The Ashab-e-Kahf For Today’s Youth

Ashab e Kahf

Transcribed for hiba by Asma Imran

I would like to highlight some lessons from the story of the Ashab-e-Kahf (People of the Cave) which I feel are significantly missing in Muslim discourse especially those related to our youth.

Withdrawal from Mainstream Culture

The first thing I want to talk about is the cultural onslaught. The People of the Cave drew themselves away from the dominant culture when they observed that it was overwhelmingly evil. Actually, a verdict was passed against them according to which they were to be executed as a result of their faith; so they pulled themselves out.

One of the most important lessons to draw from this is that until our lives are in danger, we have to engage with the society. As Muslims, we cannot have the attitude that we are not going to mingle in the society because everything outside is a Fitnah from which we have to protect and shelter ourselves, and the only way we are going to preserve our faith is by totally shutting ourselves out from the outside world. This means that we’ve already accepted defeat. It says that everybody else is attacking us, and we’ve got to save ourselves by pulling back and staying strong within our fort.

However, the entire idea of Islam and the imagery that Allah (swt) presents of Islam is that of truth being hurled against falsehood. Allah (swt) gives the image of truth being like a weapon and falsehood being the victim and running away. Thus, the truth is attacking falsehood, and falsehood is on the run. So who’s on the offense and who’s on the defence? Who’s actually questioning the wrong happening in our society and engaging with it and saying: “We are here to change things?” That’s the truth. And who’s actually supposed to go into hiding? That’s supposed to be falsehood.

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Harnessing Your Element

harnessing your element

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question asked of children from a very early age. As they grow and mature, their choices and, more importantly, the motivation for choosing a future profession change. When I put this question to young kids aged three to seven, I was taken aback by their courage. I had in front of me an astronaut, a policeman, a van driver, two pilots, an aircraft engineer, a gardener, a mechanical engineer, and a chef. Interestingly, the smallest children (under age of three) chose to be ‘baba’ and ‘mummy’ – undeniably smart choices, which define the right priorities in life! However, when I posed the same question to A’ level girls at a prestigious local school, the list, unsurprisingly, consisted mainly of doctors, lawyers, and engineers, with a social worker and a writer the only dissidents. Do they all truly want to be doctors and lawyers? Where have the astronauts and the chefs disappeared?

It seems that today our youngsters tend to pursue the road to success, as defined by parents, teachers, and society at large, instead of following their own dreams. More often than not, they themselves believe that financial stability is the most crucial building block of their future, leaving their passions and personal aspirations ‘for a later time’, if they consider giving them a chance at all. It is hard to blame them, as they have to make space for themselves in an increasingly materialistic world which emphasizes the rat-race above personal fulfilment. Often, they choose ‘successful’ professions for the status, prestige and, of course, the money involved, even if that means dragging themselves to work every morning. Can we help our youth to have more fulfilling work lives? Sir Ken Robinson says that we can.

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Face it or Fake it

face it or fake it

People don’t fret too much about the amount of fabric covering their bodies. But they do worry sick about the make-up that conceals their face.

The billion dollar industry of cosmetics and dermatology products rests on the self-consciousness of women in particular but men are fast catching up as well. What are the common tag lines?

  • “Enhance your beauty.” (If I am beautiful, why do I need to enhance it?)
  • “Look naturally beautiful.” (So you mean to say I am ugly otherwise?)
  • “Feel confident.” (My confidence is wired to your shampoo and lipstick? Heaven help me!)

But the problem is that the standards of the world keep changing. Light is in, dark is out. Ultra-thin is in, normal thin is out. Wavy is in, straight is out. Phew! It’s impossible to catch up, let alone enjoy the moment.

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Muslim Youth: Active, Aware, and Able

Muslim youth

Youth: a word that carries a thousand different connotations. It is a word that reminds us of strength, change, and potential.

Everyone is well-aware of the value of youth and its significance in a society. They are in that period of life when they believe almost anything is possible. The youth hold the power to change the world because they will be the leaders tomorrow.

The youth are full of dreams and desires, and they possess enough physical strength and will power to actively struggle through the process of achieving great things.

Benjamin Disraeli once said: “Almost everything great has been done by the youth.”

The youth of today are presented with much better life opportunities than their parents. We live in a world that preaches the message of meritocracy. You can get anywhere you want, anywhere you aspire to, if you try hard enough. This, in itself, is inspiration enough.

In Islam, great value is placed upon our youth. The Prophet (sa) is reported to have said: “The feet of the son of Adam shall not move from before his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, how he utilized his youth, with what means he earned his wealth, how he spent his wealth, and what he did with his knowledge.” (Tirmidhi)

One cannot even hope to bring about a change in the world and most importantly, in the thinking of others, without any knowledge of how the world works. Education plays a vital role in understanding the ways of the world. Only when we identify the problems can we go about addressing them.

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Lessons in Love from Umm Atikah Bint Zaid (rtaf)

lessons in love

Umm Atikah bint Zaid (rtaf) was the daughter of Zaid ibn Nufayl and the sister of Saeed ibn Zaid (rtam), one of the ten lucky ones for whom the Prophet (sa) confirmed entry into Paradise. She was also related to Umar ibn al-Khattab (rtam) through her father.

A Husband’s Testimony about His Wife

When Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr (ra) saw Umm Atikah (ra), he sent her a proposal of marriage which she accepted. Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr’s fondness for his wife, however, made him slacken in his religious duties. He would remain at home more often, reduced participation in the battles, and would not hasten for the prayers like before. When Abu Bakr Siddiq (rtam) noticed this, he was deeply upset and feared for his son’s religion. Upon learning that this was due to Abdullah’s (rtam) fondness for his wife, Abu Bakr (rtam) instructed that they should be separated.

Obeying his father’s command, Abdullah (rtam) divorced Umm Atikah (rtaf) and again became active in his religious commitments. However, this did not last long, as he missed his beloved wife deeply. Her absence turned him into a poet. He uttered verses in her praise and testified that she was a woman of good habits, wisdom, and high moral character. He admired her truthfulness and her acceptance of the separation.

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At What Age do I Teach my Child?

teaching my child

Transcribed for hiba by Alia Adil

An awesome question came from a mother during the Gulf tour who asked: “My son is two-and-a-half years old. When do I begin to teach him Arabic grammar, Quran, Tajweed, and memorization because I want him to be raised with the Quran?”

What a beautiful concern you have with your child that you want him to learn the Quran, but he is three years old! What were you doing when you were three years old? You don’t remember! Kids are on the Fitrah – they are beautiful. Let them be. Teach them. Yes, teach them lovingly. Some kids have more aptitude and want to learn quickly, so you give them that opportunity. Some kids want play more – let them play more and take their time.

Parents have to be flexible with their children and not impose the same standards (on all of them). They should not compare one child to the other, especially in terms of their Quran. I have six kids; not all of them memorize Quran the same way. Not all of them study the Quran the same way. I have one child who memorizes something in five minutes – she’s so fast, amazing! I have another child for whom the same memorization could take a month. And I don’t compare: “Why don’t you do it like your sister, huh?” I don’t do that. This is Zulm, and it creates hatred towards Deen. “Because of this Book, my father likes my other sister more than me.” That’s wrong – stop it! Stop being so stressed over your kids. Allah (swt) doesn’t want your child to be a Hafiz; Allah (swt) doesn’t want your child to be an Alim (scholar). Allah (swt) wants your child to be a good Muslim. Allah (swt) wants your child to love his or her Deen. That’s what He (swt) wants.

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Friends in Islam – A Powerful Reminder

friends in Islam

Transcribed for hiba by Asma Imran

Every one of us is born into a society where we interact with people from a very young age: our neighbours, people we go to school with, those whom we’ve seen elsewhere in the neighbourhood, and so on. And as time passes, we become closer to them, and they begin to be known as our friends.

What does Islam teach us about friends? We need to be aware that we should follow a certain set of rules and regulations when interacting with people whom we consider to be our friends. What should we share with them? How should they impact our lives? Let us take a look at some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa) in this regard.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A man follows his friend’s religion, so you should be careful about who you befriend.” (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood) Therefore it is very important to select our friends carefully, making sure we do not befriend those who will have a negative impact on us. These teachings of the blessed Prophet (sa) are priceless. If he says that a person is known by the type of friends that he/she keeps, we need to realize that this is exactly the way it will be.

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The Best Husband; A Complete Believer

best husband

By Ahmed Faraz Khan – Freelance writer and student at Islamic Online University

Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The most complete believers in faith are those with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.” (Tirmidhi)

Does it matter how much you earn, what car you own, or how big your house is, if you aren’t able to be the best friend or a source of security and comfort for your wife? She should feel protected, happy, and at ease in your company.

Here are five tips for improving your relationship with your spouse:

Respect

Respect is the most important aspect of a relationship, especially when it comes to marriage. In fact, most marriage issues are somehow related to the element of respect. You have to respect your wife as an individual. Respect her likes, dislikes, moods, interests, and personality. Give her space, and don’t criticize every little thing she does. Realize that she is a unique person who deserves respect for who she is.

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A Successful Life?

successful life

By Leyla Natalia Bahadori – Writer

Translated by Laila Brence

I recently read a news item on the Russian Reporter introducing the new model of a cell phone by the Danish company Aesir which produces mobiles for VIPs. This new model was named “Successful Life”. It has nearly no functions of a traditional mobile phone: you cannot use email, go online, take photos, record videos, play games, or even use a navigator. This phone has only one but very expensive feature, which differentiates it from regular mobiles: the entire set is made of gold and, thus, costs USD 57,400. Only a few of these mobile phones have been produced, only for the VVIPs, or those who have a ‘successful life’.

I have never been among those who drool over the riches of others, keep an eye on how much money they have, and discuss the lifestyles of VIPs. The financial situation of others has concerned me only at a time when my children had nothing to eat. But even then I didn’t think: “I wish I also had that.” Instead, my thoughts were: “Well, I don’t even have enough to feed my kids”, as I was busy calculating the number of months I could continue to buy food instead of thinking about acquiring that latest USD 2,000 designer watch.

At the moment, my kids do have enough to eat, so the hefty price of this mobile set does not hurt me as much. However, the name of the model, “Successful Life”, does push some buttons.

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Natural Cough Relievers

flax seeds

Thyme: Thyme flavonoids relax tracheal and ileal muscles which are involved in coughing, and they also reduce inflammation. To make the tea, mix 2 teaspoons of crushed leaves in 1 cup boiling water, cover, and then steep for 10 minutes and strain. Thyme is best for coughs and for good reason; the tiny leaves are packed with cough-relieving compounds.

Flax Seeds: Combine flax seeds with honey and lemon. Once you boil flaxseeds in water, they become a thick, gooey gel that soothes the throat and the bronchial tract. Honey and lemon act as mild antibiotics and make this syrup super-soothing. Boil 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds in 1 cup of water, until the water becomes thick. Strain and then add 3 tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice. Take 1 tablespoon as needed.

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Build Your Memory, Enhance Your Capacity

memory

Memory is the most important tool in the process of learning. Since the best way for Muslims to use their memory is by learning the Quran, we should take a closer look at the memorization process in order to utilize this ability to the utmost.

During our years of schooling, a large emphasis is placed on increasing the pace of our memorization. However, there is a significant difference between learning and understanding. Learning does not always require conscious effort. Ever heard of rote learning? Without having any knowledge of it, we have rote learned multiplication tables. Do we really think about it or understand multiplication better? No, we don’t, because rote learning is merely a mechanical process. Understanding, however, requires conscious thought where we comprehend the meaning of what we learn. If you challenge somebody’s understanding of material that is just rote-learned and not really understood, you will get a blank face in response. Deep understanding, on the other hand, leads to both insight as well as creativity.

The cerebral cortex (a sheet of neural tissue that covers the cerebrum or forebrain) plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. It is divided into four main regions or lobes: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe.

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