By: Abu Ibrahim Ismail

Perhaps you've tried to ignore it as I have. But you cannot.

Why? Because it's everywhere.

No, it's not the wildly fluctuating winter temperatures. It's not the political wrangling in Washington. It is Harry Potter.

Last summer, the final installment in the Harry Potter movies came out. And this time, I learned to accept the fact that Harry Potter was going to be big no matter what. And whether I liked it or not, millions of young Muslims were going to watch the last movie in the series.

You've probably heard much of the same rhetoric I have over the past ten years. Ever since Harry Potter became an international phenomenon, Muslim parents, speakers, lecturers and imams have spoken out against the boy with the scar.

• “Magic and sorcery is becoming more accepted in today's society.”

• “The devil is trying to influence your children to believe magic is okay.”

• “Harry Potter is eeeeevvviiiillll!”

I'm not here to defend Harry Potter. There are some things about the series I don't really care for either. Like the whole “Dumbledore is gay” thing.

Nonetheless, I believe there is good in everything. For instance, I'm not a fan of U.S. foreign policy. But there are many things I like about the United States.

With that in mind, I wanted to create a list of things we (people who have read or watched the series) can take from Harry Potter that might actually benefit us. Insha'Allah, we'll see that the boy with the scar can teach us something after all.

1. There's Nothing Wrong With Mudbloods.

In the Harry Potter series, there were wizards who were pure-bloods and wizards who were “mudbloods.”

Pure-bloods were wizards who came from a pure wizarding family. Mudbloods were wizards who were born from Muggle (human) parents.

In the story, many of the pure blood wizards felt they were better than the mudbloods. In fact, the term mudblood is actually a derogatory term for Muggle-born wizards.

• Some pure-bloods hold a supremacist attitude towards mudbloods.

• Some pure-bloods refuse to marry mudbloods and look down on wizards who do.

• Some pure-bloods even treat mudbloods as second-class citizens.

Unfortunately, we have some of these same problems in the Muslim world. As an African-American son of Muslim converts, I've seen my fare share of “Pure-Blood Supremacy” amongst Muslims.

• Some Muslims who come from the Middle East or Indian subcontinent seem to think I'm ignorant about Islamic laws and  requirements.

• Some Muslims seem to think American Muslims have not memorized much Qur'an or learned the rules of Tajwid.

• Some Muslims refuse to let their children (especially their daughters) marry outside their race, nationality, or tribe.

One of the best lessons learned from Harry Potter is that it's perfectly okay to be a Mudblood. Furthermore, a Mudblood is often just as good a wizard as a Pure-blood.

The same holds true for Muslims. An American-born Muslim may be just as knowledgeable about Islam, and just as good a Muslim as our foreign-born brethren.

2. Don't Be Afraid To Say You-Know-Who's Name.

Voldemort is the main antagonist in the series. He's Harry Potter's arch enemy.

Before the beginning of the series, Voldemort and several evil wizards stage a rebellion and take over the wizarding world. This resulted in the death of several wizards, including Harry Potter's parents.

Eventually, Voldemort is defeated, order is restored, and things go back to normal. However, the legacy of Voldermort's reign is so traumatic just about everyone is afraid to say his name.

Instead they refer to him using cryptic phrases such as “You-Know-Who” and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” Only Harry Potter, who is initially ignorant of Voldemort's evil deeds and Professor Dumbledore are brave enough to say his name.

Perhaps you've noticed some topics that are taboo in your Muslim community also. Sometimes, it seems like Muslim leaders and parents are afraid to talk about some of these sensitive subjects.

Topics such as:

Sex

• Drugs

Terrorism

Racism

This list may differ based on your locality and community. But it's still the same song. The people in positions of leadership don't want to ruffle feathers and so they stay away from these serious topics.

Don't be afraid to say Voldemort's name. Don't be afraid to talk about these topics that are important and impact us all.

3. You Can Influence the Sorting Hat

In the first Harry Potter novel, the new students at Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardy go through a sorting procedure to see which house they will belong to. They take their turns under a talking hat that reads their mind and analyzes their character.

Based on this information, the Sorting Hat places them in one of four different houses within Hogwarts:

• Gryffindor

• Slytherin

• Hufflepuff

• Ravenclaw

When it was Harry's turn to go under the Sorting Hat, it wanted to place him in the Slytherin house. Based on Harry's character and abilities, the Hat felt Harry would have been a great addition to that house.

But Harry did not want to go to Slytherin. Instead of giving in to the Sorting Hat, Harry resisted and insisted he belonged in the Gryffindor house. Eventually, the Sorting Hat gave Harry what he wanted, and sent him to Gryffindor.

What about your Sorting Hat? Are members of your family or your community trying to make you fit into a mold that you don't belong?

Are they insisting that you follow a career path that you're not interested in?

Are they trying to make you marry someone you don't want to marry?

I'm not at all suggesting that you rebel or disobey your parents. However, it is important that you make it clear what you want, especially if you have proof based on Islam. Let them know, in the most respectful way, that they shouldn't push their dreams and desires on you.

Yes, you can influence the Sorting Hat.

4. You May Have to Join Dumbledore's Army.

In the story, Harry's friends realize the danger around them as Voldemort grows stronger throughout the series. They are upset there is no one to teach them how to defend themselves against their enemies.

Hermione, one of Harry's closest friends, suggests that Harry teach them Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry has had the most experience fighting against dark magic and agrees to secretly teach his friends what he knows.

This group of friends calls themselves “Dumbledore's Army” after the Hogwarts headmaster. They play a critical role later in the series when Voldemort's followers begin their assault.

Is it time for you to join Dumbledore's Army? Are you ready to expand your knowledge of Islam, but there's no one to teach you?

It may be time to go in search of this knowledge for yourself. With the vast possibilities of the internet, you can now get a very sound understanding of Islam without leaving your home, through online Islamic institutes.

Don't wait for someone to start the class at your local masjid. Be proactive. Go out there and get the knowledge you desire.

5. Muggles Are Boring.

Three of the most unlikeable characters in the entire series are his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Cousin Dudley. They adopt Harry after the death of his parents before the start of the story.

But they are hardly the loving sort.

They mistreat Harry and hate all things magic and out of the ordinary. They are the epitome of Muggle boorishness.

They are straight-laced, uptight and arrogant.

But most of all, they are boring. And they want Harry to be the same. They hate the fact that he's a wizard and they try their best to suppress his true identity.

Don't be like the Dursleys. It's okay to be different.

Being a Muslim in the West is not easy.

• You dress differently.

• You eat different things.

• You don't celebrate the same holidays.

It's so much easier to be like everyone else. It's much easier to try to fit in with the rest of the Muggles.

But Muggles are boring. And you're not a Muggle.

Don't be afraid to wear your hijab. Don't be afraid to grow your beard. Don't be afraid to tell the Muggles you don't celebrate Christmas or drink alcohol or deal with interest.

Don't be a Muggle.

And don't be a wizard either.

Be the best Muslim you can be.

 

 

119 Responses

  1. abaa

    great ending at the begining of the story where by its critcising muslims for what some of them does like looking muslim americans also parents not allowing to marry there doughters by outsides but anywy it turn out to be great story from the midle it has a great ending dont be a muggle dont be a wizard either be

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  2. Abu Ibrahim Ismail

    @ Thank you.

    @Thank you for the comments Abaa. Though I’m not sure if you agree with my statements or not. I was indicating that it is wrong for Muslim parents to prevent their children from marrying outside their culture for the sole reason of cultural bias.

    Generally, people do tend to marry within their cultures and that’s fine. But why would a Muslim parent prevent their kids from marrying someone outside except for some misguided ideas about cultural superiority.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • umabdullah

      i dont think its always that Abu Ibrahim. I’m pakistani and my parents were totally ok with me marrying Egyptian. they are culturally way more similar than say a family from peru. So yes sometimes its cultural bias other times its consideration for what matches well and what yur comfortable with.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. Teaching Kids the Holy Quran using toys

    Great article, fun to read!

    Here are a few of my observations about other good things about Harry Potter

    1) A mother’s love for the child is the highest love of all amongst humans, so respect your mother.

    Harry is protected from Voldemort as a child by his mother’s love.

    2) Death is only certainty of life.

    A major theme of the Potter books is death. Rowling herself said, “They (the books) open with the death of Harry’s parents. There is Voldemort’s obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price.”

    We have to learn that death is inevitable and we should prepare for it the best we can.

    3) Might is not right.

    No matter how powerful Voldemort becomes, no matter how crooked the system is and no matter how low the morals of the powerful go, might does not make right. You have to stand up for injustice and oppression.

    4) Be prepared to sacrifice for others.

    Not only does Harry’s mother sacrifice her life for her son, in all the books the theme of sacrifice is touched on. In the last book Harry sacrifices his school year to go collect horcruxes and fight the evil wizard.

    5) Appearances can be deceiving.

    Sometimes, all is not what they appear (Snape, anyone?). We must always try to look two steps ahead rather than dwelling in the past (or even in the present).

    — Mezba

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Wow, Mezba those are great analogies. I didn’t even think of these. It’s good to know we can find lessons even in children’s fiction.

      Jazakallah Khair.

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  4. Umm Sulaim

    Very good analogies.

    If it is not harry porter, it is a multitude of other issues, a good one being male-female interactions, or the nonexistence of such interactions as some would have me believe.

    Children – and Muslims – do not live in a glass case. Excellent parenting skills and communal guidance are urgently needed.

    Umm Sulaim

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      You are so right Umm Sulaim.

      Your comment reminds me of how so many desperate parents put their teenage or pre-teen kid in a Hifz course or Islamic program expecting some sort of immediate change.

      The change these (and all) parents are looking for should have been implemented a long time before it go this point. The home is the first school and the parents (especially the mother) are the first teachers.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  5. Dobby- a free elf

    wow mashAllah i really enjoyed this article and never really thought about all these lessons before :) it’s true that harry potter and other series like this greatly influence the youth in america and through out the world and it’s important for the youth to be able to make these connections. great job MM and keep these great articles coming :)

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  6. Ruqaiyah

    Astagfirullah!!! Really??!! We have to learn how to be good Muslims form the Kafiers? We should be teaching our children how NOT to imitate these people. Some Muslims want to say it is ok to go to movies and buy these books. All you are doing is putting money in the pockets of people who have no respect for our religion! If you want to learn how to be a good Muslim READ THE QURAN! Teach your children to read arabic and pray and fast and be there for them instead of putting them in front of the tv and they will have respect for you. Harry Potter teaches nothing but how to act like a Kafier. May Allah have Mercy on us and guide us on the straight path of Sunnah granted to us through the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him. Allah Knows Best.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    Reply
    • Maryam

      Is that how real Islam is? Are we asked to keep away from everything that has some haram elements?
      I must throw this computer away…i must never access the internet….

      Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • mayra

        @Maryam: Yes throw away the computer. What you are doing is following your desires. Just because you like Harry Potter, you somehow want to justify that there is some good that be drawn from it.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      • Ayche

        I don’t understand why reading ‘Harry Potter’ would be considered haram? It’s not like I’m suddenly going to split my soul into seven and declare myself a ‘pure-blood’!
        Allah SWT, I believe, will not punish us for reading Harry Potter and enjoying it (of course taking it in as a story) but we should find a balance between acquiring good deeds and entertaining ourselves with books,movies etc

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • O H

        Shaykh Feiz of Australia explains the issues with Harry Potter.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Mohamed

      ‘Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni said in the english version of his book, Don’t Be Sad (third edition), in the ‘Introduction to the First Edition (of the Arabic Version)': You will find sayings of Eastern and Western writers and philosophers [in this book]. I do not think that I should be held blameworthy because of that, for wisdom is the goal of every believer; wherever he finds it, he is most deserving of it.

      End quote from Don’t Be Sad (p. 25)

      So it is my opinion that there is no problem in learning a few morals from writing (or anything else for that matter) of the kuffaar, as long as we adhere to Islam and do not imitate them.

      I respect your view, though. You have some points there. We should read the Qur’aan, teach our kids Arabic and Pray and Fast and be there for them instead of putting them in front of the TV.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • lalala

      I think you are making a big deal about a little light hearted article, that is making the best out of the Harry Potter Craze… if kids are going to READ the books or watch the movies, (and they all ARE, despite your firm opinions) isn’t it best for them to be able to draw out a few good lessons from that instead of ONLY hearing how its haram haram haram and then rebelling and reading them in secret? U are living in a bubble if you think you can protect yourself from all ‘western’ influences. Islam is not extreme in one way or the other. Teach what is right and wrong, and judge for yourself without juding others.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      I knew that writing this article would get the Haram police on me.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinions. My intention when writing this article certainly wasn’t to encourage people to read Harry Potter.

      But instead to show those who have read the series (and there are many, many, Muslims who have) that there is some good in the stories, despite the controversy.

      Of course, if your child does not read these books and eschews western culture completely, then this article has no relevance for you.

      But if your kids are like most Muslim kids living in the west, they’re bombarded with Harry Potter and many other things. If we yell “Haram!” at everything they find fun, they will quickly shut us out and label us as boorish adults who can’t relate to modern kids.

      This is the reality we live in. I say we deal with it rather than try to create an unrealistic utopia.

      Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • lulifa

      A.a i agree with u but pliz open ua eyes n addres tha issue if u deny ua kids watch harry potter n.b am not saying u let them watch wthout u xplaing to them u might b shockd one dday finding them doing crazy things bahind u back so make it clear to them haram is haram n halal is halaal.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Ayn

      I read the harry potter books when I was a teen. I remember when I finished the last book I felt grief and loneliness. I felt helpless. I don’t know why but I did. I felt sad and even cried from within. It was a strange feeling. I was sad but there were other feelings. I was thankful. Thankful to Allah that I was a Muslim. That Allah exists. That He is always there to listen. I was thankful because I realized that even if I loose someone dear to me, that I hadn’t really lost them. That they would wait for me and I would wait for them, till we meet again in Jannah in-sha-Allah.

      I realized that the fact that the Judgement day exists is a blessing as well. We get to live in Jannah for eternity(for good deeds off course). We could have just been given one life, right? with no hope of meeting those we lost.

      I think we should pray to Allah. Ask for knowledge that is beneficial.
      A lot depends on how things are perceived, people react differently to different things. And sometimes the bad things can open our eyes to the good and remind us of our life’s purpose.

      Compared to other things I don’t think it’s bad to read Harry Potter and other children books but before that one should be knowledgeable about the basics of faith so that they can assess and judge what they read.

      Harry Potter is nothing compared to some other books out there. Especially those revolving around mythologies/Greek gods and the like. Those are books you really want your children to avoid since they can corrupt the very foundations of faith.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  7. MW_M

    If I could add:

    1) The importance of good companionship and of not being the lone wolf
    2) Being prepared for death
    3) Never giving up
    4) standing up for your beliefs
    5) Not getting bogged down when everyone turns against you
    6) Never judge people, you never know their true nature, what they have been through, and what they might currently be sacrificing (Snape)
    7) Never using the ends to justify the means (Umbridge)
    8) Knowledge is important….but there are more important things than simple book knowledge
    9) We are defined by the conscious decisions we make
    10) Love

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • hansa

      Awesome additions!

      Another lesson that I’ve remembered of often is choosing what’s right over what’s easy.

      From Dumbledore’s speech at the end of book 4: “Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Jazkallah Khair, I like those additions also. Each and every one of them are important for human improvement in general, and Muslim improvement in particular.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  8. umabdullah

    i’m gona be the odd one here and bring up something…

    in the Quran Allah tells us that there is benefit in alcohol but that the harm is greater.

    These points of benefit can be derived and benefited from many other resources or Islam itself without having to go the harry potter route.

    I’ve consciously decided to stop watching/read harry potter. I know it was a big mistake to even start. It serves to desensitize you to the evil of magic. There is no such thing as evil magic or bad magic, its all bad.

    I know someone who is getting cured from someone doing sihr on them and she’s had it for like 10 years and TRUST ME It ain’t pretty. Its nothing glamorous. Its only evil pure and simple.

    I know this article is ” fun ” and all but do we need to go this route to get islamic benefits? :-)

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Carlos

      I had no idea modern Muslims really believed in black magic. I looked-up “sihr,” and it appears to refer to witchcraft, not in the imagined sense, but in the very real sense that it is actually a manifestation of supernatural power. Do you believe in the reality of the power of black magic, umabdullah?

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • lalala

        There are humans, angels and jinn. Jinn were created from fire and therefore have fiery temperaments. They live on Earth but we cannot see them. Some Jinn are good and some are bad (devils). Satan refused God’s orders to bow down to Adam when he created him, so he was damned and will go to hell on the Day of Judgement. He is sort of the leader of the bad Jinn and all his followers are the ones who try to convince us to do wrong. It is possible for humans to communicate with Jinn and benefit from their knowledge by performing what humans call ‘magic’, in exchange for their worship and obedience (and eternal damnation in hell). It is also possible for ‘sorcerers’ who communicate with Jinn and sometimes for Jinn themselves to harm humans through ‘black magic’. This can be undone by certain prayers. I don’t know if you are a Muslim or not, but if you are curious you can look up more about Jinn and black magic in Islam. It is very real but it is not something a Muslim should worry about because if you rely on God to protect you and you fulfill your requirements of being a Muslim He will protect you how He wills, as no harm will come to a person unless God wills it as a test for him or her.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Carlos

        I am starting to understand Muslims better. Thank you, lalala.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • NAS

      Harry potter is NOT about Islamic Magic, if anything it is derived from Western history’s take on Magic. IT does not threaten Islamic Aqidah at all. Do not fall into the trap of thinking the Potter threatens Islamic view on Magic. The Magic is just as make believe to a Muslim as a talking cat in a cartoon.

      Islamic magic ≠ Harry Potter magic

      Western magic = Harry potter magic

      Let’s not drag ourselves into a battle that doesn’t concern us.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • sister B

        a little correction. “magic” that islam prohibits. not “islamic magic”. cuz no magic is “islamic”

        Carlos- we believe it exists .its a type of knowledge that can be learnt ,.just like maths,biology. But its strictly prohibited in Islam so much so that a person who practises it (as lalala said)leaves the fold of islam !

        magicians can be good only in the harry potter world. In the real world they arent :)

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Umabdullah,

      Thank you for your comments and you do bring up valid points. But there’s one problem.

      Drinking alcohol and gambling is haram. Allah has said so and His messenger has said the same.

      But it’s not for us to say that reading books with “magic” in them are haram. What about the many classic books that also deal with magic?

      Alice in Wonderland. The Wizard of Oz. The Hobbit. Arabian Nights.

      Are we going to start making all of these things haram? When does it end?

      Also, I’m not advocating for anyone to read Harry Potter in order to get Islamic benefits.

      What I’m saying is that for those who have read the books and do enjoy them, there are some beneficial lessons in them.

      And Allah knows best.

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • Faiza

        well i dont know the legal islamic ruling about reading fiction but the beauty of deen is that a person should leave anything that is laghw- that does not concern him,
        like if something does not apparently harm us, and it also does not benefit us, it is better and advisable to quit it.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Carlos

    Is anyone else here as uncomfortable as I am about the growing popularity of literature about witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and other supernatural creatures? It all seems like harmless fun until one reads articles about polls showing increasing numbers of supposedly modern people believing in “spirituality,” channeling energies or other supernatural nonsense. There are even people being killed in Africa today, based upon superstitious notions regarding albinos or suspected witches. There is a local station near me where a psychic advertises regularly, so much so that she must be making a lot of money from all the local gullible people, people who can least afford wasting their money. Some people are blowing all their disposable income on the lottery, because they believe in some pseudo-scientific numerology. It is sickening. It is fun to pretend about supernatural things, because it makes life more exciting and mysterious. By comparison, reality seems boring and unfulfilling. If only people would study more real science, instead, and wonder in awe about the magic of reality.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Maryam

      :) hi there…

      yes Richard Dawkins nailed this point in “Unweaving the Rainbow”…..lamented about Keats indifference to Newton..

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Meh…I think you’re being a little dramatic, Carlos.

      Magic and these things have been around for ages. Americans are starting to become more spiritual these days for many reasons. Perhaps one of the reasons is previous generations’ over indulgence in science, technology and secular affairs.

      I grew up in the 80’s and there was no shortage of magic-based stories and fortune tellers back then.

      The Hobbit. The Smurfs. He-Man. Thundercats. The list goes on.

      I would wager that the reason it may seem more prevalent now is because information is so overwhelming now.

      Before, we would only hear about the Smurfs (for instance) on TV, maybe a comic strip, and perhaps talk about it in school.

      Nowadays, I saw the recent Twilight movies being advertised EVERYWHERE. I saw ads on my laptop. I saw an app in the iTunes store. I saw ads on billboards. I saw it on TV. I saw books about it being sold in stores.

      It’s just we hear and see these things much more is all IMHO.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  10. Umm Reem

    I am so glad you wrote this article. JazakAllah khiar Abu Ibrahim.

    I kept my children away from Harry Potter until two years ago when we were running out of books and I picked the “lesser of the other evils” and allowed this series. I am happy that I let them read it because there are MANY MANY good lessons in HP, some of which you mentioned in your article.

    In fact, there was far less romance in HP than many other books. I think some of the articles written against the series where unfair and biased.

    It was also interesting that magic in HP was not really the exact magic that is prohibited, wAllahu ‘alam. And for the reasons, many believe that HP should not be read, so shouldn’t, Alice in the Wonder Land, Lord of the Rings, Magic Tree House and many other famous children books.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Jazakallah Umm Reem,

      I was bringing up the same points to other people on this thread. Are we just going to forbid every book that deals with magic?

      Not to get argumentative, but what about secular stories that don’t even recognize God/Allah? For instance the many sci-fi franchises that make science the new god.

      Star Trek and Star Wars both put a lot of emphasis on science without any notion of God. In fact, they almost act as if He doesn’t exist.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • Infidelicious

        “Star Trek and Star Wars both put a lot of emphasis on science without any notion of God. In fact, they almost act as if He doesn’t exist.”

        Some books/films are not about God…. does that in itself make them less ?
        Does _everything_ have to have a God angle ? We all read books and watch TV for the fun of it.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • David

        Yes but Star Wars uses the Chinese belief that the CHI(energy) makes up the whole universe and that controlling the chi will allow you to do things, not reliance on Allah.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. UMMABDULLAH

    Thank you so much for bringing up these great points, they remind us of all the things we face in our daily life. Some are good , some are bad. However, as muslims we must only extract the good lessons from our surroundings and utilize them to teach ourselves and our children. Jazaks

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  12. umm Hamzah

    assalamu alaikum, I stopped reading HP when I became muslim. i thought about it and the Dursleys were actually the right ones in being against magic but they were labeled the haters. No, magic is evil and to make light out of it and pretend it doesnt exist is not good! I am under the impression that there really is not any good in the world except Quran, Sunnah, scholars, good company. Not only that magic part, beloved Dumbledore turns out to be homosexual. Though maybe he doesnt act on it, he still is a rolemodel. If I let my kids read these, how can I be sure Allah will let me off the hook and forgive me. My children are a trust from Allah, not a garbage bin to fill. As much as I loved Harry Potter, I kind of disagree with the article. I give the author credit for the catchy article title though.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Thank you for commenting Umm Hamzah.

      Actually, the Dursleys mistreat an orphan which is a pretty serious sin in Islam. So they aren’t exactly the best role models either.

      But to your main point, you have a right to raise your children any way you feel is right. If you’re able to keep modern Western culture away from them until they’re old enough to make up their own minds, Alhamdulillah.

      Would you let your children read a book about a grown man and young boy who travel through America naked, steal without remorse, and use the “N word” with reckless abandon?

      That story is Huckleberry Finn and is an American classic. At some point, if your children go to American schools, they’re going to be asked to read this book or be confronted with it somehow.

      But if you want to keep your children away from classic English works, that’s your decision. In the end, you’ll find yourself fighting a losing battle because if they don’t read HP there’ll be something else. If it’s not books, it’ll be video games or movies or TV.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • David

        This is one reason that Muslims should homeschool their children if at all possible. Sheikh Yusuf Estes told a person sending their kids to public school is like putting them in a toilet. So true!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Nuraini

    as a fan of fantasy and mythology as a form of literature, i think a lot of people misunderstand this genre. the very fact that the genre is a fantasy (or science fiction) genre necessarily means that it is an imagined world where things are different and includes make believe elements. the things that are there but are not in this world are obviously NOT REAL.

    the purpose of this genre is to illustrate messages and truths that the writer or storyteller feels remains the same no matter what world one is in. the main strength of this genre is precisely that the story is NOT set in the world we actually live in or even a genuinely historical one, as sometimes with difficult themes putting the story too literally in the real world makes the message very heavy and too direct. whereas placing it in a different world with different elements allows you to make the audience focus on the message without rubbing anyone the wrong way due to real world details that obscure the themes. in fact, it is when the story world strays too close to the real one that the spell is broken, when the desired message is too similar to actual real world rhetoric.

    when you read fantasy genres, it is obvious that dragons do not actually exist, and that there aren’t really pantheons of gods, or that magic is an ordinary facet of life, nor that there are orcs and elves. but they are elements building up that alternative world within which your timeless story is being told. i seriously question that anyone is really going to be into sorcery because harry potter took classes in charms and occlumency, and have flying broomsticks. because clearly one cannot run into fireplaces and emerge somewhere else. the important things to bear in mind about fantasy stories is the same as any story – what is the tale about? does the theme posit positive things and truths about life and the world so as to help young people think about them and reflect on how they feel about it? for that reason perhaps ‘twilight’ is a worse series not because the protagonists are vampires, but the relatively unhealthy portrayal of what an ideal marriage partnership is like etc. whereas i would point out that there is a good reason why the lord of the rings is widely considered as THE classic of the modern fantasy genre, as its telling of epic truths, like that of star wars, is movingly done and far more effective than if you were to read the lesson straight from a book of instruction.

    there is something very moving and reassuring about the universality of things that are true, that they remain true even if transplanted into a very different world, and thus truly objective. that is what the fantasy genre is all about.

    alas there will always be among us those who are unfortunately not blessed with any kind of imagination and creativity whatsoever, and believe no one else should have them either, and their dominance is the reason why in my country muslim bookstores do not have any book other than fiqh and jurisprudence under the heading “ilmu” – not science, not mathematics, not general philosophy, not literary classics, not poetry, not on history of people other than middle eastern muslims, not on nature, or carpentry, or cooking or engines or economics, zilch. in order to get books on any kind of knowledge not strictly on theology (only islamic) and jurisprudence, or school syllabus textbooks, one has to go to a secular bookstore. if this isn’t a shame on us, i don’t know what is.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  14. Ahmed Brown

    I was smiling throughout most of the article! I read some of the books (I think up to #4 or #5) back in the day but never bothered to see the movies. However, I’m well-aware the movies are popular with everyone, including Muslim youth. I think you’ve made the best of a questionable situation—I say ‘questionable’ because I really don’t know where to stand on the whole notion of Harry Potter being ‘eeeeeeeviiiiilll’ or promoting magic.

    Reminds me the time a Muslim speaker made an analogy to Batman Begins and there seemed to be some nervous laughter or surprise from the audience, even though it was a young crowd and possibly a large number of them had seen the movie. Even though many of us are addicted to popular media, Muslim audiences aren’t used to having it mentioned in a positive light, hence the surprise. I expect you’ll get some of that here in the comments.

    Keep it up!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  15. mw_m

    Just some quotes from Harry Potter for those who think it’s just trash:

    “His priority did not seem to be to teach them what he knew, but rather to impress upon them that nothing, not even….. knowledge, was foolproof.”

    “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

    “Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”

    “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

    “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

    “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We have all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the power we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

    “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

    “I am sorry too. Sorry I will never know him… but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.”

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

    “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  16. Ibn Abdullah

    Dear Abu Ibrahim Ismail:

    As-Salamu’alaikum. I respectfully must say to you that you lack fundamental Islamic knowledge to be writing an article towards educating fellow Muslims. To satirize the words of many Imams who condemn Harry Potter, and then simply use the pretence that “there is benefit in everything” to write a piece about things we can “learn” from such a character (albeit fictional) is disgusting. I say you lack fundamental Islamic knowledge because you clearly do not hate this major sin as much as ALLAH and HIS Messenger want us to. By this piece, I will go even further to say that you don’t even know what the punishment for practicing the crime of Magic is, and so for the benefit of my fellow Brothers and Sisters, I will point out that not only is the punishment death, but the magician dies on kufr (unlike a murder who is also executed, yet janazah is prayed for him/her).

    Many of you will also argue that people like myself and a few others who have expressed their concern on this blog should “lighten up”, considering everyone knows that Harry Potter is a fictional character and no one truly believes that the stories are true. This is irrelevant. To speak of benefits that can be derived from this is to give this type of material credibility, which should not be allowed. Not ever. To make the ludicrous statement that there is good in everything is absurd, and also dangerous. By this definition, can it be legitimate to say that there is benefit in pornography? One could argue that pornography is simply zina, whereas HP is about magic, which is major kufr in Islam (and therefore significantly worse). Is this correct? Some of you will say that well, pornography destroys families, marriage, objectifies women, etc. Yes, you are all correct. But appreciating the benefits of HP is worse because this is tied directly with your belief in ALLAH. Both are wrong, except one is worse. FYI, I am not in anyway defending pornography, I am simply trying to use an example to illustrate the fallacy of this argument.

    I am also shocked by this piece because I thought that MuslimMatters was sympathetic towards Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s opinions. I personally asked Sheikh Yasir about the permissibility of reading HP, his reply to me was that it is makruh (i.e. something that should be avoided). I personally was surprised by even this response but he pointed out that to say it is Haram is a bit strong, considering that it is a book of fiction, and no one accepts the stories to be real. If one were to accept that at the very least this story is makruh, how can we be talking about its benefits? Have you exhausted the benefits from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Prophets, the Sahaba, the heroes of Islam, the scholars of Islam, such that you need inspiration from somewhere else?

    I am also disturbed by the outpouring of positive feedback that this article has received. I truly am sad about this state of affairs of the Muslim community that cannot unanimously condemn such filth. Yes, we live in the west, where we are free to say, and believe as we wish. However, on this issue there is no difference of opinion on the scholars regardless of which spectrum you sympathize with, or which madh-hab you adhere to. Simply using these “benefits” and giving it an “Islamic” twist does not justify such entertainment.

    That being said, there are many forms of entertainment that are legitimate in Islam (and Muslim Matters has written articles about this in the past), and should be explored. The fact that we are Muslims, living in a non-Muslim society means that we should be even more vigilant with our entertainment, as well as the entertainment of our children; not be lax about it because “everyone is doing it”. Everyone around us do not pray, this by no means is an excuse for us to do the same.

    To the editorial staff of Muslim Matters, I must say that this is a new all-time low for you. I have vehemently disagreed with many articles of yours in the past, but this definitely is appalling. You the editorial staff are to be condemned even further because you have on the one hand the audacity to remove comments that do not meet your criteria of “standards”, yet filth like this gets a pass. Moreover, because of a piece like this, many Muslims who are on the fence will begin to sympathize with HP, citing this article as “evidence” for this legitimacy. As a fellow brother, I urge you to remove this article from your blog, and issue a retraction apologizing for its publication.

    If you want to see how ALLAH speaks of magicians, then read their encounter in the Qur’an with our Prophet Musa AS, or read the numerous hadith on the subject. Better yet, I would recommend the author, and the entire editorial staff to take the course, “Light of Guidance” offered by the Al-Maghrib Institute, and taught by none other than Sheikh Yasir Qadhi himself. This should clear up any doubts on the subject.

    And ALLAH Knows best.

    Was-Salamu’alaikum.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

    Reply
    • Siraaj

      Salaam alaykum IbnAbdullah,

      Appreciate the time you took to write your response. I think I speak for the editorial board when I say we are all in agreement with your statements about the type of magic you are describing.

      However, not all “magic” involves kufr. For example, sleight-of-hand tricks are also called “magic”, but this is not the magic which involves the worship of shayateen in exchange for supernatural abilities.

      Similarly, the “magic” in Harry Potter as described in the story in no way mirrors “magic” as we understand it. The rules within the world of that story do not describe characters worshiping other creatures or other such things.

      From what we have learned, it’s not simply the supernatural ability that matters, but how it is acquired, and if it’s glorifying worshiping evil spirits and false deities, then we wouldn’t publish this either, nor do I think the author would have written the article.

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Reply
    • Yasir Qadhi

      Salam

      Yes, it is my opinion that such books are not the best books for young minds to read. At the same time, one has to have a level of pragmatism – I would estimate that over 80 % of our kids are indeed reading HP.

      So – does one tell them it is haram (which, BTW, I don’t believe to be the case), or does one do like this author did, which is to target that 80 % and say ‘Ok, you guys have all read this story, let’s see what lessons we can learn from it.’

      We don’t live in an ideal world, and, as with a lot of things that we’re doing, we simply have to make the best of an unideal situation.

      BTW I don’t believe the comparison to pornography is valid. Porn is haram, reading HP is not.

      Bottom line: some of your points are valid, and if you can raise your kids in a manner that they never read HP and don’t know what it is, excellent. (But I do wonder, with all respect, if you even have children of that age, and if they are as innocent and protected from HP as you think – but that is besides the point)

      For those parents whose kids read HP (in fact, for those PARENTS who read HP), this article has some benefits in it.

      And Allah knows best…

      Yasir

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      Reply
      • Ibn Abdullah

        Dear Sheikh Yasir:

        As-Salamu’alaikum, and JazakALLAH Khair for taking the time out of your busy schedule to reply to my post. May ALLAH have Mercy on your parents, and increase your honour. You too have made some good points, but unfortunately, your tone appears very defeatist. You are a person of knowledge whom I hold in esteem, and have taken many of your classes with Al-Maghrib (Light of Guidance, Light Upon Light, etc). I agree that 80% of our children, and even the parents for that matter are reading HP. This by no means, is an excuse, nor a justification. If it is true that they are not the most ideal thing to let our children read or watch, then we should steer our children away from them and provide alternatives. You, as a person of knowledge, and leader in the Muslim community here in the west should be in the forefront of this. The attitude that we should be having is, there are so many other halal forms of literature, or even literature that have less haram in it, that Harry Potter should not even be considered. As I pointed out Sheikh Yasir, we need to be more vigilant because we are living here in the west, and not lax. As someone who has written books on Tawheed, given courses in ‘Aqeedah, would you feel happy seeing your children bringing books like this in your home? Would you feel good if your son told you the benefits that he derived from reading Harry Potter? I would personally hope that the answer is no to both questions. If you dislike this material for your children, shouldn’t you dislike it for the children of other Muslim families? Therefore, how can you not feel concerned when you see articles that talk about the benefits of HP, on an Islamic website no less, which is receiving an outpouring of praise from the Muslim community at large? Shouldn’t we as Muslims have resentment towards such literature?

        I am a parent, and we homeschool our children, and (you may find this hard to believe, but) no, we do not allow our children to read anything about magic, nor do we even allow them to watch cartoons that utilize magic (e.g. snow white, cinderella, beauty & the best). There are plenty of halal alternatives that are available, but like all things, one needs to initiate effort and sacrifice in order to find them. I am very selective on the foods I buy, and what I eat. I should therefore, be just as much selective with respect to the entertainment of my family. I am not sure if you are aware, but the story of the Prophet SAW is available in cartoon, there is a series in arabic about Salaheddin Ayyubi. Other secular cartoons like finding nemo and cars are examples of cartoons that have minimal haram. Cartoons series like Arthur, Peep, Pocoyo and others can be found on youtube. As far as literature is concerned, series like “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators”, “The hardy boys”, and some stories from the Arabian Nights like “Sindbad the Sailor” are good examples. So to answer this point of yours, my wife and I very actively try to protect our children from the haram they are exposed to, and their innocence reflects this and ALLAH is a Witness to all things. We, by no means, consider ourselves examples for the Muslim community. My wife and I try to fear ALLAH as much as we can, and we ask ALLAH to Forgive our (many, many) shortcomings.

        I agree that there will be some elements of haram here and there in almost everything, I am the first to acknowledge that (e.g. music). However, our job as Muslims is to minimize the haram in our lives. Stories about magic, where the hero no less is a magician should not even be considered. Wouldn’t you agree that this is extreme? With respect to comparing HP to pornography, I agree, watching pornography is haram, and reading HP may not be. However, the issue was to address the concept of deriving benefit from things that are bad, which the author mentioned. The problem is that our community is embracing what the surrounding community at large is embracing. Harry Potter is popular with the kuffar, so we are not only reading/watching it, but now we are also talking about its benefits. Sheikh Yasir, what if Harry Potter was a fortune teller? Are there benefits to reading biographies about Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Brittany Spears? Some of course will enthusiastically say, “YES!” Do you not see a problem here? If we see Muslims doing this already, shouldn’t we steer them AWAY from it? Didn’t the Prophet SAW scold ‘Umar for reading the Torah, even if there was benefit to be derived from it?

        The fundamental mistake that everyone, especially (and respectfully you), Sheikh Yasir, is making by talking about the benefits of HP, is that when our children, or anyone else reads about HP, they are not learning to hate magic, nor are they learning to hate magicians. We are supposed to hate magicians, and detest magic. The fictional character HP, and his fellow criminal characters will only create positive feelings for our children about such matters, and we will hate this crime even less. This Sheikh Yasir, unfortunately reduces the integrity of the teacher because it does not show consistency in the message. How can I teach my children on the one hand that magic is haram, and the magician is committing major kufr, and my child in turn responds, “But Harry Potter is a good magician. Isn’t he ok?” Right, just like the good drug dealer around the corner. Rather than glossing over my “good points”, I would suggest that you should emphasize them, and advocate some stronger standards in the quality of entertainment we as parents and teachers provide for our children.

        SubhanALLAH, Sheikh Yasir, your classes helped me hate the sin of magic, and yet I am explaining these things to you? We Muslims are supposed to be perfecting our Tawheed, and our belief in ALLAH, yet there are christians who condemn HP for his practice of witchcraft. Sigh. I expect to have this conversation with the kuffar, or with the ignorant, but not with you.

        May ALLAH guide us all.

        Was-Salamu’alaikum.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • Noor

        Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allah,

        Brother Ibn Abdullah, it’s great for you that you homeschool your kids and keep them away from everything that in any way involves magic, but your attitude in these comments is very judgmental of other Muslims and very confrontational, which is not how we Muslims should treat each other. I don’t know why you are calling other ignorant just because they have a slightly different experience and interpretation.

        Not everyone has the ability to home school their children and most Muslim children in the west go to public schools or the generally poor excuses for Islamic Schools that are available in our communities. I am a teacher in the public schools and I see what kids are being bombarded with every day and in the midst of all this I must say I find it a little ridiculous that you think Harry Potter is the root of all evil. Unfortunately, compared to the many, many things our kids can’t escape from Harry Potter with all it’s negatives is actually one example of wholesome, clean literature that they can safely consume.

        First to clarify some points. Albus Dumbledore was never gay in the books. I read the books personally several times and this was never in any way obvious. (Only one mention was made of this whole idea in an article which was written by a journalist who was clearly trying to defame him). Most readers, Muslim and non-Muslim were shocked when the author said that she pictured/imagined Dumbledore as gay, so reading the books is not going to give your kids any ideas about homosexuality at all.

        Second, you mentioned something about “What if Harry Was a fortune teller?” Actually, one of the things you would know if you read the books is that in the world of Harry Potter the exact same concerns we as Muslims have about fortune-telling are present. Divination, which is the area of magic that tries to tell the future, is frowned upon and shown to be a silly and more often than not harmful discipline. Even in the cases in which a prophecy is made that is central to one of the books it turns out that relying too much on this prophecy is wrong and only leads to misery, etc. The way fortune telling is portrayed is very much in line with the Islamic idea that fortune-tellers are liars even if they end up saying something true. So Harry Potter might not tech kids to hate magic, but it does teach them to hate fortune-telling.

        Also, you said: “There are plenty of halal alternatives that are available” unfortunately this is simply not true. It’s very hard to find things that are completely Halal and unfortunately, while you are so worried about magic our Muslim children are being exposed to much more unsettling messages about sex and drugs which are much, much more damaging to their lives than a CLEARLY make-believe world with some magic in it.

        You did mention some alternatives, but I would like to ask you if you know the following about these so called alternatives:
        – Do you know that Arthur has episodes that refer to the very young characters being ‘in love’ with their classmates?
        – Did you know that Hardy boys often solve crimes with Nancy drew and that the Hardy boys have friends who are girls? They’re not shown to have relationships or be in love as far as I know (I don’t read them) but they obviously hang out and consider them friends and is this behavior that you would consider Islamic for Muslim teenagers?
        – Arabian Nights including Sindbad which you mention contain many magical creatures, magical passwords, etc. For example there is a giant Rokh bird in Sindbad and so on. Why is this more acceptable to you than the magical creatures in Harry Potter?
        – Did you know that even the fish in Finding Nemo and the female cars in Cars are portrayed in ways that highlight their sexuality? These kinds of messages are all over so called children’s cartoons that we never think twice about reinforcing very destructive messages that our kids can’t escape from.
        – This is not to get into any of the anti-Islam messages and the racism present in much of the literature that we would never consider worrying about.

        It’s great that you are being careful and monitoring what your kids watch and read and homeschooling them, but let me tell you a story. I knew a young family just like yours who home-schooled their kids and kept them insulated away from anything and everything they found negative. I’m sure they wouldn’t have approved of Harry Potter either, though I can’t remember if I ever specifically discussed it with them or not. Well, one day I saw their daughter with a very small children’s book, one of those random things about bears that is supposed to be clean because it was made for kids and teaches good messages like listening to parents, not hurting your brother/sister, etc. It turns out this particular story revolved around a love story and their daughter was clearly enjoying reading it because she knew it was “forbidden” and that made it seem exciting to her. You can’t monitor every last thing. You won’t be able to keep your kids happy with Arthur and Sindbad forever. Nor can you keep them from seeing the negative messages plastered all over billboards in the street and so on. One day, even home schooled children will go out in the world and they will have to face these things. Are you preparing them for being able to filter out the good from the bad for themselves? Are you teaching them how to CHOOSE and how to be the one loner who stays away from all that even when it’s being shoved down their throat by everyone around them?

        If you can do this, then Masha Allah, you are a great parent and that’s great for you. Congratulations. But please don’t call people ignorant and try to suggest that others are less faithful in their deen than you are. Many families can’t afford to sit home and home school their kids. Many parents are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of garbage their kids are being exposed to on the playground and in their schools. Many parents are unaware of most of what their children are being exposed to or watching and reading secretly. Articles like this make a very good, and a much needed point. You CAN find good in things like Harry Potter and you CAN teach your kids to read something and analyze which parts are good and which parts are bad and why that is the case. This is the most important lesson our children will learn, because one day you won’t be standing next to them and they will have to make that decision on their own.

        *Name has been changed to comply to our Comments Policy*

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Carlos

      Ibn Abdullah, some things are real and some things are just pretend. From your harsh and judgmental comment addressed to Abu Ibrahim Ismail, I get the sense that you have difficulty differentiating the two.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Ayesha

      totally agree with you…was really shocked when i saw the article..may Allah guide everyone and grant us proper understanding from the deen!!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Filth? Comparisons to pornography? Really, is all that necessary?

      As for my Islamic education, click on my name, visit my website, read my About page.

      In that same Islamic school I graduated from, there are others with even more knowledge than I, who have read Harry Potter.

      Why? Because they were young people and that’s what a lot of young people do. Because the books are fun to read. Because they’re not influenced by fictional stories.

      Though I’ve said it before on this thread, I’ll say it again: I’m neither advocating the use of magic (now that’s Haram) nor am I encouraging anyone to read Harry Potter or have their kids read it.

      But for those people who have read it or seen the movies or played the video games (and there are probably more Western Muslim kids who have than who have not) they can possible glean some benefit from the books.

      Using your same logic, we should also forbid our children from any sort of entertainment that is even remotely haram.

      Modern sports popularizes alcohol consumption (try to find an American stadium that doesn’t have a beer sponsor).

      Sesame Street is off the list (The Count, Abby Cadabby, and even Ernie and Bert are suspected of being gay).

      Comic books including Batman, Superman, Spider Man, the X-Men (magic, bad morals, alcoholism, drug use and more!)

      The point is, this attitude may chase many people away from Islam, and may also push those same fence-sitters you mentioned away from the Masjid.

      How can anyone talk to someone who can’t relate to them? Who is a young person with a problem more likely to go to for advice: the Shaikh who’s always berating them about reading “haram” HP books or their non-Muslim friends who share the same interests?

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Ibn Abdullah

        Dear Abu Ibrahim Ismail:

        As-Salamu’alaikum. First off, I would advise you to read my response to Sheikh Yasir’s post. That being said, I took a moment to look at your website, and your credentials, and respectfully Abu Ibrahim, my opinion still holds. If you were teaching at an Islamic school where my child was attending and they told me you said these things, I would file a complaint. If I was the principal of this school, then you would face disciplinary action. The purpose of obtaining Islamic education is so that it bears witness for us on the Day of Judgement, and not bears witness against us. Despite the level of Islamic education that you have obtained, you clearly are trivializing the sin of magic with this article. As for your comment about your peers who were more knowledgeable and read Harry Potter, this point is irrelevant. They are not measures by any means. My measure is the Qur’an and the Sunnah, it doesn’t matter what people are doing. You say on the one hand that you are not advocating the use of magic, nor encouraging anyone to read Harry Potter. Then why write a piece talking about the benefits we can derive from it? Was your intent with this piece to help develop hatred for magic and/or magicians? No. Such a piece only gives filth (yes, filth) like this credibility. I call this material filth, because if any of my children were to bring such material in our home, I would not tolerate it for an instant. You may beg to differ, but that is your choice.

        To address the rest of your points:

        You try to use my own arguments against by saying that we should forbid our children from any sort of entertainment that is remotely haram. This is incorrect. Harry Potter is blatant, and extreme. Magic is major kufr. One of the worst acts that anyone can commit. This is one of many crimes that Fir’aun tried to use against our Prophet Musa AS. And yet you would to compare this major crime to some of the lesser harams that you are trying to derive from other forms of entertainment (FYI, I’m not sure which Sesame Street you are watching, but even the creators of Ernie and Bert clearly denied any homosexual references or suggestions between the two). As for Mumford the magician on Sesame Street, yes, he is wrong, and my wife and I have told our children to change the channel if he comes on. AlhamduLILLAH, our children are trained now to immediately recognize and change the channel or turn the tv off or change the channel if there is a show with magic comes on.

        As far as sports, I don’t attend sporting events, and if there is something haram that appears like a beer commercial when watching a sporting event, then change the channel. No one is condoning these acts, but my point is that these things are less haram than magic.

        With respect to comic book characters like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, there is no magic in either. They are crime fighters with superhuman strengths/abilities. Again, their might be other, lesser haram in these things, but I would much rather tolerate them than magic.

        This is much different from HP, where the entire premise is about Major kufr. This is why I gave the analogy to pornography. You are very clear about the sin of zina, but not so resentful towards magic? Sheikh Yasir made a good point in that watching porn is haram, but reading HP is not. Fine, I can accept that. However, would you talk of the benefits of reading romance novels or erotic fiction? Where do we draw this line? After all, we do have teens who are also reading the “Twilight” series (which I also strongly condemn). Do we begin to talk about the benefits in these things also? If we realize that our children are reading such books, then you as an Islamic educator should show concern, and try to promote those things that are better alternatives. If you think that it is absolutely impossible to find legitimate alternatives for our children to read, here are some suggestions:

        – Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators mystery series
        – The Hardy Boys
        – To Kill a Mockingbird
        – Sherlock Holmes
        – Some stories from the Arabian Nights like “Sindbad the Sailor”
        – go to your public library and ask a librarian, or speak to an english professor at a university to get titles that would be appropriate

        – Here is an idea, why not compile a list of legitimate, acceptable forms of literature for our youth to read? It takes some effort, initiative, but that’s what you are supposed to be doing as an Islamic educator. The kuffar do this in the public school system with respect to literature that is taught, shouldn’t we be even more vigilant?

        Finally, on this issue of chasing people away from Islam, no doubt this is a challenge, but not a new one. Our Prophet SAW, the best example did not use idol worship or used the benefits of idol worship to teach the people about shirk, and Tawheed. If our youth, our communities are involved in any acts that are haram, then we should be talking about the negative aspects of these things, and in turn provide halal solutions. As an example, drug addicts are not cured from their addiction by learning about the “benefits” of drug use. Coming off an addiction takes time, but no one will leave this addiction if they are taught that these things have “benefits” in them.

        For some reason, you and Sheikh Yasir have this extreme black and white view of this western lifestyle: Either we berate, and condemn the youth harshly, or hop on the bandwagon. You may have accepted a defeatist approach as you have already stated earlier by saying, “How can anyone talk to someone who can’t relate to them?” or, “Using your same logic, we should also forbid our children from any sort of entertainment that is even remotely haram”. I however, respectfully beg to differ. I disagree with your dichotomy Abu Ibrahim. I don’t believe that no other approach exists outside of the two that you are giving me. I believe there are others. I believe I can politely talk about other positive materials that are much more appropriate out there, and I can politely, and firmly condemn the haram that are currently utilized. I believe we can unite on the positives by showing that there are legitimate, halal alternatives out there for our youth to explore, and I also believe that it is possible to teach our youth to hate the haram as well, despite their popularity with non-Muslim youth. I believe that by being unapologetic about our religion, being proud of our Islam to our youth is the best way to teach them self-esteem, and pride in their faith. I believe that it is possible to show our youth that being different from everybody else is ok, because we are upon the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW, and this is the path that will please ALLAH, and lead to Jannah. I believe that by being pro-active, by taking initiative, by taking a genuine interest in our children’s well being, with correct knowledge whose foundation is upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah, that this is possible. I believe it is possible to show our youth that being Muslim does NOT translate to no fun, no excitement, and no entertainment. I believe it is possible to teach our children that magic is haram, and do justice to the subject by using the example of our Prophet Musa AS. The irony here, is that the magicians who initially tried to fight against Musa AS, were, and always will be the best magicians in history: because they left their magic, and accepted Tawheed. SubhanALLAH. These magicians, after accepting Tawheed, condemned the very magic they were practicing just moments before. And you are insisting on talking about their benefits? Aren’t you being “more royal than the king” now?

        And ALLAH Knows best.

        Was-Salamu’alaikum

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    • ridz77

      How du I follow u on facebook? Feel very enlightend…May Allah bless you with his mercy…nd may he grant you a long and happy life. jazakAllah

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  17. ummAbdullah2009

    I thought the article was thought provoking, however, some of the responses amaze me.

    No matter how much you shelter your children, they will always be exposed to the many evils that exist in society. Unless you raise them to shun most other people as well as those who simply read such literature but are practicing muttaqi muslims nonetheless, it would create a rift in muslim society. And by the way that rift already exists.

    We shun each other because we are not comfortable with the extent of practice the other may observe. The niqabis distancing themselves from the scarf and jilbab wearing and then they in turn distance themselves from the only hijab wearing……. lets not even talk about the muslimahs who dont wear the hijab. Its a hierarchy of practice…. lol. Everyone turning up their noses at those at the “lower” level. Somewhere along the line without realizing it we fall into “kibr” (arrogance), (please correct me if im wrong….)

    Allah did not create evil, and everything there is has some good in it. I’m not saying going to the movies is right or indulging in time wasting activities is right, or that reading books promoting witchcraft and wizardry is right. But since it is so widespread, sometimes, allowing your child to read a book and then talking about how it may not be correct in Islam is the wiser path to follow, instead of completely banning different sorts of material, pushing them to read under the bed covers at night, or between classes at school. Either that, or provide them with a more interesting alternative. Sometimes, shunning can lead to rebellion and aversion.

    As strict as our stance on islam might be, i think hikmah is essential, especially in this day an age where sneaking around behind your parents back is ridiculously easy, especially in the west. Young minds need well imagined and creative alternatives, more appealing and interesting than today’s best sellers. And if we shun and stick to one way of doing things and decide not to learn what appeals to our children, we’re going to lose the battle……..
    Mom: “Why do you like this stuff anyway… its ridiculous”………..
    Child: “mom, I wish you could understand…..”

    Classic statements, i’m sure we’ve all been through that at some point or the other….

    SubhanAllah, Allah gave us the ability to understand…….. I think we should acknowledge and then explain, that way we build no walls in the hearts of our children.

    and Allah knows Best…

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      Jazakallah Khair, well said UmmAbdullah2009.

      I hope people do read your comments and reflect on the reality of the difficulties associated with raising Muslim children in the West. It is a balancing act between being strictly observant and knowing when to back off a little.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  18. NAS

    I LOVE THIS! It’s awesome, especially the last point that muggles are boring. People really misjudge the harry potter series, the magic part is subsidiary it’s really about the tough decisions Harry makes in the face of adversity and how he stands up against evil. There’s a lot to be learned. The magic is fantasy and more importantly it is not Islamic magic. If people are against Harry Potter they should also be against Barney for being a talking dinosaur–it’s fantasy.

    Harry Potter politics aside, awesome article. Jazakum Allahu Khayer

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  19. Carlos

    Muslim parents, when you over-react and harshly condemn non-Muslim culture without first hand knowledge or without considering any redeeming qualities, you lose credibility with your children. Your children have eyes, ears and brains. Your children see the unreasonableness and unfairness in your condemnations, and they start to think (perhaps sometimes correctly) that they know better than you.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      I don’t know Carlos personally nor do I know what his personal beliefs are. But what he’s saying here is correct.

      When I was a kid (I was raised Muslim) my mother tried to condemn Mario Bros. because it had killing in it.

      Really. Mario Bros.

      I love my Ummi, but when she said that I thought the exact same thing.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • Umbudimary

        I like this website but when anything and everything is said and the ppl writing clearly lack fundamental knowledge of deen, how can we say this is dawah? This is such an odd article to be written. Honestly lets get some perspective.

        Why do we need to do everything all thos ppl around us are doing? Dont we have a deen that shows us truth from falsehood? These points of benefit can be derived from the quran and sunnah and many other works . But to pick harry potter where the whole central theme revolves around magic , kinda odd.

        Does the author know about the destructive sins in islam?

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      • Noor

        Umbudimary, the ‘whole central theme’ of Harry Potter is not about magic. The books simply take place in a world full of magic, but the central theme is about a mother’s love, family, stnaidng up for what’s right even when others around you – even those in positions of power – are trying to get you to do what’s wrong, etc. Why pick Harry Potter? Because every kid in elementary school knows that Miley Cyrus sang a song while she was naked and they have even heard the lyrics of the song from some of their friends at school, and most of the elementary school kids are playing games like Call of Duty so I’d say Harry Potter is a pretty good option compared to all this!

        *Name has been changed to comply to our Comments Policy*

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. SM Deris

    There are always two sides of the same coin, as the above comments illustrate.

    HP does not appeal to me, so I didnt read the novels, nor watch the movies. But it is the big thing to many, including our kids.

    While Ibn Abdullah has his point, I thought we should also try to look at the angle Abu Ibrahim is coming from.

    Unless of course it is totally haram to talk about HP. Is it?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Abu Ibrahim Ismail

      I agree with your points SM Deris. I’m no scholar, but if I don’t think it’s haram to read the books, I definitely don’t think it’s haram to talk about them.

      And Allah knows best.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  21. Abu Ayesha

    Sihr has different kinds. One kind that you speak of involves jinn. Other kind involves other forces and other sort of means. Even if a person fails to use jinn but tries to employ them, such a person is outside the fold of Islam.

    According to sharee’ah, the meaning of sihr is what the magicians do to delude and confuse people, so that the one who is watching thinks that it is real when in fact it is not. As Allaah said concerning the magicians of Pharaoh (interpretation of the meaning):

    “They said: ‘O Moosa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?’
    As Allaah said concerning the magicians of Pharaoh (interpretation of the meaning):

    “They said: ‘O Moosa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?’
    Moosa said: ‘Nay, throw you (first)!’ Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.
    So Moosa conceived fear in himself.
    We (Allaah) said: ‘Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand.
    And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.’”
    [Ta-Ha 20:65-69]

    http://islamqa.com/en/ref/9432/magic

    It is evidencely CLEAR to anyone that the magicians of Pharoah were not using jinns, at least Allah swt does not tell us that they were using jinns. They were performing tricks, even if illusory tricks. Even illusory magic (one which doesnt use jinn) is magic and falls under category of sihr in Islam. Harry Potter delves deeply into that.

    So even when you say that what harry potter does is not real, it just appears that way, because he is not using jinn, harry potter is still magic. At least according to Islamicqa. I’d take Sheikh Munajjid’s advice anyday over some random joe on MuslimMatters.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Reply
  22. Abu Ayesha

    ///// This is important because honestly speaking, most scholars from Saudi that speak on Western issues and social/cultural realities have no first hand knowledge of it living in a locked down kingdom /////

    This might be true for other issues such as partaking in economics and politics, but not in matters where aqeedah is involved. Moreover, harry potter is just a fictional character, much like millions of fictional stories read/written before. I am sure that even being locked down in Kingdom does not necessarily mean that one cannot understand the “nuances” of a British magical story. Actually, from a literary point of view, Arabs and Persians and South Asians (I am sure Shk Munajjid as well) have heard/read of greater masterpieces as likes of HOSHRUBA—The Land & the Tilism (http://www.mafarooqi.com/translations.html)

    I do not see what is so special about Harry Potter that excludes it from being criticized by someone who happens to be from a seemingly “locked down” Kingdom. Even though I specifically cannot find a critique of HP written by the Sh., I doubt he’d say anything else in the light of his answer that I have quoted above.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  23. Carlos

    If you are looking for world class magicians/illusionists, I recommend Penn & Teller. I doubt their brand of “magic” is either haram or makruh. They are masters at their craft. They do not pretend they are actually performing “magic.” They fully admit they practice long and hard to create illusion, to make what has a perfectly scientific explanation appear like “magic.” For example, once they appeared on Saturday Night Live, performing tricks that gave the amazing illusion of levitation and anti-gravity. When the performance was over, the TV audience was let-in on the joke the studio audience already knew; they were hanging upside down, with their hair and clothes fastened-down, and the camera was inverted.

    They are really funny too.

    Penn Jillette is quite a philosopher. I just finished reading his most recent book, which was both thought-provoking and hilarious. He is a little on the weird and abrasive side for me, but one has to admire his originality and intellect.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  24. Fulaan

    Haha great comments. How about some lesson that we can learn from the bad, or things that r captured unrealistically?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  25. UmmAbdullah

    Assalaamu alaikum wa rahamtullahi wa barakatuh,

    Allahu Akbar!!!!

    This is misguidance……

    Truth and falsehood are clear….

    mixing the two is dangerous for duniya and akhira…

    May Allah guide us All to siraat ul mustaqeem….and not on the path of those who have earned
    the wrath of Allah!!

    Subhan Allah!!

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  26. Siraaj

    Salaam alaykum bro,

    I read your post, but I think the crux of the disagreement may be this statement you’ve made:

    If it is true that they are not the most ideal thing to let our children read or watch, then we should steer our children away from them and provide alternatives.

    On the other hand, I looked at your alternatives list, and I know there exist people who have used the thought process you have in mind and say that you’re being too liberal (allowing cars, finding nemo, the arabian nights, and so on).

    Actually, if you read islamqa, they highly discourage any sort of entertainment and just focusing on worship, and if it has music in the background, then it’s game over, you can’t watch it. Those biographies of the Prophet’s life? Many of them also have music.

    Now re-read what you’ve written, and ask yourself, shouldn’t you be stricter, shouldn’t you find better alternatives that don’t have these haraam elements, that are clean of all of this? Shouldn’t you lead the charge, rather than give in?

    If you agree that it’s not haraam to read, then in the end it becomes a matter of preference, and in matters of preference, you take a different tack in the discussion vs clear cut prohibition or obligation.

    Siraaj

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Ibn Abdullah

      As-Salamu’alaikum.

      JazakALLAH Khair for your post. I understand what you are saying, and I will be the first to agree that removing haram elements altogether from entertainment while living here in the west is next to impossible. I am in full agreement with you here. That being said, my concern is that we are seriously crossing some boundaries when we begin to talk about HP, because the character is a magician, who practices magic throughout the series with other characters. Music is haram, yes, and there may be other haram elements in some of the entertainment that I have suggested, such as a kissing scene and so on. In these circumstances, we as Muslims and parents at least can either say, “this is a compromise that I can accept”, or we can simply skip the scene entirely (e.g. a kissing scene). I as a Muslim am weak, and recognize that living here, like it or not, there are compromises to be made. We do this all the time. The problem is when we make the argument of “all or nothing”. If I’m addressing the issue of magic, why not address the issue of everything else? If I choose this approach, then I really don’t have any options, and should consider moving from here entirely to some place else. I’m simply advocating that we should minimize the haram, which is why I disagree with the author when he says for example that comic book characters like batman, spiderman, or sesame street should be out totally. Yes, they all have haram elements, but do they have any haram that is as extreme as magic? If so like sesame street, those episodes we should change the channel. One example is the movie, “The Lion King”. The opening scene shows the father holding up his son simba to the rest of the animals from a cliff, and they all make sajda to the cub (a’udhuBILLAH). If my children are watching this movie, I skip this scene entirely and tell my children that this is bad, and haram. However, I can’t do this with HP, because the entire story, and premise is magic. Moreover, because of the magnitude of the sin of magic, this is not something I can tolerate for a moment, because it involves my beliefs. Yes, this is a fictitious magic, it can even be as you described above, as something that is simply “slight of hand”. But this is not a sin I as a Muslim can tolerate (even in minor forms). Music, kissing, violence, are sinful actions. Magic however, involves my beliefs, and I can’t cross this. This is perhaps my central argument.

      As I mentioned before, I’m not trying to rant, or be prudish. I want to raise the awareness that magic is a very serious crime in Islam, and should be recognized as such. The problem unfortunately today is that because we are living in a very secular, technologically advanced society, the sin of magic has been trivialized. When these concepts are then consumed by pop culture, unfortunately for our fellow Muslims that (very realistically), are either not that educated in their religion, or are lacking in resources to supplement (this is also very true), we begin to tolerate this more and more.

      On a side note, I hope our exchange does not reduce our respect for each other as Muslims, and serves as an example for other Muslims here and elsewhere, that Muslims can disagree, but still honour the bonds of brotherhood.

      And ALLAH Knows best.

      Was-Salamu’alaikum

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  27. Carlos

    I thought Dawkins did fine in this interview. Stein is a smart guy (even though his questions toward the end started getting kind of dumb), but he had the advantage of being the one asking the questions, being able to narrate and being able to edit the interview, and he still was not able to catch Dawkins in any logical pickle. One of Stein’s supposed “gotchas” was when he narrated, “Wait a minute. Richard Dawkins believes in an intelligent designer?” That is clearly not what Dawkins was saying. Dawkins was saying that it is within the realm of possibility that an alien species could possibly have seeded Earth with life, but Dawkins was clear to condition that statement with the statement that the alien species itself had to have evolved through some sort of Darwinian process.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  28. Mezba

    OK, so you don’t want to read Harry Potter. Got it.

    I guess you also don’t read any of the following
    – Aladdin and the Lamp
    – The Thousand and One Arabian Nights
    – Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
    – Nasiruddin Hodja

    Seeing that all of them deal with mythical creatures, fantasy, magical elements, love, jealousy, attraction and so on.

    I think you lost everyone when you said reading Harry Potter was worse than pornography or something.

    – Mezba

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  29. UmmAhmad

    I never understood people who criticized anything Harry Potter and they didn’t even know the story. They say “it’s about witchcraft”.

    I just said to them “It’s all about good vs evil”.

    Thank you for what you said – not because I’m a fan of HP, but because I’m a fan of open-mindedness.

    Salaam

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  30. Infidelicious

    Ever since the first HP book, I have prided myself of being a wizard in a muggler-world. Being a highly spirirual ( though fiercly non-religious)person in a materialist/secular culture (Northern Europe) . According to this article, being non-muslim, I’m a muggler. Well, serves me right for my feeling of superiority.

    And please, my conservative Muslim brethren: Harry Potter is fiction, the work of an English woman, hardly the work of the devli, get some perspective…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    Reply
  31. Inqiyaad

    Carlos,
    Well, an interview is just that, one person asking questions and the other answering those questions. As for your suggestions about the interview being edited/doctored to Dawkins’s disadvantage, I haven’t seen any claims on those lines from Dawkins himself.

    Dawkins suggests, “it is within the realm of possibility that an alien species could possibly have seeded Earth with life”. Considering that no aliens have yet been confirmed ‘scientifically’, leave alone their involvement in the ‘seeding of life’, his aversion to the suggestions of possibility of God having seeded life on earth is quite revealing of his biased approach. This is what Ben Stein pointed out when he said, ““Wait a minute. Richard Dawkins believes in an intelligent designer?”

    Yes, it is a ‘gotcha moment’ because of the very apparent ‘logical pickle’. Believers’ in Dawkins’ prophethood find this logical pickle very sour and hard to swallow and hence the suggestions of doctoring and editing without any evidence to support those claims.

    You wrote, ‘but Dawkins was clear to condition that statement with the statement that the alien species itself had to have evolved through some sort of Darwinian process.’ How much evidence does he have to confirm the involvement of aliens, leave alone their evolution through a ‘Darwinian’ process? None.

    Based on ‘scientific’ evidence available to him, he can neither confirm nor deny the existence of aliens. Therefore, he is open to that possibility. But, why does he (and by extension you) choose to deny the involvement of God when he does not have any confirmatory evidence to say for sure that God does not exist? What if that alien really is the God described by religion?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  32. Aaisha_yeung

    MashaAllah very interesting…. Open our eyes to see the thing in diff way. Love mezba’s comment too. JAZAKALLAH Khair

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  33. Azero

    I like this article. Alot of people will write off Harry Potter as haram, when really you have to see the good in everything.

    One thing gets me. You talk about taboo things yet you had to slip in the Dumbledore is gay thing which you don’t care for. Homosexuality is the biggest taboo in Islam, and if you don’t have much ‘care’ for it, how will you support/guide those who need help with this situation? I wish people would stop being homophobic and more tolerant and helpful. 

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  34. Wy

    Very good job.
    Very good job in overanalyzing .

    DO you blve tha what your diong is right?wh.
    why d you tin kthank

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  35. Sakura flows ~

    I was unsure if I should finish reading the series or not. I have read 2 of the books before deciding that I wanted to revert to Islam and now I was unsure if I should read the third one. I decided to.
    I’ m 21 years old and if I start believing magic is good only because of a book which I know is fiction then it’ s not the book’ s fault but there is something wrong with me. Harry Potter has more good things than bad, the only bad thing I think it’ s the magic part and the relationships among boys and girls which are very few btw, being 21 years old and grown up in Italy I see those things anyway, that doesn’ t mean that I do them. The Prophet himself said that sometimes entertainment is ok. So if I read H.P. in english so that I learn more and when I read it I take the good instead of the bad then why shouldn’ t I read it? In the Quran are written bad and good things, liek the devils or haram things are described, don’ t you think that there are some people taking exaple from the bad? It is up to us.
    At the same time I wouldn’t make my children read it because the mind of a children can be easily influenced, but if they live in the west at this moment as it is said in the article it is almost impossible not to read them or watch or at least hear about them. The article is very useful thank you!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  36. ridz77

    Perhaps you can now Read the biography of the Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h) nd the Four caliphs..Abu bakr…umar….uthman…and Ali..
    .may Allah be pleased with them…You wil get the true source of knowledge for yourself and children..(:

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  37. Ayaz Ahmad

    Actually brother ur intention was not wrong but u should be that much knowledgeable to understand rite or wrong and most of us (human) are more prone to go to wrong or pleasure able and that early age of childs metal status is not so strong to segregate goodthings from it so it is better to teach them only riteous thing we only get from the life of sahaba and prophets and ones they understand these thing I think they will never needs these thing ever or even they get in contact of these they are able to maintain there an our religion dignity.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  38. Nazita

    Well done! Nicely written. A good way to tell our young kids about pride in being Muslim and using Harry Potter as an example.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  39. Mr.AA

    Salam,
    This is a good article. The number of comment is a testimony to it relevance. I just wanted to add my admirance to the long list.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  40. Laila

    Your intentions are pure for the sake of Allah, and you have made some excellent points in this articles, and to that I salute you. But brother, my child doesn’t have to watch something that is haraam – magic and sorcery (and in the later movies love stories between teenagers) – in order to learn all these values. Without letting them watch such trash, we can teach our kids all the wonderful values that you have so gracefully mentioned in this article, just by teaching them to follow the true teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Nice article, though, and much appreciated.

    An Arab sister from the Middle East who doesn’t think she know better than you do but is offering sisterly advice :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  41. Ahmad

    Assalaam-u-Alaikum.

    Jazakallah Khair for the article brother. I’m sure it was a very beneficial read to a lot of people.

    However, if you won’t mind, I would like to express my opinion about it.

    It is true that everything has goods and bads. You could derive such lessons from most popular stories nowadays.

    But are you forgetting that when you take Harry Potter’s name, what else are you promoting?

    Along with the five lessons you shared, there are other extremely serious issues that are part of the package, such as:

    1) magic, knowing that it is that type of kufr for which the offender is to be executed
    2) looking down upon ‘Muggles’ as mundane, backward and uncool people
    3) dancing, dating, trying to win a girl’s heart, illicit love affairs (especially with Ron reprimanding Jinny for ‘snogging in public’ both before and after he did so himself)

    You say: “My intention when writing this article certainly wasn’t to encourage people to read Harry Potter.”

    But don’t you see, that’s exactly what you’re doing? Not only will this encourage people to read this series, those millions of people who have already read Harry Potter didn’t do it thinking it’s something halal, or good. Most of them just didn’t care. But with an Islamic website posting such an article, they will most certainly think ‘Oh, so what I did wasn’t that bad.’

    I believe Muslimmatters.org has Masha’Allah made an excellent repute amongst Muslims online.

    Why, then, do you want to use Harry Potter’s name to highlight such issues? Why use a story based on kufr for this purpose, even if millions of Muslims have read it?

    We commit sins everyday, but we should not speak publicly of them lest people become desensitized.

    Ayah 19 of Surah Noor is really scary, and we should always be careful of what we promote. We do not want to be the reason for even one person being exposed to the evils that are prevalent in Western literature, that would come from any writer who has not experienced the sweetness of Eemaan.

    Please carry on your Da’wah, without using any Western tags that have more harm in them than good.

    Jazakumullah Khair!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • ElvenInk

      But for a website which hopes to discuss Muslim issues it is very relevant to be having discussions and debates about the aspects of popular culture that we have to deal with on a day to day basis. It is your opinion that there’s more harm in Harry Potter than good, but as an avid reader I can tell you that this series, when compared with what’s out there, is actually much much less harmful than most and can, as many have mentioned before, have a lot of good messages to give us.

      I won’t go into the whole magic debate as it’s been done in these comments already, but I did want to comment on your point about dating, etc. You’re right, there is dating, dancing, teenagers having relationships and kissing, etc. For that reason I would recommend that parents read the books aloud to very young children and just skip those parts completely. However, when your child is a little older, maybe a youth with friends who are facing the same things, I think Harry Potter’s portrayal of these issues is much more balanced than what you can find in most other books they are reading. Dating and relationships are actually downplayed and criticized in the books, especially in the fifth book where it’s made fun of.

      The example you mentioned with Ron and his sister Ginny isn’t in any way shape or form promoting “secret” relationships as you yourself stated, it’s actually done to show how stupid Ron’s relationship is and by the end of the book (6) any reader will grow to hate that whole event in Ron’s life and view it as a mistake, something he shouldn’t have done. This is in contrast to some of the much more minor passing mentions of a character being attracted to the opposite sex which you will find in most other books which might seem more harmless, but are actually instilling the idea in youth’s minds that this attraction is exciting and thrilling and normal and so forth. At least Harry Potter presents it in a way in which it is thought about critically – a way in which it’s open to criticism.

      My point is that with the crazy amounts of immoral things that are being actively promoted in the media all around us it’s most important that we think critically about how things are portrayed and how they’re influencing kids and also have these discussions, not just ignore them!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  42. O H

    I am sick and tired of seeing Muslims abusing the concept of Maslaha/greater good to use all sorts of wicked concepts/ideologies and blending it with the pristine teachings of Islam. We have enough khair in the Qur’an, Sunnah, works of our righteous predecessors and scholars over time not to bother delving into pointless pagan & un-islamic theories/stories for inspiration and guidance. Yes, we can learn certain secular knowledge from them within certain Islamic guidelines but not to the extent of exposing ourselves to these books/movies which are filled with evil concepts which oppose Tawheed and then hoping we may stumble some across some gems which will make it a worthwhile exercise. Undoubtedly these things have far more evil than good. If one is seeking for inspiration they may read the Seerah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), stories of the earlier Prophets (Peace be upon them all) and the Sahabas.

    Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May Allaah be pleased with him):
    “We were the most humiliated people on earth and God gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour through anything else, God will humiliate us again.”

    Sadly if you ask most Muslims regarding names of movie actors, singers and other famous celebrities they ll have a better idea than names of Sahabas, scholars etc. Ask them regarding the lyrics of songs. movie dialogues they ll have a better idea than verses from the Qur’an or ahadeeth.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply