Imam Al-Banna’s Youth-Associated Commandments
In the name of Allah; praise be to Him; and blessings and peace be upon His Messenger, his kinsfolk, companions, and followers:
Once, Imam Al-Banna was asked about the future, he replied: "It starts now. You should pay utmost attention to the youth; do your best to develop them; and take care of their good upbringing and guidance. Teach them about independence, both in heart and soul, away from paternalism and imitation. Teach them about independence, both in mind and thought, away from stereotypes and repetition. Teach them about independence, both in action and struggle, away from stalemate and stagnation. Be sure to recruit them only under the leadership of the Prophet and the Qur’an flags; and then you’ll find that the Muslim ruler who strives himself to make others happy will come out from among them.
Those who narrated about Imam al-Banna, may Allah have mercy on him, said that when he was asked about his attitude towards the youth, and the fact that he used to spend a lot of time with young people, suggesting that he should instead be among ‘ulema’ (scholars) and virtuous people, he replied: “I know that, but I want to prepare them to be ‘men of tomorrow’, those who will bear and undertake the future burdens; as human advantages require undertaking duties and burdens; and whoever has those advantages would assume the burdens assigned to him.”
Those who reported about al-Banna said: “We always saw him among us; as he used to lead us in Friday prayers, deliver Eid sermons (Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), and lead us in the Tarawih prayers in Ramadan. He used to check on the absent, and paid special attention to those who stop turning up to meetings (for whatever reasons). He used to visit the sick. He used to stay with us during ‘katayib’ (monthly worship and social activities), and he was keen to attend our funerals. He never failed to join any activity, except for a compelling excuse. He always treated us with love and affection; and in return, we also used to wholeheartedly love him.
Those who spoke about him said that he gave up his job from which he used to earn his living, and was content to receive a small pension. Thus, he reduced the pleasure of his life in favor of those whom he wanted to guide, exerting all his effort without any deficiency, keeping himself beyond reproach, so that no one would think that the pleasure of his life was among his interests when he sought to call and guide people.
Also, those who narrated about him said that this is why the man left behind him a generation of followers who were known for their special appearance, special sense, and high philosophy: their special appearance, given their good and strong condition; their special sense, in terms of being able to endure hardship and roughness; and their high philosophy, in terms of their spirit of struggle and sacrifice for the sake of their idea.
He often said: "My concern about today is simply that it passes, but tomorrow (future) is the expected time for these young people." "Despite their success and historical credibility, our rich experiences are not all the possible; as there are other possible things. If we become prisoners of them (experiences), they will delay our progress for hundreds of years."
Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was keen to view caring for the youth as a key priority and commitment. It was keen - and we are still keen - to prepare the youth to be ‘men of tomorrow’, who alone will bear and undertake the future burdens, including a conscious mental concentration - which, alongside science, combines good know-how, and field experience - so that they may choose the right thing from among crowds of alternatives and noise of voices. As for the “good know-how”, it is necessary so that they know the environment in which they live, which is a very important characteristic for every leader who aspires to change, this type of people who put their indelible stamp on events of history. As for the significance of the "field experience", it is due to the fact that those who have acquired experiences of predecessors have accumulated advantages that may hardly be found among others. This would help them choose the right thing, to perform their duties, and to remove any obstacles in their. We are keen on that, because each generation has something to gain from predecessors and then develop and add to it. Despite their success and credibility, rich experiences are not all the possible, as there are always other possible things. If once we become prisoners of them (experiences), they will delay our progress for hundreds of years.
Dr. Salah Abdel Haq
Acting Muslim Brotherhood General Guide