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Misrepresentation and Reality: The Islamic Approach

The release of the film “Humare Baarah” has sparked significant controversy and concern among the Muslim community and scholars across India. Released on June 7 (and re-released on June 8), the film has been widely criticized by the Muslim community for its portrayal of Islamic teachings in a negative light. The narrative centres on a Muslim man with multiple children who faces family and religious challenges and appears to be perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Critics argue that the film distorts the teachings of the Quran and Hadith, portraying Muslims as regressive.

Issues raised in the movies like Muslim women persecution, population explosion, patriarchy etc. can be addressed easily by educating the Muslim women at large, both religiously and formally. These women can later present a true face of Islam to the masses. Rather than making hue and cry over such narratives, Muslims should allow the learned women from the community to come forward and puncture such narratives through their knowledge and wisdom. A Muslim woman occupying a position of influence or power would automatically dismantle such narratives. Islam detests violence. It also asks its followers to obey the law of the land. Rather than falling for tactics of profit making production houses, Muslims must display statesmanship and maturity and deal with the subject lawfully, within the religious framework. Any violent approach would only embolden such narratives and further portray the community in a negative shade.

Islam places a high value on education for both men and women. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim” (Sunan Ibn Majah). In light of the issues brought forth by movies like Hamare Barah, it is crucial for Muslims to continue educating themselves and others about the true tenets of Islam. Education is a powerful tool to combat misinformation and prejudice. By understanding and practicing the core values of their faith, Muslims can demonstrate the true essence of Islam. Muslim communities must engage in constructive dialogue and use democratic and legal avenues to address misrepresentations in the media. Educating the broader society about the realities of Islamic teachings can help counteract the negative impacts of such films.

Humare Baarah is an addition to the long list of narratives perpetuating negative stereotypes about Muslims. It is essential to counter such narratives through peaceful and lawful means rather than resorting to violence and work towards promoting an accurate understanding of Islamic teachings. People moving to Court rather than coming on streets is a commendable step in this regard. Further, by supporting the education of women and allowing their accomplishments to speak for the community, Muslims can demonstrate the true principles of their faith.

-Insha Warsi

Francophone and Journalism Studies

Jamia Millia Islamia

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