Short Answer: The most important element of a successful summer vacation from an Islamic perspective is the company we keep. Our friends will either make or break our deen. Getting daily exercise with the brothers will keep your summer relaxing and will help to control your desires. Perhaps you can join Islamic summer camps. They would be both enjoyable and spiritually beneficial.
Salam Dear Junayd,
Thanks for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
No doubt, if we don’t take a proactive approach to maintaining our iman (faith), we might really lose it.
While this fact holds true for all Muslims, it is particularly applicable to Muslim youths living in non-Muslim lands.
The summer vacation represents an ideal opportunity to boost one’s deen (religion).
However if it’s spent inappropriately, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
If we truly value our faith, it is imperative that we use this opportunity to its fullest extent.
Friends Around You
The most important element of a successful summer vacation from an Islamic perspective is the company that we keep.
Our friends will either make or break our deen (religion).
If a Muslim finds himself hanging out with non-Muslim classmates who are drinking, smoking, womanizing, etc., he should not be surprised if his iman is significantly weaker by summer’s end.
On the other hand, if he keeps his company to be of knowledgeable Muslims of strong faith, or even older and wiser Muslims, there is no doubt that he will benefit immensely.
Look at the friends around you.
Those who you can say are of a positive influence on your iman, stick with them, maximize your time in the mosque with them, eat with them, play basketball with them, etc.
The friends that are less concerned with their iman and non-Muslim classmates, you should think of ways to bring them stronger into deen, but don’t subject yourself to a large group of them for any length of time.
It’s best if you can target one of them at a time and take him out with your religious friends. Thus he’ll benefit from the better company too.
Take him out to dinner – you pay. Let him see that Muslims can have a good time but not at the expense of Islam.
Punctual in Prayer
The second most important element of a successful summer vacation, which is often a product of the first element, is to be extremely punctual in prayer times.
Perform the prayer in its earliest time, and maximize your number of prayers performed in the mosque.
Even if you live relatively far from the mosque, aim to make at least the dawn and evening prayer with the congregation as you will earn the reward of praying the entire night – as it comes in a famous Tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Avoid food and drink immediately before sleeping in order to ease your waking for fajr prayer.
If your playing basketball with the brothers when asr prayer comes in, stop the game for five minutes and pray on the side of the court with the group – assuming your nowhere near the mosque.
Allah has used public prayer in non-Muslim lands as a means of spreading His Guidance on innumerable occasions – perhaps you’ll be so lucky.
Third, check with the mosques in your locality for weekly lessons in the Islamic sciences.
Put a few hours aside daily or even weekly to study Quran recitation, Arabic, jurisprudence, etc. in the mosque.
Check mosques in your locality, for scheduled lessons and gatherings, through this link.
Furthermore, practice what you learn when you’re alone.
It is also said that a Muslim shouldn’t let a day pass without looking at the Quran.
Decide upon a daily wird (portion of Quran recited with consistency), perhaps 2 pages for beginners, 10 for intermediate, and 20 for advanced. Even make up your wird the next day should you miss it for any reason.
Also, learn to reflect upon the meanings of the Quran by working on your Arabic or simply reading a reliable translation of its meanings.
Finally, be consistent in your morning and evening adhkaar (remembrances of Allah) even if it’s only for 5 or 10 minutes.
Sports & Leisure
As we mentioned before, maintaining good Muslim companionship is key to a successful summer, especially in recreational activities.
Getting daily exercise with the brothers will keep your summer relaxing and will help to control your desires.
Organize the brothers for basketball, tennis, soccer (football), frisbee, and swimming (though public beaches are usually not an Islamically-appropriate environment).
You and your friends must try to lower your gaze and fulfill the divine order of ghad al-basar (lowering the eye gaze and not looking to non-spouse).
Perhaps you can join Islamic summer camps. They would be both enjoyable and spiritually beneficial.
These sports represent a much better alternative to movies and television from both a spiritual and medical perspective, but they should never come at the expense of your Islamic obligations nor should they infringe upon the time you spend with your family.
In other words, everything should be kept in its proper perspective.
Along these lines, it is imperative to use the summer vacation as an opportunity to help one’s family more than is possible during the school year.
Spend time with your grandparents, go out with your mother, help your younger brothers and sisters have fun…
While this time might seem like a chore, they will appreciate it greatly, and in a few years down the road, you will wish you had spent more time doing such things.
As we said before, the summer is an excellent opportunity for spiritual growth if used correctly.
We hope that the above-mentioned suggestions help to steer your vacation in a Islamically-productive direction.
Thank you for your question and please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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