My YouTube Channel has helped my religious journey – Abdulmumin
Nasiruddin Abdulmumin is a 27-year-old YouTuber and TedX speaker who started his channel – Did YouKnow Studios – in 2016. He has been using the channel to interview some influential figures in the Islamic world and share his faith with his followers.
Sharing religious advice online comes with a huge responsibility and that’s not something Abdulmumin takes lightly.
Having studied Islamic Theology at Al-Hikmah University, Shuraim knew he wanted to share a religious message but wanted it in a different way. Thus, YouTube became his platform of choice. After his first interview with Mufti Menk, a scholar listed twice as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world, he found his purpose. In 2017, he was invited to perform a pilgrimage as a guest of the King of Saudi Arabia.
In this interview with ENIOLA DANIEL, he spoke on the reason young people prefers influencers to religious institutions, and how his channel has helped his religious journey.
Do you always feel you have a responsibility to provide advice and guidance to your audience?
I do feel responsible, and that’s why I’m very careful about who I choose to talk to on the channel. We carefully research each topic we feel is relevant and timely from sexuality to addictions and body issues.
These are not just topics for Muslims, but for a wider audience. People like myself, with a community that relies on us and trusts us for information and advice, should feel responsible because we have a duty to our audience.
Why did you choose YouTube to share your spirituality?
For me, YouTube was the easiest and least stressful way to spread my message. The restrictions that come from broadcasting on TV, for example, don’t exist with YouTube.
There’s a lot more freedom and that is very important when it comes to a topic like religion. You need to be able to speak freely and honestly. That is something I pride myself of; talking about issues that some people may consider controversial or taboo.
Why do you think it is important to share some of these topics taboo in your space?
Well, the question I always ask myself is, if I don’t talk about it, then, who will? The reason I’m doing this is that I want people to be enlightened. I want them to feel comfortable coming forward with their troubles, talking about them and seeking help.
The journey of enlightenment means answering difficult questions about behaviours and talking about things that make us uncomfortable. So, if I’m not ready to air topics considered to be taboo, then there is no point having this channel?
With almost half a million views on your channel, what’s your plan for expansion?
I am proud that my channel has grown organically. I think the success is because I’m offering something unique to my audience. However, I would like to reach a larger audience online. So, I’m planning to bring in some social media experts who can help me build my online following.
Have you used Google’s tools, programmes or training to help your channel grow visibility online?
Google Search has helped me a lot, especially in the early stages of starting my channel. I Googled so many different things to find inspiration for content, to see what other people were doing in the religious space and to watch how TV hosts conducted interviews.
I believe that every young person needs someone to take them somewhere within themselves that they cannot get to by themselves. However, sometimes, you don’t have that person to hold your hand, so I used Google as a starting point to help discover and explore different ways I could share my spiritual message.
How has starting a channel helped with your personal religious journey?
Some people think that a lot of spiritual leaders just grew and became spiritual, but that’s not always the case, it’s a journey. When I interview my guests on YouTube, I’m learning from them too.
These interviews are changing my whole perspective in life. I’ve learnt new behaviours, such as praying more regularly and I’ve learnt more about the person I want to become.
Sharing my faith online has certainly helped me become a better human being and helped me become a better leader in my community. These are all things that I didn’t expect to happen when starting a YouTube channel. As I’ve grown within my own personal faith, it has made me to feel more responsible.
I intentionally make careful decisions for the brand and myself. For example, now that we have a studio, we can make better editing choices like deciding after a shoot that the content isn’t right for our audience. We can choose whether or not to release a video.
Why do you think young people’s trust in religious institutions is low, but trust in religious influencers is high?
Young people’s trust in religious institutions may be low right now but religious institutions are extremely important. They provide knowledge that is incalculable and forever valuable.
Young people may tend to put religious scholars on a pedestal that seems out of reach while religious influencers like me are committed to making followers feel more comfortable and understood because we talk to them in a very relatable and humane way.
This often means when the scholars do something, we disagree with or make a mistake, we lose all trust in them forgetting that they are human beings too. As influencers, we do need to be careful because people are looking up to us. We need to keep educating ourselves and be more prudent and sincere in whatever we do.
With many Muslim influencers growing large digital followings, what is the future of the faith in the digital age?
I don’t think it’s going to be very different, but it will definitely improve. Nowadays, a lot of people are sharing their religious knowledge online, and we even opened an online school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We had about 4, 000 students globally, Muslims and non-Muslims, and we had scholars from all over the world offering free classes for anyone interested in learning more about Islam. It really showed us that people are ready and willing to learn more about religion.
What would be your advice for young people hoping to engage with spirituality today?
My first piece of advice is to be open-minded is that you can learn about religion from a range
of different people, regardless of their faith.
Secondly, as a young person, I think it’s important to find a mentor, someone who will be there for you, who will guide you, who will love you sincerely and help you as much as they can on your spiritual journey.
Thirdly, attaining spirituality doesn’t mean you have to forget your humanity. Instead, you should be embracing it. Focus less on societal pressures and be more self-accountable.