Ijtima - 11 Jumada II 1434 AH / 22 April 2013 CE
Hakim al-Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyib Sahib1 says, "When we were educated, at that time, the teachers were of high standard academically as well as high standards in terms of taqwa and purity. Hadhrat [Mawlana Anwar] Shah [Kashmiri] Sahib (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) was such an adherent to the sunnah that we used to deduce the mas'ala by simply observing him. [It so happened] the mas'ala used to be according to his conduct. He was so enthralled and at all times concerned of the hereafter."
The teachers of old did not merely teach the shari'ah, rather they lived it. They not only said how a Muslim should be, they showed how a Muslim should be through their practice. They followed the law to the letter and when a mishap happened from themselves they would denounce that action and seek forgiveness. The most ardent follower of Islam was the prophet (peace be upon him), thereafter the Sahabah (may Allah almighty be pleased with them).
The teachers of old strived to emulate the prophet and hence were worthy of emulation as students strived towards the same goal. Some teachers of new may sincerely want to show the path but do not believe it necessary to tread it themselves2 hence such teachers are not worthy of emulation. The teachers of old had high morals accompanied with action and they uplifted those who had their company. The teachers of old still exist and they will remain constant for Allah almighty had guaranteed the protection of the din whilst the teachers of new will dwindle and seek to reinvent themselves with the passing of time. Note! Methods may and should be adapted as necessary but the message and goal should be of the old. Furthermore, one must never contravene the shariah3 for all will be asked about their own deed before the deeds of others.
Whilst many consider the teacher of old antiquated, in this time of ours where society changes intermittently in short periods, where culture and need is volatile and unreliable, the teacher of old is the most relevant for they provide a stable identity and consistency. Growth builds on stability whilst those who flip-flop with the turning of tides are at a loss.
Author: M. Saifur Rahman Nawhami