Fame and Glory
It is something that each and every one of us looks up for. Everyone wants to be famous, even children at school. When you ask them what they want in life, one would say, I want to be like the famous footballer so and so, or like the famous actor so and so, or like the famous ruler or prince or president. Everyone wants to be famous. But, is fame something positive or negative? There are prophets and messengers of Allah.
They are the most famous among people. There are reformers who are famous and also there are inventors and scientists that are famous yet on the other hand there are people who are known but not necessarily famous. They are infamous, such as Hitler, or Saddam Hussein, everyone knows those people, but is it something positive? Everyone knows that Pharaoh was a tyrant and that he died miserably, everyone knows this but does that make him famous? Satan, the infamous Satan, is known to all.
So what type of fame are you looking for? What are you pursuing in this life? Are you interested only to be known to people, even if they say bad things about you? If yes, you have to reconsider.
It was reported that a nomad, a Bedouin, came on the season of Hajj (pilgrimage) which hundreds of thousands of Muslims go to perform their pilgrimage in the holy shrines, and this man brought with him a quantity of filth and dung, and he wanted to put it on the Ka’bah, the most sacred building to the Muslims.
The people managed to get hold of him before he did that, and they took him to the judge. The judge asked him, “What’s wrong with you? Why did you want to put this filth on this sacred and holy Ka’bah,” and the man said “I wanted to be remembered by the people, even if they curse me and swear at me.”
So this man wanted to do something so horrendous so that people in future years would say that that man did this and that, may Allah curse him, may Allah have his wrath on him, may Allah admit him to Hell. It’s ok, such consequences to him were okay as long as he was able to be famous, and this shows the illness for those fame-seekers.
Why do people dare-death?
Why do people do crazy things?
Why do you think people attempt to do the undoables?
Why do they do this?
It is fame that they are looking for. Yet, even if you manage to get people to recognize you, even if you manage to get scores of people to love and adore you, all of this would be in vain. Because there will always be a group of people criticizing you. There will always be this portion of people who anticipate your failure. They wait for you to fall and break your neck. This is why we have those who are envious. This is why we have paparazzi that go after celebrities, run after them, take their pictures and try their level best to publish their scandals and to tarnish their reputations.
So, how important is fame?
I’ll give you an example, if you invite your friends to a wedding, your wedding. And you rent and hire this expensive place and get the best of food and you spend a lot of money, you spend an arm and a leg.
When people come and eat, as you see them going out, you will hear criticism.
The food wasn’t good, it was a little bit salty, or it didn’t have enough salt, the air conditioning was awful, it was hot, the service was bad, etc. So those whom you are trying to please at the end of the day, it backfires at you and they criticize what you had done hoping to be recognized, hoping to be known, hoping to be famous. If you look around you, people are worshiping celebrities nowadays; they’re actually worshiping them, but are they worthy of being praised?
We see singers dying of overdose. We see actresses marrying more than half a dozen in their lifetimes. We see pop stars famous of being child molesters and we see sex scandals, drug addicts, and pop stars that are in and out of rehab, tens of times in a year. Are they praiseworthy?
People know everything about them because they are the news-makers. You find everything about them in the television, magazines, newspapers, there are programs that track them, in every single thing that they do, they have a great impact on people’s tastes, fashion, and moral conduct.
Fame is not an objective that you raise your child to look up for. No one in his sound mind would raise his children to be famous. You have to be famous as such and such. I’d like you to be well-known as such and such. Fame is a byproduct. If you have righteous children, if they’re good scientists and do well for the community, they will be famous.
It’s a byproduct of what you know and what you do. If you ask people about messengers, about prophets they’ll give you three or four names and they are ignorant about the rest.
If you ask them about the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), they have no idea, except about one or two, five at most. But if you ask them about a footballer, or the biography of an actress, you will hear wonders.
As individuals we have to have someone to look up to, and our role model, as Allah commanded us in the Qur’an, is our Prophet (PBUH). We follow every single thing of his actions because he is the king of the humanity, PBUH.
He was the most courageous, the bravest, most generous, kind and loving, he was the best husband to his wives, he was the best companion to his friends, and he was the best in everything.
Now, if you want to be famous, love him more than you love yourself. Not only that, if you want to be prosperous, if you want to be happy, you have to love those whom Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal loves. A man came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and he was sad, and in grief and he was telling the Prophet (PBUH), as Anas who was narrating the hadith says, and he asked, oh Prophet of Allah, a man loves a group of people, but he is unable to catch up, meaning that they are so righteous, so pious, so high in paradise, I am unable to catch up with them. And the Prophet (PBUH) said, “You will be on the day of Judgment with those whom you love. “
So isn’t it time for you to shape up and look to whom you adore and love? Because by Allah, you will be with them on the Day of Judgment. And your love to them depends on their actions and deeds.
So if you love the Prophet (PBUH), if you love the righteous people, if you love the companions, by Allah you will be with them. But if you love the other side, if you love the dark side of fame…then I’m afraid you will be with them on the Day of Judgment.