How was the prophet muhammads interest in young people?
The below incident is a wonderful example that shows the importance of striving to become a guiding light and how even young people can lead the charge, given they are competent.
Before passing away, our Blessed Prophet (SAW) had prepared an army consisting of people Medina and its surroundings, and appointed the nineteen-year-old Usamah ibn Zayd (RA) as its commander. When the Prophet (SAW) eventually made his journey to eternity, the army decided not to march ahead and wait. Meanwhile, Abu Bakr (RA) was elected caliph.
Claiming he was still too young for the task, some new Muslims began to say that Usamah (RA) should be replaced as commander with someone older.
Yet, Abu Bakr (RA) insisted that whatever it took, he would send an army raised by personally by the Prophet (SAW) in the same formation. The caliph thereafter left Medina and arrived at the army headquarters in Juruf. He heartened them and sent them off and walked by their side for a while. Abu Bakr (RA) was on foot, while the young commander Usamah (RA) was riding on horseback. Feeling a little uncomfortable, Usamah (RA) urged:
“Caliph of the Prophet! Either you ride the horse with me or I will step down!”
Abu Bakr (RA), praised by the Qur’an as ‘the second of the two’, humbly replied:
“Neither will you step down nor will I mount! What harm could there possibly be for my feet to become a little dusted on the path of Allah? For each step taken by a soldier on His path, the Almighty Allah gives seven-hundred rewards, raises him seven-hundred levels and wipes off seven-hundred of his mistakes.” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, VI, 297-298; Ali al-Muttaqi, X, 578-579/30268)
Source: BEING A GUIDING LIGHT, Osman Nuri Topbas, Erkam Publications