Youth Activism : Unlock Your Potential Being – by Shaykh Muhammad Mendes
By Sharifah Aishya al-Idrus
• Youths are categorized as anyone aged 39 years old and below.
• To discover your true self and to find out your purpose in life for God, is to find out your deepest pain and sufferings that you have went through.
• It is usually at the age of 6-17 years old, that we experience a lot of challenges in achieving what we want to do, only that we do not realize it because we get distracted by the influence of our family, friends, neighbors, teachers, community, etc. At the same time, Allah gives you your parents, your family, your friends, your community, to give you the experiences and the skills of the knowledge to fulfill the purpose of your life.
• What is your deepest pain that affects you deeply, this will be the motivation for the kind of khidmah (service) to society. If we only base our khidmah on what the media tells us or what society tells us, it will not come from a place that is at the core of what we truly care about.
• To help you in finding your purpose, have a connection with nature. Furthermore, some examples in the quran will be to free a slave, give food to the poor and orphan, be unconditional and advice others in faith to have sabr (patience) and marhamah (unconditional love). This is how you, men, learn Rahmah (mercy).
• In surah Al-Waqiah, it says that there will be three kinds of people. People of the right, the left and people of the front (forward). The people of the front are the ones who are brought near [to Allah]. The Muqarab are the highest. This is to find the reality in our potential as a human being and as His slave and servant.
• Allah shows His signs through three things:
1) Through His creation
2) In His scripture
3) In our souls
• Being authentic: finding answers through questioning yourself this; “What is it that I care about in order to help people?”
• And then teach them how to live, heal and help themselves. Teaching them the means rather than giving them the things that they need.
• Then, think of what you are going to implement for the next six months to start this change.
• Some people misunderstood that activism have to only be something political. Activism does not have to be political. True activism is a cause that is close to your heart that makes you want to stand up for it. It is important not to champion causes that the media showed us. To be an activist, we must first change ourselves. Then could we discover our true essence. We must also start with those closest to us.
• From here you can see that how your life was and how your life is, shows your purpose for khidmah towards others. It is our fears that keep us away from our potential. This was further covered in Shaykh Mendes lecture called Confronting Evil.
• For example;
1. Allah made you rich so that you can help the poor. Just like Rasulullah (saw) was made an orphan in order to care for the orphans.
2. Some tips given is to make dua [for guidance] before iftar, as it is a good time to make dua.
3. It also takes abundant zikir to awaken the heart. As the quran states, “It is by the remembrance of Allah do heart find peace.”
• The best fikr to polish the soul is to reflect on the Quran and reflect on death. As fikr is the traveling of the heart to the reality. We can see the importance of fikr and tafakkur that even the Prophet Muhammad (saw) received his revelation from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in the cave of Hira’. In arab Hira’ means aspirations/bewilderment.
• Find for like-minded, like-spirited people. Also the best way to do dawah is to do khidmah in the things or causes that you believe, even with people of other religion. Be a friend to the people first by doing something that they like with them.
• It is also possible that during our search for truth and purpose, some might experience doubts in their beliefs or in life. When this happens, to avoid it, we must be open to our doubt. We must help our community by having a platform where people can be honest. Remember that even Imam Al-Ghazali had a spiritual crisis at a point of his life.
• Help the oppressor and the oppressed know that they are the slaves of Allah.
• At the age of 7-14 years old, it is important to teach your children adaab. The recognition of Allah (swt) and appreciation towards Him. Having the adaab with Allah (swt) in activism (khidmah) by thinking and believing that the person you know or help, is better than you. Allah says, “If you had visited the slaves/sick/poor/people, you would have found Me with them.”
• Books reccomended to read:
1. The Four Temperaments Islamic medicine by Dr Karima Burns
2. Knowing yourself by Alex Carberry
3. 7 Degrees of the soul by Shaykh Abdul Khalid
These were a few examples given at the workshop by the attendees:
Personal concerns: Afraid of faith wavering due to lack of proper Islamic guidance, depression or extremism.
What are you going to do about it: Hold a weekly Taffakur (reflection) session among activists from different organizations as a support group. The idea of “1 good friend is better than a 100 teachers”. Exchanging of opinions and informing of weaknesses, helping to avoid subjective views. Holding firm of the inward state as not to be misguided. To build collaborative friendships with others and to include proper guidance in these gatherings.
Another personal example;
Concern: a brother we know have experienced losing themselves in drinking and smoking
Arif’s Friend : What are you going to do about it: Plans to open up training for boxing for these people, to divert the attention to a more healthier lifestyle, also to provide a space to release pent up anger.