The Fifth Matter: How to spend youth
As described in Gençlik Rehberi, there is no doubt that a person’s youth will one day disappear: just as summer gives up its place to fall and winter, and just as day eventually becomes evening and then night, youth will one day become old age and end in death. All Divinely-revealed Scriptures tell us that if the young spend their youth on righteous deeds, behave chastely and act within the bounds of good conduct, they will eventually gain eternal youth. However, if they waste their youth and spend it on dissipation, they will lose it forever. Just as a murder resulting from a minute’s fury brings in its wake millions of minutes of imprisonment, the illicit pleasures of youth will, as every young person may confirm from their own experience, prove to contain more pain than pleasure. As well as the regrets that one feels in this world with the passing of such pleasures and the penalties one often receives here as a result of sin, there is the torment of the grave to consider, as well as the fact that one will have to answer for one’s misconduct in the Hereafter.
For example, the temporary pleasure to be found in illicit love is changed into poisonous honey on account of the pangs of jealousy, separation, and not being loved in return. If you want to understand why young people frequently end up in hospital with physical and mental diseases on account of their excesses, or in prison on account of their misconduct, or in bars and dens of vice, you only have to visit those places. And the graveyards are full of those who were destroyed as a result of the distress caused by the inability of young human hearts to find true nourishment through the performance of their proper duties. Visit the hospitals and prisons and listen to the sighs of regret and watch with pity the tears that are shed for a youth that has been frittered away on excess, misconduct, and illicit pleasure.
The Qur’an and all other Divinely-revealed Scriptures and Decrees inform us in many of their verses that if it spent within the bounds of good conduct, youth will be preserved in the Hereafter, where, as a Divine favor, it will become immortal. Since the sphere of the lawful is sufficient for human enjoyment, and since an hour of unlawful pleasure sometimes leads to years of punishment in prison, surely it is vital to spend the sweet bounty of youth correctly and within the bounds of righteous conduct as thanks for that bounty.