In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
Alhumdulilah. We first and foremost thank Allah for all the bounties He has bestowed upon us, and we ask Allah, the Most Generous, to make us among those who are thankful to Him. By the Will of Allah, the Masjid Ikhlas community has an active and running Youth Group.
It has been four years since our first meeting in which we talked about the reason for starting a youth group. Some said the purpose of a youth group should be for educating the youth, some said the purpose should be to have fun with your fellow peers. Whatever the reason was, the idea of a mission statement was brought up to outline our main goals and purposes. When we were discussing the idea of a mission statement, we wanted some kind of statement that would incorporated and unite all of our ideas together.
We were looking for a statement that would keep us on track and give us a sense of guidance whenever we reflected upon it. Originally, we tried to compose our own mission statement, and so a few brothers volunteered to write one. Then about a week later when they finished writing it, they came and presented to the group. We all gave our opinions and thought of ways to improve it so we tried to edit, revise, and polish it. It wasn’t the greatest mission statement, but it was a starting point for us. However there was something missing.
The fact that we were constantly changing our minds and rewording the mission statement proved that it wasn’t perfect. We couldn’t find out what that missing element was until Imam Djilali suggested an idea. He recommended us to use a verse from the Quran as our mission statement. Then we realized our mistake. We were seeking guidance from a man made law whereas the Quran is divine, from Allah. There is no guidance except from the guidance of Allah. So we threw out our old mission statement and used a command from Allah which is from Surah Al Imran that describes the formula for a community. What speech is better than the speech of Allah and His Messenger (saw)?
Below is the MIYG Mission Statement:
“Oh you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and do not die except in a state of Islam (3.102).
And hold fast, all of you together by the Rope which Allah stretches out for you, and do not be divided among yourselves; And remember with thanks Allah’s favor on you; For you were enemies and He joined your hearts together in love, so that by His Grace you became brethren; And you were on the brink to the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make His Signs clear to you. That you may be guided (3.103).
Let there arise from among you a group of people inviting to all that is good, bringing together what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to reach ultimate felicity (3.104).”
In the first ayah Allah, Glory be to Him, commands us to have Taqwa. Each and every one of us needs to be God conscience. Ubayy bin Ka’b described Taqwa as lifting your garment and walking carefully through a field of thorns, meaning to be aware of the decisions you make in your life to avoid any harm. Before we can come together as a community, we have to correct ourselves. Imagine a community where every individual is corrupt. How do you expect the society to behave? Then imagine if you have a community filled with brothers and sisters who fear Allah. As an Islamic Youth Group, we need to remember that our actions and deeds are recorded and we will be held accountable. The second part of the ayah, Allah says and do not die except in a state of Islam, meaning be steadfast until death comes to you. Ibn Kathir says if someone lived his life as a true Muslim, Allah The Most Generous will make him die as a Muslim and resurrect him as a Muslim. This Youth Group is a means to reach our goal, which is to increase our level of Taqwa so that we are prepared for any trial in our lives whether it be in the Masjid, school, work, or at home. So the members of the Youth Group’s first objective is to acquire Taqwa.
After Taqwa comes Brotherhood. Allah then commands us to hold on to the Rope of Allah, meaning the covenant, the Quran and Sunnah; and not be divided among ourselves. After correcting ourselves, we come together as a community, congregation, in this case as a Youth Group. This was the whole purpose of starting a youth group, to unite a special group of young individuals and to strengthen our brotherhood for the sake of Allah. A way of strengthening our brotherhood is through activities. Alhumdulilah, we’ve had many activities. These past two years, we’ve had BBQ’s, hiking and camping trips, basketball games, paint balling matches, and museum tours. InshAllah, more will come. Through these programs, our objective is to have some fun and come together for the sake of Allah. I ask all the parents who are reading this one question: Do you know who your kids are hanging out with? I encourage all the parents to bring their kids to the Masjid so that they become part of an Islamic Brotherhood. If you have young kids or even younger siblings, tell them that the MIYG goes on hiking trips and horseback riding. If you have teenage kids, tell them that the MIYG has paintball matches and basketball games. Encourage your kids in a calm and polite way to come to the Masjid. The Masjid is more than just praying 5 times a day and having Eid. The Masjid is a community center. A way for people to come together for the sake of Allah.
Finally after Taqwa and Brotherhood comes Activism. Allah, Glory be to Him, is saying to expand the community through Dawwah. Not all of our Youth Group members will be able to accomplish this task. Allah says ‘let there arise from among you’ meaning a few number of people among the whole community. But still, each and everyone one of us has to give Dawwah someway or another; whether through our time, money, knowledge or social skills. We have some brothers in our Youth Group who can communicate very well with people, so we encourage them to use that social ability by talking to people. We have brothers who are very organized, so we motivate them to use that skill to plan events and activities. We have brothers who are knowledgeable, so we encourage them to give lectures and talks at the masjid. Alhumdulilah, we have a variety of people with many different skills in our Youth Group. We try to understand what each member is capable of doing and therefore using those capabilities for the benefit of the MIYG and Thornton/Northglenn community.
These ayahs from Surah Al Imran outline our main objectives for the MIYG. We ask Allah to make our obligations of acquiring Taqwa, establishing a Brotherhood, and giving Dawwah easy upon us.
Youth Group Coordinator