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Passion Islam I October 2008 SPECIAL FEATURE I 21
The Power of the Youth
An Untapped Resource
Do you feel violated? Have you ever the beauty of true diversity will be lost What a bind to be in! But the answer
asked yourself that question? Life has forever is…….. not violence, not revenge, not
changed so much in such a short time in Remember Allah said in the Qu’ran aggression, not isolation, not bigotry,
recent history. Throughout history human that He made us into nations and tribes and not prejudice against those who put
change comes somewhat slowly but the that we might know one another. forward this way of thinking – the answer
20th century contained so much change. How boring life would be if we were all is: Get your own life in order, meaning
Some people call it development others the same! make sure your words and actions are
call it environmental and social disasters Young people today are under two according to the Quran and Sunnah.
– but anyway, things have changed but levels of violation. The first one is that Make any necessary changes in order to
how have things changed for you? Are you which affects the whole community of do this vital first step.
being swept along by all these changes? which he is a part. This applies to most of Ask Allah the Almighty to guide and
Our education, lifestyle, and thinking us. Things like wealth being monopolized, direct you and your society to success
has been inundated by slogans and access being prevented and made in this life and the next and hope for
messages spread across the media. The conditional upon entering the melting pot goodness for yourself, your community,
youth often live on the edge of society for example, if a young Muslim woman and those who appear to be your enemies
and they often miss out on a good today because tomorrow they could
quality education and access to jobs. well be your friends and allies in justice
They often suffer from low self esteem and equality. Remember that Allah is
because they have been made to Just and He loves justice.
think that their isolation is their own Learn the ways of the society you
fault instead of the society’s inability are living in. Seek to develop yourself
to accept and respect all its members. through gaining knowledge and
So the entity of the youth is being expertise in practical skills so you can
violated by slogans of racism, media access the mainstream society and
taunts, generalizations, and the right be a fruitful member. This might mean
of authorities to arrest and detain upgrading language skills, learning
on suspicion – so young people are about computer and technology, taking
walking targets of derision. a keen interest in what is going on in the
Violation can take place not just world today. This of course, alongside
physically but also through words, gaining more and more knowledge and
suspicion, threats, and undermining understanding of every field of Islamic
the individual’s entity and identity. The wants to work in a certain career she has studies and life.
idea of ‘if you’re not like the rest of us, to ‘remove her hijab’. If Muslim youth want Get involved in your community. Spread
you’re no good’ prevails. to work at certain places it is not allowed a feeling of enthusiasm and dignity. Advise
On the one hand the society will say for them to take time off to pray. These people to get their lives in conformity with
they stand for freedom, rights for all and kinds of policies shackle the young people Islam because Allah promises to change
so on whereas on the ground, the young to contribute in a positive way. our condition (environment) when we
people feel that many of their rights are There is also a kind of mass change what is within ourselves.
not protected and that they, as individuals psychological pressure. It is a pressure Get involved in charitable work and if
are not respected for their beliefs, cultural to conform even though the catch cry of there is nothing going on, then be the one
background and what they are able to modern society is ‘freedom.’ It comes with to start and initiate some kind of program,
contribute to society. a threat; if you don’t conform – you won’t activity. Consult with others who are wise
Often if a young person chooses to be included. At the same time, there is and experienced in such things and get
dare to be different; to have his/her own still space for young people to have their something going.
identity and course in life they run the risk voice and make positive changes in a Remember, if society doesn’t seem to
of being labeled. They could be labeled positive way. want you or need your contribution don’t
a terrorist or an anarchist, but they will An extension of the violation of the youth take that as a final answer. Sometimes
always be considered ‘the other.’ And with is the way their awareness of themselves mankind doesn’t know what he needs.
this comes the inner choice each young and life in general has been tampered with. So just get in there and be active – first
person must make. Will he/she prove their It is becoming more and more difficult for by fixing up your own life, then by trying
‘innocence’ against these accusations Muslim youth to calmly and comfortably to have a positive effect on those around
(of being different) or steer their own abide by religious standards and beliefs you. Be a voice in your country – a voice
course in life and live and contribute because these beliefs and standards for justice, equality, and peace. Keep on
and add positively to society in their own have had their meanings twisted by use being that voice and one day, for sure,
way? If the individual wants to exonerate of taunts, bias, inaccurate definitions, and you will be heard. Allah Willing.
himself from being the guilty party he generalizations. So the young people are
has to be willing to ‘completely obey’ the being made to understand that if they want By Latiefa Achmat
worldwide hegemony and willingly jump the care and protection of the mainstream Latiefa Achmat is an Islamic counselor
into the melting pot and thereby lose his society they must submit and obey their and social worker in Cape Town
individuality and personal entity and so concept of ‘freedom’ and ‘morality’. South Africa.
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