Reason 4 – Why Are Muslim Youth Confused? Institutional Ideological Dichotomy
Nowadays when everything is institutionalized, it is absolutely vital that there exists the highest degree of ideological harmony between diverse institutions.
That means that all institutions, irrespective of their character and scope, work together and in unison complement each other in realizing an aggregate success.
Institutions’ visions and missions cannot radically differ. The unity of supreme visions, purposes and aims is overriding.
That, however, is not the case in most Muslim countries. Various institutions work for their own objectives and in their own ways. They are furthermore at odds with one another, both ideologically and operationally.
Instead of making great strides together, they move away from the core towards separate directions, alienating themselves more and more from the core – and from each other – stretching the core to its limit.
That core is the Islamic tawhidic (Allah’s Oneness) life paradigm and its incalculable implications for life and thought, as well as the Muslim personality which in its deeds, words and thoughts is expected to embody the former.
This means that all institutions in a Muslim context ought to strive via their given powers and compasses for the implementation of Islam as a complete code of life.
Reason 3 – Lack of True Role Models
Each institution is to contribute its share for the unified purpose, creating eventually a colorful mosaic of ideas, approaches, responsibilities and standpoints, which will be closely knitted with the thread of the Islamic monotheistic message. That will be a sign of institutions’ appropriateness and relevance, whereas the opposite will connote their impropriety and insignificance.
Since Muslims stand at the center of this paradigm as its target, they will be the first to reap its benefits when it is apt and functions well. Similarly, they will be the first to suffer when it breaks down and starts malfunctioning.
Indeed, the spiritual, moral and intellectual development of Muslim youth is most affected by the institutional ideological dichotomy.
Muslim youth are primarily targeted by all institutions. They keep competing in attracting them to their respective trajectories, promising all the best that youth might need or desire.
By virtue of youth being the future and backbone of society, all societal institutions and establishments are bent on securing their own future with and through youth.
For Muslim youth, however, their institutions create nothing but a crossroads. Youth stand at its center pulled towards opposite paths. They do not really know where to go and to which set of values to subscribe and from which to unsubscribe. They lack a criterion to do so. Confused, they are left to themselves, with their youthful, vacillating and vulnerable minds and souls in charge.
The Quran emphatically affirms about itself that it is the Criterion – not merely a criterion. Only with it can good be distinguished from evil, and light separated from darkness.
But the Quran has been abandoned long ago in many circles, so it is failing to perform its tasks. Muslim youth are thus left to the tender mercies of the strong currents of the opposing systems and ideologies that compete for their inherent aptitudes and talents.
For example, Muslim youth are taught and trained something at home and in mosques, but something else in schools and elsewhere. They are asked at home and in mosques to subscribe to a certain worldview and follow certain values, but the same worldview and values are ignored, yet every so often openly criticized and derided, through the media and entertainment industries.
What behavioral standards and patterns in life Muslim youth are requested at home and in mosques to follow, are in stark contrast with the behavioral standards and patterns of politicians, business leaders, educators, media personnel and artists.
Reason 1: Why Are Muslim Youth Confused?
Painfully torn between different voices, authorities and influences, Muslim youth are perennially unsure whom to trust and follow most enthusiastically, given that neither following nor reconciling between them is possible: parents, religious leaders, scholars, politicians, artists, etc.
Unquestionably, this is a sophisticated and well-evolved form of legitimization, along with spreading, of the narrowing down of the scope of Islam’s comprehension and implementation, on the one hand, and of individual pretense and two-facedness, on the other.
That further fosters some of the most harmful ethical and spiritual ailments, such as deadening formalism, superficiality, literal symbolism and lethargy in relation to faith and worship.
Not only Muslim youth, but also Muslims at large, suffer greatly from those ailments. In this case, confusion mutates into concrete systems of thought and action.
Being at the receiving end of this occurrence is truly an excruciating experience. Even the Holy Quran through a parable hints at it and the severity of its repercussions. It says:
Allah cites you a parable – there is a slave man who is shared by many masters, each pulling this man to himself (like the man who worships other deities along with Allah), and there is another slave man who entirely belongs to one master (like the man who worships Allah Alone) – are the two alike in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know (Az-Zumar, 29).
The servant owned by several quarrelsome masters (authorities and powers) – all of them at variance with one another – will always be confused because his masters will always disagree and give him differing instructions.
In order to outdo each other, they will manipulate and work against one another. Each one will stop at nothing with the aim of securing supremacy and control over the servant.
The poor servant of many masters has to suffer from the quarrel of his many masters. It is an impossible and unnatural position. He will never experience peace either between them or for himself.
In contrast, the other servant serves only one master. His master is good, and does all he can for his servant. The servant can concentrate his attention on his service. He is happy himself and his service is efficiently performed.
“Can there be any doubt as to (1) which of them is the happier, and (2) which of them is in a more natural position? No man can serve two, still less numerous, masters” (Yusuf Ali).