Al-Andalus: This name often brings nostalgic memories for Muslims about a golden age in Spain where knowledge, science, faith, and power reached an epitome in the history of the Muslim Ummah, a civilization that was built by young Muslim immigrants from around the world working together with the local Spanish who converted to Islam in creating the society of Darul-Hijrah, literally the abode of migration!
But when you ask… how could a powerful civilization that Muslims built in the West for over 6 centuries get lost in just a span of 50 years? And how could we as Muslims in the West avoid their unfortunate end? The answer could be summarized in just one sentence….
The youth changed! What is the story?
In the North part of Spain, there were 4 kingdoms that were waiting for the right moment to attack Muslims. They sent spies regularly to investigate what is happening in Andalus. They did not spy on the lavish palaces of the rulers in Cordoba, or the bustling markets full of shoppers in Seville, or the latest armors and shields made in the famous factories of Toledo. They only focused on observing one thing… the youth in the mosques! What were they doing?
As long as the mosques were full of youth, studying the book of Allah, reading the words of the Prophet ﷺ, seeking the knowledge at the feet of the scholars, the spies would say “now is not the time.”
This spying activity continued for about 5 centuries, until in one generation at the beginning of the 13th century, they noticed that the youth are no longer in the mosques. The youth were either drinking in the bars, neglecting the Quran lessons and replacing them with music and dancing lessons, or doing lewd actions in the streets.
The spies returned to their kingdoms and said “The Muslim youth have lost their faith. Now is the time to attack!” In just a span of 50 years (1212 to 1262), one generation of Muslim youth have lost what 17 generations before them have collectively built!
“And if you turn away (from the path of Allah) He will replace you with another people, and they will not be the likes of you!” (Surat Muhammed 47:38)
How could we, as Muslims in the West, avoid the tragic fate of youth in Andalus?
Darul-Hijrah Islamic Centre
“This is an excellent mosque for the Rexdale area. The mosque follows all sanitization and distancing measures. The sermons and lessons are always good and captivating.” - Asad, Community Member
We have been providing our members with:
• Quran memorization classes
• Sunday school for children
• Adult Quran classes in Tajweed
• After school tutoring
• Martial Arts program
• Youth activities(basketball tournaments & table tennis)
• Community events and Nikah services
• Personal consultation with our Imams
“This is a great place to enjoy and worship Allah. Kids have a small indoor basketball area to play, while adults have a big and heated indoor facility to enjoy the activities. Masha’Allah, keep up the good work!” Jama Gure
The Challenges of the Muslim youth today
The Muslim youth growing up in the West, from the age they realize that they are different from the majority of society, they start feeling a long list of challenges: Challenges of identity, faith, gender, substance abuse, sexuality, and many more. Many of their parents are either clueless about the solutions, or tend to severely underestimate the size of the problem, since youth in general don’t feel enough trust to share their problems with their parents due to negative experiences of parents’ overreaction or possible threats of discipline.
For that reason, let us look at how the Muslim youth themselves are describing the challenges they are facing today.
“I feel like I’m never Muslim enough anyways, so why even bother trying to fit in with the Masjid? At the same time, when I have to pray around my non-Muslim friends, I find myself not wanting because I don’t want to remind them that I’m different” Fatimah, Age 16
Challenges of Muslim Girls:
“Every time I put my hijab on, I feel like I have to wear it in a way that tells others I’m not some oppressed Saudi girl, tells the aunties in the Masjids I’m still a good Muslim, while telling other Muslim girls that I’m still prettier and cooler than the rest of you” Lena, age 17
Challenges of Substance Abuse:
“I stopped coming to my local Masjid because I got sick of being treated like a second class citizen. I already feel like that outside. When I see how girls are treated in the Masjid, I start believing that we are really as backwards as the media says we are” Samina, 19 years old
ONLY 1 out of 10 Muslim youth said they feel welcome in the Masjid!
With your help, we want to create a space where the other 9 would feel welcome too insha’Allah!
The Role of the Youth in Islam
If you have any doubts about the role of youth in the spread of early Islam, just look at the ages of the 10 companions who were promised paradise (and others) when they accepted Islam:
How did the Prophet ﷺ nurture the youth and train them?
Quran Sciences: Abdullah ibn Masou’d, a young 13 year old shepherd enslaved by an evil man who used to throw camel intestines on the Prophet ﷺ while he was praying, was named by the Prophet as the Sahabee of the Quran.
Sports: On a long journey, young Ayesha was sitting bored inside her camel tent. The Prophet ﷺ asked the caravan to proceed forward and stayed behind with Ayesha. He asked her to race with her. She won the first race and lost the second!
Halal Entertainment: Could you imagine a cultural show in our mosque today? Probably not! But The prophet ﷺ allowed a group from Habesha (Ethiopia) to perform a show with their spears, while his young wife Ayesha was looking above his shoulders!
Talent Development: The Prophet ﷺ saw the talent of 12-year-old Zaid ibn Thabit in learning languages. He asked him to learn Hebrew to be able to communicate with the Jews. Zaid mastered the language in just under 15 days!
Islamic Law: The Prophet ﷺ took Abdullah ibn Abbas under his wing as a child, and he emerged at the young age of 13 as “the scholar of this Ummah.”
Youth Counseling: A young man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said “give me permission to commit adultery!”. Instead of shouting at him, he asked “would you want this for your mother? Your sister? Your aunt?” The man said no to all, and the thought quit him.
Matrimonial Services: Young Julaibeeb, who was poor and described as far from handsome, came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked to get married. The Prophet ﷺ helped him find a match!
Dawah ambassadors: One year before the migrating, the Prophet ﷺ sent Mus’aab ibn Umair and 5 young companions to call people to Islam in Madinah before his arrival!
Leadership Training: In a mission which contained senior companions like Abu Bakr (61), and Omar (50), the Prophet ﷺ appointed Usama ibn Zaid, just 17 years old, to the leader!
Just like the Prophet ﷺ has taken care of all youth issues, we at Darul Hijrah want to revive that role of taking care of all the youth needs in our new purpose-built centre!
Ali ibn Abi Talib 8
Talha ibn Ubaidillah 11
Hafsa bint Omar 11
Abdullah ibn Mas’oud 14
Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr 15
Saad ibn Abi Waqas 17
Az-Zubair ibn Al-‘Awwam 18
Sa’eed ibn Zaid 19
Uthman ibn Affan 20
Omar ibn Al-Khattab 26
Abu Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarrah 27
Abdurrahman ibn Awf 29
The Pledge: Help us Build a Complete Youth Centre!
Social scientists said: The first generation born to immigrants loses the culture of their parents. The second generation loses the language. The third generation…... they lose their religion!
We at Darul Hijrah mosque want to change that! We want to make sure that Islam is preserved in these lands for generation after generation, each carrying the torch of the light of guidance and passing it on from group to the next!
After Allah has given us a lot of success in serving the Muslim community for over 14 years, even during this challenging time of the pandemic, we wanted to enter the next phase in establishing our community centre.
Our property which was purchased in 2007 as a used building does not serve all the needs of our community today. The old building needs to be renovated and modernized to create a fully-functional multi-purpose Community Centre which serves the needs of the Muslims in the Etobicoke area.
In other words, the mosque was more than a place of worship. The mosque was the centre of all activities for the Muslim community, including:
For all these reasons, we wanted to complete our Darul Hijrah mosque to be a full community centre similar to how the mosque functioned during the golden age of Islam, but with special emphasis on our youth and the unique challenges they are facing in this troubled area of Toronto!