What Are the Qualities One Should Seek in a Teacher?

Answered By Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib


What are the qualities one should seek in an Islamic sciences teacher?


In the name of Allah, and all praise is due to Allah, and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, and those who follow him.


Teaching is one of the noblest professions and highest positions, comparable to the roles of the prophets and messengers. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“I have been sent as a teacher.” [Ibn Maja; Darimi]

Every teacher, instructor, and educator shares in this honor, each according to their intention and sincerity. However, undoubtedly, an Islamic sciences teacher holds a special reward and status due to their association with the greatest and noblest of sciences. Islamic sciences form the basis for people’s understanding of their religion, their obligations, prohibitions, and other matters essential for every accountable Muslim.


Given the sensitivity of this honorable position, it is imperative that the one fulfilling it possesses certain qualities and virtues that distinguish them from others or that they are committed to applying more than others. Following are some of the qualities a teacher should possess:

  • He should be characterized by good conduct: Good conduct is a broad term encompassing all virtuous qualities and avoiding their opposites of bad traits. It does not merely entail superficial behavior but should be deeply ingrained within oneself because the teacher is a role model. They are looked upon by those entrusted with the responsibility of the religion and the prophetic legacy.
  • He should be proficient in Islamic sciences, arts, and related fields, especially those intended for teaching. He should review the lesson before presenting it, not relying solely on what is stored in memory as some people do today. Scholars and pious individuals used to review their lessons before delivering them, even if the lesson had been repeated dozens of times. Humans cannot trust their minds to never fail or forget, regardless of how intelligent and knowledgeable they are.
  • He should possess skills and experience in teaching methods and education. He should study and learn from experts in the field or have undergone training himself to acquire the expertise necessary to continue on this path. Teaching skills have advanced significantly, with established systems and theories that need to be studied. One cannot claim to be exempt from this because times change, and one must keep pace with them.
  • He should take care of his appearance and attire, avoiding extravagance. This is not a matter of humility alone; indeed, modesty is a part of faith, as mentioned in some narrations. However, it should be balanced against extravagance and arrogance. Modesty here refers to humility and avoiding pride and arrogance, not to the extent of walking and sitting among people in dirty clothes and the like.
  • He should maintain good relations with his students, fostering their love for knowledge, being patient with their understanding, showing kindness to the ignorant, and avoiding harshness except within narrow limits.
  • He should encourage students to research and consult references and sources by directing them to do so, highlighting the merits of books, the authors’ methodologies, and other aspects related to research methodologies.
  • He should demonstrate a commitment to punctuality, adhering to the designated time for his lesson as much as possible, neither arriving late nor exceeding the allotted time.
  • He should be mindful of the students’ spirits, as minds can become tired and weary. Therefore, he should not overwhelm them, especially if they feel fatigued or are having difficulty comprehending, especially if the lesson extends for a long duration.
  • He should present issues of disagreement among schools of thought and opinions, elucidating the correct viewpoints while refuting the incorrect ones in a manner that appeals to the souls, with additional explanation and elaboration. He should not merely warn against flawed opinions without explaining the basis of their corruption, as this may lead to confusion and misunderstanding among some students.

Above all, he should intend his work and teaching for the sake of Allah. Sincerity in teaching has a profound impact on both the teacher and the student. Many students have experienced divine blessings in a short period due to the sincerity of their teacher and their own dedication to learning. This does not mean that one should cease striving for knowledge, but rather, it should compel them to seek even more.


In conclusion, these are the most important qualities that a teacher should possess, especially in the field of teaching Islamic sciences. The teacher serves as a role model for others and carries the trust of conveying this great religion. Therefore, they should exhibit a high level of responsibility and proficiency. Allah is the Guide to success.


For more details on this topic, please refer to books specialized in the etiquette of seeking knowledge from the works of the righteous predecessors, such as “al-Faqih wa al-Mutafaqqih” by Khatib Baghdadi, “Akhlaq Hamalat al-Quran” by Ajurri, “Adab al-Talib wa al-Mustafid” by Ghazali, and others.

[Shaykh] Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib

Shaykh Dr Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib is a prominent Islamic scholar from Yemen. He was born in Shibam, Hadhramaut, in 1976. He received his degree in Shari‘a from Al-Ahqaf University, a master’s degree from the Islamic University of Beirut, and a PhD in Usul al-Din from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

He studied under great scholars such as Shaykh al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad, Shaykh Fadl Ba‘ fadl, Habib Salim al-Shatiri, Habib Ali Mashhur bin Hafeez, and others. He has served as the Director of Publications at Dar al-Fiqh, the former Deputy Director of Cultural Relations at Al-Ahqaf University, a former Assistant for Employee Affairs at Atiyah Iron Company, a researcher at the Sunna Center affiliated with the Dallah al-Baraka Foundation, and a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch.

Currently, he is a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch, teaches traditionally through the Ijaza system at Dar al-Fuqaha in Turkey, supervises the Arabic department at Nur al-Huda International Institute (SeekersGuidance), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Manuscript House in Istanbul.

His works include “The Efforts of Hadhramaut Jurists in Serving the Shafi‘i School,” “Contributions of Hadhramaut Scholars in Spreading Islam and its Sciences in India,” and “Hada’iq al-Na‘im in Shafi‘i Fiqh.” He has also verified several books in Fiqh, history, the art of biographies, and Asanid (chains of narration).