Youth in Muslim contemporary World: The Study of Youth’s Issues and The Roles
as a Muslim
Nur Syafiqah Binti Mohd Sobran
International Islamic University Malaysia
Abstract: This paper explores the issues and the roles of youth as a productive Muslim
with a touch of contemporary issues which are the social exclusion, the radical
islamization approach, Muslim youth identity struggles, mental health, illness and the
stigma of a Muslim community and the lack of faith and knowledge of spiritual value in
Islam, particularly in the Muslim world. This paper also included the importance of each
role as an individual and a community in the light of Al-Quran, with a proper approach to
the youth by giving the knowledge of Islam and the guidelines in order to survive in this
reality world and supporting their rights as a human being. The role of the Muslim youth,
including the aim of glorifying Allah, forming a healthy friendship, seeking knowledge with
a rightful way of thinking, actively participate in charity with the aim of unification and
the act of justice from the sense of responsibilities and leadership which are the main roles
as a Muslim in the development of self-growth towards maturity of a Muslim youth in
regards of the emotional struggles and current problems. This study also aiming to reflect
every action and words which led to a misunderstanding of Islam by the adult in raising
their children with restriction and conservative way and providing a best approach to the
youth in order to gain acceptance rather than blaming the religion itself.
Keywords: Youth, roles of the youth, the Muslim world, contemporary, youth issues.
The reflection of what happened today are the reflection of a youth past day. The youth days are
the most crucial days in the lifetime. It is a time frame that happened when the person is trying
and learning new things, changing internal and external, both mental and body conditions,
dynamically ambitious, and going through an unstable emotion day by day. This paper aim to
rise up the contemporary issues of youth within the Muslim world and the importance of the age
of youth in shaping the internal and external self-values with the guide of Al-Quran and Hadeeth.
This paper contains several issues regarding the problems and obstacles of Muslim youth, the
role of youth as an individual and society in the light of Al-Quran and the steps towards
enhancing the productive Muslim youth in order to encounter the problems of the youth in the
contemporary world. Until today, many scholars had studied about the youth community.
However, a part of the youth in the Muslim world had not taken into account completely and
leaving a gap hole of the study. The youth within the Muslim community unquestionably are
prominent as well in the study of the contemporary youth.
Although Islam had taught its followers, the meaning of being a Muslim in the goodness
way and peace, however, many vital problems emerged within the youth, particularly in the
Muslim world. The first problem, related to the mental health issues of the Muslim youth in
particular Asian Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Middle-east countries such
as Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and others. The issues of
suicide and other mental illness, such as bipolar, anxiety, depression and schizophrenia had
spreading widely within the youth. The fact that mental issues are mostly hidden or unknown by
the communities are making it more difficult to detect the root causes of these problems. In some
cases, the youth are being offended by the fact that he or she is a Muslim but labeled as lack of
imaan (belief in God) or not pious enough when he or she was thinking of suicidal thought while
having a severe mental illness. These problems are hardly getting any attention to the society,
especially in a Muslim community. Second, the issues of misconduct by the Muslim youth had
increasing today as what had befallen in Malaysia, when a major sum of teenagers claimed to be
pregnant with a statistic of 532,158, babies born out of wedlock in 2016.1 This had increasing
greatly year by year which created turbulence to the Islamic constitution itself. Lastly, the lack of
spiritual value and unbelief thinking (unbelief in faith or God) apparently carved the emptiness
inside every Muslim youth to such a degree, leaving the youth unconsciously trying to have all
the pleasant thing in this world without thinking about the hereafter (akhirah). The pleasant
feeling of making misdeed and bad behavior among the youth due to lack of consciousness in
1’532,158 born out of wedlock’, https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/11/15/532158-born-out-of-wedlock-
some-babies-delivered-by-mothers-as-young-as-10/, accessed June 7 2018, Thursday.
spiritual value such as Islamic value affecting the youth in their rebellious state by thinking there
are no purposes in this life beside living as a mere human.
According to the observance of some scholars’ views which related to the case of the
youth in the Muslim world, the questions which appeared are based on these two main questions:
What are the obstacles in becoming a productive Muslim youth? What are the roles of the youth
as a Muslim in contemporary days as one step of changing the image of Islam in the eyes of the
world? Thus, this paper prepared to take one whole dimension of the Muslim youth in
contemporary issues by providing the criteria in shaping the youth towards the goodness and
sharping the youth’s capabilities in helping the development of Muslim communities.
Youth in General Meaning and Perspectives
Youth can be described as an adolescent, with the range of age between 13 to 25 years
old, a phase which transforming an individual from childhood life into adulthood life. The UN,
for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of
15 and 24 years.2 Inger Ashing, director for National and municipal youth policy at the Swedish
National Board had stated in his paper in Project Youth Policy Cooperation between Turkey and
Sweden between 2008 and 2010, “Youth can be seen as transitional phase, a socialization phase,
a struggle for social status or as a period with intrinsic value.”3 Ashing explained the examples of
transitional phase with different political initiatives aimed at young people establishing their own
independent life by getting a job and moving away from home.4 By being independent, young
people managed to achieve self-confidence and maturity along the way through the transitional
phase. He also described how youth are struggling to gain a total acceptance from the society by
trying to fit in with them. “If youth is seen as a struggle for social status, the focus is on
identifying which societal structures hinder the development of young people and to act to
change these.” Ashing clarified this in his work, in order to improve the social struggle of young
people in Sweden. He also said, “youth as a struggle for social status and as a period with
2What do we mean by “youth”? http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/youth/youth-
definition/ , accessed June 7 2018, Thursday. 3Inger Ashing, “Youth and youth policy – a Sweden perspective”, Paper Project Youth Policy Cooperation between
Turkey and Sweden between 2008 and 2010, The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs, 2010, 5. 4 See, Ashing, 5.
intrinsic value, have a clear focus on young people having knowledge and experiences that
enable them to take part in society on equal terms with other groups.”5
According to Nilan, youth culture includes a number of practices: constructing an
identity, socializing, consumption, claims to legitimacy, and adult power, creativity and cultural
mixing.6 In the emotional perspective of the youth, it is a fact which emotion is a powerful thing
that evolved in the age of youth. If the emotion is unstable, the youth tend to throw a tantrum or
rebel out of their control. The emotions which control the brain can be a beneficial value or it can
be dangerous depends on what kind of vibe that it will produce. If the emotion is a happiness, or
out of sincere feeling, it will create a positive vibe. However, if the emotion is full of sadness and
melancholic experience, it can produce a negative vibe which can lead to other mental health
On the other perspective, the appearance of fresh and dynamic abilities which possessed
by the youth today had spreading out in the contemporary world with the fact that a group of
seniority elders are no longer a major influencer in the mind of youth today. Even though this
was the case, however, youth are considerably given a little amount of opportunity in both two
aspects; mental and works. During the youthful age, the energy and capability to work hard are
in the highest peak than any other level of ages in a lifetime. This is why, the youth are supposed
to be given the same opportunities as other ages as well. Besides the abilities which continuously
grows starting from the age of youth, it is essential as well to be given a freedom of thought and
speech while establishing an education which gives out the ability to think critically, precise, and
diligent through learning all kind of knowledge.
Issues of Youth in the Muslim world
In this contemporary world, Muslim people are no longer become unknown by the world.
The wealth flourishing in some Muslim country such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar
and Dubai had become hotspot for anyone to seek a pleasure in a comfortable and wealthy
environment. However, the fact that some of their youth, and the other part of the Muslim world,
5 See: Ibid, 5. 6 Pam Nilan, and Michelle Mansfield. “Youth Culture and Islam in Indonesia.” Wacana, Journal of the Humanities
of Indonesia 15, no. 1 (2013): 1, 5.
are hiding many problems beneath its ‘peaceful’ surface. This problem may have related in some
serious youth’s issues which can be different due to the distinctive cultures and background. In
Arab Mediterranean countries, the social exclusion had become a misery for Muslim youth in
order to survive in this world with little support and understanding from the adult.7 A transition
from being a child to adult needless to say, adapt countless struggles from going through many
difficulties and emotional commotion. The youth are growing with a little knowledge especially
when concerning political and economical view. The concept is based on the assumption that
social exclusion is a result of deprivations in three central spheres of life, namely economic,
social, and political.8 It allows us to demonstrate that social exclusion goes beyond
unemployment, poverty, and other kinds of material deprivation. Leonie Backberg, a scholar
who studies Regional Development and Financial Policy, had mentioned generation youth
exclusion in Arab Mediterranean societies. She had stated in her articles:
“In Arab Mediterranean countries (AMCs), insecurities and a lack of opportunities have
continuously kept young people from becoming independent and being full, active, and
integrated members of society; a process commonly referred to as social exclusion.”9
The Arab Mediterranean countries which involves in the study of social exclusion according to
Backberge was Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The statistics of her study shows the
country of Tunisia turn out to be the highest percentage of social exclusion index with 46.7% and
Algeria took second place with 43.4% of the social exclusion which follows by the country of
Egypt and Lebanon with the percentage of 42.1% and 33.2% respectively.10
Besides that, the youth in Saudi Arabia had encountered a heavy situation which is, the
lack of job opportunities, despite its flourishing economics in the region. According to an IMF
official, tackling unemployment among the young Saudis will be one of the toughest challenges
faced by the region’s largest economy this year,11 “For national unemployment is already high at
around 12 per cent and the young population is still growing,” said Timothy Callen, the assistant
7 Leonie Backeberg, and Jochen Tholen. “The Frustrated Generation Youth Exclusion in Arab Mediterranean
Societies.” The Journal of Youth Studies 21, no. 4 (2017), 1. 8 Backberg, The Frustrated, 2. 9 Ibid, 1. 10 Ibid, 10. 11 “Youth unemployment one of toughest challenges for Saudi Arabia, IMF official says”,
says-1.61693, accessed June 9, 2018.
director for the Middle East and the Central Asia department at the IMF.12 However, Saudi
Arabia was economically flourishing without having a concern to their economical state.
Abdulateef Al-Muhim, a columnist had said in his newspaper article:
“Education is free even at the university level and every student attending the university,
male or female, gets a monthly allowance equal to about $ 300. As for the health care,
everything is provided by the government and if the treatment is not available in one city,
then he or she is transferred to a bigger medical center within the Kingdom or outside the
He also mentioned this, “Many young Saudis are unemployed. But, are the doors closed? No,
they are not. The government has announced many measures to employ Saudis, but the efforts
need cooperation between the government and the youths.”14 On the other side, insufficient of
job opportunities can be caused by the influx of foreign worker entering Saudi. Fortunately,
Saudi Minister had brought up this issue and trying to implement “Saudization”, a scheme to
increase the employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector, where the aim is to give Saudi
nationals a fair opportunity in the private market and reduce the reliance on foreign workers in
order to stabilized the inclusion of foreign workers which dominating the work places.15 Besides
that, the Saudi youth had been bothered by the radical islamization and social identity struggles
which can be the causes of the youth’s rebellion:
“They weren't talking about politics, but about themselves and their desire to live the life
they choose. Their demands may seem mundane, but in a way, they are far more radical
than calling for democracy or political reform because they strike at the core of Saudi
Arabia’s social system and its religious underpinnings… Only last month, 10 emo girls in
Dammam were arrested for infringing the dress code. They were released after their parents
12 See: https://www.thenational.ae/business/youth-unemployment-one-of-toughest-challenges-for-saudi-arabia-imf-
official-says-1.61693, accessed June 9, 2018. 13 Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, “Saudi youth, the issue of unemployment and work ethic”, March 09, 2013,
http://www.arabnews.com/columns/saudi-youth-issue-unemployment-and-work-ethic, accessed June 9, 2018. 14See: http://www.arabnews.com/columns/saudi-youth-issue-unemployment-and-work-ethic, accessed June 9, 2018. 15 “What is Saudization?”, https://www.eura-relocation.com/articles/what-saudization, accessed June 9, 2018.
gave a written apology. But the question is: did the arrest reform the girls? Or did they turn
into hardheaded rebels? I think the latter.”16
The youth in Saudi are having a rebellious state due to a radical islamization system in Saudi.
The girls are force to wear a full-closed black colour—dress code, which at the same time, do not
give a freedom of what to wear. If the girls are wearing inappropriate which contravene with the
dress code, they will get arrested. The first questions—which pop up, are these the only solution
which Islam had provided—by arresting whoever conduct an inappropriate dress code instead of
giving another angle of solution, especially in regards to the Muslim youth?
While the case in Malaysia, Malay-Muslim identity struggles are growing among the
Muslim youth. It is this struggle with the question of “what a good Malay-Muslim is”, or “what
it means to be Muslim in Malaysia”, that lies at the heart of Malaysian society today, some
observers believe.17 Research interviews among young people aged between 18 and 35,
conducted by not-for-profit research centre IMAN, reveal that many are grappling with their
Malay-Muslim identity. If you want to identify with being a proud Malay, said IMAN founding
member, Dina Zaman, “there will be those who say we are lazy and we are this and that”. “The
only (other) identity we have is to be Muslim, but we also have issues being Muslim because ‘we
are not good enough’,” she added.18 Another case said in the same interview:
“The Federal Territories’ mufti (a person who gives fatwa) said that it is okay to wish
Christians, so I forwarded it to my mother, who then forwarded it to her friends,” said Miss
Dina. “She said all the aunties were very confused, saying ‘our ustaz (Muslim scholar) says
we cannot wish people Merry Christmas. The mufti says this, another person says that,
what is what, who do we follow? Everybody has their own opinion.”19
16″Saudi Youth Are Struggling with Their Identities | Fahad Faruqui.” The Guardian. June 25, 2010. Accessed June
09, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jun/25/saudi-arabia-youth-identities. 17 Kane Cunico, “Malaysia’s Muslims Grapple with Being ‘good Enough’, as Conservative Voices Get Strident.”
Channel NewsAsia. April 24, 2017. Accessed June 09, 2018,
7604730. 18 Cunico, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-s-muslims-grapple-with-being–good-enough–as-
conservat-7604730. 19 See: a newspaper article Cunico, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-s-muslims-grapple-with-
The extremism in Islam was giving a big blow to the youth, and the youth which just begin to
know the reality of being a Muslim in the world, were forced to accept judgement and comments
from both the adults and the other people as well. This created confusion in which path should a
Muslim walk or how to be a Muslim enough? There is no absolute answer, but the youth
themselves will need to choose.
Not only the radical islamization of the youth had been concerning in the Muslim world,
the issues of the youth regarding the awareness of mental health issues and the stigma of society
towards it also plays a part in the youth’s problems regarding the contemporary issue. Some of
research had been done involving Arab countries, Muslim majority-countries have the highest
rates of suicide, murder, rape and mental health problems.
“A major study covering data from the last 25 years shows soaring rates of death by suicide
or at the hands of others. In 2015 alone, the last year for which data was used, around
30,000 people committed suicide, while 35,000 were murdered. The figures do not include
deaths in places which are at war, such as Syria and Iraq, and represent increases of 100
per cent and 152 per cent respectively since 1990.”20
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health
Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). What had been concerning in the war countries are the child
mortality which had been slowly decreased each year especially in Sudan, Pakistan and
Afghanistan being in top ten along with Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen:
“Child mortality also fell more slowly than the global rate in many of the 22 countries.
Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all in the top ten countries with the highest child
mortality rates. Eighty per cent of all child deaths occurred in those three countries along
with Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.”21
In Malaysia, mental health issues are growing slowly within the youth community.
International Medical University, consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist, Dr
20 Taimur Khan, “Muslim Countries Have Highest Rates of Suicide, Murder, Rape and Mental Health Problems.”
The National. August 08, 2017. Accessed June 09, 2018. https://www.thenational.ae/world/muslim-countries-have-
highest-rates-of-suicide-murder-rape-and-mental-health-problems-1.618038. 21 See: Taimur Khan, https://www.thenational.ae/world/muslim-countries-have-highest-rates-of-suicide-murder-
Philip George said that numbers are often downplayed due to the stigma that surrounds the
condition. “Though the National Health and Morbidity survey says only 1.8% of the Malaysian
population are depressed, we think there is a flaw and believe that at least 40% of Malaysians
suffer from mental health issues…Many go unreported because firstly the difficulty in
diagnosing depression, followed by the inability of people to recognize the symptoms of
depression themselves.” he said adding that many who are in fact, depressed, are unwilling and
embarrassed to come forward for treatment.22 Severe mental illness, such as depression had been
alarming among the Muslim youth. Many of the Muslim youth had experienced depression,
however, they are afraid to tell the whole story as it was odd or unusual to have depression when
you are a Muslim.
Although the causes of many issues of the youth are mostly from external factors, we
cannot deny the internal factor of the Muslim youth created problems and issues in the Muslim
world. The lack of spiritual value among the teenagers or youth increasing due to many factors
which beginning from the childhood moment until they become an adult. Any impacted
memories since the childhood moment will unconsciously affect the environment of the youth
where they will decide to follow these two paths; the good or the bad ones. In the case of the
youth in Indonesia, Nilan in her research of Indonesian youth culture and Islam, had said:
“There is often a strong local tradition of broad informal socializing in many cultures of
the archipelago. In Java, for example, small children are encouraged to be sociable,
spending lots of time playing with other children of both sexes. Later, this positive
discourse of open social mixing still seems to subtly operate when youth socialize
informally with peers during their teens and twenties, despite the strength of the new moral
prohibition on girls and their conduct.”23
The free social lifestyle had affected many of the Indonesian youth which related to the absence
of Islamic application in their life due to unbelief thinking. Based on Saleha’s work, in her
research paper, she had said, “Unbelief thinking is a term that refers to the absence of adherence
22D. Kanyakumari, “Depression: 40% of Malaysians Will Suffer from Mental Health Issues in Their Lifetime.”
Nation | The Star Online. April 02, 2017. Accessed June 09, 2018.
lifetime/. 23 See: Nilan, Youth Culture, 6.
to religion in the context of free lifestyle practice which is centered on human rights and it also
includes an understanding that is rooted in humanism, secularism, pluralism and liberalism.”24
In Malaysia, unbelief thinking among the Muslim youth gives a huge impact with the
emergence of some Non-government Organization (NGO) such as Sister in Islam (SIS), Sister in
Islam (SIS) has also defended few Muslim women who participated in a beauty pageant; they in
fact, questioned, the fatwa, (an Islamic religious ruling) a system which forbids the involvement
of Muslim women in such competition.25 There are also many individual youth figures
committed in unbelief thinking due to the lack of faith and spiritual values in their life. Among
the main factors that contributed to the idea of unbelief to religion is the weakness of youth in
faith or belief in God.26 This can be viewed from the angle of practice, prayers and recitations of
the Quran which increasingly less to be practiced by youth today.27
The lack of faith and the spiritual value of Islam had become one of concerning issues of
Muslim youth today. There are some other cases in other countries which had not yet been
revealed, but a critical and crucial issue concerning the Muslim youth is still exist until today.
However, all these problems cannot be solved unless there is a guidance which noble Al-Quran
and the sunnah had provided to the Muslim particularly the young generation.
Muslim Youth’s Role: as an Individual and Society in the light of Al Quran
Every achievement of any individual starting from the golden age of human lifetime—
youth. This time space which Allah had created upon the human being in order to establish a
good fundamental or essences of goodness by the natural instinct (fitra) itself. As the Prophet
Muhammad S.A.W. (Peace be upon him) had mentioned the benefit of the youth who sacrifices
their entire youth for Islam:
24 Norsaleha Mohd Salleh, Ahmad Munawar Ismail, Noor Hafizah Mohd. Haridi, Zainora Daud, and Abur Hamdi
Usman. “The Unbelief Thinking among Muslim Youth in Malaysia.” The American Journal of Applied Sciences 13,
no. 2 (2016), 162. 25 Norsaleha, 164. 26 Ibid, 168. 27 Ibid, 168.
“Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon
him) said, “Allah will give shade to seven on the day when there will be no shade but His.
(These seven persons are) a just ruler, a youth who has been brought up in the worship of
Allah (i.e. worships Allah sincerely from childhood), a man whose heart is attached to the
mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation), two persons
who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only, a
man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with
her and says: I am afraid of Allah, a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left
hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has
given in charity), and a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then
flooded with tears.”28
From the narration of the hadeeth, it is clear that the position of youth had been highly valued in
Islam, since they were a child if they worshipped Allah and sacrificing time for Islam. The
qualities of the youth which illustrated by many of Muslims role model who worshipped Allah
and gave a huge contribution to Islam such as Zaid bin Haritha, Mush’ab bin Umair, Usamah bin
Zaid, Al Arqam bin Abil Arqam, Zubair bin Awwam, Zaid bin Tsabit, Mehmed, the Conqueror,
and others who committed their life fully in order to raise the name of Islam into the entire world
during their lifetime.
In the light of noble Al-Quran, there are several roles which a youth must uphold as an
individual and society in order to become a more productive Muslim. The aim of glorifying
Allah in any situation and work whereas the age of the youth is the best age where a habit was
formed. The act of glorifying Allah and sincere towards other people as an individual are helpful
in the development of good habit—which uphold the virtue as a Muslim. For example, the story
of Ashabul Kahfi (The companion in the cave which stated in Surah Al-Kahfi): “And We made
firm their hearts when they stood up and said, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth.
Never will we invoke besides Him any deity. We would have certainly spoken, then, an
excessive transgression.” (18:14). The miracle which Al-Quran had emphasized, the time where
Allah had cast a cover of sleep over their ears within the cave for a number of years to show a
28 Sahih Al Bukhari (4401) No. (1423) and Muslim (7152) No. (1031)., http://en.alukah.net/Shariah/0/108/#_ftn,
accessed June 9, 2018.
sign of Allah guidance over the youth who worshipped Allah, day and night, “So We cast a
cover of sleep over their ears within the cave for a number of years.” (18:11) and the verses
where Allah had given the best solution to those who believe in Him from the Holy Quran, “It is
We who relate to you, O Muhammad, their story in truth. Indeed, they were youths who
believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” (18:13). It is essential for a Muslim
youth in developing a good habit since the younger days. For example, developing a habit of
praying five times a day and other important command from Allah upon Muslims. In this way,
the load which initially a burden for a youth to commit five times’ prayer, naturally and slowly
developed into a habit in order to serve Allah with a sincere and peaceful heart.
Another role as a Muslim youth, one must engage in friendship and communication to
link with each other. As a human being, there is no such thing as friends are not needed. Even the
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) himself are surrounded by many good friends and companion,
because in such a degree, the companions will lead the youth into goodness. Allah had given the
guidelines in making friends by the verses of noble Quran, “Friends on the Day will be enemies
one to another, except al-Muttaqun (i.e. those who have piety).” (43:67). The holy Quran had
express coherently how to carefully choose a good friend which is al-Muttaqun (pious and
righteous persons). It is due to the influence of good friends will influence the other friends into
understanding of Islam and practices together with a willing heart.
Besides engaging in a form of friendship, establishing of communication to many people
are also important because the communication will lead the youth into becoming a great thinker
and learning to think from many perspectives of life by each person he or she met with various
past experiences and background of life. As a Muslim, Islam encourages in meeting many
friends including the non-Muslim friend as well. Allah had mentioned, “O mankind, indeed We
have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one
another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed,
Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49:13). It is clear in being a productive Muslim youth,
communicates and meeting new people are essential for the youth to understand Islam and will
eventually spread the goodness of Islam to the eyes of the non-Muslim and the world.
Besides that, each of the Muslim youth are responsible for seeking in knowledge both
religious and formal education. As a duty of individual and society, one must pursue education in
order to distinguish the rights and the wrong act or belief, as in the Holy Quran, “Recite: In the
name of thy Lord who created man from a clot. Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous Who
taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5), “And they shall say had we but
listened or used reason, we would not be among the inmates of the burning fire.” (67:10), and
“Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of
understanding are mindful.” (39:9) All these verses from Al-Quran emphasized the importance
of knowledge by thinking in a more rightful way, without any prejudice or arrogant prior to any
subject of learning.
The next step of becoming a more productive Muslim youth is the participation of charity
and unification of people from different background and races instead of hatred and isolation
towards other people. For examples, In Malaysia where there are differences in the term of races
and culture, gathering together are helpful to unified each other by providing charity towards the
needy one. As a Muslim and the people of a nation, the youth must be unified by the same moral
and motivation; to create a better future for the country. In some case related to a patient with
diagnosed of mild anxiety and depression, the act of volunteering in the charity event will help
the patient to fight against his or her own mental illness. “There is now good evidence showing
that volunteering improves mental health, including reviews in 2007, 2008 and, perhaps most
reliably, a systematic review of the evidence in 2013. Crucially, these reviews present evidence
that volunteering causes improved mental health – not just that it is associated with it. For
example, the 2013 review found that existing longitudinal research (where the same group of
people are followed overtime) ‘showed volunteering had favourable effects on depression, life
satisfaction and wellbeing’.”29 By doing a good charity, the heart automatically able to gain
strength and ease, by reminding of ourselves how fortunate we are in this world. As in hadeeth of
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh):
“Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah
(peace be upon him) said: “When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring
29 Matt Hill, “Does Volunteering Improve Mental Health?” NCVO Blogs. April 7, 2017. Accessed June 10, 2018.
charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for
In the participation of various charity, it will remind the youth to not take anything for granted and
being generous to others. Through charity, the Muslim youth will learn to be patient and developed
the sense of empathy towards those who are in need. Participation in the charity event is also the
gift or a sign of being thankful of everything which Allah had bestowed upon the human.
In becoming an active Muslim youth, one need to partake in the community as well to
develop the skill of leadership, communication, skill and building a self-confidence in front of
the people. The youth are encouraged to participate in any organization including a small one.
With their energy and passion, in the age of the youth, it is convenient for them to do many
works and at the same time, giving a contribution to the community. They would have made a lot
of positive changes on their college and high school campuses, within mosques, and also within
the greater framework of political and non-political organizations.
The adult’s approach based on Surah Luqman
In the verses of Al-Quran (surah Luqman), Luqman counsel his son, are designed to
expand his horizons on matters of doctrine and life. It contains advice for his son in pursued the
matter of life. The value of the Qur’anic method is that it attempts to articulate life issues.
Therefore, we see that it pushes the idea closer to the mind, in respect of what a person sees,
hears, and touches. It implants the concept in the deepest and the sincerest parts of the person’s
being, by a process of fear, hope, hate, et cetera.
The method which using an effective exhortation(encouragement) which is well planned, which
is delivered by those who use the forcefulness of the intellect and emotion, and which uses all
that appeals to cerebral and emotional faculties. Exhortation carries along with its ideational
aspect, certain elements of human sentiment and feeling, so that the issue becomes one of
combining the intellect and emotions. In this manner it penetrates into the heart and mind of the
person. For mixing the intellect with the emotions causes a state which grips and transforms
30 Sahih Muslim (12553) No. (1631), accessed June 9, 2018, http://en.alukah.net/Shariah/0/108/#_ftn6
person. The various dimensions involved make a given concept something that tugs at the
innermost core of the person.
After an observance and evaluation in regards of the youth’s issues in the contemporary
world, firstly, this study can conclude the lack of understanding or misconceptions of Islam
which portray by the adult had been confusing the Muslim youth. Some of the Muslim countries
are using radical islamization which implemented in their own law. Somehow, they will think it
is the most ‘Islamic’ way of controlling their own people from making any misdeed or sin by
using the status of law, however, it is still an unsuitable solution to the youth in contemporary
days. Instead of giving an understanding and the knowledge of Islam to the youth in a friendly
approach, the law had overtaken, underestimate and confusing them until they felt it was hard to
be a Muslim in their own country. Apparently, the Muslim youth are not feeling proud of Islam
themselves and slowly, they are trying to drift away from the ‘Islamic’ life style which for them,
are constraining their freedom to do anything besides becoming a pious Muslim. However, Islam
is not based on the basic I’badah (worship) only, but covers the entire aspect of life, including
politics, economy, daily simple action and conversation, cloth, manner (adab) and also mental
and physical conditions.
In other cases, some countries are using Islam as a political tool and relying on the
Islamic institution only in order to approach the Muslim youth without showing a proper ‘walk
the talk’ or lead by examples from the adults. According to Ladage, “Public discourses of Islam
generated strong pressures to publicly subscribe to orthodox ways of life, but in many cases these
declarations have not been much more than a mere lip service to satisfy a public expectation.”31
For example, the Muslim youth are no doubt thinking that if they wanted to become more
Islamic, they have to go to the mosque, and hearing any talk about Islam in the mosque or any
school programmed while the outside of these, some youth are still enjoying the culture of
hedonism and placing the pleasure of the world first without realizing the fact that Islam
embraces the whole daily life, inside or outside the located ‘Islamic’ places. Based on what
Hamza Yusuf had stated, “The world is the greatest sign of God, as is the cosmos. We do not
31 Florian Ladage, “A Muslim-Malay Modernity: on The Interrelation of Islamization and Economic Development in
Malaysia.” Accessed June 9, 2018. https://wikis.hu-
accept the doctrine of condemning the world, which is found in some religious traditions. We say
as God says: He created every-thing in the world and has subjugated its resources for our just
and conscientious use. What is censured is loving those things that are sinful or that lead to sinful
matters and loving the ephemeral aspects of the world to the point that it suppresses one’s
spiritual yearning.”32 There is still hope in today Muslim youth. They are getting suppress by the
world and at the same time, yearning towards Islamic approaches.
Secondly, the value of reflection which is essential for both adult and youth life. It is
creating the feeling of self-reflect, which purified the heart of human, by admitting mistakes in
their daily life and finding a solution in order to fix the weakness of the heart. Hamza Yusuf had
said in his commentary and the translation of ‘Purification of the heart’ by Im?m Mawl?d, “…an
object of reflection. Included in this is thinking about the weaknesses or faults of others, whether
they are present or not. The Prophet said, “There is a tree in Paradise reserved for one whose
own faults preoccupied him from considering the faults of others.” Spending time thinking or
talking about other people’s faults is foolish. Time is short and is better invested in recognizing
one’s own shortcomings and then working consistently to eradicate them.” Said Hamza regarding
the reflection which upholds the value and virtue of a Muslim in performing a better action in
their life. It is impossible for a Muslim particularly young people to moving on to the next level
of life without reflecting themselves first. Because certain things needed to be fixed by
expressing and thinking with hikmah (wisdom) and slowly maturing their life.
Lastly, the principle and the content from the noble Quran in shaping the fundamental
human value and good roles are helpful towards the development of inner and outer strength of
Muslim youth. According to Hamza Yusuf, “We enter the world in a state the Quran calls fi?ra,
our original state and inherent nature that is disposed to accept faith and prefer morality”33 There
is no doubt that Al-Quran had all the answer to the questions which resides in the heart.
Although some of the youth created many problems which adult would think it is totally their
fault to begin with, however, they are still searching for an answer within the heart and Islam
itself. No one will know and predict what had befallen upon them. The obstacles which
penetrates through the internal and external way, heart, life, sadness, happiness and all the
32Hamza Yusuf, Al-Muratani, Muhammad Mawlud Al-Yaqubi Al-Musawi, Purification of the Heart: Signs,
Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart. London: Dar Al Taqwa, 2012, 8. 33 Hamza Yusuf, 8.
emotion flowing are included in Al-Quran. It will show the way to the Muslim youth into
becoming a more effective and productive Muslim and obtaining the aim to the life of hereafter.
From all these three conclusion which had been discussed, it is important to investigate the
problems within the Muslim countries, while trying to find the causes and solutions to today
misconduct demeanor by the Muslim youth. It is an obligation for many scholars, family, friends
and the teachers in learning the rightful and justice way towards shaping the goodness inside
every single Muslim youth in this world.
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