Dubai: One of the most popular Islamic scholars on social media, Mufti Esmail Menk is loved across the world by millions of Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
Known for his wit and wisdom as well as for his message of reconciliation, the 44-year-old scholar is particularly popular among young men and women, with more than nine million followers across various social media platforms.
Listed among the 500 most influential Muslims around the world bywww.themuslim500.com, the globetrotting Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe loves to focus more on the common heritage of the humankind rather than concentrating on the differences.
Love, happiness, kindness, self-worth
“I make sure to avoid the conflicts and controversies,” he said as he launched his new book in Dubai on Saturday, a sequel to his hugely popular compilation of quotes Motivational Moments, which came out in 2017.
Published and distributed by a Dubai-based publisher Book Konceptz, Motivational Moments II covers themes such as love, happiness, kindness, self-worth, patience and forgiveness.
“The idea behind the book is to present motivation to people of all faiths, races, and nationalities. Motivation that cuts through the barriers that people have placed between themselves,” said the Mufti, speaking to Gulf News following the book launch.
As a counsellor for more than 20 years, Mufti Menk says he has seen that all human beings, irrespective of their backgrounds, face the same problems — be they financial and family matters or emotional issues, as well as one’s relationship with the Almighty.
“We come together as human beings and we all need same motivations. Irrespective of our religion or belief, we all need happiness, contentment. We all would like some form of encouragement and we would also like to combat the sadness we face daily. So what I do on my social media platforms is to offer some inspirational words and this is what I am doing in the book as well,” he said.
Holding Muslim religious leadership responsible for a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam among both Muslims and non-Muslims, he said he sees a crisis in religious leadership among Muslims.
“One of the reasons I think for this is that we haven’t understood how to reach out to people in a non-judgemental way. Many times we see that people reach out but they are quick in judging others and make people feel bad or useless. They don’t realise that their statements are hurting others,” he said, calling on people to reach out to each other with mutual respect.
‘Focus on common heritage’
Commending the UAE’s initiative to promote tolerance and mutual understanding, Mufti Menk said that humanity has more in common than differences and there is a need to focus more on its common heritage.
“We need people of different faiths and sects to come to an understanding. We don’t need different sects to come together in terms of giving up their ideologies. We have to come to an understanding that what I believe is correct and I will remain with it and others have the right to remain with what they believe is correct,” said the Mufti, who holds a doctorate in social guidance from Aldersgate University.
He said that people can respectfully disagree with each other and continue to propagate what they believe is correct, but they should also allow others to follow whatever they believe is correct.
Urging Muslims to tackle growing Islamophobia with positivity, he said: “There is no quick fix for Islamophobia. We need to continuously and consistently promote the goodness, the tolerance, harmony and positive messages of Islam to prove that those minorities who are perpetrating crimes in the name of Islam are actually not following the true teachings of Islam.”
He called on people to make positive use of social media, urging them to refrain from reacting to a negative situation in a more negative way.
Image: Esmail Menk is seen during the launch of his book “Motivational Moments II”, in Dubai. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News