بقلم الشيخ عبد الوهاب سليم حفظه الله تعالى
It is becoming all too often that we see the rise to stardom in Muslim speaker circuits of people who have everything that it takes to be a star; charisma, good looks, speaking skills, engaging audiences and social media skills. However, many are just missing one key ingredient, knowledge.
Yes, you can quote a few Hadith. Yes, you can speak a few Ayat. Yes, you can tell the stories for their spiritual enlightenment. Sure. You are good at that. However, it is tried and tested time and again that this is not where you and your likes stop. If you are advised, and I for one have whenever the right opportunity comes up, you reply, “Shaykh I am just speaking of A, B or C.” However, the reality is that your unsolicited hyper self marketed services are not needed. If you were sincere you would’ve spent all that time and money you did developing your own FB page, Twitter account, YouTube channel and other social media accounts in spreading the Khair that qualified speakers and scholars have already produced.
Think about it. In the times of Ibn Abbas, Sa’īd Ibn Jubair, Al-Shafi, Bukhari, or even as recent as a few decades ago they had no social media and no easy route to fame. Was the Dawah not spreading?! It was and in fact faster than flame in firewood. The means that they had taught and taken are the means for successful, fruitful and lasting Dawah.
Yeah, you may be getting invites. Yeah, you may have an in on a conference. Yeah, you may have things lined up for you. However, did you ever sit with yourself and think whether this is a test or an honor from Allah? Or maybe you conveniently presumed that Allah is giving you acceptance among the people because of your Ikhlās. As an anecdote I say that till this day, and I have been learning and teaching full-time since I was in my mid teens, I make it a point not to accept some invitations just to teach myself the manner of patience in this domain which could either be a first-class ticket to hellfire or a responsibility granted to the best human beings that walked this earth, the Prophets.
And don’t tell me that knowledge is not what the people want. I have heard that far too many times. And don’t tell me that they are just looking for someone to make them feel good. Firstly, what they are looking for is irrelevant. If the Messenger gave the pagans what they were looking for there would be no Islam. If you adhere to his legacy or present yourself as someone who does then learn his legacy first! Moreover, the spiritual needs of human beings can never be better fulfilled than the divine source of spirituality, the revelation i.e., the Quran and the Sunnah.
Lastly, the Deen is not as shallow as you would like for it to be. A few Khutbah preparations will have gotten you no where. The Messenger said as found in al-Bayhiqi, “Indeed this religion is robust so proceed forward mildly.” As much as it brings a feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment to be able to have an opinion about everything, it is neither your job nor does anyone really care about what you have to say in the grand scale of things. And even if some or many do, your religious responsibility of keeping yourself quite should be enough for you to realize that it is a test rather than an honour. If you focus on learning, likely, one day people will start to truly care about what comes out of your mouth and speaking then will be rewarding but speaking today, even if you say the right thing, is sinful.