Of course, we all want to hear about all the beautiful things that are occurring in our communities, and this is great. Sadly, we have yet to face one of the biggest problems and that problem is the youth. In many instances, The youth are racing away from the Muslims and Islam. The reasons for this phenomena are far and wide, but the most important ones are self-evident and apparent.
The youth are not disappearing from halaqas, or lectures due to a magic trick. The youth are not disappearing from masajid due to sicknesses. The top reasons for their disappearance are: lack of true understanding of Islam, other Muslims is making the religion hard for them, and the lack of events geared towards the youth. The first and most vital issue is the lack of true understanding of the religion. Many families may very well tell their children and teenagers to pray their five daily prayers, to wear hijab, and to read Qur’an. Is this instilling in our youth the true spirit of Islam? Many youth take this cursory look of practicing the religion and find no contentment in it. This reality may go so far as seeing some parents sending their youth to the local Islamic-school and then having their child come back home to an environment that doesn't reinforce what is being taught at school. Sadly, the religion should be taught at home before children leave off to their local Islamic-schools, but this is just another issue that faces our families and the youth. Also, there is a reality that parents are upset because they just cannot see why their child has stop practicing Islam. Or there is the reality that Islam may not necessarily be taught in the home, but some other form of Islam may be taught and practiced in the context of a particular culture. This is something very common in our communities, and the youth are resisting this in many ways. Unfortunately, Many of the parents have taught and instilled into their children that culture comes before Islam, or Islam allows for certain acts to be deemed Islamic due to their distortion of the Qur’an and Sunnah as evidence. It is amazing how some parents have caused confusion for their youth because of their cultural twist on Islam, so once their youth learns the truth they are confused and upset that their parents would like to them for whatever reason. These are just a few of the realities that exist when it comes to our communities and how we are shaping them when Islam is not accurately depicted or even instilled from a young age.
The next reason would definitely be considered a crime in my book because of the results that comes into play after the act is committed. Unfortunately, I was a victim of this crime in my earlier years of Islam. Many of the youth may find themselves lost amidst the things they are told by the elder Muslims and by other youth, sadly. Some of the youth are raised by parents that have told them false information about the religion, so in turn the youth take what they have learned an tell their Muslims friends. The awful reality is that most times the information that is being pushed on the youth is a lie, thus making Islam a way of life that cannot be lived in their opinion. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why the youth can’t find themselves being at any Islamic event. Many youth began looking at their non-Muslim counterparts and see a lifestyle that is more “alluring,” “fun,” and “awesome”. So, the youth ends up turning away from our homes, the masajid, and finding fulfillment in the streets. This is no coincidence when Islam has become burdensome for them.
The last reason for this problem on why the youth are leaving our communities is for the simple fact that there is not anything available for them to do within some of our communities. I have some fantastic efforts being made in many communities across the nation. Nevertheless, there are some communities that are lacking resources for the youth. Many youths rely on their local masjid for an affirmation of their identity, for a place that is safe, and as a means into learning their religion. In my own life, I have seen many youths flee from masajid because of the ideologies that are running amok. There are those that will claims social-media is haraam, or unlawful. There are those that will claim that going to the theater is the progeny of the devil. There are those that will claim that television is a waste of time. These are the fanatical views that will tear the youth away from Islam. We are lacking good and sound people in our communities that can teach Islam in a light that isn’t oppressive. Honestly, It is really depressing to hear the statements that some of our parents and elders are saying when it comes to this religion. Islam is truly beautiful, but there are those that hold positions of authority that has truly neglected their duties into conveying the message of Islam. Sadly, some people in authority have made Islam really hard and unattractive for the people. Our imams need to be more proactive in saving our youths and holding classes that are aimed towards our youth. I have been to a local masjid in my area and I really can say that I enjoyed the weekly classes that were held for the youth. There were youths that enjoyed these weekly classes because many were coming from public-schools and relied on the masjid to deliver the message of Islam to them. This is the stark reality. Many of our youths are coming from families that aren’t religious, that teaches a “cultural” form of Islam, or do not teach Islam at all due to ignorance. When our communities realize this truth then we can be able to turn things around and bring our youths back home.
Hopefully, I covered many of the issues that may be lingering in your minds when it comes to our youths. The youth is our future and when our youth are running away from Islam then where is our future? We have to teach and instill into our children the beauty of Islam. They need to know that Islam is a way of life and in learning about this way of life we can find true peace and love for our Lord,inshALLAH. It truly starts at home. Our homes should be filled with the remembrance of Allah, so that our children will understand that our purpose is to worship Allah. We have to create spaces for our youths to be active in. We can’t stop at weekly halaqas. We have to be dynamic and creative in the way we teach the youth about Islam. Islam can’t stop once they come home, or Islam can’t stop once they leave their Islamic-schools. Islam must be seen as a way of life in any situation they encounter throughout their lives. Of course, This is a work-in-progress, but we must never stop in conveying the truth of Islam, even with our own children and teens.
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