Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī’s (d. 1417/1996) valuable advice for teachers
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mufti Aḥmad Khānpūrī (b. 1365/1946) is one of the leading scholars and saints of the Indian sub-continent. His knowledge, intellect, piety, humility and selflessness are widely acknowledged. He has rendered his services at the seminary in Dabhel, India for over fifty years and is regarded as the Head Mufti of the state of Gujarat in India, a position previously held by Mufti ʿAbd al-Raḥim Lājpūrī (d. 1422/2001), the author of Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah. He is a student and disciple of the former Head Mufti of India, Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī (d. 1417/1996) and also had a close relationship with Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī (d. 1402/1982).
In 1388, Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī wrote to the Principal of the seminary in Dabhel – who had requested him to recommend someone – recommending the appointment of Mufti Aḥmad Khānpūrī and describing him as pious, intelligent, God-conscious, competent and a dhākir (who remembers Allah frequently). As the time came for Mufti Aḥmad Khānpūrī to depart for Dabhel, his teacher and mentor supplicated for him and gave him fourteen advice regarding teaching, which have been outlined in the introduction of Maḥmūd al-Fatāwā (1: 157). The translation of the advice are as follows:
- Do not request a position, such that: I should be granted this book to teach, or given this position.
- Do not ask for money, such that: Fix my salary as such, or increase it by this much.
- If someone suggests that you are not competent, then accept it from the heart and say that, yes, I am not competent at all, however, the management of the Madrasah have made me sit here, may Allah Almighty grant me the aptitude and enable me to fulfil the rights of the books.
- If a student asks a question, answer him with affection, even if he asks to vilify.
- If you do not understand anything from the book, perform two Rakʿah Ṣalāt al-Ḥājah and supplicate, and do Iṣāle Thawāb (send reward) to the author of the book, as long as he is a Muslim.
- Remain cautious about assisting a student in a book taught by another teacher.
- Do not take any Khidmah (service) from students. Ḥaḍrat Ḥakīm al-Ummat Thānāwī would say that, I regard it unlawful to take Khidmah from my murīd (spiritual pupil) or student.
- Avoid mixing with the students, for they come with different motives.
- Appreciate the favour of the students, in that they softened their hearts for you to implant the seeds of knowledge. Otherwise, your knowledge would have remained as it is. Do not think you are doing a favour on them.
- Students will object with different motives. Some to make themselves apparent, others to make the teacher anxious etc. However, give answers to all in the manner of a wise person, not in a confrontational manner.
- Recite Sūrah Ikhlāṣ thrice daily and send its reward to the author of the book, as long as he is Muslim.
- If an error is made during the lesson, do no hesitate from retracting.
- Do not teach any book without prior study (muṭālaʿah).
- Do not abandon your routine recitation, tasbīḥ and dhikr (remembrance of Allah) because of being occupied with lessons.
Translated by Yusuf Shabbir
27 Rabīʿ al-Thānī 1439 / 14 January 2018