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Can We Use the Word ‘Master’ in Islam?

09 June, 2022
Q What is the concept of a 'Master' in Islam? Is it different from that of a teacher?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

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In Islam, we must use our words carefully. The word ‘master’ in Islamic context can only mean a teacher, for Islam shuns servile obedience to anyone other than Allah.

Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

In Islam, we must use our words carefully. The word ‘master‘ in Islamic context can only mean a teacher, for Islam shuns servile obedience to anyone other than Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.”

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Our relationship with our teacher should be that of genuine respect. However, we must never confuse respect with blind obedience.

There was an interesting incident during the time of the Prophet (peace be on him). Once he sent a group of companions on an expedition. The leader of the expedition, in the course of the journey, ordered his companions to make a fire pit. When it was complete, he ordered them to jump into it, but this they refused, saying, “the only reason we followed the Prophet (peace be on him) was to escape from fire!” The leader then said, “I only wanted to test you.”

Later on, when the incident was reported to the Prophet, he told them that if they had obeyed him, and jumped into the fire, they would certainly not come out of it!

In other words, if they had obeyed him, they would have been guilty of shirk (associating partners with Allah), and a pagan dwells in fire eternally. The moral of the story is that in Islam, no one is allowed to obey anyone blindly.

The above concept was crystal clear during the era of the Pious Caliphate. Thus we find even an ordinary woman standing up to question the Caliph Umar, and the Caliph accepting her criticism by admitting publicly, “the woman is right, and Umar is wrong!”

Almighty Allah knows best.

Source:  AsktheScholar.com

About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada