Will there be a British Muslim community in the future?
With over a decade of experience in youth work, Dr Deen highlights some uncomfortable predictions about the future of the British Muslim identity if something drastic isn’t done today…
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Regarding the immoral behaviour of our Muslim youth at universities and generally, the following gems from our religion come to mind:
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By Allaah, it is not poverty that I fear for you, rather what I fear for you is that worldly riches may be given to you as they were given to those who came before you, and you will compete for them with one another as they competed with one another, and you will be destroyed as they were destroyed.”
Umar ibn al-Khattaab would say:
“Beware of Persian luxury, both in food and raiment. Keep to the simple habits of your country, and Allah will continue you victorious; depart from them, and He will reverse your fortunes.”
It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1397; Muslim, 4822.
The brother mentioned how we (as second generation Muslims) have over parented our children and the fact is that the comforts and luxuries that many of them have are so far removed from our realities as youth in the 80s and 90s. Similar declines in morality can also be seen in our Muslim countries.
I think that our Imams and dawa carriers should not just focus on the children though because many second generation ‘practising’ parents are also finding it difficult to hold on to ‘hot coals’ as mentioned by our beloved prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). What hope do our children have of remaining steadfast when as parents we are, more and more, getting seduced by the glitz and glamour of this world whether it be in issues to do with our clothes, our entertainment, our jobs/careers, travelling/holidaying and the means of getting an education? I understand that in a local context applying fatwas in a black and white manner might not always be correct. However, we need to be careful as there seems to be a less hardcore fatwa that fits our local context for almost anything that we WANT to do these days.
Also, the issue of the younger generation not seeing the need to get married (or getting married but not wanting to have children!) seems to be linked partly to the current social media culture which seems to be helping to produce self obsessed, narcissistic individuals who are more concerned with what they ‘personally’ can get out of a marriage rather than wanting a genuine ‘soul mate’ connection with someone they want to start a family with.
Although the issue of narcissism or personality disorders like borderline personality disorder are linked to many diseases of the heart, it seems like Muslim scholars are not equipped to deal with them. A popular Islamic question and answer website, after giving their Islamic advice, directed a questioner towards getting advice for their impulsive and rebellious child from psychologists as it was EITHER ‘to do with [a] lack of understanding of Islamic teachings and weakness of faith, or it ha[d] to do with psychological and behavioural problems’. However, diseases of the heart, which many of our respected imams/scholars DO talk about, are LINKED to behavioural problems and personality disorders so these imams/scholars need to work WITH psychologists as the psychologists don’t understand matters from a ‘diseases of the heart’ perspective.
There are a lot of complicated issues. I genuinely feel that our behavioural problems in the West are so complicated that imams/scholars, social workers and Muslim psychologists should work together to understand the problems better so that they can help us find the right solutions in-shaa Allah.