Actor Hamza Ali Abbasi recently sat down with talk show host Sarfraz Niazi for an interview, sharing details about his journey so far as well as his views on the entertainment industry. The Parwaaz Hai Junoon actor, who was most recently seen in the television series Alif and is set to make his silver screen comeback through the highly-anticipated Maula Jatt, announced mid last year that he is working on a book about his spiritual journey.
Abbasi, who is an ardent supporter of prime minister Imran Khan, having interviewed the premier in the past, spoke about bonding with Khan over similar life experiences. He explained, “What I like is that the first time we bonded, we did so over God. He has also been through his share of struggles. Nobody is perfect. What matters is realising where you went wrong and identifying your problems, and then trying to fix them. That’s what God wants as well. God doesn’t expect you to be sinless and perfect. That’s what we have in common.”
Elaborating further, he shared, “I also went through a similar struggle in life, where I needed to correct myself for God. First of all, it’s important to acknowledge the truth of God, the Day of Judgement, the message of the prophets and the fact that we are born with a purpose. What follows is the process of correcting oneself, which is lifelong. So me and him, we connected on that.”
Abbasi, who is open about his religious beliefs and often preaches the teachings of Islam via social media, revealed that his switch to a more spiritual life was not the product of any particular experience in life. “It was more of an intellectual problem for me. Ever since I was a child, I figured there were only two ways to go about this.”
He explained, “First was if someone did make us, there is life after death and we will be held accountable for our actions, and if that’s so then there’s a different kind of life that I will pursue. And if there is nothing, we are born out of an accident through the blind forces of nature and there’s no life after death, then obviously I’d live a different life. A YOLO kind of life. So, it was an intellectual problem for me because there were two lives that I could lead, and they were dependent on the answer to these inquiries.”
The Mann Mayal actor shared that his religiosity is not the product of blind faith, saying, “I ended up finding the answer to my inquiry. So, when people ask me why I am the way I am, I tell them it’s not like I believe in Islam, I have simply run out of reasons to deny or challenge it. That’s why it was important for me to correct myself and turn my life around.”
On how, according to the actor, the essence of religion is not fully appreciated, he shared, “We never end up engaging with religion on an intellectual level. We never pursue answers. Deen is inherited, and the prevalent view is that our relationship with it is one of devotion, not intellect. Even though the Quran says the complete opposite.” He added later, “All we need to do is keep asking ourselves why do we believe what we believe?”
When questioned about his future plans with reference to the entertainment industry, the actor responded, “If the question is whether I think work like music, film and drama is haraam, then I have reached the conclusion that it is not. As long as you stay within the limits defined by God, then it isn’t.”
He went on, “I have decided to live my life shaking people out of their ignorance, reminding them of the reality that is Judgement Day. Being answerable in front of God. That’s what I experienced it Alif, of spreading that message through the medium of entertainment. What I noticed is, people start preferring craft over the message, like whose acting was better; it’s time to start saying these things directly. There are already too many distractions.”
Elaborating on the themes and content of his book, Abbasi shared, “Basically, it’s just about why I am the way I am. Everyone always asks me questions about my journey and what convinced me that this is the reality. So, I thought that I should put it in writing in a very simple way so that when I talk to someone, since it’s my mission in life to always talk about God, that people don’t keep repeating the same questions about my journey and what led me to where I am today. It’s not an academic book.”
The actor, who recently celebrated the first birthday of his son with his wife, former actor Naimal Khawar, said on the topic of family, “My family wasn’t always religious. I think we, as a family, have grown together in this direction. My sister always supports me. I’m very thankful for her. My mother, and now my wife, are not just supporting me, they are growing in this direction.”
On the topic of intolerance, he shared, “God has said there is no compulsion in religion. Where we go wrong is that they try to force a message down people’s throats. That’s a problem with deeni [religious] people.”
Speaking about differences in opinion, the actor explained, “Maybe you sincerely agree with people who say that music is haram, men should have long beards and women should be shut in their homes. Maybe that has made sense to you. All I’m saying is, do whatever you sincerely believe in. Because, if you say you believe in something and your actions say otherwise, then that is hypocrisy. The difference of opinion is a part of God’s scheme. You have to exercise your choice.”
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