Lack of Support from Muslims
Umm Zakiyyah described to About Islam some challenges she faces in getting support from Muslim communities.
“Muslims refused to attend some of the filming events and told others to not come, saying the movie was “promoting polygamy.” Some said that I had an ulterior motive to encourage men to engage in “secret marriage” and then lie to their wives.
“At times, when the director and I had a breakthrough and a board member or event organizer in a Muslim community endorsed the film and proposed hosting it in their community, members of the board and the community opposed it, generally due to the assumption that the movie would make polygamy more acceptable in the Muslim community. Even when the movie screening was booked, there was lots of opposition in that area and a refusal by many Muslims to come out and support it, and they often made this sentiment known publicly. And the list goes on.
“Ironically, neither the book nor the short movie is about polygamy. However, the title alone was enough to create opposition.
“This was a painful wakeup call for me, as I imagined that even if the film were about polygamy, Muslims would watch it as they do any other film with themes that inspire a wide range of opinions, views, and emotions.
“I learned that producing haram entertainment fraught with nudity, adultery and homosexuality, as well as shirk, earns more Muslim widespread support, financially and socially, than what I was intending to do. So, as un-romantic as it sounds, I gave up on my initial endeavor to host a Muslim-entertainment platform and decided to make the short movie freely available on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook.
“When I learned of the option to also make the short movie available on Amazon Video, I decided to use that platform too. I had already suffered so much financial loss, as well as emotional and spiritual pain, as a result of this experience. Thus, after much prayer and self-reflection, I hoped that perhaps this new approach (i.e., putting the film on Amazon Video) would bring blessings and opportunities in ways that only Allah could know and provide. I’m still praying for that till today.”
Umm Zakiyyah wrote the screenplay to His other Wife’s, anticipating it serves as the beginning of a series based on her novel, which has readership among Muslims and non-Muslims.
“When I initially wrote the script for this short film, it was with the intention of this being one in a series of movies based on the book,” she told AboutIslam.
“Thus, what is happening in the short movie mirrors closely what happens in the first chapter of the book, with select segments taken from other parts. However, some minor parts of the beginning of the story were changed and adapted to make them more suited for film.
“My hope is that the main appeal of this film for Muslims is positive, authentic representation, as well as a very entertaining story.
“My hope is that the main appeal of this film for non-Muslims is the opportunity to experience more diversity in entertainment while enjoying an engaging, entertaining plot.”
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