Youth and the Future

Youth and the Future
Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

In this age of information there are enough people to gain Ijtihad by coming together in community. The mosque was intended to be such a place of coming together with the intention of higher reasoning and understanding. We, as modern people, therefore, have less excuses to not learn about our din.

However, good intention without higher knowledge is futile. The youth, therefore, have more responsibility now than before. The process involves the following:

1-- Responsibility, which includes Wajibaat Taqiya (Personal obligation): The obligatory duties such as one’s salat, fasting, spiritual practices that one needs to take individual responsibility for. Wajib kifayat (Communal obligation): Collective responsibility to take care of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the community at large.

2-- Knowledge: One requires outer knowledge of the world in order to become independent, self-sufficient and morally fit as a human being. One also requires inner knowledge – Knowing that Allah is closer to one than their jugular vein. Outer courtesy with inner knowledge must go hand in hand.

3-- Behaviour/Action: Outer practices must lead to an inner delight. Ibadah must combine the outer with the inner. Overcoming the lowest nafs/nafsil ammara/animal nafs in an age of more consumerism, more clutter, where name and position in society becomes more important. Therefore, following traditions without internalizing them is futile – the outer practices are meant to clean up the inner being.

In conclusion, connecting to one’s individual fitrah whilst still engaging in the communal/social environment is vital for the youth to develop in Iman both individually and collectively.

Key Terms: Information; Ijtihad; Mosque gatherings; Obligations; Knowledge; Behaviour; Fitrah; Iman; Nafs; Outer Practices; Spiritual Practices; Outer Knowledge; Inner Knowledge