A screenplay is a great tool for communication. It is an effective conveyer of desired information because of its relaxing, inspiring, comic, exciting, and overall entertaining features. For centuries now, entertainment has been used as a tool for political, religious, and economic propaganda. In modern times where almost every household in the world has a television and internet, whatever is displayed on the screen is relatively seen as reality. This is understandable as drama is an imitation of life’s happenings. So when little film tricks and fictional characters are brought to the screen, the tables turn and life begins to imitate drama.
To an extent, people’s lives to meet up with drama consciously and unconsciously.
The screenplay as a communication tool becomes necessary for Islamic propagation because of its effectiveness in impacting lives and more importantly, it is needed as another form of dawah, in the global Islamic community. Since the message of Islam cannot be paused, therefore, it is pertinent that we wield methods that make this message easily accessible by the world.
The opinion that theatrics is unacceptable in Islam is nothing but a myopic view of the world, a resort to blind living, and an excuse to demean a global movement. Muslims and Islam are being presented in a wrong light and the world swallows it hook, line and sinker. The Magic Bullet effect of the Media sows nothing but hatred in the hearts of people who learn about Islam through those media. We need to show that Muslims are not the villains of the world as portrayed in Hollywood, Bollywood, and even Nollywood. Our actions should be the case of correcting wrong with our hands and not just in our hearts because we aim for the highest level of Iman. The euphoria that comes with seeing Islamic themed movies like The Message, Lion of The Desert, Umar Series, Bilal, A New Breed of Hero, Diriliş Ertuğrul, currently trending globally, and short Ramadan clips of One Path is one that needs to spread all over the world and not just among Muslims.
The present state of the entertainment industry does not dictate the modus operandi of a movement with a mission to get Islam to the screens and into the society of people who see Islam as a misnomer. Besides, Muslims need the kind of entertainment that they can relate to, and that distracts them to an extent from offensive content. Muslims are allowed to laugh, cry, and feel other loads of emotions because being Muslim does not automatically upgrade a person to being an Angel. A Muslim, too, will always need a reminder of who he is through sources of inspiration that appeals to his humanness, hence, entertainment with Islamic values.
It is against this background that screenplays will be made from stories that narrate the history of Islam, expose its present state, and speculate its future. Muslims need to be reminded about the virtues of the people of the past who they are so kin on imitating to attain that goal of reaching paradise. They need to know the present state of Islam for self and communal evaluation to set a straight course for the future. Also, there is every need to have a vision of how the future is likely to be for Islam and Muslims. This encourages the faith of every Muslim in himself, his Muslim community, and the Muslim nation as a whole.
As Islam is a way of life and a compass to guide the living Muslim, themes of family, love, education, spirituality, friendship, enmity, code of conduct, mental health, sexuality, finance, career and basically every concept that the modern Muslim is exposed to will be addressed and expressed with screenplays, stage plays, movies, documentaries, and short films. Locally and internationally, Muslim writers have expressed Islamic themes in their works and have contributed to the fictional Islamic literature as well. Bringing these stories to the screen will be nothing short of a laudable development and a huge step to achieving Islamic goals.
Hajarat Alli writes for Muslim News
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