Home Quranet Chapter 8 What can we say to a girl whose teacher insults her?
What can we say to a girl whose teacher insults her?
Chapter 8

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْناً عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ * وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفاً وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (سورۃ لقمان, آية 15-14)

And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did. (Surah 31, Verses 14-15)

 

Nahiya hates sports lessons not because she is plump and finds it difficult to perform the exercises but because her teacher, Faten, makes sarcastic comments all the time. "You don't have to jump so hard", she says. "This exercise is not suited for you, don't do it", she comments. But this week she really went too far when she told Nahiya that a certain exercise was not meant for bears.

 

Nahiya was very offended and began to slander the teacher and to say offensive things about her: "a teacher with a dirty mouth", "a teacher who doesn't do a thing during the lesson", etc. The teacher complained to Nahiya's class teacher who summoned Nahiya and asked her why she was talking like that.

Nahiya: She doesn't talk to me nicely. She insults me.
Teacher: So why don't you go over to her at the end of the lesson and tell her?
Nahiya: I won't tell her. I'll just pay her back.
Teacher: I promise you I'll talk to the sports teacher and tell her she has been insulting you. And I promise that after that, she'll stop.
Nahiya: As soon as she stops, I'll stop too.
Teacher: I want you to stop irrespective of what she does. I'm going to read you a Quran verse which teaches us to treat authority figures with respect even when they are in error. She read out: "And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did."
Teacher: These two verses talk about the need to treat parents with respect even when they are wrong but teachers have an educational task like parents and that is why I chose to read you that verse.

Explanation: none of us would want to be in Nahiya's place. Some teachers do indeed insult their pupils and they are not worthy to be teachers. Nahiya was right not to concede to the teacher and to defend herself. If she doesn't do so, nobody will do it for her. But the class teacher is also right in saying that if she talks to the sports teacher and if Nahiya stops retaliating, their relationship will improve. The Quran teaches us a most important lesson: how to treat authority figures who try to take us along the wrong path or who hurt our feelings. We should not emulate them but we should treat them with respect, says the Quran. It is not easy for Nahiya to treat this teacher with respect but the way of the Quran is undoubtedly the right path to desirable results, because Nahiya decided not to behave like the sports teacher and not to pay her back in the same coin.