Have I mentioned how much I love Muslim Matters?
Well, I do.. a lot. =) MashaAllah, the writers are ridiculously on point with (almost) everything.
One of the articles a few weeks ago was about the different types of Muslim youth and the writer made some solid characterizations for each group. I completely agree with everything but I think there is one group that is often left out in these discussions, mostly because they’re neglected in general.
These are your highly intelligent high school juniors/seniors who usually end up going to really prestigious institutions and after that, they’re history. The reason I think it’s important for us to recognize this group is because although I wasn’t one of them, I was around these people my whole life and I can say from experience that they are often more in need of spiritual assistance than the “not so religious” youth. These teens might have gained some Islamic knowledge as kids but their home environment emphasized studies more than anything, so the belief that their professional success should be paramount to everything else in life became ingrained in them. This group may or may not shoot up heroin, party, or ‘pre-gaming’ (sadly, it happens) depending on their social circle but overall, they’re smart, loaded, and mostly concerned with helping the world and making it big along the way.
So why is this group never really talked about? To start, I think they do a pretty good job of making it seem like they’re doing okay and don’t need anyone else to tell them how to live. This is mostly because outwardly, they’re the perfect kids. Straight A students, stellar athletes, hours upon hours of volunteerism, etc. There’s really not much that seems wrong on paper. In fact, a lot of parents of even religious youth tell their kids to be more like the smart ‘Muslim’ kids. What they’re completely missing though, is that yes, these teens are mashaAllah, very intelligent, but they’re lacking a serious component of development that may affect their entire lives if they don’t acknowledge that their worldly success will amount to zilch if they don’t get to know their Creator. Also, what I find most troubling about this group is that they often manifest the exact characteristics of people who do not hope for the hereafter or who talk about the deen of Allah as some ‘by the way’ kind of thing. After the kuffar and munafiqeen, Allah subhanahu wata’ala speaks so vehemently about the Muslims who take this deen for granted and pick and choose which parts of it they wish to follow. They look for obstacles in the prescribed path and secretly or openly look down upon those who struggle to hold onto the Book of Allah and the teachings of Rasulullah (Salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). And this eventually leads to one of the greatest of diseases–hardening of the heart. About this, Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:
“The slave is not afflicted with a punishment greater than the hardening of the heart and being distant from Allah. For the Fire was created to melt the hardened heart. The most distant heart from Allah is the heart which is hardened. If the heart becomes hardened, the eye becomes dry.”~ Ibn Al-Qayyim
Of course, the aforementioned characteristics aren’t inherent in this group; rather, they develop over time just like any habit. I’ve seen this happen to people I know but the reason I think this group is more in danger than the kids who smoke and hang out with the wrong crowd is because these teens are not really ‘bad’ and so the disease(s) (raging ego being one of them) affecting them doesn’t come up to the surface until a serious disaster strikes them at which point they have no where to turn but to Allah. With the other teens, the problem is a lot more apparent and it’s harder to ignore.
Another growing problem for this group is that they often identify more with non-Muslim groups than they do with Muslims. Looking ahead, the issue of them allying more with non-Muslims may become a much greater problem for the Muslim community in the West.. if it isn’t already. Think about it, what better way do bureaus and agencies have to get into Muslim spheres than to use ‘Muslims’ to do all their dirty work? If you do some research, you’ll find that a number of recent entrapment cases have involved Muslims working under cover to help ‘concoct’ plots against completely innocent Muslims living in the US and abroad. It would be extremely naive to think this is all happening without the help of so-called Muslims who have little to no interest in what happens to our Muslim communities. They could care less if families and trusts are broken. Snap! That’s a sign of the Day of Judgement too! SubhanAllah. As smart, believing, God-fearing Muslims, I believe it’s our responsibility to look into the trends and patterns in these cases in order to recognize the signs and be alert of what could happen (or in my case, what has happened).
Okay, If I go any further, this post is going to turn into a giant conspiracy theory and end in an illuminati blame-a-thon. (jk, i’m not totally nuts yet).
I have no idea how I got from smart Muslim youth to informers and entrapment cases..this all made so much more sense in my head lol. I’ll end with this hadith of ar-Rasool (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) which I thought was quite profound and pertinent to our times:
“You should rush towards virtuous deeds before you are overtaken by turbulent times like a portion of a pitch-dark night, times in which a person may wake up believing and lose faith by nightfall, or believe at nightfall and lose faith by morning, selling one’s religion for a paltry, worldly profit.” [Related by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibn Hibban on the authority of Abu Hurayrah]