Less than a decade ago, I do ask myself questions whenever I sat down at the darkest part of my room that have I really separated the chaff from the grain? Being a Muslim youth, what is my responsibility? What is expected of me to do and not to do? But now, years on and putting pen to paper, I don’t know where to start but I guess I should start from where it would be clear. I believe every step in life is like a chapter right from birth till death – Painfully, a lot of Muslim youths do not discover this throughout their youthful age and may carry this ignorance till old age.
At this chapter in my existence, as a university undergraduate where I have the privilege to meet Muslim brothers consciously and accidentally, I have been looking up to them; imbibing their ways and etiquette of practicing the Sunnah according to the Kitab and Sunnah of the prophet (). I tried my best to grab all the Islam I could get off (from) them by listening to them patiently and understudying a number of individuals amongst them. However, I came to a conclusion that heroism and mentoring could at times be dangerous, that in as much as I gained much from them, I also imbibed from some, certain not quite Islamic attitudes, which further investigations may reveal have only a shaky basis in Islam.

Today, looking back into the past and with a bit of experience, I have discovered that there is a tendency for Muslim youths who tend to rediscover Islam to blindly follow their mentors. The correct approach would rather be the approach of the prophet (Peace and blessing be on to him) which was the middle course. Allah says: “And, {moreover}, this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow {other} ways, for you will be separated from His way.” (Al – an’aam : 153)

I also had several sessions in the company of non-Muslim friends. One scene of note during one of my companies with them happened in my room. We were having a discussion on “Dressing to kill”. At this time, my array of clothes consist of well-worn Jalabiyas, good but ruffled native wears, old caps and any other cloth that was definitely ‘offensive’ to the eye and clearly unattractive. I had come to the conclusion that “to be scruffy was to be pious”. As a result, my uncombed beard was a sign of faith. In the course of our discussion, I was referred to and asked questions like “Alfa why are your trousers going up these days, hope you have not joined teblik?”, “Why is your beard not shaved? “,” Why do you stop watching film?” I answered all their questions satisfactorily, for I had learnt then to answer questions with evidences and I made it clear the subject of their question is part of my deen.

A beneficial digression now; It is quite unfortunate that fellow Muslims will sometime argue ignorantly against leaving the beards and raising the trousers. The prophet said shaving the beard is an act of disobedience to Allah (subhanalah wataalah) as expressed in his words: “closely trim the moustache, and spare the beard” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others). This is an explicit command which indicates that it is compulsory to grow the beards.


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