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ILT: Youth: Seven Habits Of Highly Successful Muslim Youth

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  • Cemil Celepci
    Youth: Seven Habits Of Highly Successful Muslim Youth From: DDN Date: Tue Apr 3, 2007 10:59 pm Subject: Youth: Seven
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2007
      Youth: Seven Habits Of Highly Successful Muslim Youth

      From: "DDN" <dominedirigenos@...>
      Date: Tue Apr 3, 2007 10:59 pm
      Subject: Youth: Seven Habits Of Highly Successful
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      B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e
      e m

      Youth Youth

      "We relate to thee their story in truth: they were
      youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced
      them in guidance: We gave strength to their hearts:
      Behold, they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord
      of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call
      upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should
      indeed have uttered an enormity!" (Al-Kahf 18:13-14)


      Seven Habits
      Of Highly Successful Muslim Youth
      By Altaf Husain


      You cannot escape it. The discussion about habits is
      all around you: Mom and Dad are constantly telling you
      to break your bad habits; your teachers are telling
      you to develop good habits; your friends are
      pressuring you to adopt their habits; and the
      television and media are influencing you to explore
      new and supposedly cool habits. "You will never be
      successful," the constant refrain goes, "unless you
      drop your bad habits and develop some good habits." In
      the end, it's all up to you. You have to decide what
      your habits are going to be. Have you given this
      matter some thought?

      If you are alive and breathing, you should constantly
      be engaged in an inner struggle to develop habits
      which draw you closer to Allaah Most High. Success in
      this world is directly related to the strength of your
      relationship with Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. The
      farther one is from Allaah and the teachings of the
      Prophet Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam), the
      less likely one is to achieve success in this world
      and, for sure, even less likely to achieve success in
      the hereafter. Is it not time for us to reflect upon
      Islamic teachings to discern the necessary habits of
      highly successful Muslim youth?

      Here are at least seven habits indispensable for
      highly successful Muslim youth, derived entirely from
      the Qur`aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad
      (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam).

      Be Truthful

      Being truthful is not always easy, especially when we
      make a mistake. We fret over whether or not to
      disclose exactly what happened. We sweat, we are
      afraid, we feel nervous and anxious. We are often
      afraid that if we tell the truth about what we have
      done or said, we will be in trouble with our parents
      or friends. What we forget is that whether we tell the
      truth or not, Allaah Most High knows exactly what took
      place, even those things that were never manifest or
      visible to people around us. Despite how burdensome
      telling the truth might seem, all of us are aware of
      the feeling of relief we experience when we tell the
      truth, even if the consequence of telling the truth is
      punishment. Casting the telling of truth and the fate
      of the truthful in terms of profit and loss, Allaah
      Most High tells us in the Qur`aan:

      “This is a day on which the truthful will profit from
      their truth: theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing
      beneath — their eternal Home: Allaah well-pleased with
      them, and they with Allaah. That is the great
      salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires).”
      (Al-Maa'idah 5:119)

      So much is to be gained from being truthful as opposed
      to escaping punishment or blame because of not being
      truthful. Not being truthful, in fact, leads us down a
      slippery slope, guaranteeing that with one lie, more
      lies must be told. Being truthful is not an option for
      Muslims, but rather an obligation, because our goal in
      being truthful is Paradise. The beloved of Allaah,
      Prophet Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam),
      said, as narrated by `Abdullah radhiallahu`anhu:

      “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and
      righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on
      telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person.
      Falsehood leads to al-fujur [wickedness, evil-doing],
      and al-fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may
      keep on telling lies till he is witten before Allaah,
      a liar." (Saheeh Bukhaari, Book #73, Hadieeh #116)

      Ultimate success is therefore achieved by living one's
      entire life — the youthful years, the adult years, and
      the elderly years — being truthful.

      Be Trustworthy

      Who do you rely on? Of course, Allaah. He is indeed
      the Most Trustworthy. But among humans, who do you
      rely on? Who can you trust to come through for you all
      the time? Do people rely on you? Are you considered
      trustworthy? Moving ahead in life, achieving ultimate
      success, requires that people consider you trustworthy
      and reliable. Being trustworthy should not be an
      arbitrary activity but rather a habit so that you can
      be relied upon in all instances, big or small,
      convenient or inconvenient, easy or difficult.

      In colloquial terms, we often hear "I've got your
      back," implying, in the most literal sense, that
      people cannot see what is behind them so they need to
      rely on their friends to cover that angle, just in
      case a threat occurs from the back. Just imagine what
      it would be like if a friend were climbing a tree and
      was heading out onto a very thin branch to get a kite
      that got stuck there. She asks you if you "have her
      back." In this instance, she is relying on you
      entirely to hold on to her in case the branch breaks.
      There is no room for joking around or for being
      distracted: your friend is trusting you with her life.

      When we say Allaah is the Most Trustworthy, we are
      coming to terms with the fact that Allaah Most High
      will never let us down, will never leave our side. He,
      Most High, says about someone who willingly accepts

      “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands
      out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and
      believes in Allaah hath grasped the most trustworthy
      hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allaah Heareth and
      Knoweth all things.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

      Indeed, the prophets of Allaah were all trustworthy
      people and Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala attested to
      the trustworthiness of those who were doubted by their
      communities. Prophet Hud `alayhissalaam, appealing to
      his community, declared to them:

      “I but fulfill towards you the duties of my Lord's
      mission: I am to you a sincere and trustworthy
      adviser.” (Al-A`raaf 7:68)

      Practice daily developing the habit of being
      trustworthy. Accept responsibility and then fulfill
      it. When others trust you, do not betray their trust.

      You can read in the beautiful biography of our Prophet
      Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam) how people
      used to entrust him with their valuables, knowing that
      upon their return they would find their valuables safe
      and unharmed. His personal and business practices were
      commendable to the degree that he was known for it in
      his community, even before he became aware that he was
      the Prophet of Allaah, literally one who is most
      truthful and trustworthy.

      Have Self-Restraint and Be God-Conscious

      Perhaps the most difficult challenge while navigating
      adolescence is to restrain oneself from falling victim
      to one's desires — especially one's lower desires.

      Our success in life depends to a great extent on how
      well we are able to restrain ourselves and to be
      moderate in what is permissible, as well as how
      capable we are of distancing ourselves from what is

      Why is self-restraint so critical? Satan's goal is to
      make you a slave of your desires to the extent that
      you eat until you are actually uncomfortable; that you
      consume without restraint beverages made of caffeine,
      sugar, and artificial flavors; that you find yourself
      longing for sleep more than prayer; and that you yearn
      to satisfy your sexual desires. Developing
      self-restraint as a habit entails making
      self-restraint your second nature — something which is
      done almost without thought, without too much effort.
      We are reminded by Allaah Most High:

      “And no one will be granted such goodness except those
      who exercise patience and self-restraint, — none but
      persons of the greatest good fortune.” (Fussilat 41:5)

      In seeking to be highly successful Muslim youth, that
      is, youth deserving of the greatest fortune, it is
      imperative that you develop self-restraint.

      An interesting parallel is that, throughout his
      Qur`aan translation, the late Abdullah Yusuf Ali
      translates taqwaa as self-restraint. While taqwaa is
      most commonly translated as "God-consciousness," one
      realizes without much effort that the height of
      self-restraint is full and complete understanding that
      one is indeed conscious of one's duty to one's Lord.
      How awesome will it be if you can look back at your
      life and say to yourself, all praise is due to Allaah
      that I did not succumb to my lower desires and instead
      exercised self-restraint consistently!

      Be Thorough

      Look around your room. How many unfinished projects do
      you have? When you work on homework, are you likely to
      rush through the assignment just so you can be done
      with it or are you more likely to take your time, to
      check your work, and most importantly, to be thorough?

      Often teachers will grade a report based on how well
      and to what extent the student covered the topic at
      hand. Being thorough is not a habit that is developed
      overnight. The opposite of being thorough is being
      incomplete, being rushed, and working in haste without
      any regard for accuracy or quality. The most perfect
      is Allaah Most High, Who perfected creation, Who
      perfected our religion, and Who guided His Prophet
      Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam) to be the
      most perfect among humans in behavior and in

      We read in the Muwatta of Imaam Malik "Yahya related
      to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger
      of Allaah, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace,
      said, 'I was sent to perfect good character'" (Book
      #47, Hadeeth #47.1.8).

      To be thorough stems from a desire to be perfect to
      the extent that this is humanly possible. Seeking
      perfection in our actions and speech from an early age
      helps us to develop a keen eye, not only for
      thoroughness in our own life, but also for
      thoroughness in the lives of those around us. Being
      thorough in prayer, for example, teaches us to be
      patient and to concentrate upon the words we are
      reciting and the different positions of the prayer.

      Be Focused

      One thousand ideas go through your head the moment you
      stand up for prayer. Is that you? Really? What do you
      make of those ideas? Do you process them? What about
      when you are sitting in class? Do you find your mind
      wandering, daydreaming, and unable to focus on the
      lecture at hand? Are you likely to use any excuse
      whatsoever to leave what you are doing?

      Developing the habit of being focused ensures that you
      are awake, alert, and totally motivated to work on and
      complete the task at hand, whatever it may be. Being
      distracted early on in childhood by video games,
      fast-paced imagery, and constantly changing scenes on
      television shows contributes to an inability to
      concentrate, to focus. Among the best ways to develop
      focus is to practice praying with deep concentration
      to the extent that you are almost unaware of your
      surroundings. Allaah Most High tells us in the Qur`aan
      that the believers are:

      “ … those who humble themselves in their prayers”
      (Al-Mu'minun 23:2)

      The humility referred to here results from total focus
      and concentration on the fact that one is in the
      presence of Allaah, standing before Him, Most High. Do
      your best to develop focus, no matter what activity
      you are engaged in — whether in prayer, in academics,
      in athletics, or some other pastime.

      Be Punctual

      Stop saying over and over again that you are late
      because of "Muslim standard time," or the "standard
      time" of your particular ethnicity. The last thing we
      should attribute to Islam is the notion that its
      teachings somehow make us late, slow, slugging, and
      anything but punctual. What a sad state of affairs,
      indeed, that we attribute our own weaknesses to our
      religion or ethnicity!

      Highly successful individuals, be they Muslim or not,
      understand and appreciate the value of not only their
      time but the time of everyone else with whom they
      interact. Keeping people waiting for hours on end is
      neither something to be proud of nor a habit that has
      a place in the mindset of a person who tries to be

      One of the central pillars of Islam is prayer, and
      Allaah and the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi
      wa sallam) have given us clear reminders that we are
      to establish prayers at their due times.

      When `Abdullah (may Allaah be pleased with him) asked
      "which deed is the dearest to Allaah?" the Prophet
      Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam) replied, "To
      offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times"
      (Saheeh Bukhaari, Book #10, Hadeeth #505).

      If indeed your day is to be considered successful, you
      must have prayed all the obligatory prayers at their
      established times and as many voluntary prayers as
      possible. If your day is planned around the times of
      prayer, you should not pray exactly at the time when
      you are to pray but then come late to all other
      appointments. Being punctual is a habit which, when
      perfected, demonstrates to others the tremendous value
      that Islam places on time — not only ours but that of
      everyone else with whom we interact.

      Be Consistent

      Apart from all the habits listed above, perhaps the
      one that is sure to help you become a highly
      successful Muslim youth is that of being consistent.
      One cannot be truthful one day and a liar the next;
      one cannot be trustworthy in one instance and totally
      unreliable in the next; and so on for each of the
      other habits. A Muslim understands from an early age
      that it is easier to do something once or whenever we
      feel like it but much harder to do something regularly
      and consistently.

      Indeed, the Mother of the Believers `A'ishah (may
      Allaah be pleased with her) narrates that "the most
      beloved action to Allaah's Apostle was that which is
      done continuously and regularly" (Saheeh Bukhaari,
      Book #76, Hadeeth #469).

      Regular and consist actions show that a person has
      thought about it, has intended to do it, has planned
      to do it, and therefore does it.

      We urge you to be as consistent as possible,
      especially in those areas of your life which need
      constant improvement, such as your prayers, your
      fasting, your manners, your studying habits, etc. Do
      not say, I am going to pray all day every day, or fast
      voluntarily all of the days of every month, or study
      all night every night, because such actions cannot be
      humanly sustained over a long period of time. Say on
      the other hand, I am going to be sure to read at least
      one part of the Qur`aan every day, or I will strive to
      help my parents with at least one household chore
      every day, or I will try to study at least one new
      item every week so that I can be ahead of the lesson


      Finally, Muslims aspire to develop all of these habits
      because, in doing so, we draw nearer to Allaah Most
      High. If you are intent on being a highly successful
      Muslim youth, then you owe it to yourself to reflect
      upon your own life and see how many of these habits
      are already a part of who you are and how many you
      need to further develop or acquire.

      We end with a reminder that developing these habits
      will help you to emulate the life of our beloved
      Prophet Muhammad (sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam). His
      message and his life are summarized well in a
      narration of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas:

      Abu Sufyan told me that Heraclius said to him, "When I
      enquired of you what he (Muhammad) ordered you, you
      replied that he ordered you to establish the prayer,
      to speak the truth, to be chaste, to keep promises,
      and to pay back trusts." Then Heraclius added, "These
      are really the qualities of a prophet." (Saheeh
      Al-Bukhaari, Book #48, Hadeeth #846)

      Strive to develop the seven habits listed above and
      many others from the Islamic teachings so that you
      will be among the highly successful Muslim youth.



      Altaf Husain is a social worker in the United States
      and has been a contributing writer to Islam Online
      since 1998. He can be contacted at

      Previous "Youth" installments at:

      1. Anti-Islamic Rhetoric: Respond with Dialogue and
      2. Prophet Muhammad - The Best Example For Youth Today

      Cemil Celepci
      Istanbul / Turkiye
      islamicdialogue@yahoogroups.com Moderatörü
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