As a person gets on in life and advances in age, he looks back at his younger years with fondness and marvels over the things which he could once achieve with ease. In his teens, he possessed seemingly endless energy. He could sleep late and wake up early, yet suffer few or no ill-effects. He could work all day long without incurring any injuries. His memory was like a sponge – ready to rapidly absorb any information it came across.

At that time, training the body and mind was easily achievable. Now, when the aches and pains begin to set in, the memory begins to fade, and the strength and energy begin to wane, it is no longer so easy.

It is often said that the youth of today are the men of tomorrow. Bearing in mind that the period of youth is a window of opportunity, it is imperative that the youth of today are moulded and shaped correctly, by their parents giving them the correct Deeni direction, and instilling in them the correct Deeni values, so that they will become assets to the Ummah tomorrow. In doing so, they will not only become assets to the Ummah, but will also become a means of sadaqah jaariyah (continuous reward) for their parents – during their lifetime and after their demise as well.

If we have to travel back through the annals of history, we will find many examples of Muslim youth who were blessed by Allah Ta‘ala to be tremendous assets to the Deen of Islam and the Muslims.

One such example is that of Muhammad bin Qaasim Thaqafi (rahimahullah). In the year 93 AH, at the tender age of seventeen, he was appointed to wage jihaad against the non-Muslims of India. On coming to India, he faced the vast army of the Indian king, Daahir, which had with it no less than twenty-seven elephants. Yet, despite the number of the enemy, Muhammad bin Qaasim (rahimahullah) and his army defeated them with the help of Allah Ta‘ala. (Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah vol. 9, pg. 242) Hence this youngster is credited with being the one whom Allah Ta‘ala used to bring Islam to India – as a result of which many of us are today reciters of the kalimah.

Another example is that of the illustrious Imaam – Muhammad bin Idrees Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah). His father passed away when he was still an infant, after which his mother moved with him to Makkah Mukarramah. Living in the Holy Lands, surrounded by many of the luminaries of the era, Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) memorised the Quraan Majeed by the age of seven, the Muwatta (hadeeth collection) of Imaam Maalik (rahimahullah) by the age of ten, and continued to exert himself in acquiring the knowledge and understanding of Deen until his ustaaz, Muslim bin Khaalid (rahimahullah), permitted him to commence issuing fataawa at the age of fifteen or eighteen! (Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah vol. 10, pg. 327)

There are countless other examples of youth, throughout the centuries of Islam, who achieved amazing feats in the service of Islam, and undoubtedly, these youth had been blessed and assisted by Allah Ta‘ala. To different youth, Allah Ta‘ala had bestowed amazing memories, advanced understanding, deep intellect, phenomenal physical strength, eloquent tongues, captivating and persuasive words, and abundant riches. Thereafter, on account of them having the correct Deeni direction, they utilized all these bounties of Allah Ta‘ala for the sake of spreading Deen, propagating Islam and assisting the Muslims.

Today as well, we have youth who are blessed by Allah Ta‘ala in a similar manner. Yet, with the exception of a select few, their bounties are seldom utilized for Deen. If they possess strength, it is spent on the sports field, padel court or in the gym. If they have a keen intellect, they enrol into universities to acquire a degree which will enable them to earn large amounts of money. If they possess money, it is spent in acquiring fashionable clothing, the latest model of car and phone, going on holiday to exotic destinations and leading a life of luxury in general.

More lamentable than this are the youth who do not exert themselves in anything at all. If they are not hooked onto drugs, due to which they cannot even earn a living to support themselves, they spend almost every waking hour on the cell phone, relaxing with their friends or engaged in some futile hobby. Such youth benefit themselves neither in Deen nor even in the dunya, as all their potential, talent and energy is consumed by the phone, their friends and their hobbies.

The key to producing productive youth, who will be assets to their parents in particular and the Ummah in general, is to ensure that as children, they are given Deeni direction (through conducting daily home ta‘leem, etc.) and are shielded from the Deeni challenges of the time – especially bad company and the cell phone/internet. Furthermore, one must constantly cry to Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa and beg Him to bless one’s children with guidance and piety, as hidaayah is in His hand alone.

May Allah Ta‘ala accept our children for the cause of His Deen, aameen.