Adnan Ali

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is Khuda Ke Liye unislamic?

Khuda Ke Liye: A Movie by Shoaib Mansoor

There is a lot of debate in the Muslim community, especially here in Pakistan regarding the movie 'Khuda Ke Liye' (In the name of God) by Shoaib Mansoor. Some deem it revival of the cinema in Pakisan, while some debate whether its even anti-Islam.

I had the opportunity to see the movie for myself last night at the newly opened and excellent DHA Cinema in Lahore. Muneeb Ali of the Recommended Movies Blog had kindly written a guest post for this blog and reviewed the movie earlier.

A couple of days ago I came across a Fatwa declaring 'Khuda Ke Liye' unislamic. It was based upon Shoaib Mansoor's comments on the movie's site. I read through the Fatwa and I was not convinced. The reason being that the Fatwa was totally based on the comments of Shoaib Mansoor and not on any watching of the movie. I decided to go ahead and judge for myself.

I have to say that technically and visually the movie is far apart from the regular movies this part of the world produces. Although I felt that the acting and editing could have been snappier in some parts, overall the movie held together.

The movie discusses the following topics:


  • Is music not allowed in Islam?

  • Can a Muslim girl marry a non-Muslim or a Christian?

  • Can a Muslim girl be married off without her consent?

  • Parents should lead by example, especially those who live abroad in non-Muslim cultures.

  • The indoctrination of youth in Pakistan towards militancy

  • Is keeping a beard and wearing shalwar must to be a Muslim?

  • How both the Americans and the Taliban can be termed extremists in many ways

The movie discusses all these topics while it follows the story of three individuals in three different cities; Lahore, Chicago and London. The movie does not go all out in one or another direction on any of the topics, but does tend to show opinion from both sides. I thought the movie was good food for thought and layed out the arguments for every one to make their own judgement. It also brings out many points which need to be researched further.


Regardless of what your opinion is on any of the above issues, I suggest that you go and see this movie for yourself. Efforts like these need to be supported and an open debate about all issues needs to take place in this society. Self accountability is the first step towards widespread agreement in the society. If you can, please do not wait for the DVD and go watch this movie for yourself.


As far as the Fatwa is concerned, I urge the Maulana to see the movie before spitting out vindictive judgements. Isn't it time already that our spiritual and religious teachers follow a more systematic process of issuing a Fatwa?


Do not agree with my opinions? Let me know. Leave a comment and I will reply right back.

17 comments:

Qiqbal said...

">>> Although I felt that the acting and editing could have been snappier in some parts, overall the movie held together."

On a different website you also said:


“>>> Top of the heads were cut in almost all closeup scenes. The editing during dialogues could have been snappier, for example, angry conversations do not wait for one person to completely finish the sentence and then wait to answer. These conversations are snappy.”

My response:

This is okay. In fact, the top of the heads cutting off in a close up is a standard Hollywood practice, and believe me it is done for a better viewing experience. Similarly, the dialogue editing as you described is also a norm in Hollywood style practice for a smoother and slick viewing experience.

Qiqbal said...

">>> Although I felt that the acting and editing could have been snappier in some parts, overall the movie held together."

On a different website you also said:


“>>> Top of the heads were cut in almost all closeup scenes. The editing during dialogues could have been snappier, for example, angry conversations do not wait for one person to completely finish the sentence and then wait to answer. These conversations are snappy.”

My response:

This is okay. In fact, the top of the heads cutting off in a close up is a standard Hollywood practice, and believe me it is done for a better viewing experience. Similarly, the dialogue editing as you described is also a norm in Hollywood style practice for a smoother and slick viewing experience.

Adeel said...

First of all, are you really trying to suggest that the movie doesn't incline towards a so called "liberal" view in all the topics you have mentioned?

I have not watched the movie and I don't intend to as well. I have no doubts that Shoaib Mansoor is extremely gifted but I am sorry to say that he has opted to play a devil's advocate by making such a divisive movie. First of all, extremist vs moderate, conservative vs liberal, backward looking vs forward looking muslims, where did these terminologies come from? They certainly have no base in our society and we have picked them up from the west as we pick up everything else. My question is, where is Shoaib Mansoor trying to draw a line over here? Is he trying to divide families? cause in our families one sister does hijab and the other doesn't.

It would have been better if Shoaib Mansoor took the real reasons for the divide in our society,a three tiered education system, where islamic education is being stripped out of the curriculum of private and govt schools and only unprevileged people are going to madrassas, huge gap between higher and lower class, and quickly diminishing middle class in our country. Not to mention lack of democracy and civil liberties.

In Islam there is no concept of a non practicing muslim. If that were the case, it would have been really easy for the people of Quraish to accept the prophet pbuh. It doesn't matter if you call it liberal, forward looking or anything else, that is where it tends to take us. Its really unfortunate that any of his statements in the movie are not referenced by the source of our religion. I have gone through the FATWA as well and at least it gives you proper references from the Quran and Hadith that have helped them reach their conclusion.

My brother, the best we can do is accept the truth, even though it doesn't go with our life style.

adnan ali said...

Hi Adeel, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you took the effort to provide your opinion.

I dont understand the idea that the movie is divisive. I have seen it, and many others have seen it and not once have I met some one who has felt it is divisive. It merely provides arguments from both sides and allows one to form her own opinion. The only comment I have recieved is that it is thought provoking and that is a good thing. People I have met tell me they do not agree with these points but agree totally with other points. Every one has the freedom to opinion, just like you have had the opportunity here.

Also the movie raises a lot of questions regarding our education system. Why for example, do we learn to read Arabic but do not understand it? The movie shows how in some areas, education is demoted in the society. Infact the leading lady character returns to the under previliged areas to open up a school.

It also takes a jab at the hypocricy in our society where we expect one behavior for ourselves and another for every one else. Also looks at the problems Muslim parents face in western countries.

As far as the sources are concerned at some points the characters have referenced exact page numbers of Sahih Hadith books. At other times Quranic verses or Hadith are so well known in common public that reference was not necessary, at least not for me.

Yes definitely, the best we can do is to accept the truth. But in order to achieve that lofty goal, we need to be able to patiently listen to every one. Unless we listen to some one how can we make a judgement?

Once again thanks for your comment. It only encourages me to write more about our society.

Adeel said...

Bhai my comments about the movie being divisive topic are based on the current situation in our country. I am personally sick and tired with the moderate vs extremist muslim argument. We are all muslims alhamdulillah and thats it. We all have our convictions and priorities we act upon them. Islam is very clear in this sense, it calls us all muslim to be the nation in the middle for evrything. So we are either practicing our religion or we are not muslims at all. As muslims we have been asked to maintain a certain life style (Deen is translated as life style). The last aaya in Surah Alkafirun clearly states that we muslims have our own life style and the non believers have their own. There are no two ways about it. Moderate and Extremist muslim are exported terms that are designed to divide us. As I said earlier in my post our problems today have roots in the social, economic and political divide in our country. We need leadership that brings the whole country together on the table and stops marginalizing one side or the other.

A couple of my friend who went and watched the movie came out with different ideas. They liked the movie cause it endorsed their lifestyle and thats it. I didn't find it to have provoked any thoughts in their mind. I haven't based my judgment on that. I have carefully followed the premises set for making this movie by the director. I find it very hard to believe that one can present an unbiased view about something while the basis of making it are so much inclined towards one side. Even the casting of the movie is inclined towards a liberal point of view. As you have watched the movie, can you please mention some of the ahadith and ayaat of the quran mentioned in the movie regarding the following topics:

1. Is music not allowed in Islam?
2. Can a Muslim girl marry a non-Muslim or a Christian?
3. Is keeping a beard and wearing shalwar must to be a Muslim?

adnan ali said...

Adeel, thanks for your comment. As I said earlier you have the right to your opinion, even if it is based on some premise and not the topic itself.

It is a movie. Like any other movie (well not pakistani) its story is based around some issue. What you seem to be saying is that since you do not believe in the moderate vs. extremist argument then no one should talk about it.

If being a moderate is Islamic way of life, then what is suicide bombing? What is forced marriages in the society? What is learning of the Quran like I did without understanding one word? What is saying prayers 5 times a day and still lying out of the teeth to have one's way?

The reality is that whether any one wants to see or not, there is extremism in us. The terms might have been imported from the west but we have our own terms too. Its called 'Inteha Pasandi'.

Although I did not come out of the theatre with thoughts like your friends, but that is what is right. Every one has the right to their own thoughts and one can make their own judgement. Shoaib Mansoor has the right to show a mirror to the nation. Thank God he did. I dont have to agree with every thing he says.

My point is still the same, how do I know some one is wrong unless I have heard her point?

As far as the resources are concerned, I am sorry I did not go in with a pen and paper, neither did I expect any references. Might as well wait for the DVD?

Adeel said...

Assalam-o-Alaikum. Thanks for your comments brother. I want to assure you that I respect your opinion, even though I have a few disagreements.

I agree that everybody has a right to express their opinion. Shoaib Mansoor probably has a better platform than many of us. Maybe that also puts a lot more responsibility on his shoulders. I believe this movie is more of an image of our society which certain people want to portray or bring to limelight so that they can proceed with their own agendas. Shoaib Mansoor expressed his aim for making this movie quiet clearly on his website. I don't think there are any doubts as far as what special interests he is trying to propagate.

My brother if we are suffering from a serious disease we go to a qualified doctor, shouldn't we expect some sort of qualification for someone to talk about our religion? Ironically, we treat a fatwa from some of our most qualified scholars so lightly while we take a word of an actor as an opinion? Having an opinion is fine but to present it as a mirror of our society without having any qualification to do so is irresponsible.

All of the problems that you have mentioned in your reply have nothing to do with the so called moderate vs extremist divide. If we have to really talk about "Inteha Pasandi" in our society, I would rather call it "non-tolerance", and I think it can be seen on both sides of the aisle. Borrowing another term coined for us by the west, even if we take it as a fact that we have religious "fascists" in our country, we also have liberal "fascists" who are equally non-tolerant towards simple people who just want to practice and preach our religion. Shoaib Mansoor's comments about Junaid Jamshed clearly represent that school of thought. But that is fine, every society in the world has its moderates and extremists, but people who are just blaming the religious side in pakistan as extremists have mala fide intentions. I still believe that non-tolerance in our society is based on the lack of equal opportunities in our society rather than the different religious believes we hold. I hate to be redundant brother, but I really think by focusing on moderate vs extremist argument, we are taking our eye off the real problem, and we are trying to marginalize a huge portion of our society rather than bringing them into the mix. Wassalam.

Muneeb Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Muneeb Ali said...

Brother adeel you said in your comment that either we are practising Muslims or we are not Muslims at all.Then why is there concept of forgiveness(maghfarrat) in our religion.A non-practising Muslim is still a Muslim and he can always ask for forgiveness and start all over again.In this case you gave example about Quraish, but brother quraish has much bigger problems regarding basic principles of Islam like belief in only one Allah and Muhammad (PBUH).
A Muslim can only be a bad Muslim or a good Muslim but not a kaafir.

You said your friends were impressed by the movie cause it supported their life style, well if they only want to pick ideas from this movie which they think supports their life style then this is their intellectual problem or maybe they dont want to think about these issues to maintain a certain lifestyle or maybe they just wanted to have fun and laugh and not think about the movie, whatever it is but its their perspective and they have their rights but if you think that this movie has provoked unislamic ideas then you are wrong.

I got the idea from your comments that the term extremist maulanas is reffered to fundamentalist scholars of our society,but that is not actually true.This movie has portrayed those so called maulanas of our society as extremists who have been brain washing youth of Paksitan for their own political benefits and extremist beliefs.As far as the term liberalism is concerned, I think the fundamentalist scholars of our society are liberal and that is a good term.

Our society is already divided, either cause of social issues or islamic issues and this movie has just made us aware of that and thatas it.

What ever you said in your comments is true but thats exactly what is portrayed in the movie.So, i once again urge you to watch the movie before making up your mind about it.

Adeel said...

Salam Muneeb bhai, I appreciate your comments. When I said that there is no concept of non-practicing muslim in islam, I didnt mean to imply anything against Allah's maghfirah (nawoozobillah). We all have our imperfections and we all need Allah's mercy to get us through, and Allah forgives whomsoever he wants and punishes whomsoever he wants. But my brother only believing in Allah and his messenger Pbuh is not enough unless we practice his religion. When I mentioned the kuffar, you might not know that at a certain stage they were ready to accept Allah's messenger as long as he doesn't force them to practice Islam. The point I was trying to make was that if someone deliberately denies practicing Islam based on the premises that in his/her own mind, a practice in Islam is not required, or the people who practice Islam have so many other problems and thus I don't have to practice Islam then those are very dangerous lines to cross.

We have to be very careful in what we say about Islam. If we have to follow any opinion about our religion, we should go to the source i.e. Quran and Sunnah rather than on a certain movie. The only problem I have with this movie is that underlying all the social issues that it tries to address, it also tries to setup one opinion or another about our religion and that none of the people involved in this movie are qualified to do so. We should understand that these liberal and secular forces are trying to set us up for their own political gains, probably in the same way as in your mind, religious factions are trying to do so.

You see, all three of us involved in here are brothers and we have such different stands on this movie. That in and of itself proves that this is a divisive movie and thus harmful for our society at this stage. If it would have been on any other issue it wouldn't have mattered. But cause it addresses our religion, this is a very serious matter.

I would like to know what you got out of the movie regarding these three topics:

1. Music is allowed in Islam?
2. A muslim girl marrying a non muslim guy?
3. Keeping a beard and wearing Shalwar Kameez is required?

In my opinion, these are not the most important issues in our religion, but as the movie tries to make them so, I would like to know what opinion in the movie appealed to you and why?

adnan ali said...

Dear Adeel, I appreciate your interest in this blog post and your comments.

The fact that three of us have even discussed these issues is because of this movie. The fact that we have different opinions is true even if the movie had never been made. I think we can give each other credit for having thoughts and opinions and cetainly a movie did not come out and form our opinions.

Again I find it offensive that since I have wathed Shoaib's movie, you seem to have made a decision that I agree with his opinion. I urge you to correct your stance on it.

I think we are paying too much focus on terms. Now about your questions:

1) Music
Two different point of views came out. The music is totally haram and not allowed at all. That some sort of music was common in the Prophet's days and if it is not provocotive then its fine.

I came out of the movie thinking I need to do research on both opinions to reach a conclusion.

2) Muslim Girl Marrying Non-Muslim Guy
The movie had the opinion firstly that the girl can not be married off without her will. The parent's will should be included but the girl's will is must.

One opinion was that the Girl can not marry a non-muslim guy at all.

I found it new and odd that the one opinion of the movie was that although she can marry Christian or Jew, but it was most unwanted in Islam. Most unliked.

I came out of the movie thinking that I need to do further research on both opinions.

3)Keeping a beard and wearing Shalwar Kameez
First of all we can all agree that the Shalwar Kameez thing is stupid. We can't expect that some one on the north pole will wear shalwar kameez. So that is a moot point.

On the beard, one opinion was that it is Sunnah. Only those who love the Prophet (PBUH) have beard.

The other opinion (from a bearded maulana character) was that it is sunnah. Only those who love the Prophet (PBUH) wear a beard. But it is the height of love and not the pre-requisite of love. In many cases the religious teachers focus more on beard for a person rather than giving moral and ethical education. That is why beard is not a sign of piety any more in our society.

I agreed with the movie's statement. Although I have a beard, I do not think that I am a complete Muslim now. My practice and dealing with others needs to be complete.

There might be your friends who come out of the movie and say oh yeah Music is totally allowed and Muslim girls can marry any one and Islam does not need beards. Thats their opinion. But as I have just shown both opinions were given equal weight and time in the movie.

There were many other things in the movie. The Americans after 9/11. The pitting of muslims against muslims in Afghanistan,i.e; taliban vs. northeren alliance.

Muneeb Ali said...

Regarding these three topics i got a hunger to findout for myself what our religion actually says and i have not made any opinions about these issues yet and neither had any opinions before.The reason being,the divisive behaviour of our scholars who are not united, which has created lot of confusion in our society specially in the youth.

Now this confusion in our society is portrayed in this movie.This movie has portrayed that how different people have different opinions on these issues,basically showing the confusion about these issues in our society.Please understand that this movie is not telling us how to practice Islam or what Islam is? but it is telling us to wake up and find out for ourself and clearify this confusion.

I know these are not the most important issues but these issues should be resolved because they are also dividing our society.

Now this is a movie in years that has actually touched actual issues of our society and all of a sudden it is unislamic.No one says anything about all the other vulgar movies made in Pakistan.Arnt they unislamic??

Adeel said...

Ok guys fine. We have more knowledge about these issues than the people who came out with the FATWA. I don't know why these people even make the effort to do so, as none of us take them seriously anyways.

adnan ali said...

Dear Adeel. Thanks for your comment. It must be an effort to take time to read this blog and comment on a post.

There is a FATWA which says Muslims should not live in Non-Muslim countries unless its for 'Tableegh' of Islam.

There is a FATWA stating every Muslim should be attacking the USA, its civilians and its infrastructure.

The point is that there are many bodies issuing FATWA out there. Any one can give a FATWA. You are speaking for yourself when you say that 'none of us' follows any FATWA.

Yes, I wonder myself why the body in Karachi issued this FATWA. As they had not seen the movie. It is not like the issue of saying your prayers while in space. At least there, conjecture and 'Ijtehad' made common sense.

I believe if they had seen the movie, they would have given detailed FATWAs on music, forced marriages, living with girlfriends, dating, marrying non-muslims, polygomy, living in the west etc. But that probably would have taken too much work.

Adeel said...

Salam, it is quiet apparent that there is no end to this. I am raising a white flag now.

Malaika said...

i haven't seen the movie so i wouldnt know but as far as i know there can never be an ened to thi sdebate...this movie was based on our current sittuation...its not the movie which is un islamic the lives that we are leading which are unislamic...

bas kamal said...

We have to be very careful in what we say about Islam. If we have to follow any opinion about our religion, we should go to the source i.e. Quran and Sunnah rather than on a certain movie. The only problem I have with this movie is that underlying all the social issues that it tries to address, it also tries to setup one opinion or another about our religion and that none of the people involved in this movie are qualified to do so. We should understand that these liberal and secular forces are trying to set us up for their own political gains, probably in the same way as in your mind, religious factions are trying to do so.

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