Print Page | Close Window

Bringing Back Young Muslim Teens

Printed From: IslamiCity.com
Category: Culture & Community
Forum Name: Groups – Youth
Forum Discription: Groups – Youth
URL: http://www.IslamiCity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=16484
Printed Date: 22 September 2014 at 11:16am


Topic: Bringing Back Young Muslim Teens
Posted By: Full of Hopes
Subject: Bringing Back Young Muslim Teens
Date Posted: 14 March 2010 at 10:08am
The Lost Boys (And Girls): Bringing Back Young Muslim Teens
http://www.pureislam.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=795 -   http://www.pureislam.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=795&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=33 -   http://www.pureislam.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&task=emailform&id=795&itemid=33 -  

By Zainab bint Younus 

Anyone who's been around Muslim teens between the ages of 10 - 17 will recognize a disconcerting and disappointing trend: youthful apathy. Selfishness, self-centeredness, and almost total obliviousness to the world around them. And despite the self-absorption, there is still a lack of proper sense of self and strong identity.

It can be understood, perhaps, in that these are formative years in which children and adolescents are struggling with a huge input of information from the world around them that they can't quite figure out what to do with. These years are recognized as the most difficult years for parents, and for the children too; but for Muslim parents struggling to raise their children upon Islam here in the West, the problems are compounded.

Many concerned parents complain about how their children prefer to remain with unIslamic influences and ignore the parents' attempts to sway them towards coming to the Masjid and being involved with other Muslims. Time and time again I hear the same advice being reiterated, but unfortunately the problems persist. After a while, I wondered if another approach was needed - something a bit deeper and more long-term than one-off youth programs or conferences. Perhaps we need to re-analyze the causes of youthful misguidance, and come up with a more detailed method of reaching out to them.

Here I hope to present my own rudimentary theory of the reasons as to why so many of our younger teens, even those who come from relatively practicing Muslim households, become utterly disinterested in Islam and get sucked into the kaafir lifestyle. From there, insha'Allah we can work harder towards bringing back our lost boys and girls to the straight path.

It's All About You

We're always wondering what we can do to draw our youth back to the Masjid, back to Islam, to engage them and involve them and above all, keep them safe. In order to do this, we need to look at the other side first - what is it about the non-Muslim lifestyle that attracts the kids so much? A lot of the time, it's the attention that they receive - in a culture that celebrates and promotes individualism to an unhealthy extreme, narcissistic youth are dazzled by how it's all about them. Sure, other factors are involved, such as how the culture appeals to all those budding desires, but when you get down to it, it's mostly about the attention.

That's where we need to start. We need to give our youth attention too, and indulge their narcissism.. . to a certain point. And above all, in a constructive way.

Know Thyself

We complain about our kids having an identity crisis. To be frank, most of these kids don't even know who they are... forget about who they are as Muslims, they don't even know their own personalities. Much of the time they're just swept up in the latest trends and follow the fickle crowd without thinking about whether they actually like the items they're wasting their money on, or the activities that they throw themselves into just because it's what the cool kids do.

We have to help our youth know themselves. Once they know themselves, once they're confident in themselves and have an idea of their own potential, of what they want to do with that potential, then they will be more solidly grounded and have a better foundation upon which to build their futures.

To be a strong Muslim, one must be a strong person; the key to being a strong person is knowing who you are at your very core, being able to identify your own characteristics and values which will remain unchanged no matter what situation you're put in.

A solid Islamic upbringing from infanthood goes a long way in building this kind of strong character, and as always is the first thing that parents must be aware of. However, for those who perhaps were not as Islamically practicing during their children’s early childhood, and now wish to change their parenting styles and their children for the better, then there are other ways that they can encourage their children to develop and strengthen their individual characters.

It is now that we combine the teens' desire for attention with the goal of helping them find themselves. Either at home or in a youth group/ workshop environment, our youth need to be invited away from all the clamoring, glamorous outside influences and given the space and time to focus on themselves, on who they are. Have them look deep within themselves, that space where they keep their deepest thoughts and desires, their hopes and fears, their darkest secrets. That space where they as individuals exist on a level where nothing and no one else can reach them except themselves. What do they find in that space?

Remember that soul-searching and personal development isn't something that can be over and done with in a few hours, a day, or even a couple weeks. It is in fact a life-long endeavor - but it is something which must be fostered from a young age, so that there is a solid sense of self that can be analyzed and improved upon constantly.

Castles in the Air

If you ask a five year old, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" you're likely to get a long list that includes astronaut, cowboy (or cowgirl), firefighter, teacher, or even farmer. Ask the same question to a preteen or young teen, and you're more likely to be answered with a blank expression, a careless shrug, and a muttered, "I dunno".

This particular phenomenon in our youth is a distinct lack of vision. Stemming from the problem of not knowing themselves, our young Muslim teens tend to stumble through school and these important years of their lives in a confused daze. They rarely have a tangible idea of what they want to do with their lives; in this era of technology-centered activities, few of them recognize that they have other talents and skills which can be developed and used for the benefit of mankind.

We need to help our youth open their eyes and realize that there is more to themselves, and to life, than their shallow routine of chasing after the current fad. Teens have to realize that adolescence isn't playtime; it's the stepping-stone towards full-blown maturity and the rest of their lives. So what are they going to do with those lives?

Here is where we need to foster and encourage life visions. What life visions do these youth have? Do they think they'll be able to achieve that 'ultimate end'? If so, how? If not, how come?  How can they achieve those dreams of theirs?
Let's encourage our youth to open their hearts, minds, and eyes, and make their imaginations go wild. Let them build castles in the air!

Tools of the Trade

Life visions are pretty big dreams and it can be easy to be discouraged about them. So, break the "big dream" into a series of smaller, practical long- and short-term goals that can be steadily achieved and implemented. Accomplishing each 'small' goal becomes a stepping stone towards the final vision. As Muslims, our goal is Jannah; reaching that destination, however, requires a lot of work in a lot of different areas and in a lot of different ways.

Every goal of life is reached by utilizing skills and talents; discovering, developing, and strengthening them for maximum benefit. Now that our youth have an idea of what they want to do with their lives, they should also be able to recognize which skills they'll need to reach those goals. It's time for them to do a bit more soul-searching - or rather, talent-searching. What are their talents? What are they good at? What do they love to do? At this present time, how do they utilize those skills? How can they develop and improve these abilities? In the long term, how can they use these skill sets to reach their goals?

Strong and Free

In a nutshell, the above is part of what I perceive to be a rough guide/ method to dealing with the problem of lost, apathetic, confused Muslim teens who are sucked into a culture of shallowness, vanity, and selfishness. We have a group of kids who have so much potential, who could be the next great leaders of this Ummah, if only we could unplug them from their iPods, unhook them from their video games, and drag them away from the latest sales at the mall.

Our youth can be - and will be, insha'Allah - strong and free, secure in their identities as Muslims and their own unique personalities. In their submission to Allah, they will be empowered to becoming the next generation of movers and shakers, those who will improve the state of this Ummah in every field.

We just need to guide them away from the distractions of this dunyah and engage their hearts, minds, and souls...  all we have to do is give them the time and attention that they crave, and that they need so that they may become the kind of glorious personalities they have the potential to be. It will be, and is, a long, hard road for parents, the youth, and those of us who have dedicated our lives for the sake of Allah to strengthen this Ummah; but insha'Allah the payoff in both this world and the Hereafter will be worth every agonizing moment of it.

 



-------------
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers(3:85)



Replies:
Posted By: UmmFatima
Date Posted: 14 March 2010 at 11:52am
Amen!

I like the "life vision" idea - it's good for all of us.

I think the problem often goes deeper than the teens - many families are practicing only as part of their cultural ties. It's how Pakistanis/Indians/Arabs/etc get together and socialize - at the masjid. Then the kids want to be Americans, they want to be accepted. So they avoid their culture - and Islam.

I think parents need to do a better job of explaining Islam as different from their culture, as a universal religion.

If children were raised fearing Allah they wouldn't brush Him off for anything.


-------------
“Our Lord! Grant us comfort in our spouses and descendants, and make us leaders of the God-fearing.” -Al-Furqan 74


Posted By: Ukhti S.
Date Posted: 02 May 2010 at 10:29am

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim - In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful

 

 

As Salamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu!

 

I hope you all are doing great! May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'alaa) grant you all with the best of health and strengthen your emaan, Ameen!

 

I would like to first of all thank the member 'Full of Hopes' for posting this very important topic. As everyone knows and as the article brings up, today's problem is that many young ones are becoming westernized and leave their religion and culture behind.

 

This is something I am daily facing here in Europe, both girls and boys are living and doing what western teenagers are doing.

 

Something very important when rising up a child is to teach it how to be brave, to have courage. That is very important. A few days ago, I had a discussion with my father about raising children in an Islamic way, and both he and I stated that courage and braveness is something very important to the child to have as a personality. When you are brave and have the courage, you don’t let others to affect you, but it is You who are the one who should affect them.

 

 

Originally posted by Full of Hopes

To be a strong Muslim, one must be a strong person; the key to being a strong person is knowing who you are at your very core, being able to identify your own characteristics and values which will remain unchanged no matter what situation you're put in.

 

As also the author stated, one must be a strong person in order to be a strong Muslim and to know who you are at your very core and to know your values, which should remain unchanged wherever you are. That’s very important. To build such base in a child then as a parent, you don’t have to be concerned about your child. Then it will be easy to teach your child about Islam.

 

 

Originally posted by Full of Hopes

A solid Islamic upbringing from infanthood goes a long way in building this kind of strong character, and as always is the first thing that parents must be aware of. However, for those who perhaps were not as Islamically practicing during their children’s early childhood, and now wish to change their parenting styles and their children for the better, then there are other ways that they can encourage their children to develop and strengthen their individual characters.

 

It is now that we combine the teens' desire for attention with the goal of helping them find themselves. Either at home or in a youth group/workshop environment, our youth need to be invited away from all the clamoring, glamorous outside influences and given the space and time to focus on themselves, on who they are.

 

One of the most important things is that the child should have a strong base already from its early childhood, because it can be quite a lot difficult later on to change your child when he/she has grown. As the author says, there are other ways, but it is still harder and takes a lot more time.

The author has also given a very good advice, to send your child to a youth group, but my advice to the parents is to send their children to an Islamic youth group, to make them befriended with other young Muslims. There are youth groups at the local Masjid.

 

It is also important to be with your children at home daily. Talk to them and give them time and attention, that way you get a close relationship with your children.

 

Originally posted by Full of Hopes


If you ask a five year old, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" you're likely to get a long list that includes astronaut, cowboy (or cowgirl), firefighter, teacher, or even farmer. Ask the same question to a preteen or young teen, and you're more likely to be answered with a blank expression, a careless shrug, and a muttered, "I dunno".

This particular phenomenon in our youth is a distinct lack of vision. Stemming from the problem of not knowing themselves, our young Muslim teens tend to stumble through school and these important years of their lives in a confused daze. They rarely have a tangible idea of what they want to do with their lives; in this era of technology-centered activities, few of them recognize that they have other talents and skills which can be developed and used for the benefit of mankind.

 

We have to help our youth know themselves. Once they know themselves, once they're confident in themselves and have an idea of their own potential, of what they want to do with that potential, then they will be more solidly grounded and have a better foundation upon which to build their futures.

 

The author has given a very good point here; confidence!

Confidence is also very important for the child to have. Once they have self-confidence that they believe in their selves, they can achieve many points in life and learn to make decisions by their own. When someone lacks in self-confidence they start becoming hesitant and fearful, they feel they can’t achieve things in life.

 

In my opinion, many parents tend to be very strict to their children by frequently telling them; “do this and don’t do that”. The parents should give their children some free will, but of course before they cross the limit you should tell them make them aware of what they are doing is wrong.

 

Originally posted by Full of Hopes


Our youth can be - and will be, insha'Allah - strong and free, secure in their identities as Muslims and their own unique personalities.

 

...all we have to do is give them the time and attention that they crave, and that they need so that they may become the kind of glorious personalities they have the potential to be.

 

Every individual is unique in its own way; to feel secure and be proud of itself that he/she is different from others is just great!

If a person is weak, then you can’t expect him to be courageous and don’t get affected by its surrounding i.e. friends, mass media etc.

 

What the author also states about giving children time and attention is very true! Because that is what we, as children, need from our parents!

 

A very good advice I would like to share is to gather the family once in a week to have some kind of “family time”, to talk and discuss about Islam. I think if both parents attend is the best! All will then learn from each other!

 

A reason of why most teenagers are being westernized is that they feel that they won’t fit in the society if they don’t do as they do. As the author of the article also says, they need to be strong! Its important that they are the ones who affect the surrounding and not vice versa!

I also think that the parents should open their eyes more and be aware of what their children are doing. Make sure they are befriended with good people and not bad people who influence them into a bad manner.

May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'alaa) guide us all and strengthen our emaan and increase our knowledge of the deen, Ameen!

Take Care and Stay Blessed all!

Wa Alaykumusalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

 



-------------
Allah is my Support, the Qur'an and Sunnah is my Guide and the Paradise is my Goal!


Posted By: CrossYourToes
Date Posted: 19 January 2011 at 5:50am
Hmm...well I do agree that Muslim teens are quite bewildered and lost in a society where Islam is seen as ugly and unappealing, and Western practices and actions are considered golden and "cool".
At such an age however, the basics of Islam should be taught to the youth and be perfectly cemented in their brains. By basics, the five fundamentals should be taught, starting with prayer as a necessity. It is sad to hear that many Muslim teens and adults ignore prayer, the punishment for which is intense.
After those basics, the beautiful elements of Islam should be taught. Kindness, love, sincerety, peacefulness, honesty...all should be taught. Muslim youth should, in fact, be the best mannered and act as an example for all youth. Adults should not repeatedly say "what you can't do" and "this is haram"; such pressure may lead to rebellion, and hatred towards Islam. Instead, they should be informed of what they can do (what is permissible), and why they can't do forbidden things .
 
I pray that our youth will be successful, intelligent, and well-mannered, and famous for such qualities. 
 
Take care <3



Print Page | Close Window