Rafed English

The Culture, and Intellectual Inclination of the Youths

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

Man differs (with other creatures) in the sense that he is a living thing, sane and intellectual who develops his intellect and knowledge through thought, experience and learning from others, but among the fundamental instincts, which associate man and animals, is the instinct of gathering or the instinct of grouping.

Hence, animals, birds and fishes gather as groups in brooding and resting areas, movement, migration and searching for food and water. An Arabic proverb expresses this view by saying: "Birds are known by their shapes". Thus, we can see the relationship between the grouping of deers, birds, and fishes and the gathering of people, when they meet at their different meeting places and assemblies. Indeed, it is obvious that a child grows in a particular atmosphere with a certain culture, civilization, intellectual and civilizational inclination, therefore, these spiritual and civilizational atmospheres contribute in the formation of his personality and his life style. The Holy Qur'an disapproves of and refuses the method of blind following and accuses it seriously, but, encourages the use of consciousness, thinking and intellect in deciding matters and taking stances, and choosing the right path, as well as, the intellectual and political inclination, with consciousness and wisdom. The Almighty Allah says:

"Say: This is my way. I call to Allah, I and those who follow me being certain, and glory be to Allah, and I am not one of the polytheists." Holy Qur'an (Joseph 12:108)

Surely the Holy Qur'an, in various verses, disapproves of vicious enviromental inclination or imitation of forefathers, without reasoning, and differentiating between right and wrong. For instance, the Almighty Allah says: "And when it is said to them: Come to what Allah has revealed, and to the Apostle, they say: That on which we found our fathers is sufficient for us. What! Even though their fathers knew nothing and did not follow the right way." Holy Qur'an (The Table Spread 5:104)

The Holy Qur'an also informs us on how the prophets and messengers (a.s.) suffered from their people's act of vain environmental and intellectual inclination, as well as, the results of their imitating the inheritance of their forefathers' civilization. Thus, we see it elaborating on this dangerous phenomenon and warning (people) against it, as in this verse: "Just in the same way, whenever we sent a warner before you to any people, the wealthy ones among them said: "We found our fathers following a certain religion, and we too are followers of their footsteps." Holy Qur'an (Adornments 43:23)

Likewise, the holy prophet (s.a.w.) warns against such blind imitation and the one who cannot decide his own stance and inclination from knowledge, consciousness and pure scientific reasoning; he lives as an imitator and follower of others, or to the environmental condition which he was born in, nor he asks himself or examines what he finds himself in: from ideas, ideologies, conducts and behaviours, so as to be able to hold the right side of it and do away with the mistakes of the previous people, and purifying the ways for the other generations, as well as, escaping from wrong and dangerous mistakes.

Indeed, we can see, clearly, the warning of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) in this saying: "Do not be a mere imitator with no firm determination. You say, `I am with the people who do good. And if they do evil, so do I.' But train yourself that if people do good, so should you. But if they do evil shun their evil deeds." 33

Surely, among the deep-rooted and inherent matters, in man, is his social conduct - as we have explained before -, as well as, his conscious and unconscious inclination toward the community; for instance, his inclination toward the family or tribe, or toward a certain town, province and nation or toward a particular people or group, on the basis of religion or sect, or toward a particular party, organization and professional institution and even to a particular sporting club and other groups. And the state of group inclination and joining a particular group or party, originated from the instinct of social affection or what the psychologists call "Grouping Instinct", and a person's feeling that he is part of that community or group and, consequently, he is in need of it in his life endeavours, as well as, to avoid the feeling of loneliness and isolation, thus, he needs to associate himself with others, so as to achieve his aims.

It is obvious that the new generation is witnessing social changes and a new intellectual and political atmosphere, hence, life is composed of movements and changes every moment and these changes and inventions differ according to the community's condition. Thus, for instance, the youth's generation, that lived with Islamic teachings in the time of prophethood, had faced a tremendous and perfect intellectual, as well as, civilizational changes in its deepest meaning and perfection.

Surely, at the time of revelation, it was the generation of youths that helped and supported Islam, where as the old generation could not cope and comprehend the new socio-intellectual changes which the Islamic messsage carried. Likewise, in our present era, the generation of youths (men and women) are the protectors and supporters of Islam, especially in the universities, colleges and other institutions.

For instance, youths, in the Islamic nations, are coping and comprehending the new developments and changes, giving much concern on the future conditions and atmosphere, as well as, acquiring the zeal for change and depending on reality, because in this stage, they feel more challenged with a power which is pushing them against a social and political dictatorship and oppression. Consequently, associations, institutions and clubs play a geat role in educating the youth and guiding their intellect in this stage, especially those that have special programs and ideas for educating, as well as, civilizing their members.

The generation of Muslim youths, are to embrace and accept the Islamic ideas and thought, as well as, incline, with all its might, toward it. It is, also, a target to the deviated ideas and politics, for instance, Marxism and western Capitalism which absorbed a great number of youths. The present state has witnessed a geat change in the Islamic world, intellectual, political and social, at the same time when the world is witnessing a great techincal and scientific change.

The Marxist civilization crumbled and its ideas became extinguished, after it was able to attract a large number of youths into deviation and, thus, was in its hey day after the second world war, until the time when Marxism was thrown into the dustbin of history. The Western civilization raided the Islamic world after the first world war, and it met an empty, intellectual tendency in the young generation, therefore, it overpowered that generation because of its emptiness and what they had from technical and scientific development, with their great number of soldiers, as well as, propagating the cultural, economic and scientific anxiety which surrounds the Muslim from every angle. But the great problem in this blind and unconscious inclination is the belief that Islam is the main causer of Muslim's backwardness and that technical and scientific development requires the forsaking of Islam, as a system of life, and exchanging it for Western civilization.

Thus, this is how the Western intellectual war machinery faces the Muslim youths' generation and draws a great number of Muslim children to this deviated path, thinking that it is the solution to the problem of scientific, economic and social backwardness, and achieving freedom and terminating the terroristic systems which govern the Islamic world, through European civilization whose followers, among the Muslims, think that it is the solution to this problem.

The universties, institutions of learning, political parties and the mass media machineries like cinema, television, newspapers, history, drama, poetry and literature books, and the like, are the means and ways of dragging and attracting the youths' generation toward the western material civilization which uses the call for freedom, womens' rights and sometimes cultural and scientific development as a cover for introducing the bad condition and problems, which the Muslim, especially the youths, are facing in this, our present time. The generation of youths do not understand what this secret plan and conspiracy contains and the hostile and antagonistic aims of eliminating Islam and disuniting the Muslim ummah, as well as, fighting them culturally and intellectually, but nevertheless, the conscious elements, the activities of those who are working for Islam and the disclosure of the fakeness of western civilization to the generation of youths, has created a great sense of self-consciousness and thought about the inclination toward the Western ideology. Surely, it becomes clear to the generation of youths that the cause of all human calamities is the material civilization and the capito-Imperialist system and that man is a victim of this civilization. Because it is a system which practices and encourages terrorism, killing people, plundering their wealth and preparing ground for dictatorship.

All these create a great current in the generation of youths, as well as, the true inclination toward Islam and creating the sense of challenge and revolution against the Western ideology, as well as, their consciously understanding the cause of their backwardness and the total intellectual and political inclination toward Islam.

The formation of civilization is a basic pillar among the pillars of man's personality, and a milestone, as well as, his distinctive element. Thus, the type of a civilization and its size shapes a person with a particular nature. However, culture or civilization is not a material and experienced knowledge and profession which everyone will learn, even if his culture develops, but in a nutshell, we can say the human knowledges, thoughts, ideas and opinions that are related to his personality's growth, with regard to man's thought toward existence and life, as well as, the danger of his thought and conduct, is what is termed as civilization, e.g., political, literary, historical, beliefs, philosophy and social cultures and others. And, likewise, the community, nation and cultural developments are affected by the type of the culture and civilization that is governing the community.

Thus, an individual's opinions and his understanding of the freedom and human rights, terms and belief in Allah and his responsibility toward his person and his community, as well as, his understanding of life, politics ...etc., is one of the intellectual and cultural terminologies which is supposed to be surrounded by cultural and civilizational thought and opinions.

And the basic source of man's culture is the divine message, philosophists, books, intellectuals, experts, cultural foundations and mass medias. However, in a single community we can see different thoughts, opinions and cultures competing and challenging each other and even sometimes it will reach a stage of abrogation, and often the cultural and intellectual changes in the community frequently occur and under all circumstances the generation of youths always is in the centre of these conflicts, facing intellectual impasses and witnessing cultural and civilizational changes. Therefore, it is necessary for a youth to have a cultural personality and civilized identity, and the cultural identity or personality of a Muslim youth is his Islamic identity, but this does not mean that all his cultural undertakings are bound to the religious information which is related to beliefs, history or jurisprudence laws, although given attention and interest in the Muslim youth's culture. Indeed, what we mean by Islamic culture is life consciousness, conducts and behaviours according to the Islamic way.

Hence, a cultured and civilized Muslim deals with the meaning of freedom and political community, sexual instinct, as well as, relationship with the Lord, the message, wealth, essence, thought...etc., according to the Islamic understanding and way, so this will necessitate the formation of intellectual law, on which the Islamic views will be founded.

Therefore, a Muslim youth needs to understand the Islamic beliefs, the basis of Shari'a laws, prophetic history, be scientifically acquainted with religion, have a knowledge of the Qur'an and the pure sunnah. He should start the formation of his culture through Islamic writers and intellectuals who were blessed with the basis and deepness in thought and the modern systems in research and conducts in order to possess the basis and principles of Islam in understanding matters, so as to be able to differentiate between what is Islamic, and what is not Islamic. And how many youths have become a victim of intellectual impasses and conflicts which the human community is afflicted with, especially in our present era, the era of transporting information through the Internet, International television, radio, newspapers, cinema and books, and there are no barricades to become a stumbling block between cultures.

Therefore, the interaction between cultures is an imposed issue naturally and by reality, and we ought to differientiate between the use of other nations' culture in accordance with Islamic methods, and between their dissolution and deprivation of cultural identity, thus, a Muslim person turns toward blind imitation and becomes overwhelmed or overpowered by what is brought to him of foreign cultures, espcially the western culture. Thus, these are vital issues to look into, and it is the role of the Islamic writers and intellectuals to present the Islamic culture in a developed way, as well as, live presentation, in accordance with the intellectual obligations.

Surely, petrification and imposing retarded formulas to Islam, will drive away the youths from the Islamic thought and teachings. And, surely, what ought to be done, is understanding the present human intellectual problems, such as, the problem of freedom, governing of human rights, the sexual urge, morals, faith and the relationship of knowledge with life, and other phenomenon, as well as, studying it scientifcially, and according to the Qur'anic methods, present spirit and its language. Also, it is good to present critical views and opinions which are opposite to Islam, as well as, solving the problems presented by the opponents of Islamic thought with good faith, so the Muslim youths will be well versed in the basics and foundations of Islamic culture and civilization, and understand the weak points of the other thoughts and views, as well as, to be capable of answering the challenges forwarded to the Islamic thought and views.

Whatever the case may be, the formation of a subjective culture is among the responsibilities of a Muslim youth, therefore, it is necessary for him to arrange a time for gaining and learning the Islamic culture and thought, and follow the Islamic cultural programmes which are publicized in papers, magazines, books and radio stations. Also, it is the duty of Islamic foundations to provide awareness to the youths which comprise the holdings of Islamic lectures and conferences and the publishing of volumes and servies of books which deals with Islamic thought and intellectual development and culture.

Notes :

33. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Bir was sadaqa, hadith number 2007.

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