What Are My Responsibility Towards Others? Part3

Following the discussions on the concept of responsibility in Islam and Muslims' duties towards other human beings, this article reviews the duties towards the teachers, students, and young and older adults.

The Responsibility in Islam Towards Mentors


Teachers are acknowledged and valorized in Islam. It is said that God, angels, earth inhabitants and even the small ants in their nests and the fish in the seas, all salute the mentors who invite to goodness [1]. Imam Ali (AS) said that whoever has taught me a word has made me “his slave”[i] [2]. Regarding the Islamic resources, the rights of the mentor over the students are:


  •  to be polite and grateful to the mentor, and honor him\her [3];
  • to sit down politely in his\her presence such that to face him\her directly [3];
  • to listen carefully to him\her and forget anything else during the session except what the mentor explains [3];
  • not to answer the questions that the mentor has been asked about and let him\her to reply [3];
  • to lower your voice when talking to him\her [3] as a means of showing the respect for him\her;
  • to ask in order to know and not to annoy the mentor or to mock him\her [4] and then to listen carefully to the answer of the question [5];
  • not to talk and whisper to anybody in his\her presence [3] otherwise the mentor feels being ignored;
  • not to talk behind other people’s back with him\her [3] since this is an unpleasant act which also bothers the audience ;
  • not to let others insult the mentor or lie about him\her [3];
  • not to reveal his\her deficiencies and to tell others about his\her positive characteristics [3].

responsibility in Islam, Salam Islam


The Rights of the Knowledge-seeker and The Responsibility in Islam Towards Them[ii]


Seeking knowledge is such important in Islam that according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), trees, winds, clouds, seas and stars, plants and everything that the sunshine falls on, all ask for mercy for whoever seeks knowledge [6]. Also, the Prophet (PBUH) said that whoever seeks knowledge is beloved by God, angels, and prophets and good for them on the judgment day [7]. Of the rights of the knowledge-seekers over their mentor are:


  • To be kind to them [8];
  • To be humble and flexible to them [8];
  • To know their names and some details about each of them [8]. This helps to maintain a better relationship and consequently to better teach and educate them;
  • To respect their character and to consider their words and thoughts [8];
  • To equally love them and pay attention to them [8]. In this regard, mentors are almost like judges in Islam;
  • To teach with serenity and dignity [8], therefore, his\her lessons impress their mind and soul  ;
  • To be tolerant of them and answer their questions properly [8];
  • To consider and support kindly the newcomers [8];
  • To honestly tell if he\she does not know the answer to a question [8] instead of saying what he\she is not sure about;


The Rights of Young People

Of the rights of young people over older adults and their responsibility in Islam are: 


  • To be kind to them [3];
  • To be engaged in their education and training [3];
  • To ignore and forgive their mistakes and hide their deficiencies [3];
  • To tolerate them, be patient with them and help them in difficulties [3];
  • If the young people do something wrong because they are naive, the older adults should not reveal that [3];
  • To avoid arguments and conflicts with them [3].

responsibility in Islam, Salam Islam

The Rights of Elderly people


The responsibility in Islam of the younger people toward the elderly include:


  • To respect them since they are older than you [3];
  • If they argue with you, do not react unpleasantly [3];
  • If you accompany each other on the way, do not overtake them [3];
  • If they do not know about something, do not humiliate them [3];
  • And, if they ignore you because you do not know something, keep calm and do not react as they are older than you [3].



[i] The word “slave” here does not mean servant, but is used to valorize the mentor and emphasizes the importance of respecting him\her.
[ii] Knowledge-seeker is used as a more general word than a student to cover whoever seeks knowledge.


[1] M. B. Majlisi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 61, p. 245
[2] M. Naraqi, “Jami' al-Sa'adat”.
[3] Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)”.
[4] “Nahj al Balaqa”, I. 320.
[5] Ibn Babawayh, “Ilal Al-Shara'I”, vol. 2. p. 334.
[6] H. al-Daylami, "Irshad al-Qulub", p. 164.
[7] M. Shoueiri “Jami’ al-Akhbar”, p. 37.
[8] Al-Shahid al-Thani, “Munya al-murid fi adab al-mufid wa al-mustafid”, p. 190-219.