Love of Fame and Popularity


(The Harms of the Evil Disease of Hubbul-Jaah and its Cure)

‘ Definition and Harms of Hubbul-Jaah

When a person desires to be wanted and popular amongst people and have a high status in their sight then this is a very dangerous spiritual disease.

It is because of this disease that a person starts rejecting the truth and dislikes criticism. He becomes a slave of the people in his speech and actions and will do anything that will make him accepted in their eyes. He becomes oblivious of what Allah Ta`ala thinks about him and is always mindful of what people are saying and what they think of him.

This leads him to performing acts of worship in front of them, indulging in doubtful and even haraam actions, and he does anything to win their hearts and ward off their criticism, even if it means acting contrary to the Shari’ah and Sunnah.

It is for this very reason the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

“Two hungry wolves let loose on a flock sheep is not so harmful as the love of wealth and fame is to the faith of a Muslim.”

(Narrated by Tirmizi and Nasa`i)

This is because a person suffering from this disease will eventually be put in a situation to sacrifice his Deen in order to please people, and he will give preference to their pleasure over the pleasure of Allah.


Love of fame and desire for greatness and elevation deprives a person of the love of Allah and the bounties of the hereafter.

Allah Ta`ala says: “That abode of the hereafter We shall grant to those who intend not greatness and mischief in the land and the end is best for the righteous.” (Suratul-Qasas; 83)

‘ Is All Fame and Popularity HARAAM?

Hazrat Hakeemul Ummah Mujaddidul Millah, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alaihi) said:

“Only that fame and popularity is harmful to a person’s Imaan which a person makes an effort for to attain. As for that fame and popularity which a person gains without making an effort for and without intending, then this is not harmful rather it is the assistance and support from Allah Ta`ala.

If people harbor jealousy for him or try to trouble or harm him in any way, then Allah Ta`ala strengthens him spiritually in such a way that their annoyance has no effect on him.

Also, Allah Ta`ala manifests to his heart the spiritual elevation which he attains by the peoples’ grievances and grants him the realization of the wisdom behind it all. After this, he actually experiences no annoyance or trouble at all.”

(Anfaas-e-Eesa; Part 1, Pg. 182)

Secondly, there is a certain amount of acceptance in the sight of people which is actually necessary and not harmful or forbidden at all. Imam Ghazali (rahmatullahi alaihi) writes in the Ihyaa:

“There is a certain amount of desire for acceptance and popularity which is necessary for every individual, such as the need for a servant to fulfill his errands, a friend and companion to assist him, a Shaikh or teacher to instruct and guide him, and an authority to ward off trouble-makers and mischief-mongers from him.

So if he desires that he has some status in the heart of his servant which will enable the servant to serve him properly, then this is not wrong.

Or if he wishes that he becomes so accepted in the heart of his companions that they readily assist and support him and show him love and kindness, then this also is not wrong.

Or to desire such an acceptance in the heart of a Shaikh which will enable him to guide and instruct him with care, then this is also not wrong.

Finally, to desire acceptance in the heart of an authority who will defend him from social annoyances is also not wrong at all.

But this should not be done by trying display some quality in you that you do not possess such as piety, abstinence, knowledge, etc.

But if it is done by displaying a quality which already exists or by hiding your sins and shortcomings from him then this is permissible.“

(Ihyaa`ul-Uloom; Vol. 3, Pg. 253)

‘ The Cure and Remedy to the Love of Fame

1.) First of all one should ponder over the fact that if the entire universe praises me and falls to my feet in prostration, all of this will eventually come to an ultimate end with the advent of DEATH. For death is the destroyer of all enjoyments and the remover of all intoxications.

2.) One should ponder over the fact of whose acceptance and love is more beneficial in this world and in the hereafter, the acceptance of the creation or the acceptance of the CREATOR? Therefore, of what use will the praises and acceptance of the creation be if the CREATOR is displeased and aware of one’s hypocrisy?

3.) Ponder over the harms of fame and popularity and the difficulties famous people undergo in their daily lives, such as:

His Deen and Dunya is in danger at all times,

People having jealousy and hatred for them,

People trying to harm them and cause them hurt,

Always being in fear of losing their name and fame,

Always in a strenuous effort to keep their status in the eyes of people.

Hearts change faster than boiling water turns cold. Thus, to be occupied in controlling the hearts and keeping them at a constant state in regards to your status is an unending grief and dilemma that a person is inviting upon himself.

‘ Sayings of the Pious Predecessors

 Hazrat Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpoori (rahmatullahi alaihi) used to give an example of a bride who is adorned and beautified for her husband on her wedding night.

She is adorned so beautifully that all of her friends start praising her in admiration of her beauty. Hearing this, she starts crying aloud due to which all her friends become confused and perplexed saying, “This is strange. We are admiring you and giving you the praises of acceptance and you’re crying? You are supposed to become happy over our words.”

So she says to them, “Your words of praise and acceptance mean nothing until my husband praises and accepts me, then I will truly be certain that I am what you truly say I am!”

Then Hazrat used to cry and say, “Ah! The praises of the creation mean nothing until our beloved CREATOR as accepted us.”

 Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alaihi) said:

“Status is in actuality an imaginative quality that a person possesses in the heart or mind of someone else. It exists only because of the imagination or thought that someone else has for another person.

Now, this means that if a person changes his thoughts and emotions in relation to you then all your status and honor that existed before has now crumbled to ruins! In spite of this, the foolish lover of fame is still happy that people are thinking something of me. This is that love of fame which is harmful.

Explore posts in the same categories: Misc, Razaail, Spiritual Diseases and Their Remedies

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