The call towards learning and teaching:

Islam encourages everyone to acquire knowledge. It is the best act of worship with which one can seek nearness to his Lord, the All-Mighty. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “He who calls (people) to righteousness will have a reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhere to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who calls (people) to error shall have to carry (the burden) of its sin, like those who commit it, without their sins being diminished in any respect.” [Muslim]

The reward for knowledge will reach people even after they die as long as it is beneficial. Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: a continuous charity (Jaariyah), knowledge through which people derive benefit, and a righteous son who prays for him.” [Muslim]

Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said: “This is one of the greatest proofs for the eminence (importance) of knowledge and its virtues and great fruits. Its rewards continue to reach man after his death, as long as it is benefitted from, just as it would be if he were alive and his deeds were continuous. His deeds will not cease and he will have a revived remembrance and praise. The continuity of the reward when the rewards of a person’s deeds are cut off (i.e. he dies) is considered a second life.” [Miftah Dar as-Sa’adah 1/175]

The levels of knowledge and its status vary depending on the topic that it is discussing. There is no doubt that the most magnificent and honorable (noble) knowledge that one can have is the Book of Allaah (Azza wa Jall). The one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it to others is more honorable (and dignified) than the one who learns any other knowledge and teaches it.

The pious predecessors of the Muslim nation (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) took care of learning and teaching the Qur’an. This care was recognized more in the good character of the best and chosen among them. Their example for teaching and guiding humanity was the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), upon whom the Qur’an was sent down. He was the most knowledgeable of its (the Qur’an) status among people.

It was confirmed that he, himself (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took heed to teach his Companions the Qur’an or he would entrust others of his Companions to perform this great duty (mission).

The following Ahadeeth are evidences that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) used to educate others regarding the Qur’an:

  • Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated: “The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to teach us the Qur’an and if he came to a Surah containing Sajdah while reciting the Qur’an, he performed prostration, and we prostrated along with him.” [Musnad Ahmad 2/157, no. 6461 and Muslim, no. 575]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) became known by this issue; therefore, it became a foundation for measuring others.

  • Jabir ibn ‘Abdullaah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhaarah (prayer asking for Allaah’s guidance) in all matters, just as he would teach us a Surah of the Qur’an.” [Al-Bukhaari]
  • ‘Ubadah ibn as-Samit (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was becoming busy, so when an emigrant man came to him, he would direct him towards one of us to teach him the Qur’an.” [Musnad Ahmad 5/324, no. 22818, al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 3/401, no. 5527, at-Tabarani in Musnad al-Shamieen, no. 2237 and al-Bukhaari in Tareekh al-Kabeer 1/444]
  • Abu Musa (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent Mu’adh and Abu Musa to Yemen and commanded them to teach the Qur’an to the people.” [Musnad Ahmad 4/397, no. 19562]

If there was anything that prevented the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from doing that himself, he entrusted some of his Companions to take charge of teaching the Qur’an.

The pious predecessors followed this path after the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), to the extent that there was no era without keen teachers of the Qur’an for the people. The fruits of the efforts of those righteous people led to the teaching of the Qur’an one generation after another, until it reached us by the grace of Allaah.

The discussion about the virtues of learning the Noble Qur’an and teaching it is presented in the following points:

First: The student and teacher of the Qur’an resemble the angels and Messengers

The students and teachers of the Qur’an have been granted an honor and dignity (that they are) similar to the angels and noble prophets. Allaah (Ta’ala) sent Jibreel [Gabriel (‘Alayhis-salaam)] to teach the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat an-Najm (53:5):

عَلَّمَهُ ۥ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡقُوَىٰ

“He has been taught (this Qur’an) by one mighty in power [Jibreel (‘Alayhis-salaam)].”

Jibreel (‘Alayhis-salaam), the best and most powerful and perfect of the angels, was the first teacher of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He came with the Revelation to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Jibreel (‘Alayhis-salaam), mighty in both apparent and hidden strength, came to execute what Allaah (Ta’ala) commanded him with. He was strong in delivering the Revelation to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And during the time he was teaching it to him, he was also preventing the Shayateen (devils) from snatching anything of it, or adding to it what is not of it. This is belonging to Allaah’s (Ta’ala) protection of His Revelation in one way and the care of Allaah (Ta’ala) for His Messenger, Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in another way by sending him a strong, noble, trustworthy teacher.  [Tayseer al-Kareem by Shaikh as-Sa’dee]

Praise for the student is praise for the teacher. In other words, if Jibreel taught him (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and he was not attributed with these great praiseworthy characteristics, this clear honor would not have been attained by the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

This verse includes two matters:

a: The greatest Revelation (the Noble Qur’an) was taught to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by Jibreel, by the command of Allaah.

b: Jibreel is mighty in power.

In the first matter, Jibreel came down upon Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with the Revelation and taught it to him, as stated in the Noble Qur’an in Surat al-Baqarah (2:97):

قُلۡ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّ۬ا لِّجِبۡرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ نَزَّلَهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ قَلۡبِكَ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ

“Say: ‘Whoever is an enemy to Jibreel (Gabriel), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allaah’s Permission.’”

Also, Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat ash-Shu’ara (26:192-194):

وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَتَنزِيلُ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

نَزَلَ بِهِ ٱلرُّوحُ ٱلۡأَمِينُ

“And indeed, this (the Qur’an) is a Revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Which the trustworthy Spirit (Jibreel) has brought down. Upon your heart, [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] – that you may be of the warners.”

In the second matter, Allaah mentions the extreme strength of Jibreel, who came down with the Revelation:

In Surat at-Takweer (81:19-20), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:

إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقَوۡلُ رَسُولٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬

 ذِى قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ مَكِينٍ۬

“Verily, this is the Word (this Qur’an brought by) an honorable messenger [Jibreel (Gabriel) from Allaah to Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]. Owner of power, (and high rank) with (Allaah), the Lord of the Throne.”

Second: The best and most virtuous of people are those who learn and teach the Qur’an

Learning, teaching, and explaining the Noble Qur’an, along with its meanings and rulings, is among the best and most magnificent of deeds with which to get close (to Allaah). Both the teacher and student of the Qur’an obtain goodness and bounties in this world and in the Hereafter. Many Ahadeeth encourage learning and teaching the Qur’an because it is the Word of Allaah the All-Mighty.

The best of people after the prophets are those who are occupied with it.

  • ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it (to others).” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5027]
  • ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most superior among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5028]

Ath-Thawri was asked[1] about Jihaad and teaching the Qur’an to others. He outweighed the second with this Hadeeth.[2] [Fat-h al-Baari, Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 9/97]

This acknowledges that the people of the Qur’an are the best and most superior of people. He did not say that the best of you are those with the most money or children, or those with the most property or other than that from the vanishing worldly pleasures.

These are the characteristics of the truthful believers, (who are) the followers of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They are keen to learn and purify themselves with the Qur’an so that they can teach others, guide them to its wisdom and call towards it; in that way it can have transitive benefits.

“There is no doubt that the one who joins learning the Qur’an with teaching it is perfecting oneself and others by gaining restricted benefits (to oneself) and transitive benefits (to others). Therefore, he is the best of people. He is one of those who are meant by Allaah’s Statement in Surat Fussilat (41:33):

وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ قَوۡلاً۬ مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِى مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ

“And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allaah and does righteous deeds and says: ‘Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.’”

Inviting (or calling) to Allaah is accomplished by various matters such as teaching the Qur’an, which is the most noble (deed) of all. The opposite of him is the disbeliever who prevents others from Islam, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-An’aam (6:157):

                                                                                 فَمَنۡ أَظۡلَمُ مِمَّن كَذَّبَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَصَدَفَ عَنۡہَا‌ۗ

“Then who is more unjust (does more wrong) than one who denies (rejects) the verses of Allaah and turns away from them?”

The best and most superior of people are those who rightly learn and teach the Qur’an as it should be. This cannot be done except by having knowledge of Shari’ah (Islamic sciences), the bases and its branches. This type of person is counted as having perfected himself and others. He is among the best of all the believers. It was reported about ‘Eesa (Jesus) (‘Alayhis-salaam), that he said: “Whoever learns and follows up by acting (upon his knowledge) and teaching (others) is known in the dominion as being a noble person.” The one who best fits this description was the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). [‘Awn al-Ma’bood Sharh Sunan Abu Dawoud 4/229]

Al-Qurtubi (Rahimahullaah) said that the scholars said: “Teaching the Qur’an is the best deed because in it there is help (makes clear) for one to (understand and act upon) the religion. It is like teaching the Shahaadah (testifying to the Oneness of Allaah and believing in His Messenger) to the disbeliever so that he may submit (to Allaah) and become Muslim.” [At-Tithkar fi Afdal al-Athkar, page 144]

Meaning of learning and teaching:

“Learning the Qur’an and teaching it includes learning its letters and teaching them and learning its meanings and teaching them; and this is the nobler of the two categories of learning and teaching it. This is because knowing the meaning is the goal to be attained and the words are a means to achieve it.” [Miftaah Daar as-Sa’adah]

The righteous predecessors knew about the goodness and virtues that the students and teachers of the Qur’an are characterized with, so they were keen to achieve it:

Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaidah said that Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sulami (Rahimahullaah) narrated on the authority of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), that he said that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best of you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan (Rahimahullaah) said: “So this is what has made me sit in this seat of mine.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5027]

Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ‘Abdullaah ibn Habeeb as-Sulami (Rahimahullaah) taught people the Qur’an in the Masjid of al-Kufa for 40 years. He taught the Qur’an during the Caliphate of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) until the days of al-Hajjaj. He is the one who reported the Hadeeth of ‘Uthmaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.”

The meaning of the saying of Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sulami (Rahimahullaah): “That is what has made me sit in this seat of mine” is that the Hadeeth that ‘Uthmaan spoke of regarding the honor of learning and teaching the Qur’an had influence on Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan such that it made him sit teaching the Qur’an to the people in order to achieve that honor. [Fat-h al-Baari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari 9/97]

Because of that, Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) praised him and supplicated for his goodness as he said: “May Allaah have mercy on him, reward him and give him what he wished and desired. Ameen.” [Fada’il al-Qur’an, page 207]

Similar was the reciter Imaam Nafi’ ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abu Nu’aim al-Madani”[3], (who was) one of the 7 memorizers of the Qur’an. He taught people over a period of time that spanned more than 70 years, because he was among those who was granted a long life. [Ma’rifat al-Qur’an al-Kibar by ath-Thahabi, pg. 64]

Likewise, many reciters of the Qur’an learnt and memorized from Imaam Abu Mansoor al-Khayyat al-Baghdadi. Imaam Ath-Thahabi (Rahimahullaah) said about his character: “He remained devoted to teaching the Book of Allaah for a long period, and nations recited and memorized from him.” [Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’, 19/222]

He taught blind people his whole life for Allaah’s sake, and spent on them, until the number of blind reciters reached 70 individuals. Imaam Ath-Thahabi said: “He taught the Qur’an to 70 blind individuals and did abundant good.” [Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’ 19/223]

“As-Sama’ani said: (After his death he was seen in a dream in which he said: “Allaah has forgiven me by my teaching children (Surah) al-Fatihah.” [Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’ 19/224]

Third: Learning and teaching the Qur’an is better than the treasures of the world

  1. ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went out while we were in the Suffah.[4] He said: “Which of you would like to go out every morning to Buthan[5] or al-‘Aqiq[6] and return with two big-humped she-camels, without being guilty of sin or without severing the ties of kinship?” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, we would all like that.” Upon this he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If any of you goes to the mosque to learn (or read) two verses of the Qur’an, then that is better than two big-humped she-camels, and three verses are better than three (she-camels), and four verses are better for him than four (she-camels) and any number of she-camels.” [Muslim, no. 803]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) set forth this example in an amazing way to encourage learning the Noble Qur’an and to seek the Houses of Allaah (Masaajid) for that purpose. This is because cutting off the attachment of the heart to worldly occupations brings one peace and tranquility. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) emphasized how one verse that a Muslim learns is better than the world and what it comprises. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wanted to encourage them towards things that are everlasting and to make them turn away and refrain from perishable things. He mentioned this as an example and to bring the meaning close to understanding. The whole world is more despised and less in value than knowing the meaning of one verse from the Book of Allaah (Azza wa Jall) or its reward of high ranks. [Awn al-Ma’bood Sharh Sunan Abu Dawoud, 4/231]

The reason for setting forth the example of the camel is because it was the dearest and most valuable possession of the Arabs at the beginning of Islam; only rich people had them. So the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enticed his Companions with what is better than that so that they might gain virtues and good deeds with Allaah (Azza wa Jall) greater than the (value of) camels to their owners in the world. That is by learning the Speech of Allaah (Ta’ala).  Every verse that a Muslim learns will be on his scale of virtues (weighing) better and more virtuous than a big-humped she-camel, free from defects, if he were to give it away in charity. [Al-Ahadeeth wal-Athar al-Waridah fi Fada’il Suwar al-Qur’an, pp 31-32]

Ibn Hibban (Rahimahullaah) said after narrating this Hadeeth in his Saheeh: “In this Hadeeth (is) a phrase ‘If he gives it in charity,’ which has been concealed. What he [the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] means by it is: Learning two verses from the Book of Allaah is greater than two camels and 3 (verses) is better than 3 (camels) if he was to give them away in charity. (That is) because the virtue of learning two verses from the Book of Allaah is greater than the virtue of two, three or more camels given in charity. This is because it is impossible to compare the reward of the one who learns two verses from the Book of Allaah to the one who attains some worldly perishable matter (such as camels).” [Al-Ihsaan fi Taqreeb Saheeh Ibn Hibban]

2.The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) encouraged learning the good and teaching it to the people. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) counted it as the reward of the pilgrim (of Hajj) who perfected his Hajj, as he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever goes to the mosque in the morning, desiring nothing except to learn what is good or teach it (to others) will have the reward of a pilgrim who completed his Hajj.” [At-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 8/94, no. 7473 and authenticated by al-Albaani who graded it Hasan Saheeh in Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, no. 86]

There is no doubt that learning the Qur’an and teaching it are the foremost in good deeds that one can do. That is (because) it (the Qur’an) is the Speech of Allaah (Ta’ala).

3- In another Hadeeth, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) reported that the student of good and his teacher have the status of a Mujaahid (one who goes out to fight) in the Cause of Allaah (Ta’ala) as he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever comes to this mosque of mine, and only comes for a good purpose, such as to learn or to teach, his status is like that of one who fights in the Cause of Allaah. Whoever comes for any other purpose, his status is that of a man who is keeping an eye on other people’s property.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, 1/44, no. 186]

The teacher of the Qur’an and its students are worthy of the status of the Mujaahid in the path of Allaah (Ta’ala) because they overcome their own selves and their evil desires. They struggle hard against the Shaytaan, patiently persevering so that they may sit and be attached to these blessed assemblies. They have left the world and its adornments; therefore, they deserve this great honor as an exact recompense (according to their good deeds).

The Companions and their followers were the people who did their utmost to learn and teach the Book of Allaah (Ta’ala) and encouraged people to hope for the reward for that. What will follow are some of their blessed news and narrations:

a- ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “If (only there was) 5 Qala’is (plural of Qaloos, i.e. a young she camel) for someone. If he prays in the morning and says to his family in the evening: ‘The time has come for me to go.’ By Allaah, none of you sits and learns 5 verses from the Book of Allaah except that it is better for him than 5 Qala’is and (another) 5 Qala’is.” [Ibn Abu Shaibah in his Musannaf, 6/133, no. 30075]

b- Abu ‘Ubaidah narrated on the authority of his father that ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) used to teach the Qur’an, and when he passed by a verse, he would say to the man: “Take it, by Allaah! For it is better than whatever is on the earth.” [Fada’il al-Qur’an, pg. 52]

c- Al-A’mash said: “A bedouin passed by ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood while he was teaching the Qur’an to some people,” or he said: “And with him were some people learning the Qur’an.” He (the bedouin) said: “What are they doing?” Ibn Mas’ood said: “They are taking their share from the inheritance of Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” [Reported by Abu ‘Ubaidah al-Qaasim in Fada’il al-Qur’an, pg 51, and narrated by al-Haithami in Majma al-Zawa’id, 1/123-124, chapter on the virtues of the student and teacher, in the narration by at-Tabaraani in al-Awsat]

Learning and teaching the Noble Qur’an is not restricted to the Companions and their followers, but it is for everyone who follows them, their followers and whoever follows them in their blessed footsteps until the Day of Resurrection. It is by the Grace of Allaah that He gives to whoever He wills. Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty. We ask Allaah for His Generosity and Kindness, He is the Most Generous, Most Kind.

Fourth: Whoever teaches a verse will have its reward whenever it is recited

There is no doubt that teaching people the Noble Qur’an is among the deeds that have transitive benefits, and they are of the teacher’s good and righteous deeds that will benefit him after his death.

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The good deeds that will continue to reach a believer after his death are: knowledge which he taught and spread, a righteous son whom he leaves behind, a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy, a mosque that he built, a house that he built for the wayfarer, a canal that he dug, or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will continue to reach him after his death.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 1/46, no. 198]

Teaching people the Noble Qur’an is among the general guidance towards good because of his (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) words: “He who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer.” [Muslim, no. 1893]

An-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said: “This Hadeeth emphasizes the benefit of guiding others to good, paying attention to them and helping them. It also indicates the virtue of teaching knowledge and acts of worship, especially to those who act upon it from among the worshippers. What is meant by “a reward similar to that of its doer” is that he (the one who guided others) will be rewarded for (doing) that good action just like the one who performs it. It is not essential that the amount of their rewards are equal.” [The explanation of an-Nawawi for Saheeh Muslim, 13/41-42]

Some of the Imaams went on to say that the similarity (in reward) mentioned in this Hadeeth and others are without multiplication (of virtues).

Al-Qurtubi said: “They are similar in reward (the one who performs the deeds and the one who teaches) in amount and multiplication of deeds because the reward for the deeds is by the grace of Allaah. He (Ta’ala) grants to whomever He wills for anything one does, especially if his intention is correct. The correct intention is the reason behind making no difference in the reward for the acts of obedience that one is unable to fulfill because of something that prevents him from (fulfilling) it and the reward of the person who is able to perform (the good deeds). And he (the one who is unable to fulfill an act of obedience) may excel him (the one who is able), because of his good deed intention.” [Awn al-Ma’bood Sharh Sunan Abu Dawoud]

Meaning that having the correct intention is the basis of the deeds. If one whose intention is correct is unable to perform any act of obedience due to an obstacle, he will get a similar reward to that person who is able to perform it or even excels him in it.

Then how great would the reward of teaching the Qur’an be, even if it’s one verse, as stated in his (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) words: “Whoever teaches a verse from the Book of Allaah (Ta’ala) will have its reward whenever it is recited.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah]

This is among the good traces that are written on the scales of the teacher of the Qur’an because he was the direct means for others to learn it.

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Yaa-Seen (36:12):

وَنَڪۡتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُواْ وَءَاثَـٰرَهُمۡۚ

“And We record what they have put forth, and their traces.”

What is meant by what they have put forth is the deeds they performed before death. Their deeds in the life of the world have been made to resemble things that they will present in the Hereafter. (That is) similar to how a traveler prepares his provision and luggage (for travel).

As for their traces, those are the traces of deeds that they leave behind and not the deeds that they performed themselves. Those are (things) such as what they have left behind of good, or encouraged people (to perform) and that have an influence on the souls. [At-Tahreer wat-Tanweer, 22/204]

There are two statements of the interpreters regarding Allaah’s (Ta’ala) Words: “and their traces”:

The first statement: The good deeds that they performed themselves are written down as well as their traces (influence) on some people. If they were good, then it is good (for them) and if they were bad, then it is bad (for them).

The following words of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) testify to this: “He who sets a good Sunnah (precedent/ example) in Islam, there is a reward for him for this (act of goodness) and a reward for those who act according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards; and he who sets an evil Sunnah (precedent/ example) in Islam, there a burden upon him for that, and a burden of those who act upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Muslim, Hadeeth 1017]

 “Every good deed that someone performs because of the knowledge and teaching of a servant of Allaah, or his advice, or his ordaining good and forbidding evil, or a knowledge that he imparts from the learned ones, or he writes in books and is benefited from in his life and after his death or he does good deeds such as prayer, Zakaat, charity, or good he does to others, and others follow him in that, or he builds a mosque or a place (structure) that people benefit from or likewise is from his traces, which will be written for him; likewise the bad deeds.” [Tafseer as-Sa’dee, 3/230]

The second statement: What is meant by the traces is the traces of their footsteps in obedience or sin

The statement of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullaah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) testifies to it. He (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “There was an empty area around the Masjid, and Banu Salamah (people of Salamah) wanted to move to be closer to the Masjid. When the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) heard about that, he said to them: ‘I have heard that you want to move closer to the Masjid.’ They said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah, that is what we want.’ Upon this he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘O Banu Salamah, stay where you are, and your footsteps will be recorded, stay where you are, and your footsteps will be recorded.’” [Muslim, no. 665]

Imam an-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said: “Their footsteps will be recorded: Meaning: Stay in your homes, because if you stay in your homes your many footsteps towards the Masjid will be counted.” [Explanation of an-Nawawi for Saheeh Muslim, 5/169]

Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “There is no contradiction between this and the first report; on the contrary, this indicates the same thing somewhat more forcefully. Because these footsteps are being recorded, then those which are setting an example, whether good or bad, are more likely to be recorded.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Fifth: The reward of the one who teaches Qur’an to his children

Teaching the Noble Qur’an to young children is a Sunnah (way) followed by our righteous predecessors (Rahimahumullaah):

  1. Sa’eed ibn Jubair said that those Surahs which you people call the Mufassal*, are the Muhkam**. And Ibn `Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) said: “Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) died when I was ten years old, and I had learnt the Muhkam (of the Qur’an).” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5035]

* Al-Mufassal are the Surahs which start from Surat al-Hujuraat (chapter 49) to the end of the Qur’an.

** Al-Muhkam are those Surahs which contain no abrogated decrees or orders.

2. Sa’eed ibn Jubair narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) said: “I learnt all the Muhkam Surahs during the lifetime of Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” I said to him: “What is meant by the Muhkam?” He replied: “The Mufassal.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5036]

Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “This indicates the permissibility of teaching the Qur’an from childhood. That is clear, rather it could be recommended or obligatory; because if a child who learns the Qur’an reaches puberty, he will understand what he says in his prayer. Memorizing the Qur’an from early childhood is better and will be more attached (deep rooted) to his mind than his memorization when he is an adult; it will be more steadfast and well-founded, as is common with people.” [Fada’il al-Qur’an, pg 226]

As for the reward of the parents who teach the Book of Allaah to their children and are patient with that, they will have a great reward that is in proportion to, and suits their tiredness and patience, as well as their endurance of the hardship for that (responsibility). They will be clothed with two garments which far surpass everything to be found in this world.

Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The Qur’an will come on the Day of Resurrection like a pale man saying to its companion (i.e. the one who memorized and studied it): “Do you recognize me?” He (the companion of the Qur’an) will say: “No.” The pale man will say: “I am the one who made you stay awake during the nights and made you thirsty during the hot days. Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds.” Then he will be given the dominion in his right hand and eternity will be placed in his left, and a crown of dignity will be placed upon his head, and his parents will be clothed with garments which far surpass everything to be found in this world. They (the parents) will say: “O Lord, how did we earn this?” It will be said to them: “Because you taught your child the Qur’an.” [As-Silsilah as-Saheeha, no. 2829]

The parents have the right to wonder and be surprised by this great blessing that they attained without them perceiving or imagining it. When these two parents are clothed with great garments of Paradise that are more precious and valuable than the world and what it comprises, they will ask in surprise: “From where do we have these two garments when we do not have, to the best of our knowledge, deeds and acts of obedience that entitle us to this great honor?”

They will (receive the) answer: “By teaching your child the Qur’an, being patient with him and being sincere when doing that.

Like this, the companion of the Qur’an is among the most dutiful of people towards his parents. If every parent knew what they would attain of honor and exaltedness (of status) with Allaah Almighty because of their children studying the Noble Qur’an, they would push their children and encourage them to learn the Noble Qur’an, recite it and ponder over it. [Anwaar al-Qur’an, pp 181-182]

This is from the good traces that will be added to the scales of the parents because they are the direct means for the learning of this child. (These are) true to Allaah’s Words:

وَنَڪۡتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُواْ وَءَاثَـٰرَهُمۡۚ

“And We record what they have put forth, and their traces.”

[Surat Yaa-Seen (36:12)]



[1] He is: Sufyaan ibn Sa’eed ibn Masrooq ath-Thawri, in reference to “Thawr”, who was one of his ancestors. He was born in 97 H. He was an Imaam from the Imaams of the Muslims in knowledge, jurisprudence and Hadeeth. (He had) confidence, reasoning and steadfastness. Even Ibn Ma’een and others said: (He was) the Ameer (Prince) of the believers in Hadeeth. He died in Basra in the year 161 H.

[2] The saying of Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawri (Rahimahullaah), relating to the non-specific Jihaad (striving to do more such as during battle). As for the sanctity of the Muslims being at stake and Jihaad is designated, it takes precedence over the teaching of the Qur’an.

[3] He prayed in the mosque of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) for 60 years. Maalik said: “Nafi’ was the Imaam of the people in recitation.” He also said: “The recitation of Nafi’ is a Sunnah.” He died in the year 169 H. Look at: Ma’rifat al-Qira a, 1/107, Tahtheeb al-Kamal 29/281

[4] Suffah: A shaded area in the Holy Prophet’s Mosque where the poor Muhajiroon (emigrants) stayed. They were known as Ashab as-Suffah (The companions of as-Suffah). They were the guests of Islam.

[5] Buthan: It is said: One of the 3 valleys in Madinah. They are: Buthan, Aqiq and Qana. 1/529. It was called Buthan because of its vastness and expansion.

[6] Aqiq: It is said that it is at 2 or 3 miles from Madinah. It is specifically mentioned because it is the nearest place to where the camel markets are setup in Madinah.

One Response to The Virtues of Learning and Teaching the Qur’an

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