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Bu nu nu nu…Ikhlaas! Lessons from the Life of Batman

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By Nadya Aweinat

Oh Ikhlaas…The Islamic concept of sincerity we hear repeated like a broken record at each and every Islamic function. Whether it be a political endeavor, community service project, or religious class, the one topic that seems to keep recurring is that of sincerity. As one of my teachers so eloquently puts it: “What we find repeated the most is that which we need to be reminded of the most.”

This seemingly unattainable quality is one that I often found difficult to grasp in utter totality…that is until I watched Batman: the Dark Knight.

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Two years ago, the release of the film Batman: The Dark Knight had Hollywood and Batman fans all over in a wild frenzy. Over the years, the character has evolved from a comic cartoon to a hope inspired savior that not only young boys admire, but to whom humanity can look to for their hopes and ideals.

But who is the Batman? What can we learn from this characterised vigilante? For those who have yet to see the film, let us examine the situations in which we find ourselves extracting Islamic ideals from his endeavors.

Bruce Wayne is his name by day while living among the common citizens of Gotham. In order to maintain a low profile and keep suspicions absent from even the wildest imaginations of his comrades and co-workers, he must outwardly display a certain mindset and lifestyle. Save a few trusted individuals, those around him know Bruce as the spoiled, rich, and nonchalant owner of Wayne Enterprises.

By night, Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. He rides in his BatMobile fighting crime, saving civilians, assisting police, trapping mobsters, and fighting a sick serial killer, the Joker.

Fast forwarding to the end of the film, Batman and the Chief of Police find themselves in a predicament. Throughout the film, the city’s District Attorney had served as a ray of light in Gotham. He had  taken a last stand as the lone soldier against organized crime within the city. Sadly, the Joker was able to deliver him to the dark side,  and he soon embarked on a killing rampage, murdering even some of the closest people to him. To reveal this news to the people would mean the end of hope. It would mean that contrary to children’s book conclusions, evil would have conquered good, and all efforts to return hope into the hearts of the people would have vanished.

But this could not be so…

And so Batman agreed to take the blame. He agreed to make it known that he murdered the innocent, that he betrayed his community, that he indeed was not the hero everyone had known him to be…but that he was the Dark Knight.

These simple incidents blew my mind in a way that I had never before understood the ideal Islamic concept of sincerity like I did in these moments. If all Muslims had these ideals within us, we would all be a lot closer to the gates of Paradise.

Despite the fact that Batman toiled for the duration of the night securing society and serving as the main means of protection in the city, he lived in the eyes of the people as a common dimwit. He lived hearing snide comments and gossip regarding his lack of care and scarcity of intelligence. He lived and continued working despite what everyone said…Why?

Because it was the right thing to do.

Sincerity is the key to ultimate success. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) taught us: “Whoever leaves this world with sincerity to Allah alone, performs the prayers, and pays the Zakah will die in the pleasure of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim) We find that sincerity is achieved when a Muslim performs an action purely for the sake of Allah without thought of personal interest or worldly esteem.

When Batman took the blame for another villain’s mischief and murder, it didn’t matter to him that the reputation of his alter-ego would be smeared. Originally, although his Bruce Wayne identity was one of which he was not fond, at least his praiseworthy Batman identity prevailed. Yet, he was even willing to give that up.

At the end of the day, it did not matter to him that he was praised or that his efforts were recognized. When it came down to it, what mattered was that the deed was done. In the above lessons, we find the exact definition of the Islamic concept of Ikhlaas. Because sincerity is to perform an action purely for the sake of Allah; not for reputation, nor for recognition, but because it is the right thing to do.

“Because he’s the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now… And so we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero, he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector…A Dark Knight.”

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Nadya Aweinat is a Batman loving tajweed geek who spends her days hiking, learning and teaching Qur'an, and enjoying the year round superb weather of Southern California. By the mercy of Allah, she recently completed her memorization of the Qur'an and is working on completing a degree in Speech Pathology.

97 Comments

97 Comments

  1. ibn Insaan

    September 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Nice article mA.

    But I erm, have one problem that I wanted to bring to your attention. It can’t really be called ikhlas [in any certain terms] if he wasn’t doing it for god. and not any god – but God, that is to say Allah. Hence in a dunya perspective of a Mu’min – he would still be benefitted in en extremely limited way if at all.

    And in the hereafter…?

    That cannot, or should not be a hero, for anyone.

    And that – quite predictably, shouldl be our no.1 message to the fans

    And alla Tawfeeq lies with Allah

    :)

    • Nezro

      September 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

      You’re assuming that Batman’s good actions wouldn’t lead him to be guided to the right path and thus align his intentions with his actions. Also the point of the article is to ask why we as Muslims can’t espouse such traits (which we are instructed to) but a nonbeliever can.

      Allah guides those who he wills.

      • Nadya

        September 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

        @Nezro:

        Thank you for your comment.

        Not necessarily why we as Muslims cannot espouse such traits and a nonbeliever can, but merely to recognize this trait that we find in a nonbeliever, and realize that this is a praiseworthy trait we can strive to reach on our own religious context.

    • Nadya

      September 23, 2010 at 2:16 PM

      @ Ibn Insaan:

      Thank you kindly.

      Indeed, not to judge Br. Batman’s intentions, but it does seem that he did not do what he did for the sake of Allah. That being the case you are right, he probably should not expect reward for it in the Akhirah. (This is really weird because I am speaking as if Batman is a reality and not a fictitious character) But anyways…

      In the sense that he is not doing it for Allah, indeed that is not something to take example from.

      In the sense that he did the right thing (for a Muslum this means doing something for the sake of Allah alone) with no regard to what people thought of him etc etc, this for me was the lesson extracted.

      Wa Allahu Ta’ala A’alam

  2. suzanne khazaal

    September 23, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    nice article, mA. very interesting way to make the movie relevant in our lives, islamically.
    good reminder. jazaki allah khair

  3. Hassan

    September 23, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Hmm, so we could not find any example from 1400+ years of islamic history on ikhlaas/sincerity?

    BTW, Rush Limbaugh compared Batman to George Bush (after the movie came out), as both fight crime outside the realm of legal boundaries.

    • Nadya

      September 23, 2010 at 2:24 PM

      @ Hassan:

      JazakAllahu khair for your comment.

      Of course we can!

      You see when I thought to write this article, the thought initiated after identifying this trait in Batman specifically. Had I thought “Hmm I would like to write something about Ikhlaas”, you are right my article probably would have been largely different and used other examples such as those from our Islamic history.

    • Abdullah Ibn Adam

      September 28, 2010 at 6:20 PM

      Hasan jiddan – as they say in ‘Arabic : )

  4. T

    September 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    i think the article was good. in response to comment 1, the article doesn’t say batman is performing ikhlas, his actions are only being used as an example to show people how to improve themselves. duh. secondly, i don’t think the article is saying muslims aren’t as good as non-muslims, i think it’s using a popular movie that many youth today like, to teach something other than foolishness, & to show us that we CAN do better than we do. Finally, why not use something of popular culture to teach something beneficial to muslims & muslim youth, rather than what was intended by hollywood? & just because someone we all hate compared batman to someone else we all hate, no one else is allowed to draw a different conclusion? come on guys!

  5. MR

    September 23, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    • Nadya

      September 24, 2010 at 1:44 AM

      MashaAllah I enjoyed reading it…Also a very interesting analogy!

    • Ismail Kamdar

      September 24, 2010 at 3:39 AM

      Love this lesson you extracted, bro! If you don’t mind, I’d love to use this analogy in my lectures in future.

      Shaykh Navaid Aziz and Muhammad AlShareef both also extracted interesting lessons from Batman: the Dark Knight.

      • Amir (MR)

        September 27, 2010 at 1:37 PM

        Yeah you can definitely use it.

        My blog is a museum now, haha. It’s just sitting there on the web.

      • Abdullah Ibn Adam

        September 28, 2010 at 6:53 PM

        Shaykhs (shuyukh, ulama , aaimmah) using movies i.e haram movies, as a source, to use analogies in order to explain concepts or to use ‘real-life’ or ‘modern’ examples in order for Muslims can relate to ? Is this for real??? Do I believe my ears?
        Do I believe what I am reading here from my brother Isma’eel Kamdar?

        Does that not make the shaitaan open the door ajar for Muslims to go and watch the movie to see what the Shaykhs are on about first-hand???

        I know Christians are doing everything and use every means poss. in their da’wah’ . For e.g. , The Professor of Philosophy and Theologian, Dr. William Lane Craig, used AVATAR as analogy to explain THE TRINITY by mentioning the human guy being inside the alien – somehow he equated this to the trinity!!
        Please do not go and watch the movie but go here to see the debate where he made this absurd analogy…
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7FoD4MTkdw&feature=player_embedded

        Subhanallah – what is the world coming to when our Ulama , The Scholars, The Inheritors of The Prophets (pbu them all) resort to movie for analogies, examples, morals and lessons etc. etc.

        SERIOUSLY, think about this my brother, my sister – by referencing movies ( those with haram elements) – do you think this can lead to “qutuwattus-shaitan” (small steps of shaitan) to open the door ajar for Muslims to go and watch such movies ,because this Shaykh and that Shaykh has extracted x.y,x from it??

  6. Emma Apple

    September 23, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I was a little girl who loved Batman for his realistic qualities, he COULD be some person who by night is a crime fighting hero, I never had any interest in other heros with superpowers, they weren’t believable. I still love Batman, and for that (and the fact this was written by a sister mahsaAllah), your article wins.

    I also disagree with the comments about Batman being a Non Muslim and so his actions being irrelevant to Muslims. I think we’re forgetting that at the end of the day, Batman is fictional, he is actually a character built around certain morals and values and experiences. He may well be a Muslim if a little Muslim girl or boy imagines him so (after all, he was real to me as a little girl).

    Not only that, this is an analogy, an example of what sincerity looks like in a fictional character (sort of like “the moral of the story is…”), this is not about Batmans actions as an individual, nor is it even an example of how to embody sincerity (unless, of course, someone wanted to train with Ninja’s and then fight urban crime for the same of Allah) it’s about the message of sincerity that is, as pointed out at the beginning of the article, not quite getting through to everyone.

    If Batman can teach us a lesson, then a lesson we should take from it, because let’s face it, we’re going to watch the movie anyway!

  7. abez

    September 23, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I love this about MM- News, Fiqh, Politics, and Batman.

    Bu nu nu nu nu!

  8. ~T

    September 23, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    I don’t doubt your intention or this article nor the point of Ikhlaas. Nor do I disagree with using analogy or things that a modern audience could relate to.

    However given that there is many in the Ulema who would take to various contents in the film, such as violence, promiscuity, music etc, is it such a good example to use in a public arena? Granted many watch movies and privately discuss them but that is different to bringing into such a public light.

    I understand the point, but at the same time feel there must be better ways of making it with more depth and meaning, even with things the modern person could relate to…

    Allah knows best

  9. Sabour Al-Kandari (Sayf)

    September 23, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Next article:
    Actions are shaped by intentions – why Vegeta will never be stronger than Goku

    • Zulander

      September 23, 2010 at 5:57 PM

      I chuckled at this :)

      Entertaining article though :)

    • SaqibSaab

      September 24, 2010 at 5:46 AM

      Vegeta’s struggles can be shaped by one of the first sins ever: arrogance! Yes, he’s the elite Saiyan class, but face it, “Kararotto” is just better than you!

      Also, his sense of competition is incredible. Even though he always gets one upped by Goku, he still will give it his all to shine as the best. As Allah says about the true believers:

      “The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful.” – Surah Hujurat, 49:15

      Like Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them.

      • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

        September 24, 2010 at 9:20 AM

        Vegeta’s struggles can be shaped by one of the first sins ever: arrogance! Yes, he’s the elite Saiyan class, but face it, “Kararotto” is just better than you!

        Why are you backbiting, brother? Vegeta made tawbah from that sin.

  10. Hassen

    September 23, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    This is the quality that made Batman my favorite ‘action-hero’ :)

  11. Ismail Kamdar

    September 23, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Great article, Mashaa Allah!

    I learned the same lessons and more from this movie but decided against writing about it because I knew it would lead to me being attacked in the comments. :P

    • Ibn Mikdad

      September 24, 2010 at 11:37 AM

      Wow. If our ulama and students of knowledge have no qualms about watching movies, no wonder laypeople succumb to that temptation so easily. And it’s not just that they watch them, hey think it somehow gives them advantage over others. That’s really sad, but it’s good to know.

      As for the article itself, I think it completely misses the point. Ikhlas is sincerity in pursuing Allah’s s.w.t. pleasure. I’m quite sure that this wasn’t Batman’s goal.

      • Nadya

        September 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM

        @Ibn Mikdad:

        May Allah reward you for your comment.

        AlhamduLIllah for people who have reached a level where they never watch an occasional movie, surely that may be better, wa Allahu A’alam. For those of us human beings who do (or did) this article is for us :)

        I am not sure where the idea came that watching movies gives you advantage over others?

        Your definition of ikhlaas is a good one mashaAllah. Seeking only the pleasure of Allah (and no one else’s) AlhamduLillah the MM bloggers and readers seem to have come to a consensus that Batman indeed was not acting in the cause of Allah, so mashaAllah you got that point right.

      • Ismail Kamdar

        September 25, 2010 at 12:03 AM

        See, I just wrote a comment and already get chastized. I think I’ll keep my ‘Top Ten Moral Lessons learned from Pixar animated movies’ list to myself then.

        • ~T

          September 25, 2010 at 2:13 AM

          Every child of Adam sins.
          The point is if they declare it without there being some valid lesson that can be gained by others from, worthy of exposure when Allah had hidden it.

        • MW_M

          September 25, 2010 at 8:39 AM

          What?! I want to see this. Make it a protected post, password is “What is the name of Woody’s space friend from Toy Story?” The only people who’ll crack that are people who’d want to read it..

  12. Abu Ibrahim

    September 24, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    I love the idea! MashaAllah! Makes it easier for some ppl to understand!

    The only thing that’s buggin’ me is this: the comments… People are arguing Batman’s intentions and if he would become Muslim?! I mean really?! REALLY?! Come on now! GET THE POINT AND MOVE ON! man ppl these days…

    P.S.
    As a true life long Batman fan, I would say if ever given the chance Batman would soo become Muslim. Now Robin, idk… lol had to add it! :P

  13. Bintwadee3

    September 24, 2010 at 2:00 AM

    In Br. Batman’s defense, I can say with full certainty that he is indeed Muslim, as I personally witnessed his shahada in a class down in Houston. If needed, I’m certain I can provide you with the names of 3 other sisters (for a proper testimony) and many brothers who bore witness to such an ecstatic moment of our lives.

    :D

    Great article wa jazaakiAllaahu khayran :). Looking forward to more varied pieces as this.

    -Maymuna

    • Hassan

      September 24, 2010 at 4:35 PM

      Yes, I remember witnessing it as well. Forgot the class name, but it was Sh Abdul Bary Yahya class.

      • Nadya

        September 24, 2010 at 5:08 PM

        Wait I thought this was a joke…Enlighten us?

  14. Nayma

    September 24, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    As a mother of five, I agree totally that: Take every possible means to explain Islamic characteristics to our children. Especially with things that capture their thoughts and minds. Take advantage of the situation :-) even if it be from Batman!

  15. Ify Okoye

    September 24, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    Nadya, I used to watch the Batman cartoon when I was kid and loved it, he was so honorable. Haven’t seen The Dark Knight but am glad you were able to extract benefits from it and share them with us.

  16. Umm Yousuf

    September 24, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    I have to say that the article and comments have been very entertaining for me to read this morning. I had no idea just how cool Batman was! Honestly, my son loves to dress up like batman and I was getting kinda sick of it but now I think I will smile! :) May Allah (swt) give him this wonderful trait of batman’s along with the correct knowledge and guidance of Islam!

    Btw, arguing about batman’s belief? I think it depends on who is the one under the mask. :)

    Too cute, MM!

    • Umm Yousuf

      September 24, 2010 at 9:30 AM

      Btw, what is ba nu nu nu?

      • Ify Okoye

        September 24, 2010 at 10:00 AM

        I asked Nadya the same question, because I wasn’t hip to it, either and she gave me the 411, hope she doesn’t mind me sharing:

        bu nu nu nu nu is not even in the film…its the ooooold time batman theme song…BU NU NU NU NU NU NU NU BATMAAAAAAAAAAAAAN

        I can actually imagine her singing this.

        • Nadya

          September 24, 2010 at 12:00 PM

          Thanks Ify :)

        • elham

          September 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM

          Oh no! Don’t tell me THATS how its supposed to be written? I thought Du du du etc, not bu bu. lol

          • elham

            September 24, 2010 at 12:26 PM

            Actually, this part of the theme song reminds me of an incident I was told about a Niqabi sister who was standing next to a non-muslim guy at a traffic light.

            And he literally sang that line :) .I think she laughed it off.

          • MW_M

            September 24, 2010 at 10:31 PM

            yeah, I thought it was du du du as well

          • Emma Apple

            September 25, 2010 at 1:20 PM

            Actually it’s technically Du nu nu …

    • Nadya

      September 24, 2010 at 12:15 PM

      @Umm Yousuf:

      :) JazakiAllahu khair

  17. Yafa

    September 24, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Excellent job mashaa-Allah! I especially appreciated the term “dimwit”. Although there are indeed many more profound instances by which we could teach ikhlas from our own Islamic heros and history, i find great importance in finding connections between the real life we live as american muslims and our deen, especially for our youth. As it says in the quran: “allatheena yastami3oon al qawla fayatabi’3oona ahsanah”; for those of us who do/did/ever will watch batman I think it’s cool for us to try to learn something from it!

  18. Abdulrahman Yamout

    September 24, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Are you guys crazy! First of all you cannot compare a non-muslims with a muslims. Second of all, Batman had more faults than he did rights. Beating a prisoner, lying, spying, being religiously addicted to human named laws, just to mention a few. Yes it all seems heroic when you look at it from a distance, nice fireworks trying to save a city full of criminals and hypocrites. I think the joker was living to his principals more than him.

    Lets not fall into the faults of utopia thinking.

  19. Nadya

    September 24, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    LOL this is seriously, seriously hilarious…I had no idea readers take things so seriously.

    May Allah guide me.

    • Ify Okoye

      September 24, 2010 at 2:09 PM

      lol, indeed, there’s a lot of false bluster and bravado online, many of those most critical are just kittens in real life or simply seeking to cover their own faults by loudly pointing out the perceived faults in others hoping no one notices the real issue i.e. their own sincerity or lack there of.

      I love this saying from one of the salaf: Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity. The destruction of every sincere person lies in his sincerity, (he is destroyed) to the extent that he sees sincerity in himself. When he abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified.

      • A.S.

        September 24, 2010 at 2:21 PM

        So Batman is so sincere that he should be our role – model for ikhlaas, and people who should be considered your brothers and sisters in Islam are just faking it and wearing masks to hide their lack of sincerity and concern for other Muslims and their condition?

        By the way, I don’t consider not watching movies as achieving a great level in imaan, it’s just one of those things that you stop doing because some sins are easier to avoid than others and because we cannot afford not to give up on those sins which are easier to give up, considering how sinful we all are.

        • Ify Okoye

          September 24, 2010 at 2:46 PM

          Not my words or views but rather yours, so enjoy them.

          It has been my experience and that of many others who have blogged regularly over the years that there is much falsity in the words said by anonymous internet personalities. At the very least, I admire people like Nadya who have the courage to not hide behind fake names and initials and give their views openly and respond to the haterade brigade that comes with the territory. My name is Ify Okoye, what’s yours?

      • Hassan

        September 24, 2010 at 4:43 PM

        My name is Hassan, and I like to keep my sins private (whether I watched the movie or not). Also I feel even it would become public it would not be much harm, as I am no body, but if a known religious public figure (or leading muslim website) takes it casually, a lot would be misguided.

        Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (RA) was being tortured to say Quran is Allah’s creation, people asked him, why can not you lie to save your life, and he said its not about me anymore, if I give up today, lots of people would be misguided.

      • Hassan

        September 24, 2010 at 4:47 PM

        lol, indeed, there’s a lot of false bluster and bravado online, many of those most critical are just kittens in real life or simply seeking to cover their own faults by loudly pointing out the perceived faults in others hoping no one notices the real issue i.e. their own sincerity or lack there of.

        So you are saying anyone disagrees with your views must be lacking sincerity? (this is question) Disagreeing or criticizing a specific action is different than doubting someone’s intention or sincerity.

        I hope no one is doubting sincerity or goodness the sister who wrote article. She must be very nice, perhaps even better person than I am, and there is nothing wrong if I want her to be more good.

        • Ify Okoye

          September 25, 2010 at 7:19 AM

          Nope, that’s not what I’m saying Hassan. Just pointing out something that I and many others have noticed. It’s an observation, take it or leave it.

  20. Umm Yousuf

    September 24, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    This is just my opinion….I think highly of a person who can watch something other than something Islamic and still find a way to remember Allah(swt) and be able to benefit from it and others more than a person who can read something with the purpose of remembering Allah(swt) and still manage to think bad about others.

    I’m not sure but I understood this article to be in addition to all the other great works written in more depth and with authentic Islamic sources NOT to replace or hold itself equal to.

    • Umm Yousuf

      September 24, 2010 at 12:39 PM

      Not to mention I just did the same exact thing with Star Wars :) My son also loves Star Wars and since I watched it as a kid I finally gave in and agreed to watch one of the movies. Anakin/Darth Vader reminded me of how, in Islam, when a person can do good their whole life than die upon doing a bad deed this person will lose. Also, how intention is not enough….we also need to seek knowledge to ensure we are doing the right thing and not just think we are. Anyway, I think we can derive positive lessons from anything if we want to.

    • Ibn Mikdad

      September 24, 2010 at 1:32 PM

      It’s not about extracting benefits from the lives of non – Muslims, it’s about watching movies. It’s haram. That’ all there is. And as for thinking bad about others… It’s one thing when a person sins, it’s a completely different thing when he / she tries to justify their sinning. Both can justify thinking bad about a person, but the second scenario is much much worse. They used to call it bid’a in the old days.

      • Amad

        September 24, 2010 at 3:08 PM

        wow, that’s a straight up “haram” fatwa. I’d be careful before throwing those out.

        • Ibn Mikdad

          September 24, 2010 at 4:14 PM

          “Being careful” seems to have lead many people to feel ambiguous about things which are manifestly evil. So I think I’ll stick to the “fatwa”.

          • Nadya

            September 24, 2010 at 5:11 PM

            H-Bombs are dangerous things to drop brother…

          • Ibn Mikdad

            September 25, 2010 at 6:54 AM

            Wallahi, I can’t believe this… This type of thinking pushes many of our youth over to the the kharijites, because they become disillusioned and disappointed with the liberal “minhaj” that is removing any trace of authenticity and uniqueness from the face of our in the religion, and killing its life force, rendering it bleak, insignificant, irrelevant and less distinguishable from any other way of thinking / behaving available in the world…

        • Amad

          September 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

          What is actually harder to believe is that watching movies is your standard which separates “authentic Muslims” from tipping over to the kharijites!

          You are free to follow whatever fatwa you feel is the truth. But don’t expect others to line up behind you, as others may feel truth is not so black and white.

          This post isn’t about whether watching movies is halal or haram. And h-bombs won’t stop the 99% of Muslims that watch movies. We have to prioritize dawah and naseeha. IF you have an issue with the topic of the post, it will be better to stick to that.

          • Ibn Mikdad

            September 25, 2010 at 2:14 PM

            Distorting my words won’t help you get your point across. I was saying that the increasingly liberal and an almost “anything goes” mentality present among those who are supposed to represent and intellectually underpin Islamic orthodoxy disillusions many Muslims and makes them think that extremists are actually doing it right. And yes, watching movies is a part of that liberal trend. Ho much authority will an up – and – coming scholar like Ismail have among Muslims seeking an authentic interpretation of their religion if he watches movies? How seriously will he be taken? And who will seem more orthodox and consistent to them, people like him or some terrorist denouncing the corrupt Western civilization, whose mouth is also full of defending Muslims honor and liberating their countries? Your understanding of integration has a great potential of making you irrelevant to both Muslims and non – Muslims who seek an alternative to the failed but still dominant secular liberal worldview because it can make you almost indistinguishable from those who adhere to it. And this is just an analysis of the practical aspects; the fact that movies, in general, are haram, is still most important.

          • Nadya

            September 25, 2010 at 3:20 PM

            @Ibn Mikdad:

            I honestly do appreciate your concern. From the previous comments posted, I am skeptical that any response will most likely not make a difference to you, but in any case…

            Firstly, I thought it was blatantly clear, but if not let me clarify that this article is not a fatwa or even an opinion on the permissibility of watching movies. I apologize if it seemed so.

            Secondly, I think it is a bit extreme to take your point to the level where this is now an extreme “liberal manhaj that is removing any trace of authenticity and uniqueness from the face of our religion” Making your point is fine but let’s not take things too far…

            I am not arguing that movies are halal or even justifying watching them. In my experience, like Br. Amad mentioned, 99% of Muslims seem to watch movies, and I have found in working and relating to youth that when you are able to take things from society which are a normal part of their life and relate them to Islam, it is far more effective than dropping H-bombs left and right on them. In my opinion this is part of what actually pushes people to exactly what you are talking about: Extreme liberal.

            Wa Allahu Ta’ala A’alam

            From now on I am only going to respond to comments relating to the article, such as arguing whether it is “Bu nu nu nu” or “Du nu nu nu” :)

  21. Farhan

    September 24, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Batman: The Dark Knight, narrated by Warner Brothers. Hadith Dha’eef

    • elham

      September 24, 2010 at 7:21 PM

      Actually it should be Mawdu’ .i.e. fabricated as its fiction. Also narrators are Non-Muslim. You need to be brush-up on your Ijtihad.

  22. Mahmoud Sabha

    September 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I remember once the brothers had a halaqa session with the youth about the movie when it first came out! its good to discuss this with some youth to help connect with them on their level.

  23. Alferdaws

    September 24, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    “As a Qur’an teacher and a halaqa leader for youth for many years, i can say confidently that i do see a lot of benefit in being able to connect everyday life and experiences to deen. I think you did an excellent job…even if we can learn something from batman.

  24. Verbage

    September 24, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    jazaki Allahu khayran, masha’Allah amazing article! :)

  25. Safaa

    September 24, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Good work! I enjoyed reading this article, I just have one issue with it, or rather a small correction.

    The actual old school theme song was not “bu nu nu nu nu BATMAN!” But rather: “Na na na na na BATMAN!”

    JazakiAllahu khairn, good work

    • Nadya

      September 24, 2010 at 5:13 PM

      In all actuality, I believe it was “Du nu nu nu nu nu nu nu”

      Wa Allahu Ghafoorun Raheem.

  26. Adam

    September 24, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    JazakiAllahukhair for the nice analogy and reminder. …we need to give dawah to batman….once he accepts, he’d be good to go.

  27. vimaljacob

    September 24, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    im one of the biggest fans of batman ..
    (oh n for people who loved “the dark knight” … please watch the animated film “batman : under the red hood” to see an emotional touching movie about all tht batman stands for … n fair warning.. its a movie for adults .. not kids)
    n i really hate to spoil this for you …
    batman may go to church coz thers where his parents are buried but deep down he doesnt believe in god (well .. he doesnt want to believe) ….. he doesnt believe coz he cant understand why god would let a person like the joker be still alive …. batman’s own “rules” (no killing .. or other morally wrong activities) disable him from taking the joker’s life … BUT …
    deep down he also knows tht its a never ending war he is battling and tht thr must be a reason (or a being tht looks after him) why he still is alive given the fact he is only human and he manges to win battles against meta humans ..

    in the current batman series .. a couple of months ago batman was killed by the omega sanction (actually he goes back in time.. n is now suffering from amnesia .. as he travels through different era’s of time .. regaining his memory… a really exciting tale .. give it a looksie people) .. but considering his casebooks just before his death .. he writes about undergoing a procedure tht mimics death … so tht he could see the face of true evil … behind all the evil in the world .. n he would find it .. n beat it

  28. Ismail Kamdar

    September 24, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    This is the most hilarious commen tread I ever read. People taking Batman so seriously and personally. Argueing ovr his level of Ikhlaas.

    I want to burst out laughing.Take the lesson and move on! Too funny! :P

  29. Mohammad

    September 25, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Assalamualaykum. SubhanAllah, we are belittling sins nowadays. By publishing articles like this, it seems we are justifying the watching of movies to get the good from them. We are exposing our sins! Fear Allah!

    As for those of you who are saying lighten up etc, fear Allah. This religion is not something to be taken lightly. Can we imagine the sahabaa or the salaf doing or saying things like this>?

    If you want to see what the scholars say about this, please refer to the link below. BarakaAllahufeekum.

    http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/85232/movies

    • Amad

      September 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

      Islam-qa is not the one-stop authority center for all Muslims in the world. It’s one of many sites for fiqh.

  30. Mohammad

    September 25, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I didn’t claim it was. But if you have scholars who are more knowledgeable who say that movies are fine and talking about sins is fine, please feel free to enlighten us. jazakaAllahkhayr. Wassalam.

    • Amatul Wadood

      September 26, 2010 at 1:00 AM

      Salam wart wabrt…

      subhanAllah! seriously, i dont want to judge anyone’s intentions but what on earth???!!! to see people tellin that we can extract benefit from haram (even if itz LITTLE) is depressing!

      And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger , fears Allaah, and keeps his duty (to Him), such are the successful” (al-Noor 24:51-52)

      Moreover, the Muslim should not look at how small or great the sin is, rather he should look at the greatness and might of the One Whom he is disobeying, for He is the Most Great, the Most High; He is Mighty in strength and Severe in punishment, and His punishment is severe and painful and humiliating. If He exacts vengeance on those who disobey Him, then utter destruction will be their fate. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

      A sin may appear insignificant in the eyes of a person when before Allaah it is serious, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
      “you counted it a little thing, while with Allaah it was very great” (al-Noor 24:15)

      This matter is as some of the scholars said: “Do not look at the smallness of the sin, rather look at the One Whom you are disobeying.” We have to obey Allaah and do as He commands. We must remember that He is watching in secret and in public, and avoid that which He has forbidden. (source: islam-qa.com)

      • Anonymous

        October 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM

        Asalamalaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatahu

        Thats right , even Allah Subhana wa tallah says that there is benefit from Wine but very little
        and it’s adverse effects are greater.

        So how can we talk about benefiting from something which is haram and talk about it so openly and casually and in doing so , encourage other people to see the movie , to not feel bad about seeing the movie, remove guilt and be so casual about a sin, Yeah 99% people do it , is that the excuse to justify it being ok. Is that what we are going to tell Allah Subhana wa tallah on the Day of Judgement, everyone did it so I did it.

        Then lets start talking casually about the benefits of drinking wine , many muslims do that too but they seem to hide that atleast. Or lets talk about the benefits of doing Zina. Would this not sound ridiculous or atleast shocking to us if one did talk so casually about these things and deriving benefits from it.

        May Allah Guide all of us

  31. movies_unkosher

    September 25, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    I haven’t seen Batman, but I’m leaning towards the side that the movie is not very halal(I cannot say for cetrain). But most importantly, most hollywood movies are littered with muharamat(forbidden things). I really think this issue is handled in a lax manner. At the very least, these movies are a complete waste of time.

    Someone should write a post on MM condemning the use of music, sex, drugs, violence……. in movies.

  32. Abdullah ibn Adam

    September 25, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Salaams,

    I haven’t watched “Batman: the Dark Knight.”
    Is this a movie with all halal elements that I can hire out and watch with my family?
    Please let me know if this movie is halal – I am struggling to find such movies my brothers and sisters!
    Jzk

    • Hassan

      September 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

      Watch 12 angry men, available on youtube. I watched it recently.

      • Abdullah Ibn Adam

        September 28, 2010 at 5:22 PM

        “12 Angry Men” you suggest – really great movie that would be indeed. I will see them either sitting down or lying down on the floor all through movie : ) …

        “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so that his anger will go away. If it does not go away, let him lie down.” [Reported in the ‘Musnad’ of Ahmad (5/152) and ‘Sahih al-Jami’ (694)]

  33. Idrees Ally

    September 25, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    Wow, this thread is absolutely hilarious :D

    There’s one quote I remembered from Batman which had a good/Islamic lesson as well … went smthing like this:

    “It’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you”

    • Nadya

      September 26, 2010 at 1:20 AM

      Indeed, indeed it is!

      That was definitely an awesome line as well!

  34. SuperHereos in Salah

    September 25, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    For anyone doubting the aqeedah of batman or any of the other super-hereos, check out this picture mashAllah:

    http://files.tmp.muxlim.com/photo/91025_4815_157403_0_0_800.jpg

  35. M.R.

    September 26, 2010 at 4:16 AM

    This is definitely one of the most hilarious comment threads I’ve read… ever… ON ANY WEBSITE… ppl are arguing about the Ikhlaas of Batman… BATMAN!! He is FICTIONAL people… A character devised in somebody’s mind based around some ideals, some morals, some sense of good and evil… and then evolved through story-lines over the years… Don’t over-analyse it… If there is good in anything, just take that and leave the rest…

    Also, Its really frustrating to read a flamewar on the “halal/haram”-ness of movies when article is about a certain trait of a fictional hero. Just get the point and move on…

    • @

      September 26, 2010 at 9:45 PM

      Ya like who cares if they are halal or haram, just move on right.

      • M.R.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:19 PM

        No, I didn’t say that. Read my comment again. THIS article is NOT discussing whether movies are halal/haram… it is just an observation of a good trait in a FICTIONAL hero.

    • Amir (MR)

      September 27, 2010 at 1:40 PM

      Salaam.

      Above commentator is not me.

  36. ali

    September 26, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    I agree with a point mentioned before:

    “I don’t doubt your intention or this article nor the point of Ikhlaas. Nor do I disagree with using analogy or things that a modern audience could relate to.

    However given that there is many in the Ulema who would take to various contents in the film, such as violence, promiscuity, music etc, is it such a good example to use in a public arena? Granted many watch movies and privately discuss them but that is different to bringing into such a public light.

    I understand the point, but at the same time feel there must be better ways of making it with more depth and meaning, even with things the modern person could relate to…

    Allah knows best”

    • Abdullah Ibn Adam

      September 28, 2010 at 6:17 PM

      Nadya said : “And so Batman agreed to take the blame. He agreed to make it known that he murdered the innocent, that he betrayed his community, that he indeed was not the hero everyone had known him to be…but that he was the Dark Knight.

      These simple incidents blew my mind in a way that I had never before understood the ideal Islamic concept of sincerity like I did in these moments. If all Muslims had these ideals within us, we would all be a lot closer to the gates of Paradise.”

      I think you have you used the wrong word here, sister. It is not Ikhlaas that this fable figure epiomised, but it was self-sacrifice. Not only that he also lied to people, what we may call a white lie – righly or wrongly – it definitely is not ikhlaas at all!

      Also the right thing to do would be the honest thing to do and justice must be served. Would you agree?

      I think you are reading into this too much. Let’s look at this philosophically. What Batman did will open up a can of worms and there are repurcussions and impact. If a so-called hero was the saviour and he was turned to the dark side by evil. Why can’t it happen again? people will not trust these heroes again let’s say Spiderman did the same. What happened if we imagine Batman was banged up in jail and the Dark Knight AJ guy still carried with his crimes and killing spree ? How did it benefit Batman or anyone? What will the people (i.e. those inside the Batman fable) would think? Why not tell the truth and say the AJ was the Dark Knight and he will get punished to the a maximum extent poss. according to the law i.e. shariah law obviously : ) ?

      Sincerity is to tell the truth even if it is against yourself!
      Sincerity is to serve justice against someone no matter what their status, nor ideals nor morals they seemed to have embodied before their turned to misdemeanors or crimes. Why not follow what our Prophet (pbuh) would have done and advised us to do….
      “….The Prophet said, ‘If a reputable man amongst the children of Bani Israel committed a theft, they used to forgive him, but if a poor man committed a theft, they would cut his hand. But I would cut even the hand of Fatima (i.e. the daughter of the Prophet) if she committed a theft.” [Bukhari :: Book 5 :: Volume 57 :: Hadith 79]

      And does not the action of the Dark Knight epitomise this…
      When the Prophet (pbuh) described to us those people who perform the deeds of Paradise until they are only a handspan away from Paradise and then they do the deeds of the Hellfire and they end up one of the inhabitants of Hell.
      …No wonder we have to read Suraj al-Fatihah every day with Ikhlaas!
      PLEASE CAN WE CLOSE THIS THREAD? I SAY THIS WITH NO THREATS : )
      WHY NOT USE REAL LIFE OR HISTORY EXAMPLES INSTEAD OF FANTASY FABLES?
      COME ON WE CAN DO IT!

  37. qazi

    September 29, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    asak, all biradran-e-islam……i just want to say that consider ur ideal none other than prophet muhammad(peace be upon him) :)

  38. Imran

    November 2, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    I think we should extract lessons from all block buster movies to become relevant to the youth. After all, they don’t know anything about Muslim heroes; so to teach them about them would be fruitless, since they won’t be able to relate to them.

  39. Zahin

    November 6, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    THIS IS EPIC!!!!!!

  40. The Muslim Voice

    March 4, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Aselamulaikum!

    Very nice article indeed! Alhumdoililah its great to see articles like these that the youth can actually relate too. And to those Brothers that are continuously dropping the H-Bomb really need to stop and realize the point of this article already! :)
    Since I’m not a Scholar I won’t say movies are halal or not but I do want to say, just keep everything halal and keep the haraam away, don’t do things that get your closer shaitan and youll be fine…ask your self, will this movie keep me away from Allah or closer to shaitan.

  41. Mahmoud Sabha

    March 4, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Man i need to see this movie already!!!

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