Faith matters

Halaal sleeveless dresses?

Faith matters
Towards the end of the culturally stifling 80s decade in Pakistan, a boy band emerged on our national TV screens and took the nation by storm with its new-age patriotic song and the sheer good looks of its four members. A huge fan-following, comprising mostly of women, was inevitable. The band was called Vital Signs and it ruled the music roost for more than a decade until which time democracy ensured open opportunities for new entrants in the field and a brand new rocking music scene.

Vital Signs was no longer at its zenith and before long the vocalist, Junaid Jamshed, found himself performing solo. It turned out to be a short lived choice for the nation’s former heartthrob because soon after this good man “found God”.

He joined the moral brigade and switched careers from waning pop star to popular televangelist. Things took an upturn as interviews were replaced by sermons and songs by naats and hamds. A media boom made sure everyone had a place under the sun. Ramzan and other religious TV show offers started pouring in. The choice seemed to have been a smart one – in fact, capital!
One really wonders how he would know what Allah likes or dislikes

In a country obsessed with self-righteousness and issues of morality, people tend to find cover under the guise of religion. Somehow it always works – economically, socially, politically and even culturally and so it was that Mr Jamshed was soon placed back at the helm of “loved”.

It was not long before this good man of faith decided to expand his circle of goodness and extend his services as a fabric designer to the same gender responsible to his former success as well- females. The brand “JJ” came into existence and to this day, thanks to Allah, business is roaring.

All was good in the land of paradise, that is, up until last summer when Junaid Jamshed made two startling revelations in a TV show while addressing the female anchor; that watching actresses on TV could corrupt good homemakers who would then be unable to give birth to sons like Khaled Bin Waleed and secondly, he urged all men never to let their wives drive as that would take them away from home (literally and philosophically).

Some eyebrows were raised. Some. The masses mostly chose to look the other way as the “liberal fascist brigade” turned up their nose to signify their offense. All was eventually brushed under the rug of breaking news.

Junaid Jamshed

Emboldened by the insignificance of those few eyebrows that were raised earlier in the summer and by his clear lack of respect for women, later in the year, Mr Jamshed took it even further and this time narrated a story involving the Holy Prophet (SWA) and his wife Hazrat Bibi Ayesha (RA). Blinded by his misogyny, he probably did not foresee the consequences and hence ended up being accused of blasphemy by the public at large.

Things took a nasty turn, in fact so much so that his mentor, Maulana Tariq Jameel had to issue a formal statement distancing himself and his religious party from JJ and his alleged “ignorance”. Not one keen on losing face (or business), JJ made haste and issued a formal apology in the form of a web video pleading guilty on the grounds of “to err is human”. He further clarified matters by adding that he was “no scholar of Islam” and to avoid any accidents that are bound to happen in situations like these, he fled the country for a while.

Come Ramzan again and of course Ramzan transmission’s golden boy could not resist a return to television. By now no stranger to controversy and an expert in handling events such as the aforementioned, JJ (who previously claimed to be no scholar of Islam) said “the only woman to have been named in the Quran is Hazrat Bibi Mariam (RA) and that too only in regard to Hazrat Issa (RA) as his mother. Otherwise,” he adds, “Allah, does not like women to be named in the Quran.”

One really wonders how he would know what Allah likes or dislikes. But that’s another discussion. Meanwhile, more eyebrows were raised this time. Current heartthrob Ali Zafar took to Twitter to question JJ if “it’s okay for women to get out of the house, work, drive a vehicle?” to which the good man replied “yes everything is okay” adding that he sees his daughter doing all that but that he worries. Again, one wonders what that means but as they would say in America “whatever”.

This misrepresentation of women did not go unnoticed by Oscar award winner, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy either, who sent out an angered tweet saying that it was no communication error, “he repeatedly makes hateful statements about women…”

Social media has been up in arms and many social media activists have also called for a boycott of his clothing line and lawn business primarily catering to women over this alleged hypocrisy. But then again, these eyebrows are unseen eyebrows in the larger picture. The masses continue to flock to his stores and watch his programs. No wonder this time he did not bother to apologize. Instead, he took a defensive stance by claiming he has no reason to apologize because his reasoning is that “women are precious like diamonds; they need to remain hidden”. Therefore, sorry De Beers, but that may have been one reason why you had to exit the land of the pure.