1185050_boysAnyone who's been around Muslim teens between the ages of 10 – 17 will recognize a disconcerting and disappointing trend: youthful apathy. Selfishness, self-centredness, and almost total obliviousness to the world around them. And despite the self-absorption, there is still a lack of proper sense of self and strong identity.

It can be understood, perhaps, in that these are formative years in which children and adolescents are struggling with a huge input of information from the world around them that they can't quite figure out what to do with. These years are recognized as the most difficult years for parents, and for the children too; but for Muslim parents struggling to raise their children upon Islam here in the West, the problems are compounded.

Many concerned parents complain about how their children prefer to remain with unIslamic influences and ignore the parents' attempts to sway them towards coming to the masjid and being involved with other Muslims. Time and time again I hear the same advice being reiterated, but unfortunately the problems persist. After a while, I wondered if another approach was needed – something a bit deeper and more long-term than one-off youth programs or conferences. Perhaps we need to re-analyse the causes of youthful misguidance, and come up with a more detailed method of reaching out to them.

Here I hope to present my own rudimentary theory of the reasons as to why so many of our younger teens, even those who come from relatively practicing Muslim households, become utterly disinterested in Islam and get sucked into the kaafir lifestyle. From there, insha'Allah we can work harder towards bringing back our lost boys and girls to the straight path.

It's All About You

We're always wondering what we can do to draw our youth back to the masjid, back to Islam, to engage them and involve them and above all, keep them safe. In order to do this, we need to look at the other side first – what is it about the non-Muslim lifestyle that attracts the kids so much? A lot of the time, it's the attention that they recieve – in a culture that celebrates and promotes individualism to an unhealthy extreme, narcissistic youth are dazzled by how it's all about them. Sure, other factors are involved, such as how the culture appeals to all those budding desires, but when you get down to it, it's mostly about the attention.

That's where we need to start. We need to give our youth attention too, and indulge their narcissism… to a certain point. And above all, in a constructive way.

Know Thyself

We complain about our kids having an identity crisis. To be frank, most of these kids don't even know who they are… forget about who they are as Muslims, they don't even know their own personalities. Much of the time they're just swept up in the latest trends and follow the fickle crowd without thinking about whether they actually like the items they're wasting their money on, or the activities that they throw themselves into just because it's what the cool kids do.

We have to help our youth know themselves. Once they know themselves, once they're confident in themselves and have an idea of their own potential, of what they want to do with that potential, then they will be more solidly grounded and have a better foundation upon which to build their futures.

To be a strong Muslim, one must be a strong person; the key to being a strong person is knowing who you are at your very core, being able to identify your own characteristics and values which will remain unchanged no matter what situation you're put in.

A solid Islamic upbringing from infanthood (as described in this ongoing series) goes a long way in building this kind of strong character, and as always is the first thing that parents must be aware of. However, for those who perhaps were not as Islamically practicing during their childrens' early childhood, and now wish to change their parenting styles and their children for the better, then there are other ways that they can encourage their children to develop and strengthen their invidual characters.

It is now that we combine the teens' desire for attention with the goal of helping them find themselves. Either at home or in a youth group/ workshop environment, our youth need to be invited away from all the clamouring, glamorous outside influences and given the space and time to focus on themselves, on who they are. Have them look deep within themselves, that space where they keep their deepest thoughts and desires, their hopes and fears, their darkest secrets. That space where they as individuals exist on a level where nothing and no one else can reach them except themselves. What do they find in that space?

Remember that soul-searching and personal development isn't something that can be over and done with in a few hours, a day, or even a couple weeks. It is in fact a life-long endeavour – but it is something which must be fostered from a young age, so that there is a solid sense of self that can be analysed and improved constantly.

Castles in the Air

If you ask a five year old, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you're likely to get a long list that includes astronaut, cowboy (or cowgirl), firefighter, teacher, or even farmer. Ask the same question to a preteen or young teen, and you're more likely to be answered with a blank expression, a careless shrug, and a muttered, “I dunno.”

This particular phenomenon in our youth is a distinct lack of vision. Stemming from the problem of not knowing themselves, our young Muslim teens tend to stumble through school and these important years of their lives in a confused daze. They rarely have a tangible idea of what they want to do with their lives; in this era of technology-centred activities, few of them recognize that they have other talents and skills which can be developed and used for the benefit of mankind.

We need to help our youth open their eyes and realize that there is more to themselves, and to life, than their shallow routine of chasing after the current fad. Teens have to realize that adolescence isn't playtime; it's the stepping-stone towards full-blown maturity and the rest of their lives. So what are they going to do with those lives?

Here is where we need to foster and encourage life visions. What life visions do these youth have? Do they think they'll be able to achieve that 'ultimate end'? If so, how? If not, how come?  How can they achieve those dreams of theirs?

Let's encourage our youth to open their hearts, minds, and eyes, and make their imaginations go wild. Let them build castles in the air!

Tools of the Trade

Life visions are pretty big dreams and it can be easy to be discouraged about them. So, break the “big dream” into a series of smaller, practical long- and short-term goals that can be steadily achieved and implemented. Accomplishing each 'small' goal becomes a stepping stone towards the final vision. As Muslims, our goal is Jannah; reaching that destination, however, requires a lot of work in a lot of different areas and in a lot of different ways.

Every goal of life is reached by utilizing skills and talents; discovering, developing, and strengthening them for maximum benefit. Now that our youth have an idea of what they want to do with their lives, they should also be able to recognize which skills they'll need to reach those goals. It's time for them to do a bit more soul-searching – or rather, talent-searching. What are their talents? What are they good at? What do they love to do? At this present time, how do they utilize those skills? How can they develop and improve these abilities? In the long term, how can they use these skill sets to reach their goals?

Another important point to remember is what the old proverb says: “Idle hands/minds are the devil's workshop.” Too much free time causes our youth to seek out activities to stave off boredom, and these activities tend to be of the dodgy not-very-halaal kind. One way of killing two birds with one stone is to enlist these youth in serious activities at the masajid; that is, coming up with ways to give the teens a chance to practice their skills in a work-like environment that benefits both the youth, and the masajid themselves. However, make it something serious – actually pay the youth for their work, instead of doing it on a volunteer basis, as that gives the tasks the appearance of a chore rather than attracting the teens. Not only will the youth learn the basics of business and apprenticeship, but it gives them a far better environment to work in than the usual options of fast food and retail.

Strong and Free

In a nutshell, the above is part of what I percieve to be a rough guide/ method to dealing with the problem of lost, apathetic, confused Muslim teens who are sucked into a culture of shallowness, vanity, and selfishness. We have a group of kids who have so much potential, who could be the next great leaders of this Ummah, if only we could unplug them from their iPods, unhook them from their video games, and drag them away from the latest sales at the mall.

Our youth can be – and will be, insha'Allah – strong and free, secure in their identities as Muslims and their own unique personalities. In their submission to Allah, they will be empowered to becoming the next generation of movers and shakers, those who will improve the state of this Ummah in every field.

We just need to guide them away from the distractions of this dunyah and engage their hearts, minds, and souls…  all we have to do is give them the time and attention that they crave, and that they need so that they may become the kind of glorious personalities they have the potential to be. It will be, and is, a long, hard road for parents, the youth, and those of us who have dedicated our lives for the sake of Allah to strengthen this Ummah; but insha'Allah the payoff in both this world and the Hereafter will be worth every agonizing moment of it.

May Allah guide our lost boys and girls, and guide us all, to the Straight Path; to that which is best for us all in this world and in the Hereafter; and to that which is most pleasing and beloved to Him, ameen.

24 Responses

  1. abu Rumay-s.a.

    Masha`Allah, very insightful theory regarding the topic!

    I think you summed it up well when you mention,

    To be a strong Muslim, one must be a strong person; the key to being a strong person is knowing who you are at your very core, being able to identify your own characteristics and values which will remain unchanged no matter what situation you’re put in.

    and

    We just need to guide them away from the distractions of this dunyah and engage their hearts, minds, and souls… all we have to do is give them the time and attention that they crave, and that they need so that they may become the kind of glorious personalities they have the potential to be.

    I think these points are the greatest challenges for us as parents, educators, mentors, and counselors. It would make for an excellent graduate thesis or a book project for those in involved in this field. (Any volunteers? :) Does anyone know of any such attempts even in the Arabic language?

    The practical steps of achieving these two goals require a lot of thought, research, experience and off course deep knowledge. I’m sure one could write volumes just analyzing the Prophet’s (saw) tarbiyah of some of the youth, primarily the likes of Anas (ra), Ibn Abbas (ra), Muath (ra), Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra), Aeisha (ra), and Asma (ra) and relating those core tarbiyah principles to our youth today.

    Another issue is that once you do bring the youth to the Masaajid, the activities which are to be developed should be as attractive as I-Pod, video games, etc. while maintaining the primary focus and objective of the activity to nurture and develop their personalities. Again, this takes ingenuity and creativity…I’m sure there must be some developed models in certain communities which focus on these issues, they can serve as examples..

    here is a useful personality development training programing I ran into, each module can be developed into a fun program for youth;

    http://www.persmin.nic.in/otraining/undp_modules/Personality%20Dev%20N%20DLM.pdf

    Has anyone read or come across this book..”Handbook of Personality Development” (seems interesting)
    http://www.socialpsychologyarena.com/books/Handbook-of-Personality-Development-isbn9780805859362
    Would probably have some good info to help build strong characters in our youth..

    looking forward to read more on this important topic…jazakie Allahu khairun..

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    • Zainab (AnonyMouse)

      I’m sure one could write volumes just analyzing the Prophet’s (saw) tarbiyah of some of the youth, primarily the likes of Anas (ra), Ibn Abbas (ra), Muath (ra), Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra), Aeisha (ra), and Asma (ra) and relating those core tarbiyah principles to our youth today.

      Although I don’t know of any books that focus exclusively on this subject (although I’m positive that there are many, especially in Arabic), there is one lecture series which does discuss the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)’s methods of tarbiyah. It’s titled “Children Around the Messenger” by Dr. Hesham al-Awadhi, and you can find it here.

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      • abu Rumay-s.a.

        Yeah, incidently, I’ve been listening to these series on the way to taking the kids to school in the mornings.. :) Masha`Allah, he gives a very interesting “ijtihad” as he calls it in his inferences from the seerah…

        I hope everyone reading this post also checks out Dr. Hesham’s series..

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  2. MentalMuslim

    Great article, Mashallah! Just a couple of clarifications needed. When you say attention, can you specify (give examples) of the type of attention that non-Muslims give to our lost boys and girls, sorry —> I know what you mean, but I just had a hard time pinpointing the types of “attention” given. Also in your possibel solutions to this attention phenonmenon, can you also clarify the types of attention Muslims should give to their children, do you mean one-on-one parenting attention or what other forms of societal attention are you alluding to? Jazakallahi Khair.

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  3. MUA

    salam aleykum wa rahmatullah,

    Great post. I’ve been in-charge of a youth group for 8 years, and the points you raised are on mark. The apathy towards life in general and rebeliousness towards parents/establishment probably characterizes 90% of the students, and then the other 10% are motivated, driven, and have some strength of character. In the context of youth group work, it all boils down to creating, sustaining, and optimizing the infrastructure of the institutions, because the ideas you mentioned are all great on paper, but to go from congnition to volition is entirely a different struggle. I think the points that you raised speak to the necessity of providing the wherewithall to the 90% of students to be conscious of Creator, adhere to the hukm sharii, and discover their unique talents, but at the same time we need to maximize the potential we see in the 10% that are driven and with the right guidance can be peak performers and contribute to the ummah in the myriad of ways that conforms to their penchants by not only increasing their knowledge base on Islam but give them real opportunities to express their personalities to the service of the deen. Even the best youth group programs, including the one I’m a part of still has not got all of this right, the best ones still work on the former objective at the expense of the later, and the mid to long term consequences may be devastating. Note: I’m engaging this discussion at the level of 3rd party institutions (youth groups) but realize that although they may be necessary in this struggle to perserve our Muslim identities and exude an output to serve Islam, the role of parents, friends, and other elements of socialization are absolutely critical. Thank you again, sis. Zainab for this post, it should definitely be on the top 3 list of priorities for Muslims in the US.

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  4. MUA

    Abu Rumay, I don’t mean to use this forum as a springboard, but I’m actually working on developing material (instructional guide, ppt presentation on different modules, admin. documentation, etc.) on how to start, sustain, and optimize a youth group. I just completed a rough outline and I hope in the next couple years I will complete the project and make it available to masajid and other institutions that deal with the tarbiyya of teens in High School. I’m viewing the youth group as a possible complement to public high school (since creating a Muslim High School in general and especially in Southern California has proved elusive for a variety of reasons). But it’s not just good enough to create all this material, in order to implement it we need trained professionals who can serve as consultants to help the masajid and insitutions actually implement it given their specific set of circumstances, so I’m also looking at that aspect.

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    • muhsinaa

      bismillaah

      this sounds excellent as I am also active with youth work and youth groups. is it possible for you to email me the outline you have so far and i would be willing to assist you if i can?
      please email me at muhsinaa.inshallah@gmail.com jAk.

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  5. abu Rumay-s.a.

    MUA:

    subhanAllah, I didnt see your comment above when I started to write this comment and I was actually writing to you to ask if you could share your valuable experiences with us during those 8 years. May Allah ta`ala bless your efforts. ameen.

    I enjoy reading your thoughtful comments in this blog and hope to read an article from you on this thread soon if and when time permits you, perhaps a summary of your thoughts, ideas, and experiences…

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    • MUA

      I apologize for the delay in response, actually my back gave out a couple days ago. Anyhow, there are so many issues to be discussed. I’ll just limit it to the issue of giving attention to the students. Moreso than giving attention to the students is giving them opportunities to receive attention. To give students attention simply because they’re socialized toward that disposition can actually compound the issue and make searching for their true personality much more cumbersome. The fact is every human wants to feel important. This is really not a cultural issue. Now people may derive that feeling of self-importance and value from different sources, and that may surely be cultural.

      It’s important to remember that teenagers seek attention by struggling with two symbiotic elements. The first is attention through acceptance, they want to feel accepted by the people they have conferred respect on (which at this age is usually peers not parents), so they will go out of their way to be “like” their friends, in return their friends will give them some attention. They may even transform their “likes” and “wants” against their own intrinsic feelings to match those they seek acceptance from (think of this especially in terms of the music they listen to). The second is attention through uniqueness, in which teenagers will strive to be different from their peers. So on one hand they will do things to be “like” their peers, on the other hand they will do things to stand out from their peers. The first gets them accepted, the second gets them popularity.

      To make this short, going back to the point of giving them opportunities to receive attention, one very useful tool is competitive exercises. Teenagers need to earn attention, after all they put in a lot of effort unwittingly in seeking acceptance and standing out, so it wouldn’t work to merely recognize them and praise them undeservedly. Now competitive exercises can work in any field, whether it be academic, sports (obviously), or otherwise. I once had this student in youth group who for 3 years was very quiet, seemingly apathetic, and unresponsive. Then one day while I was lecturing on the topic of Qada wal Qadr, I formed groups and made them play the historical role of the mutazilah vs. the jabariyya, both employing their arguments and even evidence from the Quran and Sunnah. All of a sudden this student’s voice was so bold and articulate, everyone was shocked. I mean he could really debate. He just needed a challenge. Through this competitive exercise, he was more able to put his penchant and forte in focus. It gave him confidence and pride in something he didn’t know existed, which is essentially character building. And also, he received recognition and praise from other students and Youth Group staff.

      Now the crucial part is developing different types of competitive exercises, not just purely academic. Not all students will gain from the same exercise, you’ll have to try several different kinds, and give them a myriad of opportunities to discover themselves, and earn attention. This is a lot easier said than done. It takes a good, forward thinking team to develop and manage competitive exercises. In our youth group we have 10 people part of the staff, and we have 3 departments: 1) Academic Instructors, 2) Activities Coordinators, 3) Counselors. The activities coordinators are responsible for these types of activities, and alhamdulilah, we have a pretty good team, and we’re constantly looking for more driven bros. and sisters to join, since that is probably the most important division.

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      • CzechMan

        Salaam Br. MUA,

        I am about to start bidhnillah the same kind of Tarbiyyah project in London, please email me: noorbury@hotmail.com as I would love to show you some of what we have planned and get your feedback on it.

        Jazakallah Khair,

        A. Limey

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      • TeachDeen

        Asalamu Alaikum Brother MUA (who worked with a youth group for 8 years).

        I ask Allah to bless you and your family. I really wish you left a contact or website, people could really benefit from that outline and/or program your designing, and inshAllah you reward will be multiplied.

        If anybody know how to get in touch with MUA,
        please email me at teachdeen (at) gmail (dot) com

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  6. sister

    Jazakillahukhair for this post Sr. Zainub. Its so true what you said about kids wanting attention I never connected that with the kaafir lifestyle that they are attracted to. ..can you please give examples of how we can give them attention in a “constructive way.” I really wanna go about it in the right way without reinforcing showing off etc. Jazakillahukhair.

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  7. Arif

    “Remember that soul-searching and personal development isn’t something that can be over and done with in a few hours, a day, or even a couple weeks. It is in fact a life-long endeavour – but it is something which must be fostered from a young age, so that there is a solid sense of self that can be analysed and improved constantly.”

    JazakumAllahu Khayran for this advice – as a teenager myself, I had spent the last few months trying to “solidify” my identity and only recently have I discovered what you had just mentioned; that its something that can be improved constantly and “soul-searching” isn’t something that can be done in just a few days. Loved the article and analysis!

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  8. abu Rumay-s.a.

    Arif:
    If you dont mind me asking, what was it that inspred you to start thinking about your identity? Was it a particular incident, person, etc. or a natural inclination or something else..?

    A.R.

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    • Arif

      @abu Rumay-s.a. I would probably say it started once I finished memorizing the Qur’an and began college. It was like a turbulent wind – everything in my life changed; I guess the verb “uprooted” might be appropriate in this case.

      Regarding friends, before, either someone was a friend or they weren’t. Now, I started to see that I had to deal with friends, “acquaintances”, contacts, colleagues, and different mindsets and ways of talking with different people. It was not only me that had felt like I had to gain a strong hold on my identity, but rather, a lot of my friends were also going through similar struggles.

      I started to feel that my thoughts were becoming more disconnected as my chain of thoughts would go on random tangents into quandaries I knew not possible. It was all a new experience to me as I felt like I was neither here, nor neither there. I didn’t feel like I was meant for college and at the same time not meant to be hanging around in the Masjid especially since my age group had “moved on” by now and it was all just young schoolchildren. It was as if I was floating about in a dream and merely gazing, as one would in a book, at all that was happening around me. I saw people dying around me, I saw Duas that I had been making for many years finally coming to life… However, these same events that would have previously filled me with severe anguish or great delight were now merely becoming blunted emotions…

      Alhamdulillah, after a few months of sleepless nights and soul-searching, I had a good long talk with a close friend and that is when I realized what Sr. Zainab was mentioning, that all of this is an ongoing struggle but is a lifelong endeavor. This was all exemplified when my friend turned to me and said, “I had also gone through a lot of what you are going through currently. And this is my advice to you: Think less and do more”. I quickly realized that no matter how one looks at it, many of my misplaced thoughts were indeed coming from Shaitaan. What was happening was that in the process of thinking so heavily over my identity, my activities as a whole were dwindling as I was quickly losing purpose in life. This all started to change from the mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Before I would feel awkward around my peers since all I would hear them talk about would be about mainly girls or the occasional talk about the newest movie, the most pimped out car, or the star studded athlete. I would feel awkward around people older than me because the age gap will always remain and I always felt ‘inferior’. I would feel awkward among youngsters because they’re younger than me and even though they’re nice to talk to, it’s hard to take them on seriously and as a peer.

      While in Hifzh School, I at least always had a friend in whom I could talk to about anything with no sense of reservation and our topics would range from discussing our current society, to Mu’tazali and Athari discussions, to the siege of Jeddah by the Portuguese in the 15th century, to the Abbasid and Ottoman Caliphate… basically any topic under the sun. I knew I could discuss it with him, knowing that I would only get sincere discussions from him and not the lip service that people throw out with no sense of conviction behind their words. I guess I would attribute a lot of my changes were occurring because of my loss of seeing such a close friend on a daily basis as one’s mind can only be a filter for only such time. Arguments and thoughts come out much differently when they are expressed aloud, and it is then possible to view them from multiple perspectives and to reach a point when the answers are obvious and the problems are not as magnified as they had seemed in the mind. Only since I had the talk with my friend did I start to feel like a heavy burden was being lifted from my shoulders and I felt that life was coming back to me. I came back into the world with much more resolve and with an identity of a Muslim merely living in a very strange time with a lot to do insha’Allah, with the help of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)…

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  9. Abu Abdaen

    Jazaakillaahu khayran Ukhtii for the wonderful post and to all, for the beautiful comments.

    I read a book a while ago translated by Dr Rede’ir?? (Can’t get the correct spelling now) about the tarbiyyah of our kids. It gives a practical edge to it and will insha Allah be a good read. It basically focus on creating fun as part of the children learning program. However, much of it is focused on the very young children (3-7yrs). Insha Allaah I’ll get the full title later.

    However, I hope to have your comments as well as from others on the practical edge to this. From analysis, we can broadly divide our youths/children into 2 broad age categories. The first group being children less than 11yrs (give or take 1 or 2 yrs) and the 2nd between 11 and 19 (also give or take 1 or 2 yrs).

    The first group, you’ll agree with me, is easily moldable and hence we need proper educational/socializing programs to focus their attentions whilst also catching their fun.

    However, the 2nd group, as mentioned in your post, is usually the most challenging group most especially if they have had shaky foundation, you get what I mean. But to add quickly, my observation from some high school students I was engaged with a few years back, but not any longer, is that you need to make them feel they are in charge/responsible. Take for instance, they used to organise an annual muslim students week. And anytime this week approaches, you can observe the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by many of them to as far as those who you hardly find at the jumah prayers. They saw the program as theirs and they took ownership of it while my own role was just to guide, advise and stylishly curtail the excesses.

    I’ll appreciate if our comments can stem towards proferring suggestions on practical activities/ programs/ engagements that have been tried or currently being tried and what are the learning experiences from these as regards the 2 groups mentioned above. These can serve as ideas for us to replicate in other places. I do not think we have to wait for an elaborate institution/organisation to take this project up. As an individual, if I can focus on a maximum of 5 kids and bi ithni llaahi, they are straightforward, then that will go along way. So invariably, what I am saying is this; We need practical suggestions on the the steps involved like: How do I start? Who do I meet? What do I say? What do I do? Which areas do I focus on, academic, spiritual, moral, financial, etc? What kind of activities do I engage them in? How do I measure my progress? How & where do we meet? and so on. I’m sure we can add more to the list.

    Can we form a project group on this? We will encourage each person to take on at least one youth as a mentee, and from there we can relate on the developments/progress. It can also serve as a forum to share experiences and good learning/teaching materials. I’m sure many of us young adults will like to influence younger minds positively, but sometimes, not knowing how to go about it, (like how do I start, who do I talk to, what do I say, will they listen, how will the parents react, what if I fail, etc) can usually be a big turnoff.

    Also, equally important are the roles being played by the parents. As a youth instructor, how do you involve the parents into your educational programs?

    Barkallaahu feekum

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  10. norhassan

    “We have to help our youth know themselves. Once they know themselves, once they’re confident in themselves and have an idea of their own potential, of what they want to do with that potential, then they will be more solidly grounded and have a better foundation upon which to build their futures.”

    UPON WHICH TO BUILD THEIR FUTURES….

    SO beautiful… the vision of a Muslim empire renaissance seems not any far….

    goforwardyoungmuslims.blogspot.com

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  11. A Single Mom

    Assalamu ‘Alaykum,

    This article is beautiful and well-intended, but simplistic.

    As a revert and single mother, I raised my daughters in an almost exclusively Islamic environment: Islamic school, no TV, no music, AlMaghrib classes, Muslim camp, etc. However, I failed to provide them with an emotionally safe and nurturing Islamic environment. When their Salafi step-dad left us after 25 months, they were heart-broken. When they were rejected and bullied in Islamic school, one became depressed and the other left the fold of Islam. They have no Muslim family for support and guidance except for me, their mother who made poor choices, wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

    This article suggests that well-intended parents can make it work for their kids; that they can raise them to carry the flag of Islam. It says, “We just need to guide them away from the distractions of this dunyah and engage their hearts, minds, and souls… all we have to do is give them the time and attention that they crave, and that they need so that they may become the kind of glorious personalities they have the potential to be.” This may be the case sometimes, but not always. First we need to provide the basics of a caring, committed and “cool” Islamic environment. Allaahu subhanahu wa ta’ala made some of us rich, some of us beautiful, some of us surrounded by good companions; and others with combinations of these and other blessings. We plan and Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala plans. Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala guides whom He wills. The interventions that the author recommends are not always available.

    In the face of adversity, I, as an adult, can turn to Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala with renewed fortitude and assurance that patience and steadfastness in righteous action will lead me to Jannah, in sha Allaah. However, young people are closer to the cradle than to the grave, at least in their minds. They identify with and are nurtured by something bigger and greater than themselves. Subhan Allaah, in many cases the call of the Duniyah is louder and more gratifying than the call of the Akhira, especially if Islam as they see it is controlling, boring, hurtful, indifferent, or simply not present in their lives.

    I ask Allaah Al Jal wa Al ‘Alaa to put loving, caring and commited Muslims role models into all of our lives. Ameen.

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    • Another Mom of teenagers

      Assalamo elikuim
      Mashallah Sr.A Single mom, very well said . I 110% agree with this that guidance comes only from Allah swt . We as parents can only try our best but as you said that
      ” in many cases the call of the Duniyah is louder and more gratifying than the call of the Akhira ”

      I have tocome realization that after trying our best we can only pray to Allah swt for our guidance and for our children guidance that they stay on sirat ul mustaqeem. I love this verse from Sura Fatiha , Iya kana badu, Wa iya kanas taeen!!! – To you we belong and to you we pray !!

      Another mother of teenagers

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  12. Taki

    Hmm im a muslim teen i kinda agree with it.. But i would say that im not like that. I think its kinda hard not to be like that when everyones like that, so if there is someone who doesnt wanna conform to it they cant cause of the peer pressure and also feeling lonely. I mean i dont really care about friends much cause they’re all the same -all about dating and boys- ive kinda given up trying to make some decent muslim mates cause it seems like im never gonna find it. See the thing is they never care about it, they are living in the fun age (not that im some boring old loser) but the whole hijab or dating or smoking is just to be cool, to belong i think its not too late to change of course but im not sure if they would– And i would just like to say if you asked me what do i want to be when im older, i would say a surgery doctor or a aerospace engineer (more surgery doctor) ..– In my opinoun i think its cause they want to be liked- by non-muslims they dont want to be different they dont wanna experience racism or hate or any of that. -ehh thats me, obv. its not the only reason but yeah, sometimes i feel lonley but it doesnt bother that much i cant be friends with people i know i dont like -esp the boys crazy (i keep mentioning boy-crazy only because i go to a only girls school) girls which is what i find even the quiet ‘religious ones’ when you ask them would you date if a guy asked you out? (which is what i wana know to see what kinda person you are, i kno i kno i shouldn judge i should try help but whats the point>? do they listen no. they just think im trying to argue) and they all say, if hes like really good lookin .yeah. and im like boy you crazzy.. there like why what would you say? im like Jheezee i would say how dare you! you have no shame i wear hijab and jilbab and you ask me out>? i know there are many girls who would happily say yes but that is wrong in islam we do not date- or free mix- we should concentrate on being pious muslims and when we are older we should look for marriage none of this dating rubbish. but yeaah even my mate who wears niqabb shes properr into boys she even told me she checks out boys under her niqabb cause they cant see her! –yeah we r not like proper close mates i kno her from primary— okaay woo that was some long mssge sorry for going on sometimes i just wanna say it you know..

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    • Fatemah

      Hang in there :) stay strong, and you’ll be out of there and pave your own way, insha’Allah.

      May Allah guide you to some really good friends!

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  13. muslima

    i really appreciate this article, it really does take a village to raise a child.

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