Monday, April 9, 2012

Islamic cartoons

Dear Readers, thank you for continually coming to check on this blog even though I've been so scarce. The last few weeks were hectic, organizing a huge international conference in Amsterdam. But everything went smoothly (alhamdulillah!) and things will start to peter out slowly till I find myself jobless again. :)

But I don't worry about being aimless, because trawling Facebook always brings out loads of stuff to blog about! In this post, I'm going to show you some wonderfully-drawn comics found on many groups and web sites, in the style of manga, that are aimed to help impart Islamic lessons to the impressionable and 'cool' young men and women...

Let's take a look at some drawings by 'farish'. Here's a young man symbolising what is important: seeking knowledge, having faith, and doing good deeds. These are equally expected of both men and women. The next cartoon shows a young woman saying the same thing.

In fact we own nothing in this world. Our bodies and wealth are not ours, everything will perish and be left behind. What we own is love for God and good works done when we're still alive.

And what about women? Many of the cartoons about women focus on their modesty. Here's one telling us about the rules of covering a woman's awrah/aurat (private parts, can range from everything except face and hands, to the entire body plus her voice):

The characteristic of modesty (or having shame) is one of women's accessories. 4 rules in covering aurat: 1. Does not show the colour of skin 2. Does not show the shape of the body 3. Does not attract attention 4. Is not perfumed.
I do recall some other rules that are traditionally included in such a set of rules, such as not wearing colours other than black, grey, or brown (otherwise you would irrepressibly incite the desire of men), or not wearing tinkling ornaments such as anklets. But, such rules are often quoted in a number and combination that best shows the attitude and worldview of the author.

Here's another problematic hadith:

 The Prophet of God said: This world is full of ornamentation and the best ornament is a pious Muslim woman.
A Muslim female friend once called this one out publicly, arguing that this constructs the ultimate goal of a Muslimah's life as a worldly ornamentation. Being pious makes you a worldly decoration. Is this a beautiful value to uphold?

When it comes to talking about soft issues like protecting our environment, a woman is a better representation than a man. Because a Muslim man with a beard and kufi holding a little seedling, I mean, that's a little emasculating isn't it?

And here are 2 more cartoons from CahayaIslam, which provides 'cartoons as education and advice for dakwah (missionary) activities on the Internet'.

Dear, remember Mummy's advice. Obey God's commands... cover your private parts, pray, fast, obey your parents... and when you are married, obey your husband, OK?
Obedience to God is listed as covering, praying, fasting and obedience to parents and husband. Not to mention that obeying a husband is nowhere near obeying God! But, actually, this list of an ideal Muslim woman comes from one interpretation of Qur'an 66:5, which I'll discuss in another blog post soon, inshallah. :)

Finally, a hadith that absurdly lumps human beings with houses and cars (or camels, rather):

Four things bring happiness, that is, a pious woman, a spacious house, good neighbours and a comfortable means of transportation.
Sigh. Cartoons are fun, and help to reproduce ideas and messages easily.

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