A Simple Thought – Friday, 12th February 2021

Speaking to express or impress?

In a time when everyone is simply talking, and not just talking but bragging, I am quite clear that the new generation makes me and the likes of me, very uncompetitive, almost irrelevant.  As the true power of social media, the negative one, I mean, comes fully the fore, there can be no more illusions about the rogue nature of content being put out there. Their thoughts, shaped by a new internet culture, are to shout out each time they feel something, or to announce everytime they think they have done something good.  Hence, we now witness, self proclaimed influencers, preachers of sort, who post gallant and grand thoughts, expectant of instantaneous rewards of praise and bouquets.  But this is more about me, than them as I do concede that, all things being equal, my generation is a little off the mark in many ways now.  Could it be the changed social setup or the overhauled Madaaris, the erosion of the mother tongue, or all of them, that have effectively cast a very unfamiliar mould to today’s youth and their understanding about showing off, self-praise and self-bloating? I remain to wonder and give them the benefit of the doubt, considering they really have to fight it out to stay in the mix, whether in a career or socially.  Allah (SWT) made us to be the most excellent o creatures and, in my most obsolete of views, I still contend that our actions and our words should aspire for his pleasure, and not for mundance acceptance, which is short lived.  I remind myself how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of the unimaginable humungous universe and its inhabitants, such that my best qualities would just pale out in comparison to my literal status.  ‘Speak to express, not to impress’, was a cardinal rule I remember using to coach yester year public speakers, and I can now see this turned on its head.  May Allah (SWT) protect us from the sin of exhibitionism, for there is no end to that craving, once it takes root in our hearts.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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