As you page through this issue of Islam Today scores of youngsters are already witnessing their first few weeks at University…

Almost every youth dreams of the day when they would move out of the house and go to University and finally be “free”. After all University does offer a freedom unlike any other! Freedom from their parents and elders, from curfews and restrictions on their lifestyle, from everyone telling them what to do and what not to do.

This is why at University you find a whole generation on the ‘loose’. They do what they want to, how they want to and when they want to and that to boldly and brazenly with unimaginable and frightening impunity. In this phase of life there’s no such a thing as shame and morality. That’s for the old folks they say. There’s a zero limit to this because Life is short they say, let’s enjoy ourselves as much as we can, who knows “tomorrow may never be”. This is the trend of University life and no one is excluded.

So does it go for Muslims? In University you find the most amazing things and people. Amongst these people are Muslims who don’t see the importance of Salaah anymore even if they previously performed it regularly,  Muslims who date and fornicate, Muslims who go out to wine and dine…..Muslims who dress shamelessly and the list goes on. Muslims who only exist in name … the rest is a game for the old they say. Like a moulting reptile sheds its skin, they shed their Islamic identity.

University is a place of higher and advanced learning. Here you are taught that there should be a logical explanation for everything you see or hear about. It’s all about proven theories and logic. If it can’t be proven it’s not worth following it. This theory gives rise to doubt in many Muslim students who go off to university, concerning the validity of religion. To them religion now becomes a fairy tale and only fit for ‘entertainment’. It is no wonder that many youth today are becoming atheists at alarming rates.  Why believe something on mere faith, they ask…..after all we cannot see heaven or hell. How do we know Islam is right anyway? Doesn’t every other religion also claim to be true and correct?

Islamic culture as presented to them by anti-Islamic forces means marrying someone they never knew. It is something almost impossible they say. It means arranged marriages and never hanging out or having fun, no hard drinks, no drugs and no girlfriends or boyfriends… For girls, Islamic culture has even less to offer. It would mean double standards or having to serve a husband or the in-laws the rest of her life. For a girl Islam is another word for a prison sentence!

The western alternative to this looks a lot more attractive. In western culture “love and romance” are supposedly everywhere and glorified to a large extent. Everyone is out looking for love freely. Meeting someone, going out, seeking pleasure, etc. sounds much better and much more exciting. But what about the other side of the coin? For love at first sight, you need to have the right image, the right hair, the right clothes… Girls have to aspire to be like the latest supermodels, they have to hold back age. Who’s going out with whom, 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, do I have enough pocket money to boast, all become important. Frustration, thwarting, desperation, depression, unhappiness… become the norm and so too does suicidal thoughts followed by the act itself.

Imagine all the heartache youth would save if they follow the Islamic alternative. In Islam, unlike culture, there is no game playing. If two people wish to be together the pure institution of nikaah is given to them. There is no courting or dating or the trend today of live in relationships which allow the partners to ‘test the waters’. In nikaah the love grows even if it was not there in the first place. In all the other avenues the superficial love which existed begins to diminish only to be replaced by hatred and resentment which becomes a source of pain and misery for both partners.

Drinking and drugs in college is also the norm unfortunately. If you don’t drink or party you’re seen as weird and deemed an outcast. If you cite religion as your reason for abstention then youre labelled as radical, backward and orthodox. Drinking alcoholic beverages 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 are cut off at the root in Islam. So many problems are avoided… accidents, unwanted pregnancy, violence and even rape for example. It is for this reason that all intoxicants are called “The mother of all evil and filth” in Islam. Statistics of drunk and intoxicated people and their ensuing actions are proof enough for this.

In university 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 one can make. If you are religious you have failed in life. Your life is regarded as wasted. Sadly this is the doctrine of many a ‘university graduate’ today.

The Qur’aan tells us again and again that real success is success secured in the life of the hereafter which is eternal and which is only gotten by attaining the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. All worldly ‘successes’ are superficial and have absolutely no bearing on the success of the hereafter.

Yet, we as Muslims have stopped thinking about this fact. Our delusion largely comes from what we see and what we hear all around us-all sending the false message that success of this worldly life is the only success.  Allah Ta’ala on the other hand draws our attention to the undeniable fact and highlights the true nature of this world. He says:

“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.(Surah 3, verse: 185)

If we really look at our lives we see that everything is uncertain, getting a job, even living until tomorrow. In fact we could die anytime, this is definite! Most of us believe we can make up for our actions later or we can be religious later, this being nothing but a ploy of shaytaan to procrastinate taubah. The chances of our dying today are no longer slim.

This is the true definition of freedom and success. Only those who are conscious of Islam, it’s norms and value systems would be able to relate to this and lead their lives in accordance to this. This is done through attaining correct Islamic knowledge.

“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…” (Surah 22, verse: 54)

Once students have this rock-solid belief in the veracity of Islam, living a life as a Muslim should become easy as ABC. In turn the corruptness and falseness of the abounding theories becomes crystal clear. They have no doubt about the beauty and wisdom of the Islamic way and follow it whole-heartedly and to the best of their ability. What other’s do and think is of lesser importance and irrelevant to them.

A university degree offers worldly success which is not even guaranteed. Maintaining and preserving your Islamic identity affords you the success of this temporary life as well as success in the eternal life awaiting us all-Guaranteed!

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