Sayyiduna Abu Tayyib Taahir Tibree Shaafi’i رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه had an age of over a hundred years, but was mentally and physically healthy and strong. Somebody inquired him about the secret of his health, to which he responded: ‘In my youth, I kept my physical abilities away from sins, today when I have grown old, Allah Almighty has kept them remaining for me.’ (Majmu’ah Rasaail Ibn Rajab; Noor-ul-Iqtibas, vol. 3, pp. 100; summarized)
Childhood, youth and old age
There are three stages of a human life. The initial period is called the childhood, last period is called the old age, whereas the period in between them is referred to as youth. In the childhood, the flesh and bones of the body strengthen, and eight to ten years are spent in learning how to walk, speak, eat, read etc., and playing around. Moreover, the body starts getting weaker in the old age. This way, some part of the old age passes in illnesses, and rest in stumbling while walking, shivering voice, hearing problems, impaired vision and trying to comprehend what the other person said. Whether the old age lasts for a long period of time or short period of time, it ends at one’s death. As far as youth is concerned, body energy remains at its peak during this stage, one is ambitious and enthusiastic.
Two types of youth
There are two types of youth who spend the youth in different ways:
٭ Those who spend the energy of their youth for the success of the Hereafter. Hence, they remain steadfast in fulfilling the Faraaid and Wajibat, eager to attain the righteous deeds and refrain from the sins. In case they did indulge in sins due to the whispers of Satan and Nafs, then they repent immediately and start treading on the path that leads towards the Paradise. Such youths are very less in number.
٭ Second type of youths is such for whom this world means everything. They are not bothered about beautifying or destroying their afterlife. For them, youth is a time to enjoy in full swing. Therefore, in the name of entertainment, it is their normal routine to watch films, dramas, listen to music, play immoral sports, sing and dance, ruin the dignity of the opposite gender by enticing them in the name of love and using social media immodestly. They do not feel ashamed in fighting, robbing and stealing, drinking, gambling, unlawful gazing and fornication. The way of their living reflects the saying that ‘it is my life. I will do what I want. I will eat what I want. I will wear what I want. I will say what I want. I will see what I want. I will listen to what I want. I will go wherever I want. I will sit next to whomsoever I like to. I will read whatever I like’. That’s why they spend the energy of their youth in disobeying Allah Almighty.
Din lahw mayn khona tujhay, shab subh tak sona tujhay
Sharm-e-Nabi, khauf-e-Khuda, yeh bhi nahin woh bhi nahin
Rizq-e-Khuda khaaya kiya, farman-e-Haq taala kiya
Shukr-e-karam tars-e-saza, yeh bhi nahin woh bhi nahin
How did you spend your youth?
My young Islamic brothers! Book of deeds will open in front of us in the plains of Mahshar, and we will have to give account for every deed of ours. One question on the Day of Judgement will also be that ‘what actions did you spend your youth in?’ (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 4, pp. 188, Hadees 2424)
Those who perform ‘sinful actions’ in youth should ponder upon the fact that how would they present the account of shameful actions of their youth in the blessed court of Allah Almighty? What will be the state of embarrassment and regret at that time? Displeasure of Allah Almighty will make one enter the Hell and His pleasure will make one enter the Paradise. The way of Allah Almighty leads towards the Paradise, whereas the way of Nafs and Satan leads to the Hell. Wisdom lies in choosing the path of Paradise. You still have life remaining. Come to your senses and repent of your sins straightaway. Beware! Lest Satan makes your mindset such that I still have life ahead of me. Enjoy to the maximum in the youth and then repent in the old age; as death can approach anytime. Whether it is childhood or youth! No graveyard in the world has it written at its entrance that this place is specific for only old people.
A young man who performed sincere repentance
One young man used to attend the Bayan of a Buzurg. When that Buzurg would utter ‘یَا سَتَّار’, the young man would overcome with a strange state of joy and he would start swaying like a soft branch. When people inquired about the reason, he said, ‘I used to go to the wedding functions, etc., wearing women clothing, and would sit and intermingle with women. I once did the same at the occasion of the wedding of a princess. That day, the necklace of the daughter of the king got lost. All doors were shut down and it was announced that every woman will be searched through turn by turn. The search was carried out, to the extent that only I and one another woman were left. At that time, I sincerely repented in the court of Allah Almighty and made the intention that if I am saved from disgrace today, then I will never do this again. When the other woman was searched through, the necklace was found, and I was saved from being searched through. Since that day, whenever I hear Allah Almighty’s blessed name, ‘سَتَّار’ (i.e. the one who conceals), I recall my sin and Allah Almighty concealing my sin, and that state overpowers me which you observe. (Raud-ur-Riyaheen, pp. 303)
My young Islamic brothers! Appreciate youth before the old age and after repenting sincerely, engage yourselves in worshipping Allah Almighty. Offer Fard Salah, observe the Siyam of Ramadan, pay your Zakah when it becomes Fard, perform Hajj, act upon the Sunnahs of eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up etc. Earn rewards by acting upon various righteous actions. Stop committing sins. Your youth will truly blossom. You will attain the shade of ‘Arsh in the Hereafter. You will attain the love of your Creator and Lord Almighty. It is the blessed saying of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم: Allah Almighty loves the young man who spends his youth in the obedience of Allah Almighty. (Hilya-tul-Awliya, vol. 5, pp. 394, Raqm 7496)
Body parts of a human are strong and powerful in his youth, due to which, it is possible for him to worship excessively; whereas in the old age, it gets difficult for one to even go to the Masjid due to the weakness. One does not have the patience to bear the intensity of hunger and thirst. It even becomes very difficult to complete the Fard Siyam, let alone the Nafl ones. Sayyiduna Yusuf Bin Asbaat Shaybaani رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه used to say: O youth! Hurry while you are healthy before your illness. I only envy that person who completes his Ruku’ and Sujood, whereas a hindrance has been created between me and Sajdah [prostration]. (Ihya-ul-‘Uloom, vol. 1, pp. 204)
Riyazat kay yehi din hayn, burhapay mayn kahan himmat
Jo kuch kerna ho ab ker lo, abhi noori jawan tum ho
(Saaman-e-Bakhshish, pp. 104)