The Prophet (SWAS) has informed us that one of the group of people who will be under the shade of Allah’s (SWT) throne on the day when there will not be any other shade are youth who grew up worshipping Allah (SWT). Youth years are wonder years. Often they are times of fun, energy, experimentation, self-discovery, independence, desires, seemingly lack of responsibility, rebellion, confusion, etc. One is biologically an adult but today’s society still treats one as a minor. One sees the world with fresh eyes, open to all potential opportunities. Compared to what lies ahead, one tends to see one’s childhood and one’s parents as part of a bygone, old-fashioned era. One is filled with the desire to correct what one experienced seemingly wrong in childhood. Sometimes this desire becomes ingrained in one’s personality and drives some the rest of their lives, often going to the other extreme. Unfortunately, in many Muslim families the first things youth question is the value system of their parents, including their Islam. Thus growing up worshipping Allah (SWT), especially these days might seem very difficult to some.
What is needed for the youth to stay committed to Islam, is first its correct conceptulization. I would like to emphasize that Islam is not fossilized rituals, nor custom of our ancestors that they brought with them, nor is it having pakoRas and samosas in iftaar parties, nor eating sewayyaN / kunafa on Eid, nor wearing a sirwaal / thobe, just having a beard, wearing hijab or eating only zabiha. I invite you to discover Islam afresh without all the cultural baggage.
Imagine that there is a big company owned by an influential Owner. That Owner had appointed a series of sincere CEOs to help implement His policies long ago. All the correspondence in the company went through the Owner to those CEOs who understood and helped coordinate all the activities in running the company. The last of the CEOs did a perfect job and implemented the final set of policies which will continue to be applicable till the company’s lifetime. You are someone who now works in that company. Would it not be nice for your advancement in the company if you know the Owner well, understands his characteristics, what he likes and dislikes, have a good understanding of how the last CEO understood and implemented the company policies? Would you not like to become like that sincere and capable CEO? If by chance the correspondence between the Owner and the CEO got leaked to you. Would not that be valuable to your progress?
The Owner is Allah (SWT), the CEOs are the Messengers, The last CEO is Muhammad (SWAS), the company is this world, the employees are human beings, the correspondence is the Quran, the last CEO’s methodology of work is the Sunnah, the instructions of the last CEO are hadiths and the last set of policies are Islam, those who work according to those policies are Muslims! The higher you rise in company, the more you will understand the company policies. When you retire (i.e. die), the retirement benefits will be based on your sincere acceptance of the Mission & Vision statements, adopting its Core Values, following its policies, your performance and last position in the company you held i.e. your position in Paradise or Hellfire. If you are successful the best reward in Paradise will be to personally meet the Owner (see his “Face”). Our goal in this life is to constantly educate ourselves regarding the company policy, submit to it, implement it in our work and in the teams we lead. The Owner has ensured that the last correspondence between Him and the last CEO is preserved and available to all. I invite you to become a close friend of the Owner. Study and implement the lessons you learn from His correspondence, talk to Him daily five times a day, seek His help rather than the help of those around you who ultimately also are under Him. Learn about the life of the last CEO, how he was able to perfectly fulfill his obligations and adopt his ways so that you may rise and also succeed both during your career and after retirement. That is Islam in a nutshell!