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Significance of Youth in Islam

Dr. Bilal A Bhat
[ March 10, 2017 ]
Muslim youth can contribute to Islam by giving time, talent and money. They should also play an important role to bring about positive change in society, and should work with an objective of making Islam prevalent over all the other ways of life. The youth is the stage of life when the individual should grasp good knowledge about Islam and make effective utilization of the time and talent given by Allah.

If we examine the life of an average human, we come to realize that life consists of four periods. Childhood: This usually lasts for thirteen to fourteen years. The teenage years which usually lasts for six to eight years depending on when he gets married, (The Period of Youth). The third part of his life is from the time he gets married until his old age, which usually lasts for merely twenty to thirty years, and then lastly his old age whose exact time period cannot be said with certainty, depending on when death takes him. Now out of these four parts of an average human life, the most crucial stage of his life is the period of youth. The period of youth is a time when a person goes through many changes and experiences; he undergoes and partake many new things which he has never experienced before. The youth begins to feel as though he has control over the whole world, and that he can do whatever he wishes. His desires are increasing day by day becoming attached to the opposite sex, he enjoys lustfully gazing and flirting with them.. Now, this is that period of his life that if he was to control his desires a bit, and sacrifice a few of these devilish desires, he can become a future role-model for Muslims. He can become a leader for his community, and the biggest achievement he can gain is success in the hereafter. As being admitted into paradise, and being saved from the hell fire, is, in reality truly the greatest success a person can gain. Allah (SWT) has described this as a ‘great success’ in the Holy Qur’an. The reason why this period of human life is so important and crucial is because this period of youth is generally what determines the way in which this period of his life is spent. If he spends this period of his life in an Islamic environment, visiting the Masjid for the five daily prayers, associating with the pious people and the true scholars of Islam, sitting in their gatherings, then, it is greatly hoped that he will spend the rest of his life in the same way. On the other hand, if the youth stays away from the Masjid and doesn’t associate himself with the pious and scholars of Islam, but spends his time visiting the pubs/clubs, associating himself with the opposite gender and mischievous people, then it is most likely that the rest of his life will be spent in a similar manner, away from the Masjid and away from Deen, except if Allah wishes otherwise. Just like everything, life is also a gift from Allah and every aspect of it should be regarded as a gift and a trust from Allah. Allah expects us to spend this youth in His worship and obedience, seeking knowledge of Islam and acting upon it. This in itself is a form of gratefulness. In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah said that the feet of the son of Adam will not be able to move until he is questioned regarding four things. Out of these four questions, one question asked will be regarding how one spent his time as a youth. In another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah has said that on the Day of Judgement, there are seven types of people to whom Allah will give shade to. It is stated in Bukhari that on the Day of Judgement there will be no shade except for Allah’s shade. And from amongst these groups, one group will be those youth who spent their youth in the worship of Allah. The reason being is because a youth has many desires, so whosoever goes against his desires and controls them in this delicate period of youth, and obeys the command of Allah, and tries his best to follow the Islamic Shariah, in such a time of his life when his desires are at their peak, then Allah will give him a great reward. Once the great Imam Abu Hanifah (rahamtullahe alayhe) was giving advice to his student Imam Abu Yusuf (rahamtullahe alayhe). He said that in your youth you should spend your time in seeking Islamic knowledge, and thereafter seek a job, and when you get enough money then you should get married.Once a pious servant of Allah saw an old man in great pain.
On seeing him in this state, he remarked that the old man did not take care of Allah’s rules in his youth. Similarly, a wise man once said that how many old men are there who repent to Allah. How great would it be to see youngsters repenting to Allah. Therefore, the period of youth is a very delicate and important period in a Muslim’s life. If spent in the right way his time as a youth will benefit not only himself but also others. By visiting the Masjid, attending the gatherings of the scholars of Islam and seeking their advice and knowledge, serving one’s parents and trying to carry out Allah Taa’la’s orders to the best of ability then it is greatly hoped that one will grow up to become a leader of the Muslim community and become the coolness of one’s parents eyes. If wasted by continuously committing sins, disobeying Allah’s commands, then it is possible that on the Day of Judgment Allah will reprimand him regarding this. Youth is the golden period of our life. Our youth is the most important stage of our life because this is the stage when the person chooses a path. The path may be right or wrong. This is the stage; the youth will have many deviations and distractions like watching porn movies, music, girls, cigarettes, alcohol, games etc. At this age, the parents need to play a very important role in guiding their children to choose the right path so that they are successful in this world and the hereafter and should ensure that they do not adopt the wrong path. Thinking about bringing the children back to a right track after a certain time would be very difficult. It is true that every journey begins with a single step, but if our first steps have been taken in the wrong direction, then the complete life will be on the wrong path and coming on the right path will become very difficult. Some youth think that this is the time to enjoy and once they come out of college they will adopt the right track but they do not know that coming back to the right part will become next to impossible. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has listed seven kinds of people who will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment. They are:
1. A just ruler
2. A young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of God
3. One whose heart is attached to the mosque
4. Two people who love each other for the sake of God
5. A man who is invited to sin but declines, saying ‘I fear God’
6. One who spends his charity in secret, without making a show, and
7. One who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow with tears. (Riyadh-us-Saliheen, Hadith 376)
From this hadith we can easily understand the importance given to youth by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is the stage when the Satan easily gains control over the person and leads him to the wrong path. So in this stage the person should be over conscious on the various activities done by him. We just have to give the Satan an inch and he will rule over us. Three common areas where Muslim youth should focus are as follows:
1. Obeying and respecting our parents.
2. Effective utilization of time (avoid wasting time).
3. Avoid seeing, and listening to, something which is prohibited by Islam.
In their youth, most of them think that they know everything; some also think that they know more than their parents. Due to this type of attitude they tend to disobey their parents. The children might gain more knowledge in a particular field but, in terms of experience, they can never beat their parents. Considering our parents more knowledgeable and experienced than us will help us to obey and respect them. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari) From this hadith we should understand that out of the many bounties given by Allah (swt), free time and health are the precious bounties given by Allah (swt) and use them for the right purpose. In Surah Al-Asr, Allah (swt) also emphasizes on the importance of time. But today we see majority of the youth waste their time in doing things which are disliked and prohibited in Islam. Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: “There are two things which people do not recognize the greatness of until they lose them: their youth and good health.” This is the age where we do not have the complete control over our desires and we get attracted and addicted to things which are disliked and prohibited in Islam. It might give us material pleasure for some time but they are definitely harmful in the hereafter. Today’s youth should be the “Youth with a mission” – a mission to contribute for Islam. A youth can contribute to Islam by giving his time, talent and money. A youth should also play an important role to bring about a drastic change in society. The youth should work with an objective of making Islam prevalent over all the other ways of life. The youth is the stage of life when the individual should grasp good knowledge about Islam and make effective utilization of the time and talent given by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “He it is who sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that He may cause it to prevail over all religions and Allah suffices as a witness” (Al-Fath, 48:28) From this verse we come to know as to what was the objective of the Prophet, which should also be the objective of every Muslim. But the today’s youth are living without any objective. They are living with a primary objective to satisfy their material desires. We all should remember that all that we have today is only given by Allah alone and everything belongs to Allah, thus we should spend everything and do everything for the cause to Allah with a sole objective to please Him. The Muslim youth are the future Islamic leaders, so it is very important for the youth to understand Islam in the right perspective by gaining the correct knowledge of Islam from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah and understand the real purpose of existence on this earth. The youth is the “make it” or “break it” stage of our life. May Allah (swt) help the Muslim youth to follow Islam completely –So dear youngster! Realize your value and importance for the future fate of the Ummah lies in your hands. May Allah guide and protect us all on the day of Judgement. Ameen!

(The author a teacher at S K University of Agriculture Sciences &Technology-SKUAST Srinagar writes on Islamic topics exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”)