Youth Group Mission
Youth Group’s objective has always been to develop young Muslim into responsible adults, hone their thinking within the Islamic framework, and shape their Islamic personalities to face the challenges that await them in life. In unison, the aim is to teach proper respect and manners towards their parents, friends, elders, community and people of other faiths, in the way mandated by our Creator, Allah (SWT), and HIS Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
To Mention some of the things that the Youth Group aims to achieve are:
-Prepare the youth for facing the University/Collegiate coursework by following an undergraduate paradigm of teaching and learning.
-Polish speaking skills needed to succeed in the real world.
-Sharpen analytical skills and abilities.
-Deepen the level of knowledge in Islamic theology, culture, history and civilization.
-Illustrate and put into practice better behavior, ethics and strive to improve the relationship with the creator Almighty Allah in regards to prayer (Salah) fasting (Syam) reading Qur’an.
-Create an atmosphere of mutual respect between peers.
-Prepare youth to deal with modern day challenges, according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Highschool: grade 9 through 12).
-Offer individual attention and guidance to students facing any issues and challenges whether they be academic, social, economic or otherwise.
-Through student participation, create an atmosphere where discourse would be of interest to all.
Youth Group History
The foundation for the existing Youth Group was laid a few years after Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley was established. Headed by Br. Maher Selim as a soccer coach with team members Jawed Khan, Rizwan Parekh, Imran Parekh, Shakir Patel, and Ashraf Jakvani. This small group steadily grew in size and in thier scope of activities. As the children progressed in age and academics, and gradually emerged into young adulthood, they moved their organization from Lorbeer Jr. High to Diamond Bar High School, with Br. Rashid Mohammadi assigned as their leader who oversaw and organized the youth activities. As with most institutions, the youth group had some teething problems and during the Nogales and Colima area, there was no main leadership.
Consequently, the youth rose to the occasion and rallied together to formulate a program that served to provide the youth with the impetus for their growing needs. The Youth Group incorporated all the activities of any Youth Group, but had the benefits of shared Islamic principles and values. Despite a shaky start, the Youth Group finally became a cohesive institution of organized activities and events, under the able leadership of Br. Maher Selim as the first Youth Counselor, Br. Ashraf Jakvani as the first Youth President, Br. Amr Abul Hassan as the Vice President, Br. Shiraz Ahmad as Treasurer, and a host of young members from the community.
These highly motivated young individuals infused the Youth Group with fresh and innovative ideas by holding car washes, organizing carnivals at the masjid, putting together youth conferences, and generally helping to organize the various masjid events (i.e. the ’Eid prayers, seminars, etc.). It would be highly remiss of us not to mention the cooperation of all the parents of these young adults, who were and have been such valuable assets in the ongoing success of the Youth Group, then and now.
Some prominent names from our roster of Youth Group members, who moved on to successful careers in various professions, including homemaking, include Brothers Shakir Patel, Rizwan and Imran Parekh, Jawed and Rizwan Khan, Javed Rahmatullah, Faisal Khan, Hina Khan-Mukhtar, Uzma Syed, Asra Siddiqui, and Maria Ashraf. May Allah (swt) bless them all and their families. Most of them, parents themselves now (Masha’Allah), have been consistently involved with the masjid in various capacities, as are their children (Alhamdulillah).
In the early to mid-90’s, the torch was passed on to the able leadership of Dr. Arif Rizvi, Sr. Nargis Hassan, Br. Harmoush, and Br. Ashraf Jakvani (who continued to serve as a co-counselor), along with Sisters Zohra Musherraf, Amna Rizvi, and Saima Hameed. Under their sincere guidance, our youth matured in the knowledge of our Deen and emphasis was laid on the inculcation of proper Islamic etiquette. The tradition of a monthly “Family Night” began under Dr. Rizvi’s leadership; something which continues to this day, where families come together to join in celebrating and sharing our childrens’ achievements. It was also at Dr. Arif Rizvi’s suggestion that the four grades were combined to facilitate our youth to participate in more activities and encourage more involvement.
The baton continued to be passed down to the present Youth Group administration, with the traditions started by our predecessors kept alive. Many of the Youth Group Alumni stayed on to serve the future generations and classes of youth adults as they entered the organization. Today, the Youth Group continues to flourish under the guidance of Brothers Ashraf Jakvani, Rizwan Khan, Rizwan Parekh, Usman Asrar, Hootan Afzali, Fareed Mohammed, Sheikh and Imam Br. Abul Haithem, and Sisters Victoria Caldwell and Yasmeen Khan.
Currently, the Youth Group activities consist of lectures on various topics such a History of Islam, Islamic Jurisprudence, Qur’an and Hadith, the Muslim Identity, Islamic Etiquette (‘Adaab), Current Affairs, etc. To break the monotony and keep the children motivated, we organize field trips to locations such as Joshua Park, Six Flags, and various science museums. More purposeful field trips include visits to the graveyard, participation in Humanitarian Day, and charitable work through visits to Skid Row where the youth get a chance to lend a helping hand and appreciate Allah’s (swt) blessings and bounties. During Ramadan, our youth raise funds for the Youth Group by having bake sales, tea and candy stalls, and help the adults in arranging the evening’s Iftar. The Youth Group’s objective has always been to develop our young Muslims into responsible adults, hone their thinking within the Islamic framework, and shape their Islamic personalities to face the challenges that await them in life. Above all, we aim to teach our children proper respect and manners towards their parents, friends, elders, and people of other faiths, in the way mandated by our Creator, Allah (swt), and His Prophet and Messengers, Muhammed (saw). Our attitudes and work ethics is ripe with the core idea that if we succeed in our efforts, under the guidance of Allah (swt) and Rasulallah (saw), with just one child, our objective has been achieved, though not concluded (Alhumdolillah).
Today, we have many shining examples of youth who have stood out with their exemplary work in the masjid and beyond. May Allah (swt) bless them and reward them, and their parents, for their efforts (Ameen). The Youth Group also extends its gratitude to Dr. Ahmed Sakr, Br. Hassan Khatib, and Shaikh Abul Haithem, for their sincerity, their dedication, and their invaluable input towards the ICSGV Youth Group. May Allah (swt) bless them and reward everyone associated with the Youth Group since its inception. And may we continue to be blessed with sincere and hard working individuals like them in the future (Insha’Allah).