Islamic Studies

Help Yourself (Office Hours)

Originally published at


The administration asked teachers to make themselves more available to the students who need help, so we have to keep office hours once a week.  Every Wednesday I stay after school for one hour to tutor my students.  This is now the 5th week of school, and since then, I have only seen 2 students ask me for help.  It’s interesting, because these students probably don’t really need that much help, but they just want to ask.  And because they come to my office hours and show me they’re concerned with mastering their skills, I’ve grown to love them more over my other students.

Meanwhile, the masses are still not coming.  And I’m becoming more and more frustrated with them.  Why?  Because they all need my help.  They’re failing quizzes and tests and getting really low scores on the homework that they hardly turn in.  I know they care about their grades, because when I pass back graded assignments, they’re all really upset.  But they don’t do anything about it.  I have repeatedly told them about my office hours, and that I’m availible to meet them on other days too, before, during or after school.  And yet, no one takes me up on this offer.  So, like I said, I’m starting to become frustrated with them because they won’t help themselves by asking for help.

I was thinking, the other day, of the stupidity of the whole situation.  Here I have students in dire need of help, and I’ve made myself available to them, and they’re not coming or asking.  And then I thought… this sounds familiar.

Doesn’t Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make Himself available to us all the time, and do we not use this resource?  I mean, how many times have we been told that if we want mercy (good grades) we have to ask for it (go to office hours).  We’re even told for the best times to ask for the help we need, during sajud of tahajud (Wednesdays after school).  And yet hardly any of us actually take advantage of this time!

If we are to continue to make the analogy of office hours being like asking Allah for help, then take the example of the students who have come and asked.  As a teacher, nowhere close to having the status of Allah, even I have grown to love the students who ask for help more!  So imagine, if we actually are the ones who are wise and ask Allah for His help, make du’aa, and talk to Him when we’re in need, won’t He begin to love us more, too?

Just something to think about, I guess.  Next time you need something in life, don’t think you can manage on your own and figure it out by yourself.  My students can tell you first hand the success rate of having that mentality.  Instead, go to office hours and ask Allah!

Help yourself… ask for help!

About the author

Guest Authors

Guest Authors

As a virtual mosque, we strive to provide a safe space for learning and discussion. We would like to invite our readers to join this process. Everyone has a reflection to share, expertise on a specific topic, or a new idea. We hope, by opening up submissions from guest authors, that we can highlight the work of new, talented writers in our virtual community.

Add Comment

  • Assalamu alaikum,

    This is sooo true. What a nice reflection alhamdulilah. I was reading a handbook for teaching assistants at my university and it was saying how those students who really need help never come to office hours. It reminds me of myself. And then when I think of the Prophet pbuh and how he was asked about why he prays so much and he said “should I not be grateful”. The Prophet pbuh was forgiven for his sins and yet asked for forgiveness several times a day. We are far off from the status of the Prophet pbuh and thus it is more dire for us to ask for forgiveness and to pray more and yet we don’t. Deep reflection. mA

  • al-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuhu, Jazak Allahu Khayran for this analogy. It has motivated me to go to Allah more. Your reflection has been invaluable to me, may Allah accept it from you and shower you with khayr and barakah for sharing this thought with us. Amin

  • Assalamu alaikum,

    Bismillah, yes I do understand your frustration when students do not ask for help. I used to be a teacher’s assistant way back when. . . teaching pre-k thru 5 graders. It’s hard sometime to express your concerns when students cannot express if they need help or not. It’s pride that stand in the way of asking for help.
    I have seen students hold back because they are afraid of their full potentials that they have inside of them. Only you asked for those who are not afraid will come and seek help. You are doing what is right by extending yourself to those that are in need of help but still keep on reaching out to those who do not have the strength to ask for help, or get help. Please, insists that if any students need help come to open office hours and bring someone that also needs help. Students like to come alone or in pairs rather in pairs to feel less embrass by other students that think they are slow in homework materials.
    You can try to hang out bright color posters for everyone to see if they need help come the office. This will catch their attention when passing through the halls.
    Keep up the great deed because they will come, Alhamdulillah!!!!

Leave a Reply to Diana X