"Daddy.....I want to be famous"
How many a child in the world today utters those all too familiar words?
We live in a world where increasingly children are taken in by stars and celebrities such that becoming a doctor, a pilot, a fireman seems so passé.
Who wouldn't want to live the lives of the rich and famous and have millions of fans in adoration?
Having returned back to the UK from a stint abroad, I have been astounded by how celebrity and fame, in particular, has become part of the national psyche.
There is nothing more which exemplifies this phenomena than The X Factor which I believe is currently one (if not the most) popular show on national television.
For the uninitiated, it follows the lives of singing hopefuls as they rise from humble origins and battle it out in an attempt to win a multi million pound record contract and all the glamour and glitz that brings.
The X Factor is like a juggernaught which steamrollers everything in it's way. It's on TV, it's online, it's on the radio, it's in the papers and if by a slight quirk of fate you manage to avoid all the above media you still end up meeting people whose first line in a conversation is "OMG did you watch the X Factor on Saturday?"
The impact on children of such a barrage in the media is immense and who can really blame them for being sucked in when everyone else seems to have entered the black hole.
They are taught that if they work hard and believe in themselves, then one day Simon will believe in them and will lead them to the promised land of celebrity and adulation.
People will want to talk to them, write about them and (incredibly) be like them so why would anyone not want the trappings of fame?
Surely this is something which we should all be aspiring to?
In contrast, The Messenger of Allah
taught us to be in this world as a stranger
and to be in this world but not *of* this world for it is a merely a stepping stone to something of much more enduring and greater value.
How can one compare the riches in this world to the riches of the Garden?
How can one compare the success of this world with the success of having crossed the bridge over Hell on the Day of Judgement?
How can one compare the fame of people in this world when the entire heavens and earth mourns the death of a believer when they pass away?
I am reminded of the comic line from that Carry On film many moons ago:"Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!"
What we (and our children) need to learn is that being famous amongst people is an irrelevance but being famous with the One who created us is the ultimate true reality!!
Being talked about in the presence of angels as such a such a servant is greater adulation than countless followers on facebook or twitter.
Working hard and striving one's utmost ultimately will lead to riches and a life of contentment but we must not concern ourselves with the outcome of our endeavours from the outset but rather satisfy ourselves with simply journeying along the path.
Perhaps in time once this realisation sinks in, our children will shun the fame of this world and say:"Daddy.....I want to go to