By Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

Translated by Mawlana Muhammad Mohamedy

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Acquire knowledge, and acquire tranquility and dignity in order to acquire knowledge. And remain humble before whom you acquire knowledge” (al-Jami’ al-Saghir)

A student’s humility before his teacher

In explaining the words of Allah’s Messenger (upon him be peace); “And remain humble before whom you are acquiring knowledge”,

‘Allamah al-Munawi (Allah have mercy on him) writes: “Knowledge cannot be acquired accept with humility and listening attentively. A student’s humility before his teacher is a cause of his [the student’s] rise in status, his humility before him is a cause of his greatness. The great scholar and Imam – ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) – despite being a very great person and a close relative to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), took hold of the reins of Zayd ibn Thabit (Allah be pleased with him) [as a way of showing respect to him]. And he [‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him)] said to him: ‘This is how we have been ordered to treat our‘ulama.’ Zayd (Allah be pleased with him) then kissed the hand of ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) and said: ‘This is how we have been ordered to treat the family of our Prophet .'”

Imam al-Sulaymi (Allah have mercy on him) says: “No one had the audacity to ask Ibn al-Musayyib (Allah have mercy on him) a question until he asks him permission to do so first. Just as a person asks a ruler for permission first”.

Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) says: “When I used to turn the pages of a book before Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him), I used to do it very softly so that he does not hear the page turning”

Imam al-Rabi (Allah have mercy on him), a student of Imam Shafi’i, says: “I take an oath by Allah that I never had the courage to drink water while Shafi’i was looking at me.”

Imam Abu Hanifa’s respect before his Shaykh

It is narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) that he said: “I never stretched out my legs in the direction of my teacher, Shaykh Hammad’s (Allah have mercy on him) house out of respect for him. This despite the fact that there were seven side streets between my house and his house. Every salah that I offered after Shaykh Hammad passed away, I sought forgiveness for all those under whom I studied or all those who taught me something.’

Imam Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on him) the student of Imam Abu Hanifa said: ‘I certainly supplicate for Imam Abu Hanifa even before I supplicate for my parents. And I heard Imam Abu Hanifa saying: ‘I certainly supplicate for Shaykh Hammad together with my parents.”

Imam Ahmad’s respect for Imam Shafi’i

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) says: “I haven’t slept for the last 30 years without having supplicated for Shafi’i and seeking forgiveness for him.” ‘Abd Allah, the son of Ahmad ibn Hanbal says: ‘I asked my father: ‘What type of person was Shafi’i, for I hear you supplicating a lot for him?’ He replied: ‘O son! Shafi’i was like the sun to this world, and like health for the people. Now tell me, is there anything that can take the place of these two? Can they be replaced?'”

The great right that a teacher enjoys

Imam al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) says: “The right that a teacher enjoys is greater than that of the right of parents. The parent is the cause of a person’s present existence and this fleeting life. As for a teacher – by him, I mean the person who teaches you good about the akhirah (hereafter) – is the cause of eternal life. Were it not for the teacher, whatever was acquired from the father would lead one to destruction. The teacher is the one who benefits you for the eternal life of the akhirah.”

I [‘Abd al-Fattah] say: “The father who benefits you is more beneficial than the father who [merely] caused you to be born.” O Allah! forgive ourmashayikhand those who taught. Shower Your mercy on them and honor them with Your supreme pleasure at the true abode with You. Join us and them at the abode of Your mercy, O the most merciful of those who show mercy. Forgive the person who supplicates for this author who is hoping for the supplication of mercy and forgiveness.