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Reforming Muslim Society: Negotiating the Role and Importance of Muslim Youth

The decadence of Muslim society is not a hidden truth. It is a reality that every member of the community, whether he or she is affluent or impoverished, has realized. The community is suffering from multidimensional and multifaceted problems such as intellectual degradation, the loss of correct political acumen, and the realization that Islam has the solution. The discourse on reform and Muslim youth has been a topic for some time.

Reforming Islam or Muslim Society:
The general notion of Muslims when talking about reform is that they perceive it as the reformation of Islam. They see debates like, Does Islam need to be liberalized or reformed? They fall into these types of politically charged questions and feel agitated about them. In reality, Islam has a robust system for every human facet of life. Therefore, the question to be asked should be: Does liberalism need to be Islamized due to its incoherent suppositions? Therefore, it is impossible to reform a system that, in itself, is maximally perfect. The reform is for the people who adhere to Islam and testify that it is perfect. The reform of Muslim society has to emanate from the grassroots level. It is needed in every aspect of the Muslim community that governs its thought process. We present an egalitarian worldview of Islam to others, but we fail to assimilate it within the Muslim community. Islam does not endorse sectarianism; Muslims have it. Islam does not endorse Riba; Muslims are involved in it. Islam does not endorse dowry; Muslims are involved in it. Islam does not endorse casteism; Muslims practice it. Therefore, from the basic view towards the Qur'an as a guide and the image of the Prophet as a charismatic leader, both of them have to be realized at the core of Muslim psychology. It has to be intertwined with innovative applications of original Islamic principles to changing circumstances.

Role of Youth in Creating Islamic Civilization:
The Prophet said, "Take advantage of your youth before your old age." For any community, the youth are its backbone and play an important role in its civilizational goals. The image of the Prophet in our minds is that of a monastic saint who could only teach us how to perform certain rituals, which has made the Muslim youth ignorant of taking the Prophet as an icon for them. His Shama'il gives the correct depiction that he was young and more energetic in his sixties than the youths of today. From among the Prophet's companions, the likes of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ammar ibn Yasir, Umar ibn Khattab, Abdullah ibn Umar, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn Zubair, Abdullah ibn Masood, Usamah ibn Zayd, and many more were in their youth and had set the standard for youth and changed the course of history. The Prophet trained the youth, and the majority of his companions were youth who made every possible sacrifice to realize his mission. The subsequent expansion of Islamic rule and the era of the Islamic golden age produced scholars and scientists who, in their youth, created an indelible impact not only for the Muslim community but for the world. The European Renaissance stands on the shoulders of such young men and women from the Islamic golden age who worked tirelessly to contribute to different sciences. The nostalgia of the past has stagnated the transformation of today and the preparation for tomorrow. The youth of today need to prioritize their goals in line with contemporaneous developments.

The Quranization of Thought:
The intellectual stagnation and inferiority complex from the Western world has made the Muslim community slaves to orientalist fables. The Muslim youth have hijacked and colonized minds with the entertainment industry and Western philosophy. In the era of skepticism and the Marvel Universe, the youth are less concerned about socio-religious domains. To the Muslims of the past, the intellectual powerhouse of the Muslim Ummah was the Qur'an. The divine authorship of the Qur'an leaves no stone unturned for the intellectual journey. It decolonizes the mind from meaningless and materialistic philosophies and brings us to the ultimate purpose of our lives. To undo this, an intellectual warfare has to be fought in line with the Quranic narrative. The youth have the responsibility of undertaking the task of contextualizing the Qur'an in its current time and creating a Quranic weltanschauung of every possible issue affecting the community and humanity. The Quranization of thought and the implementation of Prophetic methods by the youth will foster the Muslims.

Sir Syed's Vision and Present Scenario:
The man famous as the founder of Aligarh Muslim University just did not dream of establishing a mediocre university. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan dedicated his life for the development of scientific temperament among the youth of his community. For that purpose, he established the Scientific Society, the Aligarh Institute Gazette, and Tahzeeb Ul Akhlaq for the discussion and publication of various scientific advances of that time. He realized that the civilizations with the baton of science and technology will rule, and history bears testimony to this.
The civilization that had the merit of giving the scientific method to the world before Galileo left the race course of the scientific enterprise and adjusted by importing it. Unfortunately, Muslims have the lowest enrolment in higher education. The youth need to develop a scientific temperament with organizations investing in research and development. The Muslim Ummah lagged behind in the industrial age, the space age, and the technological age. Now is the time for AI. The exponential growth in artificial intelligence and machine learning has led to a paradigm shift in the technological world. Tech giants across the world are laying off people like never before. We do not have any current entrepreneurial models for or from the community to cope with a future recession. The youth have to identify the problem and come up with solutions that bring much-needed stability to the community. Religious seminaries like Darul Uloom and Nadwatul Ulema are powerhouses for the thought process of the Ummah. The youth studying there should be trained in skill-based enterprises to build a robust socio-economic structure for the community and bring innovations to society.

Think global, act local:
The Ummah is like one body, and Muslim youth have more responsibility of bearing the cause of the community. The youth have to be aware of the geopolitical scenarios and the dominant narratives affecting the Muslim community at home and around the corners of the world. The channelization of energy has to be in line with the individual capacities and local domains of outreach. For example, an individual youth can conduct a survey of his or her locality and come up with data on education, income, and work for underprivileged people. The working can be done in collusion with the clusters of youth who are dedicated for raising the collective consciousness of the community.

The Prophet with his stalwart companions had to work tirelessly for 23 years to make his mission successful and implement it on the ground. The Muslim community has to work with patience and perseverance. The seeds that we bury now may bear fruit some decades later. The youth of the community bear the responsibility of shouldering the task of uplifting the community from every stagnation.

Written by Nasir Jawed | Instagram: @nasir_jawed_1443

1 comment:

  1. Huzaif Ahmad Alig18 December 2023 at 08:02

    Well written article. Specially think global act local, likewise the contributing role amu journal and their authors has been playing for their great article.


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