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My Thoughts on Mooz-lum


*Spoiler Alert*

[That means if you haven’t seen the movie, reading this might ruin it, or at least some parts of it, for you]

I went out to see Mooz-lum this weekend, and alhamdulillah I’m very glad I did. When the trailer came out a few months back, the cynical part of me really wanted to hate it for some reason. All the “positive” Muslim portrayals in the media thus far were usually marred with misrepresentations of Islam or contained unrealistic characters. I expected this film to be no different.

Overall the movie is really good, and every Muslim in America should watch it not only due to the ‘cultural relevance’ of it for Muslim Americans [especially as a mainstream film], but also due to the common struggles it highlights.

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If I had to mention some negative points of the movie, they would be three in specific that I recall. Firstly, I felt that the movie ended abruptly and some of the storyline could have been developed out further. Secondly, I felt that some of the acting was incredibly awkward and a bit over the top (such as the father). Thirdly, the scene with Tariq and Ayana in her dorm room could have been left out, or at least not taken as far. Relatively speaking, it was incredibly tame compared to other movies, but as a Muslim movie, I felt it was in appropriate and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. I know that some people will argue that it contained some artistic benefit and so on, but we can agree to disagree.

With that aside, let’s get into the good stuff. The primary reason that I liked it was that I felt it was the most accurate and relevant depiction thus far of a Muslim’s life in America that has been told on such a stage.

Growing up, myself and many of my friends fit the general character of Tariq. We were raised in religious environments, and oftentimes not taught the reasoning behind what we were told to practice. This put us at odds with many of the things around us in society and led to various degrees of rebellion. Then later, usually during college, a spiritual re-awakening of sorts would take place. In that respect, I was glad to see the movie depicting accurately (in my eyes) the struggle many people face in those years of life.

I think many times community leaders, and sometimes even our elders, write these struggles off as just following of desires or something that can easily be cured. I feel though that some of the rebelliousness is also in a sense pushing back at religious teachings that were not properly imparted at an earlier age.

The 9/11 part of the movie is what made me teary eyed. It brought back a rush of memories that I never even properly sat down and evaluated myself until seeing this movie. Everyone has 9/11 stories, and I felt that mine was just another of thousands and not interesting to anyone. But I can honestly say that the portrayal in the movie is almost exactly what I experienced down to the smallest detail, and for me this was what made everything in the movie really hit my heart.

I was 19 and had just moved out to an apartment at my University the weekend before it happened – my first time living away from home. I went to work [on campus] early in the morning and saw something about a plane crashing into a building on a random sports related website. At first I thought it was a joke (like something from The Onion). Then after a while the internet stopped working and I couldn’t access CNN. A girl in our office then told us the news and we all rushed out. I went straight to the student union where students were all huddled around the TV’s watching in horror at what happened. I distinctly remember someone saying “I bet it was that Osama Bin Laden guy who did this” and then turned around and glared at me and my spiritually-reawakened-longer-than-fist-length-beard. It was the first moment that I really felt fear that someone was going to take out some sort of revenge or retaliation against me because I was Muslim.

I ran to my apartment and woke up my roommate [who I had known for about 3 days now]. For some reason he thought I was playing some kind of joke on him, some cruel form of a roommate initiation ritual of sorts. When I finally convinced him it was real, we scrambled trying to figure out what to do. Cell phones were barely working, classes were cancelled, and everything was seemingly in chaos.

The few nights immediately after were nearly exactly the same as some of the events in the movie. I remember going to the computer lab one night and a Muslim student working there told me I should shave my beard. I replied with the exact same line from the movie – “Allah will protect us!”

Many of the Muslim students at our University worked off-campus jobs in the outskirts of town and so we were concerned for their safety. When one of them had a gun flashed at him and a death threat made, we all scrambled to do what we could. It reminded me specifically of the scene where someone threw the bottle at Hamza and Tariq, despite his anti-religious sentiment, immediately came to the defense of his Muslim brother. The Muslim students at our University, despite their “level of religiosity” organized into groups going around to the different gas stations and so on to make sure the Muslims working there were okay and in some cases staying with them until closing time and escorting them home.

It was breathtaking to see this movie, and this story, told on such a grand stage. I’m even more optimistic at the fact that a grassroots Muslim effort helped get it into the movie theaters. Many of us have come to write off the younger generation, and in many cases give up on it all together, but this is at least a small step indicating that not only do they have a voice, but insha’Allah an influential one that will lead to more positive changes.

I originally posted this on my blog:

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Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at



  1. Nayma

    February 28, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    Great review brother. I was especially touched that you guys would go out and take care of each other on campus, like going to gas stations and escorting others home. We need to be out there always to help and support each other.
    Inshallah we will go see the movie.

    • Hena Zuberi

      March 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      MashaAllah- that was really inspiring to read for me too. 9/11 memories SubhanAllah, true we all have them.

  2. AnonyMouse

    February 28, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    JazakAllahu khairan for the review – I’ve been reading about the movie online for a couple weeks now, and I really want to see it… guess I’ll have to wait for someone to upload it online though :)

    • AbdulQ

      March 1, 2011 at 1:55 AM


      check out – our community here in toronto just had our opening weekend. The director used to see which cities have it in highest demand, and then works to distribute it there — try not to bootleg it :)

      P.S. shame on you for not heeding the spoiler alert lol

      • AnonyMouse

        March 1, 2011 at 3:47 AM

        Unfortunately, I’m living in Kuwait right now so I don’t think the website will be sending it here :)

  3. Rafa

    February 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for months now, since I first heard about it. There’s no better time than now for a movie like this to come out, its much needed. Great review, Jazak Allah! Insha Allah I’ll be watching it this week.

  4. Meena

    February 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    One of the most touching parts of the movie for me was when he is reciting Qur’an outside to his sister. The verses used are absolutely perfect and I was so impressed by his recitation! I feel like that point was one of the crucial parts of the plot and it really set the tone for the rest of the movie with the notion that Tariq is turning back and it’s all good, it’s all been part of his journey and his test.

    There is an interview where the actor (Evan Ross) talks about his experience with the Qur’an.. I thought what he said was absolutely AMAZING and is an indication of the miracles of the Qur’an :)

  5. Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

    February 28, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    My husband and I went to see Mooz-lum this past Saturday. I really enjoyed the message in the film which in my opinion was to show people that all Muslims aren’t terrorists and that we as Muslims should understand extreme behavior in our Deen, and indentify what is permissable and what is cruel treatment to Muslims or non-Muslims alike. Simply put “there is no compulsion in religion, truth stands out clear from falsehood” Allah reveals the truth to his servants and that is what we should adhere to, we should be proud of who we are, we should dress in our Musilm attire and be proud to be identified as a servant of Allah…one submitting to His Will. Allah is the protector of those who have faith and He will Protect us against those who stand against faith…Insha Allah…Alhumdullilah!

    Nafeesah Abbas

  6. Amman AA

    February 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I’m very confused. What I know about movies from scholars is that they are all haraam. I mean, you have actors and actresses that are not mahram touching one another. You have mixing of genders when the movies are being made. Women are exposed in front of the camera so men could look at them. And top that all off you have obscene language and sensuous scenes in most of these so called “Mooz-Lum” movies.

    I don’t mean to sound rude, but why are we thinking of this as some sort of accomplishment. Why are we happy about it? Even if the movie was 100% correct on islamic views, how much haraam was involved just to produce a movie like that. Let it be movies like Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom, Syriana, or even the so called Islamic Movie “The Message”.

    I remember watching a tv series on Showtime called “Sleeper Cell”. I came across certain video clips on youtube that I thought were very moving and inspiring. When actually started to watch the show, I just couldn’t believe it. the obscenity, the vulgarity…i mean, the producers were trying to show what MUSLIMS are so supposed to be like? But you have a show that no muslim should ever watch or even condone…

    Maybe i’m over thinking it, but this hypocrisy is getting to me. I would appreciate it if someone can clear this up. Thank you.

    • ibnabeeomar

      February 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      irony: mentioning that you watch SHOWTIME (of all channels) while complaining about the haram in media :)

      • Amman AA

        February 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM


        it doesn’t matter what I used to do, it still doesn’t answer the question. My comment wasn’t directed toward you, and I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. If you were offended than i’m sorry…

      • J.

        February 28, 2011 at 8:11 PM

        I think the reply was a bit uncalled for, since the person said they watched it on YouTube, not on ShowTime directly. Sure, why were the watching any TV at all, but still… I still think they brought up a thought provoking question. I personally don’t know where I stand on this, and I might be inclined towards watching it because it seems interesting. I don’t want to go to a theater for it tho, because I never go.

        Great review though! :)

        • Amman AA

          March 1, 2011 at 12:08 AM


          I wasn’t offended at all actually. And I do think ibnabeeomar has point. It would be hypocritical if I was watching anything indecent myself and then complaining about it.

          But regardless if I am a liar or a saint, the question still needs to answered. Not for our pride or to win an argument, but to understand what Islam has to say about it…

  7. Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

    February 28, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Wow…I thought this was a forum for voicing opinions and giving a review of the movie…now we have Muslims arguing with each other and worse than that passing judgement on one another when Allah (swa) is our only Judge. Now lets not forget what Allah tells us in the Quran…Surah 23 Ayat 1…the definition of a believer…we are all responsible for our own soul and we are all responsible and obliged to fulfil our duties as Muslims to Allah…lets not be argumentative with each other…lets display unity and a positive image to non-Muslims that may view this website…cause Islam means Peace!

    Anyone is free to voice there opinion I welcome them…but if it is offensive I will not respond to it and perpetuate the negative image that others already have of us…I live in America and I have been Muslim all my life…what was depicted in the movie Mooz-lum was real and most of us have experienced these acts of hate…I also am an African American woman and I wear Hijab…so imagine the experiences that I’ve had….Ponder on that for a moment…

    • Amman AA

      March 1, 2011 at 12:11 AM


      I don’t think an argument has started at all, but I understand completely what you trying to say. Like I said, i’m not trying to prove anything here. I really just want to know what Islam has to say about all this. Especially when it comes to movies and tv shows about Islam or muslims… Regardless of the content, I am questioning what it takes to make a movie or tv show.

      • Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

        March 2, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Salaam Sister, Bismillah…I think that when we start to be cognizant of the fact that Allah Judges us based on our intentions…there is so much haram in the world and we can see it all the time…the movie is great and it will raise awareness and help increase understanding of Muslims and perhaps influence others in a positive way…I believe the Brother was attempting to do a good deed by exposing the extreme in Islam and the extreme behavior of the unbelievers which is very well depicted in this film!!

  8. Brother

    February 28, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I saw the trailer. Obviously the movie has haraam scenes in it, but I am assuming the message it teaches is good. So the big question is: Is it halaal to teach a message in a haraam fashion?

    • Amman AA

      February 28, 2011 at 11:14 PM

      Brother, I asked myself the same question. I mean, if that is true then is it okay to build a masjid with a interest based loan? Of course not. Yes I know they are exceptions to rule under drastic circumstances, but I don’t think it applies here. I really don’t that in Islam there is a concept of “The End Justifies The Means.”

      Again I’m in no position to say anything about it because i’m not a scholar….

  9. Nadya

    February 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    Hope this doesn’t turn into another “Batman” thread

  10. Aminah

    March 1, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Can the people who want to discuss those various issues about movies just write a piece for MuslimMatters regarding that topic, and leave this one about the movie Mooz-Lum to remain about the movie Mooz-Lum? Please?

  11. ibnabeeomar

    March 1, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    if you want to discuss the scholarly ruling on making a movie, please consult a fatwa bank or scholar who is qualified to evaluate the evidences and so on. those who self-admittedly aren’t in a position to pass a judgment should refrain from doing so. its somewhat comical to hear someone say they’re not qualified to give an opinion on something and then go right ahead and give it.

    this thread is to discuss the movie itself.

    as a final note, just so people don’t misconstrue anything i have said:

    1) I mentioned within my review itself that there were some aspects that made me uncomfortable
    2) there’s legitimate issues that can be raised, and i can respect people raising them here. what bothers me is the attitude and passing judgment by those not qualified to pass it.

    unfortunately there’s a lot of glen beck style “questioning” going on here. watch this if you dont get the reference [language warning]

    • lowering

      March 3, 2011 at 7:35 AM

      I totally agree that fatawa should be sought from the appropriate places. But please recognize that by discussing, approving/praising and promoting this film at a public level you are at the very least making your personal position on this issue clear to the readers. Which is totally fine!

      What should be understood is that you are asking for this type of backlash by writing about the topics like this. Personally, if you choose to write on contentious issues like this, I would recommend you turn commenting off. It would make life a whole lot easier :)

    • Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

      March 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      I agree with you 100%!!! I appreciate your review and your honesty of the way the movie made you uncomfortable in some of the scenes! I just want to tell you that you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone nor defend your Iman or your Taqwa…Allah Knows Best, and He is the Judge and Ruler of all Mankind…so “he without sin should cast the first stone”

      As Salaam Alaikum!

  12. lowering

    March 1, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Personally, I would find it close to impossible to watch this movie and lower your gaze at the same time? Hence, to me, it would be easier just to listen to the audio [or read this review :) ]

  13. Um Aneesa

    March 1, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    I like the way gives movie reviews, they allow discerning (predominantly Christian) viewers to make their own decision about wether a movie is appropriate to watch using a set of criteria for sexual, violent, spiritual content.
    Any chance of getting a movie review like that for Moozlum?
    Or at least I want to know if there are any awkward relationship or obscenity moments that would be inappropriate for young teens?

  14. Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

    March 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    There are some haram situations in the movie but the positive message overshadows it…there is a scene where the college kids are drinking…the Shaytan whispered to the young Muslim Brother and he was overcome with weakness and drank the liquor…he also was alone with a female student and touching…these are all things that happen in the environments of secular education that alot of us here in America are placed in because of necessity…there aren’t very many Islamic schools here in the USA that are accredited and that has degree programs that are applicable to the needs of the American Labor System! I actually appreciate the movie including the scenes that were haram because we learn from them and are able to warn our youth about the temptations that are in this society…the society that is not based on any commandmants from Allah (swa). We live in a country that was built on the basis of a false religion and the worship of a falso god…the “god” they reference on the dollar bill…not the Allah that we serve. Allah is oft-returning in Mercy and Forgiveness…

    Lastly: If you are listening to an audio of a film then your mind will still put an image to the commentary and create your own mental image of the haram environment that you’re listening to. Remember Allah will judge us based on our intentions…are you going to this movie to perpetuate the haram in the depiction or are you supporting a young Muslim film maker that is trying to do his part in this country to show that we Muslims and Muslimahs are human and demand the mutual rights as every other citizen in this country and that Islam stands for Peace and that Islam is the most Beautiful way of life!! Alhumdullilah

    @ Aminah…my husband is a contributing writer on ( discussing other topics that concern our worldwide Ummah…you can search him by name…Douglas Kelly (Abbas)…I will talk with him to see if he wants to do a piece on the movie and the message of the movie…InshaAllah!

    As Salaam Alaikum Brothers and Sisters!!

    • Qas

      March 1, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      is that “the” Douglas Kelly who was writing a book called “Tried to enter heaven” (sorry, if I got it wrong). How is he doing? What is he up to these days? I haven’t seen any new articles from him.

      • Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

        March 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        @ Qas, As Salaam Alaikum, yes…he is one and the same…Douglas is doing fine…Alhumdullilah! Stay tuned the book will be finished soon and Insha Allah ready for publishing this fall…Allah Knows Best! I will be sure to let him know that he has been missed…

        As Salaam Alaikum!

  15. Hena Zuberi

    March 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I want to go see this-have been following the effort to get this to theaters.
    Thanks for the review. The spoilers were no biggie. The kids were sick the week it came out so haven’t managed to drive over an hour to see it.
    Could I take my 10 year old?

    I feel though that some of the rebelliousness is also in a sense pushing back at religious teachings that were not properly imparted at an earlier age.

    My biggest fear is I hope we are not repeating history and our kids won’t say the same thing about us.

    BTW how was Azhar Usman in the movie?

  16. shiney

    March 3, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    We went to see this movie on a field trip because our teachers wanted us to write a review on it. I had really high expectations for this movie but they were all killed. Sure, the movie paints a good picture of the struggles of young Muslim Americans but it comes at the expense of portraying Islam as a religion that is hard to follow. MANY situations and dialogues in the movie were left unexplained as to why Muslims do things the way they do. For example, in one scene, when Taqua is trying to take Tariq to the concert, she’s like, “What?! You’ve never been to a concert before?!” and Tariq’s response is lacking any feeling. From this, the audience gets a picture that it’s okay to go to concerts and that Tariq’s father is the one who’s wrong in trying to protect his son from harm. The father’s acting was a bit overdone but I liked his role-he constantly feared for his kids’ Muslim identity but his biggest mistake was that he never explained Islam to them.
    I understand that Tariq is depicted to have an Identity Crisis Disorder (i just made that disorder up in my head) but the way he just gives in to everything is just ridicullous-Muslims have (or should have) greater willpower. He willingly lets Ayana dance with him and if he’s really so disturbed by his childhood, how can he suddenly just brush off all those “horrid” memories for the few hours that he’s spending with a girl he just met?
    The main reason for my contempt towrds this movie is that many (almost all) of the seemingly negative aspects of Islam are highlighted and the positives are left out (they show controlling parents but even the mother doesn’t explain anything to her kids, the Hifzh school teacher is shown as merciless on the child for celebrating a non-Muslim holiday but that is not explained either). For non-Muslims, this shows a very inaccurate picture of Islam. They would be like, “okay, so Muslims get banned from listening to music, they can’t celebrate Halloween, they abstain from alcohol and illicit relations, and they wear the hijab, but WHY?”

    THIS is the question that the movie fails to answer-WHY?????? (Why do Muslims do the things they do? Why do some call it a violent religion and others peaceful?)
    The abrupt ending also destroyed the movie-the message was unclear and Tariq really did not accept his identity as a Muslim (he whispered the salam in the end)-they could’ve at least made him make a speech or something or at least sit down and listen to a speech at the MSA dinner by which he (and the audience) would understand that Islam promotes peace and justice.

    Overall, this movie had no certain plot and there was no point proven. It was also very generalized and did not explain or cover the lives of other, more successful Muslim American families.

    • Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

      March 3, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      Hey Shiner…I can definately agree with the lack of explaining why things are the way they are in Islam. I believe that the main character is Tariq, and that he is definately suffering from a traumatic experience that made him lose confidence in the way of life that he is accustomed to and that which was instilled in him from childhood. HE WAS ANGRY! He thought that the religion did those things to him when in all actuality it was someone’s misinterpretation of the Quran and of Islam. I don’t know if you are a Muslim but there is a very strong Ayat (verse) in the Quran that states:

      2:256 “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”

      Islam does not condone the abuse towards children, women or anyone as a means of teaching the religion of Islam, it is not a permissable act-especially not extreme discipline although discipline is necessary from time to time. The father wanted his children to be proud of who they are and to excel in the knowledge of their Faith. He wasn’t aware that his son would be treated harshly, he trusted in Allah and that is the true nature of a Muslim-to trust in Allah!

      Tariq always accepted his idnentity as a Muslim, the treatment he endured at that Islamic school made him very confused, because he knew the beauty of Islam and was baffled by the cruelty he experienced by another Muslim, he rebelled against the very concept of Islam.

      Lastly, when Tariq returned the greeting of Salaam-that was a very profound ending. It showed his ability to overcome his anger by letting go of the negativity of the past and reestablishing himself as a Muslim by rejoining the community of believers, and by Allah’s Mercy He was led back to the straight path and was no longer rebellious! Alhumdullilah!!

      • Nafeesah Muhammad-Abbas

        March 4, 2011 at 12:40 AM

        sp.: s/b “definitely” and “permissible” …astaghfirullah

  17. Abdur Rahman

    March 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Was there music in the movie?

    • Brother

      March 3, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      Good point. So now, we have to cover our ears when the music comes on, and lower our gaze when women show up on the big screen. So practically, how are we supposed to watch the movie if we want to be good Muslims?

      I’m not saying I don’t watch movies, but its something that is not praiseworthy.

  18. word is born

    March 5, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    I didnt think it was halal to see this movie, lets not sugarcoat it. That “hijabi” (or scarfie) in the movie was always with that boy in the room together “studying”. Also, she wasnt even wearing a bra half the time you can see her entire figure, and pardon me for noticing but this is right in front of my face since its a movie. Yea i watched the movie, and I still will not try to justify that what I did wasnt wrong, because I know it was. Im sick of people doing things they know are islamically wrong and try to justify it to being right. Its a better thing to realize something is Islamically unlawful when doing something islamically unlawful, as compared to trying to justify it into being lawful when doing it. Sorry, but I just keep it real unlike all many other Muslims these days. Yea i shouldnt have watched it, but I come to terms that what I did was wrong. God help us all.

  19. Perspective

    March 5, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Salam alaikum

    When the movie opened in my city, I had the pleasure of meeting the director, Qasim Basir and speaking with him about the movie. I asked him if he had received any kind if backlash specifically from the Muslim community concerning the content of his movie, or the way he portrayed things. He said there has been a lot of hate and rude comments made to him by Muslims. They said horrible things like calling his sister (who played Ayana) please excuse my language, a wh*re, and saying that the movie was haram and that there shouldn’t be haram scenes in it. But he also said that these negative views were the minority and after touring the country and hearing commentary on the internet or from other countries, the overwhelming response has been positive, within the Muslim and non-Muslim community.

    I guess I didn’t make the connection, but during the course of our conversation he said that the main character, Tariq, is actually playing him, Qasim, and is based on what happened in his life. That blew my mind. At that moment I thought to myself, wow I just saw this movie, and I could relate to similar struggles and situations presented in the movie about growing up in America, peer pressures, gender relations etc., but to actually be in front of the person who you just saw (what in my mind was fiction) in a movie really gave me perspective. It made me realize the events in the movie were real, they actually happened. For those of you who have seen the movie, the scene where he lifts up his shirt and shows the scars on his back to his sister came into my head, and I thought to myself this person, Qasim, sitting in front of me endured that abuse, in real life, and he probably has scars on his back.

    Could you imagine connecting the recitation of Qur’an to the memory of being beaten and abused? That every time you thought about Islam and the glorious words of Allah, you imagined the ominous face of a frightening man before he used to beat you as a child? I know I can’t. Alhamdullilah.

    He is just a Muslim like me, but he has a different story than I do. His story is tragic, and he wants to share it, in hopes of raising awareness that not everyone is the same, not everyone had a flowery, ideal Muslim upbringing or experience. Islam doesn’t come to everyone easily. He struggled with it, and for those who say that as Muslims we should only portray the best and the ‘highest standards’ in art and media (whatever that means), that in any kind of Muslim work we should be the prime examples of the best Muslims and show the world we are the shining epitome of goodness: Allah created us as human, and therefore, we sin, we mess up. If we didn’t sin and didn’t mess up, if we didn’t struggle and only obeyed Allah perfectly, we would be angels. We sin so that we can return to Allah and ask for forgiveness and experience the endless mercy of Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem. In the same way, Qasim is human and he is not perfect.

    What I took away from the movie, is that it is a movie about Muslims and identity, NOT Islam. You might learn something about Islam from it, but it is primarily a narrative, a story, much like what you would read in a memoir or book or autobiography. It is probably not something you would use for dawah to teach Islam, it’s purpose is not to explain Islam, or explain why those things happened to Qasim, or what should have happened to him. It’s purpose is to tell his story. I think that’s where a lot of the criticism comes from, people think that if something is made by a Muslim, then it must be about Islam. Islam might be in the movie, but it is not theological material, it is art, a narrative, a story. Maybe it makes some people uncomfortable when ‘haram’ scenes are in a movie because they choose to ignore that those things exist, that they happen all around them. But by ignoring it, sweeping it under the rug, thinking that “Oh I don’t engage in those sinful activities, therefore everyone else is like me and shouldn’t engage in them either. And neither should I see them in movies or books or in life.” It’s not that simple. Maybe praying five times a day is hard for one person, maybe it’s easy for another. Maybe lowering your gaze is hard for one person, and easy for another, etc. etc. We are all unique and we all have unique experiences and struggles. We will all be judged by Allah (swt) for our intentions and our actions.

    If you have a problem with the movie or how it portrayed Muslims, I would recommend presenting an alternative solution to reach out to people. Tell your story. Do something productive about it. A lot of times the Muslim community wants accurate representation of Muslims in media, and when we get it, all we do is criticize it and say how it should have been done a different way. This movie impacted me in a positive way by making me realize I am not alone. Other Muslims are going through similar struggles I’m going through, and it’s OK. Allah will be there for us, and though we struggle with identity issues and pluralistic societies, we should be there to support each other and be one ummah. This movie has impacted and will continue to impact not only Muslims, but non-Muslims too. I’m sure there are many non-Muslims who can relate to the themes in the movie also, and maybe this will create dialogue and understanding between non-Muslims and Muslims. We should all have an open mind, and be clear with our intentions, get to know ourselves, get to know others, and try not to make assumptions, and inshAllah Allah will be there to guide us always.


    • The Muslim Voice

      March 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      Alhumdoililah! Very long cOmment but I read all of it and I agree with you 100%. You are a great voice for Muslims mashAllah. This is why I created my site: in order to represent our voice and you are a really good example.

    • Halal Girl

      July 19, 2011 at 9:54 PM

      Jazekon Allah Kheir .Perspective’. Your comment was very insightful. I have seen the movie & thoroughly enjoyed it.

  20. Raheem Muhammad

    April 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Al hamdulillah,
    I haven’t seen the movie yet but I will as soon as possible.

  21. umme

    July 6, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    I was 19 too when all this happened, subhanallaah so long ago…

  22. Jamal

    January 25, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    It’s hard to believe but this movie was made for $1.6 million USD!!!!

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