Youth 2017-08-02T13:00:12+00:00

What does it mean to be a Young Muslim today?

Almost daily, we are bombarded by stories in the media portraying Muslims in a bad light. Muslims are seen as the enemy of all who do not contribute to the society in the UK. Negative stories appear to outnumber the positive that Muslims do. How can a young Muslim growing up today break out of this mould and benefit others? How can our youth make a stand for themselves with these challenges ahead of them?

With differing narratives in the media, the rise of social media personalities on Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, who can our youth rely on to help them navigate the treacherous waters ahead? At the As-Suffa Outreach Youth Club, we cater for 8 to 14-year-old boys and girls to help them rise above the negative portrayals of Muslims that are shown in the media. We run a programme throughout the year, in line with the current school terms for 2 hours on a Sunday to help our youth develop Islamic characteristics and insights into the world around them.

The ethos of As-Suffa is “The Best of People are Those Who Benefit Mankind”. We impart this to our children through the study of Islamic characteristics of those who have come before, by teaching the basic tenets of the faith and encouraging the youth to utilise what they have learned and fully embrace this ethos. Below is an overview of what the students have studied and experienced this year and how this has helped them find their place amongst society.

The Building of the Ka’aba- Lessons from Hajj

Through learning the story of Ibrahim (AS) at the at the start of the year; the building of the Ka’aba, the guidance and rites of Hajj and the instruction for Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son Ismail, the As-Suffa Outreach Youth Club students learnt how and why specific instructions are sent to Prophets, why the Hajj was revealed and how the process of Hajj applies to all Muslims regardless of creed or colour. The lessons about sacrifice enabled the children to learn the many forms sacrifice can take and what the reward for this is. These lessons were followed by a fun Eid party, which included a picnic in the park and gifts from the teachers.

Role Models

The students then learnt aspects from the story of Yusuf (AS) as part of a theme on role models. We focussed particularly on how he was affected by jealousy, his honest nature and his capacity for forgiveness. Through the lesson on jealousy the students learned how jealousy can affect others and how to refrain from jealousy. The lesson on honesty taught the students the importance of honesty in our daily life and in all of our interaction. Lessons about Yusuf (AS’s) capacity for forgiveness and how his father Yaqub (AS) forgave his sons for their treachery allowed the students to draw on what scenarios the prophets faced yet still had the capacity to forgive and how they should develop this characteristic themselves. The students also took part in a mini-golf activity and there was a lot of fun had by all, as well as some unexpected champions!

We had a lesson on modern day role models which allowed the students to see that it is not only the lives and stories of the prophets and those from ancient times who can be a good example to the youth of today. Learning about the life and achievements of Muhammad Ali, Yvonne Ridley, Moeen Ali, Ali Banat showed them how these individuals have used the Muslim faith to reach out to people across the globe and be leading examples for people of all faiths or none.

Caring

The students have learnt about caring for others. How caring for our neighbours, caring for our community and environment, the parents love for their children and our love for our parents and grandparents help to shape us overall in becoming better Muslims. The students all spent some time caring for the area outside the As-Suffa Institute building in Park Lane by picking up litter and helping to improve the area. This was followed by an open day for parents that featured presentations from the boys and girls on what they had learnt so far.

Applying the Sunnah

The students then learnt about the importance of applying the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) into our daily lives. For example, the importance and benefits of dhikr, duaas for waking up and eating and drinking, and the benefits of giving salaam were taught to the children. They were taught the benefits of wudhu, duaas for entering and leaving the house and the benefits of salah and duaa in general. The students then reviewed what they had learnt from these lessons and how they would benefit from the application of these sunnah in their daily lives. A skiing trip to Ackers Activity Centre was also enjoyed by the students, with lots of fun experienced amongst the slopes!

Reliance upon Allah

The As-Suffa Outreach Youth Club students were given lessons on the Reliance of Allah; the Greatness of Allah, what Tawakkul is, using Duaa to strengthen our reliance on Allah, beseeching Allah through Salah, building trust in Allah and how to apply these teachings in our daily lives. This was concluded with a trip to the local trampoline park.

Relationship with the Qur’an

Before the break scheduled for Ramadhan to allow both the students and teachers some time for reflection and spiritual rejuvenation, the students learnt about the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad and how the Qur’an was sent down, the journey of the Qur’an through time, how the initial revelation was recorded, and how relevant the Qur’an is to us today.

Value of time

We recommencing after Ramadhan with an Eid party for students and teachers with lots of food and merriment for all! In the run up to the summer holidays the students learnt about the importance of time, how to use their time effectively and how to take advantage of the time they have been given before it is too late.

Alongside all of this we have included regular trips to the local park for some fresh air, a trip to the As-Suffa Outreach Homeless Project and many other fun activities designed to learn new skills.

In the past year we have seen a significant positive outlook from many of the students and a desire to help those around them through their deeds and actions.

In conclusion, one of the students at As-Suffa Outreach Youth Club has written the following poem to highlight the feelings of a young Muslim growing up in today’s society:

 

Why, Why Us:

I live in a society which keeps us separated,

We never joined up, we never collaborated,

They were the shoes, we were the floors,

They stomp at us, we do their chores,

Do you know we have rights?

Do you know we feel pain?

We all have hopes and dreams, A fortune we can gain!

Why, Why segregate us?

Is it because of our skin? Our culture? Our race?

Which is better? EQUALITY or the colour of our face???

 

{S M Ali, aged 14}

Rashda Shanaz