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The Karate Kid
A long, long time ago, there lived a person, who had dedicated his entire life in learning the art of fighting. Over the years, he became an expert in the fighting art of Karate, kungfu, jiu-jitsu, Judo etc. He had served his teachers well and in return they had taught him all the tricks. His services were usually hired to various kings who wanted to be rid of their enemies. In the arena, he excelled over his opponents. The people would never miss a chance to witness his bouts. His fame spread far and wide and within no time he became the undisputed hero of his country so much so, that there was not a man born who could match him in his strength, skills and cunning in the battlefield.

He had been so obsessed with learning the techniques of fighting that he had neglected to marry and raise a family. In the past such stupid things had never bothered him. But, he had realized of late that he was growing old by the day. His fighting instincts were failing him. He had noticed that he was developing gray hair near his temples. The thought of getting old worried him a lot. He had no offspring to whom he could teach his art. He began to despair that his art would die with him. But, he wanted to live and since no man is immortal he decided to adopt a boy and dedicate himself in teaching all that he knew about fighting to the boy so that he could live in him after his death. Anybody watching the boy fight would tell others that this boy had learnt about fighting techniques under a great master such as him.

He began his search from the very next day. He toured far and wide; many boys were scrutinized and rejected because they could not meet his criteria. At last, he chanced upon an orphan and in him he found all the qualities that he was looking for, his perfect alter ego. The great master was delighted to learn that this boy was all alone in this world, without any living relative, who would miss him when he trained under him. He eagerly took the boy under his tutelage and started training him in right earnest.

The boy trained under the great master for 12 long years. The boy had grown up into a handsome youth of 18 years. On his eighteenth birthday his master called him to tell those magical words which he had longed to hear all these years. The master had embraced him warmly and he told him that this was the day of his graduation and he had passed all his tests with flying colours and this was the day he was free to go and seek his fortune in the world. The master told him that he hoped that he would bring glory to his name, wherever he would pass by. He also told the lad that he had taught him all there was to teach about fighting, and this was the day that he was perfect as his master.
The words of the master fell sweet on the ears of his pupil, and his heart swelled up in pride. The day soon came when he bid farewell to his master to begin his eager trek to make a name for himself and earn his way to fame and fortune. He traveled all over the land, and wherever he went he held his audiences spell bound with his fighting skills. He sought audiences of kings and demonstrated his prowess against the best soldiers in their armies. He always emerged victorious over them. The kings begged him to stay in their employ, but he would have none of it. He wanted to be his own master, and carve out a name for himself in the world of great fighters.

All those who watched him would tell him that he had learnt his lessons well under the great master. They told him that he walked perfectly in his footsteps and was in fact a better version than his master. He was much faster, nimble on his feet, quick on the draw and he moved with lightning speed so much so that he could weave webs around his opponents, before they could catch up on him. He was showered with praises wherever he went and people thronged from far and wide to catch a glimpse of him.

All this praise went straight into the head of the pupil, but nothing irritated him more than being compared to his old master. He reasoned that people should know him in his own right and he was getting tired with all those comparisons.

When he confided this to some of his close friends, they told him that the only way out of this problem was to issue an open challenge to his master, to fight him out in an open arena. They assured him that he would win over him hands down. The master was getting old and he would be no match to his youth and energy. It should be a fight to the death. It would only be then; he would emerge out of the shadow of his former master. That is the only logical solution, they reasoned out for him.

The young fighter lost no time in issuing an open challenge to his old master for a fight to death. The message was worded in such a way that the master was left with no alternative but to accept this challenge. The old master-fighter sent words through the messenger that he was well past his prime and he would need time to prepare himself for the grand fight. He had over the years neglected to practise on his skills. The young fighter heard his masters’ request and gracefully conceded him the time.

As the day of the fight drew near, the pupil started getting nervous. His calm assurance started deserting him. He had done the unthinkable; he had challenged his old master for a fight, he was in no man’s land now. There could be no retreat, without great loss of face. If he lost face in front of everybody then he had to leave the country for good. But, what if he lost, he did not know the answer, for he would not live to see the day for it was a fight to the death. Growing apprehensive by the day, he sent a few of his close friends to spy on the old master to see how he was preparing himself for the duel.

His friends came back with an unusual story. They had spied on the old master undetected for a very long time. The old master was spending all his days in sharpening a 10-foot long sword made of finest steel. One of them had gathered courage to go up to the old master to question him as to how he was preparing himself for the fight. The old man had greeted him with a sad look on his face and informed his guest about his preparations. He even allowed him to examine his ten-foot long sword. He had even told him without any prompting that he had to kill his former pupil when he was ten feet away from him. If he let him come near him; his student would kill him for he was younger and much quicker than him. His guest had listened to all this with great attention and hurried back to tell the pupil about the intelligence gathered by him.
The pupil heard all this and his old confidence returned back to him; he would beat the old master at his own game. He hurriedly gave orders for a 15-foot sword to be made out of finest steel fashioned by land’s best craftsmen. He told his puzzled friends that he would beat the old man with five feet to spare. The friends complimented him on his wise decision.

The day of the fight dawned, and people all over the country had gathered in the arena since morning to witness this fight. This was going to be the mother of all fights, they declared to one another. It was a fight between the world’s best masters who had perfected every art of fighting invented by man. It would be a magnificent spectacle. Nobody wanted to miss this event.

The signal to start the fight was given by the referee and the spectators were greeted to a strange spectacle of the two masters approaching one another very carefully, sizing each other up as fighters would normally do. One had a 10-foot sword hanging by his side and sheathed in a magnificent scabbard and the other had a 15-foot sword by his side also well sheathed in a scabbard. The law did not permit the fighters in the arena to approach each other with unsheathed weapons and both the fighters had respected the protocol that was demanded from them by the law of their land.

As per rules, they stayed 30 feet away from each other. The referee gave the second signal for the actual fight to start. Both the warriors rushed towards one another. As the pupil was busy unsheathing his 15-foot sword from his scabbard, he was startled and surprised to find his old master at his throat with a two-foot sword against him, holding him in a tight iron-grip. The last words he heard from his master before he was killed were “Never try to act or pretend to be wiser than your teacher, I had taught you everything I knew except the art of using your intelligence, when you fight an enemy superior to you in strength”.

The pupil had learnt his lesson, but it was too late, for he never lived to implement it.
Moral: Never try to act smart with the one who has taught you. A teacher will always remain a teacher. They deserve all our respect for without them the world would have been poorer, totally bereft of all knowledge.

Paying due respect to ustaads(teachers) is also included in Taqwa(piety). He who is deficient in this regard can only, but hope to be a " Muttaqi". It is generally also said, that the Barkat(Blessings) in one's knowledge will increase in proportion to the degree of love one cherishes for one's ustaad(teacher). It is also generally said that one will find it difficult to attain Ilm(knowledge) without the satisfaction of one's ustaad(teacher).

Sit before the ustaad with respect.
Honour him / her at all times.
Pay total attention to the ustaad at all times.
Should the ustaad be engaged in conversation, do not be insistent with your greeting(salaam) or interrupt his / her conversation with yours.
Excessive laughter in front of the ustaad is showing dis-respect.
Keep the ustaads(teachers) heart cheerful either by corresponding with him / her or by presenting gifts to them.
Occasionally, go to visit the ustaad(teacher).
Make duaa for the ustaad whilst they are living and also after their demise.

Hazrat Abu Huraira(R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: " Seek Ilm(knowledge) and pursue tranquility and dignity for Ilm(knowledge) and act humbly before him who you seek Ilm from." (TABRANI, TARGHEEB). This hadith unequivocally commands us to seek Ilm(knowledge) and approach our ustaads(teachers) and people of Ilm(knowledge) with humility.

O Allah ! O Most Merciful of ALL those who show Mercy! Forgive and have Mercy on ALL our ustaads(teachers) for imparting to us beneficial knowledge. All our teachers(ustaads) who have taught us "Aa ,Baa, Thaa". All our teachers who taught us "A,B, C..."; and all our teachers(ustaads) who have taught us upto now and continue to guide us; for it is through their efforts, that today,we are able to read, write ,comprehend and function with the knowledge imparted to us. Ameen.

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