Skip to content Skip to footer

Youths: Need for Active Participation in Societal Reform.

By Yusuf Abdullah
In the name of Allah Who states “We relate to you their story In truth; they were youths Who believed in their Lord, and We increased them In guidance; We gave strength to their hearts; Behold, they stood up And said; our Lord is The Lord of the heavens And of the earth; never Shall we call upon any god Other than Him: if we did, we should indeed Have uttered an enormity!” Q18:13-14. May His everlasting peace and blessings be upon His noble servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.

The piece for this week is on the expected role of youths in the society. The day as observed in Iran was related to the birth of Ali Akbar, son of Imam Ali son of Abi Talib, born in the 33rd year after hijra. I hope to look at his blessed life and the significant role he played worthy of emulation in due course. I had similar articles in the past, as the significance of the topic cannot be overemphasized.
Looking at the inevitable role of youths in the socioeconomic life, I decided to expatiate on the youths’ activities in general, and in the Islamic Movement. Generally, the significant role they play as the most productive part of population, in most societies is very apparent. Of the immense population size Nigeria is uniquely blessed with, according to the 2001 National headcount, over 50% was at its youthful age! With the statistics at hand, the country could strategically manipulate other available resources such as oil, solid minerals and good agricultural land for overall development. However our teeming youths has relatively turned a menace than a blessing due to a number of problems.
Most of our youths are unemployed. And the popular proverb says an idle mind is in the devil’s workshop. So it is very bad to stay idle. A youth should wake up and strive hard to get employed so that he or she could remain self-reliant and help others for societal development. To solve this menace, government and the private sectors as stakeholders should play more significant role to provide empowerment initiatives and opportunities for the country’s socioeconomic stability. Drug abuse is another obvious problem where drugs are mishandled without diagnosis and prescription of qualified physicians. Self-medication and general misuse must be discouraged. Based on available statistics, the phenomenon has reached an alarming rate especially in the North. Regardless of the behavioral and psychological implications of this abuse, the youths are very much engaged in this practice for misinformed decisions. Beside the youths, some elderly people including women are also involved! The main effect of this abuse is brain distortion which has catastrophic implication on the socio-economic life of concerned individuals and the society. Indulgence in such habits renders its victims to all sorts of criminal activities. Most of the criminals in the society are drug addicts. So parents must play their role to ensure that their children are brought up morally and academically upright as the popular proverb says charity begins at home. Not the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) alone, all hands should be on deck to stop the unfortunate trend including self- medication and consultation of unfit medical practitioners.
An apparent economic index is the issue of poverty. According to UN data released on November, 4th 2010; Nigeria was ranked 142 out of 169 least prosperous countries. The UNDP has rated the country as 41st, in terms of human development, which is based on education, wealth and life expectancy through human development index. The GDP per head was 1,224 dollar compared to 9,812 in South Africa, 1,628 in Kenya and 2,197 in Cameroun in 2010. While life expectancy was 48.4 year on the average, 57.1 Ghana, 51.7 Cameroun, Benin 62.3, Uganda 54.1 and Lethoto 46. The need for government to keep a close watch with practical steps on this trend is very obvious. Looking at this problem, we must emphasize the need for youths as the most productive part of our population to actively take part in the working industry to aid societal development to the best of ability.
Despite the fact that the youth and other fora of the Islamic Movement are equally influenced by the nature of our deteriorating economy, however, they try to improve the society’s situation in all human endeavors owing to the insightful guidance of the leader, Sheikh el-Zakzaky. Impressively, they focused and determined. They immensely contribute towards the attainment of moral and academic excellence for themselves and others especially at the lower levels. They also disburse educational aids to institutions during their annual programmes. No doubt, education is the foundation for all developments. Therefore, every society wishing to develop must embrace education at all levels to achieve the desired objectives. Generally speaking, moral aspect must be strictly and sufficiently covered as the Prophet (S) said “I have been assigned to enhance the ethical practices”. Imam Khomeini said "the ultimate objective and outcome of the last prophet’s mission was the enhancement of ethical teachings and norms".
In addition to that, the youths play significant role in promoting peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious tolerance in the country. They unite with their counterparts regardless of sectarian differences for societal reform. They organise annual birthday celebration of Prophet Isah peace be upon him where Christians are invited to share the Islamic view on the Messiah, cementing the Muslim/Christian relationship as neighbours that should live peacefully with one another. On the issue of self reliance and empowerment initiatives, the youths play significant role in this direction helping themselves and others. Most impressively, the initiative is gender-sensitive carrying sisters as part and parcel with greater prospects especially as the philanthropic individuals give their relative contribution.
Community development project is another area where they actively participate in multi-faceted dimension. These include provision of humanitarian aids to orphanages and drainages/roads/cemeteries rehabilitation among others. While commending the efforts of the youths in the general youth forum and Abul Fadl al-Abbas foundation, I hope they will never relent in the least as consistently encouraged by the oppressed leader, Sheikh el- Zakzaky (H). Allah says “…. and whatever good ye send forth for yourselves, ye shall find it with Allah, yea, better and Greater, in reward, and seek ye the Grace of Allah; for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” Q73:20
Evidently, the youths are at the forefront in the quest for the unconditional release of the revered leader, his wife and other disciples, after the untold atrocities against the Movement since 2015 where about 1000 people were killed including women and children. Allah states “… verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves with their own souls …” Q13: 11
According to a popular saying of the prophet “The best of men is he who brings benefit to people” In the words of Imam Khomeini “we wish the well being of society, ever since we have been following the footsteps of the noble prophets who were assigned to attain prosperity for the societies”. Through measures like these, we can attain the much needed societal reform as youth is the backbone for all social changes. It is imperative to encourage the youths on the need to put in more efforts for the attainment of moral and academic excellence, and to aid -to their best- in community development and societal reform. However, government, nongovernmental organizations and other stake holders should be reminded on the need to put in more efforts as elders to support the teeming youth for better result.
While praying to Allah to reward the Sheikh for his guidance and encouragement in this direction, I emphasize the need for his unconditional release along with all his disciples.
Wassalamu alaikum!