Self promotion & go follow me
These are the slogans that we hear all the time:
You need to read this…!
You need to watch this!
You need to listen to this..
Go follow my instagram, Go watch my video..
GO FOLLOW ME…!!!
Ok. I get it. In this super age of uber marketing, these are buzz words and terms that are used when promoting material. I appreciate that you may have made an extremely beneficial video, or an interview podcast, or the fact, if someone follows you on Insta and twitter etc, that they would benefit from the content. I can empathise with the fact that you are passionate about your opinions and you are very keen for others to listen to what you have to say.
All that aside..
What about if you did this:
Make your videos, write your blogs, record your podcasts and have your social media mediums. Post and publish away and leave it to nature and ‘good old organic growth’ to see if people like it. Why don’t you let Allah swt put barakah in your work and let Allah swt decide if your material should get accepted and recognised by our massive Ummah with a billion plus followers?!
Why be so pushy and at times ‘desperate’ for people to listen to you?
Yes inform people that a video is out, a blog is now published, the podcast is up…but within reason and with a view of benefiting the Ummah without being known!
This also applies to all you budding motivational speakers and lecturers out there! Be it at universities or at conferences. Just be cautious when promoting your upcoming lecture or sharing the poster with your event coming up. Perhaps make a little Du’a before? Maybe think about it deeply… am I sharing this poster of my upcoming lecture so that others could benefit and I get lots of reward?! Or are you sharing this for the sake of plaudits?! For words like ‘ you’re amazing bro! You’re the best sister…’…
Some of you, especially the millennials will probably be thinking: ‘ Is the writer of this blog mad?!’
What’s wrong with promoting your material online?! This is how it is supposed to be. This is normal!
Well i have sympathy for you feeling like this because we have been indoctrinated within the last few years with this intense self promotion vibe. So me saying things like be ‘unknown’ is a complete shock to the system.
Well, ponder this. If you think about the great giants of our history. The super scholars who are household names, who wrote books and gave speeches all over the Muslim world, a thousand plus years ago. The fact they did not do any promotional marketing campaigns for their books or speeches and yet are known through out the world all these centuries later, should make us reflect and think!
Thats because their policy was to write this particular book on hadith or the Quran solely for the pleasure of Allah. They had this strong intention of doing this solely to be known amongst the angels of Allah swt and not human beings. And this ‘ marketing policy’ has been extremely successful!
Reflect upon these eternal super sayings of our past masters:
Ibn Mas‘ud said: “You should be fountainheads of knowledge, lamps of guidance, recluses in your homes, engaged in worship at night with renewed hearts, and wearers of worn-out clothes, known by the folk of heaven and #hidden from the inhabitants of the earth.”
Al-Fudayl said: “If you can afford not to be #known then do so. What harm shall ever come to you from being #unknown? Why should you care if you are not praised? And why should you care if you are criticised by people while being praised by Allah, exalted is He?”
Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “He who loves #status is not being truthful with Allah.”
Reflect over this Ayah of the Quran.
“And follow not [say not, or do not or witness not] that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned [by Allah].” (al-Israa: 36)
Why risk extra questioning on the day of judgement if you’ve made many mistakes in your videos?! The fact that because we are human, we were in a hurry or in our passion, we say things without thinking and in this situation we will most likely err! This especially applies to people engaged in hyde park speakers corner dawah!
So don’t always be eager to always push out content, tread carefully.
There’s a super prophetic tradition which really pierces through the heart and makes you think on a deeper level.
The Prophet said: “Two hungry wolves sent against a flock of sheep cannot cause more damage to them than one’s eagerness for wealth and #prominence does damage to their religious commitment.”
The word prominence here is something duaat, teachers, video makers, motivational speakers need to think about. Even if social media guru’s are always pushing you to become the best and constantly issue content!
How about we just take it easy and don’t become so eager to gain so much prominence..
The noble messenger of God mentioned ‘prominence’ here. Its pretty clear we have to avoid this. Perhaps have a pseudonym or a nickname if you’re a blogger or have a page. That way you can produce content and no one will know it is you!
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah loves a servant who is righteous, independent, and #obscure.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2965.
There is blessing in obscurity. Wallahi there is! It’s tough! It’s not easy! It will be a battle within yourself… but you and I need to win this battle! Struggle for obscurity! For not being prominent, be humble. Work hard but not for praise!
So, as stated before. Do what you need to do and then leave it to Allah swt, through his angels to promote your work.
Work hard, engage in dawah, seek knowledge but strive to be as unknown as possible in the 21st Century!
That’s the challenge!