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Movies and Food for Muslims

13 May, 2017
Q I am afraid I know very little about Islam. I am curious to know: Do you have dietary laws? What is the best Muslim food? What are your favorite movies?


This response is from About Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

Salam (Peace) John,

Thank you for your questions and for contacting Ask About Islam.

They really reflect the effect of your American culture, and it shows the effect of a variety of cultures when we compare the different interests of peoples.

What if I told you that I personally do not watch movies: that I do not care to watch them: I do not like fiction and that I prefer documentaries to fiction? This is despite the fact that I like reading novels, but good quality ones, not the cheap fiction one reads while commuting.

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So, what if I see fiction movies as sometimes too violent and even evil, especially some American movies? What would you think of me then?

When I was living in London, for my postgraduate scholarship, I saw Silence of the Lambs. I just felt terribly shocked about the original evil idea and how the producers accepted it! How was it even accepted by the actors? And how did it find its way to the Oscars?!

I did not really appreciate the “artistic camera positions and the lovely music and angles of the cameraman and brilliant performance”. This does not make evil beautiful.

Just take those nightmare movies and the violent movies away. I believe we can survive better without them. So, with all respect to those who love cinema (including my husband), I am just not fond of movies.

The challenge then would be how to have alternative arts and entertainment. I can confirm to you here that cinema is not forbidden in Islam, but the question would be what it aims at and how much it tries to combine art with entertainment without going against basic values.

I think that many people who think entertainment has nothing to do with morals do not share this idea. Still, I am sure my point of view is shared by many parents all over the world who have a different perspective and care about the messages conveyed to their kids and family members on any screen.

As for the dietary rules, well Muslims should not eat pork nor drink alcohol. We believe pork is unhealthy, while alcohol goes against the basis of worship in Islam and against the essence of being human: reason.

Faith is based on reason and divinity is acknowledged by reason. Thus, anything that goes against it is forbidden. Otherwise, all food is halal (permitted for Muslims, like kosher for Jews).

Still, the most important dietary rules are about sharing, avoiding overeating, not making the enjoyment of food one’s life goal and having a good balance of consumption, etc.

My favorites are Turkish, Iranian, and the Indian cuisine. I love kebab and hot spicy rice. I do not understand Chinese or Japanese food at all, unlike my husband who loves Chinese food! But this last part is simply a matter of culture and personal preference.

I think that knowing more about Islam requires you to ask deeper questions in order to get more profound answers. Just browse this section and I am sure you would come across some basic information about Islam.

I thank you for your curiosity which allowed me to engage in such a personal reply. I hope it was not too subjective and that it gives some insight into an Islamic perspective on aspects of culture.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

A Basic Introduction to Islam (Special Folder)

Halal Food Classification Under Microscope

Life Is Not About Entertainment

About Heba Rauf Ezzat
Heba Raouf Ezzat is an Egyptian political scientist and Islamic thinker and activist. She is a lecturer of political theory at Cairo University and currently a visiting fellow at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit at the London School of Economics.