Think, “a group of young boys hanging out together”, and what comes to mind?
If you are in the age range of 10-25, you’ll probably think they are having fun. And if you are older, you’ll probably assume they are out and about cooking up some trouble just for the fun and thrill of it. Why would you assume such things on hearing about a group of young boys “chilling out” together? Probably because you have ‘been there, done that’ when you were at their age.
I find some beliefs among older people regarding youth rather bemusing. Most of them seem to hold the opinion that a person’s teens and twenties are meant to “be enjoyed” to the hilt before the “burden” of life’s responsibilities is placed on their shoulders. Hence, they encourage anyone who is in their teens or twenties to “go out” a lot with their peers, to “enjoy” themselves. And this enjoyment, more often than not, in the contemporary world, inevitably involves parties, music, dancing, and for some (thankfully fewer ones), dating, casual flings, drinking, smoking, and – worst of all – drugs.
“Let them enjoy”, they say.
As for those “youth” who abstain from those modes of enjoyment that involve disobedience of Allah and crossing of His limits,- they are subject to such conversations:
“Why didn’t you attend the mehndi?”
“Uh….(trying not to preach)..I am not really into music/dance parties.”
“You should be. That kind of stuff is what makes life worth living.”
(*Rolls eyes inwardly*) “I don’t think so. I don’t enjoy it.” (…any more, that is.)
Ironically, many older people who hold such beliefs about youth – that it is primarily a time to “enjoy” yourself before shouldering life responsibilities later on – regularly recite and read the Quran.
And it is in the Quran that one repeatedly comes across many incidents in which Allah narrates how it was the youth of a nation who not just took a stand against the rampant corruption and moral sins in the society of their era, but who also went against/openly opposed and disobeyed some of their elders/rulers/figures of authority, for the sake of doing or upholding what was right in the eyes of Allah.
For example, it was the young Ibraheem who pondered upon the sun, moon and stars in a proactive quest for finding and recognizing his Creator, then broke all but one of his nation’s idols to publicly denounce them and brand them as unworthy of worship.
It was the young Yusuf who rejected an older woman’s sexual advances, even though she thenceforth threatened him with imprisonment, then slandered him as punishment for refusing her call, then gathered all her peers to support her in her vile pursuit, and finally – had him thrown in jail.
It was the young Maryam who sought refuge with Allah when she thought a man had entered upon her inside her private place of worship.
It was the young Musa who helped defend a weak person against his oppressor (the latter being a member of the ruling nation) during a brawl in a public marketplace.
Lastly, it was the young A’ishah who bravely withstood the trial of slander without wavering in her self-defense
All of these young people have been mentioned (and defended) by Allah in the Quran, in a positive, honorable light.
Let us not forget how it was the young Ibraheem who was mercilessly lynched, with his own father supporting the lynchers, as punishment for his “blasphemy” i.e. breaking his nation’s idols. Yet, he stood his ground and did not give in to them.
For all these brave ‘young’ people whom society tried to subjugate and punish for no crime except their staunch adherence to monotheism, the Quran has recorded, and thus corroborated, their sacrifices and calamities faced in Allah’s path, and thus stamped with approval their resultant lofty moral character, purity of soul, and innocence from sin — till the end of mankind.
The companions of the cave are no different.
Companions of the Cave – One of Allah’s Wondrous Signs
Indeed, in the companions of the cave is an amazing, awe-inspiring sign of Allah’s divine help and omnipotent powers:
أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا
“Or do you deem that the People of the Cave and the Inscription are a wonder among Our signs?” [18:9]
I love the way Allah asks us questions in the Quran, as in the verse above. His tone grants the readers of the Quran, His Book, enough confidence to ponder; to try and answer His question in their minds as they read, making them feel like individuals blessed with intellect; inviting them to think and reflect upon what He is asking.
And whoever invokes besides God another deity for which he has no proof - then his account is only with his Lord. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed. — [Quran 23:117]
Therefore exalted be God, the King, the Reality: there is no god but He, the Lord of the Throne of Honour! — [Quran 23:116]
He knows what is hidden and what is open: too high is He for the partners they attribute to Him! — [Quran 23:92]
Do Not Miss This
No son did God beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to God! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! — [Quran 23:91]
It is He Who has created for you (the faculties of) hearing, sight, feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give! — [Quran 23:78]
But verily thou callest them to the Straight Way; And verily those who believe not in the Hereafter are deviating from that Way. — [Quran 23:73-74]