Advice to the Youth...Now that Summer is Here.

By Asma bint Shameem

Whew! Summer is finally here and school is out for a whole two and a half months. No more books and backpacks, no more tests and tensions….its time to relax and enjoy!

Surely, you worked hard during the year and you deserve a break. Surely, you want to unwind and enjoy yourself. That matter is understandable. Islam certainly allows for rest after hard work but under certain regulations. Hanzalah bin Aamir once complained to the Prophet (pbuh) that some of his time is intermingled with playing with his children and family. The Prophet (pbuh) answered him,

“But there should be a time for this and a time for serious deeds.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

But the question is….to what extent should you go in spending your summer vacation? What is the essence of vacation?
Does it mean mere pastime, attending parties, and hanging out with your friends without direction or purpose?
Does it mean twiddling your thumbs, idling away the hours? Or watching satellite channels and playing endless video games? Or letting the gaze wander free?
And what are some of the positive things in which this summer can be spent?
These are questions that every conscious Muslim who is concerned about his free time, his Aakhirah and the welfare of the youth should ask himself.

Lower your gaze

Now that summer is here and ‘they take it all off’, what are you going to do? Are you going to let your gaze wander indiscriminately, looking at anything and everything the eyes can behold? Or are you going to submit to the command of the Lord of the worlds and lower your gaze and earn Jannah instead?

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what they do.

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent….” (An-Nur: 30-31),

Don’t go to the beach or other places such as public swimming pools at a time you know when it will be difficult for you to lower your gaze. Maybe you can go there at night. Or maybe you don’t have to go there at all. Instead, have a pool party at one of your friends house (no mixing of genders, of course!)

Will you stay up all night?

Are you going to stay up late at night and waste it in idle talk, watching movies or TV? (And by the way, not very many shows that are on at that hour can be called ‘halaal’)
Did you know that the Prophet disliked staying up after Ishaa prayer unless it was for a valid reason?
The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Staying up late is tiring and burdensome.” (Daarimi, Tabaraani).

And when Aa’ishah (RA) heard ‘Urwah talking after the ‘Ishaa’ prayer she remarked: “What is this talk after dark? I have never seen the Prophet (pbuh) sleeping before this prayer or talking after it. He was either praying and gaining (reward) or sleeping and saved (from evil)” (Abdur-Razzaaq).

Are you going to sleep most of your day?

Allaah has created the night for us to rest and the day to carry about our lives and earn our living.

“And out of His mercy He made for you the night and day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Qasas: 73).

By staying up late at night, not only does that endanger our Fajr prayer, but we tend to sleep late into the day and we turn the natural order of things set by Allaah upside down. We also lose the ‘barakah’ in our time.
The Prophet (pbuh) said,

” Rise early to earn your living and do your affairs, for it brings about blessing and success.” [at-Tabarani]

Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, said that when he saw her still lying in bed one morning, he told her,

“My daughter, get up and witness your Lord’s bounty, and do not be among the indifferent; Allah distributes daily bread between the break of dawn and sunrise.” [al-Baihaqi]

Are you going to ‘kill time’?

As for killing time, since when is ‘time’ an enemy that you should strive to kill?!!
Time is your breath….your lifetime and the moments of your life which you could fill with thousands and millions of hasanaat. It is enough for you to say Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah) once, and a palm tree will be planted for you in Jannah. So how many gardens have you planted? And how many hasanaat have you lost?
The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Make the most of five things before five others come: your life before your death, your health before your sickness, your spare time before your work, your youth before your old age and your wealth before your poverty.” (al-Haakim- Saheeh ).

Remember, you will have to account for your time in front of Allaah

Don’t waste your time loitering in the malls, playing video games or sitting at the computer for hours on end.
Remember that these hours gone will never come back. And we will have to give account of this time lost when we all stand in front of Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.
The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“The feet of the son of Adam shall not move on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked of four things: His life as to how he spent it, his youth as how he used it, his knowledge as to what he did with it and his wealth as to where he got and how he spent it.” (At-Tirmidhee-Saheeh)

You can’t be lazy

Are you going to become a couch potato, watching TV or lazing around for the rest of the summer? Did you know that laziness is something the Prophet (pbuh) used to seek refuge with Allaah from in his du’aa’s?

“My Lord, I seek refuge in You from laziness and senility.” (al-Tirmidhi–saheeh by al-Albaani)

Hey, WHO are your ‘friends’ anyway? What are your gatherings like?

Make sure you have good company. Take a close look at your friends and ask yourself, what kind of friends do I have? Will any one of them enter my grave with me? Do they encourage me to do good or do they keep me away from the remembrance of the Almighty? Which of them will come to my rescue on the Day of Judgment?

“Friends on that Day will be foes; one to another except Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”[al-Zukhruf 43:67]

When you get together with your friends, what do you do? What do you talk about?
The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Any people who sit in a gathering during which they do not mention the name of Allaah nor exalt the mention of His Prophet will regret it, then it is up to Allaah to punish them for it or forgive them.” (Ahmad).

Some positive things you can do

Do something positive this summer and try your best to utilize your time wisely.
The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“I do hate to see a man doing nothing for this world or the Hereafter..” [at-Tabaraani]

1. Arrange your priorities
2. Fear Allah your Lord wherever you go.
3. Now that you have time, make sure to go to the masjid five times a day and pray in Jama’ah.
4. Sleep early and get up early, for early hours always yield great blessings.
5. Keep to friends who are righteous, those that can help you in good and prevent you from evil and vice versa.
6.Spend quality time with parents, brothers and sisters and family.
7. Do a lot of “Istighfaar” as it opens the doors to goodness and makes difficult matters easy.
8. Take time out daily to recite and memorize the Qur’an and Hadiths.
9. Attend seminars and other classes of Islaamic knowledge.
10. Employ your energies within the limits of what Islaam permits.
11. Beware of the tricks of the Shaytaan, to take you away from remembering Allaah.

Now, don’t get me wrong

I am NOT SAYING that you should not enjoy yourself or have time to relax and have fun.
By all means! But DO make sure that these means are within the limits set by Allaah, and that you DO take time out for positives as well, instead of throwing away the whole of your summer vacations in things that wont matter when we stand one day in front of Allaah.
And remember the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) when he said,

“Everything other than remembering Allah is (considered) wasteful play except four: a man humoring his wife, a man training his horse, a man walking between targets (learning archery), and man learning swimming,” (An-Nasaa’i– authenticated by Al-Albaani)