‘The Etiquette of the Student’ by Imam Al-Ghazali (رحمه الله)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The following words of advice are from the well known kitaabBidayatul Hidayahby Imam Abu Hamid ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali (رحمه الله):


If you are a student, then the manners of a student with the teacher are:

[1]  to be the first to greet and offer salutation of peace;

[2] not to speak too much in his presence;

[3] not to speak unless asked something by the teacher;

[4] not to ask questions without first seeking permission;

[5] not to say, in contradiction to what he has said, “So-and-so [e.g., another scholar] says something different from what you say”;

[6] not to point out something contrary to his opinion, thinking himself more learned than the teacher;

[7] not to whisper to another student in his gathering;

[8] not to look around, but rather to sit with good manners, eyes downcast, as though in ritual prayer;

[9] not to burden him [with questions] when he is tired or weary;

[10] to stand when he stands [out of respect];

[11] not to follow him from the gathering, talking to him and asking him questions;

[12] not to ask him questions on the way to his home until he reaches there [and grants permission];

[13] and not to form a bad opinion of him regarding actions that appear, outwardly, to be blameworthy, for he knows better about his own personal affairs.

Let [the student] recall the words of Moses to Khidr (peace be upon them both): “He said, ‘Have you made a hole [in the boat] to drown the owners of it? Indeed, you have done a peculiar thing!'” (Qur’an 18:71). Mistaken was he in his condemnation of Khidr’s actions, because he relied on their outward appearance.

[‘Bidayatul Hidayah‘ (The Beginning of Guidance), page 132]

May Allah Ta’ala enable us all to learn, understand and implement theses qualities in our lives. Allahumma Ameen.


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