Saad Ahmad, a 13-year-old tifl, explains how we can balance our lives as Muslims while, at the same time, living in a world in which people are determined to lead their lives without God
Saad Ahmad, UK
Atheism has been seen by many to be the “religion” of the New World. Those who are religious, especially those who are Muslim, are seen to be backwards from a Western point of view, even to the extent that people of other religions believe this to be true as well.
For school-age children especially, doubts are put into their minds regarding Islam from a young age, and in some cases, taunts and mockery can cause one to lose their faith. Common allegations are raised in school, and after hearing these, some may feel disturbed and not know how to respond.
One major problem Muslim children face whilst in school is related to social events, and despite immoral acts taking place and to avoid feeling left out, Muslim children take part. However, what often happens after continually doing this is that a person can lose the ability to properly differentiate between what is right and wrong, and this reduces their belief in their religion.
Now, let us consider what a typical Western lifestyle, particularly during teenage years, would be considered as. One would wake up, get ready for school, and after coming back from school, would probably do their homework, eat, or go out with their friends. During their day-to-day life, many wouldn’t give a thought to God or to religion.
However, once we compare with what a Muslim’s daily routine would be like, we can find many similarities but also some differences. For a start, they would begin their day with praying Fajr, reading the Holy Quran, and would then spend their day in school like others. Once they come back, they would offer their other daily prayers, and as well as doing schoolwork, would also try to gain some religious knowledge, or participate in other activities which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible if they too weren’t religious.
I think the above is what we can agree on as a typical daily routine for both Muslims and non-Muslims. And although, at first, they may appear quite similar, there is one major difference, and that is regarding social life.
One aspect of teenage years which can cause considerable distress to many is the aspect of social life. Social life, as it’s known, at this age often involves attending parties at which many immoral acts – such as drinking, drug abuse, and the free mixing of boys and girls – take place, and these can escalate to the extent that one’s reputation can be ruined due to what they have done – all because they want to feel some excitement or enjoyment. However, one may wonder what this has to do with Godlessness.
To start with, living without a god would obviously mean living without a religion, but living without a religion would also mean living without a distinct set of rules – or a “moral code”. This means that although someone may have their own idea regarding what is right or wrong, this can often change as a result of peer pressure and they can be forced to do something unpleasant. Because of this, it causes many to be distressed.
But far from being backwards, Islam has the perfect solution. In Islam, and particularly in Ahmadiyyat, we are fortunate to continually receive guidance on how to behave in such situations. Islam forbids backbiting, bullying, slandering, alcohol and other acts like these that take place at such social events, and so, by following the true Islamic teachings, depression and other problems that arise from a typical teenage social life can be tackled.
Thus, far from being ashamed at the fact that we are Muslim, we should be grateful we are discouraged from participating in such activities, which all take place in the name of “fun”. What we should be most grateful for, however, is the continued support and guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa, whose guidance we are fortunate to receive and which saves us from being engulfed by materialism.
After facing allegations that Islam is backwards, some may feel compelled to take part in such social events, even though they do not want to. However, what some people can sometimes forget is that Islam does not place any restrictions on having a social life; the restrictions are only on the immoral and vulgar activities, and these too are for our own benefit. So, because of this, a teenage Ahmadi Muslim is still free to go out and enjoy the company of their friends. For example, playing football, cricket, or any other activity, such as a video game.
What also happens far too often is that after seeing an Ahmadi’s good morals and social conduct, those who participate in and invite others to these parties will themselves know not to try and invite or pressure Ahmadis to join. There are many instances where this has happened, and by showing a good moral character in school, living as a Muslim in a Godless world is made much easier.
To conclude, the best response to those who say Islam is a backwards religion is that which is given by Huzooraa. In an address to waqifeen-e-nau, he advised students by saying:
“Those […] who are in secondary school, particularly those aged 14-15 should try to develop a keen interest in science subjects, and try to excel because, apart from missionaries, we also have a great need for doctors. We also require teachers, both in science and other academic fields, and so Waqf-e-Nau should also take up teaching”. When people are able to see for themselves that Muslims are in fact highly educated and at the forefront of serving humanity, their misconceptions will also be removed.
Huzooraa further states:
“[…] we have many converts in our Jamaat, and when asked what initially attracted them to Ahmadiyyat, many responded by saying it was the good conduct and high morals of their Ahmadi friends which drew them towards Islam”. (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, 25 February 2018, in his address delivered at the UK Waqf-e-Nau Ijtema)
So, we can see from this that through avoiding immoral activities in social events where vain activities take place, we are not only benefitting ourselves but also others as this too is a form of tabligh.
Thus, instead of Islam being backwards, it is actually Islamic teachings that will enable people to progress in various fields. And this is the solution for the Godless world we find ourselves in.