Shehr-e-Zaat and its misplaced knowledge of Islam

Leading impressionable viewers to believe a slanted version of Islam is unethical; producers should've known better.

Anam Zeb November 07, 2012
Is it just me or does anyone else find this drama seriously annoying? I sometimes do get the feeling that it's just me. 

The comments I see online about Hum TV's Shehr-e-Zaat, show that the viewers applaud the lead character in the drama, Falak, for her new-found piety and shunning of the material world and its pleasures, while always looking peaceful.

For those who have not been enlightened with the story of the drama (I myself have not yet watched the last episode), Shehr-e-Zaat is the story of beautiful, rich, young Falak, affectionately known as 'Fifi' and thus inferring the bourgeois lifestyle that goes along with such a nickname. She is an art student, and while leading on her best friend Hamza, who is madly in love with her, she makes a sculpture of her ideal man's face, and lo and behold, he appears into her life.

This sculpting exercise is causing constant friction between Fifi and her know-it-all Naani who hates all this kufar nonsense about making 'idols'. So Fifi and Salman (the sculpture-face guy), also from a rich family, get married to each other and have the wedding of the century. Salman never claims to love Fifi and tells her straight out that he is not the affectionate kind.

Salman eventually has an affair with an unattractive, illiterate woman, crushing Fifi. He is so in love with her that he marries her, leaving everyone shocked. Fifi goes back to her parents' home, and under the influence of Naani dearest, proceeds to blame all her problems on the fact that she 'forgot about Allah (SWT)'.

Where do I begin? Firstly I am, to no end, appalled by Fifi's terrible behaviour towards her mother, who is by far the only sensible person in this entire drama. The mother is a socialite and therein lies her cardinal sin. Throughout the drama, we only see her vie for the best for her child. However, because she is a socialite, of course she is evil. Fifi throws many a fit directed at her mother and blames her for not 'teaching her how to worship/love Allah (SWT)'.

Our dear viewers just lapped this up and supported Fifi for finally 'seeing the light'. Firstly, Fifi blames her problems on her mother, arguably the only person who loves her, and secondly, ignores the misery her mother is going through on her behalf, making her feel guiltier every day about what has come to pass.

What a terrible idea to promote! Did the producers of this show forget the teachings of Islam and our beloved Holy Prophet (pbuh) here? A mother, as our religion teaches, deserves the utmost respect; she should be treated as though heaven lies beneath her feet.

Yet, the idea promoted here is that if your mother isn't a religious person and likes her friends, it is perfectly commendable to treat her like dirt.

I am sorry to burst your bubble all those who worship this show, but it is insulting to the beautiful image of Islam to show that it is okay for a daughter to treat her mother as so. Ever wondered what kind of a message we are conveying to our children by applauding Fifi's behaviour towards her mother?

Let's not forget Naani dearest, the worst of the lot, with her patronising voice, expressions and medieval ideas. She is against divorce, and encourages Fifi to be as fervently religious as possible, claiming that in this alone will she find the answers to everything that is wrong with her. She is a great favourite of the viewers ─ someone that makes my skin crawl.

Whether or not Fifi had been a panj-waqta namazi (a person who prays five times a day), would have had no bearings whatsoever on Salman and his passion for his new girlfriend. Preaching to the viewer that praying will avoid all the heartache in life is not only wrong, but misleading. Yes, prayer is important, but to say that by doing so, life will be all peaches, is wrong to say in the least. Hurdles in life are a test by Allah (SWT) and this is the idea that should be promoted. Prayer is a way to calm the effect of these the troubles life throws at you. It gives you the patience to overcome hurdles.

Viewers may get the wrong idea here and be very antagonistic if the expectation is drilled in their heads that if you pray day and night, life will not deal you a bad hand. Let me remind the readers that there was none so pious as our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and he faced his fair share of grief during his life. It is not that he didn't pray, it's just that this is how God tests us. It is called aazmaaish, and it shouldn't be treated like the wrath of God.

Propagating this false idea is highly immature and unprofessional.

While I believe that the drama is executed well and the depth of the characters is commendable, I feel as though the themes picked up by this story (especially religion)  have been played upon in the most distasteful ways possible.

Leading such a impressionable population to believe in a slanted version of Islam is unethical and the producers should have known better.

Moreover, as far as saying 'Allah behtar jaanta hai' (God knows best) to every problem faced, of course He will help you, but then again, He only helps those who help themselves.

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Anam Zeb Holding a Master's degree in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Anam works in the development sector. She is interested in reading, writing, animals and martial arts.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


ZAWIYAAR | 11 years ago | Reply i suggest ppl do not any thing abt islaam should not write such blogs..........ok i agree that serial is giving few wrong sister anam first u ur self shoul wear hijaab..its most important 4 a woman ...........rather than showing ur own pic to na mehrams
Areesha Naeem | 11 years ago | Reply I am fully against Anum, until we dont know the bad side , how will we come to good side?
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