A performer needs an audience, a merchant needs a customer, a YouTube hijabista needs likes from her fans, and a politician needs his voters. Who created the "Islamic" celebrities, the corrupted leaders and the corrupted environment? We do, as the audience and the supporters, because we are looking at the exterior, the branding, and the presentation but not the quality. We buy into the personality but not the product, the label but not the ingredients. If everything we do is decorated only on the outside and have no core values and principles, we create hypocrisy, lies and cheating. This commercialisation of Islam is a reflection of ourselves and what we support. If we, as the audience and the buyers, had ikhlas, all this will never happen. We would look for real benefits and real follow-ups.
How many of us have paid to attend mega Islamic conventions to say that we have been there and feel good about it, but have no recollection of what the speakers actually talked about? How many listen to Islamic speakers for the love of the scholar and not the love of Islam? How many of us openly encourage hijabistas to pose even more make up tutorials and then praise and admire them like celebrities? If their intention and our intention was never one of akhirah, can the outcome be for akhirah?
So don't be surprised by what is happening. Those engaging in it are wrong, but we are also collectively responsible for elevating their status to become influencers and role models, and if so, we have no right to be disappointed when the Islamic mask slips off and the dunia in their hearts is exposed. But don't talk about them, worry about ourselves first.
The ship of Islamic commercialisation has sailed, but remember that you don't have to be on that ship. Make sure you stay on the shore.
If you die you will not be questioned about the faults of the speaker or the seller, their intentions or their mistakes. But when you die and are standing in front of Allah, you will be questioned about what you did, how you applied the knowledge and what you used the product for. This is what is absent from us: the purification of our niyyah. If our intention is for Allah, all the above would not have happened. We will not be busy with what others do or say, but we will be busy about our own words and actions. May Allah give us ikhlas in the seen and unseen and what we do.
PS: this article is not intended in any way to undermine any of those who are doing what they do for the sake of Allah, and in fact there are many good scholars out there who carry on the task of spreading the message of Allah without expecting any financial reward.