Be Careful About Who You Look Up To

Man alone, sitting in grief in Turkish Mosque
Man sitting on bench near Mosque, Turkey Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

As Muslims, we must be careful about choosing the role models we look up to. We will actually be unsuccessful in this life and in the Aakhirah (Hereafter) by spending too much time reading about and feeling inspired by those who our religion doesn’t praise. Therefore, we should focus on the role models of Islam, the main example being our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31)

We learn from this that by following the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we are showing our love for our Lord. We also learn that by doing this, Allah will forgive us for our sins. Therefore, instead of looking for role models in people we see in society, who may be in a position of authority or famous, we should understand that it is much better for us to focus on the role models we have in Islam. 

In a hadith, Anas bin Malik (RA) reported that:

A bedouin came to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said to him, “When will be the Hour (the Day of Resurrection)?” Prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked, “What preparation have you made for it?” The bedouin said, “Only the love of Allah and His Messenger (SAW).” Then the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “You will be with those whom you love.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This is a lesson for us to be careful about whom we take as our role models. We should reflect on whether we are spending too much time in this temporary life reading, watching, caring about, focusing on, and looking up to a people who are not those who will help us improve as believers.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“And (remember) the Day when the wrongdoer (oppressor, polytheist etc.) will bite on his hand, he will say: ‘Oh! If only I had chosen the Messenger’s path. Ah! Woe to me! If only I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (the Quran) after it had come to me.’” (Qur’an 25:27)

We should all ponder on this verse as there are so many things to learn from it. Allah tells us that the wrongdoers will say that they wish they had followed the way of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). We must work hard in this life to try to make sure we don’t end up being the wrongdoers. We need to sincerely look up to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as our role model and follow his example.

We also understand from this verse that the wrongdoers will say on that Day that they wish they had not befriended those that caused them to go astray. This is an extremely powerful reminder for us all to be very wary of who we choose to look up to and follow.