International Youth Day (IYD)

International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.

The first IYD was observed on 12 August, 2000

International Youth Day is observed annually on 12 August. It is meant as an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world.

International Youth Day's Slogan for 2014 was Youth and Mental Health. For 2015, it was Youth and Civic Engagement. The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day was “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production."  For 2017, the theme of IYD is "Youth Building Peace".

In this way it will go on which recognizes the contributions of young people to preventing conflict, supporting inclusion, social justice, and sustain peace.

Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth.  Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.

Ensuring that safe spaces are inclusive, youth from diverse backgrounds especially those from outside the local community, need to be assured of respect and self-worth. In humanitarian or conflict prone settings for example, youth may lack the space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Similarly, without the existence of safe space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. When youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.

The Importance of Youth in Islam

Muslim youth can contribute to Islam by giving time, talent and money. They should also play an important role to bring about positive change in society, and should work with an objective of making Islam prevalent over all the other ways of life. The youth is the stage of life when the individual should grasp good knowledge about Islam and make effective utilization of the time and talent given by Allah.

Youth is the golden period of our life. Our youth is the most important stage of our life because this is the stage when the person chooses a path. The path may be right or wrong. This is the stage; the youth will have many deviations and distractions like watching porn movies, music, girls, cigarettes, alcohol, games etc. At this age, the parents need to play a very important role in guiding their children to choose the right path so that they are successful in this world and the hereafter and should ensure that they do not adopt the wrong path. Thinking about bringing the children back to a right track after a certain time would be very difficult.

It is true that every journey begins with a single step, but if our first steps have been taken in the wrong direction, then the complete life will be on the wrong path and coming on the right path will become very difficult. Some youth think that this is the time to enjoy and once they come out of college they will adopt the right track but they do not know that coming back to the right part will become next to impossible.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has listed seven kinds of people who will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment. They are:
1. A just ruler
2. A young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of God
3. One whose heart is attached to the mosque
4. Two people who love each other for the sake of God
5. A man who is invited to sin but declines, saying ‘I fear God’
6. One who spends his charity in secret, without making a show, and
7. One who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow with tears.
    (Riyadh-us-SaliheenHadith 376)

From this hadith we can easily understand the importance given to youth by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is the stage when the Shatan easily gains control over the person and leads him to the wrong path. So in this stage the person should be over conscious on the various activities done by him. We just have to give the Shatan an inch and he will rule over us.

Three common areas where Muslim youth should focus are as follows:
1. Obeying and respecting our parents.
2. Effective utilization of time (avoid wasting time).
3. Avoid seeing, and listening to, something which is prohibited by Islam.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)

From this hadith we should understand that out of the many bounties given by Allah, free time and health are the precious bounties given by Allah and use them for the right purpose. In Surah Al-Asr, Allah also emphasizes on the importance of time. But today we see majority of the youth waste their time in doing things which are disliked and prohibited in Islam.

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “There are two things which people do not recognize the greatness of until they lose them: their youth and good health.”

This is the age where we do not have the complete control over our desires and we get attracted and addicted to things which are disliked and prohibited in Islam. It might give us material pleasure for some time but they are definitely harmful in the hereafter.

Today’s youth should be the “Youth with a mission” – a mission to contribute for Islam. A youth can contribute to Islam by giving his time, talent and money. A youth should also play an important role to bring about a drastic change in society. The youth should work with an objective of making Islam prevalent over all the other ways of life. The youth is the stage of life when the individual should grasp good knowledge about Islam and make effective utilization of the time and talent given by Allah.

Allah says in the Qur’an: “He it is who sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that He may cause it to prevail over all religions and Allah suffices as a witness” (Al-Fath, 48:28)

From this verse we come to know as to what was the objective of the Prophet, which should also be the objective of every Muslim. But the today’s youth are living without any objective. They are living with a primary objective to satisfy their material desires.

We all should remember that all that we have today is only given by Allah alone and everything belongs to Allah, thus we should spend everything and do everything for the cause to Allah with a sole objective to please Him.

The Muslim youth are the future Islamic leaders, so it is very important for the youth to understand Islam in the right perspective by gaining the correct knowledge of Islam from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah and understand the real purpose of existence on this earth.

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