In the days gone by, those who preached were also scholars. ‘Abdulah Ibn ‘Umar (Radi) used to attend the gathering of ‘Ubayd Ibn ‘Umayr and ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdu’l- ‘Aziz attended the lectures of some storytellers.
The ignorant people started practicing this trade (storytelling), so its quality (and purpose) diminished and only women and laypeople beagan attending these sessions. Preachers stopped focusing on knowledge and focused on stores that appealed to ignorant people.
Some of them used to fabricate ahadith that brought fear and hope to the listeners. Iblis convinced them that this was a good act because it aimed at encouraging people to do good deeds and stay away from evil.
This is a form of transgression against Islām because it is an implicit claim that the religion is deficient and in need of these fabricated narrations to amend it. They also forgot the Prophetic saying: “Whomsoever lies about me intentionally, then let them assume their position in the Hellfire.” (Bukhāri 1/202/10 and Muslim 1/10/3)
Another problem is that they look for topics that excite others. Then they compose poetry regarding these topics without clearly pointing out that Allaah is the objective of these poems. Attendees of storytelling sessions are usually filled with desire, so both the speaker and the listener go astray.
Some storytellers pretend to have humility and cry. Those storytellers who are liars, lose the Hereafter; and those who are honest, are never free from showing off.
Some of them move onto songs they sing, as if they were drunk. These songs are closer to being prohibited than disliked. Men and women begin to scream and tear their clothes. Afterwards they conclude that their gathering was pleasant.
They sometimes sing like they were wailing over a dead person. They sing about being like strangers and about how sad it is to die as a stranger. Women cry and the entire place turns into a funeral.
It is patience that must be promoted not that which brings despair to people.
Some of them discuss asceticism and love for Allaah. Iblis makes them think that they are from among the ascetics because they could not have discussed it had they not been living it. Discussing something stems from knowledge of it, but practicing it is something different than knowledge.
Some say things that have no meaning. These days they talk about Mūsā (‘Alayhis-salaam) and the mountain, and Zulaykhā and Yusuf (‘alayhis-salām). They rarely mention obligations or forbid others from committing sins. How then will fornicators and dealers in usury quit committing these sins? And how will a woman learn her responsibilities towards her husband and preserve her prayer? Never.
These people abandoned religion and this is why their merchandise is selling. The truth is heavy while falsehood is light.
Some of them encourage others to become ascetic and pray at night. But do not clarify to pay people all aspects of this issue. When a layperson repents, he practices these forms of worship and ignores his family responsibilities.
And some of them discuss hope (in Allaah) without discussing fear and caution. This causes people to become more willing to commit sins. Preachers add to this problem by living an extravagant life ruing people’s hearts.
– Source: The Devil’s Deceptions, Imam Ibn Al Jawzi P.216, English Trans. Dar As-Sunnah Publications