Friday Sermon Archive Series, delivered 9th November 2000 & revised 18th May 2001
In the previous sermon, we looked at some of the main responsibilities of the Muslim; today we shall focus on the youth and problems facing them. We pride ourselves on our children, showing them off to friends and family. We dress them in nice clothes and ensure their general appearance is attractive. As parents, many of us dream of what we want for our children’s future but, in reality don’t plan for it.
- We neglect paying sufficient attention in their early formative years, thinking that they’ll be enough time to nurture them when they’re older.
- We leave them indoors or neglect them in the mosques
- We do not check their development in their religious or academic studies
- We send them to schools and madrassahs, without checking the quality of the education they receive.
- We fail to note the changes or development in our children due to the environment they’re in and thus fail to identify any corruption or disease that emerge.
- We realise when its too late and then blame the teachers, schools and society on the whole but;
- We don’t blame ourselves…
Types of youth: Sheikh Uthaymeen categorised the youth into three;
- The rightly guided youth
- The youth possessing corrupt beliefs and;
- The confused and doubtful youth.
1.The rightly guided youth: Not much detail needs to be given about this type of youth as he/she was raised in an Islamic environment (not merely a Muslim household). His parents paid sufficient attention to his religious development, enabling him to flourish in other areas as well. They balanced faith with leisure and other things important for developing children/adults. The parents were cognisant of not pushing the child to extremes, remembering the hadeeth of Hanzalah al-Usaylee who said;
“Abu Bakr met me and asked; ‘How are you O Hanzalah?’ I replied; ‘Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy!’ He said; ‘Subhan Allaah! What are you saying?’ I said; ‘When we are with Allaah’s Messenger (s) and he reminds us of the Fire and Paradise it is as if we are seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from Allaah’s Messenger (s) and attend to our wives, our children and our business, then much of this slips from our minds.’
Abu Bakr said; ‘By Allaah, we also experience the same.’ So I went with Abu Bakr until we entered upon Allaah’s Messenger (s). I said; ‘Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy O Messenger of Allaah (s)!’ So Allaah’s Messenger (s) asked; ‘And how is that?’ I said; ‘When we are with you, you remind us of the Fire and Paradise and it is as if we are seeing it with our eyes. Then when we depart from you and attend to our wives, children and business then much of this slips from our minds.’
So Allaah’s Messenger (s) said; ‘By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, if you remained continually as you are when you are with me and in remembering (Allaah) then the Angels would shake hands with you upon your beds and upon your roads. But O hanzalah, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that.” Muslim
- This youth is truthful in all his/her affairs;
- is dutiful to his/her parents and;
- is attentive in their faith etc.
2.The second type has developed corrupt beliefs, is irresponsible in conduct, misled and engulfed in vice:
- He does not accept the truth from anyone nor does he refrain from falsehood.
- He is stubborn and selfish. He is a teenager conceited with his own opinion as if truth flows from his tongue – yet he is a compulsive liar.
- He is away from the deen and the accepted norms of conduct.
- The evil of his conduct has been made alluring to him. – Give examples of such youth inviting friends to attend mosques in order to steal others’ valuables etc. during prayer!
- Preferring the ways of ignorance to faith and using the latter merely as a veneer for his activities.
- Still consuming and selling drugs while imitating a gangster lifestyle.
- He follows his desires; “Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (deity) and Allah Knowing (him as such) left him astray and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a covering on his sight. Who will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?” Surah Al Jathiyah (45:23)
A warning to such an individual:
“And whosever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Gracious, We appoint for him Shaytan to be a Qareen (intimate companion) to him. And verily, they (the shayateen) hinder them from the Path of Allaah but they think they are guided aright!” Surah Az-Zukhruf (43:36-37)
- The third type is the confused and doubtful youth: Many fall into this category.
- He recognises the Truth and is content with it; he has been raised in a guarded environment, i.e. his home, but the doors of temptation have been opened up for him from every direction.
- This has created doubt in his beliefs and deviations in his conduct and weakness in his actions.
- He fluctuates between two extremes of his upbringing as a Muslim and his desires caused by exposure to society’s ills.
Sheikh Uthaymeen goes on to say about this type of youth; “This type of teenager is passive in his life. He is in need of captivating strength, which will guide him towards the enclosure of truth and the path of goodness… This type of teenager is found in abundance. They obtain a smattering of Islamic education but they acquire much more secular knowledge which conflicts with the basis of the deen, either in reality or their presumptions. Thus they are helpless between the two cultures.”
End of 1St part of Sermon
Some reasons for the digression of youth and their problems;
- Idleness: “Idleness is a sickness which kills the thought process, the mind and strength of the body. This is because the body is always in need of movement and work. Therefore, when the body is idle, thoughts become dull and the mind weakens. Body movements weaken and shaytanic insinuations and evil thoughts form on the heart. Many times an evil intention is created as a result of this suppression, which was a direct consequence of idleness.”
- Alienation between the youth and the elders: This is clear in itself and does not really need clarification. The older generation must show gentleness and mercy to the youth, while the latter must afford the former respect and patience.
- Bad companionship: Abu Moosa Al-Asha’ree narrated from our Messenger;
“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk, then either he will give you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the Blacksmith’s bellows, then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” Bukhari & Muslim
- Reading destructive literature: This arouses in the youth base desires and causes confusion.
- The incorrect understanding of the youth that Islam is a repressive religion. Unfortunately, we as parents often give this impression through either cultural or excessively conservative (mal)practice of the faith.
We’re always telling our children what they can’t do and warning them about punishments. What about the many things they can do and the rewards that await the sincere worshippers upon the truth? The way we behave, alongside our general attitudes, i.e. lack of ambition and drive etc. give our youth a negative impression of the faith causing them to look elsewhere and desire other than Islam. Youth should discard the nihilistic rhetoric to ‘get rich quick or die trying! If this is the sole objective, remember that once we die, we will be questioned about this life and dealt with accordingly. The punishment of the grave is real… It’s our next place of abode before the Final Reckoning.