I have wanted to write the following message many times, but each time was too shy to do it. However, the situation really has become almost unbearable.
Brothers and sisters, when you meet me, PLEASE do not ask for a selfie or picture with me.
I understand that you feel a sense of happiness and/or pride, and would like to share that moment with others. I am touched that you show so much love. At the same time, it is highly awkward for many reasons.
1 Firstly, and without any false humility, I am not worthy of such respect. I am a person just like you, with my faults and sins. If you appreciate something that I say, make du'a for me and my family. Taking a selfie with me will not earn you rewards, and is a potential source of temptation for me and others.
2 Secondly, it feeds into a 'celebrity Shaykh' culture which I truly despise, even if at times all of us fall into aspects of it. People of knowledge are not rock stars or pop icons. They should be respected, yes, but not aggrandized or made into celebrities.
3 Thirdly, almost always, taking a selfie interferes with something more important. Typically someone will come up while questions are being asked, or I am walking to or from an event, and wish to pose with me in a selfie. In order to cater to that one selfie, pausing for many seconds and then typically not getting it right the first time and taking another and another, precious time is lost that should be spent in something better, such as answering someone's question or getting to/from an event. There are times when I've had to stop for a dozen selfies between the car and the lecture hall - it is just not fair for the people waiting for me, or even for me!
Again, I do appreciate your genuine feelings of love, and that is why I have been hesitant to post such a message before. But I do hope you understand. Instead of asking for a picture, make du'a, that will be better for you and for me :).
May Allah bless all of us with humility and sincerity.

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