Why is it that whenever I see a girl my age (a teenager essentially) who is dressed in the nicest, newest clothes, with the cutest shoes and the nicest handbag, I feel a little twist in my chest telling me that I could look just as good, if only I were to take off my hijab? Take it off, and you’ll look ten times better than all the girls in those Facebook photos; take it off, and you’ll be smiling and happy and carefree, just like the rest of them.
Sometimes it’s hard to get that voice to shut up. It seems as if this consumer society that sells values of instant gratification and materialistic pleasures is directly at odds with what we learn at Madrasa. From friends at school we know that the new coat from H&M and those shoes from Aldo are what we should be spending our hard-earned cash on; at Madrasa teachers urge us to spend it on the needy. From music videos we learn that women are little more than the play-things of men and that sexual relationships are the norm; our instructors at Islamic school teach us the stories of the honoured women in the Quran and that premarital relations with the opposite sex are not permissible in Islam. Some teachers tell us about the journey of the British to the Americas; other teachers tell us of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s journey from Mecca to Madinah. With this information overload, Islamic values seem to always take a backseat to materialistic consumer ideals.
As Muslim adolescents, with our confusion about everything, how are we expected to separate the messages and values of two different sources that play major roles in our lives? The society we live in has a lot to offer us; opportunities to receive the best schooling and make the best of ourselves with regard to the Dunya. But that is the key word isn’t it? Dunya. The society we live in cannot help us or benefit us in any way with regards to the Akhirah. As teenagers, we need to get smart and realize that this tempting and glittering image of the Dunya that society paints so beautifully will be to our detriment in the Hereafter. We need to become aware of what is the Truth and stop fighting so vehemently against all the adults, Sheikhs, teachers and parents who are only trying to get us to open our eyes and see.
“As to those who reject faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing. And on their eyes is a veil; great is the chastisement they (incur).” [Baqarah: 6-7]
Is this how we young Muslims want to be? When our parents warn us about the Wrong we are doing, will we not take a moment and listen?
My advice to youth today, and to myself, is to seek knowledge because once we are educated we will, Inshallah, be able to understand what we should follow from society -the good aspects of society- and what is Fitnah and will only push us further into the Path of Misguidance. Only then will we have the strength of Iman –Faith- with us, and only then will be able to reject all that is Evil in society. Hopefully at that time we will be also able to combat any and all temptations that could cause us to stray from the Path. Ameen.
“Those who desire the life of the Present and its glitter,- to them We shall pay (the price of) their deeds therein,- without diminution. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but the Fire: vain are the designs they frame therein, and of no effect are the deeds they do!” [Hud: 15-16]
As teenagers we often give ourselves a pass when deciding to do something, especially if that particular thing doesn’t fall in a category we are familiar with. Let me clarify what I mean, metaphorically speaking everyone keeps referring to the barrier between right and wrong as a red line. Honestly, is it that obvious? In my opinion if it was then why do we make such mistakes? Mistakes that we end up regretting. From a teenager to another I wish it was that obvious, I wish we could see it always that way we won’t fall off the wagon; we won’t be led astray.
Allow me to introduce you to a new category, if we assume white is right, black is wrong and grey is something unidentifiable in between. You’re doubts and insecurities are in the grey area, keep that in mind. How do we choose the right path? How do I stand in the middle of a cross road with the road in front of me is paving my way to righteousness, and the one I’m giving my back to is pulling me towards something completely different, a contradictory act? Let us free ourselves from idealism and perfection because lets face it, you’ll never find a solution to a problem if you deny it in the first place. Yes, every once in a while we make a lousy decision but are you with me to stop that from happening?
I’m not going to come up with a master plan guaranteed to work. However, I will use logic and reason. Let us all vow to reflect on the consequences of the decision we’re making beforehand. Contemplate on every little thing in your grey area, see if Allah will approve and be pleased with such an act. Sounds easy enough, but what if we do think thoroughly and still can’t make a clear cut decision about what is black and what is white? Well, then I have to ask you another question; who is there for you when no one else is? Who is most reliable and can lead you to the right path? Who forgives you no matter how horrible your mistakes are and offers you a second chance? Allah (SWT). Then pray to Him, ask Him for help you in making a decision, ask for forgiveness and for power and strength to carry on. Let your forehead touch the carpet you pray on, smell the beautiful scent from Al Kaaba you just sprayed, pause for a long moment feeling you’re close to Allah (SWT) and ask for guidance.
I guess my point is, that as young men and women we sometimes find difficulty in categorizing what is allowed and what is forbidden but our young age shouldn’t be taken as an excuse. We were given minds to think, to weigh all options and consequences, to decide for ourselves which life we’d rather lead because quiet simply no person will be with us every step of the way. Remember, after the journey ends you only remember where you’ve reached. Suppose this journey is life and the destination is paradise isn’t it worth fighting for? Fighting for what is right? Pushing ourselves towards good and away from evil? Here is for a changing point, a new beginning with wise decisions made, a new chapter in our lives lets make it worth reading inshaaAllah.
Allah says: “You may have someone in your mind, someone in your heart, someone in your dreams, someone in your life, but I am your someone when you have no one.”