March 29, 2021
By Kenneth Arrington and Imad Benjelloun
- What are the top issues facing the Muslim youth today?
- How to face the top issues facing the Muslim youth today?
What are the top 10 issues facing the Muslim youth today?
- Maintaining Belief and Having Doubts about Islam
- Identity Crisis
- Parental Issues
- Stress and Time Management
- Smoking, Vaping, Drug, and Alcohol
- Too Plugged in Electronics
- Islamophobia and Weakness of Muslims in the US and Worldwide
- Gender Relations
- Laziness and Heedlessness
How to face the top 10 issues facing the Muslim youth today?
1. Maintaining Belief and Having Doubts about Islam
Being certain that Islam is the right path, is part of faith. In order to maintain and strengthen such certainty, you need to accompany those who have it, learn from them, and practice what you learn so that you get closer to your Lord, hence becoming certain in your faith and no person or ideology will weaken it.
There are examples of times when the Companions, God be pleased with them, had doubts. But the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said as long as these stay as whispers from Satan, you are not held accountable, and this is a sign of clear faith.
2. Identity Crisis
The identity crisis is equally true for the children of immigrants as well as the children of converts. Not feeling “Islamic enough” for their parents and not “American enough” for their peers.
Your identity is that you are a Muslim American! Islam is your religion/faith and USA is your country and place of residence in this life where you learn, practice, and promote Islam. There is no contradiction or conflict between the two. Islam gives you meaning of life, a sense of purpose, guidance, and a clear and right path to success in this life and the next. Part of such success is to advance the success of the USA and make it a more perfect union.
Materialism is considering material possessions and physical comfort more important than spiritual values. Islam does not teach asceticism – even though the Islamic concept of “Zuhd” is often described as shunning worldly life. In modern times some of the richest people in the world are Muslim and more relevant is that several of the Companions of Prophets, God grant them peace, were rich. We say “God give us good in this life and good in the hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire”.
Such material possessions and physical comfort should be viewed as gifts/blessings from God Almighty. We should exalt God Almighty not His gifts. And what is critical for the Muslim is HOW we spend these gifts/blessings. Muslims cannot allow materialism to shift our spiritual and moral compass.
4. Parental Issues
One of the major sins in Islam is to disobey one’s parents “uqooqul waalidayn” and the first and foremost right of the parent is to be obeyed and respected. This is especially true for the mother. Parents also have the right to be looked after by their children. Children in the West are given too much freedom and legal room to do what they want from an early age. In media, adults are often portrayed as out of touch or foolish while the children are the heroes and the smart/wise ones!
But children have rights in Islam too: (1) the right to be provided for and protected; (2) to be loved; shown love and affection; (3) to be treated equally among siblings; (4) right to education – both Islamic and secular. Parents need to be able to EMPHATIZE with their children and through this process they can learn to understand and support their children’s needs.
5. Stress and Time Management
Children often suffer from educational, social and environmental pressures and the affects can be phycological, physical or behavioral. Finding time to fulfill all of your duties / responsibility is also a challenge.
Having Islam at the center of one’s life give the balance needed to prioritize and fulfill these roles. And the closer to God, the more successful you will be in reducing stress and managing your time.
6. Smoking, Vaping, Drug, and Alcohol
Will be covered in a separate lesson. In brief, stay away from all these detrimental habits completely.
7. Too Plugged in Electronics
Children today are too plugged in and constantly engrossed in electronics which can harm them physically and mentally. The effects on spirituality are potentially even more pronounced, as the evils of electronics/ online activities tend to have greater allure: (1) backbiting; (2) gambling; (3) time wasting/ consumption; (4) pornography; (5) excessive gender intermingling; (6) desensitivity to violence; (7) radicalization etc. The solution is to control the time in electronics and to busy oneself with electronics-free activities that are beneficial educationally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
8. Islamophobia and Weakness of Muslims in the US and Worldwide
Islamophobia is the dislike of or prejudice against Islam and Muslims. Some studies indicate that 55% of Muslim students have been bullied and 29% of hijab wearers have experienced offensive touching or pulling of their hijab. This obviously causes psychological trauma to Muslim youth. However, this rise in anti-Muslim sentiment has also caused some to experience increased Iman (Faith), seeking of knowledge, sense of purpose and religious pride. We cannot combat hate with hate – but with knowledge and wisdom. God says in the Quran 16:125, “… and argue with them in a way that is best…”
The weakness of Muslims in the US and worldwide should not make you feel weak. Instead, it should motivate you to learn more and work harder in order to strengthen Muslims and show the power of Islam in changing the lives of people, all people, for the better, the best ever.
9. Gender Relations
This is one of the most sensitive and criticized topics in the religion. Learning how to navigate mingling issues – boyfriends, girlfriends, dating, courtship and, ultimately, marriage – are of paramount importance to the youth. This is especially true in the West where these relationships are propagated to even pre-teens.
The solution includes fasting (to control one’s desires), supplication (to get the needed strength to resist temptation), and righteous companionship (to get the necessary support to stay away from fornication).
10. Laziness and Heedlessness
Islam is a religion that calls for activity and actions and fights against laziness and procrastination. The Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said “O God, I seek refuge from helplessness, laziness, cowardice, niggardliness and burden of debts and overly aggressive men”.
To overcome this, we need (1) sincere intentions; (2) constant practice – even if the action is small; (3) keep good and motivating company; (4) start the day by counting the blessings of God; (5) consider all of the great people who have come before us or are alive currently and reflect on the hard work and determination most of them demonstrate.