The Rise of Social Sheikhs in the Digital World

by Farida Haji

Social Media in Our Lives

Do you envision attending a sermon with a mosque full of fellow Muslims, listening to the top Islamic speaker or your favorite Muslim influencer or Youtuber on the Metaverse someday?

There are 4.9 billion internet users worldwide who make up approximately 62.5% of the world population. Content creation and consumption are open for all. Therefore, the rise of Muslim preachers and influencers on numerous virtual worlds, i.e., social media platforms and networking sites are not surprising.

The popularity of the digital multiverse has caught the eye of Muslim scholars and self-proclaimed religious preachers alike. The past two years closed the physical doors of the mosques and madrasas where elderly, adults and children would connect with Allah and each other via sermons and various religious classes. However, the virtual world has now become a popular and primary avenue for Islamic teachings.

There was a time when the understanding of the Quran and Hadith were for those who made an effort to look for Sheikhs and Ustazas to guide and teach them. However, with the omnichannel approach where content can be diversified and shared on multiple platforms, reaching out to a wider audience is easier than ever.

Islamic teachings online, Quran App, read the quran online, religious classes,  sermons, islamic discourses

Practicing VS Preaching Faith

There are positive and negative impacts of promoting Islam and Islamic teachings online.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عَاصِمٍ الضَّحَّاكُ بْنُ مَخْلَدٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا الأَوْزَاعِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا حَسَّانُ بْنُ عَطِيَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِي كَبْشَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ بَلِّغُوا عَنِّي وَلَوْ آيَةً، وَحَدِّثُوا عَنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلاَ حَرَجَ، وَمَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَىَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 3461]

Communication channels have broadened and created an interesting space for teachers and learners. It is a path that should be tread with caution. While religion is a sensitive topic, social media can be easily used to create rifts among people.

The positives are many. It is seen as:

1. A medium to spread Islam
2. A space to create communities and a sense of belonging among Muslims globally
3. A handy source to learn information
4. An easier way to help others in need through digital avenues

However, the negatives cannot be denied either such as:

  1. The spread of misinformation, fake and false news
  2. Social media addiction
  3. Loss of physical and social interactions
  4. Inappropriate content

The Rise of Social Shiekhs and Shiekhas

Practicing Islam has risen from only being a religious duty of offering prayers and following a rigid Islamic lifestyle to gaining a place in our daily activities through the most relatable and persuasive avenues.

Many individuals and scholars alike share their religious views on social media to help and create a positive sense of community. Engage with others to eliminate stereotypes and ignorance surrounding our faith.

A few top Islamic speakers and Muslim influencers who have been creating a positive impact on believers worldwide are:

  • Dr. Zakir Naik. He has his own platform Al Hidaayah. It claims to be the largest and the best platform for Islamic Courses and video-on-demand (VOD). The platform has over 40 authentic Islamic speakers from all across the globe. In 2021, the platform released an app that become immensely popular in Russia.

  • Mufti Ismail Menk. He is an extremely popular social media Muslim influencer with over 3.7 million followers on Instagram. He is the dean of Eman Academy, an online & on-demand platform that allows the study of Islamic Sciences from the comfort of one’s home. Mufti Menk’s extremely relatable and witty style of explaining the words of the Prophet and Allah has made him famous among the youth.

  • Ustaza Yasmin Mogahed. She is a popular figure on Instagram as well with a following of 1.1 million. She brings to light the Hadiths of the Prophet and shares how important and relevant they are still today.

  • Ustaza Asmaa Harun. She is a preacher, who runs a charitable organisation that helps converts, the poor, and needy. She has accumulated more than half a million followers on Instagram and over a million followers on Facebook.

  • Amr Khaled. He is an American Muslim activist and television preacher who is also referred to as Islam’s Billy Graham and has 11 million followers on Twitter.

YouTube is another massive platform where Muslim content creators (learned and self-proclaimed) have started creating content to share their understanding of the Quran, Hadith, and Islam through live streaming sessions, video chats, vlogs, and collaborations with other like-minded practising Muslims or scholars, documenting their lives and experiences with whoever wishes to see them.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Recently Mufti Menk shared a witty, make-believe situation on what could happen on the Day of Judgement.

“Who did you follow on TikTok? […] You can’t say Sheikh Beyonce,…”

 

To end on a small cautionary note, social media is definitely for all. However, it is like sweet meat; when consumed too much, it can be fatal, and if consumed without consequences, it can be fatal! So choose your Sheikhs wisely!

social media, social networking sites, muslims on social media, love, peace

Peace out

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8 Comments

  1. Nabeela

    I want learn more about islam

    Reply
    • Matiullah

      I want to learn more about Islam true religion sobkhanallah

      Reply
  2. ????????'???????????????? ???????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????

    I won’t to learn about Ramadan
    When I fast more

    Reply
  3. Ahmed.Muneeruddin@gmail.com

    Use it with Caution

    Reply
  4. Hamidullah Akmál Saahir

    There are students of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed who uses Facebook (Meta) as a virtual platform before and since the beginning of Covid, and YouTube at Al-Islam Worldwide Minister.
    And these Muslim Americans, students of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, conduct Ju’mah on Facebook, such as Imam Yahya Abdullah and many others, and these Khutbah’s are listen to globally.
    So, please check them out, because we are one Umar one community of Muhammed the Prophet (pbuh), practitioners of the Qur’an, in the Deen of Al-Islam.

    Reply
  5. Abdallah mumin

    May Allah let us understand Islam and work with it

    Reply
  6. Na’im

    These articles were beneficial in keeping a person immersed in the dhikr of Allah. May Allah bless you and give you well-being. Ameen

    Reply

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