‘AMERICAN SHARIA’ – A MOCKERY OF ISLAM
Recently, the trailer of a ‘so-called’ halaal movie has been released bearing the name ‘AMERICAN SHARIAH’. Many Muslims have asked about its permissibility and if it is really a halaal movie. To their queries, the following response was given :
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
First of all, it is to be known that movies are generally based on fiction. The characters and narratives are not true. There are no real occurrences of what is shown and there is no true reality to it. In a fictional film like ‘American Shariah’, the audience is being convinced that the unfolding fiction is real; when in reality, it is a story imagined by the writer of the script. Therefore, the film is nothing but a fabrication that has been made to make Muslims believe in a reality that does not exist. It amounts to nothing but images and narratives that are not true.
Some people may state that the film has been made to show the good side of Muslims, who are being falsely accused as terrorist. Probably for some, it may seem to be like that, but the truth is that the film ‘American Shariah’ is nothing but an open mockery to Islam and Muslims.
After looking at this film, it is hardly likely that non-Muslims will change their perception of Islam and Muslims, since they know that it was a ‘made-up’ movie based on fiction which has no truth in it. Worst than this, is that it is a comedy, which lacks seriousness in content.
It may just give a person a ‘good laugh’ and nothing more. When non-Muslims wish to learn about Muslims, they will look at the actual conduct and behaviour of Muslims through the world. They will look at what is happening in the Muslim world, cities and communities. They will look at real issues and the true behaviour of people, and how they respond to situations in the living world. They will not look at ‘made up’ narratives and images portrayed on a cinema screen, with people acting parts of a play, when in reality there is no truth to it.
Similarly, when Muslims need to know the truth about the activities of non-Muslims and plots and strategies that may be created to blame Muslims, they will look at real issues and information. They would not look at fictional films to get such messages. In short, fictional films do not provide the real truth and realities of issues. They will serve other purposes, but will not bring about a change in people’s thoughts and perception of others.
Muslims should also recognize that in the film, mockery is made of important Islamic practices, which is totally Haram for a Muslim to do. In the film, one will see people imitating the worship of Salaah, when in truth, they are not performing the act of worship. Salaah has become part of a drama, with no respect and reverence shown to it. It is only an act which is ‘played’ with this great ritual of salaah. Can Islam accept this behaviour? This is nothing but sheer disrespect and mockery of such a great religious practice known as salaah.
In the movie, some women are garbed with the Niqaab just for the sake of acting the movie. There is no sincerity in wearing the niqaab, nor is there any value and reverence paid to this religious dress worn by Muslim women. Again, it is an act which is ‘played’ with this religious garb and not one which is worn with a serious intent. This is nothing but a ‘Joke’ which is made of such religious wear.
From among the grave disrespect shown is that of the name of the movie itself. Almost everyone knows that there isn’t any such thing called ‘American Shariah’. Shariah has a religious connection and it is the divine law which Allah has revealed in the Holy Quraan. This is not a man-made law; neither is it a Muslim culture or tradition. It is the official law of Allah. Hence, Muslims must look at the Shariah with great respect, and strive hard to live their lives according to it. It is not a joking matter. It is not to play with. It is not a word that can be used for any other law or rules. Instead, it has been divinely revealed and is directly connected to Allah Himself.
Notwithstanding the holy and sacred significance of this word, the maker of the film has broken all rules of respect and fear for Allah by using the word Shariah in his movie. This again, is nothing but an insult and disrespect to the blessed name of ‘Shariah’.
What message does the film-maker want to send by saying American Shariah when Americans do not have a Shariah.
Religious things are normally respected by people and they are very considerate in using words that have sacred value and meaning. But in this case, the film-maker himself showed no respect to the word ‘Shariah’.
From what has been explained by the producer, it is stated that ‘We are making halaal movies, providing halaal entertainment and providing a forum (platform) for Muslim actors, Muslim directors and Muslim writers.’
Based on this statement, the questions to be asked are, ‘What are halaal movies?’ ‘Are there movies that conform to the teachings of the Quraan and the Sunnah and the teachings of the Sahabahs, to be called Halaal?’
Muslims at all times, must understand that Islam is a complete and perfect way of life. Muslims are not in need of any invented way of teaching others and spreading the beautiful message of Islam. This has already been shown to us through the teachings of the Quraan, the ways of the Prophet (S.A) and the teachings of the blessed companions. ‘Plays’, ‘Dramas’ and Comedies are not what Islam is about, nor are these methods used to educate the masses about Islam and the Muslims. The movie is not meant to teach people about Islam, nor is it meant to eliminate the ‘wrong opinions’ non-muslims have about Islam. Instead, it has been done to create a platform for Muslim actors, Muslim directors and Muslim writers. It is about job creation, so that Muslims can leave Hollywood and Bollywood and come to ‘Halaly’wood (as said by the producer himself). It is really sad to see how a Muslim can actually choose the sacred name of ‘Halal’ given in the Quran and anglicise it to match the filming industries of Hollywood and Bollywood. This is nothing but imitation of the non-Muslims which falls directly in line with the prophecy of the Prophet (S.A) in which he said, ‘you will definitely follow the practices of the people of the past. This will go to the extent that if one of them entered into a lizard’s hole, you will do the same’.
We see the manifestation of the Prophet’s words in this matter where the west has ‘Hollywood’, the Indian subcontinent has ‘Bollywood’ and now the Muslims want a ‘Halal’y’wood’. Very strange! Nothing but following the footsteps of the non-Muslims.
The concoction of the term ‘Halalywood’ is nothing but an insult to the Quranic term ‘Halal’, and a mockery of the concept of ‘Halal’ in Islam. Halal is not a word which a Muslim has the liberty to use whenever he wishes, nor is it a word which can be used for anything whatsoever. Instead, it is a legal terminology revealed by Allah in the Holy Quran, which can only be used when a ‘thing’ conforms to the teachings given by Allah and His Messenger (S.A). Therefore, it is unholy for a person to construe an idea and use this word to label his product as being Halal, when in reality it is far from this. This is nothing but deception.
As such, it is totally unlawful and forbidden in Islam for one to produce a fiction-based movie, filled with ‘made-up’ narratives and dramas and then call it ‘Halal’. This is nothing but sheer mockery of the Quranic term of ‘Halal’. This term is one which deserves to be respected, and used only when something has fulfilled the teachings of Islam which are connected to the specific matter.
This so-called ‘Halal’ movie starts off with the rattling of gunshots by gangsters with the resounding word of ‘Jihad’ in the air. What a way to educate the masses about Islam!
The jokey detective makes his appearance, dancing and singing in a clownish manner and given the name ‘Detective Mohammad’, while his partner is introduced as Baba Ali. What a mockery and embarrassment to the Prophet’s name, Muhammad (S.A), and the name of his blessed companion, Ali (RA).
A young Muslim girl, garbed in the hijab appears in the drama as a shopkeeper. Detective Muhammad suddenly appears on the scene and begins to flirt with her, while she seems to be enjoying the company. What a way to show the behaviour of Muslims!!
The detective wishes to ‘take in’ a man for stealing one banana, but detective Baba Ali insists that he wants ‘to go sharia on this one’. A mockery is then made of the rules of shariah pertaining to amputating the hands of a thief, and it is made to look as if it is some barbaric law, when in reality, no one’s hand can be cut off for stealing one banana. This is the sort of fun that is made of the sacred Shariah of Islam.
After some time, five women are ‘brought in’, garbed in full Niqaab (face veil), and made the centre of attraction to all, by pointing towards them to find the criminal. This was certainly a ‘funny one’ which was supposed to bring about laughter, but in reality, it was nothing but a mockery of the Niqaab in Islam.
Muslims should understand that Niqaab is a symbol of Islam. It was the dress of the blessed wives of the Prophet (S.A) who are the mothers of the believers. It is the garb of Muslim women and is connected directly to the teachings of the Holy Quran. Notwithstanding this, the Niqaab (face veil) was used as an object of mockery in this movie and was part of the drama so that Islam will be ridiculed. Muslims should know that mocking any aspect of Islam takes a person outside the fold of Islam.
The movie itself is a comedy and has made Muslims look like comedians.
In the midst of all the joke and fun, the beautiful voice of Shaikh Sudais reciting a verse of Surah Rahman is played as part of the comedic play. No one is bothered about it, and the so-called detective Mohammad is agitated and continues his ‘old talk’, not being bothered about the Quran.
This is the manner in which the Quran has been insulted. Verses which are filled with light and guidance has been debased in this manner to form part of a comical drama. What a way of educating the masses about Muslims!
There are many things about this movie which have made it a mockery of Islam and Muslims, and are very damaging to the religion of Islam.
In our humble opinion, this fictional film does not provide any message that brings about a good name to Islam and the Muslims. People know very well that it is fabricated, and acted by actors. These acts are not real and the actors are not genuine. Besides this, comedy does not bring about the seriousness of important issues. Instead, it brings about humorous entertainment. People may enjoy a little laughter and be amused, but in the end, the religion of Islam will be undermined.
Those attending the cinema to view this movie will also be guilty of aiding and encouraging a mockery of Islam and its religious practices.
And Allah knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan