The Fear of Fame: A Lost Characteristic

The scholars and the righteous of this Ummah always feared fame and becoming well-known amongst the people. They would dislike for their name to be mentioned much and you can see one of them fleeing from the people as if they were a fitnah (trial), whilst at other times you can see one get up and leave the circle of knowledge which he was conducting because the numbers became too many.




Below here are some amazing statements from our predecessors that allude to just how much they held onto sincerity and how much they fled from fame and from being spoken about.



Ibn Mas’ood (radhiallahu `anhu): ‘(O people!) Be the springs of knowledge and the lamps of guidance! Stick to your homes and be like a light in the night, revivers of hearts, wearing worn-out clothes, you will then be known by the people of the heavens and be hidden among the people of the earth.’


A man said to Bishr: ‘Advice me.’ So he said, ‘Let your mention be unknown…’ And Hushib would be found crying saying, ‘My name has reached the Masjid!’


Both Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and al-Hasan used to say, ‘It is enough of an evil that a man should be pointed at in matters of Deen or Dunya (i.e. out of fame), except him whom Allah has protected. Righteousness lies here’ and he’d point to his chest three times.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: ‘A slave who loves fame has not been truthful to Allah.’


‘Aasim: ‘If more than four people came and sat around Abul-‘Aaliyah, he would get up and leave.’


Dawud al-Ta’i used to say: ‘Flee from people just like you would flee from a lion.’

Imam Ahmad: ‘Glad tidings be to the one whose mention has been hidden by Allah!’ And he would say, ‘I wish for something that will never be… I wish to be in a place devoid of other people.’


Dhul-Nun: ‘Being pleased with being around people is from the signs of bankruptcy’


Muhammad ibn al-‘Alaa ibn Musayyib from Basra wrote to Muhammad Yusuf al-Asbahani saying, ‘O my brother, whoever loves Allah loves that he remain unknown (to the people).’


Bishr ibn al-Harith: ‘I do not know a single man who loves fame except that he loses his religion and becomes disgraced. No-one who has fear of Allah, loves to be known amongst the people.’


He (rahimahullah) also said: ‘A man who loves that everyone should know him, will never find the sweetness of the Hereafter.’


Yazid ibn Abi Habib: ‘Indeed from the fitnah of a scholar is that speech should become more pleasing to him than silence and listening.’


Abu Huraira (radhiallahu `anhu) used to say: ‘Were it not for an ayah in the Book of Allah, I would not have narrated to you people (ayah below):

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَى مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ أُولَـئِكَ يَلعَنُهُمُ اللّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ

‘Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.’ [al-Baqarah: 158]


Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyyadh: ‘If you can get by without being known, then do so. What does it bother you that people will not praise you, and what does it bother you that you may be blameworthy in the sight of people if in the Sight of Allah you are praiseworthy?’



‘Abdullah ibn Abbas: ‘Indeed Allah has slaves who have been silenced by the fear of Allah although they are eloquent in speech.’


He (rahimahullah) wouldn’t allow more than three people to sit in his gathering. One day, more than three came and he saw his gathering had increased so he stood up in fear and said, ‘By Allah, we have been taken and we do not even feel it! By Allah, if the leader of the faithful, ‘Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) were to see someone like me sitting in this gathering he would make me stand up and say ‘The like of you is not worthy of this!’ It is reported that when he sat to narrate hadeeth, he would sit in fear and terror. If a cloud passed over him, he would become silent until it passed then he’d say, ‘I feared that it contained stones with which we would be struck with.’


When Bishr al-Hafi abandoned narrating hadeeth in a gathering, the people said to him: ‘What are you going to say to your Lord when He asks you ‘Why did you abandon narrating to the people the statements of My Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam)?!’ He (rahimahullah) said, ‘I will say, O my Lord. You have commanded me to do it with sincerity but I did not find that in me.’



About muslim

Me a housewife...a learner about islam....trying to practise islam ...inshaallah

3 comments on “The Fear of Fame: A Lost Characteristic

  1. This is really needful article…Keep ur good work…..

  2. Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later.

  3. Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for blogging. I will definitely be coming back to your site. Keep up the good posts

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