Sports, studies, social life, skills, interests, and sleep. These are some of the common components of a 14-year-old’s life. But what if, after having all that, something still feels ‘off’? Like there is something missing. Having gone through it, I can say that I felt frustrated and lost.
There are so many opinions and views in this world. How do I find what is correct, and that I should follow, and what is false, and that I should reject? I could just follow what society, culture, and my family say. I could follow my own desires and reasoning. Many people do this. But I would still be completely lost, left to wander in the dark, in conjecture of how I should live my life.
There is a great amount of suffering in the world. But at the same time, the world is also full of beauty and love. It got me wondering, what is the explanation for the good and the bad? What is the higher purpose? And how do I live according to it?
What I needed was a guide, a trustworthy and comprehensive guide, that provides directions, answers, and certainty regarding life and how to live it. I found the solution in my religion – Islam.
For teenagers going through challenges, stress, and questioning many things in life, the answer can lie in your religion.
For me, it was Islam; for someone else, it might be a different religion. I’d like to think that all religions teach us to be good, to help others, and to live a good life.
Since the advent of the internet, learning Islam has become easier and more accessible. For the layman, there are countless talks, podcasts, books, and articles by Islamic speakers and writers in multiple languages. One can even read translations of the Quran and hadiths, online.
However, there are many misconceptions about Islam that stem from ignorance and misinformation. Living in a practising Muslim family that sent me to Islamic classes at a young age, I had a basic understanding of what Islam is. I was encouraged to ask questions if I encountered something I wasn’t sure of. For those facing a different set of circumstances, it is important to consult a knowledgeable Muslim to direct you to the proper Islamic information.
During the teenage years, some people may become disillusioned or be easily led astray. In the modern world we live in, we rely so much on external avenues for assistance. For many, spirituality and religion are not the first solution.
So, how can a teenager benefit from learning Islam?
Firstly, it places great emphasis on seeking any knowledge that is beneficial, be it Islamic knowledge, human, or the physical sciences. This is because knowledge is a means of attaining closeness to Allah and allows one to do good.
Watching Islamic speakers on YouTube and reading the Quran gave me reassurance and peace of mind regarding a lot of matters, both personal and external. When I dug into Islam online during the pandemic, it further strengthened my faith that Islam was the right way. Scrupulous documentation and exploration of Islamic teachings by a millennium of great Islamic scholars produced answers to my questions and gave me the determination and guidance in my pursuit of knowledge.
Spiritually, the obligatory five daily prayers have also made me calmer. The prayer is a physical manifestation of one’s belief in Allah. It is especially calming to place my head on the ground before Allah when I feel blue. The times of the five prayers are also set to act as ‘certainty anchors’ that structure my day and take me away to read the Quran and speak to God, no matter how busy I am. This is one of the acts of worship that increases the Muslim in God-consciousness.
Islam calls on a person to reflect upon the world and develop humility. For me, this means I am extra careful not to think of myself as superior to someone else, just because of my achievements, appearance, knowledge, or some other blessing. Instead, I am taught to continuously thank Allah.
The Muslim is overcome with gratitude, or in Arabic, syukr. Learning Islam makes one cognisant of some of Allah’s countless blessings on him that can be seen all around, such as the sun, and his food. This makes him grateful and happy. This syukr made me realise how silly it was for me to self-hate or maintain a victim mindset when faced with a world of blessings and the offer of Paradise.
The Muslim is also trained to embrace perseverance, or in Arabic, sabr. Sabr encompasses the meaning of actively striving to improve one’s condition. If I want to achieve my SPM goals, Islam asks me to do my best and to never despair. God will do the rest.
Sabr is a fruit of God-consciousness because it also contains the meaning of having self-control in all situations. It means I need to think twice before expressing my anger towards people around me, or giving in to sin when I am tempted.
Among Islam’s main themes are the uniqueness of God and the existence of the Day of Judgment. These two topics provide an understanding of who God is and the reason for human life. It puts life and death into perspective. It teaches me not to think of this life and whatever is in it as an end goal, but just as a short enjoyment and a test before I return to where I started – with Allah. Islam teaches me to be concerned first and foremost with my belief in Allah, and the manifestations of that belief, which are good actions.
Last, but not least, Islam teaches me to treat others with justice and fairness. The Quran and Sunnah place great emphasis on honouring and taking care of one’s parents, maintaining family ties, and in not oppressing anyone. It warns of the severe consequences of backbiting and slander. Therefore, I strive to give everyone, including myself, due rights and avoid gossiping with friends about other people. Of course, I’m not perfect and Islam is a personal, continuous, and lifelong journey.
This is how Islam has made me a happier and better person. Islam provides comprehensive teachings, a moral instructive in life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “I was sent to perfect good manners.” His perfect character and teachings have been well-documented in thousands of authentic hadiths to be followed.
The Quran has many stories and arguments that are presented in a sublime language and structure that moved the first men and women who listened to it to tears, as it still does for people today.
Islam, in its authentic form, is a beautiful way of life that everyone can take wisdom and advice from. For teenagers like me, it is my comfort and my strength.
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The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of Twentytwo13.