Inspiring Across Generations: The Importance of Learning from the Old and Young in Islam

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Within Islam, we uphold and respect the dignity and intellect of our youth and our elderly. In congratulating the achievements of our very own Khadijah and Hajjah Aziza, we reflect on the important lessons we can learn from the wisdom of the generations before and after us and how they honour the legacy of Islam. 

The journey of Islam one takes in their lifetime is significant, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The best of you are those who live the longest and do the best deeds.” 

In fact, even before our beloved Prophet (pbuh) was granted prophethood at the age of 40 years, he presented with the best of characters right from his childhood. All the way into his old age, the Prophet (pbuh) inspired many, from his first wife Al-Sayyidah Khadijah (RA) to the young Ali ibn Abu Talib (RA), to accept and perfect their practice of Islam, bringing prosperity to the Ummah even long after his (pbuh) death.  

This legacy of our Prophet (pbuh) was realised at the night of the 2022 Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals, as Khadijah Habbouche, an active member of our Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC) and the late Hajjah Aziza El Saddik, one of the founding members of Muslim Women Australia, both received awards for their tremendous efforts towards supporting and uplifting our local communities. As MWA turns 40 next year, these awards also remind us of how in this amount time, the Prophet (pbuh) received his first revelation of the Holy Qur’an, and sought to dedicate his life to carrying and passing on the values of Islam to Muslims of all backgrounds and ages.

True to the message of upholding community ties and supporting each other in Islam, both Khadijah and Hajjeh Aziza have contributed massively in making sure our communities receive the help and support they deserve, especially for our culturally and linguistically diverse communities. But it is also through these amazing women, that we learn that age is not a barrier to becoming a leader of Islam, and that is important for the Ummah to gain wisdom from our future generations, as well as continuing seeking advice from the generations previous to them. 

As an active member of various youth advisory committees, including MYAC, Khadijah has been instrumental in helping the development of social awareness and action among young people, and creating a platform where young people, particularly from vulnerable communities, feel seen and heard. Within her we see the reflection of young companions of the Prophet (pbuh) such has Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was only ten when he first converted to Islam and continued onto becoming a great leader in Islam. Through supporting our young Muslims by providing them suitable channels of communication to help them reach their spiritual and personal goals, we, as an Ummah, likewise see the spirit and guidance of Islam carry through to the next generation. 

In turn, it was Hajjah Aziza who founded and helped build up MWA, allowing great young women like Khadijah to thrive in our spaces and within their community. From her active community work in Syria to her dedication to providing for the communities of Sydney’s South-West, Hajjah Aziza always sought to help and support those in need. As one of the main driving forces behind the success of what MWA is today, she likewise reflects the spirit of Al-Sayyidah Khadijah (RA), who supported and stood by the Prophet (pbuh) and the Ummah up until her old age and death, regardless of what challenges came by her. For both Hajjah Aziza and Al-Sayyidah Khadjiah (RA), the ripple effect of their tireless contributions and dedication to Islam and their communities has inspired generation of Muslims, men and women, after them, both in the past and in the years to come. 

The Muslim society is a society of cooperation and mutual support. In regards to the youth and the elderly, both are held in high regard by Allah (SWT) and to disrespect them would displease our Creator. For indeed, as reported by Abdullah ibn Amr, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) likewise said that: “Whoever does not show mercy to our young ones, or acknowledge the rights of our elders, is not one of us.”

Thus, in our celebration of the achievements of our Khadijah and Hajjah Aziza and the awards they have received and will receive for their efforts, we understand the importance of intergenerational relationships and the value of learning from the young and old. 

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