The position of teacher in our mechanical society, where hysterical wave of materialism plays big role in our relationship, is purely materialistic with no spiritual value. Though in many graduation ceremonies, university senates with the responsibility of issuing the degree certificates would tell the audience that the certificate is for both learning and character but the graduands learnt nothing beyond hunting for CGPA and cursing the teacher they consider a stumbling block to having first class or second class upper. Our educational institutions produce fashion dandies suitable for jobs not critical thinkers that could challenge the tyranny of the given in the style of Ibn Rushd or Giordano Bruno.
As many thinkers noted, things are going worse in academia where qualifications of a teacher not his character are considered a ticket for academic entrance. Teachers, especially university lecturers, with exceptions of few, are becoming just like academic robots that produce knowledge after fuel in the form of cash is inserted into them. This is the reason many students fight day and night to become university teachers, not to help humanity but as a lucrative job that will help them join fashion trends.
The conception of teachers has unfortunately been undermined by modern changes with influence of western methods of learning that produce workers and labourers not spiritual fathers. One could hardly believe that in the olden days gurus of Hindu paid for their students! These teachers never dreamt of drawing salaries least of going into strike for meagre amounts. Similar ideals used to be followed in Islam. Sufi masters of Islam, instead of receiving money from their students, they maintain the pupils until they finish their trainings (tarbiyya). Modern commercialism help in deteriorating everything. All the emphasis in the contemporary world is on buildings, tools, wealth, equipments and material products not personality and character of the teacher.
Hussein Nasr, one of the leading “Islamic” philosophers of modern time, described a teacher as a central pivot of any system of education. For a teacher to be great, he must not only be a man of learning but also a man of moral worth. He also needs to possess capability of inspiring his students to be like him by teaching only what he believes in. When I was in junior (Islamic) secondary school, my Integrated Science teacher would teach us water circle but he would vividly tell us that he doesn’t believe in it! Why should you teach students what you don’t believe in? Is this not another way of creating distortion in their brains? Just like many teachers of Evolution and Darwinism with poor background in both what they teach in Biology and Islamic Metaphysics, teaching what you don’t believe in will create a place in the hearts of students that will force them to despise the teacher and the course.
It feels bad to hear students, who are expected to respect their teachers like their parents, speaking ill of them. Why should universities lie to us that they produce students with certificates in both learning and character? What will happen when the relationship between teacher and student become materialistic? The effects of the relationship are felt acutely at all stages of life, beginning from adolescence. For students to respect their teachers, the teachers should be spiritual fathers not knowledge machines. The personalities of the past whose names are cherished as great educators especially in Muslim history have all been men who radiate warmth and as a result attract around them an ever-widening circle of learners, who learnt more from what they saw and heard than what they memorised or read in books. This was the reason why our forefathers produced great intellectuals and thinkers not fashion dandies with strong affection for CGPA.