What is peer pressure?
Straight from the Merriam Webster dictionary, peer pressure is:
"A feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one's age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them."
Does this sound familiar?
As a Muslim youth in today's society, you might find yourself a bit out of place sometimes. Having to stop what you're doing with your friends to make your salah or stepping out of the classroom when the athan app on your phone sends you a notification. Dressing and acting in a way that please Allah subhanah wa talla, while everyone around you is dressing and acting in a way that pleases everyone else.
Look at this hadith about pleasing others:
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ (رضي الله عنها) أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من التمس رضا الله بسخط الناس رضي الله عنه وأرضى عنه الناس، ومن التمس رضا الناس بسخط الله; سخط الله عليه وأسخط عليه الناس ( رواه ابن حبــان في " صحيحه)
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever seeks the pleasure of Allah by the displeasure of people, Allah will suffice him against the people. Whoever seeks the pleasure of people by the displeasure of Allah, Allah will make the people displeased with him."
As Muslims, you have been given honor through your deen. You don't need expensive and brand name clothes, the latest gadget, or to see the latest movie to fit in. You have Islam. You have the salah. You have the Quran. You have the best role model, Prophet Muhammad (صَلّى االلهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم). You don't need anything else. You don't need to prove anything to anyone.
Don't diminish who you are and don't lose your identity. Be proud of your Islam. Don't give in to peer pressure.
Don't do things for the sake of "trying it just once." Don't do things you're not comfortable with just so that others will like you. A friend might ask you to sneak a piece of gum into your pocket while out shopping. "It's just a piece of gum, it won't effect their business," she tells you. Your buddy might ask you to try his latest JUUL, "it's just candy flavor, it won't hurt you," he says to you. Your "best friend" brings her exam sheet closer so you can copy the answers. Not having studied for said test, what will you do?
A piece of gum will turn into a bag of chips, which will turn into bigger and bigger items. That candy flavor JUUL pod you just vaped "just once" contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarette. Real friends don't encourage their friends to do wrong. Thus, choose your friends wisely and don't ever allow anyone to pressure you into doing things you're not 100% okay with. If it's haram, then it's morally wrong and could be legally wrong. Don't let anyone bully you into changing who you are.
Whenever you're asked to do something, remember this hadith:
وعن أبي هريرة - رضي الله عنه - قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : " المرء على دين خليله فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل " . رواه أحمد ، والترمذي ، وأبو داود ، والبيهقي.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A person is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”
Practice saying, "No." Say it again and again in front of a mirror until you're comfortable doing so in front of others. Be assertive and confident in yourself.
In which way have you experienced peer pressure? Let us know below.