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The Youth in Hadith

1. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “The period of the youth is from the stages of obsession.”[30]
2. Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “The ignorance of the young person is excusable and his knowledge is limited.”[31]
3. Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “There are two things which people do not recognize the greatness of until they lose them: their youth and good health.”[32]
4. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “The best of your youth are those who resemble your old people[33] and the worst of your old people are those who resemble your young people.” [34]
5. Imām Ja'far ibne Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “Any time Waraqah ibne Nawfil would go to see Khadījah binte Khuwaylīd, he would advise her as such, ‘You should know that surely the young person who has good behaviour is the key to all goodness and is kept away from all evil, while the young person who has bad behaviour is kept away from all goodness and is the key to all evil.”[35]
6. Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “You should know that, may Allah have mercy upon you, surely you are living in a time in which those who profess to be on the Truth are very few in number … their youth are obstinate, their young people are sinners, and their scholars are hypocrites.”[36]

Training of the Youth
7. Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “Surely the heart of the youth is like the uncultivated ground – it will accept whatever you throw upon it [and that is what will grow from it].”[37]
8. Imām Jafar ibne Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to a companion named Al-Aḥwal: “’Have you been to Baṣrah?’ The man replied, ‘Yes.’ The Imām (a.s.) then asked him, ‘How did you find the enthusiasm of the people in regards to this issue [of the Wilāyah and Imāmate of the Ahlul Baīt] and their acceptance of it?’ The man replied, ‘I swear by Allah surely those people [who follow and accept this] are few in number. They work upon this [propagating this belief to others, even though they are small in number.’ The Imām replied to him, ‘I advise you to work on the youth [in educating them on these issues] since surely they are quicker to accept all good things.’”[38]

Seeking knowledge while a Youth
Ç. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “The person who seeks knowledge while in his youth is similar to the act of inscribing something upon a rock; while the person who seeks knowledge while he is old is similar to the act of writing something upon the water.”[39]
10. Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “Gaining knowledge in one’s youth is like imprinting something on a rock [it will always remain].”[40]
11. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “If a person who does not seek knowledge while he is youth, but rather goes to seek it when he becomes old and dies in this state, he dies as a martyr [Shahīd].”[41]
12. The Prophet Ayyūb (a.s.) has said: “Surely Allah implants wisdom [Al-Ḥikmah] in the heart of the young person and the old person. So then if Allah makes a servant a wise person in his youth then he would not lower his status in the eyes of the intellectuals simply because he is of a young age since they will see the nūr (divine light) of Allah radiating from this person.”[42]

The Young person and refraining from seeking knowledge
13. Imām Mūsā ibne Ja'far al-Kādhim (a.s.) has said: “If I was to find a youth from amongst the youth of the Shī'a not gaining a deep knowledge and understanding, I would surely strike him with a sword.”[43]
14. Imām Muhammad ibne Alī al-Bāqir (a.s.) has said: “If I were to find a youth from amongst the youth of the Shī'a that was not engaged in gaining a deep knowledge and understanding [of the religion] I would seriously reprimand him.”[44]
15. Imām Ja'far ibne Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “I do not like to see the youth from amongst yourselves except that he/she is passing the life in one of two states: either as a scholar or as a student. So then if he is not in one of these two states then he is one who has wasted (something) and surely the one who wastes is one who has squandered something and surely the act of squandering is a sin and the person who commits a sin shall reside in the Hell Fire – I swear by the one who appointed Muhammad with The Truth.”[45]

The greatness of a Young person who worships 'Allah
16. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “Surely Allah, the High, loves the young person who is repents [for his sins].”[46]
17. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “There is nothing more beloved to Allah, the High, than a young person who repents (for his sins); and there is nothing more detested in the sight of Allah, the High, than an old person who perpetuates in disobeying Him.”[47]
18. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “Surely Allah, The High, boasts to the Angels in regards to the young person who is a servant (of His) and He says, ‘Look towards my servant! He has refrained from following his lowly desires for My sake alone.’”[48]
19. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “The greatness of the worshipper of Allah who is a youth and who worships Allah while in the stage of his youth over the old person who worships [Allah] after he has become of old age is like the greatness of the deputed ones [the Prophets and Messengers] over all other creations.”[49]
20. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “There are seven individuals who shall be protected under the shade of the Throne [Power] of Allah, the Noble and Grand on the day when there shall be no shade except for His shade: the just leader … and the youth who spent his time in the worship of Allah, the Noble and Grand.”[50]

The greatness of the person who spends his Youth in the obedience to Allah
21. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “There is not a single young person who turns away from the transient world and its pleasures only for the [pleasure] of Allah and spends his youth in the obedience of Allah until he reaches to old age, except that Allah would grant him the reward of seventy-two truthful [and righteous] people.”[51]
22. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “Surely the most beloved of the creations to Allah, the Noble and Grand, is the youth who is young in age and who is a very handsome/beautiful individual however he places his youth and his beauty in Allah and in His obedience alone. This is the thing for which the Most Merciful [Al-Raḥmān] boasts to His Angels about and says, ‘This is truly my servant.’”[52]
23. The Messenger of Allah (s.w.a.) has said: “Surely Allah loves that young person who spends his youth in the obedience of Allah, the Most High.”[53]
24. It has been narrated about Prophet Ibrāhīm (a.s.) that one day he woke up and saw a white hair in his beard and said: “All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the entire universe who has made me reach to this stage in my life in which I have not disobeyed Allah for as much as the twinkling of the eye.”[54]

The definition of a Youth
25. Imām Ja'far ibne Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said the following to Sulaymān ibne Ja'far Al-Hadhalī: “O’ Sulaymān, what is meant by a young person [Al-Fatā]?” He said, “May I be sacrificed for your sake. In our opinion, a young person [Al-Fatā] is a youth [Al-Shābb].” The Imām said to me, “However you should know that surely the Companions of the Cave [Aṣḥābul Kahf] were all old people, however Allah refers to them as youth who have true faith?! O’ Sulaymān, the one who believes in Allah and has consciousness of Him is a young person.”[55]
26. Imām Ja'far ibne Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to a man: “What is meant by a young person [Al-Fatā] in your estimation?” The man replied, “A youth.” The Imām (a.s.) replied, “No, the young person [Al-Fatā] is the true believer. Surely the Companions of the Cave [Aṣḥābul Kahf] were all old people, however Allah, Glory and Greatness be to Him, called them youth who believed in Him.”[56]
Imām Ḥasan ibne Alī al-Mujtabā (peace be upon him) has said:
“Surely today you are the youth of the nation, and tomorrow, you will be the leaders of the community, thus, it is incumbent upon you to seek knowledge. So then if you are not able to memorize all that you learn, then you must write it down and preserve it (for safe keeping) so that you can refer to it later on (when you need it).”
Biḥārul Anwār, Volume 2, Page 152, Ḥadīth 37
Notes:
[30] Al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, Page 343
[31] Ghururul Ḥikm, Ḥadīth 4768
[32] Ibid., Ḥadīth 5764
[33] You should know that people are of two categories of which the one category is the young person who has distanced himself from following the desires of his lower passions and is distanced from the ignorance which is accompanied by the period of the youth. He has a desire to gravitate towards goodness and to distance himself from bad traits and it is in regards to this type of youth that the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said:
“Your Lord is amazed to see a young person who has distanced himself from following the desires of his lower passions and is distanced from the ignorance which is accompanied by the period of the youth.”
[34] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 43058
[35] Amāli of al-Ṭūsī, Page 302 and 598
[36] Nahjul Balāgha, Sermon 233
[37] Tuḥaful `Uqūl, Page 70
[38] Qurbul Isnād, Page 128 and 450
[39] Biḥārul Anwār, Volume 1, Page 222, Ḥadīth 6 & Page 224, Ḥadīth 13
[40] Ibid.,
[41] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 28843
[42] Tanbīyatul Khawāṭir, Page 37
[43] Fiqhul Riẓā, Page 337
[44] Al-Maḥāsin, Volume 1, Pages 357 and 760
[45] Amālī of Al-Ṭūṣī, Pages 303 and 604
[46] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 10185
[47] Ibid., Ḥadīth 10233
[48] Ibid., Ḥadīth 43057
[49] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 43059
[50] Al-Khisāl, Page 343, Ḥadīth 8
[51] Makārimul Akhlāq, Volume 2, Page 373
[52] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 43103
[53] Kanzul `Ummāl, Ḥadīth 43060
[54] Illulush Sharā`iyah, Volume 2, Page 104, Ḥadīth 2
[55] Tafsīr al-`Ayāshi, Volume 2, Page 323, Ḥadīth 11
[56] Al-Kāfī, Volume 8, Page 395 and 595

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