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If Only the Young knew and if Only the Old could – Youth in islam

by | Nov 29, 2020

In most cases, wisdom comes with experience and age (but some will never learn). As for ideals and means, they often diminish with age (in general). That does not mean that young people are ignorant or that older people are impotent. It’s just a generalization.

Now, some will say you shouldn’t generalize. I get it, and that is some very sound advice on a personal level; but on a macroscopic scale, we generalize every day: it’s always hot in July… You can’t find an apartment anywhere… and the granddaddy of them all: culture. The single greatest generalization is culture. You are literally normalizing social behavior on an entire demographic (but using the word culture normalizes the whole thing).

Anyway, back on topic. Young people need to take charge of their destiny, and when I mean young, I mean 16 to 40-year-olds. Sorry, you might still be young at heart, but you are no longer young when you hit 40; you’re not old yet, but you’re getting there (don’t feel bad, I’m on my way myself). And when I mean take charge, I mean by voting, demonstrating, participating in government, educating, learning, being a positive influence in your community…

O.k. I dig taking charge by 40, and it’s normal to be implicated by 30; but 20, 18, 16… that’s not even legal age!?! The way teens act nowadays in ‘’developed’’ countries is a result of their societies. The way the education system is set up makes lingering around the norm, the fashion industry sexualizes girls at a prepubescent age, the commercial sector creates false needs leading to debt which hinders autonomy. Even if the results weren’t intentional, only collateral damage, this damage has become permanent.

Let’s face it, kids become teens way too early and turn into ‘’real’’ adults way too late. You become a teen by 10 or 11 and you turn into an adult around 25 or rather when you switch from Fortnite to Call of Duty. The thing is, the teen years are just that: 13, 14… 19, hence the suffix ‘’teen’’ at the end (that’s what suffix means; redundant… I got it!).

The long and the short of it is that the most precarious state in one’s lifetime is adolescence. So normally, you would kind of want to limit its duration. It’s simple, you get obnoxious at 13, and BAM!!! You’re a man by 16. Easier said than done, right! But it doesn’t have to be. Historically (over 100 years ago), you would see more productivity from a younger age. You can still see this today in 3rd world countries, but not for the right reasons. You see 12-year-olds (and sometimes younger, unfortunately) who are the main breadwinners (and I mean this literally) of their families. You actually get incredibly responsible children by doing so, but they will not be able to flourish as adults since most 3rd world countries are impoverished, not from a lack of natural or human resources, but by corruption and injustice. They end up in the same squeaky wheel for the rest of their lives.

This is where there must be a sane and healthy balance between both worlds. One cannot long in eternal adolescence, nor should one be robbed of a legitimate childhood. Lengthening one vs. shortening the other is equally devastating. Therefore, childhood should be about acquiring useful knowledge and learning from mistakes (your own and others). Adolescence is about responsibilizing. In Islam, you become responsible for your actions towards Allah and towards others at the age of puberty. This is not a time to learn from your mistakes or excuse them for being young and irresponsible; that might have been the case at the age of 8, but not when you’re 15. As for adulthood, you should be a productive part of society; not just on the materialistic side, but in all aspects.

Now, how many exceptional youngsters do you know? Not many… Neither do I. As I have explained earlier, we waste so much time as a western society on trivial matters. As for past generations in the Islamic world, exceptional youngsters were found practically on every street corner.

First off, it was ordinary to find multiple kids on each street block that have memorized the Quran by the age of 10. That is like a 600-page book we are talking about!!! You would find a  bunch that would comprehend it and knows the Hadith that would accompany the explanation.

O.k. That is just about knowledge, you’re going to say… And you’re going to tell me how you know many polite and upstanding teens… But how many of those U25 can you name that changed the course of history. Well, for Muslims, change most often came at the hands of youngsters. Just to name a few…

Abd Al-Rahman III (age 21): conquered and unified Islamic Andalusia

Mehmed the Conqueror (age 22): conquered Constantinople (Istanbul today)

Muhammad bin Qasim (age 17): conquered India (nowadays Pakistan)

Usama ibn Zayd (age 18): last appointed general of an army by the Prophet

Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awam (age 15): 1st to draw his sword on behalf of Muslims (time of the Prophet)

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (age 17): 1st to shoot an arrow on behalf of Muslims (time of the Prophet)

Arqam ibn Abi’l-Arqam (age 16): opened his house for the Prophet to spread the message

Muaaz (13) and Muawwidh (14): killed Abu Jahl, Pharaoh of this nation (time of the Prophet)

Ali ibn Abi-Talib (age 10): the first male to believe in the Prophet

Zayd ibn Thabit (age 13): personal scribe of the Prophet, learned Hebrew in less than a month

Attab ibn Asid (age 18): appointed governor of Mecca by the Prophet

Al-Battani (age 19): through astronomical observations, calculating the duration of a year

Al-Biruni (age 21): Through trigonometry, calculated the quasi-exact circumference of the Earth

Ibn-Sina (before his 20’s): was already a phenom, known as the master (after Aristotle)

Ibn Battuta (age 21): began his legendary journey recounted in his famous book, the Travels

When youth is empowered by knowledge (often provided by the old), the combination of means and wisdom always yield a better tomorrow in any society; and yield greatness and justice for mankind when it’s in an Islamic society.

Great People come from Great Moments

Is there Anything Bad in the Quran? – Existential Questions

Is there Anything Bad in the Quran? – Existential Questions

When I mean bad, I mean something that everyone will agree to as fundamentally wrong. I don’t mean what is acceptable to modern standards, but fundamentally evil. Not only there is no evil within what is ordained, but it can only be depicted as righteous and good when looked at as a whole. Here are some Islamic principles that are listed in the Quran:

Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.”

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember.

And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.

Surah Al-Anam (6 – 151-153)

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Surah An-Nahl (16 – 90)

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.

And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.”

Your Lord is most knowing of what is within yourselves. If you should be righteous [in intention] – then indeed He is ever, to the often returning [to Him], Forgiving.

And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.

Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.

And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.

And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent.

Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing.

And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].

And do not approach the property of an orphan, except in the way that is best, until he reaches maturity. And fulfill [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result.

And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.

And do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height.

All that – its evil is ever, in the sight of your Lord, detested.

That is from what your Lord has revealed to you, [O Muhammad], of wisdom. And, [O mankind], do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity, lest you be thrown into Hell, blamed and banished.

Surah Al-Isra (17 – 23-39)

Most of the accusations come from people who do not agree with the standard of morality or virtue that is ordained in Islam. For instance, the Hijab for women; not being allowed to have a sip of wine or not even having a girlfriend… These practices have become customary in “modern” civilizations, yet they are considered illicit in Islam. Society is always faced with dumbing down standards and laws to curtail the desires of the majority. But the fundamental question remains; what makes it right now but made it wrong before (and vice versa)? This type of thinking induces decadence. Virtues and morals become trivial, unattainable utopias, unrealistic… mockeries.

This was the same discourse used by the people of Lot thousands of years ago when they wanted him and his family out of their city.

But the answer of his people was only that they said, “Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure.”

Surah Al-Aaraf (7 – 82)

Wow! Accused of being too pure… It’s like someone who says: “Ah! He gets on my nerves because he is too polite.” or: “look at her; she thinks she is so superior! She doesn’t even want to dress like us.” and the classic: “Look at that geek; he thinks that his A+ is going to stop him from that face pounding.” What is it that makes that person’s conduct wrong in the first place; what did he do to deserve this reprimand? Is it high self-esteem (or lack of it)? Is it because a person is different (where his difference is not accepted)? Is it because of jealousy (or more likely envy)?

It is sad to see that we have reached a point where righteous conduct is ridiculed and marginalized. Someone who gives his seat on the bus is looked at awkwardly; a student who says Mam and Sir is called a suck-up; a 16-year-old virgin is made fun of. But, as we have seen, this attitude has been present for millennia, all depending on the context and stage in which a society is to be found.

But in the end…

And it will be said to those who feared Allah, “What did your Lord send down?” They will say, “[That which is] good.” For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous –

Surah An-Nahl (16 – 30)

Faith

the process of belief