The plight of the Muslim Youth is probably one that will resonate with many.
The grand populace of the Muslim Ummah comprises of the young, and if you’re reading this, you are probably a young Muslim who is struggling to understand, maintain and practice your deen in a society that is seemingly antagonistic to the values of our religion.
Firstly, know that you are not alone
Find comfort that there are ample of stories in the Quran about Muslim youth struggling to uphold their values for the sake of Allah.
Many of the Prophets were “enlightened” at very young ages.
Mary was a young girl who had her own struggles.
The Sleepers of the Cave were a group of young men who fled persecution during a volatile time plagued with temptation.
Similarly, during the revelation of the Quran in Makkah, a good segment of the Muslim community at the time comprised of the young.
Although challenges and circumstances may be different, Allah Almighty through the Quran, and Prophet Muhammad’s companions, through the Hadith, both recorded the tribulations of the youth who came before us. Getting to know these stories well help put perspective on the challenges faced today and how to handle them.
If you’re a young Muslim and you feel you need to look for help to preserve your deen, know that you have taken a leap in the right direction by pooling efforts for help. Make sincere du’a to Allah for His guidance along the way.
Here is a simple survival tip that insha’Allah will pave a certain direction in your struggles.
Manage Your Time – Because It’s Running Out
One of the two most valuable resource anyone on this dunya has is time. The other one is health.
Alhamdulillah, if you’re reading this article, you are probably young and are in good health and if you do have any health challenges, I am quite sure you have the tools to overcome them.
But back to time management. Allah swears by time in the Quran that we will be at a loss with time. This is a resounding reminder that managing your time will keep you on the “straight path,” and this is very much why. Having too much time on our hands will inevitably lead to ourselves trawling into temptations and plainly wasting the limited hours we have in this dunya to engage in good deeds.
Here are simple tips on managing time that effectively play towards survival:
– Make a daily / personal appointment to speak with Allah Almighty: I’m not talking about time for the obligatory prayers. Those are really the basic communication that every Muslim should make with God.
Set aside a specific time that you can sit down and sit back in a relaxed manner, to spill your heart out to Allah. It really builds upon your relationship with Him – to know that you can speak candidly and openly with Him, without the obligatory recitations and movements, and the like.
I am not diminishing the importance of prayers, as they are obligatory upon us – but being able to speak openly with Allah provides a sense of peace that cannot be found elsewhere. And once communication with Allah is open, the stronger the realization that you’re accepted by Allah is patented.
– Make time for Islamic education. Take time to learn about your deen: Not everyone has to study deen to become a scholar. But make sure you know the basic tenets of faith as well as aqeedah and fiqh. Getting to know Prophet Muhammad (through a basic seerah) will also bring you closer to Prophet Muhammad.
If you have questions, consult someone who is able to provide a learned answer. Search online, even. But make du’a to Allah as well to guide you out of ambiguity or doubt. Understanding who you are as a Muslim puts our identity into perspective.
– Next, allocate the proper time for your school or job, or both. Most of the youth are either still studying or starting out at a job, or both. Obviously, you need to make full use of your time working towards completing your studies or working. Do both responsibly. Outside of that, ensure you complete your homework as well (this is part of filling up your time) and you complete other chores/errands on-time.
Rest & Beneficial Activities
– More on filling up your time: If in between classes or breaks while working, consider filling up those voids with something useful. Don’t let precious minutes go to waste and don’t lose time with unnecessary socializing or gossip. These are also pitfalls of temptations.
During your “free” time outside of these hours, consider engaging in beneficial activities as well. If you don’t have a job, consider a part-time one. Apply for an apprenticeship. Become an activist in what you feel passionate about. Take up a sport or learn a new skill. Volunteer at a charity. Turn up at the local Masjid. Start your own enterprise. Masha’Allah, with all the resources we have nowadays, the opportunities are endless.
– Lastly, while there is so much urgency about time management, it is also wise to get enough rest. As per the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, sleep early (after Isha’ prayers), and wake up early for Fajr (with a possibly lovely prelude of one-on-one time with Allah). This will help keep you away from harm way at night, and help you wake up for the most oft-missed prayers, before dawn.
Good Company are Good Keepers!
Having really good friends is probably one of the best ways to keep you in survival mode. There are several “threads” of company that one can keep, and the Prophet Muhammad made an analogy of good company providing the scent of musk, while poor company would have an opposite effect.
– Good company are essentially friends who love you in this world and the next. They will stick by you through thick and thin for the sake of your deen, and you should do the same for them. Getting advice from friends is painful at times, especially if they are willing to point out your faults, but know that a good friend would point out some wrongdoing, but in a decent and honest way, preferably in private.
At times like this, we are reminded about the famous “Sleepers of the Cave,” who were really a group of young men, living in a society that was full of temptations on multiple levels. This story is an inspiration for you – the young Muslim – who is surviving today, who is striving so hard to maintain honor and dignity within yourself and not fall for traps that involve shamelessness, lewdness, materialism or temptation.
You are the young Muslim who is lowering your gaze, guarding your modesty, and dressing with honor and dignity.
While the Sleepers of the Cave were guided by Allah to retreat into a cave, where they were cared for over 300 years, know that Allah is your source of sole guidance and protection in this world that is also filled with all of the above. If Allah can take care of those youth who had taqwa during their difficulties, He can take care of anyone – and He can take care of you – but you have to hold steadfast your love and affection for Allah as well.
Ambassadors of Islam
– Good company also involves friends who have like-minded interests. This may or may not overlap with the criteria above, but as Muslims, we need to remain active members of society as it is part of our obligation to spread the message of Islam, even to those who may harbor animosity towards Muslims.
Take it upon yourself to be an Ambassador of your religion to live and breathe as best as possible, the way Prophet Muhammad did, and to convey the message of our deen with kindness and compassion.
Part of our responsibility as Muslims is to “share” Allah’s Book, the Quran. Although “sharing” is predominantly found on facebook, and sharing clever tafseer-memes and khutbah videos are great to reach out to friends, Muslim or not, sharing also means living out the Quran in action, and it’s not just for the sake of da’wah, but because we are obliged to behave in a certain way.
– Good company is also family. Alhamdulillah, quite a few youngsters have good relations with family members, but I believe and honor those who feel challenged when speaking to parents, siblings and relatives. While things may be difficult, just remember that generations of good and pious people struggled with their family members: Nuh and son, Ibrahim and Azar (his father), the father-son duo of Ya’qub and Yusuf and the 10 brothers…etc.
I am not saying your family members are disbelievers (unless they are), but know that Allah recorded these challenges in the Quran. So whenever you feel down, pick up the Quran to give your soul a picker-upper.
Remember also that Allah reminded us to not give up on our family, no matter how difficult. We need to be the best to our parents, and that relatives of the womb (arham) “come first.”
Family can be a challenge, but take up the challenge to grow and mature into a better person who peruses sabr (patience) and hikmah (wisdom) in dealing with them.
(From Reading Islam archives)
Read Part 2