We should not forget that our Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) was the best teacher, and we can learn the techniques or tips from the methods he adopted to teach mankind. Islam itself is a school and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the best teacher and tutor whose teachings and sayings still guide, inspire and instruct the whole humanity. Prophet (PBUH) explains the nature of his duty as follows in a hadith: "Allah sent me as a teacher."
We can see the education principles and methods put forward by modern education scholars in the practices of the Prophet.
Model principles and methods used by the Prophet:
- To identify the learners and organize the content appropriate to their level
- To be tolerant to learners
- To make them like what was being taught and to avoid their hating it or getting bored
- To arouse learners' interest and to show that they need to learn the material
- To take the intelligence, spirit, emotions and physical state of learners into consideration and to design the teaching considering their needs
- To make learners participate actively by thinking, searching, and asking questions
- To make abstract concepts concrete by giving examples
- To have the most appropriate attitude, behavior, and talking style before learners
- To create activities to reinforce what is learnt
- The Prophet was very sincere in what he was teaching and he applied what he taught in his daily life. So he was showing people how to apply those principles he taught.
Educational methods derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah:
Muslims, regretfully, follow western and eastern theories of education and upbringing that are man made and are the product of their own experiences. Educational theories that can, most likely, be used by non-Muslims as well. However, theories that result from human experiments can be of common benefit to humankind [including Muslims] as long as they do not contradict the Shari`ah (Islamic law).
These methods are useful for education and stimulating thinking skills are derived from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah:
1- Giving examples: And Allâh puts forward (another) example of two men
2- Relating stories: We relate unto you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) the best of stories An example of this is the similitude the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a about the good and bad company (in the form of a story).
3- Questioning students to attract their attention. An example of this is the Statement of Allah (Exalted be He): Shall I inform you (O people!) upon whom the Shayâtîn (devils) descend? They descend on every lying, sinful person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: O Mu`adh, do you know what is the right due to Allah from His servants and the right due to the servant from Allah? The Qur'an and Sunnah are replete with similar examples.
4- Propounding ideas that spark the students' inquisitiveness and interest. An example: The Prophet (peace be upon him) ascended the Minbar (pulpit) and said, 'Amen, amen, amen.' It was said, 'O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the Minbar and said, 'Amen, amen, amen.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him) came to me and said, 'If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Amen.' So I said Amen. He said, 'If both or one of a person's parents are alive and he does not honor them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Amen.' So I said Amen...
5- Giving the students a topic to guess about. This was done by the Prophet (peace be upon him), as it was related on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: I was shown the past nations. I saw a prophet who had a very small group (less than ten in total) with him, another prophet who was accompanied by only one or two men and some did not have even one. Suddenly I was shown a huge crowd and I thought that they were my Ummah (nation), but I was told, 'This is Musa (Moses) and his people, but look toward the other side.' I looked and beheld a great assemblage. I was told, 'These are your people and among them there are seventy thousand who shall enter Paradise without being called to account or tormented.' Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) stood up and went into his dwelling place, and the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) began to guess who may be those people who would enter Paradise without any accounting or torment. Some said, 'Probably, they are those who kept company with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).' Others said, 'Probably, they are those who have been born as Muslims and have never associated anything with Allah in worship.' Then Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came out and asked, 'What are you discussing?' So they told him. He (peace be upon him) then said, 'They are those who do not ask for Ruqyah (recitation for healing or protection), or see an evil omen in things (i.e., they are not pessimistic), or cauterize themselves, but put their trust in their Lord (Allah).'
6- The teacher seeking assistance from his or her fellow teacher who is more knowledgeable of the subject to be taught. The assistant teacher sits like a student and then enters into a dialogue with the teacher about the details of the subject until they cover all points required to be understood in a calm, gradual manner that attracts the pupils' attentions and makes it easy for them to understand. An example of this was when Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him) sat with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and took the role of a student. The Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) observed Jibril posing questions to the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the tenets of Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) answering him in order to teach the Sahabah about their faith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: 'O `Umar, do you know who the questioner was?' `Umar said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'This was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.' (Related by Muslim)
By pondering over the Book of Allah and the Sunnah, we will find many other similar, useful examples. It should also be noted that diversity in teaching methods is more effective. This was the methodology that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to follow.
Research done by: Grand Mufty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia General Chairman of the Council of Senior Scholars and the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Da`wah, and Guidance `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al Al-Shaykh
* Educational methods derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah
* The Prophet as a Teacher
* What is the importance that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) gave to education?