following meanings:

  1. To ‘respect’: Since the Arab tribe of Mudar respected and venerated this month a lot, they named it ‘Rajab’ (of Mudar).
  2. It is the name of a river in Jannah in which exceptionally sweet water, whiter than milk, flows. Fasting in this month will, Insha’Allah, enable us to have the honour of drinking from this river.

A year before migration, in the month of Rajab, the Prophet (sa) made a miraculous journey on a white winged animal, ‘Al-Buraq’, up through the seven heavens and into the presence of Allah – all in one night. This journey is known as ‘Mairaj’. Allah gave the Prophet (sa) three gifts on this occasion:

  1. The ending Ayats (last Ruku) of Surah Baqarah.
  2. The good news of salvation to those of his Ummah who do not commit Shirk.
  3. The compulsory five times Salâh. This is the only act of worship, from among the pillars of Islam, which was made obligatory before the Hijrah. It’s a miraculous gift for Muslims – a chance to be near Allah as the Prophet (sa) was on that miraculous night.


Despite beliefs to the contrary, learned scholars say that nowhere in the Sunnah do we find that the Prophet (sa) fasted on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. No Ibadah has been specified for this month.

The Prophet (sa) also did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month. (related by Imam ibn al Qayyim)

Sacrifices should not be made because of the month of Rajab either. The Prophet (sa) said, “Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…” (Abu Dawood, Al-Nasai and Ibn- Majah)

Shaping Eternity

Nayyara Rahman writes, a teacher affects eternity and there is no telling when his or her influence stops

Our ninth grade teacher once told us during a lesson that, “A teacher is the one whose wisdom and guidance fills your time on this Earth with inspiration and contentment and makes the afterlife a place of eternal rest.”

At that time, there was a unanimous “hmmm” and we went back to our class work, but her words had sowed the seed. We often talked about the teacher-student relationship long after we passed out of school. And, although our opinions often change, there are a few things most of us agree upon.

For most of us, teachers have been role models and a source of inspiration. Textbook material is just a sliver of all that they teach us. Where would we be if our teachers had not spent precious classroom time telling us the importance of honesty, integrity, and dignity?

Because one’s relationship with a teacher happens to be an intellectual one, there is a great deal of mental intimacy involved too. We trust our teachers with ideas we would be embarrassed to express in public. There is an unspoken understanding of confidence and appreciation.

Many of us believe that we are the only ones sweating it out in schoolrooms. Conversely, most teachers I have had, had a policy of solving timed papers themselves before testing their students with it. Very often, they have gone to great pains to supply us with the latest developments in their subjects.

However, the real trouble begins when a teacher’s teaching style is not compatible to the student’s learning style. As they say, “In teaching it is the method and not the content that is the message… the drawing out, not the pumping in.”

With a bizarre concept of freedom of choice, students today also assess their teachers quite critically. They paint a specific picture of their mentor in their minds. It works like a computer identification seeking the right password. The minutest mismatch can deny the teachers, access to a student’s attention, respect and loyalty.

Sellar and Yeatman once quoted, “For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught.” Very often, I wonder how teachers bear us. (No offence to particularly sprightly occupants of the classroom). Only Herculean efforts let them tolerate us when we ardently display our limited collection of some very distorted facts.

The bond between a student and education in earlier times was unique. Imam Su’bah said, “If I ever saw someone running in the streets of the village I would only think one of two things: He was either crazy or a student of Hadeeth!” Today we might do that for the premier of a movie of course.

Times have changed drastically. Students today treat their teachers as if they are going 10-pin bowling with them and they were not sure they want their teacher’s company. Whatever happened to deference? A thing of the past, I guess.

John Sutherland, a professor of English literature observes, “Now teaching is ‘sold’. Students ‘buy’ it. They are, in short, customers in a marketplace. Higher education, thanks to fees is ‘customerized’. This means the traditional relationship between lecturer and student has been irrevocably eroded.”

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition. No matter how smart we may be, we cannot treat our teachers disdainfully. It is poor in taste, and reflective of a loser. It would be nice of us if we at least valued and respected them for who they are. Time only tells how teachers influence eternity.