Advice to a Poor Black Muslim Youth (Part 6 Conclusion)
As we conclude this series, in-shaa’ Allah, I want to say that what has been written is not meant as a complete program or course of action. My goal was to stimulate minds and let folks know that there are options available for those who are willing to take the first step and put in the work to make a difference in their lives… and potentially in the lives of others. Ultimately each person going to have to decide what is the course that best suits your God-given talents and their personality. May Allah grant you success.Consider the needs of the Muslims around the world—or the people in your own neighborhood. How are you going to be able to assist others if you are ignorant, semi-literate, unemployable, or locked up in a cage? You are in a country that still offers opportunities that many on earth simply don’t have access to. Be grateful to Allah for the bounties that are available—and use them to help yourself and others.
One point of advice I would like to emphasize is for you to take advantage of the college/university system. College can be your ticket out of the hood. With a college degree, and with education in general, God-willing, you will have more options in life, and you will be better able to help yourself, help others, and support this da`wah. Many colleges are begging for African-American students (especially, African-American males) to help boost the levels of racial diversity on their campuses. This is why it is so important that you place a great deal of attention on your education—and I mean that which is beyond the inner city middle or high school classroom. You are a Muslim, and you should never forget the vast and rich intellectual tradition of Islam you have inherited. Contrary to what some of the lowlifes and micro-minded folks in the hood may say, studying and learning doesn’t mean you are trying to “act white” (whatever that is suppose to mean). You are a Muslim, and you are, humbly, trying to become a great human being.
Universities will actually pay you to go to school. Even if you have withdrawn from high school, you can go ahead and get your GED, go to community college for a couple of years, and transfer to a four year college. Do not overlook the elite colleges—very often it is cheaper for you to go to such schools than it is to go to a state school (because elite colleges have much more scholarship money available). Also, even if you happen to be older than the typical college student, many colleges have recruitment programs (and scholarship money) for “non-traditional students.” Another advice: if you can, try to go to college outside of a major city. Try life in a small town. And also, see to it that you mix with the international students (including, non-Muslims) on campus. Furthermore, do not fail to take advantage of the study abroad programs that are offered. Use college to see the world, expand your horizons, and expand your network of friends.
With that said, let us conclude this series….
Much of what I have said has pertained to “worldly advice” about what to do. Now, I would like to give some specific religious advices. Firstly, you have to have objectives. What is your goal? You want salvation—you want to leave this world as a righteous Muslim, a person who will be safe from any suffering in the Afterlife and will enjoy everlasting pleasure and bounty. How do you achieve that? You do that by obeying your Creator. How do you do that? You do that by knowing the Commands of the Creator and fulfilling your obligations and avoiding the sins—and doing so with perfect sincerity to the One (Allah) Who brought you into being and gave you life.
As we mentioned in the first post, you must have the proper belief in Allah. You must have CLARITY IN THE CREED. This means you must know your Lord. By knowing your Lord, I do not mean “imagining God,” for Allah is unimaginable. What is intended is that you know what befits Allah and what does not befit Allah. Allah is One: Allah has no partners—there is no true Creator other than Allah; Allah has no parts—Allah is not a body; Allah is Unique—Allah is absolutely and totally dissimilar to the creations. Whatever you imagine in your mind, Allah is different from that.
God exists. Allah exists without being in time, place, distance, or direction. Allah does not have organs or limbs, a size or a volume, because Allah is not an object or a spatial entity (that is, something that occupies space). Allah knows everything and is not dependent upon anything. Allah has the Perfect Power, and everything is under Allah’s control. Whatever Allah has willed to be, it will certainly be. No one or thing can prevent, or delay, or alter what God Almighty has willed.
It does not befit your Lord that God would be ignorant or weak, or that your Lord would have a beginning, or an origin, or an end. It does not befit your Lord that God would be in space or direction—for Allah existed before space and direction, and after Allah created space and direction, Allah did not transform and materialize in a space or a direction. God is not inside of Heaven, or inside of you, or inside of everything. Allah is not in (or outside of) anything, for Allah is the CREATOR of all places and directions, and Allah is not situated in one place or another—or in one direction or another. It does not befit your Lord that God would be dependent upon or similar to any of the creations.
Additionally, you must know that all the Prophets came calling people to the same belief in God: God is Perfect and does not change, and the true belief in God does not change. As we said in our first post, all the Prophets were men of the highest dignity and honor. They were all Muslims. All the Prophets called people to worship God, and they showed us through their shining example how to obey God. Prophet Muhammad is the last and the greatest of all the Prophets. We love and honor all the Prophets. They are our paragons.
After having the correct belief in Allah and the Prophets, the greatest duty upon you are the mandatory prayers. Guard them jealously. Offer your prayers at the beginning of their times, and perform the Sunnah prayers that are related to them. Also, make it a point to get up in the night—even if it is just a half hour before the beginning of Fajr time and pray a couple of sets of Sunnah prayer.
In part three, we talked about the importance of eating well and fasting. Make it your habit to fast at least Monday or Thursday—and you should try to fast on both days. Eventually, set your goal to follow the fast of Prophet David, which is to fast every other day. This requires discipline and pulling yourself away from the desires of the body, but the spiritual rewards for fasting are tremendous, and you will see numerous other benefits, as well, God-be-willing.
Make lots of dhikr (saying statements of remembering and praising Allah). The Qur’an informs us:
Those who believe, and whose hearts find contentment in the remembrance of Allah— certainly in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find satisfaction. (13:28)
The heart can only find true satisfaction and stability in being attached to remembering the Eternal Perfect One Who does not change. That is, the true nourishment and satisfaction of the heart comes from the remembrance of Allah. Get some dhikr beads and get to work with statements, such as, Subhaanallah (God is gloriously clear of all imperfections), Al-Hamdulillaah (Praise and thanks be to God), Allahu ‘Akbar (God is greater than everything else). The best of the dhikr, as the Prophet told us is, Laa ilaaha illallaah (No one is God except Allah). Turn this meaning over in your heart: Allah is the Creator and everything else is a creation; no one or thing has the ability to create other than Allah.
When the meaning of this potent phrase takes root, it will soften your heart and increase your love for Allah. All that you think, and that you do, and all that happens to you is created by your Lord and Creator, and Allah does with you whatever He wills. Allah owns you, and Allah owes you nothing. You must surrender yourself to your Lord with loving submission—you have no other choice if you wish to be successful. On the one hand, this phrase of Laa ilaaha illallaah tenderizes the heart, but on the other, this phrase will fortify your heart with the courage to rely upon Allah in all your affairs. Allah is truly the only Creator and with Allah, we should have absolute trust. Keep in mind the saying of the great spiritual master, Ahmad Ar-Rifa`iyy:
“My heart is at ease, because I know that whatever was meant for me will never miss me, and whatever misses me was never meant for me.”
This is the essence of tawakkul (trust in God), and this is the source of genuine strength and courage.
The worldly pleasures and joys are mixed with difficulty, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and loss. Abandon the empty pursuits of this world. Remember your Lord and work for the Hereafter. Call the people to the truth regarding their Creator. Strive to wake the people out of their slumber before the shock of death overtakes them. Be brave and defy the deviants who invite humanity to the Hellfire. Expose them. Expose them. Expose them, and fear not what the ignorant, the confused, or the evil might say.
Be humble and have the highness of mind that you will overlook the personal insults and the slander that come with defending the Truth. Be considerate and courteous—treat the people well, as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) told us, he came to perfect the good manners, so follow his example. He is the best example to follow. Keep reminding yourself of the reality of death, for it is the interrupter of pleasures and the terminator of desires.
Acquire the knowledge of this Religion. Put it into practice. Be sincere in all the good that you do and prepare yourself for the grave. Avoid the sins and fill your life up with righteous deeds that will be to your benefit on that Day whose length is fifty thousand years. If you take the advice we have mentioned, God-willing, you will be among those whom the angels in the Heavens declare as great. May Allah make you and us among those people. May Allah bestow upon us the blessed endings.
Praise and thanks to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
 paragon: a model of human excellence and perfection