The Glitter of this Dunya
Why is it that whenever I see a girl my age (a teenager essentially) who is dressed in the nicest, newest clothes, with the cutest shoes and the nicest handbag, I feel a little twist in my chest telling me that I could look just as good, if only I were to take off my hijab? Take it off, and you’ll look ten times better than all the girls in those Facebook photos; take it off, and you’ll be smiling and happy and carefree, just like the rest of them.
Sometimes it’s hard to get that voice to shut up. It seems as if this consumer society that sells values of instant gratification and materialistic pleasures is directly at odds with what we learn at Madrasa. From friends at school we know that the new coat from H&M and those shoes from Aldo are what we should be spending our hard-earned cash on; at Madrasa teachers urge us to spend it on the needy. From music videos we learn that women are little more than the play-things of men and that sexual relationships are the norm; our instructors at Islamic school teach us the stories of the honoured women in the Quran and that premarital relations with the opposite sex are not permissible in Islam. Some teachers tell us about the journey of the British to the Americas; other teachers tell us of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s journey from Mecca to Madinah. With this information overload, Islamic values seem to always take a backseat to materialistic consumer ideals.
As Muslim adolescents, with our confusion about everything, how are we expected to separate the messages and values of two different sources that play major roles in our lives? The society we live in has a lot to offer us; opportunities to receive the best schooling and make the best of ourselves with regard to the Dunya. But that is the key word isn’t it? Dunya. The society we live in cannot help us or benefit us in any way with regards to the Akhirah. As teenagers, we need to get smart and realize that this tempting and glittering image of the Dunya that society paints so beautifully will be to our detriment in the Hereafter. We need to become aware of what is the Truth and stop fighting so vehemently against all the adults, Sheikhs, teachers and parents who are only trying to get us to open our eyes and see.
“As to those who reject faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing. And on their eyes is a veil; great is the chastisement they (incur).” [Baqarah: 6-7]
Is this how we young Muslims want to be? When our parents warn us about the Wrong we are doing, will we not take a moment and listen?
My advice to youth today, and to myself, is to seek knowledge because once we are educated we will, Inshallah, be able to understand what we should follow from society -the good aspects of society- and what is Fitnah and will only push us further into the Path of Misguidance. Only then will we have the strength of Iman –Faith- with us, and only then will be able to reject all that is Evil in society. Hopefully at that time we will be also able to combat any and all temptations that could cause us to stray from the Path. Ameen.
“Those who desire the life of the Present and its glitter,- to them We shall pay (the price of) their deeds therein,- without diminution. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but the Fire: vain are the designs they frame therein, and of no effect are the deeds they do!” [Hud: 15-16]