The Vital Role of Religious Institutions in Supporting Youth Educational Clubs

By Hassan Al-Qabbani July 03, 2024 137

“Religious institutions play a crucial role in supporting youth educational clubs, whether official or otherwise.” This is what experts emphasized to “Al-Mujtama,” highlighting the significance of this role and its activation in current times with clear guidelines. This is to preserve the cultural and religious identity of the rising generations and fortify them against reality's dangers.

Dr. Hani Al-Azhari, professor of Islamic Sharia at the Faculty of Law, Ain Shams University in Cairo, points out in his interview with “Al-Mujtama” that religious institutions (institutions of religious sciences) have a significant role amidst the pressures facing youth, including temptations and challenges from all sides. Therefore, it is highly beneficial for these religious institutions to focus on youth gatherings, mainly centers and clubs.

Al-Azhari refers to the concept of “preaching convoys” implemented for several years by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (endowments), extending beyond the mosques to reach everyone in their places, including youth in their clubs and centers. He emphasizes the importance of formally sponsoring them and expanding their scope effectively.

 

Dr. Al-Azhari: Significant pressures on youth require action from preachers to support them.

The Islamic Sharia professor believes that libraries in youth clubs and centers could serve as meeting points where scholars and preachers engage with these youth in educational seminars. He points out that early in his career, he visited many youth centers in Egypt and found libraries neglected, often stocked with only a few books. However, he now sees the necessity to revive libraries in youth centers and clubs, equipping them to be venues where scholars and youth come together to foster religious awareness.

Dr. Al-Azhari highlights that organizing educational seminars has become crucial to address the challenges and attacks on youth and societal identity. He emphasizes the importance of moving beyond mosques to squares, centers, and clubs to effectively spread Islamic teachings to those in need, who may only attend mosques for Friday prayers.

The professor additionally stresses that the responsibility should not solely fall on religious institutions, asking: What good are the activities of religious sciences institutions with youth in their clubs and centers without concerted efforts from all relevant institutions working alongside scholars to successfully fulfill their role and convey the true essence of religion to youth and future generations?

 

Modern Means

In turn, journalist Ismail Al-Fakhrani, former deputy editor-in-chief of the Cairo-based newspaper “Al-Ahram,” says to “Al-Mujtama” that the current situation faced by religious institutions should have absolute positivity in protecting youth who are navigating a painful reality amidst waves of cultural and intellectual invasion, atheism, and Western conflicts over their minds.

Al-Fakhrani adds that this challenging reality necessitates religious institutions to actively engage with youth in clubs, centers, and other venues, rather than remaining passive, in order to educate, nurture, reform, and prepare them to confront current difficulties.

 

Al-Fakhrani: The youth face campaigns of cultural and intellectual invasion and must be protected.

Al-Fakhrani, therefore, proposes that religious institutions launch comprehensive campaigns to educate youth in their clubs, enlightening them about the dangers of their current reality. These efforts aim to guide them away from corruption, illuminate their minds with religious principles, instill a sense of pride in their identity, and alert them to intellectual and cultural threats. Because religious institutions are the natural incubators and fortresses that must protect the youth from all dangers.

He emphasizes adopting a gentle approach in dialogue and debate with youth, utilizing modern means of education that accommodate technological changes and youth environments, and also suggests the organization of youth trips and camps.

Meanwhile, journalist Tarek Mahmoud Al-Sabai, specializing in youth and sports affairs, stresses to “Al-Mujtama” that youth clubs and centers are strategic venues for any institution wishing to convey awareness, advertising, or informational messages. This places responsibility on religious institutions to effectively reach youth in these places using advanced, contemporary methods, appropriate language, and activities that resonate with the youth's interests and preferences.

Additionally, he highlights that, according to regulations, youth centers are civic educational bodies that contribute to the development of youth by investing their free time in various cultural, social, sports, and national activities, aiming to equip them with necessary skills. Therefore, the management councils of these centers and clubs should initiate protocols for collaboration with all religious institutions to implement their regulations. Religious institutions should also strive to launch extensive campaigns in partnership with these youth and sports institutions to convey their religious messages to young people and adolescents.

 

Al-Sabai suggests launching campaigns and cooperation protocols to support the rising generations.

Al-Sabai points out that the presence of representatives from religious institutions in youth clubs and centers should be based on foundations and studies, not random methods, to yield results in educating and raising awareness among the youth. He explains that it begins with the attire of the preacher—whether male or female—which should be suitable for the atmosphere of clubs and centers without compromising the preacher's integrity or religious guidelines. It also involves selecting youth for such preaching tasks to facilitate communication with the new generation of youth and adolescents, currently referred to as “Generation Z.”

 

Field Study

In a recent field study titled “Religious Institutions and Their Role Towards Youth Issues and Problems,” researcher Nesreen Sadek argues that religious institutions play a crucial social role in society in general and specifically towards youth. However, the functional role of these institutions towards youth in contemporary times still requires more attention and efforts to connect youth with religious institutions.

The study employed a survey tool applied to a sample of 148 students from the Faculty of Arts, Mansoura University, north of the Egyptian capital Cairo. Its results indicate that the social reality within which youth live encompasses numerous challenging circumstances, economic problems, and social and cultural changes that inevitably leave their mark and significantly impact their present and future.

The study recommends enhancing the role of religious institutions towards youth by actively providing advice and guidance, raising awareness through seminars and meetings, correcting misconceptions, and protecting them from deviation and extremism.

 

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