Muslims. Dance-off.

I didn't think I'd live to see those two things juxtaposed. But what's happening on both sides of the Atlantic seems to be just that. After release of the notorious 'Somewhere in America' by a group of hipsters (called Mipsters featuring all women) , the Brits have come out with their own rendition of Pharrell Williams' 'Happy'.  And the verdict?

Britain – 1, USA – 0

The 'Muslim Happy' is a breath of fresh air and beautifully weaves together the unique tapestry that is Muslim Britain. Men and women from all walks of life, with their cheerful countenances and heartwarming smiles, come together to deliver a performance that is bound to make you…well, happy.

Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad. Music video.

Those are two other things I never thought I'd see together either. Amongst the video's most salient features is the inclusion of Muslims from a multitude of facets. Writers, activists and athletes; teens, young adults and new couples – be it professions or demographics, 'Muslim Happy' has it all covered. From the 'elders' like Cambridge Professor Abdul Hakim and Fuad Nahdi of the Radical Middleway, to hip-hop artist like Tanya Muneera Williams and Mecca2Madinah. It even has a dose of Hollywood with former actress Myriam Cerrah who played next to Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility.

Perhaps what distinguishes this project most from its predecessors is that it's not tainted with an explicit social agenda that the filmmakers are trying to drive. Agendas such as 'normalizing Muslims', 'Muslims are cool' or trying too hard to show that 'we are just like anyone else'. [Ed Note – Just like the Harlem Shake, this is a video trend across the globe as seen in this video from Somalia, Gaza and this one from Saudi (where apparently only the men are happy), and others from across MENA ]

Sure, these messages come across from the video, but I see that as a side effect, not the central purpose. The main motivator for the project seems to be the simple fact that the filmmakers found it fun to do; in their own words, “We like to smile and laugh, and we had an intention to make other people smile and laugh.” Smiling is certainly in urgent need of revival amongst Muslims; if there exists a public relations savior, that, would have to be it.

The pursuit of happiness is an elusive motif that has dominated human consciousness for much of history. Any claim to attaining it is a bold one, and the filmmakers at HonestyPolicy make no hesitation making it.

British Muslims are you happy with this?

86 Responses

  1. Ahmed A

    Salaam br Waleed –

    Unfortunately your contention that this video shows a broader spectrum of the Muslim community in UK isn’t accurate.

    The majority of known ppl in the video are from a very distinct and well recognised end of the liberal intellectual spectrum of Muslim community. Though they may differ very slightly in methods, they have a clear social agenda that the push as individuals and as groups.

    It is as narrow and unrepresentative of British Muslims as mipsterz was of US Muslims… Probably more so.

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    • Edward Kefas

      I briefly attended a quran discussion group where a majority of participants were non Hijabi women and shaved brothers desperately seeking a way to keep their Islam together with their love of western culture and identity. They talked incessantly of reforming Islam .

      I bet they loved this video of Muslims clowning.

      Will ‘Reform Islam’ become the majority much like “Reform Judaism’ is now the majority group in the USA/

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    • Sajidah

      Actually that report is categorically false. Abdul Hakim Murad has released a statement to say he is happy with the video. Shaam should retract their false post.

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      • Umm Madiha

        Where’s the link? I’ve searched and can only find the shaam article.

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      • Sajidah

        It’s on The Honesty Policy FB page:

        Reaction post #8:

        Shocked at the fabricated Shaam article regarding Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad and the extent some are willing to go to. Sheikh has asked us to quote this on his behalf:

        “I’m delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many sceptics. Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness. No-one will produce a Sharia argument against jumping for joy! I look forward to working with The Honesty Policy on future productions”.

        Please share so others aren’t misled.

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  2. arshad

    i cant believe an article cameup in mm.org praising that stupid video!

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  3. Shai

    Thank you Ahmed A. Please do not paint us all with the same brush. I am so embarrassed that people keep referring to this video as a British Muslim thing. Through my daily interactions with my local community I have yet to find a single Muslim who thinks this is an honest representation of British Muslims’ happiness and who actually agree with the video. Let’s make it clear, they are a minority.

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    • Ameen

      it’s not supposed to represent ALL Brit muslims. they were participating in a wider trend all across the net, of each city/group that wanted to, doing a cover of the song. usually the groups were identifiying according to the city they were from. and these guys decided to do one using their identity as the title. it doesn’ mean they think they are repping everyone. some citeis have several videos – eg. we are happy – toronto. more than one group wanted to do a cover so you have moer than one. at least understand the social media meme before making this more than what it is.

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  4. Shoaib

    This video was more to show that if you want to be happy, be like us cause only way to be happy is to sing and dance.

    Obviously Islam is about happiness which is not the case. Looked more like Hare Krishna version of Muslims.

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    • Dar

      That is your interpretation.

      We all saw the video in a different light and had different reactions to it.

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      • Hassan

        Who is “we”? Does it include Shoaib who commented?

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      • Dar

        All of humanity. We are all different and have our own experiences in life. So when we watched the video, we all saw it in a different light. For example: A Muslim who left his home in Syria and is now struggling to make ends meet is not going to see the video the same way a middle-class American-born Muslim who constantly hears negative stereotypes being presented on the Media.

        The previous comment: “This video was more to show that if you want to be happy, be like us cause only way to be happy is to sing and dance” is merely a interpretation of what the video means to Shoaib.

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      • Linda

        Americans do not “constantly hear negative stereotypes being presented on the Media.” That is a myth perpetuated by people who want to foment division. To be quite honest, Muslims are scarcely on the radar of the vast majority of Americans, and I should know: I am married to one.

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  5. Fiza Rasool

    Absolutely Happy! This is how I have seen British Muslims that I have met with. All from different walks of life, trying to enjoy life, hailing from different cultures yet trying to identify with each other on the basis of faith. Well educated, professionals, religious, practising, being good to all around them! Normal people Happy with their Faith :) treading the mean path – no extremes either way!

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    • Ahmed A

      Salaam sister Fiza,

      We are happy and we like to see each other happy… But not at the expense of our Islamic values. Not at the expense of our dignity.

      And certainly Not at the behest of a motley crew of liberal Muslims who continually push the envelope and then pounce on everyone in the mainstream by calling them sad/ unhappy/ extreme/ puritanical/ salafi/ deobandis/ misogynists/ anti-women/ sex-obsessed/ uncultured and uncool.

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  6. umme Ibrahim

    Assalam o alaikum!

    wait a minute… is MM actually endorsing this video?? I have NOT seen it, but the reviews are enough to clearly understand what it is all about… that is certainly not the version of HAPPY preached by the Prophet Muhammad, sall Allahu alaihi wassallam….

    I am a Muslimah, I am very happy to be one! I have gone through some tough tests in life, yet I am extremely Happy to have Allah as my Lord and Guide in these times…I have experienced the Serenity of following Allahs divine commands in everyday life, and especially in troubled times!

    I have traveled the globe, interacted with ppl of various faiths, I got along very well with everyone, Alhamdulillah! and made friends all around.. I do not need to bend my religious values to prove to the world that I am Happy!! Anyone who I come in contact with, can tell from my interaction and my demeanor that I am a Happy, content Muslimah, Alhamdulillah!!

    I’m wondering, What next?

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    • Diah

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • umme Ibrahim

        Amen to your dua sister Diah! jazakAllah khair!

        I would rather NOT get into this debate, it was just my opinion. regarding reaching a conclusion w/o watching the video, I hope you will agree with me on this that all of us simply do not have the time to spare, and then we have some CREDIBLE sources, and Im speaking about scholars, who have spent their entire lives trying to bring to us the REAL deen taught by the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wassallam… yes they can err… they are human… but there are certain issues that are CLEARLY halal, and others CLEARLY haram… theres no debating on that!

        Also, if we have been busy with our duniya all our lives, and never got the time to actually study and learn our deen, then do you think we have the right to be debating about whats allowed and whats not? after all, deen is not the name of our wishes! its a divine way of life! :)

        peace be on you sister, and on all the muslim ummah, and on the entire humanity… I just wish we come out of our ease filled comfort zones, and start learning our awesome religion without picking n choosing only that which suits our desires, so we can actually LIVE it and the world will know just by witnessing our everyday actions, our lives, that WE ARE HAPPY MUSLIMS!!! Alhamdulillah!

        I am sorry that my comment upset you! many duas for you and your family! and our ummah and the humanity! may Allah guide us all, towards THE true guidance! and may we succeed in this test called life, and I would love to catch up with you in jannah, IF i can make it there, inshaa Allah! :)

        wassalam! :)

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      • Diah

        JazakAllah khayr for beautiful duas and i sincerely pray same for you and every muslim.
        I dont think you understood my objection to the statement you made. You disagreeing with the level of modesty is not what i was upset about. To each is thier own opinion. The issue was, you taking time out to make a statement in a matter which you havent even witnessed yourself. I respect all the ulema but i also beleive in “reflecting” and using our intellect. I dont beleive in pope-ship concept that i would take anyones word for something so dear n near to me, my religion.
        The reasoning you give is same i get from fellow chrsitians who rely so much on their credible sources in their opinion, that they refuse to investigate and ‘reflect’ on thier own.
        I dont have any issue with you, but i have a problem with this methedoligy of herd mentality. We start worshiping our leaders making thier words so holy that we create excuses to not investigate. It would have been more honorable on your behalf not to make a statement judging the video if you didnt see it yourself but if you made time to comment, you could have made time to watch the video and judging it with your intellect to be more just towards a group of people who are also part of this ummah even if they arent upto your standard of “muslim”
        Anyways

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  7. muslimah22

    Have people failed to see that the music and dancing like that is haram?? This is totally against Islam. Nothing good can ever come with mixing haram matters with good intentions.

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    • Yusuf

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Diah

        remember when “loud speakers” were haram, printing press was haram and pictures/videos were haram…well some people are still struggling to come out of that era and for them everything is haram unless/otherwise specified as “halal”. I on the contrary believe, everything is halal unless/otherwise “Specified” in Islam as “haram”

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      • Mahmud B.

        You on the other hand believe????

        Well who made you the queen bee?

        :-)

        Just kidding….its halal to joke right…so you cant mad….lol

        I have met too many muslims talking about how they “think” or “believe” something is halal or haram

        If you are in doubt just refer to the Quran and Sunnah

        It seems you are not very familiar with your religion

        This religion of ours is not about what we feel, think and believe is correct

        Its not about our will

        Its about submitting our will to the Will of Allah

        Spend the 50, 60, 70 years you have on this earth giving up what your nafs wants and do all that Allah wants and Paradise will be yours by His permission

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  8. Abez

    In the admirable Christian spirit of hating the sin but loving the sinner- I loved seeing smiling Muslims. It was refreshing to see Muslim women looking other than passive, sad, or in exile. Kids are always cute, especially when not dirty, bleeding to death or emaciated. Considering that the mainstream media usually portrays our men as mugshots, it’s nice to see them smiling, goofing around, and enjoying life in general.

    Anyone showing any amount of exuberance is contagious, and happy people make other people happy. I think the people in the video are cute and lively and their happiness made me feel happy too. However, I believe that identifying as a Muslim is a deliberate choice to practice Islam, and practicing Islam is the commitment to love what Allah loves and dislike what Allah dislikes. Wallahi, we slip up though.

    As human beings, we’re expected to, and that’s why Allah is Al-Ghaffar, The Continually Forgiving, and loves those who turn to Him in Repentance, however many times we mess up. Ten, twenty- a thousand times- no matter how many times we sin, Allah will forgive us if we ask with sincerity and try again. That’s great news- it should make us feel hopeful, relieved, and excited about starting over, every single time. Dare I say, it should make us feel… happy?

    And dare I suggest, that if we Muslims would like to share our happiness with the rest of the world, they do so in a way that makes Allah happy too?

    Yes, we have a lot to prove to the world. Thanks to shoddy reporting, unimaginative filmmaking, and biased news reporting, the world thinks we’re miserable, violent, fanatical sticks in the mud, and the reason why we hate everything so much is because misery loves company. We know that’s not true, and we can prove it. But we don’t need to crawl into the lizard hole to do it.

    ‘You will indeed follow the ways of those before you, hand span by hand span, and an arms length after another. Even if they enter into a lizard’s hole, you will follow them.’ – Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him [Bukhari]

    I know the lyrics to “Call Me Maybe.” Once, I got a Taylor Swift song stuck in my head for two weeks before finally digging that earworm out and stomping it to death. No one is immune to the crashing waves of popular culture. No matter how high you try to rise above them, you will get splashed. The question is though- do you close your eyes and wipe the saltwater off your face? Or do you open wide, drink it up- and eventually start stooping down to take another drink?

    Muslims dance. Muslims listen to music. Somewhere in America, they’re even cool- but Islam doesn’t need to sing, dance, or strut to prove that it’s worth being happy about, and neither do Muslims. Following along to non-Islamic practices to somehow validate the followers of Islam is counter-intuitive. Displeasing Allah to please those who would reject Him is a case of badly mixed priorities, even if it’s catchy and cute.

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  9. Siraaj

    I’m unhappy with it. It made me want to gag. I think only Sh Abdul-Hakim’s comedy relief sans music was all I liked.

    Before and after that, not my cup of tea.

    Siraaj

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  10. Waqar Ahmed

    So is it ok to go against Sunnah to show off to non muslims that we are happy?

    I know people from many religions and only hear muslims saying ‘Alhamdulillah! everything is good’

    Gratitude is something only found in Muslim masses[period].

    Look around you, in your colleagues and your classmates, try to find those who are grateful for what they have?

    Those who are truly grateful don’t need to show off.

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  11. melanie

    My first reaction :I liked it , it made me smile! Then a sister pointed out to me, it was written by the same person who co-wrote the song, “Blurred Lines” , the rape cultures anthem. I would like to see something like this done with different song, perhaps using different mediums. No music is possible , vocals only would still be acceptable.

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  12. ZAI

    #1 Not all scholars say music is haraam, so arguments against music should be framed as
    being a particular opinion/interpretation. It is not an shut case as is presented by some. Legit scholars all throughout Muslim history have had the opposite opinion. It might be a minority opinion in comparison, but it is prevalent enough that it can’t be outright dismissed.

    #2 Why do we ALWAYS have to pull out the “imitating the West” card? This is absurd in regards to dancing. Sorry, but Arabs, Turks, Afghans, etc. all dance. We do attan at EVERY Afghan wedding..it is a centuries old dance. Nothing to do with the West or doing anything to show Westerners anything about anything. Arabs have their dabka…Turks, Central Asians, Iranians, Punjabis, etc. all have their dances. Well and good if someone objects to cultural practices within our cultures for religious reasons…but can we stop attaching everything to the West already?

    #3 The argument that “liberal” Muslims and their “antics” should not define all Muslims is legit. But why is it not the same the other way around? “Conservatives” do not define everybody either…so who are they to speak for Islam like their interpretation is the only one and they own the religion? You can disagree with it, give your opinion, etc…but let’s stop with the quasi-takfir already.

    Personally, wasn’t to my taste…but then again I’m not into dancing.
    I didn’t see anything in this video that scholars would UNANIMOUSLY be against though.
    People were dressed modestly. Music is not deemed haraam definitively. There weren’t any
    moves that were blatantly vulgar or inappropriate….nothing any more different than some
    sports competition. So for anyone who didn’t like it, great…that’s your opinion, but thats all it is.
    Don’t speak for Islam. Speak for yourself and your opinion.

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    • Sajidah

      Plus it irks that people forget that to Allah belongs the East and the West. So we can’t say everything Western is wrong. How could that be? Is it something the Prophet told us? Stop this dichotomy. To Allah belongs the east and the west.

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      • Umm Madiha

        Asalaamu alaikum, jazakallah khairun for provided the correct statement from Prof. Abdul Hakim. It is a shame Shaam made that false statement. Maybe they were duped by someone pretending to be him. Who knows, really. Their credibility is lost unless they clear that up. Anyway. I do not think anyone is denying that the East and West belongs to Allah swt. There us nothing wrong with having a culture, whether it is American, British, Indian, Arab, African, etc. Unless and until it contradicts the Quran and the Sunnah. That video does just that. I am a convert to Islam from the United States. I have preferences in clothes, shoes, etc that will differ from someone from India for example. I wear jeans & tanks…under my abaya and hijab if I am out in public or non mahram men are at my house. I still fry Southern style chicken and eat hot dogs…..now they are zabiha halal . I did not give up my culture. I just changed to suit the sharia. The video in question features free mixing, women dressed without proper hijab, and they are dancing provocatively ( is shaking ones rear end). This is haram no matter which way you look at it. There were plenty other ways we could convey we are happy ( even in a Western context) without compromising the laws that Allah swt intended for us to follow. Example, Muslim family at an amusement park. A group of Muslim female friends having a BBQ, a group of Muslim boys skateboarding at a park, working atcharitible organizations. The lust us endless.

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  13. ElvenInk

    There’s nothing wrong with showing the world that Muslims are happy, and even nothing wrong with using this “happy” video trend to do it, what is objectionable is some of the inappropriate dancing that was seen in the video. I looked up some of the other “Happy” videos including a few from Arab countries for example and something very noticeable in those videos is that even though the cities are full of sisters with hijab they don’t appear in the videos AT ALL. This makes sense. They aren’t wearing hijab so they can then go dance in the streets! So it was a little strange and a bit saddening to see so many sisters in this video with hijab dancing in ways that are really not appropriate. Couldn’t we show them doing things/going about their lives – like the brother on the skateboard for example – instead of showing off their bodies?

    I will say, however, that it was one of the least objectionable and most diverse of the happy videos I’ve seen if you want to compare that way. There’s a wider cross-section of people shown in terms of race, age, etc, from what I’ve seen. And yes, of course it was much better than the mipsterz video, but that’s not saying much as that video was terrible.

    See, I don’t think I would even have minded if one or two of those same sisters with their hijabs were dancing like that in the Happy London videos or something. But putting the lablel of “Muslims” on it creates an expectation that what you’re seeing these Muslims do is part of Islam or is acceptable in Islam so having those things go along with that label can become harmful.

    After seeing many of the happy videos from various places in the world I noticed how little these videos actually tell you about those places and those people. They’re all very similar – people dancing just with different backgrounds. It’s superficial and doesn’t show the true beauty of those places.

    The idea of creating inspiring videos to dispel stereotypes is a good idea, but here it hasn’t been applied in a way that allows it to reach its true potential and it has unfortunately sent the strange message that muslim women can dance in the streets while in their hijabs!

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    • Amel

      Yes, I thought it was strange and sending the wrong message to have Muslim women dancing in the streets. If a “happy” video had to be made, I would have preferred to see Muslims doing everyday ordinary things with a smile, such as working, greeting each other, interacting with non-Muslims, maybe even performing good deeds. There is a Thai video I saw recently about the joys of giving to others that made me much happier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZGghmwUcbQ

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  14. Aly Balagamwala

    Alhamdulillah I know a lot of Happy British Muslims but they don’t go dancing on the road claiming it is “Muslim” to do so.

    -Aly

    *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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  15. Yusuf Smith

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I have to say I’m disappointed that Abdul-Hakim Murad is in this video. I don’t object to it too much; the lyrics are fairly innocuous (although Pharrell Williams also wrote “Blurred Lines” for Robin Thicke), but scholars ought to be above taking part in fads that the common people do. Anyone trying to keep to following sound positions in the Shari’ah when they are deeply unfashionable, as is the case right now when the minutest aspects of Islamic law are coming under hostile scrutiny by non-Muslims, will be discouraged when they see a scholar dancing to a pop song.

    This all reminds me of the Doctor Who storyline in the mid-80s in which the Doctor finds himself in a land ruled by “happy” people whose slogan is “happiness will prevail”, but are in fact stony-faced and like to persecute a race called the “killjoys”. Muslims are being encouraged to look “happy” to prove that we’re not all dour or aloof (and by extension threatening) people. It’s conformity, and conformity to haraam at that.

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  16. Amjad

    It’s embarrassing, I fear for the ummah after watching that, as a man I’m going to be brutally honest, I had inappropriate thoughts after watching the sisters move there bodies the way they did, this video should not be watched, especially by men!

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  17. Musab Abdul Salam

    I think this article which attempts to respond to the issues raised against the video addresses them only partially and generates more issues than it solves. Firstly the usage of the term mainstream requires some elaboration. For me the act of calling oneself mainstream manifests an immature understanding of the term. It is very much an exclusionary usage which pushes rest of the Muslims to the realm of ‘non-mainstream’ thus creating an ‘other’ within the community. Ironically the writer claims that one of the motives of doing this video was to address the ‘othering’. Ain’t this a paradox?? I would argue that this creation of an other within the community is an act of violence by the peace loving “happy british muslims”. Secondly the writer labels the Muslims who have raised issues against the video as ‘puritanical’. Though the term puritanical might help the writer in achieving the expected effect on some readers it once again indicates a very puerile understanding of the terminologies used in the article from the part of the writer. Many contemporary studies have unveiled the problem inherent in this naïve parallelism that is being made between the puritanical movement within Christianity and various groups in Islam. Hence there is a need to elaborate the term ‘puritanical’ as well.

    There are many reasons I find this video problematic of which I will mention just two. Firstly it implies that there is an onus on the part of Muslims to PROVE that we are not what the media portrays us. This video clearly demonstrates that muslims have internalised this demand to prove our values and credentials and to disprove the accusations made on us. Im doubtful as to how much this apologetic approach would help the Muslim community in its movement foreward. Secondly, I find this video as a pathetic attempt by “mainstream Muslims” to fit into the mainstream western secular-liberal society through mainstream western art form! If it was very much necessary to prove that Muslims are happy I believe there are many other ways to do it rather than dancing to the tune of Pharell Williams. But if acceptance becomes the priority one is bound to stick to such mainstream conduits!

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  18. loveprophet

    I posted the below in the “Honesty Policy” blogpost and they deleted it (why? Aren’t they supposed to be British and support values like freedom of expression? Why do they not like debate)?
    “I’m all for happiness and I’ve got a question: how does women dancing in the video compare to the women Sahaba (like sayyidah Fatima (RA), or the other female companions that were not from the Ahlul Bayt)? Did they have happiness? Did they dance in front of non-mahrams? How does their modesty and actions compare to this video? Did they appear to non-mahrams without the hijab? Would the Noble Prophet be happy with this video? Who is our role model?”

    On a side note, the people who are proponents of the “happy muslims” video were the harshest (e.g. calling Ulema trolls/puritans/molvis/haters/wahabis etc) to the those who disagreed with the video.

    So much for “happy” muslims and love.

    Were the women Sahaba who never danced in front of non-mahrams “Unhappy”? Apparently so according to the proponents of the video (they say that their opponents are “miserable” and “sad” people)

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    • Chanonan

      Asalaam alaikum. Are men allowed to dance and twirl their bodies infront of women? All i hear is women dancing infront of non mahrams what about men? Did the prophet dance infront of women like the men in the video are doing?

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      • fmarwan84

        Not commenting on how the men are dancing, but some men from the sahaba did dance in front of the Prophet. This is known from authentic hadiths.

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  19. khatab

    Sincerely ask yourself would the sahabas do anything like this?

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  20. Olivia

    islamic issues aside, it reminded me that our ummah has a lot of ground to cover in terms of originality. lets show we’re happy by randomly dancing to a song called…happy. LOL.

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  21. nazmeen khan

    Absolutely shocked and dissapointed that MM could be supporting this video. I was cringing throughout. Music and dancing muslim women in hijab where lets be honest everyone could see their breasts shaking to the beat.

    I’m disgusted that british muslim women of which I am one could potentially be associated with such immodest behaviour. Why is their a disproportionate number of ‘happy’ women compared to men? Was there such a lack of creativity that portraying happy muslims in a halal manner could not be achieved?

    As has already been mentioned I don’t think the Prophet SAW or the sahaba would identify with this form of expressing happiness.

    Very upsetting that muslims are finding this acceptable and the fact that MM supporting even more so.

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    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      I don’t think MM supports ‘all’ of the video.

      Personally , I think our brothers and sisters in the video had good intentions . Their smiles and happiness is contagious .
      But this video could have been better….I was upset too. I hope they are more careful next time . I wish the makers were more responsible and made sure everything in it complied with the islamic standards.

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      • Umm ZAKAriyya

        I don’t believe we should be talking much about this video in a public forum. It would appear as though we don’t agree with muslims being happy.

        Also,The brothers and sisters in the video are a part of us . It’s a personal muslim matter.We should deal with the islamic issues regarding such videos within our circles . Not leave more meat for islam-haters to chew on.

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  22. WAJiD

    Salaam,

    I don’t believe MM supports the video. MM includes a collective of writers each with their own views and their own opinions.

    Having an article about the video allowed debate to spring up in the comments section. It does not = endorsement.

    I have been told in the past that anyone is free to write an article on the opposite opinion and inshaAllah MM will consider posting it as well. I’m sure this is still the case.

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  23. Diana

    I’ll probably get voted down by the haram-police but whatever, I’ve had enough. Some of us really need to lighten up! I’m so sick of always having to listen to the ‘extremists’ or ‘religious jerks’ (sorry, don’t know what else to call you) pick on the smaller issues such as the length of your beard/pants and how you should wear a hijab when we have much bigger issues that need addressing. You aren’t helping the Ummah by having sticks up your behinds when it comes to these minor things and you’re only pushing the majority of Muslims away and alienating them. This video is about MUSLIMS of the uk. It isn’t about Islam! Muslims aren’t all super religious bearded/niqabi Wahhabi types, we actually are diverse, we have hijabi’s of all levels and non hijabis, we have those who dance and listen to music and those who don’t. Notice the imam looking types didn’t dance, and some of the hijabi’s were more modest than others. Whether you like it or not the majority of Muslims are your average every day people who aren’t perfect. That’s besides the fact that a lot of your issues are debatable and open to interpretation as not everyone believes Music is haram and dancing is like another form of sports unless you’re doing it provocatively. Unless you think Muslim women can’t move at all or run or play sports or fight in jihad (all of which they did do in the prophets time) then that’s another issue. You all completely missed the point of that video. I’m personally disgusted at the holier than thou attitude I’m seeing from a lot of the people in our community. You might as well announce your religious superiority over everyone else in this video even though you know nothing about any of these individuals and even though Allah might favor some of these seemingly ‘lesser Muslims’ over you! Islam is perfect but we are not. Also following every rule is no walk in the park…we all do what we can and we are all on different levels but only Allah can judge us. And living in this century isn’t making it any easier, which is why the prophet pbuh compared those of us in the future still holding onto our deen as holding onto burning coal, and we will not be judged exactly the same as the sahaba or held up to their standards as Allah is fair and just. Islam is not as black and white as you like to make it out to be and we’re all facing our own demons and struggles so try not to repel your fellow brothers and sisters with your harsh judgements and keep it to yourselves. Once again the vid is not about Islam:/

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    • Ahmed A

      Salaam sister Diana,

      Notice I did you the courtesy of referring to you as my sister.

      Meanwhile – you refer to me and everyone else who has a legitimate Islamic reason for finding the video misguided as:

      ‘haram-police’
      ‘extremists’
      ‘religious jerks’

      Then you proceed to tell us to “try not to repel your fellow brothers and sisters with your harsh judgements…”

      I’ll leave everyone else to make up their own minds about this fairly typical attitude from all those who support and made the video.

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      • Diana

        Brother Ahmad…how kind of you to do me the courtesy of calling me sister, truly I’m honoured. Notice how you’re quick to think I’m talking about you simply for not liking the video. I’m talking about those who’s way of expression or usloob comes off as very condescending and self righteous. And so, yes to me they are ‘religious jerks’…a term I got from a suhaibwebb article that I found to be true, look it up and you’ll see what I mean. It’s why I used the quotation marks. And you ignore the main point I was trying to make, which is that the video simply has Muslims in it having a laugh. They even said there was nothing deeper to it. It wasn’t some kind of religious statement or a fatwa telling everyone to take to the streets and dance. It seems some of you think that this gives you a free pass to express your ‘disgust’ and ‘utter disappointment’ with the Ummah as a whole. Openly criticize the sisters in the video for not adhering to what you believe is the right way to wear a hijab and act like you are ashamed of them. Rather than gently guiding those of us who aren’t on your level of Iman you harshly criticize and in the process I can tell you for a fact that you’re pushing many Muslim youth further away from Islam. The video did bring happiness to a lot of Muslims worldwide whether the approach is correct and halal in your opinion or not. A lot of Muslims could actually relate to it because guess what? We aren’t all sheikhs and niqabis and it’s nice to see someone represent those of us who aren’t the picture perfect image of what a Muslim should look like. Naturally you won’t see all of them looking the same or being on the same level religiously but that doesn’t make them any less Muslim. Last I checked being Muslim was about believing in one God and his messenger and following the 5 pillars, striving to better yourself etc not whether or not we dance or listen to music. If you just want to show perfect religious Muslims in the media then you’re lying to the world. Personally I love the song and it always puts me in a good mood, and I’m not of the opinion that music is haram even though I respect that others will believe it to be so. I just believe it’s open to interpretation and when you can’t get a unified consensus about this issue then you technically can’t force it on others but only on yourself. This video isn’t the only issue. I only snapped because I see this happen all the time. I once saw a cartoon drawing of a Muslim couple where the husband is embracing his very modest hijabi wife and I thought nothing at all was inappropriate about the image yet the ‘haram-police’ came out of the woodworks either claiming drawing was haram or that you shouldn’t show a man hugging his wife as it’s inappropriate. The artist was a very nice Muslim brother who only draws images portraying positive Islamic messages. A hijabi sister gives a YouTube guide on how to wear certain hijabs and they’re out again telling her she isn’t a true hijabi for wearing makeup or tight clothing. We can’t go about our business without having to deal with these people and it gets tiring. It seems like they’re just out there trying to find the haram in everything. That sort of constant negativity takes it’s toll.

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    • khatab

      Commenting on a blog isn’t a religious matter, however dancing, music, yeaahhhh dont think the sahabas would do that.

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    • Diah

      cavemum@lol…..what an intelligent reply
      Oh and sahaba never listened to radio, watched tv, took photographs, created family albums. Sahaba did not use printing machines and that was the cause many ulema back in the days considered printing press haram. “Loud speakers” were also tool of the devil back in the days because Sahaba never used it.

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  24. Just a muslim

    Halal ofr haram, muslim matters will be held accountable for the articles and videos they spread. I would ask the brothers behind this site if the scholars they studied under would approve of such videos. There is a legitimate disagreement regarding music and certainly women are allowed to dance. But no school of fish would allow for a woman to dance in a suggestive manner in public for all the world to see.

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  25. Waleed Ahmed

    nice to see the rather lively discussion going on here. Some criticism is over the top and unnecessary, some is valid. I made a point not to comment on the ‘islamic compliance’ of the video and leave that up to people to discuss and scholars to comment on. It’s now clear that the filmmakers could have taken a few simple measures to make the video more acceptable to an even larger segment of the orthodox community; hopefully that will taken into account in future projects.

    I want to end with Sh. Abdal Hakim’s statement released today on HonestPolicy’s fb page which highlights his take on the subject:

    “The responses have been interesting. But let us begin by recalling an important point. The scholars today are not reaching teenagers at all, and they hardly even know it. At Friday prayers today, during school holidays, I saw children and adults; but not one teenager. There are no bridgebuilders to take them by the hand! If you know them you will know that they still want to be Muslim, and that they love Islam, but do not want to listen to what they call ‘boring lectures’. They usually don’t object to the content of those lectures, but they cannot listen to them. They are in a different world – of quick social media, apps, and YouTube. Now either we can cut them off entirely, and let them work things out from their own resources – and this is happening with tens of millions of young Muslims across the planet, even in Makka and Madina – or we can find some way of standing among them and hearing them. They know perfectly well that we don’t acquiesce in all the forms of their culture, but they should know that we have more to offer them than an endless scowl. So of course I did not dance along with them; but to be present, to be a witness, affirming their love of life and of Islam, without in any way approving in any absolute way of anything at all – and they know this! – is the way of those who love humanity and love the young. I revere the memory of those of my teachers who insisted on being with and for young people: who went to cafes and music-halls in Cairo and Mombasa, not to dance, but just to be there with them, to smile, to listen to them with love and to remind them through their own state that the best joy is only an invitation to the Afterlife.

    I did not make this video, nor did I follow its development or see its final shape; but I see it not as a preachy film but as a kind of informal guerrilla documentary capturing a moment in the development of the Muslim community here as it actually is. Questions of divine law, which, believe it or not, do matter to the neglected and abandoned young, are non-negotiable of course. In this case, observing the people known to me, I see only married couples together, or siblings or families. I can’t see any exceptions. May Allah preserve us from ugly suspicion! Regarding the music, I personally do not use instrumental music; but I would like to see a fully-reasoned fatwa about musical sounds produced digitally by synthesisers: do they count as the ma’azif which are surely forbidden in the sound hadiths? If so, are doorbells, or harmonised ringtones, ma’azif? What about a voice which is trained to sound exactly like a trombone? Personally I don’t know. Once we have some sort of consensus on synthesisers then the ijtihad discussion about this clip can begin. It will be interesting.

    May Allah grant us all basira to serve His din and remember Him in all times and places. Amin!”

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    • Ahmed A

      Does anyone else find it troubling how the sheikh went from seemingly distancing himself form the video to saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with it to now saying that there IS something wrong with it but that he took part in order to maintain some type of bridge to the disaffected Muslim youth…

      I also find it incredibly disturbing how those who made the video and support them are labelling all those who have legitimate reasons to disagree with it as “sad”, “the haram squad”, “the haram police”, “extreme”, “miserable”, “idiots” and worse.

      I find it even more distressing to see those who support the video and made the video sitting back as islamophobes, neocons and the mainstream media use the video as a tool to attack the Muslims who disagree with it… and in some cases, they are supporting the attack.

      Finally, I find it reprehensible that those who made and support the video deliberately misrepresent those who find it troubling as being against happiness.

      Overall, the vibe they give off is not very happy, not very Muslim and not very honest.

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    • British Brother

      The Majority of their post condemns the video, so I don’t see how it needs responding to as the points they made are entirely valid. Perhaps just the last issue of dancing in private between a husband and wife some of the shuyukh could help clarify, as it may not be permissible. A related article can be seen here: http://islamqa.info/en/9290 (yes I know they do not live in the west, but at least it gives some guidance on the issue, that it may fall into the category of imitating non-Muslims).

      And Allah knows best.

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  26. Ghasan Al-Sakkaf (@ghasan_alsakkaf)

    It is nice to notice the lively discussion going on here, but hope it won’t develop sensitivities between respondents.

    I would like to add something, look a the momentum the video is making on youtube and on social media across the world. Now, if, for the sake of discussion, we say it is haram, then the majority is doing haram. This then proves that those people call for “right” Islam is far from normal Muslims, and somehow developed some kind of guild that only those pious ones are called in. Eventually, those pious people will be alone with their peers, and normal Muslims will be far from hearing dawah. Thus, distancing yourself just because you are good pious Muslim is not going to do good for you.

    I personally do not listen to Music that much, but when on a trip with my friends I try my best to enjoy the time with them, even if they listen to the worst Music ever. I try my best then to change some of their traits such as saying bad words, cursing each other and so on. If I am not engaged with them, they will see me as conceited guy looking down on them who are far from the “right” path. Surprisingly, when they see you near them, they appreciate you and your advice, and even if they don’t listen, there will be still that respect and they can come to you back because they know you understand them. I am still regretting that I didn’t go out with some of my ex-classmates because they were thinking of drinking alcohol, and so I didn’t go because I am “pious”. You know what, they didn’t bother about me, and went out drinking. I might have been able to make them drink less at least, but now I even don’t have strong ties with them because of me distancing myself from them time to time.

    There are things that I didn’t like in the video, but I can’t just overlook the whole 4-minute video for some seconds of controversial scenes. Some people might say, look, will the companions of Muhammad PBUH do these things? Well, probably not, but this doesn’t mean it is haram. Just look at the video and you would see an imam and a respected lecturer not dancing, so there are still people who won’t do so. Again, this doesn’t mean necessarily it is wrong, but might looked at as something not appropriate. For instance, sometimes I like to shout out when I am stressed out, but I would not expect the companions to do so, and that never makes it haram.

    Lastly, for issues such as music and dancing, we can keep arguing till tomorrow, and it is clearly something that many scholars are having different opinions on.

    Bottom line, let not the pious people distancing themselves from ummah and its current affairs.

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  27. British Brother

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu,

    I am amazed that Muslim Matters have allowed this post to be published. Although there is ijmaa’ (consensus) of the scholars on the impermissibility of Music (see here for more info: http://www.islam21c.com/islamic-law/156-a-simple-matter-of-disagreement/), even those scholars who made a mistake when allowing music – they put such stringent conditions on it – they would never have allowed such behaviour as in the video. Not to mention the completely intentional decision of freemixing and dancing (thus, cannot be compared to unavoidable situations like the marketplace). Most practising british sisters with hayaa will be shy of walking near brothers let alone dancing publicly in front of them, and for the whole world to see. To say it even needs a ruling is almost a mockery.

    The vast majority of practising British Muslims overwhelmingly reject this video – hence the media headlines in the UK of there being a ‘division’ over the video (i.e. Practising Muslims voicing their disagreement towards liberalist/secularist/non-practising Muslims approving it).

    The means does not justify the end. Whoever does an action not in accordance to our Sunnah it will never be accepted by Allah.This is why bid’ah is called the Devil’s Cloak – because people think they are doing so much good, but in fact their efforts are in vain. Even worse, they don’t repent and try to justify the sin as something halal, May Allah protect us. This is what we have seen from some people who were in the video – saying ‘it is only fun’ and even promoting it on social networking sites and sharing it around! No remorse whatsoever. Hence why Shaytaan loves bid’ah more than a sin committed privately and sincerely repented from.

    Even more humiliating is that the intended effects of the video were not achieved. Instead of showing ‘we are happy, positive, not angry and extreme’ it only highlighted a severe inferiority complex felt amongst those in the video, and an acknowledgement of the success of the media in demonizing Muslims and their control over our public perception. Also it led to division, the spread of fitnah and of more sin internationally. Izzah and honour lies only in Islaam, and when we seek it through other than the Qur’an and Sunnah Allah may humiliate us in return. Perhaps that is, in fact a blessing as it is an opportunity for us to recognise this and turn in repentance to him.

    I ask Allah to protect us all from sins, innovations and misguidance, and to guide those who were in this video towards understanding their mistake. I also ask the author of this article to remove the article or completely re-write it, as perhaps he doesn’t realise – I will make 70 excuses for him – that it promotes and glorifies the video which is full of haraam as I have highlighted. I also ask Sheikh Yasir Qadhi if he can speak out against it in order to help give guidance and clarity to those MM readers who may have thought such actions are permissible and loved by Allah.

    And Allah knows best,
    British Brother.

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  28. khatab

    Like it or not those in charge of mm will be held accountable for this. You can say that this is an independent article and separate yourself from it, however those in charge allowed this to take place.

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  29. saadiyaa h

    I am beyond shocked by mm.org giving importance & singing the praise of this nonsensical pointless waltz! I am a british muslimah & watching just the first minute or so brought back to mind a vivid reminder of the end of times. I also Mastered from Cambridge University UK & saddened to see parts of ‘intellectual islam’ in UK unashamedly endorsing this. I guess nothing from the entertainment world featuring muslims, after this video, would shock me. Nor from learned muslim scholars, men and women.

    Further, of all ‘places’ I expected greater islamic editorial decorum here. Big disappointment this time. Please rectify for the Sake of Allah azza wa jal. You are in a position of responsibility, the muslim (& non muslim) masses read ‘you’ and ‘you’ influence opinion. No need for intellectual diplomacy or sugar coating. We all know, even those of us who dance and sing in that fashion, that it is haram. May Allah forgive us, preserve us all and keep our hearts & minds firm on the truth.

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  30. Firdouse rao

    I was disappointed to see Muslim matters give such importance to this video that they allowed an article to be posted about it.
    #undue attention!!

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  31. ElvenInk

    Salam Brothers and Sisters. I just want to say as someone who has been seeing this video pop up again and again – being shared by other Muslims on facebook and so on, I was glad to have a place on MuslimMatters in which I could discuss it with other Muslims. So I don’t think Muslim Matters staff did anything wrong by putting up an article about it – when something like this comes out we should be able to discuss it in a balanced way!

    One suggestion in future is to have a kind of two-in-one article written by two different people with two different opinions so that readers can see and comment on both at the same time and that will hopefully also make it clear that MM isn’t necessarily endorsing the video, just promoting a healthy discussion about the topic! Just a suggestion as I have seen such articles elsewhere and thought it would be a good idea :)

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  32. Nus

    Muslim matters should open a discussion on this video. They shouldn’t just ignore it and sweep it under the rug.

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  33. Halima

    The one thing I enjoyed about this video was seeing all kinds of Muslims of different races, and walks of life. That was truly beautiful. Instead of using the Happy song and dancing they could’ve used some kind of nasheed, and held up signs expressing their happiness.

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  34. Happiness Will Prevail | Indigo Jo Blogs

    […] Back in the 1980s, Doctor Who featured a storyline in which The Doctor was transported to a land ruled by so-called happy people, a land in which sadness is illegal and punished by the Happiness Patrol, who have the TARDIS painted pink, lock up blues musicians and execute so-called Killjoys in a river of strawberry fondant. In reality, the land is a colony in which the native inhabitants have been forced underground, and the happy message is reinforced by robotic announcements over the speaker system which reinforce the message “happiness will prevail”. (The secret police chief was loosely based on Margaret Thatcher, but the parallels with some of the self-proclaimed people’s paradises of the time are pretty obvious as well.) This enforced happiness was brought to mind by a recent video in which Muslims are shown dancing to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy”, and the reaction in which the press declared that it shows Muslims can be happy, and dissenters who pointed out that it contains a number of un-Islamic elements were labelled as puritanical killjoys. (More: Fugstar, Muslim Matters.) […]

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  35. ALMUSLIMAH

    OH MY GOD !!!! i ca not believe this …..Are we disagreeing about this video ?as muslims we keep disagreeing about anything and everything, Wake up people, let us remember that we are one ummah, let’s help each other be a strong one. i think it’s all about intention, i saw happy people in this video, Muslims united from different races showing the world that Islam is a religion of peace, we are happy as a nation, we are not terrorists w do not encourage violence, we are normal humain beings whome have ups and downs, united all together to show the world the meaning of our religion. Stop judging people by saying this is halal and this is haram, Allah Almighty knows what’s in the heart and will judge us according to our
    intentions, Allah warns us of ridiculing or insulting each other in the Quran.
    maybe when we start focusing on ourselves and try to be better muslims and better Ummah, the world will recognize us as a ummah of peace and respect us for being muslims .

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  36. Dawud Israel (@DawudIsrael)

    Hypothetically, even if half the ummah were twerking 24/7 non-stop, we would be upset about that representation in film even though it is true. That is a double standard, yes, but we don’t want to spread the sin either. What we do in our private lives vs. what we see represented of us — compared to an Islamic ideal. We segregate these worlds.

    To me it was like an MSA video or a ManiacMuslim video – all humorous and not to be taken seriously – just kids goofing off.

    Personally, I like what Shaykh Hamza Chaudhry said about it comparing it to the Khurramite sect (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khurramites) and how even prostitutes of old wore niqab. People didn’t immigrate from post-colonial societies for their religion to be treated like this. I think Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf was right in characterizing this as a non-event and not important to our life. We make a big deal of it because we make ourselves the audience, not the actors.

    di.

    P.S. Apologies for twerking analogy :D

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  37. Umm M

    Asalamualaykum wrwb,

    I would say that Abez nailed it. Whatever you do, make Allah happy. Would this video make Allah happy?

    The teenagers of today are definitely in a completely different world than most of us, especially those who are not very practicing. How to get them to love Allah and worship and serve Him? Would this video help that? I don’t know, but it seems a little distant. Maybe for some it’s the only way? Maybe someone out there would watch it and be motivated to listen to a lecture or come to the Masjid? Honestly, it doesn’t seem that way to me, but I’m no expert.

    Were the makers of this video trying to make others love and worship Allah? I actually don’t know their intentions, but if a person was sincerely heartbreakingly aware of the plight of the non-practicing Muslims, and trying to find a way to reach them, and strongly felt that this would call them to Islam, this video could be viewed one way.

    If the person was instead thinking about ways to make Islam more mainstream in general (because doesn’t that benefit everyone living in the West, and, whether we admit it or not, is the reason we do quite a lot of things), then perhaps the video would be viewed another way.

    I do believe that music is haram and did not like the video although it was definitely cute, but I am unwilling to pass judgment on the video makers, because Allah knows best.

    I just wanted to highlight that if you are against it, be so for the sake of Allah, and be upset for the sake of Allah. And if you promote it, do so for the sake of Allah and for specific objectives you see that would be achieved with it, if you see that they would legitimately be achieved, and not for any worldly benefit, such as being more ‘liked’ by non-Muslims.

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  38. Wahid

    I am a British Muslim, and I was very unhappy when I saw this video. When will Muslims in the West grow up and follow their religion properly?
    We don’t need to bend our religion to make people happy.

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  39. k.ally

    the song is very light and dance-able. this is a big part of why different cities are doing their cover of it. it is just about being light and happy. we should feel this way singing our songs about Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wasalam, but certain groups have made qassidas and songs of the Mawlid forbidden. but the reality of the human is that he/she likes to dance and express joy. if you deny them expressing this joy by dancing for the reason of the Rasul sal Allahu alayhi wasalam having been sent to us, you will force them to take what other options they have – such as dancing in happiness that teh sunshine is out again…this is only our own fault for depriving ourselves of the original dancing, music and happy expressions that were part of traditional islamic culture before colonizers and then extremists came and marginalized them. let’s get back to them; let your child dance at a mawlid out of joy for being a Muslim.

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