I was reading Shaykh Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him)’s book Youth’s Problems: Issues that Affect Young People. Never have I read a book of Shaykh Uthaymeen, except that his wisdom, insight, and depth of knowledge amazed me. In this short booklet, the Shaykh provided a description of an upright young person, and I said to myself, “how wonderful would it be if I could describe myself with this description.” So, I have decided to use Shaykh Uthaymeen’s description of an upright young person as my new year’s resolution for 2015 instead of drafting that of my own.
(If you read the following excerpt carefully, you will notice that even while describing an upright young person, the Shaykh first introduced Islam, and then introduced eeman. The Shaykh has a famous booklet titled The Explanation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Belief. Even in that booklet of Islamic belief, the Shaykh first talked about the five pillars of Islam before talking about eeman. This shows the depth of Shaykh’s understanding and the consistency of his methodology.)
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Upright young people are believers – in every sense of the word. They believe in their religion in such a way that they love it and are convinced by and content with it. They regard embracing it as profit and denial of it as a clear loss.
They sincerely worship Allah alone and follow the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in their words and deeds because of their belief that he was truly a Messenger of Allah and that he is the leader that should be followed.
They observe salah (obligatory prayer) perfectly to the best of their abilities because they believe in its temporal, eternal, and social benefits and advantages as well as in woeful consequences of its neglect for individuals and nations.
They pay zakah (obligatory fixed alms) fully to those who deserve it because they believe that it satisfies the needs of Islam and Muslims: a reason that makes it one of the pillars of Islam.
They fast in the month of Ramadan and abandon their desires and pleasures, whether in winter or summer, because they believe that it pleases Allah and therefore give what pleases Him preference over their own desires.
They perform the obligatory pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Sacred House of Allah because they love Allah and as a result love His House. They go to places of His mercy and forgiveness and share their experiences with their Muslim brothers and sisters who also visit those places.
They believe that it is Allah who created them as well as the heavens and the earth because they see in the signs of Allah that which leaves no iota of doubt or reluctance in the fact that Allah exists. They see in this universe – vast and marvelous in its shape and order – a decisive proof of the existence, the perfect ability, and the extreme wisdom of its Creator for it is impossible for it to create itself. They know it is also out of the question for it to exist accidentally because it was non-existent before it was created and a thing that is non-existent cannot make another exist because the thing itself is non-existent. They realize it is unfeasible for the universe to exist accidentally because it has a wonderful and symmetrical order that does not change or deviate from the path on which it is destined to move. Allah (subhanau wa t’ala) says:
فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا ۖ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا
But you will never find in the way of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration. [The Noble Quran 35:43]
He also says:
الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ
ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ
[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. [The Noble Quran 67:3-4]
If it is agreed that this universe possesses such a marvelous and well-arranged order, it is impossible for it to have existed accidentally because whatever accidentally exists will, as a result, be prone to changes and disruption at any moment.
The upright youth believe in Allah’s angels because He speaks about them in His Book and because His Prophet (ﷺ) also spoke about them in the Sunnah. The Qur’an and Sunnah contain many of their descriptions, acts of worship, and the works they carry out that are for the benefit of all creatures, which give us clear-cut evidence of their real existence.
They believe in the Books of Allah which He revealed to His Prophets, that with them they may guide humankind to the straight path, because it is impossible for human intellect to perceive the detailed benefits inherent in acts of worship and human interaction without divine guidance.
They believe that Allah’s Prophets and Messengers were sent to call people to all that is virtuous, enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil so that the human race should have no plea against Allah after the coming of the Messengers. The first of them was Adam and the last of them was Muhammad, may the best of blessings and peace be upon all of them.
They believe in the Last Day: the day people will be resurrected after their deaths in order to be rewarded for their deeds. Whoever does an atom weight of good will see it and whoever does an atom weight of evil will see it [The Noble Quran 99: 7-8], for that is the result of this life. If this were not so, what then is the logical reason behind it if humankind does not have a day in which good-doers will be rewarded for their good deeds day and evil-doers will be compensated for their evil acts?
They believe in predestination, including that it can be good or evil. They accept that everything is in accordance with Allah’s ordainment and predestination, while believing in causes and effects and that prosperity and misery have their respective causes.
These young people practice their religion with total sincerity to Allah, His Messenger, Muslim leaders, and Muslim common folk*. They deal with their fellow Muslims with the straightforwardness and clarity with which they would like to be treated. Treachery, malpractice, crookedness, or hiding facts have place in their dealings.
They call to the way of Allah with clear knowledge and in accordance with the methods explained by Allah in His Book. Allah, the Exalted, says:
ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. [The Noble Quran 16:125]
They enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil because they believe that the prosperity of communities and nations lies in that which Allah has specified in the glorious Qur’an:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient. [The Noble Quran 3:110]
They strive to change all that is evil according to the method recommended by the Prophet (ﷺ) when he said: “Whoever of you sees an evil action let him correct it with his hand, and if he is unable to do that then with his tongue, and if he is unable to do so then with his heart.” (Recorded by Muslim) They speak and accept only the truth because of their understanding that truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to paradise, and that a person keeps on telling the truth until he or she becomes a truthful person.
They love what is good for their Muslim brothers and sisters because of their belief in the hadith: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim)
They are aware of their responsibilities to Allah, the Ummah, and their countries and they always strive for the benefit of the religion, the Islamic nation, and their homelands -far from selfishness and pursuance of personal interests at the expense of other people’s interests.
They strive in the way of Allah with His assistance and because of Him only. They strive with sincerity to Him without intending to be seen or heard by people. They strive while seeking assistance from Allah without self-admiration or depending on their wits and energy alone. They strive in the way of Allah within the framework of His religion without exaggeration or negligence. They strive with their words, hands, and property in accordance with the needs of Islam and Muslims.
They are religious and possess good conduct. They are well-mannered, religiously upright, lenient, magnanimous, noble, good-hearted, extremely patient, and tolerant but decisive. They do not waste opportunities or allow sentiments to overpower their sense of reason and the establishment of peace and order.
The balanced and orderly young people work wisely and silently with perfection and quality. They do not waste any opportunities in their lives but rather utilize them in what is of benefit to them and their Ummah. These young people, though they preserve their religion, conduct, and manners, are nevertheless abstentious from all that negate these virtues, such as kufr (disbelief), atheism, profligacy, disobedience, indecent manners, and bad dealings.
These young people are a pride for this Ummah and the symbol of its life, its prosperity, and its religion. They are those whom we hope Allah will use to repair the Muslims’ damaged condition and illuminate the way for the followers of the right path. They are those who shall attain the bliss of this world and the next, Allah willing.
*This is a reference to a hadith recorded by Muslim: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Religion is sincerity. We said: To whom? He said: To Allah and His Book and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.
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O Allah! Turn me and turn all the Muslim young people into upright young people.