Alhamdulilah my group of friends are pretty Muslim (whatever that means)and over the past year a few of my non-Muslim friends have become Muslim also. For the most part, I am among people who appreciate the beauty of Islam and immerse themselves in it. However, for every up there is a down and while I am among very dedicated Muslim youth, I am also among troubled youth that ultimately leave Islam. I suppose as someone who believes so strongly in Islam, I find it impossible to come up with a reason as to why anyone would ever want to leave such a perfect religion. Nonetheless I'd like to discuss it and perhaps someone could help shine light on the topic as well.
Last year I was sad to hear that someone very dear to my family left Islam. It was rather hard to believe as she came from a very religious family and was a good Muslim as well. Apparently, she was studying philosophy at University and soon started to question Islam. I for one have witnessed the dangers of Philosophy while I was studying for my undergrad as it was one of the classes offered in order to fulfill the general education requirement. I only took one class in this subject and began thinking slightly differently (Shukr Allah that I had made the Masjid my sanctuary and the Quran my guidance or I don't know where I would be today). This girl went so far as to study Philosophy as her major. I happen to think of all the subjects, Philosophy is the most detrimental to its learner's faith in that it poses questions that the Human mind doesn't naturally think. This particular person (we'll call her Alice) looks at things from an existential point of view. While I cannot remember much about existentialism besides what I have learned in my 12th grade English class, I know that it can lead to atheism. It prompts people to ask questions such as "How do I know God exists if I cannot see him?" In order for something to exist it must be tangible, for example "If a tree 'fell' in the forest 10 miles from my house, how do I know that the tree really existed if I did not hear it fall?" Naturally the human mind does not think this way. Philosophy poses such questions and Shaytan runs with them making people doubt their faith. If your are reading this and were considering studying Philosophy, please do so under a Muslim scholar and please study Islamic Philosophy - its safer.
Alice's sister is also no longer Muslim, possibly through the influence she gets from her elder sister. Alice's mother refuses to talk to her because when she does so shaytan starts whispering in her ears. Alice often asks questions like "How do I know there is a life after death?" I have pondered that question a few times in an attempt to explain it to her, but I haven't come up with an answer that pleases her, because to me it is just part of my faith and the belief in life after death makes me Muslim.
Someone else I know is no longer Muslim because her boyfriend is not Muslim and she knows that she cannot be with him if she is Muslim and he is not. May Allah (SWT) protect us, our families, and the entire Muslim Ummah (ameen).
My mind cannot fathom how anyone could believe in Allah one day and then the next denounce His existence all together. My studies have revolved around science and everything that I have ever learned in my years as a student has confirmed the existence of a higher being from chemistry and the binding of atoms to Human Anatomy and Physiology. Subhan'Allah the human body is so intricate and its function is so amazing almost machine-like that there is no way that any of this was an accident. Salt water and fresh water didn't just randomly decide not to mix. Its not mere coincidence that when a person goes for abdominal surgery and their intestines are moved out of the abdominal cavity and then place back again in a bunch after surgery that they automatically move back into the correct position. Or how about your eyes start to secrete tears in order to wash our a foreign object that has entered it? I could go into the secretion of hormones in response to different signals of the body, but it will take a while. My point is, it absolutely cannot be a fluke or a mistake, someone is behind it all, and that someone is Allah (SWT).
Although my family is not very religious (my immediate family) there are certain things that they have been rather strict about. My parents have done a good job of implementing the idea of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to wear in public, even when I wasn't a hijaabi, they would be strict about tight clothing and enforced that I wore pants or long skirts (mind you my mom is not even a hijaabi), we only ate zabiha, we never touched alcohol, we fasted in Ramadan, we wore "proper hijaab" to the masjid and boys were never allowed at home and they also were not allowed to call home. I guess the reason I am saying this is that with all this conditioning throughout life (an I am using conditioning in a positive tone)I couldn't understand being anything but Muslim. While my parents were strict, they never were extremely tough. I know that the parents of some rebellious youth are extremely tough on their kids.
I feel that there needs to be a degree of being strict, however I find that extreme strict behavior is a mistaken on the parents' part in that it often is the extra nudge in pushing a child away. Adolescents are like children, if you tell them not to something they want to do it even more. I am not advocating not telling your children to stay away from certain things (as a matter of fact I encourage it) rather I am saying don't be too harsh. If you keep your child as a prisoner and yell at them at the drop of the hat you are building a ticking time bomb.
I am not a mother, however my belief is that there needs to be a degree of exposure to the outside world in order to balance everything out. Of course you wouldn't want your teenage child out late at night without your presence, but don't completely band him/her from going out, instead let them go out with friends you approve of and pick them up at a time you feel is decent. Be your child's friend. be the person your child wants to talk to, the one he/she asks questions when confused. I find that in our societies especially among parents who come from non-western countries we find that parents desire to build up this wall to distinguish the Parent-child relationship but the reality of the matter is we no longer live back home. Here, there are bigger fitnas to deal with. So what if your daughter dropped a glass of milk - calm down - just ask her to pick it up, there is no need to yell and call names. This is just one example.
I have seen over the top strict parents, but I have also seen the "who cares" parent. These parents don't ask questions, they don't place curfews, they just don't care. They are under the impression that just because their kid is hanging around Muslims everything is good. The truth is: It's not! I have family in England where the population of Muslims is large and parents have the "who cares" mentality.My last visit to England was in my late teen years and I was shocked to see what was happening (drinking, smoking, dating), of course this doesn't only happen in England it happens everywhere...this is just where I saw it. Teens are like babies, they are curious, they want to try different things even if they know it is bad for them, they want to try it anyway: Alcohol, drugs, sex and before they know it they are in way too deep.
I have also found that while we are all trying to live the American dream, family life has jumped out the window and committed suicide. There is no quality family time, technology doesn't help either. I mean in the living room we see everyone's eyes glued to the TV (in my case my ears are plugged to some lecture as my laptop sits on my lap), on road trips everyone has their ears busy with their ipods, there is no longer any discussion. Seriously, be your child's friend.
I have heard that women have no rights from ex-Muslim sisters. What kind of example are we putting forth in our dealings with our daughters and sisters? How are we treating them that it makes them believe that Islam has made them second class citizens? The answer "Its because you're a girl" to the question "Why not?" is ridiculous and it is an injustice to that person and the religion of Islam. When you answer a question in that manner you are saying "Because you are a woman I can treat you differently." Frankly, I think that's unjust. Don't get me wrong, there are certain roles in society a woman is meant to play and certain rules a man is meant to play, what I fail to understand is why do people make performing these roles and other roles so complicated? Why can't your daughter go out with a group of sisters? Why can't you daughter travel abroad as your son did?
I can go on and on, but its late and I'm tired.
Would anyone like to shine light on this?