American Muslim Youth’s Ignorance
By Mahrukh Mir
In American high schools and colleges we’re given the opportunity to take all sorts of classes and discover new things about the world but how much of that actually matters? Learning about European history is great but do we have any idea what’s going on in the present? Calculus BC will look great on our transcript but do we know how many kids are dying of thirst right now? Do we know much about what actually matters?
Having lived 13 years in Pakistan, I can say that life is a lot easier in America. It’s so easy that some of us forget about the Muslims who are still suffering all around the world. Some of us barely have an idea of what’s going on in those countries. We’re so busy in getting good grades and looking cool that we forget the Muslims who have no opportunities for education and no one to provide them with clean water or food.
I like how Muslim students are more concerned with their studies and future compared to average Americans but is it too much focus on academics? Getting into the best college in America might sound like the biggest achievment in your life right now, specially for the kids who are pressured by their parents, but remember, we have another one after this where all our materialistic possesstions will not mean anything. On the other hand, if we devote some of our time, efforts, or money to those in need, we might make their life a little better in this world along with benefitting our next life. The focus on studies and social life is not bad or harmful at all but if we care more about that than our fellow Muslims, it’s selfish.
Whitney Houston died recently. It was all over the news even on Al Jazeera. Everyone had statuses about her and how much they love her music and it was disgusting. Her death made me recognize a bigger problem. As much as I like listening to “I Will Always Love You”, I can’t help but to think that a successful, Grammy winning, drug using singer who died in a hotel in Beverly Hills gets more attention than hundreds of people who die every day in South and Middle Eastern Asia. I don’t know if that’s racist but I’m sure it’s disrespectful.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) was quoted saying, “If any Muslim plants something or sows seed from which a man, a bird or an animal eats, it counts as a charity for him. (Bukhari, Muslim)
My mother has always taught me that a charity like that is Sadka-e-Jaaira which means even after we die, we continue to get good deeds as long as that plant is there. Same way, instead of every new outfit we buy, if we donate to the hospital with blood or money, we get the sawaab for it as long as it helps someone else. However, a lot of us don’t have jobs but that’s not an excuse to ignore our fellow Muslims in hardships. Just spreading awareness and collecting donations will help them. If nothing else, we can at least spread awareness. I know how uncool it is to talk about this but I’d rather seem lame than feel guilty about never trying to help other Muslims. We need to set our priorities straight.
The Quran says, “You shall not attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love (in the way of Allah). Allah knows whatever you spend.” (3:92)
I don’t have money but I have time and I have a blog. I can at least use that to my advantage and spread awareness and if we all put out minds to it, we can come up with many ways to help others before it’s too late.
“Tell those of My servants who believe that they should establish Prayer and spend out of what We have provided them with, both secretly and openly, before there arrives the Day when there will be no bargaining, nor any mutual befriending.” (14:31)
The clock is ticking. People are dying of starvation, disease, and war, children don’t have education or toys, and some days parents wake up and realize they have no children anymore. Sometimes children wake up and realize their parents aren’t healthy enough to make lunch so they have to work for money at an age when they should be studying and playing.
If you know what Zakaat is but don’t know what Sadka is, it’s time you start paying more attention to your responsibilities towards fellow Muslims who are waiting to be helped.
Beyond the Hijab
By Nasreen Moursi
When people think about our religion, the first thing they visualize is a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. The scarf has become a symbol for Islam, whether it was intended that way or not. As a covering Muslim, you can’t go out in public as an anonymous individual; you are forever defined not just as a person, but also as a Muslim. It changes your world.
But why don’t people see past the hijab? People automatically assume someone has forced us to wear it. People ask me why my parents made me do it and they are surprised to learn that it was my decision, and my decision alone. They don’t understand that the point of a hijab isn’t just covering your body; it’s to bring you closer to Allah (SWT) and your faith. They can only think of it as a piece of cloth.
That is what it means to be a Muslim. You don’t just put on modest clothes because your parents told you to. You don’t just pray because other people will know if you didn’t. You participate in your religion on your own responsibility. Your actions are for the intent of obtaining higher spirituality. You worship Allah (SWT) because He told you to.
So when people think of the hijab at the first mention of Islam, they are only seeing a small part of Islam. What they need to see is all the Muslims who willingly submit themselves to Allah (SWT), fully aware of the challenges they may face.
Before It Is Too Late
By Nasreen Moursi
How many times have you gotten home from school and your parents have asked you, “What did you do today?’ More importantly, how many times have you only responded with, “Nothing.”?
The crucial mistake that almost every teenager makes is thinking that your parents will live forever. For being the people who feed and clothe us, keep us safe, and love us, it’s amazing how much we take parents form granted. One day, those people who have held our hand through life won’t be around to do so. So why do we throw something as precious as our own mother and father away so easily?
You shouldn’t be talking back to your parents, you should obey them and ask Allah for patience. You shouldn’t be lying to your parents, you should be honest and ask Allah for forgiveness. Obedience to your parents is a major concept in Islam, mentioned multiple times in the Qu’ran and the Hadith. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said that the doors to Jannah (Paradise) lie beneath your mother’s feet. So stop ignoring your parents and rolling your eyes! If they ask you to do something that you don’t want to do, you should thank Allah that you have parents who care enough about you to not let you get spoiled.
Always be thankful for your parents and keep in them in your prayers. Because, you never know; tomorrow, they may not be here. So when they ask you about your day, sit down and talk to them. You won’t regret it.