Masked realities

by Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Whereas Islam absolutely forbids deceit and trickery, contemporary life with its multiple challenges and adversities compels many to adopt the path of lies and pretense, to secure social recognition, professional acclaim or an an uneven advantage over perceived rivals.

Self-promotion is attempting to present yourself to others as an accomplished, capable, smart and skilled person. Self-promotion can be done through face-to-face conversation, on blogs or social media platforms, in public speeches, or even through our mannerisms, posture, speech or dress. Self-promotion is a natural tendency as we like for others to perceive us as having wonderful qualities, such as intelligence and talent – study.com


If we look around today, we may as well spot visible features within the Muslim society that literally con their way through life making others believe what they are, in reality, not. While some self promotion is both necessary and tolerable, the practice of building an entire CV on concoctions, can potentially be dangerous as well as harmful. People who self-promote tend to believe that others will respond to their self-promotion in a favorable manner. Yet, research studies have found the opposite to be true.

Although self-promotion may make the braggart appear more competent, skillful, intelligent and successful, it usually makes them less likable. Self-promotion can make people come across as conceited and annoying to others. In fact, the more people try to make others like them through methods of self-promotion, the more likely others will dislike them – study.com

In the age of knowledge and technology, the currency for social acceptance does seem to be the declaration of one’s voluminous qualifications. And as long as an unlettered society holds one to a high pedestal, one may enjoy the accrued benefits. Yet, for the discerning, and mostly quieter population, it is common knowledge that qualifications are literally on sale with so many online merchants of hope promising academic bliss, that the line between a true qualification and a ‘cowboy qualification’ is getting increasingly blurred.

The most common platform for self promotion is the social media, where likes and followings are harvested in carefully crafted campaigns, that often twist reality in favour of the self promoters. It could be a young boy with no life experience, giving advice in, say, marriage, or an adult masquerading as a highly qualified sage, using self praise and self adoration as their only tools to collect attention. Or those craving for attention who show off their new car or phone, to win an identity war.

In all these cases, the one common factor that unites them is a profound craving for social attention and acceptance. These individuals are probably trying to undo a disturbed childhood or to avenge society for their past miseries.

The forty-fourth sin which will be punished by damnation in Hell is intrigue, deception and failure to observe covenants etc. In the book al-K?fi, Book of Im?n and Kufr, six traditions are mentioned under the chapter, ‘Intrigue, Deception and Breaking covenants.’ Wasa’il ul-Shia records a prophetic tradition saying that we must never cheat or deceive Muslims.

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