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May 24, 2010 - film/tv reviews    6 Comments

An Islamic Perspective to LOST

An Islamic Perspective to LOST (the show)


Here’s my perspective on it…

I believe the most important scene in the entire show is when we see Jack on the plane (the second time) and there is extreme turbulence. He holds onto the arms of the seat and closes his eyes for a second. Then he opens them and across the aisle Rose says to him “It’s Okay Jack, It’s okay to let go now”.

In this blink of an eye his entire life on the island happens…(the plane crashes and)….he opens his eye lying among the bamboo and everything on the island takes place. Polar bears, Dharma, time travel, leaving the island, going back, killing the smoke monster, etc. and finally dying and his eye closing. Back on the plane his story continues and he lives in the Alt universe – a kind of consciousness Heaven for those who have died. These souls that were together in their life (on the island) recognize each other and when finally all dead and together they move on…to a real kind of Hereafter.

I found this to be an extremely interesting and “compatible with Islamic beliefs” ending for the show. For as Muslims we believe that this life is a test as well, a place where we have to overcome evil — external and internal, repent for our sins and find redemption through our choices, faith, love and good works.

And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever.  (Quran, 2:82)

Jack’s life happened over time and course, yet it was a ‘blink of an eye’. How long will our lives be? Maybe 50 years, maybe 100. Yet the older we get, the more we know time passes so quickly; days, years, decades slip by and feel like nothing.

He (God) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?”  They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day….”  (Quran, 23:112-113)

Jack was forever arguing that the island (his life) had no reason to it, it was all coincidence. He was forever fighting Locke (a man of faith) who believed that there was a reason they were all there, it wasn’t just coincidence; it was fate. Is that not what we believe?

Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to Us (in the Hereafter)? (Quran, 23:115)

It’s interesting that everyone was together and moves on to their version of Heaven. And that Jack’s father says “we can’t do it alone”. Our prophet said “You will be with the ones you love (in the Hereafter).” (Hadith Imam Ahmed)

Their souls meeting each other and recognizing each other is nothing new to us. We believe our souls do that when we sleep (a minor death) and also when we are dead before resurrection.

“God takes the souls (al-anfus) at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” (Qur’an 39:42)

It took a long time for Jack to finally understand what his life was really about and what he had to do and to “let go”. It was a long journey of love and redemption. A journey that all of us are on in this life. Not just physically, but spiritually. Some realize it immediately (Rose), others after some trial and hardship. But, others of us go on with our lives, unconscious and blind to our real purpose. The people on the island had a second chance and in the end luckily realization bled through to their consciousness.

“…But now We have removed from you your veil, so your perception today is piercing….” (Qur’an 50:22)

In conclusion, no I’m not advocating watching the show, but if you did there are many themes and lessons we can get from it. Faith is the most important thing of all. Their life on the island was a test for them and now it was time to let go. Each person overcame their sins, their flaws and their past and found redemption. We could learn a lot from that.

The lasting legacy of this show is perhaps to give us hope in our shared destiny.

Finally, I repeat to you a very beautiful Dua…

Allahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata ‘aynin wa aslih-lee sha’nee kullahu, laa ilaha illa anta

O Allah! It is Your Mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me to myself even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. There is no god except You.


What did you get from the show? ;)

Feb 19, 2010 - film/tv reviews    15 Comments

Review of My Name is Khan


Review of My Name is Khan

Gosh you guys must know by now I’ve been anticipating this film since it was a lil’ ole gleam in Karan Johar’s eye :) A one sentence blurb in some Bollywood tabloid a couple years ago that said “possibly working on a new film about 9/11 and Muslims”. Ever since then I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as all these new Indian movies came out featuring Muslims and terrorism (and all the usual stereotypes) over and over again. But they kept saying this wasn’t a film about terrorism, that it was about love. And the way Shahrukh talked about it I knew it was special.

I read a few reviews and opinions after it came out as well and they seemed to be so varied I wasn’t sure what to think at all. Some absolutely loved it. A few said they absolutely hated it. Others said they didn’t like the second half, or they didn’t like the last 1/2 hour or whatever. So, I finally watched it. And honestly I thought it was beautiful.

It does get melodramatic at parts, a little unbelievable at times, a little or a lot Bollywood at times, but I don’t think even I could have made a better film portraying the things I felt and feel about what happened to Muslims in the context of 9/11. Some people may say this film is another pro-secular humanist triumph but it really isn’t. It’s really a film about love and faith.

Acting wise, how great was Shahrukh in this role. King Bollywood himself, and I never saw king bollywood, I only saw Rizwan Khan. His speech and physical acting was perfect. I don’t know anyone with Asperger’s Syndrome but the way he handled it was amazing. Kajol was great. Even the usually weird ‘foreigners’ in Indian films were shown as real people.

I wish this film could have been made 5 years ago, but I think it would have never been possible to make something like this. It’s taken this long to get us to this point where we can examine our past in context and give rights to what is due. And a huge amount of that with all objectivity has to be given to Muslims from whom they were taken away.

The main objective of this film is to show that people can be good or bad regardless of their religion or name. But one thing this film did which no other has done, is show Muslims as practicing people of faith. There is not that divide of good Muslims and bad Muslims ie the one’s who are good are the one’s not practicing and secular and the bad one’s are the one’s who are all religious. Finally normal views of Muslims and their beliefs. They pray, they wear Hijab, they live by the words of the Quran. They are not all terrorists. They did show some “extremists” in their own way, but no one can say that they don’t exist so I think they had to show that.

I am extremely disappointed though that this film is only being marketed to the Bollywood crowd and not as an independent film to Americans. I honestly wish more people could go out and see it. Almost 10 years from 9/11 and we finally have films like this giving me faith again in humanity. Seriously, go watch it.

***** 5 stars/5

P.S. Trailer:


Some things I loved:

-The use of Hijab in this film and when Haseena says something like it’s not a cover, it’s my existence. Wow I coulda got up and cheered. An awesome Hijabi character that was actually smart, educated, beautiful, religious and kind!

-When Rizwan just totally pwned all the Muslims in the United States by just going and praying proudly at a rest stop. How awesome.

-That one amazing shot of all the people with boxes coming to help with that music in the background *wow so gorgeous, so Bollywood

-Props to writer dude for finding nice quotes of verses of Quran and the story of Ismail.

-In the crowd when Rizwan says ‘I’m not a terrorist’ and the white guy next to him is like ‘Terrorist? What you’re a terrorist? Terrorist! Aaaaaaah!’ and everyone starts going crazy… funny but too real.

-The Indian hotel owner guy… hilarious. Did you see the sign that said “Khan was here!” haha

- Mama Jenny and the glorious south. Haha loved her character and their scenes.

- I like how in certain contexts they spoke English with a voice-over in Hindi. Finally. Always hated when they showed everyone understanding Hindi in America!

- A love story of a man with a disability marrying a divorced woman with a child. Amazing.

- Rizwan singing the Hindi version along with the We shall Overcome in the church. That was a great remix.

- The coming together of the two brothers after 9/11. Just touching and reminded me how Muslims practicing and non-practicing came together after 9/11 as well.

Some things I didn’t like:

-The way he just walked into a downtown American Mosque and they were preaching Jeehad and hate… jeez.

-The scenes in the jail could have been a little more torturous. Having Rizwan say funny lines during it didnt’ feel like it was bringing the message home. But I do understand this film isn’t meant to be a ‘Rendition’ so couldn’t really show it like that.

-Rizwan marrying a Hindu girl. Yes it’s wrong, but I give them artistic license. Don’t tell me you don’t know any Muslim guys married to non-Muslims. Uh huh.

-The movie went from normal and realistic to fantastical and epic. This change may be hard for non-Bollywood watchers to swallow. For Bollywood lovers this is part of the show :)

Lastly I’ve read some reviews where Americans were offended or just found some of the treatment he or others as Muslims received as unbelievable. For example the bullying, the airport jail scenes, or even someone said the scene where people at the candlelight vigil moved away from him reciting the Quran. They thought it was ridiculous and would never happen! Well then…let me tell you,  I was at a candlelight vigil the night after 9/11 and dressed as obviously Muslim and the same thing happened to us. All I have to say is these are not over the top. They’re a sampling. Stuff like that happens every day to us!! And YES Muslims have been killed because they are Muslims.

Anyways worth the wait in my opinion, the end. ;)

Jan 29, 2010 - film/tv reviews    10 Comments

Top 10 period dramas & why we love thee! ;)

Top 10 Period Drama Films

So over the last few years I’ve really developed a love for period dramas. ‘Why?’, you might ask with raised eyebrows. Just like all those poor guys who ask “WHY??!! Why do girls like Darcy?? I don’t get it!” lol. Well the answer is a little undefinable, but I just find period dramas more interesting than the death and mayhem and slicing of bodies that seem to be what goes for TV these days. I like seeing history come to life and seeing a gentler, more natural time where life was about relationships, dealing with family dilemmas and realizing self-truths. These films also contain a lot less sensationalism, sexual scenes and hey they’re almost as covered up as Muslims :) They also have the same type of social structure (issues about money, family background, community) and gender interactions (courtships, love marriages versus family, weirdo guys etc) that we do as well!

So here’s my top 10 period dramas that I think are really worth watching and that *I* could watch again and again and again…sighs ;)


1. Pride & Prejudice 1995 – Colin Firth version, need I say more? Just the best adaptation there is even after all these years. THIS is what made people fall in love with period dramas and start this genre. There is so much to say about this excellent film. Excellent actors, dialog, scenery, true to book and the times and soooo on. Summary: Crazy mother tries to find husbands for her 5 daughters as they go through their own trials with some interesting guys that move into the neighborhood. (There have been a number of older and newer versions of this film, notably the latest starring Keira Knightley, but this 1995 one is the gold standard!) (5 hrs)


2. North & South 2004 - Just a really lovely drama based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel. Background issues like industrialization, class issues, labor and unions also explored. And it has a gorgeous hero that some like even more than Darcy! Summary: Set in early industrial England, a young woman adjusts to moving to the North and dealing with their very different ways and a very different factory owner. (4 hrs)


3. Sense & Sensibility 1995 – Emma Thompson version in another great Austen classic that always makes me cry no matter what. Summary: Two sisters deal with their sudden change in situation after their father dies. (There is a new version that’s about 4 hours long which is very interesting to watch too but again the Emma version is perfect.) (2 hrs)


4. Northanger Abbey 2006 – ITV version that is really fun to watch. Reminds me a lot of my teenage/college years (without a Mr. Tilney though of course :() Summary: Young girl finally gets the adventure of a lifetime with a visit to Bath where she learns a lot about the ways of the world. (2 hrs)


5. Lost in Austen 2008 – Ever wonder what would happen if you entered the world of a period drama? Wonder no more! This is really funny and quirky series to watch. Summary: Modern girls falls into Pride and Prejudice. (4hrs)


6. Becoming Jane 2007 – A film of her life, really sad I thought, but should definitely be watched. More true to life endings too unfortunately.Summary: A ‘real story’ of Jane Austen’s life which brings up all the issues explored in her novels. (2 hrs)


7. Cranford 2007 – This seems slow at first but soon you’re just caught up in this small town world, crying and laughing with all it’s residents. Summary: A bunch of spinsters in a small town against the world. (5 hrs) (They’ve also added a Return to Cranford continuation.)


8. Emma 2009 – Jane Austen said no one would ever like this heroine but this version makes her a lot more likeable. Summary: A spoiled heiress tries to help those around her until they finally help her. (4 hrs)


9. Ever After 1998 – How can this be from 1998??! What a great story. Drew is amazing and this is a classic of classics. We watch this after every scary movie to cleanse the pallet! Summary: Cinderella. (2hrs)


10. Wuthering Heights 1992 - Anyone who watches any version will be swept away by the dark love/hate that fills this story. Summary: Love that’s never allowed to live by fate through generations. (2hrs)

There are also many, many more well worth watching. I’m just making a list of my favorites :) I don’t want to say too much about each one because they really should be watched to be experienced!


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