“What is the Triangle Model?
When planning activities for youth, you must keep in mind the fact that all youth are not interested in the same things. There will be some youth who are interested in having Islamic study circles where they learn about the Qur’an, Seerah, etc. It is likely however that a larger amount of youth would like to participate in social events such as basketball games, dinners, etc. As leader of your youth group you have to know how to balance these activities by planning social activities where Muslims can meet each other and at the same time placing importance on acquiring Islamic knowledge. If we look at the life of the Prophet, there were activities that all the Muslims participated in. Participation in battles, building the masjid, going to Friday prayer required a strong commitment to Islam. The strong and the weak Muslim alike however could fulfill these duties. However other activities required an enormous dedication to pleasing Allah. Staying awake throughout the night in prayer, giving all of ones wealth in the path of Allah or even brushing the teeth everyday, were activities not required of all Muslims. The Prophet, saws, encouraged all to do these things, but understood the different levels of spiritual development in his community. The majority of the people need time to develop before they start activities that require a great deal of taqwa to do.
In the Triangle Model, the bottom layer is activities for the largest number of people. Those are activities that are enjoyable by all levels of the community. They satisfy the need for social interaction with other Muslims and build the brotherhood or sisterhood in the youth group. These activities are structured according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (no unsupervised intermingling between members of the opposite sex, for example.) Since these activities attract the largest amount of people, they should be your most publicized events. During these activities, you must try to attract people to activities in level two or above. The more the youth are willing to come to higher levels of commitment, the stronger your youth group will become, insha Allah. examples: dinners/iftars, sports events, eid festivals, demonstrations, after jummah lunches.
Once the spark of interest has been lighted in a young Muslim, you must do your very best to involve him or her in higher level activities. Level two activities require a little more commitment of their time and resources. However these activities are still fun for the majority of youth. Examples: bake sales, Islamic culture fairs, masjid cleaning/recycling project, selling t-shirts, Islamic tapes etc.,
This level requires a bit more commitment and knowledge about Islam. Activities in this level are designed for members who have a growing interest in seeing Islam prosper among the youth as well as the community at large. These activities also give the youth a chance to do thing that are encouraged in Islam. Examples: presentations in high schools, distribution of information about Islam, sponsoring orphans, feeding the homeless, lectures on “hot” topics- marriage, women, politics, etc.
Activities for youth who wish to increase their Islamic knowledge are the main focus of level four. These activities are very beneficial not only for those youth who are interested but for the members of the executive board of your youth group as well as adults who wish to build the knowledge of Islam. examples: lectures on tafseer, aqeedah, seerah, etc, memorization competitions, interfaith meetings.
This is the highest level of commitment. Most often 5% or less of the members of your youth group attend these activities. These activities should be very useful to the members of the leadership. As a leader, you should try to participate in these activities to the best of your ability and constantly encourage others to participate. Examples: Islamic all-nighters, Tarbiyyah/halaqah program, intensive Arabic courses, intensive courses in Islamic sciences.
This triangle model gives you a basic idea of the types of activities you should have and the number of people you should expect for them. This model, however, will vary from community to community…An effective youth group will be able to cater to the needs of these different groups.”