“Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen— taught humanity what they knew not.” (Quran – Surah al-Alaq :3-6)
All the knowledge comes from Allah, the one who taught us everything we know. Allah is also the one who provided us with all the tools and abilities to learn and teach. Therefore, the importance of seeking knowledge has been highlighted in the Qur’an.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was chosen by Allah to educate the humanity and replace their ignorance with knowledge. He is the perfect example of a great teacher, sent to teach and be an example for his followers. Therefore, we should follow his example and learn his teaching strategies for the most effective teaching.
Teaching strategies of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as depicted in his Hadiths
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used effective teaching strategies to make his lessons impactful and useful. His teaching style was inspiring and powerful, thus staying in the mind of his followers and having an impact on their behavior.
Here some of his teaching strategies are given.
Using Analogies and Examples –
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to use analogies and examples to heighten their curiosity and imagination to further deepen their understanding of Deen. They were also useful in simplifying and helping the listeners in understanding the concepts better.
The Prophet ﷺ asked his companions, ‘If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?’ They said, ‘Not a trace of dirt would be left.’ The Prophet ﷺ added, ‘That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds.’ (Bukhari: 528)
Instead of simply relaying Allah’s order and its benefits, Prophet ﷺ draws similarities between praying daily and taking a bath. Just like how bathing 5 times a day would leave no dirt on a person, praying 5 times a day also cleanses the person. This helped the people in better understanding the benefits and importance of offering prayers.
Using living experiences and setting up an example –
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ always used to practice what he preached in front of his followers to set up an example. He also used to relay his own experiences to highlight the importance of knowledge and make it easier for everyone to implement in their day-to-day life. He is the perfect role model for everyone to follow.
Allah says: “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often”. (Al-Ahzab: 21)
Therefore, The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a guide and role model through his thoughts, feelings, behavior, speech and life experiences, both before and after his death. Through his actions, he was able to provide a learning experience to his companions and followers.
Using illustrations and demonstrations –
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to make a point through illustrations and demonstration for a better and easy understanding. Through this, he was also able to make it more striking and memorable. For example, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,’ showing his middle and index fingers and separating them.” (Bukhari: 5304)
In the above Hadith, Prophet Mohammed ﷺ accompanied his lesson on taking care of orphans through demonstrating his point. Through this way, Prophet ﷺ made the lesson more memorable for his followers.
Using questions as a way of teaching –
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ always encouraged his companions to ask questions. This can be seen in many of the Hadith which consisted of him answering all types of question. For example, one day, people asked to the beloved Prophet ﷺ: ‘Oh, the messenger of Allah! Which of the believers is more virtuous?’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The one whom the Muslims are safe from the harms of his/her tongue and his/her hand’. (Tirmidhi: 2628)
Prophet ﷺ would also regularly ask questions to his followers to make them ponder and think before receiving an answer. This is also useful in keeping them motivated, alerted, and interactive.
For example, He asked, ‘Who among you considers the wealth of his heirs dearer to him than his own wealth?’ They replied, ‘There is none among us but loves his own wealth more.’ Then, the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Everyone loves his own wealth more’ and ‘your wealth is whatever you spend before; the wealth of your heir is whatever you leave after your death’. (Bukhari: 6442)
By asking his companions about their wealth, Prophet ﷺ captured their attention and got them thinking about it. After getting their answers, he added upon their point to spread the benefits of charity. All of this made the knowledge about charity stronger and more impactful.
Using the storytelling method –
The Prophet ﷺ used to tell stories to teach lessons to his companions. Telling stories is an effective way of grabbing attention, engaging the audience while imparting the lessons in a more relatable and practical way.
For example, The Prophet ﷺ said “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way; he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, ‘This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.’ So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah was pleased with him for that deed and forgave him“. (Bukhari: 2466)
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ imparted the lesson of being kind with animals through the story of the man. This makes the lesson more memorable as there’s a story attached to it that lives on the mind of the people.
“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind, but most men know not.” (Al-Quran, Saba’:28)
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was an excellent teacher and role model. He was sent to all of humanity with the purpose of spreading Allah’s message. His teaching was useful and practical with no space of doubts or errors. Therefore, his teaching strategies are inspiring and useful even to this day.
His teaching strategies included using analogies, examples, experiences, illustrations, demonstrations, storytelling methods, questions and setting up himself as an example.
Through all these strategies, he was able to make his lessons strong, memorable, and impactful, having a considerable effect on the behavior of the learners. This makes him an inspiring role model for all the teachers around the world.
By Maryam Ansar
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