Your teenage son attends school. You pay his fees, buy his uniform, provide him with his text books and stationery, arrange for his transport and give him whatever else is necessary for his education. However your son is not truly dedicated to studying. His main purpose of attending school is to enjoy the few exciting excursions arranged by the school each year. Hence in his school life he “lives” from one excursion to the next. This is what motivates him. It is his objective. He eagerly awaits the excursion and plans for the next excursion before the first is over. If the excursion is cancelled for any reason, he is dejected and depressed.
Like any sensible father, you are very disappointed. Your son should have been dedicated to his studies. The excursions are secondary and “by the way.” If no excursion was undertaken, it is not a serious issue. Studying diligently and obtaining a good pass should have been the main concern. You feel your son has “let you down.”
We are also in the “school” of this world to “study” – to learn to recognize our Creator, become His true servants and gain His pleasure. This is our main focus of life. This is our motivation, objective and wherein we experience real pleasure. Everything else is secondary. Thus the “excursions” – the occasional little breaks to freshen the mind – are entirely secondary. They should not be given primary importance or become the driving factor in our lives.
TAKE A BREAK
Unfortunately with the Western culture eroding into our way of life, the “excursions” — the elaborate holidays — have become an aspect of primary focus. Generally people no more take a holiday to “take a break.” Instead the holiday has become the objective. Many people need to take a break after the holiday. Nevertheless, much time is spent planning one’s holidays. Budgets are allocated for it. While on holiday “where we will spend the next holiday” is discussed. Thus we generally live from holiday to holiday. Every effort is made to ensure that the next holiday is more fun-filled and exciting than the previous one. If the holiday does not materialize, the person is dejected. Alas, this is not the life that a true Mu’min leads.
Making holidays a high priority in life and generally chasing fun and entertainment are in fact the ideals of a “religion” termed “hedonism.” In Philosophy, hedonism is defined as “the doctrine that pleasure is the sole or chief good in life and that the pursuit of it is the ideal aim of conduct (Encarta Encyclopedia).” In simple terms a hedonist is one who worships his desires and makes chasing fun his object in life. This is exactly what Allah Ta’ala has denounced in the Qur’an in the words: “Have you seen the one who takes his desires as his deity and (as a result) Allah caused him to deviate despite knowledge (45:23).” Indeed no Mu’min will claim to be a hedonist in belief. Yet in practice by and large we follow in the footsteps of the hedonistic West. The cornerstones of Western society are “make money” and “have fun.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has taught the very opposite – the crux of which is that do not chase the world but spend your life in striving for the comforts, luxuries, fun and pleasure of Jannah.
Apparently it would seem that the one who follows the teachings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and spends his life striving for the Hereafter would have no pleasure in this world. There is nothing further from the truth. In fact only those who dedicate themselves to Allah Ta’ala taste true pleasure. Hazrath Ebrahim bin Adham (R.A.) used to say: “By Allah we experience such pleasure in worship that, if the kings had known about it, they would have tried to snatch it with their swords.” It is for this very reason that they have no need to chase the artificial and superficial fun of material things, nor do they get depressed due to not having some petty material pleasures. On the contrary, the fun worshippers not only get depressed but also become suicidal. It is part of their belief that “avoidance of pain should be the main concern … and suicide is by far the most efficacious way of avoiding pain (Encarta Encyclopedia).” Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raajioon! Allah forbid!
Just as no Muslim will claim to be a hedonist in belief, likewise he will never believe in suicide being a way of avoiding pain. A Mu’min certainly believes in life after death and knows that there is unimaginable pain and suffering for one who commits suicide. Yet, due to imitating the hedonistic lifestyle and to some degree making worldly pleasure the purpose of life, some Muslims also become depressed and even suicidal when their desired worldly pleasure is not acquired.
Indeed, Islam has given leeway for a person to occasionally “take a break” from ones normal schedule of work. The object is to take some rest and refresh the mind so that one could return to one’s primary objective (Deen) with renewed enthusiasm and vigour. Hence in taking some rest one will never compromise one’s Deen. Compromising one’s objective for some trivial fleeting pleasure will be like a person who for the pleasure of some warmth makes a bonfire with all the money that he has earned. This would be very tragic indeed.
DO NOT DEGRADE…
In order to ensure that one’s “break” does not break the back of one’s Deen or break the morality and Imaan of one’s family, the following are some guidelines which should be adhered to:
Refrain from all venues of fitna. Even being in the vicinity of the popular public beaches, parks, “shoppertainment” centres and other such venues where hoards of naked people wearing scraps of clothing prance around, is extremely detrimental to one’s Imaan.
The same applies to beachfront hotels, holiday resorts and the like. Exposing oneself and one’s family to all the nudity, music and other fitnas at these venues seriously damages every ones hayaa (shame and modesty) though one may not actively be a part of the fitnas taking place.
Do not degrade the Islamic garb (the beard, kurta / cloak, niqaab) by attending any such venues where drinking, nudity and other haraam activities take place. These are places which should not be attended by any Muslim, let alone a Muslim who is conscious enough to adopt the Islamic garb.
Remember that you are only taking a break from your normal daily schedule, not from Deen. Therefore, Salaah, recitation of the Qur’an, zikr and other Deeni activities should not stop. Instead it should increase since one is free from many other daily chores.
Any place where immorality abounds attracts the wrath of Allah Ta’ala. This is clearly mentioned in the Ahadith. Incidents such as tsunamis, earthquakes and other similar catastrophes in the recent past were a clear manifestation of the ahadith. A common factor was the prevalence of much immorality in the affected areas. When the punishment of Allah Ta’ala descends, the innocent are also affected with the guilty, though in the Hereafter they will be separated from the criminals. Thus places where the naked hordes roam around – on the beachfront, resorts and other similar places – must be strictly avoided.
Always bear in mind that true pleasure only lies in obedience to Allah Ta’ala. In disobedience lies torment and agony – even though one may be in the lap of luxury on the most “exotic holiday.” May Allah Ta’ala grant us the taste and true pleasure of Deen in this world and grant us the eternal holiday of Jannah. Aameen.
The commencing of the holidays spontaneously brings about concern in the hearts of many a parent with regards to the activities of their youth during the holiday period.
The vitality of youth is indeed a gift from Allah Ta’aala as mentioned in Sura Ar- Rum:
“Allah is the One who created you from weakness, then He gave you strength after weakness, then He gave you weakness and grey hair after strength.” (Surah Ar-Rum: Verse 54).
In this verse reference is made to the helpless period of childhood, the energetic period of youth and the dwindling strength and reduced vitality of old age.
This very exciting period of one’s life which many a grey- haired man would love to return to is punctuated with periods of pleasure and pain, thrills and spills and joy and grief. A period that is characterised with a desire to experiment with anything and everything, dangerous or safe, within the limits and beyond. Not forgetting the inclination to rebel, the will to challenge authority coupled with the excitement of engaging in risky behaviour.
Interests change, values are altered, traditional signposts become blurred and parents no longer occupy the centre stage in the lives of these children who find themselves on the threshold of adulthood. Upon reaching adolescence, the growing child suddenly discovers within himself experiences he never felt before. With this new-found energy and mustered strength, he feels that he can provide instant solutions to age old problems.
When Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam advised taking hold of 5 opportunities before 5 conditions render you incapable of doing so, he mentioned life in general and the period of youth in particular.He said, “Value five things before five others: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death.”
Allah Ta’aala values and holds in great esteem that youngster who is obedient to Him during the prime of his youth, to such an extent that He gives him the privilege of being granted shade under His throne on that dreadful Day when there will be no shade except His.
Hadrat Abu Hurayrah Radiyallaahu anhu reported that the Prophet Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade:
1. A just ruler.
2. A youth who grows up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.
3. A man whose heart is attached to the musjid.
4. Two people who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that.
5. A man who is seduced by a woman of beauty and position, but be says: ‘I fear Allah’.
6. A man who gives charity secretly, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives.
7. A man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes shed tears.”
In the light of this Hadeeth every young person should make a firm committment never to leave the worship of Allah Ta’aala and to remain chaste and far from all forms of disobedience to Allah Ta’ala such as Zina, (be it of the eyes, ears, hands or the actual act itself), music and its associated evils, intoxicants and all other vices. Remember, there is no better time in a person’s life to serve Allah Ta’aala than the youthful stage of life. Our youth are tomorrow’s flag bearers of Deen. Its preservation lies in their hands.
The following great personalities are remembered even today for their achievements during their youth: Nabi Ibraheem Alaihis Salaam challenged the ideology of his time, Nabi Yusuf Alaihis Salaam was entrusted with the country’s financial affairs, Hadrat Usama bin Zayd Radiyallaahu anhu was placed at the head of the army and Hadrat Abdullah bin ‘Abbas Radiyallaahu anhu was considered an authority on Qur’aan and Tafseer at a tender age. Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sind when he was only seventeen while Muhammad al-Faatih liberated Constantinople, and brought an end to the mighty Byzantine empire, when he was barely twenty one.
Let us follow the example of none other than Muhammad Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam. In the prime of his youth he directed his energy in championing the cause of the poor, victims of injustice and oppression and in linking people to Allah Ta’ala, their Creator.
Every Muslim should reflect and ask: “Is there any way that I could secure my place under the shade of Allah Ta’aala, at a time when people would be drowning in their own perspiration?”