February 19, 2012

The Prophet's Methods of Teaching

How will I teach my child?

It’s one of the most often asked questions a parent reflects over. Alhamdulilah, in the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, we have the best of example of a teacher.

The Prophet didn’t just teach his children; he also taught his wives, his companions, community leaders, and many others. When the Prophet taught, he was careful to build relationships with his students, emphasize important points, and tailor his lessons in a way so the person listening would understand his message. 

InshaAllah by reflecting on his methods, we can find the keys to unlock our own teaching potential with our children.

Teaching by Parables and Narratives
Parables and narratives are illustrative tales used to teach moral concepts and they were a common method used by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

An example of a parable used by the Prophet with regards to prayer is narrated by Abu Bakr, radiAllahu anhu, in Sahih Muslim.

Abu Bakr, said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Behold! Can any dirt remain on the body of any one of you if there were a river at his door in which he washed himself five times daily? They said: No dirt would remain. He, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: That is like the five daily prayers by which Allah obliterates sins.”

Teaching by Oaths
At times, the Prophet would get his students’ attention and emphasize important lessons by beginning with an oath.

In Sahih Bukhari it’s reported that the Prophet said, “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! It was said: ‘Who is that person, O Allah’s Messenger?’ He answered: That person is he whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.”

Teaching Gradually
Rather than immediately impose rules and laws on the people who accepted Islam, the Prophet Muhammad taught the religion gradually focusing on building a person’s belief before anything else.

An excellent example of this was when the prohibition for alcohol was announced, the companions (due to the strength of their faith) immediately disposed of all the alcoholic drinks they owned to the point that the alcohol was seen “flowing through the streets of Medina (Sahih Bukhari).”

Teaching by Offering Alternatives
When correcting people’s mistakes, the Prophet would offer positive alternatives to help improve behavior and practice, as opposed to just criticizing for the wrong that was done.

Once the Prophet saw some sputum in the direction of the qibla (direction of the Kabbah) and it upset him so much that his anger could be seen on his face. After removing the spit with his own hand, he told the people: “When any one of you stands up to pray, he is talking to his Lord. His Lord is between him and the qibla, so no one should spit in the direction of the qibla; he should spit to his left or under his feet (Sahih Bukhari).” 


  1. We want our children to grow in the best way. And doing it the best way is sometimes the hardest. A nice article.

  2. Great read, barak Allahu fiku Um Layth! :)