Stimulating Students to Ask Questions
questions clarify a lot of confusion and misconception that students may experience. when the teacher explains a topic, he might not be sure whether students understand or not. when the student ask, it becomes clear what meanings he did not absorb or realize. the answer becomes deeply rooted in the mind of students, because he is the one who asked at first. asking a question and getting an answer for it ends ignorance, the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “the question is the cure of vagueness.” vagueness here means confusion in words and irregularity. it also means ignorance, so the hadith pictures vagueness as a disease and the cure for it is questioning and learning the answer. this is why teachers should direct and help their students to ask questions freely to know more about the topic under discussion. this was done by our first teacher the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) and we should follow his method till the day of judgment.
1- narrated anas ibn malik that people asked the prophet (peace be upon him) till they importuned him with many questions. he ascended the pulpit and said: “ask me! anything that you would ask me about, i will explain to you…”
2- narrated abu huriria that the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘ask me!’ but the people were awed by him. a man came to him and sat in front of the prophet (pbuh) and said: ‘o messenger of allah, what is islam…’
3- said ibn al musaiab said: no one of the people said ‘ask me’ except for ali ibn abi talib (ra). it was narrated from al hassan that ali ibn abi talib was giving knowledge to people then he would say to them: ‘ask me!’
4- said ibn jubair said: we were at the house of ibn abbas when he said ‘ask me’. i said to him: ‘o aba abbas, may allah protect you…’
all the above mentioned shows the importance of asking questions to the teacher about obscure or unclear information. when the teacher says ‘ask me’ he urges his students to inquire about anything they have in mind. this also gives shy students more courage and confidence to ask about anything, because it is a request by the teacher. it will also benefit other students, who might have the same question in mind, so they will get the value of hearing the answer. it enables the teacher to know how much students understand the explained topic or lesson. the teacher should be alert about the kind of questions asked by students, he should answer questions that might be of value, not questions which are asked to incapacitate or mock him. these kinds of questions are irrelevant and trivial, they bring shame to the ones who ask them.
1) asking questions and getting an answer unveil any kind of obscurity or ignorance. it rectifies meanings and wrong thoughts and establishes important points in the minds of students.
2) when the teacher requests his students to ask him, it achieves some values:
a) knowing the degree of understanding of each student.
b) encouraging the shy student to have more confidence to ask questions.
c) benefiting other students by giving them the chance to hear the answer.
d) it gives the teacher the chance to evaluate his work and review his teaching method as questions reflect what students did not understand, and the points that the teacher did not analyze.
3) ignoring incapacitating, disabling and mocking questions and admonishing those who ask them.