FAITH: Diriliş Ertuğrul through Islamic lens
by Abdurrahman Irfan
The series puts the Turkish people and their values at the forefront, thereby relegating Islam to the background…
‘Diriliş Ertuğrul’ a historical TV series first aired in 2013, which has taken the Muslim world by storm since then. The series is based on Ertugrul Bey, who was the founding father of Ottoman Empire, Osman I.
The series is focused on events leading to the formation of the Ottoman Empire. It is also known for its unique decision to abstain from the use of nudity within the series.
It is part of the Islamic faith to be passionate about anything that demonstrates the superiority and dominance of Islam. As such, we understand why Muslims feel empowered by such a TV series.
We also understand the need to educate the masses regarding Islamic history, including the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Considering it from this angle, there is some benefit to the series.
The main purpose behind the series is to incite patriotism, especially amongst the Turkish nationals, who were its initial intended target audience.
The series puts the Turkish people and their values at the forefront, thereby relegating Islam (and its rise, values, and history) to the background. As such, it will not be correct to say that the purpose behind the show is to educate the masses regarding Islamic history.
If one truly desires to learn about Islamic history, including that of the Ottoman Empire, there are a plethora of well written interesting books available on the subject.
The permissibility of something in the Shari’ah is not solely based on the fact that it has benefits in it. Similarly, while we acknowledge the benefits of this TV series, there are also violations of the Shari’ah in these series. The mere claim of no nudity in the TV show is no justification of the show being permissible.
The Holy Qu’ran acknowledges that there are benefits in Wine, yet it is prohibited. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, Surah Baqarah, Verse 219,
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِنْ نَفْعِهِمَا
Translation: “They ask you regarding wine and gambling. Say (O Muhammad), in them is a great sin and benefit for the people. (But) their sin is greater than their benefit.”
Free mixing of gender
The TV series also promotes free intermingling with the opposite gender. If we were to permit the series, it would imply that segregation of sexes and hijab are not a requirement whereas hijab and segregation of sexes are explicitly ordained by Almighty Allah in the Holy Quran and by the Prophet peace be upon him in Hadith,
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِعَلِيٍّ: ” يَا عَلِيُّ، لَا تُتْبِعِ النَّظْرَةَ النَّظْرَةَ، فَإِنَّ لَكَ الْأُولَى وَلَيْسَتْ لَكَ الْآخِرَةُ “.
Translation: “Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said to Ali (RadiyAllahu Anhu): “O Ali! Do not allow your glance to follow a glance, because the first (glance) is forgiven but not the second.”
There is also music in the series. If we were to permit the series, it would imply that music is also permissible whereas music is prohibited in Quran and hadith. See the following,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
Translation: “And of the people is one buys the amusement of speech to mislead [others] from the way of Allah without the knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment.”
Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said: amusement of speech in this verse refers to music. The following hadith also shows the impermissibility of music.
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: فِي هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ خَسْفٌ وَمَسْخٌ وَقَذْفٌ، فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ المُسْلِمِينَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَمَتَى ذَاكَ؟ قَالَ: إِذَا ظَهَرَتِ القَيْنَاتُ وَالمَعَازِفُ وَشُرِبَتِ الخُمُورُ
Translation: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “In this Ummah will be earthquakes, disfiguration (of faces which will be transformed into apes and pigs) and showers of stone (descending on them from the heaven).” A man from among the Muslimeen said: “O Rasulullah! When will this be?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When singing girls and musical instruments will become profuse and when liquor will be consumed (in abundance)”.
The above-mentioned violations of Shari’ah are more detrimental to ones Imaan than the perceived and assumed benefits in the series. Furthermore, the series is viewed as a form of entertainment in which many hours of one’s valuable time is wasted.
The intermingling of sexes, music, and patriotism are some of the main causes of the moral decline and retrogression of the Ummah. Hence, it is incumbent upon us to abstain from viewing such series.
Fatwa about watching historical dramas
Shaykh Muhammed Saalih al-Munajjid, General Supervisor of leading English fatwa portal islamqa.info, issued a similar ruling on watching dramas and historical other shows.
Shaykh Munajjid mentioned that, these shows may contain many things that are contrary to shari’a. For example:
1. Distortion of historical texts and the addition of many details that are not limited to making up a dialog between the characters; rather it involves fabricating events with details that never happened, and telling lies about the early generations, the scholars and the mujaahideen by mentioning things that did not happen during their lifetimes, or exaggerating about them. The worst things that you will find in some cases are stories of love and infatuation between a scholar or mujaahid and a girl who is in love with him!
2. Showing those great men in an abhorrent manner that is contrary to sharee‘ah, in terms of clothing and appearance, and going further than that by depicting their families and womenfolk in contemporary style, according to the whims and desires of the people in charge of the production.
3. What is shown of free mixing between men and women in those dramas, and who knows what goes on during filming and beforehand? Indeed, anyone who knows the nature of that environment, and the attitude of the people involved and those who work in it, does not need any further information to find it reprehensible.
4. What is played of music before the show begins, during it, and at the end?
5. Wanton display and unveiling in all types of TV shows are obvious to anyone. The appearance of women in the first place is not permissible, so how about if women appear wearing make-up and adorned?
6. What some of these shows include of dancing, singing and drinking alcohol on the part of slave women, which is shown on the grounds of showing what really happened of immoral deeds and blatant sin, which also involves telling lies and distorting the biographies of many of those whose life stories they claim to be presenting.
7. The portrayal by actors of the Sahaabah in a very bad way; these roles may be played by an actor who is an evildoer or a disbeliever!
8. Playing the role of a disbeliever who wears a cross or prostrates to it, or the role of a disbeliever who reviles the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) or Islam. All of that is tantamount to disbelief in Allah, may He be exalted, and apostasy from Islam. We do not know of any shar‘i concession that allows actors to say or do anything that constitutes kufr. This also applies to the one who does plainly evil actions in a real manner, such as one who drinks real alcohol when acting, or he kisses a woman who is not permissible for him, and so on. The scholars have stated that it is haraam to pretend to do such things or to imitate people who do such things, such as the one who drinks water in the manner of one who drinks alcohol, and the like.
9. Distracting the Muslims and wasting their time with the foolish drama shows that present a distorted picture of our glorious history or of a great character, or that provoke desires in young men and women, or encourage them to form haraam relationships and many other things contained in these shows.
Why such dramas only in Ramadaan?
Regrettably, this distraction comes to the Muslims in Ramadan, which is the month of the Qur’aan, qiyaam and i‘tikaaf.
This is indicative of evil intent and plotting on the part of the devils of mankind, who take on the role of the chained devils and distract the Muslims from obedience and worship, and cause them to watch and listen to haraam things.
Hence we think that it is not permissible for the Muslim to watch any type of these shows, and that the prohibition is more emphatic when they contain many things that are contrary to sharee‘ah.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: What is required of every Muslim, man and woman, is to avoid these evils and to beware of them. The same applies to watching TV shows that include wanton display on the part of women. It is haraam to watch them because of the grave danger that watching them poses of causing spiritual sickness and loss of protective jealousy, and because that might cause him to fall into that which Allah has forbidden, whether the viewer is a man or a woman. (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/72)
It is not arduous to conclude the impermissibility to watch such a series, given the prohibitions are greater than the benefits.
Abdul Rahman Irfan is a Teacher and Quran Proofreader at Zill Noorain Academy, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.