About Fame, a Personal Life, and Responsibility

Assalamu Alaikum.  My name is Nouman. I am 36 years old, a father of six and very grateful for having a career that allows me to spend my time doing what I love.

Earlier in my life I developed a passion for the study of the Qur’an and, as a result, of the Arabic language. Now I am running an institute whose sole objective is to spread awareness and appreciation of the Qur’an.  This passion has kept me busy in one way or another for the last fourteen years.  Somewhere along this road, without my conscious realization, I became famous in some circles, notorious in others. I’ve been teaching and giving lectures a long time, but now, suddenly, there are people jumping over each other after a lecture to shake my hand, take a picture or tell me how I’ve changed their life. It’s almost an out-of-body experience and, quite honestly, most of the time I feel like they’re talking about someone else. This enhanced and continually growing public profile has forced me to think about the origins of my work and where it stands now. Actually, I should say it has made me think A LOT about the position in which I find myself. The thoughts I’m about to share with you are personal reflections and are only a commentary from me about me. They are purposely not applicable to any other public speaker, scholar, activist or leader.

Fame is Not a Curse

Nothing in life is; it’s all a test.  I happen to think fame in my circumstance is also a part of my sustenance from Allah. I may not deserve this position, but I am in it, and should thus figure out the best way to leverage it to serve a good cause. That is what any of us must do with whatever gifts, circumstances and challenges Allah bestows upon us.

Fame has been a true blessing in some ways. For starters, it has allowed me access to incredible scholars and researchers the world over. Additionally, there are people doing remarkable work in the field of Qur’anic and Arabic studies but are virtually unknown, and they simply approach me with their research contributions.  Some of this work is so unique and so incredibly valuable that I can’t think of what I would do without it, yet there is no way I would have even known of its existence had these researchers and scholars not approached me. It is my fame that motivated them to use me as a vehicle to bring their work to light, and I am deeply indebted to them for their consideration.  Fame has also allowed me the opportunity to serve as a link between people who are doing complementary work and are unaware of each other. Thus, great collaborations and synergy in this field are happening. This would not have happened through me, if not for my public profile.

Fame Can Be an Exercise in Humility, Especially Selfies

It’s really a matter of perspective.  I consider myself socially dyslexic.  Whether I’m talking to fifteen people or fifty thousand, it doesn’t really matter to me.  But since this explosion in popularity (relative to my own little world), I’ve had to learn the hard way that I can’t just be conscious of my own perspective, but need to understand that of others as well.

When I first came across people who wanted an autograph or asked to take a picture I was (a) shocked and (b) disgusted. What rock star nonsense was this? Here I am trying to share a message that is the most serious endeavor of my entire life, and trying to help you appreciate its seriousness, and you’re treating me like a performer?  This is not the way of the students of knowledge.  The great teachers and students of our noble past did not take selfies.

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That was my perspective and it was wrong, self-righteous and insensitive. It had to change. It took me some time to internalize that I’m actually not reaching out to ‘students of knowledge’.  I’m reaching out to the public, a huge chunk of which is slowly finding its way back to the faith. They, for some reason only Allah truly knows, find it easy to relate to me and appreciate that they can connect with the Qur’an in a personal way through some of my talks.  They haven’t been brought up in a traditional environment where they’ve sat at the feet of a shaikh in a masjid. These are average people, much like me as a matter of fact. Before my own rediscovery of Islam, I, too, would have lined up to take a picture or grab an autograph of someone famous.

If I don’t respect where people are coming from, I can come across as highly condescending and judgmental.  Somebody who asks for a picture may be someone who will appreciate the gesture and, as a result, might share some of my work with family and friends. Maybe this selfie business can actually lead to a good word spreading. You never know.  People may have listened to me for hundreds of hours and feel an emotional bond with me. They may even feel like Allah brought a transformation in their life through my talks. If that is the case, and they come up to me and ask for a picture, this small request might mean a huge deal to them. It may be a gesture of love and appreciation. Turning them down will do nothing to me, but could be extremely hurtful and disappointing to them. I’ve had to learn to think of this problem from the other side. Regardless, there will always be people who feel this entire endeavor is an exercise in narcissism. To them I say, “Whatever dude.”

 

Fame in the Muslim Community Comes With Unrealistic Expectations

At least it does in my experience.  I am the same person I was 14 years ago, when no one knew me. Sure, I have more experience now and understand some things better, but I’m not some elevated spiritual being just because I have half a million followers on Facebook. My work, my contribution, my area of expertise and my continued interest is overwhelmingly in one space.  And even within this space, I’m more a liaison between real scholarship and the larger public, rather than a scholar myself. That is just the fact of the matter, but I’ve learned that for a huge segment of our ummah, attitudes towards public figures manifest in a number of extremes. Here are some of those extremes as they apply to me personally.

On the extreme positives, I get:

a. “Ustadh Nouman! You are the only speaker I listen to! I don’t need anyone else!”

What? Dude!  I ain’t gonna teach ya how to pray, how to do hajj, the history of Islam, manners, fiqh, aqeedah, hadith and a WHOLE bunch of other stuff that you NEED to know. I appreciate the love but you’ve got to broaden your perspective homey!

b.  “Ustadh Nouman! How do I fix my marriage/ family life/ depression/drug addiction/suicidal tendencies/some other really serious issues?”

My beloved brother and sister, I am a teacher and a Qur’an student. Your personal problems are very serious and you need someone truly qualified in matters of counseling to help you with the situation. You might be convinced I will do you good, but I might end up doing more damage without either of us realizing it.

However, I do want to know about some of the troubles, problems and challenges you face because I want to address these issues to bring about awareness of the problems, and at least give some general counsel to benefit you and others. That has actually been my stance on this issue for some time now.  I read your emails and take note of issues that would be pertinent to a larger audience, and try to highlight them in my talks through the Qur’an. I get over a thousand emails a day. If I started answering each email, even if allotting a minute per email….you do the math. I wouldn’t be doing anything else in my life.

c.  “Ustadh, only you can help me. No one else can answer this question.”

Again, my dear brother and sister, help comes from Allah, not from me. I can assure you I want to help, but I may not be able to. Recently I’ve done my best to pass specific types of concerns to other qualified individuals I consider good resources.

On the extreme negatives, I get:

a. “Why don’t you talk about Iraq or Palestine you sellout?”

b. “Why don’t you talk about Hadith you Hadith rejector?”

c. “Why don’t you talk about Aqeedah you deviant?”

d. “Why don’t you talk about Riba and Halal meet, you liberal?”

e. “Why don’t you talk about women’s rights you male chauvinist?”

f. “Why don’t you talk about husbands’ rights you feminist?”

g. “Since you didn’t answer my email or acknowledge my speaking request, it is absolutely evident, without a shadow of doubt, you are a person of dunya who doesn’t care about the ummah and its problems.”

h. “Why don’t you visit our community? Because we are small? You only like big crowds right? I wish you cared about all Muslims, but I guess you don’t.”

There aren’t enough letters of the alphabet for the negatives, but I think you get the picture. I have come to learn that most Muslims either absolutely love their public figures or absolutely hate them. There is no in between.

Once you hear something in one of my talks that disappoints you, I may be written off for life. This, by the way, is a very unrealistic policy towards any relationship.  Imagine if you were written off by friends or family because of one thing you said.  We can disagree.  It’s okay.  I still like you.  I can be wrong. That is okay too. It doesn’t make me Shaitaan.  Chill OUT.  Perfection in human beings ended with Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

On another note, no one person can deal with all the issues pertinent to the ummah and to Islam. That is unrealistic, unreasonable and even unhealthy.  Allah’s messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) carried every burden of this ummah single-handedly.  What he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) carried alone is now distributed amongst an entire ummah.  There will always be something important I didn’t talk about. There will always be a community I didn’t get a chance to visit.

I was never asked to elaborate my position on every issue when I was teaching a small class of fifteen in a masjid in Queens, New York, because the people sitting in front of me didn’t expect guidance from me as a mufti, political activist or theologian. I was just an Arabic and Qur’an teacher to them. With this new fame, the expectations seem to have changed. I realize that and feel compelled to at least try to explain why I don’t speak on certain issues.

The truth is, the world used to be a lot more black and white when I was younger. I’ve learned, through the years, that a lot of my thoughts, opinions and conclusions about various Islamic sciences and international politics were over-simplistic and immature. I’ve learned to take a step back, be honest with myself and comfortably say I just don’t know enough.  It would be irresponsible of me to casually express my opinions, using this platform, especially on issues I don’t fully comprehend.

It often feels like the public expects me to be vocal about all things related to Islam and this ummah, and that I don’t have the right to remain silent on what I don’t fully understand. I am here to let you know that will not happen. Sorry to disappoint you, but I cannot use this position of great influence to speak on issues I truly don’t know enough about.  I will donate to a cause in my personal life without telling you, be convinced of a position in fiqh without telling you and have a particular political inclination without telling you.  I don’t want to tell you because I don’t want any of you to ever think my stances on these issues have anything to do with my study of the Qur’an.  They may not. Religious leaders can have political opinions. That doesn’t mean their opinion is a religious position.  This is why I feel responsible, and either choose to remain silent on these issues or relegate them to someone I consider a scholarly and sincere authority on the subject.  My opinions on certain matters were personal and not worth any Islamic weight 14 years ago, and half a million Facebook followers later, I’m glad to say, that hasn’t changed.

 

Fame is not an Indication of Worth

I feel very blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who know me well, and knew me much before my days of fame.  These people are my rizq as they do not see me as a Youtube personality, or even a religious figure for that matter. I’m just Nouman to them. There are no formalities and no massively exaggerated impressions of what I am. Thank Allah for them.

Being around them constantly is really all the reality check I need.  They know all too well I am no miracle worker, that my talking to someone’s fifteen-year-old isn’t going to solve his issues or their family problems. I give them advice when asked, but mostly I am on the receiving end of their counsel. The awesome thing is they will put me in my place and advise me for the better whether I ask for it or not, and whether I like hearing it or not! Thank Allah for them.

I’ve come to learn the truest impression of who I am will not come from conferences, speeches or Youtube comments, but from that inner circle of genuine friends and loved ones who just tell it like it is. Thank Allah for them.

Fame is Directly Proportional to Exaggeration, but I Don’t Care

Allow me to explain a bit. There are people who love me so much they attribute levels of Iman and Ihsan to me in ways that are just out right ridiculous. Then there are people who deem my intentions so sinister I am likened to the Dajjal.  Both of these have in common the flawed assumption that any human being has the ability to look inside the heart of another and tell where they stand in terms of sincerity.

In this beautiful faith, we give benefit of the doubt and assume the best about people without turning them into saints.  We don’t entertain assumptions about corrupt intentions as our judgments of people are relegated entirely to the realm of actions. In other words, you and I can criticize each other’s words or actions, but intentions are off limits. This, to me, is a principle that applies, regardless of public status, to all Muslims.  It is for this reason both of these exaggerations have no significance to me.

I don’t google myself trying to find out what new allegations are being made about me, and I don’t find validation in compliments and overly flowery words of praise.  I just have to do my best, strive to constantly improve and keep it real with the REAL people in my life (see above).  Let the trollosphere say what it will. I’ve got better things to do than pay mind to it.  Our dignity is protected by Allah and He grants us dignity so long as we dignify His deen.  If I am sincere in my work, my Lord will be enough to defend my integrity, so I don’t have to worry about what isn’t mine to protect.

Fame or No Fame, I am Honored to Serve

The fact that I get to spend my life studying and teaching whatever I can of Allah’s book is a tremendous honor. The fact that so many have benefited from whatever little I have done isn’t my own doing, but Allah’s gift. I am not superior to the people I try to benefit. Rather, I see myself as their servant. I feel a sense of love and loyalty to our youth all over the world that is hard to put in words. You are my people, my family.

Even those who find me a deplorable existence are, at the end of the day, Muslims, and I pray Allah softens our hearts towards each other here and in the hereafter. You disagreeing with me makes you no less of a Muslim in my eyes, and I am no one to judge your worth before our Master. I just pray Allah overlooks my many flaws while trying to serve His flawless deen, and that He does the same for you.

What Will I Use My Fame For, Insha’Allah?

I believe Allah guides people in unique and beautiful ways with His Qur’an. Much like the same rain sprouts every color of flower and every flavor of fruit on this earth, the same revelation inspires every manner of good across different individuals. I will use whatever public profile I have to help spread an appreciation of this beautiful revelation, and expect Allah to reward me for the unique ways in which He will make you bloom.  What you will do with this message is up to you, but I can tell you, even though I don’t know who you are, I am excited at the beautiful things Allah will bring into existence through you, as you become inspired and driven by His powerful words.

104 / View Comments

104 responses to “About Fame, a Personal Life, and Responsibility”

  1. iffat sharif says:

    SubhanAllah :) it is true that people like me connect to the Quran through your lectures !! That is how Allah guided me to the deen!! The best thing about u is ũř humility and sense of understanding …may Allah bless u Always !!

    • uddin says:

      MashAllah, hats off to you brother Noman!II’ve no word to comment reading your beautiful feelings and true statement. May Allah place you in a better position.

      • Ruzly says:

        May the almighty Allah reward you for your great work . . . .i have learned a lot from your lectures & was fortunate enough to meet u & shake your hand . . . unfortunately was not able to take a Selfie with you as it was very crowded.

        For me you revolutionized Islamic teaching & not the traditional speaker type you connect very well with all ages of people.

  2. Hasan says:

    May Allah bless you here and here after my dear Sheikh. I would like to take a selfie with you in jannathul Firdhouse. May Allah(swt) grant that wish.

  3. Soubhanallah. Ive read what you said and truely believe in each word you said. May Allah keep blessing you in your task n make things easy. By the way I emailed you for lecture in Mauritius and did not get a confirmed reply yet from your concerned office Mr Nida Kazi
    I also asked if your institute have a sort of boarding school so that I may send my Children to learn from your esteemed institute but I never get any reply. That was little discouraging but I keep hoping to receive a reply soon. Keep it up brother we are proud of you in Allah’s name
    Wassalaam
    Shariff Muhammad Taki
    Mauritius

    • As Salaam alaikum Br. Shariff,

      Jazaakum Allahu Khayran for your comment. We replied to your email on July 13th with information about the Dream Program. Please check your spam folder or if your email has multiple tabs, please check there as well. International students are welcome to apply for the Dream program, however Bayyinah does not offer housing. Students are responsible for securing their own housing for the program. Additional information about the Dream Program, including the application process, admissions criteria, and information for international students can be found at http://bayyinah.com/dream

      Please email Bayyinah Admissions or Sister Nida directly with additional questions or concerns, as we do not regularly monitor comments left on other websites.

      Barak Allah feekum

      • Sadia Kanwal says:

        Assalam O Alaikum, brother, I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have a question that in case of divorce matter ….

        *The remainder of the comment was removed by the MM Comments Team*

        • WaAlaikum Assalam Sister Sadia

          Our page is not equipped to provide religious rulings. We would advise you to submit your question to our “What’s the Matter” section at http://muslimmatters.org/ask/, seek the counsel of your local imam, or to consult a specialized fatwa website, or contact one of the Mashaikh through their Facebook Pages.

          We hope you will continue to read and benefit from the content on our site.

          Best Regards
          -Aly
          Comments Team Lead

  4. patricia says:

    as salam alejkum ,im muslim convert and your lecture helps me so much. i think you doing a great job for muslims. thanks to Allah, that we have people like you :)

  5. well…its a very good reminder for me…me too was so desperate to see u as u r my hero…but now i realize its nothing to do with ur famines…we hv to ponder on ua words…n learn from ua teaching…thanks for this article…

  6. Hibaysh says:

    Assalamu’alikum brother Nouman.
    I am Hiba, 21 years old, from India.

    I have always been curious about your perspective on these very topics.

    You have absolutely reached the right conclusion when you say that the people, the public who listen to you, develop an emotional bond with you through your talks. I was one of them.
    I still remember during the first year of my college, first time away from my family, in an alien world, in my hostel, how Allah made your talks, my companion. :)

    Seriously, it is amazing how Allah puts His barakah in your words, brother.

    I don’t know if you will respond to these comments, but in sha Allah, I would like to hear your opinions on the following issues

    Do you think it’s fine to desire ‘fame’ or simply a platform so that one can use it for good works, as you are currently doing? You didn’t consciously make an effort for it, as you have stated, but do you think, it’s fine to make an effort to publicize your work? Have you ever hesitated in doing something out of fear or Riyaa?

    I have heard you interpret and clarify some controversial issues such as domestic violence, and some Ayat of the Qur’an regarding menstruation. It would be really awesome (There’s no other word for it) if you could start some sort of segment dedicated to misinterpreted or mistranslated ayat regarding women. I am not sure if you have studied and worked on other ‘controversial’ ayat regarding women, but it really is an area where the tafseer needs to be made available to the public NAK style. :D

    Basically, like you have yourself observed, people can relate to you very well. Please don’t lose your cool-dude style!
    Jazak Allahu Khair and Assalamu’alikum.

  7. I enjoyed reading this very much. Please write more of these in the future :)

  8. Nawaz says:

    SubhanAllah, Ustad Nouman is trying to be humble, but you and I both know what he’s done for us. Specifically it’s the motivation to understand Quran by the language that he uses to communicate with his audience. Many of us owe him more than we can afford in this life. We pray Allah grants him the balance that we cannot give him in sincere thanks and love.

    JazakAllah Khair bro, you made a generation of muslims that much more connected to the Deen, and for that you will always be our first love.

  9. Aaminah says:

    Walaikum as salaam, ustadh Nouman! I truly appreciate you for sharing this! I will post this to share with my family and friends, inshallah. Jazakallahu khairan :-)

  10. Hope2Go says:

    Well I am also one of your students. I hope Allah helps you in being steadfast and more firm upon the deen e Islam. Jazak Allah hu khayr!

  11. Mansur says:

    JazakAllah fiddarain khair, for all that you do.

  12. J says:

    JazakAllah khair for the piece.

    One thing I realised after coming across brother Nouman is that, we as the ummah need to help each other out instead of relying on the select few people to shoulder all the responsibility. We need to actively learn from these people or learn from any available source, and spread the knowledge. Imagine an ummah, where everyone knew the language of the Qur’an just like the brother?! Would we then have select few well-known personalities, or an ummah that was self-sufficient in its knowledge that didn’t have to run to others for second opinions on simplest of matters. We need to learn from people like him. Today, we see a brother who is very knowledgeable and has much better grasp of Qur’anic arabic compared to the most. I’m pretty sure a lot of hard work and dedication went after it. Lot more than we will ever see or hear about.

    May Allah (SWT) give us the strength to invest in the deen and in attaining its knowledge. May Allah (SWT) grant us more teachers and students of this deen so that its knowledge may flourish. Ameen.

  13. Sanaa says:

    Jazak Allah khayran Ustadh Nouman for posting this article and for everything you are doing in Allah’s cause. It was very important to read something like that from you and I will pass it on as well. Your critics need to read your thoughts about what they say and the people who appreciate you need to realize your stance on the position you are in today. May Allah reward for the millions of lives you have touched.

  14. Helana Rawwad says:

    Everything you have said is so true..May Allaah give you a long blessed life to help us even more..Ameen

  15. Abdullah says:

    Salaam.

    Are we even allowed to make money out of/by spreading Islam/Qur’an? As a ‘career’? Your thoughts please Ustadh Nouman.

    • Sara says:

      Of course you are. If you have kids and send them to
      islamic school or bring them a Quran teacher at home,
      dont you pay them?

      How else are they supposed to buy things that only money
      can buy such as food, clothing, further education, housing?

      Why do you see money as being bad or dirty?

      Money is good…its a tool that allows us to build more schools, build more hospitals, help our families and pay charity

      What is bad is greed and “attachment and love” of money

      As a wise man said….Love the people and use money, and not the other way around

  16. Abu Shaummo says:

    I feel blessed to subscribe Bayyinah TV and listen to your many lectures. This is a great service to Muslims and humanity.
    I think you rightly chose this topic of fame, and shed light on such an important element in your life. I pray that Allah keeps you in his guidance, because no one is safe until one reaches the Almighty. I pray that no matter how much your fame increases, you remain appropriately humbled.

  17. Khadija says:

    Assalamu Alaykum I am Arab Muslim . I like to be like you . I like your way of Dawah

  18. Khadijah says:

    I Ask Allah swt to reward you for the amazing work you brought forth and the beautiful gift and honor he has given you ! Masha’allah ! Jazakullahu Khairain For Sharing your thoughts with the public Sheikh Nouman ! Totally Awesome

  19. Nazish says:

    I feel really connected to the story you elaborated about yourself however I find fame as a test. As I feel I am not only responsible of myself but also so many others who are following me in my little community and school I run. At the same time I feel if one is feel natural he/she can react naturally not in the character people want to see them in.

  20. Muneeb says:

    May Allah SWTA accept your sincerity and watch out Ustad.

  21. Noor Saadeh says:

    Nice and thank you. Fame is tough to deal with. So important to stay connected to Allah and humble. Who are doing it for anyway? Nice to hear you express yourself in this way.

  22. Hassan Mushtaq says:

    Why don’t you answer my phone calls?? :)

    My parents are here, but now leaving tomorrow, I wish my mother could meet your mother after long time. May be next time insha’Allah

  23. Kirana says:

    I’m an ‘in between’. Again, probably you have no time to read this but: You are mostly a teacher and a bridge, as you said, and I relate to that. You have a good blend of generality and relevance.

  24. waseema says:

    Asalam u alykum brother Nauman,, loved 2 read this just like i love 2 listen 2 u,,,Alhamdulilah 4 ppl lyk u,,,n kp up the gud work.

  25. Ola says:

    mashaAllah!!! and also SobhnaAllah
    I truly and truly needed this article.
    Alhomdulliah for people like Br. Nouman. May Allah accept from all of us and truly make sincere, Ameen.

  26. Astri says:

    Barakallah n jazakallah khoiron katsiro for what you have done..may Alloh blessing you always…keep istiqomah..keep humble..

  27. Madiha Ahmed says:

    Assalamualaikum.Ustadh Nouman.

    Allah guided me to the Deen and loving it and I want to serve it to the best of my ability with His Help,in sha Allah …and all this happened through your lectures and notes. May Allah bless you and your family. May Allah Help you to continue to inspire many more people and change lives.Ameen

  28. Bilal Abdullah says:

    Assalaamualaykum Ustadh Nouman and all the REAL people around him,

    SubhanAllah!! Your timely arrival onto the Global Islamic Scene has certainly raised awareness amongst the rather disillusioned and dis-engaged Ummah.

    Allah azza wa jal has empowered you and many other scholars with the knowledge and its dissemination, truly path-breaking. The responsibility lies on all of us, its recipients, to take it, apply it and transform ourselves.

    Personally, I feel blessed to be part of your virtual classrooms – learning, spreading and gaining a little bit of fame as a Nouman disciple :)

    You are certainly the fulcrum of Islamic Rennaissance – I have absolutely no doubt about that.

    May Allah SWT bless you and your family and all those behind the scene @ Bayyinah, with more strength and ability to serve HIS glorious Deen and to be the guiding light for all of us when there is no light except that of the Holy Quran. Aameen.

  29. Dr mohamed zarougui says:

    May Allah showrs you with more baraka for the time you striving to use

  30. Na'ima B. Robert says:

    I can relate to this on so many levels, subhanAllah! Wonderful to read and learn from, barakAllahu feek.

  31. Arif Abdullah says:

    Subhan’Allah, I cannot describe the sense of contentment that I felt while reading this article by Ustadh Nouman. Off late, I’ve been advised to stay away from “NAK” lectures and I was being told that he has no formal background, he is not from the salaf and so on. I was so disturbed by this because my own friends were being influenced by such derogatory articles online. This article has addressed all the issues including myself.Yes,I’m that person who has an emotional bond with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan and I’m overjoyed to know the fact that he is concerned about the youth. I was even more overjoyed when I got a gift subscription to Bayyinah TV. Being a revert, I cannot describe my emotions when I started learning the tafseer series in Bayyinah TV.I can never forget the way Ustadh Nouman taught me the ayah of ‘Nuran Ala Nur’. I dont think I would have been able to ponder over it by reading the translation. There is one ayah that I recently came across in ‘Qur’an for Young Adults’ that puts everything into perspective. -“Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.(3:193)
    Yes,Ustadh Nouman is just a caller to faith and I’m sure there are many more people whose lives have been influenced by this Da’ae. All this would not have been possible without the Barakah of Allah Subhanawatala. I pray that Allah continues to shower his Barakah on Ustahd Nouman, his family,his Bayyinah team and on all those people who have and who will continue to benefit from this Barakah.

    • Sara says:

      Subhanallah, this comment really touched me. I feel exactly the same and that’s what I’m actually brought me to this page. A “salaf” friend tried advising me to stay away although this person’s knowledge literally changed my life and made me a muslim. In atempt for stronger defense, I searched for his comments on these criticisms although in my heart I was already convinced. It’s so sad how Muslims are the first to try to bring down other Muslims in such an immature and narrow way of thinking. I feel blessed to see the beauty and wisdom in all that he teaches, because clearly not everybody gets to experience it. Alhamdulillah…

  32. farhan says:

    Walaikum assalam ustad Nouman:) Till yesterday i was amazed by your talks. Now i am even amazed by your writings. Masha Allah.

    May Allah(swt) grant all of us (you, your students & umma at large) Jannat ul firdose – Ameen.

  33. islam says:

    American scholars like Hamza Yusuf and Noman Ali Khan seem to be completely silent at the atrocities that are taking place in gaza.

    They have purified themselves so much that their hearts have become hard as stones. .whereas you will find non-muslim journalists/public are raising their voice in protest and weeping at the massacre that is taking place.

    • Sara says:

      And what have you done for islam or gaza and other atrocities?

      Do you just complain about the problems and blame “Arab Leaders” and “muslim governments”

      You have probably done nothing of value for anyone….because you are a small and little person.

      how do I know this, because people of value would not have time to spend commenting negatively about others

    • mohd says:

      This time s the problem.. .when our people do something good.. .The first one to critisize is from our ummah only.. ..appreciate what he is doing and if you are having any issue with them.. Reach out and discuss with them. They aldo know what is happening and there would be reasons for them to behave like this. We ourselves are not doing anything but are here. On net critisizing the man through whom Allah(swt) has guided many.

  34. Khadijah A. says:

    As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu

    Jazaakumullahu khairan katheeran wa katheera.

  35. Norlian Daud says:

    Assalamu’alaikum…I am most grateful thar through you Ustadh Nouman n Mufti Menk..I have started to appreciate the Quran much more n have realised how important it is to understand what Allah SWT Has Revealed to us via His Prophet, our Beloved Rasulullah SAW…I m certainly not your targetted youth group but have nevertheless benefitted so much from your teaches.May Allah SWT Bless you and your family n your coworkers always…Aamiin
    Jazakallahu khairan kathira…

  36. Norlian Daud says:

    Typo errors:1) grateful that
    2)your teachings…

  37. Uthman Badar says:

    Assalamu alaykum akhi Nouman,

    Allah reward your good work.

    Some excellent and beneficial points you raise, and some others that require, I think, some further thought.

    Some points for your consideration:

    1. Most Muslims do not operate at the extremes of love or hate. It’s probably more that those who do are more likely to make a point of it, and these points are more likely to register with the recipient than the more benign or nuanced feedback since the former have an emotional element to them with both the sender and receipent. I’m sure there are many Muslims who are not in agreement with your politics or some other element of your work but would continue to benefit from your tafsir and general talks. It’s a minority that throws out the baby with the bathwater.

    2. Remaining silent/relegating on something you lack expertise in is a good thing. However, this does not justify your silence on many issues of the Ummah. Some political issues need expertise, others do not, but you are silent across the board. For instance, one does not need a political science degree from Harvard to know that what Israel is currently doing in Gaza is wrong, or that Sisi is a tyrant or that the rulers in the Muslim world more generally are under foreign influence and do not implement Islam, etc. Yes, to know, for instance, what exactly is going on in Syria or Egypt in terms of players, agendas, objectives, etc. requires analysis and expertise. This is where one relegates (still not an excuse for silence, since one is meant to consult and find out from those who do know). But knowing that Assad/Sisi is a tyrant who is against Islam is rather plain.

    This is where you have a responsibility to use your influence to contribute in leading the Ummah’s struggle for Islam and its implementation. To speak against tyranny, oppression and kufr, to enjoin the good and forbid evil, etc. None of this requires deep expertise. It requires understanding, will and courage.

    An understanding all students of the Qur’an must have – else something is wrong with their study – because so much of the Qur’an is about the struggles of the prophets and Allah manifesting his perfect attributes through these – struggles for political change as much as spiritual change. How anyone can study the examples of Musa (as), Nuh (as), Ibrahim (as) and most of all the Messenger of Allah (saw) and still restrict themselves to an apolitical activism is difficult to understand and indeed very disappointing.

    3. You say, “I’ve learned to take a step back, be honest with myself and comfortably say I just don’t know enough. It would be irresponsible of me to casually express my opinions, using this platform, especially on issues I don’t fully comprehend.”

    This would be the next-best ideal (after actually learning where one lacks and getting engaged). However, you have in recent times done exactly this: casually express over-simplistic views. On the issue of khilafah for instance. you don’t positively address the matter of your own accord (by choice I imagine), but when asked questions you have displayed a tendency more than once to offer flippant remarks. It would be better if you did not do this.

    Allah forgive your shortcomings and ours and guide us all to what is most pleasing to Him.

    • h says:

      BaarakAlah feek – well written – constructive feedback.
      May Allah forgive all of us..

    • Sara says:

      that would distract him from his current goal…of bringing the understanding of the Quran to the masses

      • O H says:

        As if such issues are separate from the message of the Qur’an and the deen?! Infact knowledge and analysis of such issues is well rooted in the Qur’an and this is pretty clear to whoever has studied the history of the Prophet’s and their struggle against transgressors. This would boost the understanding of the Qur’an to the masses as it’s very relevant to our times and we could relate the current affairs of the Ummah with the ayaat of the Qur’an. Avoiding such discussions is a distraction from a comprehensive & contemporary understanding and application of the Qur’an.

        I am a big fan of NAK myself but this is an area in which many of the speakers can improve. It doesn’t change the fact that he is a source of much goodness for the Ummah.

        Alhamdulillaah we all have been blessed with many shuyookh/speakers so each of us should take the various aspects of the deen from different speakers depending on their strengths and areas of expertise as NAK himself has urged his audience. I personally benefit immensely from his tafseer work but when it comes to political matters, oppression of the Ummah, activism, etc I would prefer other speakers. This is the same when it comes to issues of fiqh, etc.

        May Allaah Subhana wa ta ‘ala enable him to benefit the Ummah even more and reward him greatly for his efforts, Ameen.

  38. Omar Ibrahim says:

    Assalamu ‘Alaykum Akhi,

    It is refreshing to hear from you in this way. Though your lectures are wide spread and they are certainly one of the first things that had brought me closer to the quran they certainly will make someone like myself feel far away. Written word has a different impact I suppose.

    I want to say that I do not think you give yourself enough credit because the word of Allah is the greatest thing we have to guide to Islam and to build a strong ummah, along with the sunnah of our messenger peace be upon him of course. What I mean is that few speak about the quran the way that you do, and to be honest, few can. I think this is one thing that is prevalent in our day and age, a lack of acknowledgement of who of us Allah has bestowed with what.

    Of course the internet creates a false sense of community so I pray Allah protects all of us from its fitnah.

    I had longed to reach out to you and to join you at Bayyinnah but it seems Allah had other plans for me. I still believe insha’allah that we will be able to meet and work together someday, however. I have continued to pursue my studies of language and the quran as I see no other course as being more honorable.

    The prophet peace be upon him encouraged us to tell those we love that we love them. It was you who introduced me to Sheikh al-Sha’rawy and his genius (being Egyptian, I’m somewhat embarrassed at myself), and I continually study him to this day. I have also discovered a gem of knowledge by the name of Sheikh Sa’d al-Kamaly from Morocco , and I must say that him, you and sheikh Sha’rawy are among those I love most in the path of Allah, at least from our most modern scholars and students of knowledge, though I have yet to meet any of you! Well I actually met you once in New York, but it was a fleeting encounter.

    In any case I wish you and yours the very best, and I hope to read more from you insha’allah.

    Salam

  39. Tiya from Indonesia says:

    I hope that one day I can study Quran in Bayyinah institute :) aamiin

  40. Irshad says:

    Jazakallah Ustadh Nouman. Your written words had a larger impact on me than the spoken ones :-) Because the subject is relevant to my life as well, in its own little capacity. For me, these were the two highlights:

    1. “….it was wrong, self-righteous and insensitive……I’m actually not reaching out to ‘students of knowledge’. I’m reaching out to the public….who haven’t been brought up in a traditional (learning) environment.
    2. “….Fame is part of my sustenance (and test) from Allah. I may not deserve this position, but I am in it, and should thus figure out the best way to leverage it to serve a good cause”

    Jazakallahu Khairan for delivering this clarification to me in your own way…connected and personalized. As one brother said, Insha Allah we wil take a family selfie in Jannah!

  41. Meraj Shaikh says:

    JazakAllahu Khayr Usthad Nouman Ali Khan,

    I hope the Muslims didn’t say the negatives

  42. wa ‘alaikum ssalm w rahmatullah

    Alhumdulillah, You have said ‘everything’ that i wanted to hear/read by a famous public speaker and a well-known ‘public figure’ regarding their fame.

    BarakAllahu feek, may Allah accept every effort you put in learning, teaching and preaching His deen, and may He (the one void of all evil) purify our intentions. Ameen

  43. umbudimary says:

    Jzk. My brother was part of your first bayyinah student batch and I heard many beautiful things.
    I pray for Allah to keep you sincere to Him alone. Truly He has guided you to this and may He bless you and your family.

    I think its also so important to be reminded that no speaker has perfect. And that’s simply an unrealistic expectation we are prone to developing.

  44. Noor-e-Hira says:

    Walaikum assalam! Very nice article and a reminder for all of us.

    Thanks so much and may Allah increase you in His way. Ameen!

  45. Nabila says:

    Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh brother Nouman,

    It was very enlightening to read your article. May Allah (swt) reward you for all the work that you do with Allah’s help. Just prior to Eid, an elderly person was trying to warn me about you and I was obliged to at least listen. Her main point of concern was that why don’t you speak about ‘Aqeedah’ in each and every lecture of yours. I personally that of it as a ridiculous request, because every lecture has a different topic. But she kept on insisting that all speakers all around the world must only talk about ‘Aqeedah’ due to it’s immense importance. But Alhamdulillah, now I know why not everyone talks about ‘Aqeedah’ in detail. This article is perfectly timed and may Allah (swt) preserve and increase your honor in this dunya and akhira both, Ameen. May Allah (swt) put immense barakah in your work, Ameen.

  46. Mahmoud says:

    A.aleikum brother,

    I always admired your work and I wish I will benefit from it insha alah. Just to comments on what you said regarding being silent on political views, for examples what Israel doing to Gaza to condemn and aware muslims ragarding this issue I don’t think one have to be experts. When Allah make a person leader of the ummah or scholar they have more responsibility to wards the ummah if you see some one opressing some one else even if they are non believe you have to stop it by action or by addressing about it, just like Arab leaders if you are silent about muslim being oppressed then you will be the same as them.

    May Allah accept our good deeds and forgive our short coming.

  47. Mahmoud says:

    One more thing I would like to say even If I don’t agree on certain point with you this will not make me to hate you or not to benefits from your great work. I always love you for the sake of Allah.
    Jazakumulah khair

  48. Ameen says:

    May Allah give numan Ali Khan steadfastness on the truth, may He purify his intentions always, may He accept from him.

  49. Ahmad Abdallah Toure says:

    Mash’Allah! like everyone else i will just make du’a for you, that Allah grants guidance and happiness in your live and your loved ones. I listen to many scholars all around the world but the special thing that made me more curious about your lectures was your sense of humor and how it directly hits us(young adults). Once again May The Almighty keeps you safe and your loved ones. Amiiin

  50. sahul hameed says:

    Enjoyed reading your thoughts – frank and humble. God bless.

  51. Its a very long artical to read. Could you please have a audio or video lecture of this?

    • Sara says:

      do you think the world revolves around you?

      Dont make selfish requests

      Everything in life must be win/win….not just what ever is convenient for you

      • I’ve heard many lectures of Brother Nouman and many of them are on youtube. So I’ve just made a request if it could be possible for him to have a video or audio lecture on same could help. In support to my request I would like to make a point that things can be easily remembered if they are seen or heard. I’m not being selfish, it could help others.

  52. Nasy says:

    Jazaka Allah khayraa, please write more of these in the future :)

  53. Melanie says:

    Your honesty was refreshing..I have never been one of those cult of personality type people !!
    People are all flawed.
    Actually, I have had you as a teacher in both Bayyinah and Quran Intensive and your style was completely different each time..both times beneficial..Alhamdulilah
    Thank you for writing this article..

  54. Here is my observation about Usthadh Nouman Ali Khan:

    I have been following the lectures of NAK for years and I have greatly benefited from them. And I sincerely ask Allah to bless bother NAK for all the good he has done.

    Initially, when NAK was not so famous, he used to come and give lectures/seminars without any pressure. Whenever he would talk, it would be straight and it would directly affect my heart. However, recently, when NAK become famous, NAK changed his dress and also his bread. He trimmed his beard and and now he always appears in suit and pant (I may be hated for this but I am one of those Muslims who is greatly concerned about the length of beard and length of pant; after all our prophet and righteous predecessors were concerned about them). With the change of appearance, I also feel that NAK now unnecessarily tries to make his audience laugh. Also probably because of fame and because of speaking on response to public demand, NAK lost the natural aura and the direct way he used to have while giving talks before. NAK’s talks are still beneficial, but I miss his old appearance and the talks of his fame-less days, which were much effective on the hearts.

    • Sara says:

      do you have any other requests? would you like some coffee with that maybe?

      What else should we change to suit your needs, your excellency?

    • O H says:

      Assalamu alaykum.

      The Beard and pant length is not insignificant but nor is the negative assumption you have made. Infact the latter could be far worse! The correlation you have made between his fame and beard/pant length is quite absurd. Plus how do you know that he tries to make the audience laugh just to get more fame? It could be that he is forced to do that to prevent boredom and hence motivate the audience time to time. A speaker who fails to understand his audience is bound to be ineffective & so as long as he fine tunes his approach in a manner which isn’t unislamic, it’s a praiseworthy trait.

      Btw wearing a suit is better than turning up in a t-shirt, hoodie like some other speakers do so long as Isbal is avoided.

      The only worry I have of NAK and many other speakers is that the US is not a place conducive for speaking the haqq for obvious reasons.

  55. abahe says:

    jazakallah khairan katsiran :)

  56. Jannatun Naayeem says:

    As salamu alikum brother Nouman.I want 2 listen all of your lectures in a day.it is so addictive;seems like i want 2 know all d things at a moment..your knowledgeable talk is like that..no one can reject this in whose heart has fear of Allah.
    Can you do something for India Pakistan & Bangladesh about d Arabic language.
    May Allah blessed you.

  57. Sayeeda says:

    Assalam Alaikum wa rahmataullahi wa barkatuhu.
    Brother Nouman , just wanted you to know. We have a small woman’s madrasah in Bangalore, India catering mainly to poor women who have no access to the Internet and who don’t understand English either. It’s a run by a group of women who are not formally trained alimas but have a passion to teach .Saturday is “dars day” and open to the general public. I cannot count the number of times we simply translated one of your lectures to Urdu ( word for word) and delivered the dars. And alhamdulillah , each one of those was a roaring success. May this be a thawab jaariyah for you and may Allah swt bless you and your family and give you the strength to continue this amazing work ! Ameen !

    • Sister says:

      Assalamualaikum

      Have you heard of Dr. Farhat Hashmi? Her lectures from her institute AlHuda are available Urdu and very effective as she speaks to the hearts of south asian women. Even if you just proadcast her lectures in your dars in Bangalore it could be really effective. Just an idea. May Allah bless you and your work with the womens madrasah.

      • Sayeeda says:

        Wa alaikum sala wa rahmatullahi .
        Yes indeed , we know of Dr Farhat Hashmi and we are all her virtual students.She is an amazing Ustadha , may Allah preserve her. Ameen. Her lectures formed the basis of our Urdu Quran classes . And yes , we have relied on her too for the Saturday dars. Jazakallha khair for your duas , Ameen. May Allah swt give us all the strength to do whatever we can for His deen. Ameen.

    • Sara says:

      thats amazing…May Allah bless you

    • O H says:

      Heard Dr Israr Ahmed is also quite good. I believe Br Nouman Ali Khan is his student.

  58. Sara says:

    I think the reason people love Ustad Nouman Ali Khan and other sheikhs such as Yasir Qadhi and Bilal Philips, is because they explain things. So many people are just told to pray and to fast without being given any “wisdom” with the advice.

    The youth want to know why they have to do something

    And I wont lie, my mp3 player is filled with lectures from NAK and Yasir Qadhi……I like to listen to thinkers who make me think

  59. Malak says:

    So much I had on my mind reading this, but after the last very very beautifully written lines.. I can ONLY say … THANK YOU!

  60. za says:

    This made me cry…..we human beings are too foolish.and ignorant…may allah reward nauman ali khan for his work.

  61. Faiza says:

    Ustaad Nouman! I love you for Allah’s sake….

  62. zara mariah says:

    Mashallah ….!!! having such a great fame hiz just down to earth ….!!! i wish to b hiz student ….!!!! :)

  63. Assalamu Alaikum. I enjoyed reading your inspiring expressions. In the present world one has to be careful in every aspect of life. Taking people together for peace and making this world a beautiful place to live in us the biggest noble task.

  64. Madeeha says:

    Pray to Allah & keep going !…..Best of luck !

    Allah is with us all…InshaAllah

  65. taimoor says:

    i just want to thank you (nouman ali khan) for your youtube lectures.
    You have such a great understanding of human psychology….i have never been influenced by any religious leader or scholar so much that i got by your lectures…..

  66. Noman Ali says:

    Sir, Noman Ali Khan l wondered to see and read you with such spirits in America, so plz pray for me…. And l have no more words to express my feelings for you….

  67. Asalaamu Alaikum.
    Brother Nouman, May Allah bless you for all your efforts in spreading your knowledge of the wisdoms of the Quraan.
    It makes me sit back and ponder over my life and strive to do better.

  68. Edris says:

    Asalaamoalikum Nouman ali khan, I seen you couple times at the reviving islamic spirit convention. Just wanted to say your different than the other lecturers you always walk through the bazaar so humbly. Nobody realizes it’s you because they would never expect you to walk among everyone else. Mashallah keep it up you.

  69. E. M says:

    Thanks for everything Mr. Nouman Ali Khan! I hope I see you in Jannah with my family, and talk about all your YouTube lectures and so forth. #keepdoingwhatyou’redoing

    E

  70. Syed says:

    AoA
    Please send me the letter

  71. Parveen says:

    I am proud of you son

  72. Sue Hashim says:

    You have done a very good job. Keep it up ustadh!

  73. Sohail Arif says:

    Ma sha Allah.. What a wonderful read. Ustadh Nouman Ali khan clarifies things beautifully. I listen to his talks. This was the first time that I ‘read’ him, so to say.

    Good work Muslim Matters :)

  74. Zahid says:

    Masha Allah
    DOING GREAT WORK FOR THE SERVICE OF ISLAM.

  75. […] tahun 2014, ustadz Nouman Ali Khan menulis artikel di Muslim Matters yang berjudul “About Fame, a Personal Life, and Responsibility“. Berikut ini kami akan coba menerjemahkan tulisan tersebut dengan sebaik […]

  76. R47 says:

    Islam scholars and qari are totally milking the poor Muslims. They love this capitalist system that totally enables them to flourish in the dunya and reap rewards for a gift Allah has given them, that really should be used as a ticket for the Aakirah. I may not be the most perfect or knowledgeable Muslim. But I will never charge a dollar to give you dawah. I refuse to spoil what little I have, for a trivial worldly gain. The Quran al Karim does embellish on these points, and the evil selling the deen is also covered in a hadith.
    If you are a true alim you would stand up and say death to Bayt Al Saud. And you would prefer to liberate the holy lands from the racist tyrant friends of the athiest occult capitalist oppressors.

  77. sage says:

    May Allah bless you and your family Jannah
    Dont stop spread goodness and your knowledge about qur’an
    The world needs more people like you
    especially for a mualaf like me.

    Thank you for all of the knowledge about qur’an
    I’m still learning about all of it, and pray to Allah..may Allah give me a lot of knowledge about the quran before my time is end in this dunya.

    Barakallah my teacher…

  78. Sara says:

    To be honest, anyone who listens to his lectures can easily pick up on his positions regarding what he discussed above. Its sad that you try to do something good and get so much judgement from others. It’s sad that he has to explain this, although I understand why. But I feel like this should be obvious to the average human. HE never labeled himself a sheikh or mufti or some kind of scholar. Ustadth means teacher. Just because he got a mouse doesn’t mean now he has to change himself to be arole model or something. He is who he is, another Muslim trying his best and doing something great for islam. His intentions are between him and Allah. To expect everything and perfection from someone is just ridiculous, so I’m sorry he had to explain that but some people really need to stop judging. May Allah swt bless him in his cause.

  79. Sameegah says:

    … Our Creator calls on all the time in so many ways… sometimes through difficulty, sometimes ease, sometimes it’s just a sudden feeling of clarity you can’t explain, sometimes through beautiful words of another… they all all messages and calls unto Him. Masha Allah I listen to your lectures often as well as many others… don’t underestimate those nuggets of wisdom that can be acquired through our parents too! May Allah keep out hearts open to receive the messages Ameen

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