Islam At The Movies

Let us not get into the Islamic debate of whether movies are permissible or otherwise, are Muslims allowed to go to the cinema, etc. Instead let us acknowledge that a lot has been said and written about Islam and the movies, or certain movies in particular.

Below are various links and quotes related to Islam and the movies and, yes, I may have blogged about some of these before. Anyways, enjoy!


Muslim Actors…

There are plenty of famous Muslim actors, not just Omar Sharif. Here’s a list of 6 of them. And here’s another more comprehensive list.

And here’s an article by Jon Ronson about a group of Muslim actors talking about their experiences in Hollywoodland.

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Francis Ford Coppola on Islam and the Qur’an…

The legendary director of the Godfather trilogy talks quite beautifully about Islam. I have blogged about this before, with the full transcript here:


Lord Of The Rings…

Many have written about the “obvious” links between Islam and the Lord Of The Rings movies, such as Kashif Hussain and his article entitled ‘Islam and the Tolkien’s Narrative’.

There is also a brilliant article by Abdul Sattar Ahmed entitled ‘Lord of the Rings: All That is Gold Does Not Glitter’.

YouTube is also full of various end time theories related to LOTR, such as:

If you really want a conspiratorial head trip, watch this:

The clip below of Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa is one that I found really interesting, with reference to a ring in the possession of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:


Star Wars…

The new Star Wars movie is on route to become the highest grossing movie of all time. Like the LOTR movies, much has been written about the Star Wars–Islam connection.

Dr H A Hellyer wrote an article asking ‘Star Wars’ or ISIS: Which is more Islamic?

Terence Nunis has also written an article where he has said: “From a Muslim perspective, the similarities between the Jedi and the Islamic traditions of instruction are strikingly similar.”

The article by Irfan Rydhan is my favourite, saying that “Even though Lucas himself is not a follower of any specific religion, he has used elements of Islam (as well as other world religions) to convey the universal understandings of good and evil.”


Reel Bad Arabs…

Reel Bad Arabs started out as a book by Jack Shaheen, and recently was turned into a documentary. Shaheen documents the representation of Arabs and Muslims in movies:

Shaheen does have a point, because I have seen some rather weird and wonderful Muslim prayer techniques in various movies:

It’s not all bad though. Here’s 10 Positive ‘Hollywood’ Movies about Muslims and Islam.


Shakespeare and Islam…

The influence of William Shakespeare on western and eastern culture is unquestionable, with many a Shakespeare play turned into a Hollywood movie.

But was he a Muslim? Was he really Shaykh Zubair? Muslim academic Dr Martin Lings argues in a Guardian article “that the guiding principles of Sufi thought are evident in Shakespeare’s writing.”

Here is Lings talking about the spirituality of the Bard:

I end with my favourite Muslim scholar, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, talking at length about Shakespeare and Islam:


So, as you can see, we Muslims and our faith are ever present in Hollywood, in more ways than perhaps assumed. Sure, things could be better, but hopefully over time we will see more positive roles for Muslims. Bring on Reel Good Arabs!

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