Question: I am a teacher of the Holy Qur'an in a mosque. I give short lectures on religious education and manage some programs on certain Islamic occasions. I have read some books on education. I would like you to show me, and those like me, what you consider to be fundamental in the education of the new generation according to the Islamic values in which we believe.
The answer: I thank you for your trusting in me in this concern. As for your question, here are some teachings that we have derived from the Islamic values according to the views of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.):
1. Religious education should be carried out in an attractive manner with clear examples, nice stories, and meaningful gestures of the face and the hands. Such a manner will have a great influence on the new generation and will help to plant and retain these ideas in their minds throughout their lives.
2. You should follow everything you say to your listeners so that they will find in you the practical example and will thus be certain that the religious teachings can be applied.
3. You yourself should believe in what you say to your listeners.
4. You should try to discover what things your listeners like and, through those things, get to their hearts. In this way, you can establish the religious concepts in them.
5. On every occasion, you should try to make them love Allah. Show them the greatness of Allah, His mercy, favor, and love for us. Show them that the cause of some of our problems is due to our ignorance, and the cause of some others is due to our enemies. In general, these problems are tests by which Allah tries our faith and will in this life.
6. Punishing, insulting, and ignoring deprive religious teachings of their spirit.
7. Using puzzles and confusing questions is a good manner in teaching that activates the studentsí minds and attracts their attentions to the lectures. However, it would be better to choose questions whose themes concern the practical affairs of life.
8. Graduality, systematicness, and unhurriedness in speaking are important factors in teaching and explaining themes and ideas.
9. Quoting from the stories of the prophets and from the lives of Prophet Muhammad (S) and the infallible imams (a.s.) is very important in teaching.
10. You should praise and appreciate the good features and deeds of your listeners.
11. You should keep your gravity and calmness and not resist an idea put forth by one of your students just because he is a student.
12. You have to watch for any change in the conducts of your students and always pay attention to their affairs.
13. You have to make use of modern equipments, such as computer, internet, films, and recorders, to develop educational methods. It is good to allow the students to work with these equipments by themselves.
14. You should not ask them for fees. You should be satisfied with your sincerity to Allah for He, Who will assure your reward in the afterlife, will assure your livelihood in this life from where you do not expect it.