Is It Permissible to Teach in a Non-Muslim Public School?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I’m a Muslim in France, and as you know, the French environment is highly hostile to Muslims. I am currently completing my master’s degree in the history of contemporary Islam and hope to teach at the university level.
The issue is that getting a job at a university is extremely difficult. So, instead, I’d like to teach in a public school. Is it permissible to teach in a non-Muslim school?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Yes, teaching in a public school is absolutely fine, and you will be rewarded immensely.
The very first command of the Quran is, “Read, in the Name of your Lord Who created—” [Quran, 96:1] showing how important it is to learn, read and educate oneself.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah did not send me to be harsh or obstinate, rather He sent me to as a Teacher and Ease facilitator.” [Muslim]
Being an Educator is the Most Rewarding Profession
Being an educator is one of the most rewarding professions. Knowing that you can make a difference in a person’s life is one of the most extraordinary acts of charity one can perform as a Muslim and as a human being to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. You can take the light of Islam to all of humanity. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give peace) was not only a messenger and Prophet but a teacher and cultivator of human character and intelligence. Be grateful to Allah (Most High) and take the opportunity as you will be a contributor to the life of individuals.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give peace) said, “Actions are according to intentions.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
In teaching, one could make the following intentions:
- To seek Allah’s Pleasure and reward through teaching;
- To benefit oneself and others through beneficial knowledge;
- To nurture and develop future generations in a wholesome and proper manner;
- To fulfill a communal obligation for the sake of Allah Most High;
- To gain self-sufficiency and earn a halal income;
- To fulfill any duties to one’s dependents through a lawful income;
- To give charity to the poor through earnings;
- To show exemplary character in your behavior and work so that students and colleagues are positively influenced and have a good opinion of the religion and Muslims in general;
- To use the intellect, skills, and physical ability that Allah has given you to help others for His sake;
- To uphold religious observances while engaged and to struggle with worldly duties.
I would like to recommend you watch this:
“Sh. Abu Ghudda’s ‘The Prophet as a Teacher Explained’ | Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.”
Also, I would like to recommend you the book:
The Book of Intentions by al-Habib Muhammad bin ’Alawi al-’Aydarus, translated by Mohammad Ahmed Mbaye
Allah (Most High) reward you and gives you all kinds of openings and ease; teaching in a non-Muslim country will have immense rewards and challenges and an opportunity to leave a permanent impression about Islam and life as a Muslim teacher.
May Allah make this path easy and its rewards abundant for us all. Ameen.
I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in the UK where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is love of books and gardening.