Peer Pressure: Good or Bad?
By definition peer pressure is the influence of a group of individuals that encourages a person to change his or her attitudes, values and behavior patterns in order to acknowledge the norms of the group. Being highly social, we often fall victims to this pressure and lose our individuality. The youth often spend more time in fixed groups such as schools and groups of friends and tend to adopt the “norms” of this group regardless of their opinion of those groups.
Satan is always at work with a single mission, and that is to derail the believers from the right track. The deceiver and whisperer that he is, he often tempts groups to do things which pull the believers away. The concept of a peer group is similar to that of a chain in which every link is dependent on each other, so if one link falls week the chain soon crashes. I am not negating peer pressure all together; at times peers exert a positive pressure that allows an individual to perform better through heightened motivation.
There are many examples of positive peer pressure; one of such most common comes from educational groups where students help each other to get better grades. However the nature of this article is aimed at the negative peer pressure that pulls a believer away from the Light and takes him closer to the darkness.
The trend of today sees many youth getting readily and actively involved in drugs, alcohol use, and illegitimate relationships; the elders are also giving in. The reason behind this is an individual’s urging to “blend” into the crowd, to be one of the peer group. Another common observation, a Muslim manager working in a top tier firm feels a compulsion to drink with his superiors to feel welcomed; a teen going to the school feels it is important to have a girlfriend to appear “cool” in front of his friends.
Satan is a clever manipulator; he swindles us in a way that we don’t even feel it. At the core the purpose of our creation is to worship and thank Allah Almighty, as it is said in the Qura’an:
“And I have not created the jinn and man but that they worship Me” [Quran 51:57]
Feels bad doesn’t it? Allah Almighty blesses us with His mercy every day, even if we are going away from Him. Amazing is His tolerance, He blessed us with intellect, with strength and with a capacity to observe and gain knowledge. He taught us how to differentiate between the right and the wrong; Satan on the other hand strives hard to put a veil on our eyes and leads us away.
But, my friends, fighting Satan is very simple, all we need to do is open our eyes and look; once we take that veil off, Allah’s mercy and forgiveness takes over and pulls us back on the right track. We feel a repulsion from everything that is wrong and we desire to do that which is right. Maintaining an appropriate atmosphere is vital for any Muslim to be able to keep from going astray. As our beloved Propher (SAW) said:
“The example of a good companion in comparison with a bad one is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (furnace); from the first you would either buy must or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof” [Bukhari]
Islam is a complete way of life and, if we observe it closely and understand what it is offering we soon come to realize that Islam is very lenient, kind, forgiving and accommodating. Islam does confirm that friends have a strong influence on people and that their presence does affect their relationship with Allah Almighty. The Prophet (SAW) said:
“A person follows the Deen (way of life) of his close friend; therefore let each of you look carefully at whom he chooses for friends” [Tirmidhi]
If you feel confused, don’t; because Allah is very forgiving and just like He allowed Satan to try and pull us away, He has blessed us with an arsenal of our own to fight and defeat him. Things which seem simple and ordinary to us, cast the hardest blows on Satan. A Muslim should choose friends who advise and remind him of Allah, rather than lead him to a path of Satan. It is very important to choose truly good friends.
“None from amongst you can be a true believer until he loves for his (Muslim) brother that which he loves for himself” [Hadith]
So my dear brothers, read the religion see what it is offering for what it offers is all we need, not only to be successful in this world but in the world to come as well. If you know something good, if you know a solution or if you know of a good deed, you should tell it to the others so that they may mend their ways too. That is what our beloved Prophet (SAW) did all his life; he did not care what the others do to him, Prophet (SAW) always taught the teachings of Islam not for any worldly gains but only to be close to Allah and to bring others close to Him as well.
Prophet (SAW) did not even care if the person was a Muslim or not, he took the responsibility in an ideal way, a way that we all should adopt. Teach my brothers, tell them what they are doing wrong; be an example of a true believer so they should follow. Lead a life just like our much loved Prophet (SAW) did, so others may see their wrong doings and correct them.
Allah Almighty sees all, he is the only Sovereign and knows what is in our hearts and in our minds, all we need to do is take one step and He will light the entire path in front of us. May Allah shower us all with His blessings and protect us from the damned Satan. Allah be with us all![divider]
Richard Edwards has been blessed with a mind that is always open for knowledge and a soul that seems to have the sole purpose of enlightening others. A HR expert by profession with four years of experience in the field of Human Resources and a Masters degree in Business Administration, Richard was exposed to various facets of the human life; through his passionate creative writing he intends to broadcast his learning so that others may benefit from it.