I would like to dedicate this letter to my future hypothetical child. I know being a youth is difficult. It is a phase full of struggles, feeling of rebellion and anger. And I would like him to know, I get him and I hope these words can at least calm him down and make him think. So here goes.
You are going to be 19 today! Buckle up, son. Life is going to be harder. I know by now, you have already felt pieces of it. I know sometimes you just want to cry, you want to take life away from your own body, you want to throw yourself off the roof, you want to hide under your bed and never come out. I know sometimes you feel depressed, you feel like nobody understands you, you feel like your friends are not listening to you. I understand that sometimes you feel helpless. You are crying for help, banging your head on the wall but nobody seems to care. But dear, know this. Your dad and I will always care about you. Allah cares about you. That is why He is testing you. You are a brave, strong man. I know you are, because you are mine.
I know you are struggling. You are trying to do what is right but the world is against you. It’s like everybody is ganging up on you, pulling you to an alley and trying to beat you to death for standing up for what is right. You are trying to strive for the eternal life but nobody your age seems to get that and that is making you uncomfortable and depressed. Son, I want you to know, I once felt the same way too. And I want you to know, you are not alone. Allah is with you. Your dad and I are with you. If not next to you, we will forever be in your heart for as long as you want us to be there.
I understand, son. Sometimes, you want to have a little bit of fun. Seeing your friends all have girlfriends and boyfriends next to them, you want that also. You see your friends smoking, part of you wants to try inhale the smoke from the cancer stick as well. Sometimes, you go to shopping mall with your friends and suddenly they are holding hands and hugging their girlfriends without feeling even a slight hint of embarrassment and your curiosity is fighting hard against you. Part of you wants to try lots of things, things that are against what you have been taught and believed that are right. And there are days when your friends tell you it is okay to watch porn on the internet. It is just a one-time thing.
But love, know this: once you sin, you will always feel the “need” to sin again. Sometimes, your “curiosity” needs to be shushed down with recitation of Qurans, zikr and solah. But it’s okay, dear. Allah is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful. If you repent with all your heart, I am sure Allah will forgive you. You are strong, dear. That is why you were born. You are the chosen one among millions in my womb and you are mine. Allah chose you to be His slave and His caliph on this earth. It is stated in Surah Az-Zariyat: 56, “And I have created the Jinn and the men only for this that they may worship Me.” We are not living here for any reason, dear. We have an aim. “And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly” (As-Sad: 27).
There is a reason for everything created on this Earth. I know those roles sound heavy and full of responsibilities. But fear not, love, there will be guidance from Allah, hadiths left by Rasulullah PBUH and his friends, and other muslims and mukmins. You will be okay. It will be a very bumpy road to Jannah, but you will be okay. I am sure of it because Allah will take very good care of you and your pure heart.
Sweetie, everyone wants to enter Jannah. Nobody wants to be thrown into hellfire especially if everybody has seen how it looks like (insert Quran verse here). I have been telling you Allah puts the good people in Jannah and you have to be good in order to be there. Son, you are almost there. Just a bit more, don’t give up now. I know you are tired now, exhausted of everything that you just want to give up. Don’t, dear! Rasulullah PBUH and his friends are waiting for you in Jannah. Fight hard now, son.
Nobody says it is a pleasant rat race when it comes to entering Jannah. Instead, Allah told us to work together to strive for a place in Jannah. Thus the term “hablu minallah hablu minannas”, dear. It means, “do good to Allah, as well as to humans”. Is that not beautiful? Think again, love. Why would Allah put you in this world and let you roam on His Earth with other humans? To annoy you? To test you? No, dear son. He is giving you a chance to do good to other people. He is giving all of us a chance to “use” these people for our benefits in the Hereafter. I’m sure you know very well the barter system –our good deeds will be redeeming points for us to go to Jannah.
You help a blind man crossing the road, give food to the homeless, help me in the kitchen –all of this is not going to go to waste. Allah values and appreciates every single good deed and counts every bad deeds of ours be it they are as small as sand on the beach or as huge as Godzilla swatting planes. You know the movie! Your dad and I thought it was funny. Everything counts. Now, what makes you think living is useless?
Honey, I am not questioning your sanity or your credibility. But you are too young to give up on life. You are a teenager. There are a lot more good things you have not yet discovered. Don’t you think it would be a waste to give up living and end your life right now when you are just blossoming and starting to get the grasp of life? Allah loves you. That is why He puts you through these series of trials.
You are young, vibrant and full of energy and I love you for that. You want to see the change? Be the change! Remember what you told me about Gandhi? You quoted from a book “Be the change you want to see” and you said Gandhi said that. Now be the change you want to see. Don’t worry, baby. I know the world is a scary place to live in. But I’m here, with your dad to support you and be there when you feel like you have had enough. Allah will always be there with you. Know this, baby, this world is not made to be comfortable and filled with happiness. Allah has made this temporary world to be tough on you so you will work harder to strive for the best that will remain for eternity in Jannah.
No matter how many times I keep telling myself you are still my baby and you are still fragile, and you need me to protect you, I have to face the fact that you are getting older and wiser. You are stronger than I think you are. I think you are going to be fine, facing the days ahead of you as a youth and be the change you want to see. Honey, happy 19th birthday! We love you.
P/S I tried sending this for a competition but didn't win but that's okay.