Let us Present a Better Choice!
The teenage years, the years of being young. A world of raging hormones, difficult choices and of course, happy times. In the literature component that we had to study during our high school years, the poem “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost is perhaps the most oft-quoted and remembered, even amongst lit-haters, which encompassed quite a number of students~! :-p
And why that is; is simple: the poem spoke about the author having to make difficult choices, between what is easy and what he really wants. Sounds very much like the theme of teenage years to me! How many times in a day we lamented about that the might –have-beens: the scholarship we rejected (or got rejected…hehe), the guy we said “no” to, the hundred dollars spent on the new shirt…ah now it sounds biographical….hehe.
Our youth are mostly about choices. Maybe in our early teenage years (13-17 age), the choices are made by our environment: the school we went to, the friends we made. And then came the dreaded SPM results and we were entrusted with our first life-changing decision: what course to take, which subsequently would chart the direction of our working years. Not easy. And then a slew of things would come up: college, new environments, love life, freedom… the start of our young adult years (18-20 ish..heh) is about making our own choices, and being responsible for it.
In the midst of our choice-making, the crisis of identity would definitely crop up. For us who’ve been there, we know that the questions of “who I am?” “What am I doing here and where I am going?” and “am I making the right choice” would rise about ten gobzillion times. O yeah.
And while choosing, a young adult who has realized the meaning of being a Muslim would seem to have to choose between the modern world and being a true Muslim. The structure of the modern society today is such that secularism (separation of religion and state) is the base of society, and if one is to practice 100% of Islamic belief and principles, one would miss out in the world. Hence, we have the young adults in the society today taking bits and pieces of Islam and marry them with the hedonistic way of life, and we have a majority of the so called moderate Muslims in the society.
In the Quran, God already stated clearly, “O you who believe, enter Islam wholly.. (2:208)” and with this we know that we can’t compromise on this. Being a Muslim means being an abid, and this means to follow God’s command and to stay away from what He does not like us to do. However, this does not mean that we should reject the world, and to live in recluse or to not live life to the fullest. this is what the young adults with some Islamic consciousness are afraid of. They’re afraid of giving up one thing for another, earth for the Hereafter, and therefore giving up fun and joy in life. They know that its wrong to skip the prayers, but they couldn’t miss out the five hour long concert as it gave them a sense of belonging, a sense of contentment.
What we can do, as daies, is to give them another choice. There must be a choice of being a “100% Muslim” AND being a participating part in the modern society. And this could only be achieved when the Islamic alternative is on par with what’s being offered in the world today. You can’t kid them (and me included) that listening to nasheed band X is as more fun that listening to alt-rock band Y. we often lecture (silently or not) our friends that its bad to listen to band Y for its explicit lyrics… but do we actually realize that the reason they listen to the songs is about the music and not the lyrics? If we can give them a nasheed band that produces as good music, I bet they’d be more than willing to give up the explicit lyrics!
So what should we do? I’d say lets work together and improve what Islam have to offer in terms of what the young adults like and love. Books, movies, music, website..…. Anything. Give them a better choice. Understand their lives, and cater to their needs and wants.
It is something all proactive young daies should and could do, if we work together.. insya Allah!
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