Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,
When I first sat down in the Reminder chair, I decided that I was going to say it like it is. I didn't want to bring up the issues that were repeated over and over again at Jummah but rather I wanted to talk about all the stuff people kept putting under the rug. I figured that if going to travel down this path, people may end up hating me and that was a risk that I was willing to take to speak the truth.
In Season 1 (Culture vs Islam), I talked about how parents who barely practice their religion drop off their kids at the Islamic school and hope for a miracle from the volunteer staff. In Season 2, I will telling sisters "that's not Hijab" and that if you are going to spend the effort putting on Hijab, then at least do it properly so you get reward for it. My friend told me that "your shooting yourself in the foot if you put out this video" and "don't do it" but I wasn't here to make friends and tell people what they wanted to hear. I believe people are more receptive if you can talk about sensitive subjects in a nice way and Alhamdulillah it worked. In the new series of Ask Baba Ali, I am going to be even more direct and if it means losing the majority of our viewers or all my friends on facebook or everyone leaving myspace, so be it. I am willing to take that risk.
If the price of making a positive difference in the world means that I become the person everyone hates, I'm cool with that. We as an Ummah are suffering because we have become immune to things that take us away from Islam and nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room BUT everyone knows there is an elephant in the room. I understand that many people have to be politically correct because of the politics going on in the local community but I have the luxury of being the random guy on the Internet that is speaking to everyone (not anyone specific) so I can say whatever I want. And because I don't care what people think of me, I can really say the truth and be direct about it.
Did I think these controversial videos would be accepted by the Muslim Community? No way. But my point wasn't to be come popular or to have 5000 friends on facebook or to be treated like a celebrity. My point was to speak the truth and that's it. For those who know me, I'm not even a fan of the spotlight and I cringe when I get compliments. Even when Ummah Films first started, I was meant to be behind the camera (not in front of it) but for whatever reason, I ended up in the Reminder chair and the rest is history.
Anyways, with the success of the video series, I started getting invited to one city after another. Next thing I know, I have traveling around the world and with each city I get more and more invitations while I start working less and less on Ummah Films. Until today, I am consistently getting invites and really, this whole thing to me it quite funny because I have no idea what they expect me to do. Its not like I sing or juggle or have a special talent that is going to awe the audience. I'm just a normal Muslim brother who sits in a chair and says his 2 cents about this and that subject. What you see in the videos is not an act...its me being me. Sometimes I'm silly and funny and sometimes I'm serious and conservative. I'm just trying to get a point across and Alhamdulillah my method seems to be working.
My point is that my intention was never to become popular with Ummah Films or have fans or to spend every other weekend traveling from city to city. My goal was to pass a message using the video camera with the hope that I can make a positive difference in this world
. For the last six months, so much of my time has been consumed traveling to events that I haven't had time to do anything for Ummah Films. Thus, I decided to hang up my mic and I'm going back to doing videos. Now, I'm not saying that I won't ever go on stage again but rather I will do events from time to time but nothing like what I have been doing for the last six months. Some of my fellow artist may think that I'm crazy for my decision, but again my intention was never to say what I said in my videos to be in the spotlight or to become this celebrity or to even make a career out of all of this. I have no inspiration for that. If anything, I hope one day to one day become a motivational speaker to inspire the youth to be better Muslims InshAllah. That's it.
All this popularity is nothing more than a trial for me and just like everything else in the world, it is only temporary. I hope to go back to filmmaking and start the new series InshAllah on 2/1/2008 and soon after, I hope to work on the first featured filmed by Ummah Films.
(I have agreed to certain events so I will fulfill my end and go to them InshAllah)