Tickets start selling out in advance, event promos are all over social media. The anticipation, the hype is getting insane! Even the teaser trailer on YouTube gives you goose bumps!
The day is finally here! You’re all meeting at your friend’s house. Who’s driving? Maybe grab dinner before? The line up outside is going to be crazy, you should plan to get there early! Last year there was a one hour wait to get inside. Finally, you’re in! You’ve got your spot. The stage looks amazing, everyone is waiting in bated breath. There he is!! You finally see him!! The crowd goes wild, cheering and clapping loudly at a glimpse of their favorite celebrity. This is going to be the best night EVER!
You’d think I was talking about a concert… but I’m not. This is Muslim madness when a famous shaykh shows up in town. The crowd is always out of control. Who would have thought that Islam would take such an inspiring direction, that people of all ages, all types of backgrounds, and at all stages in life would unite for a single event, just to get a chance to listen to someone speak to them about their deen?
It’s a phenomenal achievement for Muslims. We finally have incredible speakers who speak our language, make us laugh and make Islam a religion that isn’t just practiced after retirement, but related in actuality to our own lives. Islam has surly arrived. It has taken over the hearts and minds of countless people listening to these super star shuyookh who have them captivated, watching their YouTube videos, sharing their talks on line, and essentially “hooked”.
But is all the hype about the teacher or his teaching? Has our focus drifted from the message to the person who is delivering it? The real question is: who cares? I think it’s phenomenal that shuyookh are drawing out the crowds in masses, and if people are on YouTube watching lectures rather than music videos, then there is a win for us right there! Let’s not forget that our Prophet (SAW) was an inspiring man, he awakened the ummah through his words. So in honor of his legacy, I applaud all those teachers out there who have captivated their audience and given the twenty first century Muslims an opportunity to understand and appreciate their faith in its glory. I think it’s really unfair when people criticize others for being inspired by a particular speaker. I guess to me it doesn’t matter what brought you to that conference or got you to watch that talk. At least you spent your time wisely!
But then there are a few who really spoil it for the rest of us. The groupies who take it next level by standing on seats and shooting selfies, trying to get their favorite celebrity shaykh on camera. Or the women who make all of us uncomfortable with their swooning. Ladies… you might have missed the memo. This isn’t THAT kind of event!
And of course we have those whose Islamic inspiration is only connected to the person they like to listen to. Who take the word of a teacher to be their only source of learning and their only source of information. To all those people, I’d like to say… quit the crazy. You can be a fan, but don’t let the deen be limited to the person you admire. Appreciate the religion in its completeness and learn more! Your favorite shaykh is there to help build your emaan, but it’s up to you to see it rise. When you act like a hyper fan, you spoil it for the rest of us, especially the shuyookh, who feel awkward when others put them on a pedestal. Let them do their work and you go work on yourself!
A big shout out to all the pop star shuyookh who have inspired the ummah in more ways than we even know! Why do you think they became so famous in the first place? They are willing to talk ABOUT the ummah, not just to the ummah.
My message to all our favorite religious scholars and teachers who have been accused of stardom… carry on the good work! The beauty in your speech has awakened so many. You’ve made Islam real by speaking of things we want to hear and addressing issues no one else wants to talk about. You’ve made us all feel welcome, honored and respected, no matter where we are in our level of emaan. You’ve brought us closer to Islam, but most of all, you have followed the legacy of our beloved Prophet (SAW) who taught Islam to the world. The best way to honor his legacy is to follow in his footsteps. Go on and inspire us. We’re listening.