UAE: Meet the Imam who became a social media influencer with millions of followers

Sheikh Mishary Alafasy is renowned for his beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran and inspires people through his voice and content


Waad Barakat

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Sheikh Mishary Alafasy at the 1 Billion Summit in Dubai in Wednesday. KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad
Sheikh Mishary Alafasy at the 1 Billion Summit in Dubai in Wednesday. KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 12:36 AM

Long before the term ‘influencer’ became popular, Sheikh Mishary Alafasy already imbibed the role and has been “influencing” people with inspirational stories.

Speaking at the 1 Billion Follower Summit in Dubai in Wednesday, Alafasy, who is renowned for his beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran, said he approached his work not just as an Imam but also as a content creator, drawing upon his skills in sound engineering and radio production.

His goal was clear — to benefit and inspire people through his voice and content. His passion for media in his religious content is aimed at bringing about positive change.

Path to success

Sheikh Alafasy's path to success started when some individuals, including the Minister of Endowments of Kuwait, recognised his talent and recorded his Tarawih prayers in 1993. These recordings were initially distributed on cassettes, CDs, and later via the Al-Afasy satellite channel. As the media landscape evolved, Sheikh Alafasy adapted to the changes, embracing new technologies and platforms.

The Al-Afasy channel, launched in 2004, was a trailblazer in its time, akin to today's TikTok channels. Sheikh Alafasy utilised this platform to create short video clips conveying powerful messages. From recitations of the Quran to prophetic hadiths and inspirational stories, his content resonated with millions around the world.

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Stay focused

When it comes to praise and criticism, Sheikh Alafasy stressed the importance of staying focused on one's goals and seeking to please God above all else. With his intentions rooted in serving a higher purpose, he understood that both praise and criticism were part of the journey. While he appreciated the praise, he also recognized that constructive criticism, especially from experts, could be valuable.

Sheikh Alafasy's rise to fame was not without its challenges. He found himself thrust into the limelight, facing scrutiny and rumours, which he gracefully addressed. He acknowledged that fame was never his intention; instead, it was his love for media and religious content that brought him recognition. Having entered the realm of social media later in his career, he was better prepared to handle the demands and pressures that came with it.

In a world where fame and social media attention often overshadow genuine intentions, Sheikh Mishary Alafasy serves as a role model, demonstrating the importance of staying true to one's purpose and using influence to create positive change.

Sheikh Alafasy also acknowledged that managing time was one of his biggest hurdles. His dedication to recording the entire Quran and Tarawih prayers left little room for other projects. Yet, he remained steadfast in his commitment to utilise his voice for the betterment of society.

True purpose

At the influencers summit, Sheikh Alafasy left a lasting impression on the attendees with his inspiring words and unwavering commitment to his mission.

He reminded everyone that the true purpose of their skills and energy was to benefit humanity and please God. Through his journey, Sheikh Alafasy exemplified the transformative power of combining passion, talent, and technology to become an influencer who touches the hearts and souls of millions worldwide.


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