Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

Growing up is such a challenge. SubhanAllah. We have to cut teeth, bump our heads, scrape our knees, fall out of trees, lose teeth, break bones, deal with acne, change schools, lose friends, “fit in”, stand out… Allahul Musta’an… And then starts the real trying part… being yourself.

In Allah’s Wisdom, He has placed all these events in our lives purposefully and at the most perfect junctures, when we are ready for them. We might not have the ability to deal with new challenges straight away, but when we are ready to learn how, they present themselves, disguised mostly as difficulties. In dealing with them, we develop new skills, sharpen our senses and broaden our horizons. Alhamdulillah.

I’d like to pay particular attention to the challenges that come with “being yourself”, a challenge that not only adolescents, but also grown men and women grapple with. Why is it so difficult for us to live our truth? Why is it so important to us to look good in the eyes of our peers and critics? Don’t we understand that our true value lies in preserving our natural state? Don’t we “get” that the only time we will be at ease and at peace with ourselves is once we are being who we really are? The
answer, I am afraid, is that even as we get older, a huge part of our lives are spent trying to make “the people” feel happy and comfortable.

Yet the people are faced with exactly the same dilemma we are, because we are, to them, one of the people they themselves feel a need to impress. It gets very confusing very quickly…which is why it is such a relief to put things into perspective, by remembering the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is that THERE IS NONE WORTHY OF WORSHIP BUT ALLAH AND NABI MUHAMMAD SAW IS HIS FINAL MESSENGER. In this single statement of Haqq, lies the answer to ALL our questions. We are required to worship none other than our Rabb. Khalas.

If we look at how the Sahaba RA lived their lives, we see that their worship was genuinely reserved for Allah ta ‘Aala. They were not concerned with out-doing each other, except in good deeds. They didn’t see a need to beautify themselves with expensive attire they couldn’t afford, but instead adopted beautiful manners. Their meals were simple, their intentions were pure – their submission was to Allah. How things have changed…

Think in earnest about how we compare to our pious predecessors… Bleak picture wouldn’t you agree? Our children are allowed to compete with each other for Dunya, sporting the latest hairstyles, flashing the latest phones, dressing to imitate their pop idols, however gay or mentally deranged they may be… the list is  never-ending. We are not investing the same amount or level of effort in our children. We are selling our Ummah’s future, our youth, to Dunya, and we are doing it at a  cheap price.

The results are evident in our schools, our homes, our places of gathering, SubhanAllah, what you sow is what you reap. Unfortunate too, is the fact that those who are meant to be their role models in society today, their parents, older brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, neighbours, etc are all involved in similar pointless and unproductive activities. They too are engaged in competition, on a larger scale: businesses, houses, cars, holiday houses and even mind you, number of
times they have travelled to the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but the harsh reality is that as a community, as a society, we are falling short in our duty to our children.  We are teaching them, unknowingly, that the important things in life are those things which money can buy, and we are showing them that good morals and sound Islamic principles may take a back seat when they are not in “conformity” with our lifestyles, when in fact, it should be the other way around.

We should be living the truth of Islam. We should be showing our youth, by example, that Islam comes first in all aspects of life, because there IS no life without Islam. We should be living our Haqq, demonstrating our appreciation of Deen and our willingness to mould the rest of our lives around what Allah has instructed us to do. FIRST submission of the heart, and then utterance of faith. If what we learn about our Deen doesn’t penetrate our hearts then we are simply performing pagan rituals every day. If we cannot inject some sincerity into our worship and our beliefs then what are we doing? Where are we going?

Being yourself is a truth that many of us have not yet mastered because it requires the kind of guts that allow you to stand up and walk away from a crowd who is considered “cool” or “nice” when you realise they are backbiting. Or the kind of guts that allow you to say no to a “good friend” who is asking you to lie. Being yourself means that you have to reject lies and stand only for the truth in the face of a society that thrives on immorality in order to succeed. Inherently, all of insaan is
good, and all of insaan has the kalimah imprinted in our souls. Inherently, we are good people, so being ourselves, being true to what is deepest within us, the truth and light of Islam, would make the world a better place, instantly. But we have chosen to imitate those people who are rushing, racing towards the Hellfire and we don’t want to believe it. We have chosen Dunya over Aakhira and we refuse to stop and turn back to Allah. We don’t have a choice BUT to stop right now. If we continue in this manner, if we insist on imitating those inmates of Jahannam then we must be prepared to be thrown into it alongside them when that Day arrives on which no soul will be wronged.

The good news is that Allah wants us to turn to Him, for when we go to Him walking, He comes to us running. We need only take that first step. Search deep within yourself, break away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life and just reflect on the promise of Allah to the believers, that no soul will be wronged, that every believer will enter Jannah. Remember that
we have no control over when we will take our last breath, but we can control how we spend what breaths we have remaining. Will we spend them in obedience to Allah? Living our Haqq? Or will we feed our desires day by day while we wait for death to claim our souls? The choice is ours.

We have a responsibility to the future; the youth of this Ummah to get onto the Straight ourselves, and then make sure that they are watching and following us on that path. Don’t assume that you will do it tomorrow, that you will tell your children tomorrow, that they are still young. They were born Muslim and do not “become” Muslim at a particular age. Your
responsibility to them, to guide them, started the day they were born. Life is short and time is precious. Take the necessary steps today. 

Allah guide us, save us and protect us from all evils, and may He accept us for the service of His Deen. Aameen.

Wassalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh