For centuries since the dawn of the first Islamic events, numerous scholars and leaders (if by numerous you mean none) have intensely debated over the underlying psychology that governs why Muslims choose to go and attend events when the age-old alternative of just staying at home and doing nothing seems so appealing.
What is it that motivates Muslims to venture out of their own homes, dorms, or bathrooms for a few hours every so often to go and join a group of local Muslims to sit and listen to another Muslim who was invited and paid to speak by a bunch of other Muslims? Such a question may seem daunting, due to the fact that we worded it in such a ridiculous manner, but don’t let that distract you from the underlying mystery of the Muslim psyche.
Our Medical Research Division – proudly flinging poop in the name of science
Through the efforts of our highly trained, cutting-edge, and illegally-funded Medical Research Division, Muslim Medicine proudly stands at the forefront of breakthroughs in Muslim psychological research. If anyone even DARES to say that our research findings are completely unfounded, not based in any real scientific process, and that a bunch of chimpanzees locked in a library can’t possibly produce anything even remotely intelligible by even the lowest standards of human scientific achievement- well… …that’s obviously true, but for the sake of this article’s argument let’s just assume all that is completely wrong and that our findings are unquestionably believable.
That’s right- even President Obama’s willing to hear us out
The extensive data that we’re presenting here has been painstakingly collected from Masjids, high schools, college MSAs, and Facebook event pages from all around my own imagination, so it represents an accurate portrayal of real data. We here at Muslim Medicine hope that these findings revolutionize the way we approach the very foundations of how we plan Islamic events, or at least offer you a rare look into the motivating factors behind why Muslims attend events.
1 UNDERSTAND AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS
One of the most important indicators for the attendance levels of an Islamic Event is the intended audience. From small bratty kids bubbling with annoying youthful energy and vigor to old Masjid uncles who don’t really have anything else to do at the time, Muslim events can cater to any sort of audience at any age. So to help breakdown the common garden-variety attendees, we’ve provided demographic-specific data below:
Kids- they’re so adorable and full of potential! But put a whole bunch of them together in a room for more than 15 minutes and you’ve got yourself a crowd that’s crazier than a bunch of Egyptians rioting at Tahrir Square. Sure, as a faithful parent you might be thinking to yourself, “that Masjid event next weekend on the inner machinations of usool-ul-Hadith sounds perfect for my 6 year old!” but don’t fool yourself.
The bane of a child’s happiness is the dreaded Islamic Event-the palpable terror and horrid fear that engulfs their eyes and facial expressions when the words “get ready, we’re going to an event at the Masjid” is said to them is testament to how much they “love” Islamic events. And to sit quietly and behave for hours on end in a boring lecture where some big bearded man is shouting at the audience about stuff you don’t even know or care about sounds like a prison for little kids.
5 out of 5 kids are afflicted with boredom at one point in their childhood.
Kids… the only cure for acute-onset-Islamic-event-boredom is a large IV-dose of Pokemon. Parents, have some sort of Pokemon toy or game handy when your child begins exhibiting symptoms of anaphylactic boredom after 5 minutes of attending an Islamic event. Trust us, you’ll save their life.
Ah, teenagers. It must be difficult finding time to attend Islamic events, what with all that hormonal angst and constant declarations of “my parents just don’t understand me.” It’s okay. We understand. Attending Islamic events for typical teenagers is all about socializing and hanging out- so if their friends are all going, well then they better go too, otherwise they’ll be geeky losers and they’ll be ugly and no one will like them. So take note, event organizers! As long as your event is considered “cool” and has Bruno Mars or Taylor Lautner a guest speaker, you’ll pretty much get every teenager to attend.
College students are perhaps the most coveted demographic for Islamic event attendance, since they represent the very lifeline of college MSAs, and are at a highly malleable stage in their lives where they’re “discovering” themselves by picking majors based on careers they’re forced to go into by their parents.
MSA events aren’t just social gatherings that give students a break from coursework, college stress, and dumb drama- they serve as the golden gateway to matrimony, since they offer an opportunity for creepers and stalkers to freely scan a crowd for potential spouses, under the guise of “look how halal I am, attending an MSA event on a topic that I cannot remember at the moment!” But for all of the non-creepers and non-stalkers who aren’t marriage-obsessed in college, MSA events offer an essential element that truly appeals to poor, starving, deprived college students… …the allure of free food.
Real footage of college students following the conclusion of an MSA event
Recent research findings indicate that free MSA event food is able to sustain a typical college student for an average period of 3 days, and if an event attendee is lucky enough to steal extra helpings or take leftovers back to his or her dorm, they’ll be able to sustain themselves for an entire week until they’re left scouring for the next MSA event.
Unlike their younger counterparts, Muslim adults are much easier to figure out when it comes to gauging their event attendance. If there’s no attendance fee required, if the food is free, and if it’s a really engaging well-known speaker being invited, you can always count on them to attend an Islamic event when its convenient for them and they’re in the mood to leave their house. Convenience FTW!
The rarest Islamic event attendee of all is the non-Muslim. Unlike any of the other Muslim demographics displayed above, the non-Muslim attendee typically has genuine reasons for coming, whether it be through the goading of a Muslim best friend, or through their own curiosity to find out more about Islam. Due to the rarity of their appearances, they often receive awkward stares and are subjected to uncomfortable gawking by the rest of the attendees. Most of the time they’re mistaken for the AV-Tech repairman, food deliveryman, or the building janitor.
Generally, Muslims do find it rather odd that non-Muslims take such great interest in the actual Islamic lecture- it’s almost shocking that their primary intention isn’t to eat food, which in many regards can be considered insulting to the event organizers. Our Research Division is still in the process of studying these elusive creatures, and we’re hoping to discover more about these attendees as data is compiled.
2 ALWAYS SERVE FREE FOOD
Of all the logistical aspects of an event to consider, this is the sacred golden rule of all Islamic event organizing. You can plan an event with no point, no structure, no program, no invited guest speaker, and put in almost no effort- but so long as you have good food served for free, you’ll attract hordes of Muslims.
Just picture it this way- an event with no food served is really just a difficult endurance test of patience that offers no special tangible reward at the end for having survived an entire Islamic lecture. What is there to look forward to at the end of a lecture or discussion?! Spiritual development, stronger imaan, increased Islamic knowledge, and a powerful take-home lesson on how you can apply what you’ve learned to better yourself, your family, and your community? LOL NO. Who does that?! It’s all about the delicious free food, baby.
See, it’s proven by research. Ask any Muslim you know- when it comes to motivating our community to attend Islamic events, food is the gold standard.
3 DON’T CHARGE ANY MONEY
It’s no mystery- Muslims are frugal people. We don’t like spending money, unless it’s on food or on ridiculously expensive weddings to try and impress people who will probably complain about it anyway. And if there’s one thing we’ll haggle and fight for, it’s free attendance at Islamic events.
I mean come on. Paying $5 to fall asleep listening to a guest speaker whose lectures I can just ignore on Youtube for free?! What are you, nuts?! No thanks, bro. I’d rather spend my money on something more immediately gratifying, like a couple of candy bars from a vending machine, or paying to download an iPhone app that prays Fajr for me.
$10 to attend?! What do I look like, a stereotypical billionaire Arab oil baron?!
It’s proven fact that the more expensive your admission fee is, the fewer people will attend. So as an organizer, the best way to collect revenue from your attendees to break even for the event costs is to first invite everyone in the room under the guise that the event is “free,” then wait until you reach a decent turnout- and then slam all the exits shut and lock them so no one can escape. Once you’ve trapped all your guests, have the speaker start a fundraising event- because everyone knows that the least enjoyable Islamic events of all are awkward and annoying fundraisers.
4 MAKE THE EVENT TOPIC & SPEAKER APPEALING
The last and final major factor that dictates Muslim event attendance is the topic and speaker of the event itself. While this factor may not be as powerful as the sultry allure of delicious food nor the wonderfully inviting notion of not having to pay for anything, it still makes a significant impact in its own right.
Let’s take a pop quiz, guys:
Are you guys ready?
You’re probably really confident about the answer you picked. The correct answer is A, due to the sheer hilarity of that event and the well-known “reputation” of the invited speaker. If you picked B, you’re probably never going to get married, and if you picked C, you seriously have no life.
Yeah, yeah, we know this is your reaction to the pop quiz results.
But anyways, what about all of you who picked D? You folks are still on the right track. For some odd reason, love and marriage seems to be the #1 most popular Islamic topic ever, which either means that we as a community need to get a grip on our hormones, or that marriage itself is something so ridiculously difficult to accomplish that we need a million lectures a year re-explaining how it happens and why we should do it.
The best Islamic events are those that directly appeal to what the vast majority of Muslims within a broad age range are dealing with, and to have a well-known celebrity speaker presenting it is icing on the cake. But it’s a shame when even the best Islamic topics are ruined by monotone anesthesia-inducing speakers, or butchered by fiery, crazy, controversial nutjobs. Basically the rule of thumb when it comes to Muslim speakers is the following:
To answer what’s on your minds- yes sisters, us guys really do get jealous at young single popular speakers, and we strongly prefer that you attend events with old cranky hairy shaykhs.
5 TRY TO PURIFY YOUR INTENTIONS
Whether you attend an Islamic event to please your parents, engorge on food, save on paying for dinner, hang out with friends, scope out suitable prospects on the other side of the divider, drool at the speaker, or to just give a good excuse to get out of your house- ultimately all of these events are intended for the sole purpose of reminding you of your Lord and your eventual goal in life. So no matter what your motivating factors are for going to an Islamic event, do your very best to make your main primary intention to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt).
And no matter what you walk out of that event with, you can always rest easy knowing that you were in a gathering of Muslims blessed by the presence of angels and insha’Allah smiled upon by our Creator.