How to Ask Questions from Teachers

Wednesday 31-Mar-2021, 4:02PM / 163

One of the bad attitudes of many learners today reflect in the way they ask questions from teachers in class.

While some students are apparently mischievous - how many are they today! - others are plainly clueless and reckless when asking questions in class.

The mischievous students are those who will ask questions about what they already know in order to test the knowledge of their teacher or to cause his downfall in the sight of other learners.

A mischievous student will also ask question to show his teacher that he/she has knowledge too, and to pride over his colleagues in class. Such learners don't usually end well. 

O student! When you want to ask a question, ask about what you don't know or what you need more enlightenment about. 

Whoever is a mischievous student in this perspective cannot be said to be sincere in his learning. So if he is not sincere in learning then he has sinned against Allaah with his foul intention and evil attitude towards his teacher.

The other type of students - the clueless ones, are just reckless in their manner of asking questions but their intention is pure. A reckless student is liable for a rebuke when he asks inappropriate questions from his teacher.

Al-Imaam Maalik - rahimahullaah - once chastised a student who asked an inappropriate question from him in class.

Al-Imaam Maalik - rahimahullaah - was asked a question in class one day and he responded by stating the opinion of the Sahabi Zayd bn Thaabit - radiyallaahu an'hu. 

Ismaeel Ibn bint Sudiyy, one of the students present in class, then asked: 'What was the view of Alee (bn Taalib) and Ibn Mas'ood?' 

At that, Imaam Maalik asked the people at the entrance to take him outside but Ismaeel could escape before they got him. The people asked what should be done to his books and pen, Imaam Maalik said they should go after him gently and bring him back.

When he was brought back, Imaam Maalik asked him: 'Where are you from?'

He replied: 'I am from Kufah.' 

Imaam Maalik asked again: 'Where did you leave your manners?' 

Ismaeel replied: 'I only asked back to be benefitted.'

Imaam Maalik said: 'The excellence of Alee and Abdullah (bn Mas'ood) cannot be undermined but the people of our city are upon the view of Zayd bn Thaabit (on this issue), whenever you are in the midst of a people (you are new with), don't mention what they don't know to them otherwise will show you what you will detest.' (Siyar: 11/177).

Someone might ask: 'Is it not proper to engage the teacher in class?' 

We (Shaykh as-Sad'haan) will say: 'Yes but with good manners. Engaging your Shaykh in class requires some befitting manners to your Shaykh.'

Imaam Adh-Dhahabee - rahimahullaah - also recorded in his Siyar (9/312) that one of the rulers wrote a note on a sheet to Imaam Shabatoon - one of the scholars of Andalusia of Maalikee Madh'hab - asking whether the two plates of Meezaan (the Scale of Deeds on the Day of Resurrection) will be made of gold or silver! 

Imaam Shabatoon turned the back of the sheet (from the ruler) and wrote there: 'It is from the good of one's Islam that he stays away from what does not concern him.'

The Salaf would reprimand whomever asked a question about what had not happened by saying: 'Save us from that, let it occur first. Ask about what has happened.'

Knowing how to ask useful and intelligent questions with good manners is from the ingredients of being a good student.