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How to Spend your Summer Vacation

Yasir Qadhi

category: Islamic Identity


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Secondly, you guys complain about peer pressure, and wallahi, I understand that peer pressure is bad.  Of course it is – you want to conform and you want to fit into the crowd.  Here is Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam).  Forget about fitting into the crowd of his age, can you imagine the peer pressure on him?  Can you imagine how it must have been like for him to singlehandedly stand up and not just tell his fellow thirteen-year old teenagers but all of society: "I am different.  I am a Muslim, and I’m proud of that!"

Can you imagine the gall and the audacity and the courage that he must have had to ignore all of the that peer pressure because he knows that there is nothing cooler than being a Muslim.  There is nothing that is more correct than worshipping Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).  He doesn’t want to conform with his friends because he has a higher guidance than that.  And so forget not just conforming with his friends, he broke away from all of society and everyone in society.

Another benefit that we gain:  Yes, we are living in a time in America where people make fun of our religion.  They say bad things about our God and about our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  It really hurts us, and a lot of times it hurts us so much that we become ashamed and we become embarrassed and we don’t want people to know we are a Muslim because everybody is making fun of our religion.  We don’t want to be put in the limelight.  We don’t want all of the attention centered on us.  Why?  Because people ridicule and make fun of and make slurs.  They are racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic.  It is just difficult being a Muslim, and I know that our parents don’t understand that.

I know that when you go to school it is a different world.  Your parents are never going to know that world and the pressure there and the people that make fun of you and the pressure to be cool and friendly.  This is something that our parents are not going to understand.  You enter a different world.  I understand that.  But you are not alone.  Ibrahim did it before you, and he did it in a far more difficult world.  It wasn’t your local high school, kids!  He was facing death, he was facing persecution.  The people weren’t just mocking him by putting stupid names on him, by calling him names, and they weren’t just throwing slurs at him.  You all know the expression "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can’t hurt me."  Well, here is Ibrahim and he wasn’t even faced with sticks and stones, but he was faced with a fire.

He was faced with a fire, and he was told, "Choose between being a Muslim and between being a pagan."  He chose being a Muslim.  When he chose being a Muslim, we gain another benefit: when you turn to Allah, Allah will help you.  It doesn’t matter how old you are.  You don’t need to be an adult to turn to Allah.  When you turn to Allah, Allah will help you and Allah will protect you.  It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are.  Allah created you and Allah created me.  This is a type of persecution we are facing, but nothing as bad as Ibrahim, no question – nobody is threatening to kill us and nobody is threatening to throw us into a fire – but they are making fun of us and making fun of our names and making fun of our religion.  Okay, it’s difficult, but come on, let’s get real.  It’s nothing compared to what Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) dealt with, and he stood up singlehandedly and he turned to Allah and said, "Allah is going to help me."

Next time people throw slurs at you, and the next time your friends make a sarcastic comment and the next time they try to diss you, you know what?  Be a Muslim, and be proud of it!  Turn to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala), and make du’a to Allah, "O Allah, give me the strength like you gave to Ibrahim.  O Allah, give me that patience.  O Allah give me the manners that you gave to him as well."

Also, another beautiful benefit we learn from:  You know we all hear, and I know at this age we get tired of being told that Islam teaches us to be good to our parents.  Yes, we all know that Jannah is under the feet of our mothers.  We all know that we are not supposed to say anything back to them.  Ok, but when you read the story of Ibrahim, what do you see?  What do you see in how he dealt with his own father?  His father didn’t just put a lot of rules on him.  His father didn’t tell him, "You have to pray, you have to go to the masjid, you have to go to Sunday school."  My dear young brothers and sisters, these rules that your parents are giving you, wallahi, they are meant for your own good.  I know you don’t like hearing that, but it is meant for your good.

Ibrahim’s father was not giving him rules for his good.  Ibrahim’s father was saying, "Go worship an idol."  Your father is saying, "Go to the masjid, go to Sunday school, memorize some Qur’an."  Your mother is saying, "Be a good child."  You can’t compare that!  Ibrahim’s father said, "If you don’t worship my idol, I’m going to kick you out of my house!"  Can you imagine your mother and father being that nasty to you and that mean to you?  It’s inhuman.  It’s unbelievable.

Yet, despite all of that, what was Ibrahim’s reaction?  He is a Muslim, and he knows that it doesn’t matter what your mother and father do to you – you bite your tongue down, you control your anger, and you never respond back rudely because you have no right to do that.  It doesn’t matter what they do to you.  Ibrahim’s father said, "I’m going to kick you out, and I’m going to stone you to death unless you worship my idol."  What did Ibrahim say?  "Peace be unto you, my father, and I will continue to make du’a for you."  And he left.  A thirteen-year old kid was kicked out of his house, but not one word and not one "uff" and not one "how could you?  I am this and I am that" was said against the father who did that.

My young brothers and sisters, we are Muslims.  We have ethics.  We have manners,  We have a system of living our lives.  Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) embodied that system as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult.  I want every one of you to think about the story of Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) and to derive so many benefits from it.

To summarize, so that the point is very clear, benefit number one:  Ibrahim ('alayhi salaam) is thinking long term and is a visionary.  He is not just running with the show.  He is not just falling prey to every single fad and every single trend.  Ibrahim is thinking long term.

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