- Generally, when there is a problem, one goes to the source to find the solution. How many Imams, Mosque committees etc ask the youth what are their problems?
- Perhaps a competition should be organised by each Mosque/Madrassah, asking the children to write: – – what problems they experience – what do they propose the Mosques do about it- and what do they want the Mosques to do for them. A prize could be offered to encourage participation.
Thank you for your question; it is a very important one.
Role Models for Muslim Youth
The youth need role models. They need to see Muslims actively working in the community for the community then they might even want to get involved. Mosques should be opening their doors to youth and to women. Mosques should be doing a SWOT analysis at least, and preferably, a strategic plan so they can plan their growth and their need for facilities.
Where the facilities need to include recreational facilities to get the youth off the streets and into a safe place where they can relax with like-minded youngsters and listen to a short talk on Islam preferably in the form of a rap session (not a lecture or formal talk) and where they can ask questions.
We have come a long way with immigrant Muslims, many uneducated, establishing house mosques, to purpose-built mosques, to children learning Arabic the Quran without understanding, etc. Now, this is not sufficient. What is needed is a holistic approach, how to produce a complete Muslim? One question that comes immediately to mind is, Do Muslims need to know Quranic Arabic and understand Islam from the sources for themselves?
Finally, role models are necessary and not just in sports. The youth and women’s needs have to be taken into consideration. All available resources have to be utilised. Strategic planning is a must to be in a pro-active position. Imams have to be able to interact with the community in terms of giving time to the youth, for marriage counseling, to be seen to be active in the community and to give khutbahs which are relevant to the issues in their community.
The Madrassahs (Islamic Schools) are changing. To say they listen more and do less talking is probably not an exaggeration. Some Madrassahs bring in personalities to talk to the children and this is a blessing. Understanding the Quran is being taught in the national language, at long last, in many places. This is absolutely essential if the youth are to be able to explain their religion.
Also, to continually expect youths to practice their religion when they don’t really understand it is surely, asking too much, especially when there are outside or community pressures on them. One can only wonder why the madrassahs don’t step up to the plate and take up the challenge of teaching CRE (cultural and religious education) from the Islamic perspective in parallel with the schools?
I’ve had children as young as 11 say the shahadah in my house. How can they explain their new religion to their peers? Who is going to teach them? Their parents had discussions with the families of their children’s Muslim friends and were happy for their children to become Muslims.
Let’s ask the Muslim Youth
Generally, when there is a problem, one goes to the source to find the solution. How many Imams, Mosque committees etc ask the youth what are their problems? Perhaps a competition should be organised by each Mosque/Madrassah, asking the children to write:
– what problems they experience
– what do they propose the Mosques do about it
– and what do they want the Mosques to do for them
A prize could be offered to encourage participation.
How to Bring the Youth Back
It does appear to this writer, that the mosques have to find ways or programmes to interact with the attendees in order to compete with the outside influences whether they are online; social media – google, facebook, instagram, etc; YouTube and Islamic channels and lectures – surely the benefit of a live lecture is that one can engage with the speaker.
The results of the questionnaire to the youth would give some indication of what interactive programmes could be run, and this would follow for each community. Perhaps the communities could share their experiences in the future.
Another possibility is to draw up a checklist of what is required for Mosques and madrassahs and award points as to how far this is achieved. Have a national body award an appropriate grading system for each mosque/madrassah.
I hasten to add, this is one person’s view. In many cases more than this may well have been achieved but, in many cases we still have a long way to go. I’m still hearing of Mosques which will not allow talks/lectures in English.
May Allah bless the Ummah and grant us the wisdom and the resources for our communities to meet the changing needs of the times, and to be the best example, Amin.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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