Dilemmas of the Muslim student: Between Clubbing & the Qur’an
Muslims at University are faced with many problems, obstacles and challenges.
Whether they are in their home cities or have moved, having left home for the first time. They prepare themselves for the problems of coping with the workload, organizing their time, accommodation, and coursework. Although these problems are real and cannot be overlooked, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Ironically in the first week at university the first problems they face will not be organizing their time or coping with the workload. In the first weeks they’re likely to be invited to a party by their department, their colleagues will invite them to go clubbing and the Student Union will invite everyone to a pub-crawl.
At the fresher’s fair every society will try and sign them up including the clubbing society with their promises of cheap beer and discounts at the clubs and the Asian society who will be promoting their “bhangra do’s” and parties.
This leaves Muslims with a real dilemma: should we go with the flow and compromise our identity or stick to our principles and risk being called “anti-social”.
So how do Muslim students face this dilemma?
Some people will accept everything from the Kufr society wholeheartedly and totally forget Islam. So, they may not pray all year and when non-Muslims attack Islam they may even agree. This is seen as extreme; more commonly people choose to take the ‘middle ground’. So, they enjoy the pubs and clubs but still pray on a Friday, they would indulge in drugs but would never touch a ham sandwich.
As term progresses, more and more Muslims forget Islam until this becomes normality. This is the natural consequence of taking the common ground. Surely the one who drinks but does not get drunk is compromising Islam. Accepting compromise is the basic reason behind the identity crisis within Muslims at university. Compromise is what leads people to ‘relax’ some parts of Islam that don’t seem to fit in to their new lifestyle. This is why many Muslims limit Islam to something they do every Friday or when they return home for the holidays.
Many see nothing wrong with the ideas of “live life to the max” or “you only live once”, dreaming that after student life they will settle down and then think about Islam.
Others may fully engage in their study, greeting fellow Muslims with complimentary ‘Assalam wa Alaikum’, but yes leave Islam on the shelf.
Muslims may even lose their emotion for Islam, becoming numb to the problems the Muslims are facing around the world, justifying to themselves that it doesn’t directly affect them or that they are only problems for the people of that nationality.
An Invitation to Think
As Muslims, we are always in danger of falling into the traps of society, of abandoning our beliefs or relegating Islam to “spiritual issues” alone. In fact, we must question ourselves and ensure that we understand our life. We are taught not to question the basic yet most fundamental questions in life; “Why am I Muslim?”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “Is there anything after death?”
These questions, although basic, may be sidelined or ignored by us and often remain confused in our minds.
Some of us may be dumbstruck with the question of, “Why are you Muslim?” Others may answer, “Because my parents are”, yet if posed with the same question about their choice of bank account or degree course they would reply with an elaborate answer.
Some of us when posed with this question may say, “Islam is the truth” but when questioned further as to how to prove the truth of Islam they would give a vague reply.
We need to realize that Islam is the definite truth. Islam is not a belief like those of other religions and creeds, which resort to notions like, “I can feel Jesus in my heart that’s why I’m Christian”, or “Man is free to do as he pleases because he is good in nature”. Rather we know for sure that Allah (swt) exists and that the Qur’an is the word of Allah swt. The proof of Allah’s (swt) existence is found in our surroundings, which leads to the fact that everything in the universe could not have resulted out of nothing as some may have us believe.
Allah (swt) has emphasized this in many places in the Qur’an. He (swt) says,
“Verily, in the creation of heavens and earth, and in the difference between night and day are signs for those who have minds” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 190]
We should acquire the knowledge of our belief and our identity so that we have no doubts and can easily refute any of the erroneous arguments that the society bombards us with.
Sticking to Islam
As Muslims having firm belief in Allah swt and certainty in the fact that the Qur’an is guidance from Him, we can build our lives according to Islam and must shun the notions of freedom and “live life to the max” that create a society where rape is common on university campuses and where crime has become a norm which students attempt to protect their property from.
Applying Islam selectively in our lives is tantamount to burning the pages of the Qur’an. We should realize that restricting Islam to the mosque or merely halal food is compromising our position both in this life and in the hereafter. We are accountable for all our actions and upon this basis Allah swt will assign to us Jannah or Jahannam.
“So do you believe in some part of the Book and disbelieve in some. The penalty awaiting those who do this is nothing but humiliation in this life and the severest of punishment on the Day of Judgment.” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 85]
Allah (swt) has warned us about partaking in the evil gatherings that take place in nightclubs, raves, “bhangra do’s” and the like. Allah (swt) says:
“Cooperate in righteousness and piety, and don’t cooperate in sin and transgression.” [TMQ Al-Ma’idah: 2]
A Muslim must take care to stay away from environments that are dominated by boyfriend-girlfriend relationships and pre-marital sex. The Messenger of Allah (saw) has encouraged us to control our lust and our speech.
Sahl ibn Sa’d (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
“Whoever can guarantee what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs, I guarantee Paradise for him.” [Sahih Bukhari]
If we are tempted by intoxicants such as alcohol or drugs whether in large or small quantities, we should take heed of the words of the Messenger of Allah (saw) who said,
“All intoxicants are unlawful, of whatever thing a large quantity intoxicates; even a small quantity is prohibited.” [An-Nawawi]
Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
“No fornicator commits fornication in the state of being a believer so long as he is busy in committing it. No thief commits theft in the state of being a believer so long as he commits this. No drunkard drinks in the state of being a believer so long as he is busy in drinking.” [Agreed upon]
This advice is not aimed at attacking Muslims who don’t follow Islam; rather it is an advice that is aimed at provoking thought in all of us to enable us to follow the truth.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
“Each of you is the mirror of his brother, so if he sees any fault in him, he should wipe it away from him.” [Tirmidhi]
Whilst at university individuals spend hours of thought upon the topics of their courses and even their social lives. It would be hypocritical not to think about their belief and their way of life. The most definite thing in life is death, it would be irrational for us to ignore the inevitable and attempt to escape thinking about it as so many of the non-Muslims do.
If any of us haven’t started to think about Islam seriously, now is as good a time as any.
Those of us that are practicing Islam should ensure that we do not become complacent and should do our utmost to develop our Islamic personality and guide those around us.
It is important that whilst at university we keep an Islamic atmosphere amongst Muslim students, we should also support the Islamic activities taking place such as talks, seminars and debates. This atmosphere will help us to remain strong amidst the tide of Kufr at university
Allah (swt) says:
“The good and the evil are not alike even if the evil looks like the good and is followed by the majority. So fear Allah, O you that understand; that (so) you may prosper.” [TMQ Al-Ma’idah: 100]