Who is my first teacher? Have I ever thought about this question? Yes, some times. I know that my mother, or my father, or my brother or my sister, or my primary school teacher, who taught me how to write and read, was my first teacher.
But is this answer correct? Do I know with certainty that this is the right answer?
Why am I asking myself this question at this stage of my life? Why do we all need to take a moment and ask ourselves this question? Because it is an important question. Knowing the correct answer to this question affects the way in which we live our lives. Could it be wrong that my mother or father or primary school teachers are my first teachers?
Yes, it is wrong. We have read several times the correct answer, but we did not notice it. We read in the Quran that it is Allah SWT, Who is the Creator of the entire universe. He is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, Self-Existent, Ever-Living, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. He taught us that which we do not know, especially the Right Way of life. He said: "He teaches you the Right Way and has full knowledge of everything" [2: 283]; "He taught you what you know not. Great indeed has been Allah's favor upon you" [4: 113]." He taught us many things. Referring to Prophet Isa, He said: "…recall My favor…when I taught you the Book and Wisdom [5: 110]." Allah SWT taught Prophet Yousuf how to comprehend the deeper meaning of things [12: 21]. He taught us about the truth and reality of life, society, and the world. He has said this repeatedly in the Quran. Allah SWT taught man about all necessary things of this world so that he can deal with them appropriately. The Quran says: Then Allah taught Adam the names of all things. [2: 31]
He taught us to read in the name of our Lord and Cherisher, Who created us and taught us the use of the pen. Allah taught us that which we knew not, that we should know our limitations and not transgress them [96: 1, & 4-6]. He also taught us the Right Way of life as He has full knowledge of everything [2: 282]. No one is equal to Him in this regard. We acknowledged this fact and said:
Glory to You! We have no knowledge except what You taught us. You, only You, are All-Knowing, All-Wise.[2: 32]
Whatever Allah SWT taught us, is recorded in the Quran. The Quran was introduced as the BOOK, which contains knowledge. There is no doubt about it; it is not only the book of knowledge but also of guidance and a mercy for all humankind [2:2]. Through His teachings, He granted us the criterion by which we can distinguish truth from falsehood [3:3-4].
This Book, beyond all doubt, was revealed by the Lord of the Universe…It is the Truth from your Lord [32: 2-3]
These are the ayahs of a Book that clearly expounds the Truth. [12: 1]
Allah SWT taught us through the Quran about the Truth and Reality of life and the world. He guided us to understand and make our lives, society, and the world meaningful and worthy of living [16: 64]. He guided us to the Way that is the Most- Straight to do righteous works. He taught us about the Truth and Reality of the Next world. He taught us beyond any doubt that He will take the worldly life account in the Next world and grant us the best and greatest reward. He also taught and warned us about the grievous chastisement that waits for us [17: 9-10]. The Quran teaches us:
He who follows the Right Way shall do so to his advantage, and he who strays shall incur his loss. No one shall carry another's burden. And never shall We punish any until We send a Messenger [to make the Truth distinct to them from falsehood]. [17: 15]
Hence, Allah SWT invited humankind through the Quran to understand the Truth and Reality of life and this world.
O mankind, serve your Lord Who has created you as well as those before you; do so that you are saved. It is He Who has made the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a canopy, and sent down water from above with which He brought forth fruits for your sustenance. Do not, then, set up rivals to Allah when you know[the truth]. [2: 21-22]
The Quran presents a challenge to all ages' thinking minds and urges them to disprove the Quran's claims. Again and again, Allah SWT is the only Creator of man and universe Who revealed to man the True, Authentic, and Universal Knowledge [Islamic Revealed Knowledge] of the physical and the metaphysical world. Shouldn't this knowledge revealed by Him occupy the central place in the scheme of further knowledge and education?
As Allah SWT is our First Teacher and the one Who revealed to us the Quran, it is the Quran's content, the overall teachings, the morals, the values, the laws, and the principles that should be our guide in the development of people and societies. If the Knowledge-Giver's Book is practiced and followed sincerely by people, individually and collectively. Then, everyone can live a peaceful and happy life. Yet, we have forgotten that Allah SWT and His Book should always be our first source of knowledge and guidance. How many times have we turned to others around us rather than the Quran? We pursue our education and make choices in our lives, unguided by the First Teacher. Isn't this a form of ingratitude? This is why Allah SWT is reminding people how they can be ungrateful to Him.
How can you be ungrateful to Allah who bestowed life upon you when you were lifeless, will later cause you to die, and will again bring you back to life so that you will be returned to Him. [2: 28]
Whether we like it or not, we all will surely return to Allah SWT to give an account of our life spent here. One of the most important lessons from our First Teacher which we must never forget: "There is no god but Allah. To Him are all destined to return [40: 3]. This lesson about the Next Life is to guard us against all evils and remind us to always turn to Him. Allah SWT says in the Quran that on the Day of Resurrection and Judgement, all people will see and confess the Truth and Reality of the Next world [40: 11].
On that Day Allah SWT will ask: "Whose is the Command today?" All the people would say: "It is Allah's, the One, the Overpowering" [40: 16]. On that Day of Judgement Allah SWT would say: "Today shall everyone be fully recompensed for his deeds. None shall be wronged today. Surely Allah is Swift in Reckoning" [40: 17]. On that day, the hearts of those people who fail to recognize the Truth of the Next world, would be full of grief and they would not find any sincere friend nor intercessor whose word would be headed by Allah SWT [40: 18]. Allah SWT would reveal all the secrets that people's hearts had concealed and would make His judgment. He would judge with justice, and no one will escape His justice.
Whosoever would have committed any wrong in this world would see the result of it. Allah SWT is indeed Strong, Terrible in Retribution [40: 22]. We would cry out to one another for help [40: 32]. We would turn around to retreat; there would be none to protect us from Allah SWT [40: 33]. Just as there will be no savior but Allah in the Next Life, in this life too, our True Savior and Guide are Allah and His Book. These are the fundamental life lessons that Allah SWT has taught us. Living by these teachings, and turning to Allah SWT for knowledge and guidance can alone save us from walking blindly in the alleys of falsehood, pride, and gloom.
There is no compulsion in Deen [accepting Truth]. The right way now stands clearly distinguished from the wrong. Hence, he who rejects the evil ones and believes in Allah has indeed taken hold of the firm, unbreakable handle. And Allah [Whom he has held for support] is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [2: 256] Allah is the Guardian of those who believe and brings them out of every darkness into light. And those who disbelieve, their guardians are the evil ones; they bring them out of light into all kinds of darkness. These are destined for the Fire, and there they shall abide. [2: 257]