The Dar-us-Salaam community is blessed with many young and dynamic Muslims who are eager to serve the community. At the recent Al-Huda School graduation, our young graduates revealed their ambitions to become engineers, doctors, and sociologists among many other professions. It becomes our responsibility to provide these youth with the necessary guidance and advice that will help them make their dreams come true.
At Al-Huda School, we train and nurture our students to develop an Allah-centered worldview from a young age. Nonetheless, the teenagers of our ummah are in need of extra love and patience as they navigate the modern-day dilemmas. This is why the DUS Board introduced DUS Youth — a platform with a special focus on the youth.
“The Qur’an and Sunnah place a lot of emphasis on the youth,” says Imam Safi in a one-on-one conversation about DUS Youth. “In a hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) tells us that Allah is amazed at a young person who has no inclinations towards worldly pleasures. Sadly, social media tries to take our youth in that direction.”
The potential negative impact of social media on our youth does not require further explanation. But it has become such a daily part of our lives that any advice to stay away from social media would be futile.
A better approach would be to engage our youth in stimulating and thought-provoking activities that will bring them closer to Allah. The alumni of Al-Huda School work tirelessly with Br Ibrahim Khan, youth coordinator of DUS to achieve this through exciting sessions such as game nights, movie nights, horseback riding lessons, dodgeball, and social media raffles. The board also turns to Sr Walida Mukhtar, our resident counselor for psychological guidance when approaching sensitive youth issues.
The Ultimate Goal
“Our goal,” Imam Safi says, followed by a deep sigh, “is to bring the youth together for the sake of Allah. Most of the world today is very self-centered. The idea is to take them out of that mindset and get them thinking about others more than themselves.” The inspiration for this idea comes from the famous hadith recorded in Saheeh al-Bukhari, “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
“Ukhuwwah” or brotherhood can be summarized as the goal of DUS Youth. To get the point home, Imam Safi soberly shared the plight of the ummah today. “Our masjids have become little businesses. One person might be going through something and we might have no clue about it, There is a lack of brotherhood. This is the case with all Muslims, especially the youth.”
Imam Safi then drew from the example of Dar-al-Arqam, the first institution established by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the early days of Islam. Dar-al-Arqam became a second home to the youth among the Companions. Almost a decade later, when the Prophet and the Muslims migrated to Madinah, these young Companions helped him establish an Islamic state there. “The youth represent the heartbeat of the ummah, whether their heart is alive or not. The passion to practice Islam is found among the youth. You see the life of the ummah in them,” Imam Safi tells us. As far as DUS Youth is concerned, the intention is to “approach being similar to the generation of the Companions,” he continued.
Becoming like the Companions is definitely a challenging task. It would take many Badrs and Uhuds to achieve such a lofty standard. But their legacy is definitely worth following and for many of them, their journey toward Islam began at Dar-al-Arqam. DUS Youth aspires to create a similar institution where Muslim youth are encouraged to come together and grow together for the sake of Allah.
In monthly gatherings called Shoulder-to-Shoulder, our youth come together under the supervision of elders such as Br Ibrahim Khan and Br Habeeb Marso to discuss important issues such as love, relationships, American identity, music, mixed-gender interactions, etc. At the Shoulder-to-Shoulder gatherings, the youth are given a space to voice their opinions and discuss solutions together, as one ummah, “so that they begin to feel the power of brotherhood,” Imam Safi informs us. He said, “It’s called Shoulder-to-Shoulder so that they (the youth) can lean on each other, become sensitive to each other’s feelings, and become proud of each other, rather than being envious. A gathering where they come up with solutions to help each other and take advice with good faith.”
In sha Allah, DUS Youth has organized a family hike on Sugarloaf Mountain this December. We also have a weekly halaqah called “Earth, Wind, and Fire: Imagery & Parables in the Qur’an” after Isha in which our youth are encouraged to reflect on the Divine Book of Allah.
Keep an eye out for many more exciting events and activities in the upcoming months. “The youth possess the strength of the ummah,” says Imam Safi, and DUS Youth aims to strengthen the ummah through our youth.