There are many problems with outrage these days. A lot of the time it is performed, all too often it is motivated by personal gain, and in most cases, it is misplaced.
A few days ago I learned about the whole Rihanna Hadith debacle and I found the outrage over it to be, at best, easy and convenient, and at worst, stupid and a waste of time.
I feel this way because using a Hadith in a song at a fashion show is the least of the worries of Muslim people around the world. In fact, I find that outrage around this is an affront. Muslim bodies keep piling up, all over the world. Gaza is still under siege. Yemen is going through the worst world famine in decades. Syria and Iraq have been torn to shreds and drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan carry on. Not to mention Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang. Or Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Or the folk languishing in Manus and Nauru detention centres (because they’re refugees). Forget all of that. Using a Hadith in a song is the crux of the mistreatment of Muslims. This usage of Hadith in music is the epitome of injustice. This is emblematic of all that Muslims face in the world.
It is just too easy to get angry over a Hadith in a song. There are no consequences for it. There is no risk in this outrage at all. It just seems…convenient.
I’m actually a Muslim who doesn’t think featuring a Hadith or even Quran alongside music is a problem. In fact, we have many of those kinds of songs – we call them Anasheed. And, interestingly enough, the more religious of us only listen to those songs.
Now, would it be disrespectful to put a Nasheed song in a lingerie fashion show. Or any fashion show to begin with? I suppose so. But, I’d argue that the problem is not featuring a religious song or phrase in the fashion show, its the fact that fashion shows are a part of the fashion industry.
When I think about the fashion industry and its relationship with hyper consumption and corporate greed, unethical practices, indentured workers, child labour, the manufacturing processes that are destroying our ecosystems, the waste cluttering our landfills and killing our planet, the overbearing pressure on women to look certain ways and the commodification of the female body for profit, in general, I start to feel that, perhaps, the fashion world is problematic, Haram, for other reasons (seriously, why are you watching the lingerie show anyway?).
The truth is, the Quran, the Hadith, the Prophet PBUH and his legacy live strong inside of our hearts and psyches. And no one can take that away from us. If you’re looking for a cause to fight for, think of the planet and the lives that are at stake, and make it one worth fighting for.