Dear Muslim Youth: Assalamu Alaikum
May Allah bless all of you with health and happiness all the time all the year round, this year and the next, and forever.
Since you are the youth of Islam, and the future of Islam rests on your shoulders, let me tell you the following:
1. Be kind to your parents, if they are alive. Treat them with kindness and love.
2. Be yourself. Do not try to be somebody else.
3. Manage your time properly. Keep an account of time; how much you spend on studies, how much talking with loved ones, how much watching TV, how much on other entertainment etc.? I am not saying that you should not watch TV or go to a movie. What I am saying is that you should always take stock of time.
4. Your first priority should be your studies. You must try to excel in your studies. Whatever your potential, you must try to develop it fully.
5. When you study a book, be critical. Always generate plenty of questions. If you cannot question something, chances are that you will not understand it.
6. Try to be creative. How to be creative? Well there are many ways to be creative. Probably everyone has a unique approach. But there are some common guidelines one can use. When you get stuck on a problem, let your mind think and wonder. Do not open the book and see what the solution is. Let your mind get frustrated. Always resist the tendency of quick results. Give your mind a chance to succeed on its own. You will realize soon that your creative energy will start flowing. When the mind is deprived of easy means and it is not satisfied with present things, it tries to create ingenious means by being creative. All the inventions happened that way.
7. So far I did not talk about the Quran. There is a reason for that. I want you to develop critical thinking ability in your studies first: in science, mathematics, computers, economics, law, or medicine – whatever field you have chosen to study. If you cannot develop this critical thinking ability most probably you would not understand the Quran. Also, understanding of the Quran is a long and hard and a lifelong process. And it requires lot of patience and perseverance plus it demands sacrifice. Therefore, you should first try to take few important verses of the Quran (the ones dealing with human relationships and character building) and try to integrate them in your life and studies. Of course it will be very hard and there will be lot of temptations to skirt. But try to avoid them. But keep in mind that we are human beings. We make mistakes. So, don’t feel too bad or don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes. Just make sure that next time you are careful.
8. Do not take advantage of others and do not let others take advantage of you. This is easier said than done, especially for the latter part. But always remember Khalifa Umar’s saying: A Momin is one who not only does not deceive anyone but does not get deceived as well. The downfall of Muslims is in major part due to the fact that that they have not practiced this saying of Khalifa Umar. They are to easily conned, cheated, and taken advantage of when they are in strong position. When they are weak and vulnerable no one cares for them and everyone kicks them around. What you see nowadays is the result of that. So, always keep this saying of Khalifa Umar in mind. But remember, as I said, it is very difficult. But with experience you will learn – if you are sincere.
9. In relation to the above, let me also mention that from among Muslims there are con artists selling Islam in the name of serving Islam. They are hunting for Muslim youth. Do not fall prey to their sweet talks. Keep your mind’s eyes open and apply Khalifa Umar’s principle. Do not ever underestimate your own intelligence.
10. Whatever is happening in the World right now in general, and in the Muslim world in particular, do not worry too much about them yourselves. Let us, the older generation, worry about them. You should remain focused on your studies and to become economically independent and stable. How can you help others if you cannot help yourself? That should be enough worry for you if your goal is to be the best.
When you have accomplished that then your cumulative weight of knowledge and expertise and the strength of character will create miracles that you at this time cannot imagine. Then a new world of Islam will rise up on your shoulders. An Islam, which will have dignity and power, based on the strength of knowledge and character rather than the current Islam that is based on customs, rituals, and belief in miracles resulting in suffering and humiliations of Muslims throughout the world.
These are some of my thoughts emanating from the depth of my heart. I hope likewise that it penetrates the bottom of your hearts and becomes the driving force in your lives. I hope this serves as a catalyst to change your lives for the better.
Let the youth of Islam show to the world what Islam really is, not what Islam has been made out to be. May Allah give you the strength and the necessary courage to carry out this important mission.