How to Seek Forgiveness from Teachers?
Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: In my early teens I was disrespectful towards my Qur’an teacher. Now I have realized the grave mistake of disrespecting him. I have repented and tried to make amends by buying my teacher gifts. However I have not asked for his forgiveness as I am shy. Alhamdulillah he accepted my gift. What I should do?
Answer: Assalamu alaykum
Teachers occupy a very important place in our tradition. While this is true of any individual instructing us in beneficial knowledge, it is particularly true of those who are our religious teachers. There is an extensive literature among scholars dedicated to the adab of a student towards a teacher, such as the famous work al-Ta‘lim wa’l Muta‘allim of al-Zarnuji, which is available in English.
As for your specific case, the best way to make amends is to continue respecting and holding your teacher in high-esteem. If you do wish to seek forgiveness for a specific past breach, you may do so in a general manner, such as by asking your teacher to forgive you for any wrong you may have done.
With that, some of the actions you have taken, such as buying gifts for your teacher, already indicate that you feel remorse about what you did and are taking steps to rectify past mistakes. You should continue doing this and also supplicate for your teachers, asking God to benefit you with what they have taught you. Additionally, express your appreciation for the time and energy he gave you. As the Prophet (God bless him) said, “He who does not give thanks to people does not give thanks to God.” [Abu Dawud] These are among the most important of things you can do.
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.