Rafed English

The Culture and Beliefs of the Youths

Adopted from the book : "A Glance at the World of Youth" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

"It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing and He gave you hearing and sight and the hearts; that you may give thanks (to Allah)." Holy Qur'an (The Bee 16:78) "Read! and your Lord is Most Honourable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, Taught man that which he knew not. Nay! man is most surely inordinate, because he sees himself free from want." Holy Qur'an (The Clot 96:4-7)

"...those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge..." Holy Qur'an (The Originator 35:28)

These holy verses, among others, show the importance of knowledge and education, and the relationship between knowledge and conduct. For instance, thanksgiving and fear, i.e., submission and obedience to the laws and morals, before it transforms into reality, passes certain stages starting from imagination, which is the first step of an action, then, it inclines to this imagination, then, after being satisfied with it, chooses it and transforms it into action.

This is how imagination transforms into action through intellectual and psychological processes. It is clear that the belief and culture of a person contributes in creating the ideas and imaginations governing his stance and actions, as well as, depending on it.

The studies and researches conducted, in this field, show that the culture, ideas and beliefs of a person contribute immensely to his conduct, the statistics confirm that the aggression and deviation in the ignorant people, or who lack civilization and knowledge or who do not believe in Allah or the Judgement Day and the Hereafter, is related to their ignorance and unconsciousness.

Therefore, knowledge and cultural adaptation which a person bears, participate in guarding him against failure and practicing crimes and aggression, as it, also, participates, immensely, in the belief in Allah and the Hereafter, good conduct and morals. Thus, a person who is wise and conscious, socially and knowledgeably, about the actions that tempt him, and understands their bad consequences, both in this world and the Hereafter, will refrain from performing these acts due to the knowledge he has.

And a knowledgeable and civilized person who is conscious of his knowledge, respects his personality, because he knows the essence of his being in the society and evaluates his responsibilities before the Lord of the worlds Who bestowed on him knowledge and consciousness. Therefore, he refrains from committing crimes, sins and other immoral actions.

However, the more knowledge, piety, chasteness and self-respect in a person increases due to his civilization, social consciousness and his belief in Allah, the more his social dignity, respect for the laws that protect his interest, as well as, the interests of the community will increase. This will also help him in shunning the acts which downgrade his personality, put him under the divine and world by punishments, social contempt and general hatred. Whereas, an ignorant and uncultured person who does not know the essence of his carelessness to commit any kind of atrocity and crime will downgrade his own personality.

It is reported, in one of the traditions of the Holy Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) about the importance of respecting man's personality, and knowing the essence of his existence and consciousness about the consequences of his actions, thus: "Do not feel secure from the evil of a person who outrages his self." 12 Another hadith says: "An ignorant companion is an inconvenience." 13

And it has come in another hadith; an explanation of the difficulty of guiding an ignorant man after he has become deviated and changing his accustomed conduct, which shows the danger of ignorance and its effect on deviation and committing crimes. In a hadith, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) says: "Teaching an ignorant (person) and changing his accustomed conduct appears to be a miracle." 14 Certainly the researches, field statistics and scientific analyses reveal that self sincerity and conduct require three basic elements, they are: 1. Knowledge and awareness on the conduct and actions which a person will present, thus, a person who knows the harm of beer, drugs, smoking, gambling and recklessness, and the danger of fornication and adultery, will not go close to them talking of committing them. But, as for a person who is controlled by instinct and ignorance, will become the victim of those destuctive actions, destroying his wealth, health and dignity in them. Therefore, it is obligatory to enlighten the youths, and educate them on the incidents, statistics and experiences which victimized others (men and women), so that they can be of those who are alert and refrain from committing those acts.

And for strengthening the conduct of a person, there is a need to spread knowledge, awareness, and civilization and control ignorance and illiteracy. The school and cultural curriculum, or system for the people, should be a system which concerns itself with man's guidance against deviated, criminal acts.

Because knowledge gives man awareness on what is going on and understanding it in a true, scientific way, thus, he can have correct relations with it, far from deviation and ignorance. Likewise, it gives his self awareness and understanding of the essence of his existence and personality, therefore, he can have good relations with his person and guard his dignity and security. It gives him understanding of the actions and processes which stir in his self and direct him toward his actions, so as to study it and act consciously toward it in order to turn down those which direct him to evil and viciousness and to follow those that guide him to virtue.

Also, knowledge gives man the ability to understand the usefulness and harmfulness of an action which returns to him or his community. He responds to the useful and good ones and rejects the evil and vicious ones. It gives him an ablity to understand his past, present and future and protects him against falling into danger, mistakes and wasting good opportunities, as it gives him the understanding of reality and his surroundings and he knows how to deal with it and guard himself against problems...this is how knowledge becomes man's protector and director in life.

2. Beliefs: Beliefs, ideas and civilization of a person forms a basic stimulant upon performing a particular action or refraining from it. Thus, malicious ideas and thoughts, like marxism and capitalism, which call for unbridled freedom and the malicious ideas of psychologists and other ideas which were formed on a material basis deprived of morals and belief in Allah inflict a lot of damages on the community. Surely, the only pure and real ideology for the human generation is Islam, which has arranged human conduct on the basis of belief, because it prohibits everything which afflicts harmful results on the wellbeing of man, as well as, community interests.

In addition, Islam prohibits fornication, homosexuality, beer, gambling, drugs, slaughter, rape and violation of women, a stage that has reached untold proportions of selling millions of young girls for sexual purposes in Western countries. Therefore, the youth who believe in Allah and the Day of Ressurection, protect themselves against those actions which result in loss of health, wealth and dignity and often end with imprisonment and death, and the downgrading of the personality.

Furthermore, the researches and statistics conducted by some institutions confirmed that the percentage of crime, deviation and social problems and vices in Europe, America, Russia, Japan and other countries of the world, is increasing upon all the educational, scientific and economical develpments enjoyed there. This is because the knowledge, awareness and social welfare (in those countries) does not safeguard man from crime, deviation and negativism.

Man can understand the evil and danger of lying, forgery, fornication, drugs, smoking, extravagance, oppression, manslaugther, stealing, raping, pride...etc., but he is practicing it, because the knowledge which is deprived him of the belief in Allah and the Hereafter will not protect against those crimes...in view of this, the holy Qur'an joins knowledge with belief, and says: "...Allah will raise up to (suitable) ranks (and degrees) those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) knowledge.." Holy Qur'an (The Woman Who Pleads 58:11) Therefore man's progress and priority will not be achieved unless through interaction between knowledge and belief.

3. Willingness: Will is the ability to perform an act or refrain from it. In short, it is that stance which shows a human's essence, and willingness is the basis of sharia's responsibility of doing an act. Thus, a man who has the power of will is able to access the self stances and desires, and face the problems and events... for this, his conduct will be well founded. The secret of personal power, basically, is will power, as will power is one of the effective ways of man's success, achieving his goals and the security of his future...thus, with the power of will, man can fight against fornication, forbidden wealth and those who want to direct him to evil work. And, likewise, with the power of will, man drinks alcohol, smokes, takes drugs, etc., hence, educating the power of will is Islam's interest and aims at it morally and through education.

Therefore, the youths need to respect their self will, so as to enter the world of life with full dignity founded on good conduct and behavior. Before taking any resolution, he has to weigh the consequences, and think, seriously, about what he wants to do, especially because he is on a dangerous stage. And the most important factors for strengthening the will are: belief in Allah Ta'ala, patience, worshipping like Fasting, prayers and jihad, teaching the self to stand against prohibited things, practicing and preserving the obligatory acts, self satisfaction, struggling to achieve good acts and aims and expelling indecision and anxious ideas.

Notes :

11. Ali Muhammad Ja'afar, Abdath al-Munharifun, page 81.

12. al-Khaza'i, Tuhf-ul Uqul, page 483.

13. Ibid, page 489.

14. Ibid, page 489.

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