The beginning of Al-Hikam is like a familiar joke: An imam and two guys were sitting in a caf.
The first guy said, ‘Ntch, young people today, man. They’re off the rails.’ The second guy said, ‘Ntch, old people today, man. They’ve lost touch.’ And the Imam said, ‘Well, instead of complaining, why don’t we do something about it?’ Admittedly, the punch-line wasn’t funny, but what happened next was pretty cool.
The year was 2011. Imam Asim, his mates and a handful volunteers, decided to put on an event at Al-Medina Masjid, in East London. The aim was to bring young people to the mosque, and inspire them to be more active in their faith community. Unfortunately, most young people associate the mosque with severe old uncles, and Friday sermons in an alien language that puts everyone to sleep. The Imam and his mates knew they had their work cut out for them.
To everyone’s surprise, the first event was a big hit. Imam Asim’s talks were different. They were relevant, ‘on a level’ and suddenly in demand. The events became regular, and the turnout grew rapidly. By the following year they were drawing in audiences of up to 700 people per day.
Then eventually the work spread across the country. Hugh events and talks took place on major topics relating to the youth were delivered by Imam Asim
Then what happened?
In 2012, Imam Asim moved to Bradford and took the good work up North with him. There they called it YouthWay. In Bradford, YouthWay produced some urgent and engaging events like ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ and ‘Thug Life.’ These found their way onto YouTube and went viral. Then they went on tour. For the next three years, YouthWay travelled from Bradford to Manchester; Bolton to Nelson and all over London.
Today YouthWay is a UK registered charity, with an outreach of 200,000 young people nationally. We take our events to mosques and community centres all over Britain. We’re readily accessible on social media. And we have a permanent base in Bradford. Drop in, it’s called Al-Hikam Institute.