I must confess to often feeling a sense of complete and utter frustration – I’m sure we all do, those of us who try to change the world via the pen as opposed to the sword (although not condemning the sword either, when it’s used in a just way, since the world is composed of peace as well as of war and thus we naturally need to engage in both in order to survive). More often than not we can write something incredibly interesting concerning a pressing issue or other, containing a detailed analysis or commentary on some event or happening, only to see it get literally 20 views at best – while a selfie by Kim Kardashian can get 800,000 likes. It’s disheartening just how fickle and inattentive people can be.
It’s funny; I rattle off a quick tweet on some trivial matter and see it get about 20 retweets, no matter how frivolous or ridiculous it may be (not that I’m the sort of person to be frivolous about serious issues). Yet a detailed article on an important issue? One retweet, one like. People have the attention span of a wooden post.
The age of social media has resulted in a travesty of skim-reading. Yet I am by no means discouraged. ‘Likes’, ‘views’ and whatnot count for nothing if you have sacrificed your message for the sake of acceptance at the hands of the masses. To be frank, in most places in the world the majority of people will never care much for important issues or deep thought – they’re too busy satiating their desires to temporarily escape their (self-imposed) miserable reality to care about their purpose: the worship of their Creator.
The goal is not to get ‘people’ in general to like us – listen closely, o Muslims. If you stick to Allah’s religion, enjoin what is good and forbid and shun what is evil, you will always get haters and vitriolic morons opposing you.
Of course it may be tempting, when your imaan is weak and you’re raised in the day and age of clickbait, to avoid talking about ‘awkward’ or ‘sensitive’ issues (which in reality are only ‘awkward’ and ‘sensitive’ because it’s what the monoculture would have you believe) and tone your Islam down (directly or indirectly) for the sake of gaining ‘acceptance’ and extra retweets. Yet not only will this lower you in the eyes of Allah (often to the point of expelling you from the deen altogether) but ignoring issues does not make them disappear. Rather, it makes them either more pressing or get worse.
So do not be disheartened if you are truly sticking to the deen (or even if you’re a non-Muslim and trying to speak the truth on an important issue) and few listen to you. Don’t cater to the characterless mass. Write directly for a sincere, thinking audience, no matter how small it may be.
Even some of the Prophets themselves (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them) had few followers. So what makes you, an ordinary yet sincere human being, assume you will be any more successful if you write sincerely without fear of censure?
Seek quality, not quantity, and the reward is yours. As always, may Allah guide us all.