THE PROPHET (PBUH) AS A TEACHER -1-
THE RELATION BETWEEN TABLIGH AND EDUCATION
According to Quran, the Prophet (pbuh) is responsible for “tabligh (delivering the message)”: “O Messenger. proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.” (Al-Maida 5/67). “The Messenger.s duty is but to proclaim (the message). But Allah knoweth all that ye reveal and ye conceal” (Al-Maida 5/99).
The lexicographical meaning of “tabligh” is to deliver, inform, and spread. As a term, it points to the Prophet’s delivering the message to humans exactly as he received it from Allah. This is one of the inalienable qualities of prophets. If the thing to be delivered is information, a message, or news, then teaching is an issue, as well. In fact, some dictionaries define “tabligh” as teaching. This shows the relation between “tabligh” and teaching.
“Tabligh” is not randomly delivering a message in some form of expression to people. A message will be considered to have been delivered if it is correctly understood and comprehended by the person receiving it. Thus, the person to whom the message is delivered should understand the meaning of the message exactly the same way the source person does. If the meaning of the message is not understood in exactly the same way by both the person who receives it and the source person, then the message is not delivered. In short, there should be correct communication between these two people. In this context, it is possible to see “tabligh” as a form of communication and a task of education and training.
In Quran, Allah states that prophets are obliged to deliver His messages and describes prophets as an “instructor and trainer: “Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error” (Al-Imran 3/ 164). “It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error” (Al-Juma 62/2).
These verses all prove that the Prophet was a teacher assigned the duty of delivering the message of God. Indeed, the Prophet himself emphasized that his primary duty as a Prophet was to teach by saying, “I have been sent only as a teacher to you.” To explain his duty he also said, “I have been sent only to complete moral virtues.”
In Quran, God also warns the Prophet not to exceed the boundaries of his duty: “We have not sent thee as a guard over them. Thy duty is but to convey (the Message)” (Al-Shura 42/48). “…Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs” (Al-Gashiya 88/21-22). “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqara 2/256). In this sense, the duty of the Prophet was to reach and communicate with people and carry out educational activities.