You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 3:15), watch it below, or read the summary below.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى
innahum fityatun amanoo birabbihim wazidnahum hudan
Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.
(Surah Al-Kahf, Quran 18:13)
My dear brothers and sisters, youth, elders- the Prophet (pbuh) was once sitting with his most beloved companions, Abu Bakr and Omar and Ali and ‘Uthman. And he said,
وَدِدْتُ أَنِّي قَدْ رَأَيْتُ إِخْوَانَنَا – “I wish I could see my brothers.”
And they all started looking around and they asked him,
أَلَسْنَا إِخْوَانَكَ – “Are we not your brothers?“
And the Prophet (pbuh) replied, أَنْتُمْ أَصْحَابِي وَلَكِنْ إِخْوَانِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِي وَلَمْ يَرَوْنِي – “You are my companions, but my brothers are the ones that will come after me and they will believe in me, even though they have not seen me.”
Those are my brothers. So that’s us that he’s talking about. That’s us. We are the brothers and sisters of the Prophet (pbuh) that he wants to see. SubhanAllah. He wants to see us bring about good. He wants to see us in Jannah. He wants to see us on the Day of Judgment, as a part of his nation, as a part of his Ummah. Today I would like to talk about one segment of this ummah that is on everyone’s minds and that is our youth, our young people.
I remember growing up in Houston, Texas and we would hear khutbah after khutbah about how the youth are misguided. The youth have no direction. We need to guide the youth. And honestly, it was depressing to hear that, “oh, the youth are misguided.” It’s actually pretty depressing to hear that every Jummah after Jummah, Friday after Friday.
It’s important that we empower our young people and that we give them a positive message and role models to look up to. Both role models from the past and role models from the present. The Prophet (pbuh) was a positive person. He was an optimistic person. Our book, the Quran- what does it start with? It starts with الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ – it starts with all praises are due to Allah. This is an optimistic message. This is a positive message.
A lot of times we see things going on in the media and we see things going on here and there and in the community. And we start to become cynical and we start to become negative, when in actuality, there is so much to be positive about. In the past 60 years, there was no Islam in this country or Islam was at a very small footprint in this country, starting with the slaves that were brought over here forcefully. But in the past 50-60 years, SubhanAllah, there’s Muslims in every corner. There are large numbers of Muslims in every major city, SubhanAllah.
I taught at an Islamic school in the U.S. Virgin islands (in the middle of the Caribbean.) Who would have thought that there’s a large enough Muslim population for there to be an Islamic school in the middle of the Caribbean? SubhanAllah, and that’s only happened in the past 50-70 years. So there’s so much to be positive and so much to be optimistic about actually, but we have to sometimes look at the bigger picture.
So, what does the Quran tell us about young people?
If you look at the examples that are given to us of the prophets, they were not old people. They were young people. So some of you might be thinking, “well, I’m past that age, now I’m old. So what does this have to do with me?” Well, the responsibility of the elders is to direct, to guide, to advise, to have mercy, to allow the young people to make mistakes. And it’s the young people’s job to be the torchbearers for our next generation- to be the generation that brings Islam forward in this country and in this world. That is the responsibility of the youth. And that’s a huge responsibility. I know it sounds like such a huge thing.
Let us look at the examples from the Quran-
The first example that comes to mind is the story of Yusuf (as). As a young boy, he is betrayed by his own brothers. He doesn’t start off life on the right foot. He’s just a young boy and his brothers have dumped him in the middle of the jungle in a well, but does he lose hope? Does he lose patience? No, he is resilient. His belief in Allah remains strong. That is why he eventually, even after being sold into slavery, even after being put into prison for many years and forgotten, eventually he rises to the top of the entire government of Egypt. He gets to the top and the king places him in the highest position. He has all the power. Whatever he wants to do, he can do. He rises there, SubhanAllah! What a story.
We look at the story of Ibrahim (as). He was a young boy when he questioned the ways of his father’s forefathers and questioned his own father. Even though his father threatened him, that “if you continue questioning, I’m going to beat you up,” he still questioned and eventually he left and he became a Prophet of Allah.
If we look at Ismail (as), he was a teenager and his father came to him and said, “Allah says I have to sacrifice you.” And what did he say? He said, “if Allah is telling you this, O Father, then go ahead. Do what you have to do.
سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
satajidunee in shaa Allahu mina alssabireena
You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”
(Surah As-Saffat, Quran 37:102)
you will find me patient. I will be patient. I will do what needs to be done.”
If you look at the example of Maryam (as) – she has to confront her people with this baby. Everyone’s wondering, where did this child come from? And she has to confront her people all by herself. Everyone has left her side. Everyone is accusing her of wrong doing and she has to bring this child SubhanAllah. Can you imagine what she must have felt? “Through those nine months, what’s going to happen to me? What are the people going to say to me?” But Allah tells her to take a vow of silence and she comes forward. She puts her trust in Allah and the baby speaks. Subhan Allah. The child, Isa (as), speaks.
All of these examples that the Quran gives are of young people. Young people are our greatest resource. I don’t think anyone doubts that, but it’s important that we emphasize them and we maintain positivity and optimism, and that we push and we encourage them and we give them as many opportunities as they need. And that we work together for that.
We look at the story of the people of the cave, Surah Al-Kahf. The surah that we are encouraged to read every Friday, you have the story of the people of the cave. Allah says, إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى – Allah explicitly says they were young people who believed in their Lord, وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى and so we increased them in guidance. As a result of them being youth, we increase them in guidance. We increase them in the support that they had, even though they had no support amongst their people, even though they had to stand up against the ruler and they had to face the persecution and the discrimination. They did it, even though they were young people. And so Allah protected them. Allah gave them refuge because they placed their trust in him. So those are some of the stories from the Qur’an that many of us have heard, but we need to realize that these were young people that were doing. They were the resource of the ummah. They were the resource of Islam.
And if we look at the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), Ali (ra) was the first Muslim male to accept Islam. How old was he? He was eight years old. Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) was in his twenties. ‘Uthman (ra) also in his early twenties or late teens. They were all very young. Subhan Allah.
After the Prophet’s (pbuh) death, even before he died, he appointed Osama as the leader of an army and Osama was 19 years old. 19 years old, and he was leading an army. There were people that were much more experienced than him that he was leading. But the Prophet (pbuh) entrusted him. After the Prophet (pbuh) died, people said, “well, you know what? We shouldn’t put Osama. He is not experienced, he’s young.” And Abu Bakr (ra) said, “how can I remove Osama when the Prophet (pbuh) has put Osama in this position? How can I remove him?” And so he led the army and he succeeded.
So those were the examples of the companions. They went far and wide. They could have stayed in Medina but it is because of their sacrifices that they were young and they could go out and they could spread the message of Islam that many of us today, we are Muslim because of their sacrifices. So those were the companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
If we look today, still we find young Muslims. Mohammed Ali, the boxer, he was 24, after he won the championship and the Vietnam war came about and he was drafted and he refused to be drafted into the army. And as a result, what happened? They took away all of his titles. They took away all of his titles and from 24 to 28, lost four years of peak boxing years. Those were the years where you make the most money. You have all your titles in those four years, he lost all four of those years. He sacrificed them. Subhan Allah.
Malcolm X was in his twenties when he became a leader and when he became the face of his community. Even today we have, Subhan Allah. sister Ilham. She’s a Somali American in the legislation and the state representative in Minnesota.
So it’s important for us to encourage our young people to follow these role models and to continue to do good, especially when times are tough. Because all the examples- Yusuf (as), Ibrahim (as), Maryam (as), the people of the cave. All of these people. It was not easy for them. It was actually very difficult for them. They had to go through trials and tribulations. No one said it was going to be easy.
Allah tells us, “Did you think that you would say you believe and you would not be tested?” Yes. There will be a test, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Allah promises us in Surah Ash-Sharh, Quran 94:5 – فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا – that with every hardship, with every difficulty there comes ease. It’s one of the only verses that is recited twice in a row. إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا – remember that with difficulty there comes ease.
One of the things that’s important for us to remember, because someone might say, “young people, they’ve lost their respect. They don’t respect their elders.” This is where I remind everyone of the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) when he says,
لَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا وَيُوَقِّرْ كَبِيرَنَا – “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on our young and does not respect our elders” . (Jami-at Tirmidhi)
He is not amongst us, who does not respect the elders and does not have mercy on youth. So Prophet (pbuh) put these two groups of people together. The first thing he said was, “respect your elders, respect them. They lived longer than you. They have experience, they have wisdom. Respect them, respect what they have to say. Even if you disagree, respectfully disagree with etiquette. And if you have nothing good to say, then stay silent and just accept it.“
The Prophet (pbuh) says that, “whoever doesn’t do this, they’re not from us.” Then we also have to remember the second half of this hadith, what did he say?
“and لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا – the one who is not merciful to those that are younger.” So someone that is younger than you. Yes. They are bound to make mistakes. They’re bound to do things that you think don’t make any sense. “Why are you doing this? How could you do this?” But that’s what young people do. They make mistakes. If you have younger siblings, if you have children, if you’re a teacher and you have students or if you’re at work and you have interns in your company, I’m sure you know that young people make mistakes. They don’t know everything. Sometimes they don’t want to hear what you have to say, and you have to allow them to make those mistakes themselves sometimes. But Prophet (pbuh) told us the forefront, there should be mercy. “If you don’t show mercy to young people then you are not from us.”
So Prophet (pbuh) directs both the elders and the youth all at once and tells the elders to act as advisors and guides and to provide direction, but to also have mercy. And he asks the youth that as young people, you’re doing things and you want to do new things and you have fresh ideas and you want to bring new things upfront and forward. But you should also respect your elders. You should not forget them on the way there. So we ask Allah to guide us and to make us amongst those who follow the way of the Prophets and the companions of the Prophets. Ameen.
So when it comes to the relationship between young people and older people, the first place it starts at is in the home. Of course, there’s a whole khutbah I will eventually give on on parents. But for now it’s important to remind ourselves that the first place where this relationship starts is at home, between parents and children. That parents, your children will make mistakes and it’s important for you to show mercy. Sometimes you have to allow them to make mistakes. You don’t have to control every single little segment of their lives. Sometimes you have to allow them to make mistakes on their own. Yes, you advise them and you direct them as much as you can, but you cannot force them. As a part of mercy, you have to allow them some freedom to make their own mistakes.
Even the companions, the Sahaba of the Prophet (pbuh), they made mistakes. They committed sins but they are still the best of generations, even though they made mistakes. Even though it was they who, when the Prophet (pbuh) told the group, “make sure during the battle of Uhud, that you stay here by the mountain to protect our backs.” And those people that were supposed to guard the backs of the Muslims, they ran forward and they left their positions.
And what did Allah say about them? Even though they did such a terrible thing. They left their positions and so many Muslims died in the battle of Uhud. They were not able to defend themselves and they died. SubhanAllah, they got attacked from behind and the Prophet’s (pbuh) own uncle, Hamza, passed away in the battle of Uhud.
Even though that happened, what does Allah say?
فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِى الْاَمْرِۚ
faoAAfu AAanhum waistaghfir lahum washawirhum fee alamri
So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter.
(Surah Baqarah, Quran 3:159)
“O Prophet of Allah. Forgive them. Pardon them, seek forgiveness for them, and consult them.” Isn’t that amazing? When someone makes a mistake what do you say? Well, “I don’t want to listen to your advice because you’ve made a mistake.” But still, even though they made a mistake, Allah commands the Prophet (pbuh), “No, consult them, still take their advice.” Even though young people might have made mistakes in the past, we can still take their advice and we can take their consultation.
This is something that even Omar (ra) did. He used to take Ibn Abbas to all of his meetings. Omar is this 50 year old man and Ibn Abbas is barely out of his teens. He’s 19-20 and he takes him along to all of his meetings and he consults with him that, “what is your idea? What is your advice? What do you think? You’re young, but what do you think?” That is the way the Prophet (pbuh) taught his companions to be. That is the way he taught his Sahaba to be, to take advice from everyone, even if they’re much younger because they can give you a perspective that you’ve never heard before.
As I was saying, it starts at the home that parents should make sure that they consult with their children. They should see what their children have to say. They should not shame and humiliate their children in front of others. A lot of time as parents, we fall into that. We shame or humiliate our children in front of other people. We cannot do that. That’s not a part of mercy. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “if you don’t have mercy, you’re not from us.”
Similarly, children will have to respect what your parents have to say. You have to respect. You have to hear them out. You can’t interrupt them. You can’t shout at them. You can’t get angry at them and break things or shout at them or whatever. You have to respect what they have to say. If you disagree, you have to disagree in the best of ways, in the most respectful way. And if you can’t manage to do that, then you stay silent. You don’t say anything. So it starts at the home. If the home is good, then the whole community is good. But if the home is bad, then the whole community turns bad. The home is the heart of the community.
The second thing that people say is, “well, what can I do with my children or with my youth?” There’s a lot of things that go on, but you actually have to go out of your way to ask someone. Ask the imam, ask the community members, go on the website, there’s so many ways for you to find out what’s going on.
So we ask Allah, that He guides us, that He guides our youth, that He guides our elders, that He guides our children, that He guides our parents, that He guides our grand parents. That He blesses us and that He forgives us for our shortcomings. We ask Allah that He helps us to follow the way of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We ask Allah that He guides our community, that He helps our community, that He protects our community. We ask Allah that He accept our good deeds. Ameen.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.