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.
Every day brings new changes to this world. Our understanding of the world and people needs to take into account these changes.
hiba set out to gain a better understanding of educated Muslim youth and their thoughts on Islam in this current day and age. 113 participants, between the ages of 18 and 30 years, took part in a survey that explored their beliefs on what the most serious problems of the Muslim Ummah are today and how to tackle them. Likewise, they were asked about their own beliefs in regards to Islam.
What are the Muslim countries in dire need of today?
To this, an overwhelming majority of 85.7% answered that Muslim countries need competent, credible, and corruption-free leadership, while the other 14.2% thought that Muslim countries need to be founded on a secular ideology.
This result suggests that the youth view most of the leadership as inadequate and riddled with greed and self-interest.
Does Islam hold the answer to the problems of Muslims today?
77.9% answered in affirmative; 16.8% said they didn’t know; 5.3% chose to disagree.
Does Islam hold the answers to the problems of the world today?
70.3% answered ‘yes’; 2.7% said they didn’t know; 3.5% felt that Islam does not offer the solution to the world’s problems today.
What is the greatest distraction which steers the youth away from Islam?
To this question, nearly half of the participants said that misinformation, or lack of information about Islam is what steers youth away from religion. 27.4% were of the opinion that one’s personal desires leads one away from adhering to the religion. 8.8% said peer pressure, 7.1% said lack of reliable role models, and 4.4% blamed the over-burdening education, while others cited ignorance and irrational thought to be the cause.
Do you believe in resurrection?
92% of participants said ‘yes’, while the other 8% said ‘no.
What would you give as an excuse for your current negligent state of life (if it is so)?
Majority of the participants said that they are trying their best not to lead a negligent life, while some said that ignorance and unawareness of responsibilities are to be blamed for it. Others stated that they are content enough with the choices they’ve made in their lives. Some other answers included heedless company and a different upbringing.
What is the biggest threat to Islam in today’s world?
Surprisingly, none of the participants believed that Islam is unthreatened today. 46% said that intolerance of different sects and beliefs within the Islamic community are the undoing of Islam. 25.7% felt that Islam was under threat due to the presence of extremist militant organizations. Some expressed the view that the continuous Western exhibition of Islamophobia was the reason, while others felt that the numerous divisions in Islam in the manner of sects poses a threat to the integrity of Islam itself.
The picture we obtained of the educated Muslim youth is not one of indifference and laziness, as the society at large may believe it to be. The survey revealed that the majority of the youth is actively aware of their own shortcomings and the problems of the Ummah in general.
Beyond the survey, some of the youth felt that in order to counteract these problems, Muslims need to reacquaint themselves with the religion, turn to the Quran, and work on their roots. They felt that there is a gap between actual Islam and that which is being practiced at large. Most youngsters agree that in order for Islam to flourish, the change has to come from within Muslims themselves – it is by tending to the roots that the tree will bear fruit. Likewise, intolerance and sectarian violence has to stop.
The world does not need to save the youth. It is the youth, Insha’Allah, who, with the correct guidance and knowledge, will save the world.