Did ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, say, “I am the slave of the one who teaches me a single letter of the alphabet.” Please give the reference. If it is not a true statement, then please give an authentic saying from ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, about the importance of a teacher.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
This statement is well-known, and it was attributed to ‘Ali without any chain of narrators.
Abu Umaamah al-Baahili narrated that the Prophet said, “Whoever teaches one verse from the Book of Allaah to a servant of Allaah, then he [the former] becomes his master; he [the servant] should not forsake him, and he should not favor himself over him.” [At-Tabaraan in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer] Al-Bayhaqi, also, narrated it in Shu’ab Al-Eemaan with an addition: “If he does so [meaning if he forsakes him], then he has indeed severed one of the strong bonds of Islam.”
Al-Haythami said in Al-Majma’, “It (the chain of narrators of the above hadeeth) includes ‘Ubayd ibn Razeen Al-Laathiqi, and there is no one who mentioned him (i.e. how trustworthy he is as a narrator).”
It was narrated that Shu’bah ibn Al-Hajjaaj who was a scholar of Hadeeth, made a similar statement: “Any one from whom I learned a hadeeth, I am to him a slave.”
Al-'Ajlooni said in Kashf Al-Khafaa’ (2543), “Whoever teaches a person one verse from the Book of Allaah, he [the person taught] becomes a slave to him.”
At-Tabaraani reported this from Abu Umaamah and attributed it to the Prophet but with the wording: “He [the former] is his master.”
Also, in Al-Fawaa'id Al-Majmoo’ah by Ash-Shawkaani, there is a hadeeth which reads, “Whoever teaches a person a verse from the book of Allaah, he [the person] is a slave to him.” Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It (this hadeeth) is fabricated;” and it was reported by At-Tabaraani.
Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadi reported in Al-Jaami’ li Akhlaaq Ar-Raawi wa Aadaab As-Saami’, with his chain of narrators, that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said:
“Among the rights of the scholar on you is that you greet the people with a collective greeting but you greet him with an individual greeting; you sit down in front of him; you do not point with your hand nor wink with your eyes; you do not say, 'So and so said what contradicts your statement;' you do not backbite anyone in his presence; you do not speak to someone in secret in his meeting; you do not hold him by his garment; you do not persist (in asking him questions) if he is tired; and you do not turn away from his long company. He is like a palm tree, and you are waiting for some dates to fall upon you. A knowledgeable believer is greater in reward than a fasting person who stands in prayer by night and fights in the way of Allaah. If a scholar dies, it causes a gap in Islam which nothing will fill until the Day of Resurrection.”
Allaah knows best.
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