How Muslim Scholars Profit from Islam

Abdullah Sameer
5 min readNov 4, 2020

This topic of “you’re doing this for money” comes up a lot. Sometimes its worded less strongly, sometimes its more strongly worded like the below:

I’m going to address this from several angles.

  1. This is an ad-hominem
  2. Muslims do the same
  3. I already have a highly paying full-time job
  4. The money helps me do more

First point — This is a circumstantial ad hominem.

Circumstantial Ad Hominem occurs when someone attacks a claim by saying that the person making the claim is only making it because it’s in his interest or because of their circumstances. This actually has no bearing on whether or not the claim is true or false.

I think this is self explanatory. My points don’t become false even if I benefit personally from saying them. So this can be thrown out immediately.

Second point —Muslims do the same! Yasir Qadhi, Zakir Naik, Yusuf Estes, Bilal Philips, all of them make money talking about Islam. Jonathan Brown makes money writing books about Islam. He holds the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. He gets paid lucratively to speak about Islam. Brand name speakers get paid big bucks to speak at conferences. This has become such a problem that Islam21 wrote an article on it called “The Dangerous Relationship Between Money & Dawah.”

Zakir Naik’s Peace TV is a multi-million dollar enterprise. I was told by an acquaintance that Bayyinah Institute also rakes in millions.

Daniel Haqiqatjou has written exposing Yaqeen Institute and the income they receive:

Yaqeen received $1.4 million in charitable contributions in 2016 and $3.5 million in 2017. They also claim to be “zakat-eligible.”

How much does the Hajj business bring in? BILLIONS

Together the Hajj and the Umrah add $12 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP per year, which accounts for 20 percent of the country’s non-oil GDP and seven percent of total GDP.

How much does the Hajj business bring in? Together the Hajj and the Umrah add $12 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP per year, which accounts for 20 percent of the country’s non-oil GDP and seven percent of total GDP. The cost of one hajj package has been steadily increasing over the years and is over $10,000. Yasir Qadhi and other shuyookh attach their brand names to these tours and get big bonuses for bringing in the sales. I mean who wouldn’t want to go for Hajj with Yasir Qadhi or Hamza Yusuf? Once in a lifetime, right? Cha-ching 🤑

Three — Mang doesn’t realize I have a full-time job earning six figures. I am a highly successful software developer. I am by no means filthy rich as I have a big family — 5 kids and my stay-at-home wife. We manage just fine, but the amount I earn per hour doing coding is far more than I make doing YouTube videos. I’ve made around 400 videos in the last 5 years. I started the blog in 2015, YouTube Channel in 2016 and created the Patreon in 2018 when I realized how much time and energy I was putting into it. If you include the several thousand tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, and everything else I do, you would see that there is no way I am doing this for money. If you combine all of the hours put into my YouTube divided by the thousands of hours, the amount I have made less than $1/hour I am sure. I might as well moonlight as a software developer or re-invest this time into learning new technical skills and building my career. But I don’t. I do this instead because this is my passion. I care deeply about my content and I would gladly do this full-time if I could do so. That brings us in to the final point

Four — The money helps. Without accounting for my time, the cost of camera equipment, subscriptions, web hosting, licenses and software is significant. I have recently hired some virtual assistants to help me leverage my time more effectively. I would love to spend more time creating content and less time editing videos, making thumbnails, and the rest. Hiring an editor would save me 100 hours of work per month. And this is why many Muslims fear my income growing. Because it means that I can do more in the same time. I will be able to spend more time and may become more influential. You see someone like me who does this as a passion is the most dangerous of all. Then when you enable him with funds to grow it, it just multiplies the results. When you do something you love, and you bring value to the table, the money comes to you. At the end of the day, there’s no reason to apologize for making money doing something you love. What could be better than working on your passions and making money at the same time? I make no apologies for this. If I can make money and help the world at the same time doing something I love, damn right I will do it.

In conclusion, this accusation is futile. It is an ad-hominem. Muslims do the same. I already make significant money on my full-time job, and the money helps me to do more.

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