This topic is broad and everything about the role of the youth cannot be covered in one book, much less one article. Therefore I will focus on a single point for the purpose of this article. I should remind readers that they will find this article to be more like a discussion linked to some experiences, observations, thoughts, and ideas rather than a traditional piece. The term “YOUTH” has been defined in many ways and the definition continues to evolve along the lines of academia, religion, and culture. For the same reasons, I am not defining the term in any specific way but leaning to the general understanding of who a youth is(male or female).
My intention is to provide a discussion that will open a platform for your own thoughts to fit in and make it more meaningful to you. Without doubt my intention is never to mislead anyone in any way but to be as authentic and as realistic as possible.
Let me start by mentioning some of the instances where Allah honored his servants who were youth. With pleasure, we are reciting, narrating, and recalling the history of Prophet Yusuf A.S. His encounter with his own brothers happened when they were youth. For a quick recall, everything that happened to Yusuf A.S. happened in his youth. He had important dreams, he was thrown in the well when he was a young boy, he was adopted, he was in and out of prison, he was confronted and or invited by the wife of the king to disobey Allah and refused, of course. When he finally became a king ,he transformed his kingdom.
The references of events and occurrences listed in this time line will help us think about what was his role as a youth was. If we can quickly run down the list, we will see that the following people were honored by Allah and his Prophets for what they did as youth.
- Sayidatou Maryam, as a virgin, retreated from her people to worship her RABB in isolation.
- Prophet Ibrahim A.S demonstrated to his people the practical reality of the meaning of Tawheed when he was a young man.
- The Youths who were in the cave (Ashabal kahf) were honored by Allah and are mentioned in the Quran.
- Some of our role models are the companions of the Prophet (SAW) like Anas, Zaid, Khalid, and Sayed Bilal (RA), who stands out in history.
I guess at this point we will all ask ourselves why were they honored by Allah and if we look closely we will see that they had two things in common:
- They had “Taqwallah” consciousness of Allah at all times
- They were devout worshipers of Allah “Ebadallah” at all times.
Therefore, nothing should come first in the heart, mind and soul of any of us but these two things and that is having consciousness of Allah and devotion to his worship. These constitute the foundation of our role as youths and once these two are achieved we can do a lot more.
In Quran 16: 125 Allah said “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guide”.
In this verse Allah provides us with the tools to play our roles as youths. Wisdom, good conduct, and best debate are the tools that every Muslim youth can use.
However, we must be wise and know when, where, and the best circumstances to invite and debate with others. Today, the Muslim Ummah is divided and polarized. It is our role to unite the Ummah. We should try to be peace makers in the world. We as youth should promote love and decency in our homes, communities and society at large. We should equip ourselves with knowledge of the Quran and pass it onto the younger generation after us. Should we do that, we will become the best people as stated by our beloved Prophet S.A.W. He said, “The best of you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.” [Bukhari]
It is also our role as youth to invite others on to the deen by using these same tools Allah provided us. Invite others on to the path of Allah directly or indirectly. Let us unite and bring our energy, resources, ideas together like Madina Mercy is striving to do for one reason and that is, to contribute our share in fulfilling our roles as youth in Islam. This is what we must do now and not wait until we are too old. In fact, there is no guarantee that we will live long to attain old age.
As youth this is the time we can get involved in community activities to make sure that our communities are not polluted with hate and fear but love and care. As our Sheikh (Sheikh Muhammad) always mentions, “Be the one who will talk the talk and walk the walk.” We should be concerned about others in our communities because that is what makes us true believers. Let’s abide by the golden rule stated in the Hadith of Anas ibn Malik. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you has faith until he loves for his brother, or his neighbor, what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari]
If you are reading this article and agree with all that has being written, then you might be wondering where to start. I don’t want to be so ambiguous and theoretical but I’d encourage you to be simple and practical. I think you should decide where you would like to get involved and then come up with practical steps that could help achieve the goal.
To start with, be clear with your intention. Why are you doing what you do? I hope the answer is and will always be – For the sake of Allah.
Here are some practical ways in which you could get involeved
- You could use what you learn and teach it to others.
- You could get involved in community (khidma). It could be at the Masjid, the park, the community center, or your home.
- You could become a member of a youth group that seeks to serve Allah and their community. It could be a group involved in mentoring, organizing summer camps for kids, retreats for Ebadah, volunteer work, calling people on to the part of Allah, promoting the Deen, using social media like Madina Mercy to create more awareness, etc.
These are some practical steps that you can take to start fulfilling your role as youth if you have not done so already. Getting involved in these kinds of activities with good intention will earn you the pleasure of Allah as evident in the following hadith:
“Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has listed seven kinds of people who will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment. They are:
- A just ruler
- A young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of God
- One whose heart is attached to the mosque
- Two people who love each other for the sake of God
- A man who is invited to sin but declines, saying ‘I fear God’
- One who spends his charity in secret, without making a show, and
- One who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow with tears.”
(Riyadh-us-Saliheen, Hadith 376)
Evidently, who so ever Allah grants his shade on that day, he shall grant his Paradise. We conclude our humble reminder by thanking Allah.
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