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Muslim Youth & Campus Life Challenges

Whether you are living in dorms or staying at home while going to campus, college presents a new set of challenges for Muslim youth.

This type of environment has a lot of dating, casual sex, drugs/alcohol, and challenges to Islamic rules of interaction for genders.

It doesn’t mean this environment is always a struggle and it doesn’t mean you can’t attend college.

Like any struggle in life, it is better to prepare yourself mentally and be ready for what will likely cross your path.

To begin with, always make dua and ask Allah (the most revered, most honored) for guidance and help on this path. Pray istikhara often and turn to your Quran for answers.

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Integration vs. Isolation

It is completely natural to seek acceptance and a sense of belonging. In our hierarchy of psychological needs to attain happiness, feeling secure and accepted is part of that base.

However, it is important to remember that you don’t have to follow every move someone else does in order to connect with them and build friendships.

Just as Muslims and non-Muslims are often friends, and we don’t expect our non-Muslim friends to fast Ramadan with us, you should not be expected to follow the crowd as your only means of integrating.

It is very possible to integrate into campus culture and be a role model of ethics while abstaining from haram activities.

Some go to the extreme right and begin isolating themselves as if the only way to handle struggle is to pretend it doesn’t exist. That won’t work and can actually lead to depression and lower your confidence.

Repeated isolation is not healthy; human beings are social creatures with social needs.

This doesn’t mean you have to attend every event on campus or join clubs that don’t align with the Islamic belief system, but find ways to integrate into your campus culture without sacrificing your own beliefs.

“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]”[Quran 2:45]

Gender Interaction

Did men and women interact during the time of the first generations of Muslims? The answer to that is yes, HOWEVER, it was done in a safe and ethical manner.

I need to highlight safety here because all too often our youth tend to forget that Islamic rules serve a purpose and gender interaction guidelines strongly protect women.

According to this study, almost one in four undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or misconduct at 33 of the nation’s major universities in the US. 13% of college and graduate students report nonconsented sexual contact, states the article of the American Psychological Association.

Do you still want to be alone with that guy in biology class? Because most assaults are carried out by people the victim knows.

It is not haram to interact with the other gender, but we have to follow guidelines.

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About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website ""