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How to Spend your Summer Vacation

Yasir Qadhi

category: Islamic Identity

source: Muslimmatters.org

reads: 14006

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Don’t you think, my young brothers and sisters, that here you are battling this evil monster or alien or whatever it is with your fingertips and going away at it for hours and hours, and you are all experts at it, but once you close that computer game and leave that fantasy world, don’t you realize that there is real evil around you and that you have to battle not just with your thumbs and not just with the tips of your fingers but with your soul and desires and with your heart and your brain.

If you are studying through this to battle evil, if you are gaining skills to battle evil, well then use it in the real world.  You want to know who a real monster is?  It’s not the little fantasy thing that you see on the pixels on your screen.  It’s somebody who tries to sell you drugs – that’s a real monster.  You know what real evil is?  It is somebody who tells you to download stuff you shouldn’t be downloading on the computer and to watch things you shouldn’t be watching – that’s real evil.

Let’s see if you’re as good at repelling that evil as you are moving on to the next level in Call of Duty because that is your real call of duty, and that is to be a Muslim kid and to be somebody who know that Allah is watching him even if his mother and father are not watching him.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Seven people will be sheltered on the Day of Judgment when there is no shelter other than His Shelter."  And one of those he said is the young man or the young woman – a kid, basically – who grows up worshipping Allah.  As a young child and as a teenager and as a young adult, their passions and intellect and body and soul are interested in something higher than mere games and play.

And again, please don’t get my wrong.  It is completely permissible to play, but a little bit of chocolate is good for the day, not too much.  A little bit of these things is good, and reading is better than playing computer games.  Reading anything and not just Islamic books – reading fiction, reading science fiction and reading mystery.  And better than fiction is to read actual books and to read Scientific American and something that is appealing to you.  Read something of fact, of history or of geography – any science that you find interesting.  That is even better than reading fiction.  Better than reading non-fiction is to read about your own religion.  And do a little bit of each.

Nobody is saying immerse yourself in Islam day and night.  Nobody can do that.  Play a little bit, go out and play outside as well.  Playing outside is better than sitting inside and reading. Being physical and playing basketball and taking your bike out is better because your body benefits, but do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

As you and play your games and as you go and play some basketball and shoot a few hoops and do whatever you want with your friends, also spend a little bit of time with the Book of Allah.  Memorize a different surah.  Understand the translation of the chapters that you read.  Take a book about the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) life and read it cover to cover.  If you don’t know, go to others for advice and ask which book is good for your age and ask which lecture you should listen to.  There is so much out there targeting your age, and you have a whole summer ahead of you.  By the time the summer finishes, have a goal.  For example, memorize another half juz or another juz, study the life of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

My young brothers and sisters in Islam, this time that you have is not going to come back.  Listen, I grew up playing computer games – definitely not the type you guys play, but way back we also played computer games.  Believe me, I hardly remember all of the codes and all of the stuff, and it didn’t benefit me at all.  What is going to happen twenty or thirty years down the line with all of the time you spent on computer games?

But to this day, I remember what I did for the sake of Islam.  I memorized a juz when I was how many years old, and I still have that juz with me, whereas the same summer I also played computer games, but those computer games are gone.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Yes, enjoy and have fun in life, but realize that life is more than fun and games.  Realize that Allah created you for a divine purpose, and therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, realize that Islam is the best blessing Allah has ever given you.  Islam is the best treasure.  It is the best prize.  There is nothing that is better than being a Muslim, and it doesn’t matter how old and how young you are, to be a Muslim is something that is possible.  You don’t have to be an adult to be a good Muslim.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "All children are born upon Islam."  There is a hadith:  "All children are born upon the religion of Islam and are naturally inclined to be Muslim."

And so here we have it in the life and times of the prophet Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) a beautiful role model.  And our Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was told in the Qur’an:  "O Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), you have a role model in Ibrahim.  You should look up to the prophet Ibrahim as well."  If this is something that he was told, then where do you think I stand and you stand?

My young brothers and sisters in Islam, I want to say that I understand that life is tough at your age.  I understand that there are a lot of pressures and tensions.  I might not know those pressures and tensions, but it was not too long ago that I was a kid.  And I understand that our parents don’t understand.  I understand that.  And you have to understand as well that our parents don’t understand because they haven’t lived our lives.  They didn’t go through the public high schools here.  They didn’t have the type of tensions and the type of peer pressures that you have.   They are a generation that has come from a different land and place.  Cut them some slack.

Let me tell you one thing:  when you get to their age, and when you have your own kids, mark my words that you will be stricter with your own children than your parents were with you.  You know all these rules that you are complaining about?  When you get to the age of your parents and you have your own children, because you know reality better than your parents, and because you have experienced life in these schools and life growing up in America and you know the world better than your parents do in the world that you occupy, you will not want your children to do what you are doing.  You will not want your children to have those opportunities and the access to evil that you have, so you are going to be even stricter with them.  Believe me, I am a parent now and I grew up here as well, and that is exactly what I am doing.  Talk is cheap, and at this age, you cannot fully comprehend this.

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