Recapping Day of Arafat Event 2020

This past Thursday, July 30th, we had an amazing online Arafat event.  We were joined by notable scholars, devotional artists, and community thinkers from around the world.

Click the video above to watch the webinar.

Speakers included:

  • Imam Yama Niazi
  • Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
  • Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
  • Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
  • Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat
  • Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
  • Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans
  • Nader Khan
  • Shaykh Amin Buxton
  • Peter Sanders
  • Shaykha Zaynab Ansari
  • Shaykh Amer Jameel
  • Habib Muhammad Abddur rahman al Saqqaf
  • Ustadh Abdullah Misra
  • Shaykh Muhammad Carr
  • Alman Nusrat
  • Sidi Edris Khamissa
  • Shaykh Jamal Ud Deen Hysaw
  • Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary

Click here to watch the full video: The Day of Arafat: Standing Before God Webinar

Don’t let a Faith Pandemic Happen

Help Support The Islamic Scholars Fund

“The Islamic Scholars Fund plays a very critical role in supporting individuals who are a means through which you and I will continue to draw closer to our Creator…” – Imam Khalid Latif

 

The Best Ten: A Dhul Hijjah Reader

There’s only so much a pandemic can disrupt and if there’s one thing that will remain intact, it’s the virtuous days in the year Allah has selected.

We experienced ten blessed nights at the end of Ramadan and upon us now are ten blessed days. Days that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said regarding them, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (i.e. first ten days of Dhul Hijja).” Some of the companions asked, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger and does not return with any of those things.” (Bukhari)

Help to support deserving scholars and students during these blessed days by donating your zakat and charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund. Your support is a sadaqa jariya and will have a lasting impact on ensuring the Prophetic legacy continues within our global communities.

Here is some of our content regarding these blessed days:

Articles:

Podcasts:

Answers:

Videos:

May Allah – the Most High – accept from us our prayers, sadaqa, and fasting.

Saving Our Souls Series

Our teacher, Shaykh Yusuf Weltch, guides us through a journey, a path that ultimately leads to true happiness; the love of Allah.  Join us as we take this trip.  Keep an eye on this page for updates to new articles and podcasts.

Part 1: Introduction | Click here

  • An article on the heart and the need to take care of it

Part 2: Obligations of the Heart | Click here

  • We’ve heard of bodily obligations, but what are the obligations of the heart?

Part 3: A Precious Counsel from a Revered Scholar | Click here

  • The believer’s state

Part 4: 22 Sins of the Heart | Click here

  • Yes, even the heart can sin, which are the worst of sins

Part 5: 12 Sins of the Stomach

  • Everything we digest has an impact on the heart

Part 6: The Disobedience of the Eyes

Part 7: The Sins of the Tongue

Part 8: The Sins of the Ears

Part 9: The Sins of the Hand

Part 10: The Sins of the Private Parts

Part 11: TBA

Part 12: TBA

One Year Intermediate Program in Shafi’i Fiqh and Usul

Reliance of the Traveller (Umdat al-Salik) (Level Three) with The Essence of Islamic Legal Theory (Lubb al-Usul) (Level Three) with Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk, and companions

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan, a senior instructor at SeekersGuidance, will be teaching live weekly classes covering two key texts in Shafi’i fiqh and usul over the course of one year:

Program Description

This one-year Specialization Certificate Program is an Intermediate Program in Shafi’i  Fiqh and Usul. It covers Level three of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum in Shafi’i  Fiqh and Usul.

This program will encompass a thorough study of two texts.

  • Umdat as-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller) (Level Three of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum), in full–with readings from the commentary of umda, Fath al-Wahhab al-Malik, and Mahalli’s commentary on the Minhaj, Kanz al-Ragibin, with its Hashiyah by Qalyubi  
  • Shaykh al-Islam’s Lubb al-Usul (Level Three)–with reference to his own commentary, Gayat al-wusul.

Class Format

Three live classes per week, 45-60 Minutes each. Students are expected to attend live, or to follow the recordings.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and related texts and resources. 

Preparation, participation, and asking questions is expected – as is the following of recommended readings.

Conditions for Joining the Class

This is an intermediate level class in Shafi’i fiqh (Level Three) which adequately prepares a student to study the Minhaj al-Talibin of Imam al-Nawawi. It is therefore essential for students to have completed the study of the following works or their  equivalent:

Required Text:

  • al-Risalah al-Jami’ah (Habshi’s Encompassing Epistle Explained)
  • al-Mukhtasar (Ba Fadl’s The Short Abridgement)
  • Abu Shuja’ with experience readings from ibn Qasim’s commentary with its’ Hashiyah by Imam Bajuri

Recommended Text:

  • Safina al-Naja 
  • Al-Muqaddima Al-Hadramiyya with experience reading from one of its commentaries such as Bushra Al-Karim 

As this course encompasses Level Three usul, students are required to have completed a study of the Waraqat of Imam al-Haramayn.

For students without this, we recommend that they begin with Level One, then Level Two of the Islamic Studies Curriculum [link].

Although this class is completely free, students are expected to apply for the course and will need to be approved by the SeekersGuidance Academy team.

Language of Instruction

The Arabic text will be studied with English commentary.

Timings

Monday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)
Wednesday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)
Thursday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)

Location

This class will be offered online only via Zoom

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

i. Prepare for the class.

ii. [a] Attend the class, with attentiveness, [b] participation, [c] asking questions.

iii. Review the class notes and text. Diagramming the text helps.

iv. Take notes. It is best to write out the matn itself, and essentials from the commentary (such as the key details and reasoning). This is also a good Arabic writing practice.

v. Participate in the Class Forum–by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge (talib `ilm).

vi. Seek Allah’s Pleasure, and have high secondary intentions of acting upon what

Application Form

The Masters and the Millennials | Part 2: Knowledge – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the second part of a series, click here for the previous article.

Knowledge and it’s virtue
Knowledge is very important. It has a prominent place in Islam. It is one of the primary foundations of the Ba ‘Alawi way. Allah Most High said to His beloved (blessings and peace be upon him): “Say, my Lord, increase me in knowledge” (20:114). When Allah commands His beloved to do something, that thing is beloved to Him. He instructed the Prophet to ask for an increase in knowledge because it is one of the most noble and honourable qualities. So we should ask Allah as often as possible to increase us in knowledge.

Abu Hurayrah once announced in the marketplace, “O people, what is preventing you from taking your share of the Prophet’s inheritance? It is being distributed.” They asked where it was being distributed, so he answered, “in the mosque”. They went to the mosque and returned, saying, “O Abu Hurayrah, you said the Prophet’s legacy is being distributed in the mosque, but we found nothing except people praying, reciting the Qur’an and revising knowledge – the fiqh of halal and ḥaram.” Abu Hurayrah said, “Woe to you, the inheritance of the Prophet is in the gathering of knowledge.” He quoted the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), “Indeed, Prophets did not leave wealth as an inheritance. They only left knowledge as an inheritance.”

The Prophet also said to his companions, “You are living in a time when the jurists are many and the teachers are few, those who ask are few and those who give are many, and action is better than knowledge. But a time will come when the jurists are few and the teachers are many.” This statement is very apt in our time. Many people study merely so they can deliver talks. The Prophet referred to this as a bad development. People are not focused on knowledge, but on how well they are able to speak. He went on to say: “A time will come when many will ask and few will give, and knowledge will be better than action.”

Hasan al-Basri said that, had knowledge taken a form, it would have been more splendid than the sun, the moon, the stars and the sky. Imam Shafi’i said whoever desires this world or the next should seek knowledge because he is need of knowledge in this life and the next. Allah Most High gives worldly things to those He loves as well as those He does not love, but He only gives knowledge to those He loves.

Habib ‘Aydarus bin ‘Umar al-Habshi said knowledge is food for the heart. Therefore he would make the du’a that is made after eating at the end of every gathering of knowledge.

Correct worship requires knowledge
Without knowledge we are not able to worship Allah truly. A man may worship Allah the way angels do, but if he does so without knowledge he will be one of the losers.

‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said that the one who acts and does good without having knowledge spreads more bad than good. Sayyidina ‘Umar bin al-Khatab (Allah be pleased with him) said that someone who has not studied is not allowed to buy and sell in the marketplace. One who does not study the law of commercial transactions ends up consuming riba unknowingly.

Consider the following telling example: A man from Morocco was known to exert himself in worship. One day he purchased a female donkey that he did not use for anything. Someone asked him why he was keeping it if he was not using it. He replied that it was there to keep him chaste. He was engaging in bestiality not knowing it is haram.

It is really important to participate in classes of knowledge. Learning is a cycle that should never end. Imam Ghazali said one should attend a class every day. We should start by attending at least one a week, and then increase our attendance slowly until we are able to attend a class every day.

The Masters and the Millennials | Introduction – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the start of a series of articles that are based on al-Fawa’id al-Mukhtarah, one of the seminal works of the great scholar al-Habib Zayn bin Sumayt. The book contains advice on a wide range of subjects that are relevant to daily life, drawing on examples from the Habaib from Hadramout. We will be exploring this advice within the context of Muslims living in the West, with the aim of deriving guidance from it on ways to deal with modern challenges.

Click here to listen to their accompanying podcasts.

Introduction

This is the first article in a new series, which is designed to derive benefit from the book Al-Fawa‘id al-Mukhtarah li Salik Tariq al-Akhirah, which contains selected beneficial anecdotes for the wayfarer by Habib Zayn bin Sumayt.

The book covers a vast array of topics. The article series (and podcast series) aims to derive benefit from the ahadith and ayahs quoted in it, as well as to find practical examples from the lives of the pious that assist us in our lives.

We are 1,400 years away from the life of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) so there are very few current prophetic examples for us to follow. However, the scholars of the Ba‘alawiyyah from Tarim in Yemen – the Haba’ib – are real examples from the twenty-first century.
We will draw on these examples and from the comments in the book to derive insight into the challenges, psychological problems, abuses and addictions we face in the west. Although the book is traditional, it provides us with an opportunity to see how we can live in the modern era by following the ways of these giants – the heirs of the Prophet.
Before we begin our discussion of the book, it is important to outline the biography of Habib Zayn bin Sumayt.

Author’s Biography
He is a member of the Prophet’s family. He is Ḥusayni. His lineage goes through many pious forebears, such as al-Faqih al-Muqqadam and al-Imam Ahmad ibn ʻIsa al-Muhajir, through Sayyidina Husayn to the Prophet Muhammad. He is Hadrami because his family hails from Hadramaut although he was born 79 years ago in Jakarta.
He is an authority on Shafi’i fiqh and taṣawwuf. He was born of pious parents and his father ensured that he sat in the company of the pious, such as Habib ‘Ali bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad. After he reached puberty he went to Tarim to study at the hands of various scholars and in various institutes. His most senior teacher was Habib ‘Alawi bin ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Aydarus bin Shihab. He was also taught by Habib Ja‘far bin Ahmad al-‘Aydarus, who manifested many miracles and who loved horses. Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz was another of his teachers.
After he had been in Tarim for eight years, Habib Muḥammad told him to go to Bayḍa’ to teach. He did so and joined the ribat of Habīb Muḥammad al-Haddar. When Sayyid Habib ‘Umar bin Muḥammad al-Hafiz went to Bayda’ he studied under Habib Zayn.
Interestingly, both Habib Zayn and Habib ‘Umar married daughters of Habib Muhammad al-Haddar. Habib Muhammad observed Habib ‘Umar’s inner light and wanted him as a son-in-law. He told Habib ‘Umar that he had two daughters, one who had been married previously and had a daughter, and another who had never been married. He said Habib ‘Umar was free to choose to marry either of them.
Instead of deciding quickly, Habib ‘Umar consulted Habib Zayn. He said he was looking for a wife who would help him call people to Allah. Habib Zayn said the daughter who had been married previously was the one who would aid him best in that endeavour, so he married her.
Habib Zayn taught in Bayda’ for thirty years. Thereafter he moved to Madinah and opened a ribat. It attracted many students, so the government ordered that it be shut down. Habib Zayn had to decide whether to leave Madinah to continue teaching, or to remain there without teaching. He decided to remain there because of his connection to his grandfather (blessings and peace be upon him).
His wife passed away a few years ago, and this caused him much sorrow. This was because he was very attached to her, much like our beloved Prophet was attached to Sayyidah Khadījah (Allah be pleased with her).

Summary of the Book
The book begins with a chapter on the importance of knowledge. It delves into the etiquette between students, on the one hand, and shaykhs and imams, on the other, as well as the relationship between laypeople and scholars. These issues are foundational to Muslims.
Habib Zayn’s anecdotes span a broad spectrum of issues, including calling people to Allah; the importance of the Qur’an; halal and haram; the rights of one Muslim over another; enjoining the good; the tongue and it’s being a source of harm in the world; sincerity; humility; the disparagement of haughtiness and ostentation; hope in Allah; and following the sunnah.
With the aid of Allah, we will be traversing some of these issues in this series of articles (and podcasts). Our focus will be on how we can ensure that our lives in the West resemble the life of our beloved Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).

 

One-Year Specialization Certificate in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk and companions.

Program Description

This is a one-year Specialization Certificate Program in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges. It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum in ‘Aqīda (Islamic beliefs), and Level Three of Manṭiq (Logic). 

This program will encompass a thorough study of three texts. 

  1. The first is Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafīya, one of the most important works ever written in `Ilm al-Kalām, which will take the full duration of the program (50 weeks). 
  2. The second text is Shaykh al-Islam Zakarīyā al-Ansārī’s Commentary on al-Abaharī’s Īsāghūjī titled: al-Maṭlaʻ, an integral part of the Logic curriculum at al-Azhar of Egypt and the Madrasas of al-Shām, which will be taught in parallel to Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id  during the first half of the program. 
  3. The third text is al-Intibahāt al-Mufīda ‘an al-Ishtibahāt al-Jadīda by Imam Muḥammad Ashraf ‘Alī Thānvī, one of the most powerful attempts to revitalize `Ilm al-Kalām in the early 20th century, which will be also taught in parallel of Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id, but during the second half of the program, so after the conclusion of al-Matla`.

Class Format

Two pre-recorded classes per week, an hour and a half each; and one bi-weekly live discussion. 

Students are expected to follow the recordings and attend the live session.

Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings are expected.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources. The PDFs of the assigned texts and other important readings will be provided.

Program Objectives

The objectives of this program are:

(1) to begin the journey of gaining mastery of Sunni theological reasoning; 

(2) to develop a capacity of reading advanced-level theological texts; 

(3) to be prepared and equipped for the study of Philosophical Theology; 

(4) to engage with contemporary theological challenges; and above all, 

(5) to seek the pleasure of Allah through benefiting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance.

Course Teacher

This course shall be taught by Shaykh Ahmed Hussein El Azhary, a Senior Instructor at SeekersGuidance. He is also a teacher of Kalam, Logic, Hadith, and Usūl at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (Allah have mercy upon him), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Formerly, he worked as a Lead Researcher at Tabah Foundation. He was appointed by Habib `Ali al-Jifrī to architect the philosophical framework of Suaal initiative – an initiative concerned with modelling an Islamic philosophical response to contemporary existential questions. Shaykh Ahmed continues to participate in Suaal Initiative through essays, public lectures, and workshops. Alongside five published works on the Art of Deep Reading, Philosophy of Education and Pedagogy, Linguistics and the Art of Scientific Investigation, he has published a commentary on “Kifayat al-Muhaqiq,” Imam al-Arwādi’s Logic manual. He also has two published research papers by Tabah Foundation; one on the permissibility of inquiry in matters of creed and the other is a critical response to Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape.”

Conditions for Joining the Program

This is an upper-intermediate to advanced class in `Ilm al-Kalām—the science of Islamic beliefs (‘Aqīda). It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum.

Students need to have completed a study of at least two of the following texts or their equivalent: al-Dardir’s Commentary on al-Kharīda, al-Bajūrī’s Commentary on al-Jawhara, and al-Sanusi’s Commentary on Umm al-Barāhīn.

This program will be taught in English, but knowledge of Classical Arabic and familiarity with Classical Arabic texts is necessary.

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

Prepare for the classes, by 

[a] thorough reading of the matn; 

[b] deep reading of the commentary–with focus on the theological reasoning mentioned in the commentary; 

[c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. 

It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the various super-commentaries and glosses written on Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id and al-Maṭlaʻ. This, however, is a recommendation, but not a requirement. Students who are ready to engage super-commentaries are welcome to email the teacher for advice on this.

Watch the recordings of the class with 

[a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); 

[b] taking notes of essential details, especially matters related to unpacking the text and analyzing its content; 

[c] asking questions based on their preparation or related to anything they found to be unclear whether in the text or the recordings of the teacher.

Review of the class notes and texts. Research of issues that arise is encouraged and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text and its commentary the better. 

Test yourself by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.

Take notes. It is best to create your own copy of the texts (‘Aqā’id al-Nasafī and Īsāghūjī) itself and add to it essentials from the assigned commentaries and preferably from the recommended super-commentaries. This is also good Arabic scholarly writing practice.

Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge.

Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

Students Evaluation

Students will be evaluated through a variety of quizzes, written assignments, projects and oral exams.  Each class will be accompanied by a quiz. Writing assignments and projects will be demanded periodically (a detailed schedule will be announced). Oral exams are imperative to receive the Ijaza Certificate.

Application Form

Black Lives Matter: Racism, Social Activism, Justice | A Reader

SeekersGuidance is always committed to provide clarity, answers, and guidance, especially when new issues emerge.

We feel that in these times it is important for us to listen to our black leaders. In this reader we are featuring the voices of some of our most impactful black Muslim leaders, including Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Dawud Walid, Shaykha Zaynab Ansari, and others.

May Allah make us of those who stand up for justice, truth and equity with principles. In the spirit of the Quran:

People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (49:13)

You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly- if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do. (4:135)

Articles

Blackness, Racism And How The Arabic Language Rises Above It All

  • When “Black” is good. An insight to what “blackness” truly means in the Arabic language

Black Lives Matter: If You’re Right With God, You’re Right – Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Imam Zaid Shakir has led funeral prayers (janazas) due to blue-on-black crime and black-on-black crime. In this video he touches on the history of the black struggle and sheds some spiritual light on the issue. Allah tells us our lives matter, we don’t need a movement.

Race To The Top – Imam Zaid Shakir – New Islamic Direction

  • It’s okay to get involved. Racism existed, and still does. Let us talk about it.

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa

  • Imam Dawud Walid discusses the inspiring story of a west African scholar, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba

 

On Demand Courses

Social Justice In The Islamic Tradition: How to Approach Justice and Uphold Truth with Wisdom and Principle

  • Islam is a truly complete religion; a way of life. Does it lay down foundations for social justice? Of course!

Islam in Blackamerica

  • BayanOnline, an online Islamic seminary, is offering this insightful course for only three easy payments of free, yes, FREE.  Check out this beneficial course with Dr. Sherman Jackson.

 

Answers

How Do I Deal With My Racist Spouse?

  • It’s easier to avoid problems outside your home, but what do you do when the problems lie within?

Hadiths on the “Bad Traits” of Black People

  • How do we understand hadiths which seemingly describe black people negatively?

Would it Be Wrong To Avoid Interracial Marriages For Cultural Considerations?

  • Are you racist if you don’t want to marry someone from outside your race? The following answer discusses some prophetic direction in marriage.

How Do I Deal With Racist Attitudes at Gatherings?

  • Self-hate will lead to a dull fate.

Are the Islamic Rulings Regarding Marriage Racist?

  • Islam doesn’t teach us to be racist. Many people, including Muslims, are simply misinformed.

 

Ummah Orphaned by Loss of Senior Scholars – Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed

* Courtesy Radio Islams International

Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa reflects and highlights the great losses the global Muslim community has experienced due to the deaths of senior scholars and saints over the past few weeks.

Futuwwa And The Raw Idealism of Youth – Saad Razi Shaikh

How do we bring about change in light of the prophetic guidance? How do we raise the next generation of changemakers in our communities? A centuries-old Islamic tradition may just hold the answer.

During the last Ramadan, a late evening meal with a newly acquainted brother took a rather unsavoury turn. The food was good, the weather pleasant and our heads light. But as things had to go, our conversation drifted to politics, a topic best served separate from the meal.

The brother hails from a country which is unlikely to top the global HDI charts anytime soon. But while accepting the present malaise raging in his country, he added a quick clarification. He said his country is not poor, throw a few seeds in the soil and you’ll see the barakah sprouting through it. But that is what precisely enraged him, despite the land being blessed with so much, so little reached its people, who for most of the part remained impoverished, to be seen as sad broken stories from a third world country, nothing more.

Much preoccupied as I was with my food, I couldn’t help paying my full attention to the young man’s talk. At the end, he added in a slow mournful tone, these words:

“Everyone just thinks for themselves; no one thinks of the country. I want to go back and do something. Even if I get jailed or something, I must try. If many of us do so, things will definitely change.”

His words brought a smile to my face. Aah, the heady promise of youthful dreams! None but the young can be so naïve yet so determined. Of course, for the cynical, it is easy to dismiss the raging of the young as another headstrong kneejerk reaction to something that is far deeper and complex. But youth are the ones inheriting broken systems, it is out of sheet survival instinct that they often fight against it. Others, like crabs at the bottom of the barrel, are perhaps only too happy to let the new lot sink low too. Think of dipping real incomes, shooting college tuition fees, shrinking welfare systems, pathological surveillance governments, the sheet indifference of previous generation against institutionalised injustice and you get why the youth must protest.

It is the knowledge that the world is imperfect and the conviction that it can be made better that fuels youth activism. However, pure intentions and unlimited energy are not enough. If the youth do not have access to the traditional rites-of-passages, outlets for meaningful expressions, welcoming places of interactions, networks or tariqas that inculcate tarbiyah, it is possible that their youthful idealism may just give way to a nihilistic rage.

It is important then, to have institutions and practices that not only allow expressions of youth potential but also encourage and celebrate it. One such institution traditionally associated with Islamic civilization has been the concept of futuwwa.

It is as the Oxford Dictionary helpfully describes the ‘ideal of youthful manhood and chivalry based on the example of Ali ibn Abi Talib’ (Allah be pleased with him). It is, as the IHU webpage describes, ‘the institution which aimed to raise young generations and gave direction to the youth…based on the articulated thoughts inspired from Quran and Hadiths by the assembly of scholars, Sufis and noble traders.’

As any seasoned reader of social history knows, it is not enough to light the fire of a revolution, one also needs the moral framework and practical alternatives ready once the dust settles down. In the face of setbacks, one needs both guidance and long-term perspectives. One needs to avoid falling prey to interpreting everything in the light of the fleeting present. Institutions like futuwwa allows us this, to help us see a world beyond ourselves, to have an understanding of justice that is both this-worldly and next-worldly, to think beyond the ruling dogmas of the day, to regroup and rethink when the chips are down, to not succumb to despair, to understand reality in light of the Prophetic guidance, and above all, to make our short ephemeral stay in the dunya a means to draw closer to our Lord.

It is the perfume of youthful dreams, the slow interplay of beliefs and practices, that defines the trajectories of societies, even nations. It is the raw, perhaps even maniacal, charms of youthful idealism that help us dream of a better world. Who else but the truly young and the truly naïve would think of throwing away the existing in place of something completely new and untested? It is this leap of faith that moves a society, in either direction. It is the hands of the young that make it possible. And we owe it as a society to make those hands steady and stable.


RELEVANT COURSES

Seekers Youth Curriculum

https://seekersguidance.org/youth-curriculum/

Social Justice In The Islamic Tradition

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/social-justice-in-the-islamic-tradition-how-to-approach-justice-and-uphold-truth-with-wisdom-and-principle/

Change Happens: The Qur’anic Principles for Justice and Social Change

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/change-happens-the-quranic-principles-for-justice-and-social-change/

Faith and Reliance on Allah: Ghazali’s Book of Divine Oneness and Trust Upon Allah Explained

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/faith-and-reliance-on-allah-ghazalis-book-of-divine-oneness-and-trust-upon-allah-explained/