Photo Courtesy: Unknown
We are in the 21st century and majority of the youth are either in love, in a relationship, married, confused or totally lost. This is one of the worst realities of us; the current era youth. Whereas at our age, our parents and grandparents could not dare court a girl, or at least make it public; nowadays that is the trend and actually without it, you are considered out of fashion or old fashioned. This whole ideology of love is actually what branches to a lot of other fitnah like zinah, sometimes drinking, clubbing and drugs, sometimes rebellion against parents and much more. We as the youth have revolutionized the concept of love; some have commercialized it and some have made it seem the filthiest word on earth yet love was originally pure in its earliest form whereby love meant respect to oneself, respect to the girl, respect to the parents of the girl and even respect to the whole world evolving around her. Love originally meant taking the main path to her parent’s house and knock at the door but now the youth decide to take on the short cut and sneak out the girl from her home via the window. This is where all immorality begins and all principles are broken. The youth however have their own many ways of justifying dating and all the impunity related with it, with the Western justification of ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO) quickly forgetting the promises God has kept for us for the hereafter. Nonetheless, we can never refute the reality of existence of love. As much as it is controllable, it is, most of the times, unavoidable. But actually the problem of the youth isn’t love but how to deal with it. When a young person goes to their parents and confesses about their love to a particular person, most parents immediately camouflage and become annoyed at the words of their children especially when it is a girl. Our society has made it seem that it is totally okay for a young man to actually talk to his parents about a girl he loves even when he is still very young for the responsibility of marriage. Parents would listen to him and advice him on waiting and all that but now, change the picture, let the girl of the same family same say the same words to her parents and they would be angry and never trust her again etcetera etcetera. The reality is, it has already happened; parents should actually appreciate that their daughter or son didn’t take action in his/her own hands but instead approached them so they can help her out. It is high time parents realized that the technology world is ruining us and that they need to have more of these heart to heart talks with their young ones. When parents keep it formal with their children without finding wise ways of teaching them how to teach them deal with adolescence and peer pressure, that’s when the youth explore the world themselves; totally submerged into the world of fantasy and forever love and dating and all that they see on televisions, internet and social media. This just shows the importance of parents giving room to their children to talk and express themselves freely; this actually saves a lot of trouble onwards. Khadija, Peace Be upon Her was the one who requested for the prophet to marry her, even though she was much older. It is no shame when a girl asks for her parents to do the same for her. The shame would be when we don’t teach our children how to deal with their emotions and what are the limits that should not be crossed.
However, another sad reality is that some parents don’t care or simply don’t mind when they see their sons taking out girls for dates or when they see their daughters preparing to go out; our own parents, who are supposed to be our role models, are drowning along with us.
So in this era of fitnah, the few responsible ones decide to marry early so as to avoid falling in sin. Yet still, even as they marry, they still have the corrupted Westernized ideology of marriage and take marriage like the dating life they see their pals going through and this is how we have several young people are getting divorced as fast as they got married. However, for others who approach their parents so as to marry, their parents tell them it’s too early and that they should wait until they are more responsible or done with studies etcetera; which is true, but nonetheless, the parents fail to realize that stopping their children from marrying or getting married when they want to, may lead to zinah. This is why the prophet p.b.u.h. said that whoever amongst us can marry then they should do so and this is because he knew the amount of fitnah the young people have to deal with.
Our religious leaders have the greater duty as much as parents to help and advice young people on how to deal with adolescence and peer pressure. Most sheikhs actually give lectures about these issues but they rarely give solutions; in fact many just criticize the actions of the youth which in return make them become even more rebellious towards the rulings of deen. Sheikhs have to choose a more gentle approach on how to advise the youth but most importantly, show and teach how to deal with this kind of fitnah Islamically. They have to bring themselves down to their level and talk the same language as we the youth do so that there can be more understanding between the two parties.
The Muslim lady in her hijab is the queen of Islam; the image portraying the identity of Islam, she is mother of tomorrow and the daughter of today. Society has always had this misconception that being a Muslim lady means getting married, having children and taking care of your family, which is totally true. Nonetheless, it is sad that the society is against the idea that a Muslim lady should have dreams or ambitions. It is rather puzzling that the society has the belief that when a Muslim lady is attached to her deen, then she wouldn’t bother venture into the world of knowledge and working and creating change but would just be confined to her husband, children and home. Again, the society have the belief that when a Muslim lady ventures into the world of work, then she is not really attached to her deen which is also totally so wrong. It is by this that a lady with dreams is often found in a tag of war between two worlds; the world evolving her deen and her career. And many would ask this question, ‘how do you balance the two; how do you balance your career and your deen?’ Many think that in order to be an ambitious career lady with dreams then you have to give up your deen and vice versa; which is what challenges the Muslim lady. In the career world, colleagues expect the Muslim lady to dress trendily or shake hands with non mahrams etcetera while in the Islamic world, she is expected to only concentrate in her home and family affairs only. Yet they forget how the sahabiyaat; Aishah, Fatima, Khadija peace be upon them, amongst others were active in all societal issues. Khadijah peace be upon her was a very successful business woman, Aishah peace be upon her was known for her knowledge of deen and memorization of ahadith. She, together with Aishah, Umm Salim and Umm Salit were proficient at nursing the wounded. Different sahabiyat accompanied the prophet peace be upon him on his military expeditions and took part in battles both on land and at sea. Asma’ bint Umais was famous for interpretation of dreams while Asma’ bint Yazid was an expert in making speeches. Khawlah, Maleekah, Thaqafiyah and Bint Fakhariyah used to trade in the oriental oil-based perfumes known as ‘itar (As explained in the book ‘Great Women of Islam by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar). These are but a few of the Sahabiyat; there are many more who took part in both religious and societal issues. It is high time that the society realized that being a career woman doesn’t make her any lesser Muslimah or mother or wife or daughter; the two can very well be balanced. Instead of treading on with such ideologies, the Islamic society should appreciate the Muslim women who are trying to create change in our world; both Islamic and secular world. Muslims should instead create more comfortable job opportunities and environments for Muslim ladies to work within. They forget; teaching a woman is teaching the whole nation yet teaching a Muslim woman can as well be as teaching the whole universe. Let the Muslim ladies explore their talents and imaginations; let them build the society.
The challenges of Islam and Muslim youth could go on and on to fill a whole book due to the seriousness and complexity of the problems. Nonetheless, the general solution for all the named and unnamed problems is for Muslims to come and find solutions on common ground. As much as we have our many differences, we can never miss something of common interest to join us together and join our brains in finding genuine solutions to help Islam and Muslim youth. As Allah (S.W) says in the holy qur’an in surat Imran (103): ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves…’ Truly, Allah (S.W) has said it well