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“Allah is the One who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He Who is the AllKnowing, the AllPowerful” (AlRum 54).

Allah created the human being in perfect stages of progression from Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge), then from ‘Alaqah (a clot of cells) then Mudghah (a little morsel of flesh), then a foetus that grows in the care of its Lord, the Creator, the all‐Powerful, the All‐Knowing, stage by stage, until it emerges into the light. This newborn human being begins life in a state of profound weakness, and so the Creator puts in its service a nurturing mother, a protecting and serving father, and a cradling social environment providing integrated service, enveloping it in care, until it is strong enough, and reaches maturity, a strong and fresh youth. However, such strength rapidly dwindles away, and in its place comes old age, infirmity and weakness.

O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. the offspring of Adam), then from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated cells) then from a little lump of flesh some formed and some unformed ( that We may make (it) clear to you (i.e. to show you Our Power and Ability to do what We will). And We cause whom We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term, then We bring you out as infants, then (give you growth) that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water (rain) on it, it is stirred (to life), and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth)” (Al‐Hajj 5).

This period of youth lies in the middle of the human being’s life, between two stages of weakness before and after, where he is deeply dependent on those around him. This stage of youth in the life of the slave of Allah is distinguished by intellectual and physical strength, as well as strong will and motivation, as Allah says: “that you may reach your age of full strength“.

A body flowing with movement, bursting with energy, vigorous by nature, spontaneously working and producing… An inquisitive and acquisitive intellect, seeking and accumulating knowledge, exploring the unknown, in love with growth and creativity… A spirit craving challenge, hungry for adventure, ever on the quest for new heights to scale…

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These physical, intellectual, and psychological features distinguish the middle phase of human life between the two states of weakness. And so every youth is endowed by a natural state given by the Creator; a capacity and inclination to be creative and to excel… Educators are not burdened in nurturing these attributes, as they bubble and flow naturally, clearly apparent to those around. The burden of responsibility is to give guidance, and channel these energies in the right and constructive direction… in acquiring more knowledge, and seeking the positive authority to pass beyond the limits of heavens and earth;

O assembly of jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah)!” (Al‐Rahman 33).

If the means to channel the energy of youth into positive and constructive wide spaces, as isthe case for thousands of students of knowledge, artists, and sportspeople, are absent,then these energies will seek negative alternatives, in consuming alcohol to drunkenness, addiction to drugs to their own death, wallowing in the depth of amorality and lewdness, and delinquency in a world of crime and violence. Do you not find the percentage of youths in the prison system alarming? And the murderous organised criminal gangs increasing beyond count or control?

Time magazine in the US published a horrifying report on British youth, which said that British teenagers under 15 surpassed their counterparts in industrialised societies in addiction to drugs, consumption of alcohol, and promiscuity. They are also leading in forming killer gangs, and fighting on the streets with knives and broken bottles, such that going out at night on one’s business is a terrifying experience.

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saw with the light of Allah, and spoke with the truth of Revelation, when he said in warning and teaching: “claim five before five, your youth before old age, your wealth before poverty, your free time before becoming busy, your health before sickness, and your life before your death” narrated by al‐Hakim.

This Hadith included three attributes of youth, even though other age categories shared in some: youth, health, and free time. Youth are a symbol of giving, contributing, and creativity; health is the engine of creative action; free time is the vehicle of every action.

Therefore, one who has no time cannot be expected to contribute to a world of production, reform, change, and development. The beloved Messenger linked together the two attributes of health and time in a Hadith, considered all‐inclusive in wisdom: “two bounties in which many people are in loss: health and free time” narrated by ibn Abbas and reported in Al‐Bukhari.

Reflecting on the state of Muslim youth in Britain, we find a confused picture that requires the coming together of efforts, of all those concerned… we find highly achieving young girls and boys in schools, colleges, universities, providing excellent examples and role models in the fields of sport, arts, and creative endeavours… we find societies and organisations with initiatives that fill one with pride… however, these shining examples are virtually drowned out in a torrent of negative images, where among Muslim youth the percentage for learning and school success is alarmingly well below the leading group… the percentage of Muslims in the prison population compared to other ethnic or religious groups is quite high… and among their number, albeit a small percentage, are those who carry extreme views at odds with the tolerance of the sublime religion… few are the comprehensive national initiatives that reflect an advanced understanding of the problem, and provide solutions tackling the root causes… the conclusion is that the scene regarding Muslim youth requires major development, however the green shoots of change for the better, and progress are present, represented by the group of successful and creative ones, and fortified by belief that encourages good, and morality, and resists all appearances of fault and weakness;

You are the best of nations ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin AlMa‘ruf (i.e. Islamic belief and all the good ordained by Islam) and forbid AlMunkar (disbelief and all the evil forbidden by Islam), and you believe in Allah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are AlFasiqun (disobedient and rebellious against Allah’s Command)”; and prompted by a high spirit rising to the challenge — competitive, and constructive; as expressed by the poet:

If you put yourself to ambition of high honour **** then be satisfied by no less than the stars O’ Muslim Youth… listen to the Book of your Lord encouraging youth to compete and excel in good deeds:

And make haste to the path of forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious (AlMuttaqun)” (Aal‐Imran 133);

And those foremost (in Islamic belief and righteous deeds, and in responding to the very first call to embrace Islam) will be foremost (in Paradise). These will be the nearest (to Allah). In the Gardens of Delight (Paradise)” (Al‐Waqi’ah 10‐12).

Open your ears to the enduring reminder of your Prophet, peace be upon him, encouraging you to be at the forefront of the caravan of the righteous:

“make haste and take the initiative of seven deeds before seven, do you only wait for poverty that consumes all your attention; wealth that converts to tyranny; sickness that corrupts; old age that brings dementia; death that attacks suddenly; Dajjal, a most evil absent one awaited; or the Hour, and the Hour (Day of Judgement) is far greater in disaster and despair” (narrated by Abu Hurairah in al‐Tirmidhi).

Those who squander their hours in play and useless pursuits, awake at nights in negligence and heedlessness, then “the people of Paradise are not sorrowful over anything more so than that hour that passed (in this life), when they had not remembered Allah, the Almighty, in it” (narrated by Mu’adh bin Jebel in al‐Tabarani and al‐Bayhaqi).

One of the pious predecessors says: “You are but days counted; every day that passes, some of you passes away”. Seek knowledge, and exert effort in that; do not be satisfied with less than the peak. In this way, you will acquire high status, and be leaders for your people.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “He who strikes off on a path seeking knowledge, then Allah will open by it a path to Paradise, and the Angels lower their wings in respect and gladness to the seeker of knowledge, and the scholar has all in the heavens and earth asking Allah to forgive him, even the whales in the seas; the distinction of scholar over worshipper is like the distinction of the moon over all moons, planets and stars; the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, and the Prophets did not leave behind Dirham or Dinar (monetary wealth), rather they left behind knowledge, and so whoever takes it, they have taken a significant share” (authentic Hadith).

You see today, nations and peoples competing to develop their education systems, and advancing training programmes to develop their human resources, which is fundamental to achieving success and superiority.

Fill the mosques of Allah with worship, and devotion such that Allah will shade you under His Throne on the day when the sun is low above the heads of the people, lashing at their faces, and they are drowning in their sweat while awaiting the reckoning… on that day, ” seven are shaded by Allah on a day where there is no shade (among them) a youth brought up in the worship of Allah”…

Participate in the different sports, because sound, thinking minds need strong bodies… moreover, sports stars today are more prominent and more influential than those carrying high qualifications, and so take share of that; raise the banner of your countries, and reform by your example the prevailing ethics and values in the world of stardom.

Walk the earth, and reflect on the history of past peoples, take moral and lesson; get to know the variety of peoples of this world, their traditions, cultures, and learn their languages. Carry to them the message of Islam with love and compassion, present it in the best way, and choose the best words;

Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided” (al‐Nahl 125).

Beware… beware that the worldly life, its allure, and evil desires distract you from consciousness of the day that you shall be stood before Allah, and so do not prepare, and then it is too late:

Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a barrier (Barzakh) until the Day when they will be resurrected. Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another. Then, those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their own selves, in Hell will they abide. The Fire will burn their faces, and therein they will grin, with displaced lips (disfigured)” (al‐Muminun 99‐104).

As for you, educators and planners of youth programmes, and those in the leadership of Islamic work: trust in your brothers, and young children, who show promise, include them in planning and in leadership, listen to their opinion, accept their council, and make responding to their demands among the priorities of your mosques, group, formations, and media platforms… make preparations to receive them, and be equipped to nurture them, and if you feel tired, while the results are below expectation, then revise yourselves once and again, review your methods, and change direction, because we are confronting a challenge that we must only be successful in managing, and if we do not… then our noble impetus will petter out sooner or later…

I observe that some of our youth programmes are closer to a schools system, and curriculum, which aim to correct understanding, improve behaviour, and purify the soul… all these are indeed required and urgent in the period of youth, however it does not satisfy all their demands… they require movement to the same degree that they need guidance of mind and purification of souls…

Therefore, the projects by the Youth Department in MAB that involve organising trips at home or abroad, setting up camps, establishing scout groups and clubs, organising sport’s festivals and entertainment, producing newsletters, holding conferences and training courses, all these and more, that are the product of the creative drive of the youths themselves, remain urgent needs that we must include in our planning for youth work. These methods and programmes respond, on the one hand, to the needs of growing bodies, and latent energies seeking appropriate channels to come out, at the same time providing opportunities for training in the art of leadership and guidance, and field for creative action and influence, and ample space to develop role models and examples… the most successful programmes, are those that combine satisfaction of the body, formation of the mind, improvement of tastes, purification of spirit, honing of skills, and channelling of energies to good and righteous work.

You will find in this edition of the newsletter, a successful example of an attractive youth programme represented by the sports tournament organised by Sheffield branch to which Muslim youths in the city were invited. 15 teams came, with 150 participants, and it was crowned by a ceremony for the winning team. The tournament kicked off with a recitation of

Quran, and closed with Du’a, and was intermingled with brief reminders of Islamic values during the matches, in the midst of power, technique, competition, and tackles. Perhaps similar programmes in future would provide, aside from the winners cup, additional prizes for the player most able to control angry reactions, best goalscorer, best defence, best goalie, best programme organiser, and so on. In such a way, that our means to encourage will be inclusive of the greatest number of participants, especially where these are related to matters of Tarbiyyah, manners and values; promoting such meanings as may be absent in the midst of competition to win and be decorated. In addition, you will find some of the activities done by the Youth Department in different cities.

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We invite our members in the branches to grasp the initiative, and take advantage of the free time over the summer; such that no city is without an open summer programme similar to that of Sheffield. Let it vary in form, such that it responds to the needs of each branch and its resources. “make haste and take the initiative of seven deeds before seven…” as mentioned in the noble Hadith, and then inform us of your programmes such that we are able to publicise those for wider benefit, and remember that “whosoever sets a good example, then he shall have its reward, and the reward of all those who follow that example to the Day of Judgement”.

(*) Mokhtar Badri MABVice President

Source: MAB-NEWSLETTER-ISSUE No: 27 <MAB Office>