When it comes to being an artist or a creative, or any professional, having a lot of fans or supporters isn’t an indicator of talent, at all (just like having a lot of supporters in life isn’t an indicator of your character). Often, having many who hold you in high regard is simply the result of a popularity contest. (Where the unpopular one doesn’t get a lot of backers, of course.)
This reality is **of course** unIslamic, and can never be pleasing to Allah, s.w.t. If Allah only looks at a person’s character, efforts, attitude, heart, etc., how on earth are we going to then use a person’s popularity as a barometer for supporting him or her?
Also: In order to build our Ummah, we need to go back to supporting/celebrating/employing people based on their skills/talents (not** by their popularity, lineage, “wasta”/connections, and other baseless traits). We need to do away with the “well, he’s the son of so-and-so, she’s the daughter of so-and-so” mentality, as well as the discrimination that occurs on the basis of skin color, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, etc., and other traits.
This discrimination against people based on unfair criteria is a big reason why this Ummah is behind the other world communities, in my opinion. (Though this reality may sting, a little, Western countries (like the U.S.) are much better, morally than the Muslim Ummah today in that their people (especially their employers) don’t discriminate against potential employees in any manner—to a much greater extent than Muslim countries/employers. This golden trait of theirs is undoubtedly a reason to their advancement in all areas of academic/professional life (the sciences, art, government, etc).
(This reality is like, tear-jerking sad, of course, because Muslim nations are supposed to be the most advanced…the most morally upright…the most fair and just in dealing with other people. Because Islam commands Muslims to treat people based on their deen and piety, and on their qualifications/skills when it comes to employment/work (which is a part of being fair and just). This thing of prejudice (whether on the basis of race/ethnicity, how wealthy a person is, popularity, gender, etc.) is especially repugnant, because Allah s.w.t. expelled Satan from His mercy when Satan said “I am better than Adam; You created me from fire, and he from clay.” Believing that a person is better than another person because of origins/where they’re from, like Satan did (a.k.a. things they never decided, that they have no control of—and that ultimately don’t even matter) is no worse than believing in the superiority of someone based on his popularity, his/her gender, and etc.)
So, to finish this post with my first thought (going back to that), people (and especially* Muslims) should be fair with dealing with others. We should look at what people have, inside. This is a big part of what it means to be a Muslim…and moreover, a human.
And (to go back to my first point, again) having a lot of people who support you (whether by employing you, cheering you… following you on Twitter, perhaps) is not a measure of the quality of your work/what you do/who you are/how much taqwa you have, inside, at all. In many cases, it is simply a measure of your popularity. (Popularity in itself is not a bad thing, though, of course. I mean, Muhammad s.a.w. is the most popular person in the Ummah—possibly even in the world. It’s just when your popularity overshadows/becomes more important than who you are—your heart, your skills, your talents, your qualifications, your work ethic, your good attitude, your what-have-you—that ugliness and unfairness show up. In stark contrast, the prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. is praised and held in high esteem and loved and revered because he has a heart of gold…correction—an abnormal heart. His heart was absolutely beautiful in a way that is not normal. And because he is as-Sadiq al-Ameen (the Truthful, the Trust-worthy one.) And because his kindness and supreme akhlaq (character) was never outdone. And, of course, because Allah s.w.t. chose him to be a prophet.)
May allah make us all socially conscious people in that we lend support, friendship, etc. to the people who deserve it, most (which are the righteous people, of course)…But may He also make us socially conscious in dunya (wordly) matters by helping us lend support to people based on their (worldly) skills, talents, their work-ethics, good attitudes, and etc. (because, after all, this dunya is our residence, at the moment, and we need to make the most if it while we’re all here. A great way to make the most of it is by being fair-minded and non-prejudiced)..
As salam alaikum wa rahmat Allah! Jazak/i Allahu kheira for reading this long post…