Anyone involved in delivering an address to the community by way of khutbah, halaqah, or even teaching Sunday School is practicing the craft of public speaking.
One way to improve your speaking skills is by studying what others do well that resonates and connects with audiences. With that in mind, I am sharing 3 videos of first place winners from the Toastmasters Public Speaking World Championship along with a few brief things to look for in each video.
How do you read books to develop your own niche of expertise? How do you pick what books to read aside from going off the average customer review on Amazon? How do you critically read a book and think about the material? How do you filter what you read through the worldview of iman (faith)? And what’s the point, what is all this reading building toward?
I don't really care about grit.
Persevering and persisting through difficulties to achieve a higher goal is awesome. High-five. We should all develop that. No one disagrees that resilience is an essential characteristic to have.
Somehow, this simple concept has ballooned into what feels like a self-help cottage industry of sorts. It has a Ted talk with tens of millions of views, podcasts, keynote speeches, a New York Times best-selling book, and finding ways to teach this in schools and workplaces.
What I do care about is critically analyzing if it is all that it's cracked up to be (spoiler alert: I don't think so), why the self-help industry aggressively promotes it, and how we understand it from an Islamic perspective. For me, this is about much more than just grit - it's about understanding character development from a (mostly Americanized) secular perspective vis-a-vis the Islamic one.
About shura in particular, Abu Hurairah observed that he never saw anyone take shura more than the Prophet (s). The one person who had every right to dispense with the input of those around him due to receiving revelation is the same one who consulted his followers the most.
It happens. We all make goals in Ramadan to have a plan to read/memorize/study the Qur’an, and within a few weeks, we fall off the wagon. Then we look up, and suddenly it is Ramadan again. We’re wracked with guilt because we realize it has been months since we had a meaningful relationship with the book of Allah.
If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Work itself becomes the fulfillment of spiritual purpose. We don’t just have jobs, we have callings - which we promote on social media.