Role Models for Muslim Youth

By Abdi Salam Adam

In the early days of Islam, when Prophet Muhammad (saws) called his people to embrace Islam, they did not accept it easily. The tribe of Quraysh, to which the Prophet belonged, was reluctant to leave the religion of its forefathers, and the unbelievers spared no effort in trying to eliminate the religion from existence. They resorted to every conceivable means and method of torture and persecution. They ridiculed the new converts and subjected them to all kinds of hardships in order to force them to renounce their faith.

But the ill-treatment only made them more determined and firm. Among the early converts who suffered most were the Yassir family, Bilal and Khubab. The latter was in fact publicly executed to deter others from embracing Islam; but nothing could turn the Muslims away from their faith. This situation continued for thirteen years in Makkah, while the Muslims were still weak.

Then Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'laa) instructed His Prophet to migrate from Makkah to Madinah, then known as Yathrib. This migration marked a turning point in Islamic history as the Muslims found support in Madinah. Within a few years, their situation changed from weakness to strength.

However, the Hijrah itself was overshadowed by all kinds of dangers. The Quraysh conspired to kill the Prophet before he left Makkah, and they contrived a master plan to assassinate him. They agreed that each clan should select a warrior to represent it, whereby the warriors would jointly stab the Prophet. The idea behind this plan was to escape the onus of blood compensation and tribal feuds. In this manner, all the clans would share the compensation, and at the same time, the Prophet's clan could not engage in war against the allied tribes.

But Allah (swt) protected His Prophet from their conspiracy. As the group selected to carry out the plot gathered outside the Prophet's home, he asked his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, to sleep in his bed. Then the Prophet left silently under the cover of darkness, as he recited these verses of the Qur'an: 

"And We have put in front of them a barrier, and We have covered them so that they cannot see."
[Qur'an 36:9]

The Prophet went to his close companion, Abu Bakr, and they left Makkah secretly, accompanied by Abu Bakr's servant, Amir ibn Fuhayrah, and a guide who had good knowledge of the way. The group left in a direction other than the one usually taken to Madinah so as to escape the pursuit of their adversaries. The Prophet and Abu Bakr hid in the cave of Thawr, near Makkah, to wait for the frantic search of the unbelievers to subside. In fact, The Quarysh placed a reward of a hundred camels for whoever would capture the Prophet before he reached Madinah.

It is worth noting here the role played by Muslim youth in this crucial journey, which required much planning, secrecy and courage. Four young people who stood up to this task were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Amir ibn Fuhayrah, Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr and Asma' bint Abi Bakr. The role of Ali on the night of the Prophet's escape from assassination has already been mentioned. Abdullah sneaked out each night to inform his father and the Prophet of what was transpiring in Makkah among the unbelievers, and of the relentless search they were undertaking.

Amir, on the other hand, drove his sheep to graze over and wipe out any footprints leading to the cave where the Prophet and Abu Bakr were hiding. Asma' took food and water to them. She stood firm in the face of close scrutiny by the leaders of Quraysh, such that one of them even hit her hard to extract from her information of the whereabouts of the Prophet and Abu Bakr. One day, Asma' could not carry the food and water with her bare hands, so she tore her waist band into two sashes and used them to tie and carry the provisions on her shoulders. When she reached the cave and the Prophet saw what she had done, he said to her, "Surely, Allah has exchanged your two sashes with two sashes in Paradise."

Indeed, the story of the circumstances surrounding the Prophet's migration serves as an inspiration for Muslim youth in all generations. These young individuals realised the significance of the Message of the Prophet and importance of his personal safety for the survival of Islam. They therefore made the decision to contribute to the success of the Islamic message with all the means at their disposal.

The sacrifice each one of them made reveals the love and loyalty that they had for the Prophet. They also serve as role models for all Muslims youth to emulate. Youth is the most vigorous and dynamic stage in an individual's life.

Therefore, Muslim youth of today should realize their role in Muslim society, and they should contribute selflessly to the advancement of the Muslim Ummah. In a hadith, the Prophet said that among the things for which every person will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment is his/her youth and how he/she spent it. The Muslim youth should therefore rise to the occasion and shoulder their responsibilities to their communities.

They must also have the courage and foresight to help shape the future of the Muslim Ummah.

Source: Manar As-Sabeel magazine

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