As if they are birds imprisoned in cages, freedom is the dream and ultimate goal of almost every youngster. Young people live for the day when they can move out of the house and go to college and finally be free. Freedom, from their parents, from restrictions on their lifestyle, from everyone telling them what to do and how to do it. This is why in college you find a whole generation that does what they want. Life is short they say, let's enjoy ourselves while we can.
Muslim youth are no exception to the above. In college you find the most amazing and shocking things, Muslims who don't pray, Muslims who date, Muslims who even affiliate themselves to religious bodies but still go out to parties and drink. Why is this happening?
For one, when students go off to university they conclude that what they believed in was blind following. Religion becomes like a fairy-tale, when they got old enough, they knew better than to believe in it. Most have little knowledge about Islam and have maybe just memorized the right rituals to get by. Why believe something on faith, they ask. After all we cannot see heaven or hell. How do we know Islam is right anyway?
Islamic culture to them means marrying someone they never knew. It means arranged marriages and never hanging out or having fun. For girls Islamic culture has even less to offer. It would mean double standards or having to serve a husband the rest of her life.
The western alternative to this looks a lot more attractive. In western culture "love and romance" are supposedly everywhere. Everyone is out looking for love freely. Meeting someone, going out on dates, seeking pleasure sounds much better. But what about the downside? For love at first sight, you need to have the right image, the right hair, and the right clothes. Girls have to aspire to be like the latest supermodels, they have to hold back age. Who's going out with who, what are my friends thinking, what will happen if I don't get the right girl or guy, what is my girlfriend or boyfriend thinking, all become important. Frustration, desperation, and un-happiness become the norm.
Imagine all the heartache youth would save if they followed the Islamic alternative. In true Islam, unlike culture, there is no game-playing. If two people wish to be involved they are both straight with one another. Unlike what goes on today amongst some Muslims, they both meet each other and make a contract to marry. Women are treated with respect, there is no sexual bombardment like there is in western society. Sex in western culture is also often seen as a vice or a sin of the flesh. But even in religious Islam, sex is seen as natural. As long as it is in the right circumstances, when the two are committed to one another in marriage.
Drinking in college is also the norm unfortunately. If you don't drink or party you're seen as a weirdo. Drinking is cool and a way for people to socialize, meet and have fun. The one who doesn't is less of a person and 'misses out'. Drinking and all the harms that come with it is cut off at the root in Islam. So many problems are avoided, accidents, pregnancy, violence and even rape for example.
In college and in the world, success in life is not seen in terms of religion. It is seen as what other people think, one's careers, how much money they make. If you are religious you must have failed at life. But why do we have this separation and this blindness in religion?
The Qur’aan tells us again and again not to have blind faith, not to follow the religion of our forefathers.
Yet, we as Muslims have stopped thinking. We may think about what our friends or other people will say, but we avoid thinking about the real issues. We spend so much time on the opposite sex, thinking about careers, money e.t.c. but we forget to think about death and how much of this we will really be able to take with us?
"Every soul shall have a taste of death and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense...for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception" (Quran 3:185)
Shouldn't we take the time to contemplate what will happen to us after we enter the grave? After all, what is the point of life if we are not accountable for our actions? If there is no creator, what is the point of being honest or good.
If we really look at our life we see that everything is indefinite, getting a job, even living until tomorrow. In fact we could die anytime, this is a definite, the only dead certain thing in our life. Most of us believe we can make up for our actions later or we can be religious later. We are gambling. The chances of our dying today are little, but the stakes are high. Allah reminds us of the importance of this, "O you who believe, obey Allah as he should be obeyed, and die not except in a state of Islam" (Quran3:102)
Each of us needs to decide what we want? Whether we want to enjoy the grace and mercy of our Creator continuously or we want to thread in the footsteps of Shaytaan-His avowed enemy thereby incurring His wrath and displeasure by day and by night? Why don't we take the time, just once, once in our lives to find out the beauty of Islam and the beauty of leading an Islamic lifestyle. It is true that we cannot see Allah Ta’ala, but all around us are His signs? We need to study nature, and the world. We only live once, and it is necessary that we do the right thing for our lives in the hereafter. This life is our only chance. Once it is gone taking with it our youth, it is never to return. We shouldn't go to a club thinking we are only going to 'hang out and are not doing anything wrong' then feel guilty about it later. We shouldn't go on a date or drink, then feel guilty about it, worrying about hellfire. We know that Islam is right, so why do we not follow it.
On the Day of Judgement it will be us alone who will be asked about our actions. By not following this deen completely, we are injuring our own soul, both in this life and the next.
"Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then that receives guidance benefits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul..." Qur’aan 39:41
This is the true definition of freedom. To learn about Islam and the world openly. To contemplate about life and death. And after learning the truth, obeying the word of Allah Ta’ala. "Those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur’aan) is the truth from your Lord, and that they believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it..." Qur’aan 22:54
Once students have this rock-solid intellectual belief in Islam, the corruptness and falseness of the people around them would be clear. The beauty and wisdom of the Islamic way, the best alternative is clear. What others do becomes of less importance. If others think they were weird to pray or weird to be honest, they would still pray and still be honest because they know their deen.
They would realise and accept that for them to be under the shade of Allah Ta’ala on the day of Qiyaamah when there would be no other shade, a certain sacrifice and a particular lifestyle has to be led no matter how attractive and inviting the current trends of youth living life may seem to be.

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