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How to Spend your Summer Vacation

Yasir Qadhi

category: Islamic Identity


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[The following is the transcript of a khutbah by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi on June 10, 2011, which is dedicated to the youth, especially in preparation for the summer months ahead. The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity.]

Beginning of Summer Vacation

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, right now we are experiencing the beginning of the summer months, and our youth and our youngsters – our future generation of leaders – are in their summer vacation and are coming to the masajid.  It is an ideal time to address them because we concentrate on the elders too much, so I ask your indulgence today to instead of addressing the elders in the crowd to direct the khutbah that is intended for our youth and intended for the next generation of Islam.  And I ask my young brothers and sisters in Islam, especially those who are sitting in the back and are used to not listening to the khutbah – I ask you that today this khutbah is meant for you.  Today’s topic is meant for your ears and not for the ears of the elders.

My young brothers and sisters in Islam, when you look at the Qur’an, you find that Allah has mentioned many stories of youth and many stories of those children who did so much and accomplished so many ideals, and so the Qur’an addresses youth along with addressing the elders.

Story of Prophet Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam)

One of the most fascinating stories of the Qur’an that deals with youth is the story of the Prophet Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam).  Many stories are mentioned about the Prophet Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) in the Qur’an.  There are a number of incidents that occurred to him when he was a child and when he was a youth.  All of you are aware of these stories, and we study them in Sunday school.  We know that when Ibrahim was a young child probably less than thirteen years old, he realized that his nation was upon misguidance.  He realized that they are worshipping idols, and it doesn’t make sense to worship idols.  He realized that there is nothing more logical and more rational than worshipping one God, the perfect God and that is Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).

Without any revelation coming to him, he knew that only Allah is worthy of worship.  He was not a prophet at this time.  Wahy (revelation) had not yet begun, but he knew that his nation was upon misguidance.  He wanted to show to his people that this was not right what they were doing.  What did he do?  You all know the story.  He entered into the temple when everybody was absent, and he took an axe and destroyed all of the smaller idols and then hung the axe on the biggest, largest and main idol.

When the townspeople returned, they were shocked to see that their whole temple had been destroyed and all of their idols had been destroyed.  They said, "Who could have dared do this to our idols?"  One of them said, "There was a little kid talking about them.  They say his name is Ibrahim."  He is not famous, he is not a prophet yet, and nobody knows him, but he is a little kid talking about "why are you worshipping these gods?"  Then when these gods are destroyed, the first culprit that comes to mind is this little kid, so they call him.

Can you imagine the entire city is surrounding him?  The elders, the noblemen, and the king himself come.  He singlehandedly is in the interrogation docket right there.  Everybody’s eyes are on him, and they ask him, "Did you do this?"  What was his response?  Where did he get the courage, intelligence and wisdom to utter what he uttered?  Surrounded by his whole clan and his whole tribe and his whole civilization, this little kid says, "I didn’t do it.  Go ask these other idols.  Surely they must have witnessed and seen what was going on.  I mean, you worship them, so they must be intelligent, rational beings.  They must be able to defend themselves.  Why didn’t they defend themselves?  It looks like the biggest idol did it because he must have gotten jealous."  He made a mockery of their religion.  Where did a little kid get the guts and intelligence to challenge his whole society and say, "What are you doing?  How can you be worshipping these idols?"

When he gave them this argument and the argument was: "How can you worship a god that cannot even defend himself?  This is what you call a religion?  How can you worship a statue, a rock, a stone?  It can’t even talk and can’t even speak."  When he gave them this argument, they were completely dumbfounded and couldn’t respond.  A little kid stumped them.  They couldn’t respond, and they had a private meeting.  "What do we do?  How can we respond?"  Then they say, "Well you have to make an example.  We have to persecute him.  We have to kill him so nobody else does this."

And so the brave men that they were, they gathered together to kill a thirteen-year old innocent child.  They built a huge fire, as you all know.  And they told him, "If you admit and say you were wrong, we will spare you.  If you admit you were wrong and return to our religion, you will live."

Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam), despite his age, stood his ground and said, "Allah will protect me.  My Lord will protect me."  When he was taken and thrown into the fire, Allah from above the seven heavens commanded the fire, "Be a coolness and be a comfort for Ibrahim."

Ibrahim’s own father was one of the idol makers and one of those who earned a business selling idols.  He was one of the main guys in the industry, and he didn’t want to lose his business.  His son is preaching a doctrine that will make him bankrupt.  His son is preaching tawhidla ilaha illAllah.  His own father says to him, "Get out of here!  You have no business remaining in my house!  I am not going to take care of you!"  Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) says, "Ya abati (my dear father), I am coming to you with guidance.  My dear father, how can you worship a false god that can’t even hear and see?  My dear father, don’t worship Shaytan.  My dear father, Allah is forgiving and merciful.  My dear father, my dear father, my dear father."

His father says, "If you don’t shut up, I will kick you out and stone you to death!"  This is Ibrahim’s father speaking to him.  "If you don’t stop doing this, I’m going to stone you to death!"  What was Ibrahim’s response?  He says, "May peace be with you, my dear father.  I will continue asking Allah to guide you."

Lessons from Prophet Ibrahim’s Youth

And then the story goes on and Ibrahim becomes an adult, but this all occurred when Ibrahim was a young child.  What can we gain, my dear young brothers and sisters – those of you who are at that age or before that age or have crossed that age?  You have in Ibrahim a role model.  You have in Ibrahim so many lessons to learn from.

First and foremost, the fact that he is thinking far more deeply and profoundly than the average thirteen-year old kid.  He is not worried about he latest fads and the latest trends and what’s cool and what’s not.  He is thinking about life, the meaning of life, the purpose of being on this earth.  He is thinking long term and 'why am I here’ and what is the best way to worship this God.  Before even the book come and before he is a prophet, Ibrahim is thinking very profoundly because he is an intelligent kid.  He is not going with the fad and the fashion.  He is thinking about what is the meaning of life.

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