Our society is filled with hurt and despair. The sad part is that we, as Muslim youth, don’t make it any better.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize that any statement or action of hurt will hurt, regardless of what one may say.
We may call it gentle teasing or good-natured ribbing, but at the end of the day, they are all mere attempts to explain the several shades of hurt that we may inflict on others. When this is being done on a continuous basis, we become immune to the fact that our words may be a source of continuous hurt.
A whole social clique has been added to the high school landscape because of this phenomenon; in addition to goths, preps, nerds, punks, and jocks, they now have an ‘emo’ category. Emo, short for emotional, people are portrayed to be soft, sensitive, terminally depressed, anti-social, and harboring thoughts of suicide. Consequently, they are shunned by their peers and the rest of society. I have seen some people suddenly exploding in pent-up anger and right after they walk away in fury, the only response that their so-called friends can elicit is an expression of shock or amusement: ‘I wonder what happened to him?’ or ‘That guy got some serious problems. lol.’ They don’t realize that they were the ones that were at fault.
Now, did they reach this stage of depression by themselves? Do we seriously think that they would still be like this if we tried to reach out and help them cope with their problems? Instead of trying to find a solution, we laugh at those that may have some signs of being ‘soft’ and they end up finding refuge in other like-minded emo individuals. They begin to prolong their state of depression, change their clothing to become more dark and gothic, and identify themselves as emo. A lot of teenagers enjoy feeling depressed from time to time, which is evident in a lot of their poetry, but when they begin to solidify it as part of their identity, that is when the problem becomes magnified.
Emo Muslim Youth
In my previous Islamic school, one of the teachers began to talk about this topic and how many people actually take the teasing personally. Somebody remarked that it’s all just a joke. The teacher then remarked quietly,
“It may seem like a joke, but we had a guy from the high school go home and actually cry because of all the taunting he endured at school…”
Everybody was shocked. The high school classes were infamous for their continuous bantering, but they all seemed fine after the teases and jeers. It had never crossed our minds that somebody might actually cry due to words that came out of someone’s mouth. Now, would we call this person an ‘Emo’ Muslim youth?
That brother was definitely feeling very hurt, but I would not go that far and say that he became ‘emo’ because he kept the pain to himself, at least in school, and did not publicly show signs of extreme depression. Now, what happened if someone was to actually do that and self-ascribe themselves as emo/depressed? Would we sneer at them and ask them to ‘go to a corner and cut themselves’? I sure hope not, because we have a duty as Muslims to be the pillar of support for our family and friends.
A Call For Action Against Depression
The Emo clique primarily comes from a state of depression. Shockingly enough, a study conducted by the Depression Alliance shows that “a quarter of young people, some as young as 10, are so depressed that they have contemplated suicide.” This has potential deep repercussions for us and it is for us to help those around us in need, and to explain that every single Muslim in the Ummah is behind them and most importantly, Allah is always there for them. Remind them that this may be a source of purification from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) as the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
““No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Bukhari]”
It’s time for us to realize that any statement or action of hurt, even if it may seem trivial, still hurts. It’s time that we help those suffering ones around us. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) alleviate the sufferings of the Muslims and help all of us to stay on the Straight Path.
An Additional Reading To Cope With Depression and Emo Feelings:
The Supplication Series: Distress, Sadness and Anxiety