Veena Malik: A Sister of Mine and Yours!

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Often, religious people are seen as being judgmental, rude, and having a “holier-than-thou” attitude. This perception often includes some Muslim men, who very arrogantly enforce their views on how a woman should dress and what she should wear. Muslim women who choose to adopt Western styles of fashion and dress without a hijab are frequently ridiculed and made the subject of gossip. Sr Veena Malik and many other Muslim models have been attacked many times for participating in the fashion industry as a model. She was targeted by other Muslims particularly after she posed for a magazine while scantily clad. In the documentary titled “Make Me a Muslim,” a another young Muslim model read some of the hate mail she received from other Muslims who vilified her and called her a number of derogatory names. This type of behavior encourages the perspective that religious people are often purveyors of hate due to their high standards of moral behavior.

So, how should one go about “enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong,” as stated in the Qu’ran, without exuding a judgmental or hostile attitude? I struggled with this very question for a while; I didn’t want to object to my friends coming to my house while high, singing misogynistic rap songs, or using profanity, since I didn’t want to come across as “uncool” or judgmental. I sometimes ignored it out of fear that standing up for my ethics would make my friends view me negatively as some religious zealot, which I never wanted to be seen as. But nobody can remain on neutral ground forever, and I saw an excellent example on YouTube of how I could ethically and respectfully handle these situations.Veena Malik is a singer, Bollywood actress, and holds the Guinness world record for being kissed by 100 men on her hand in one minute. Because of her world record, she was ridiculed and mistreated by a Muslim religious leader for some of her activities. Such treatment often turns people away from religion. In contrast, the video I watched showed a Muslim brother by the name of Imran approaches Veena Malik  in a very respectful manner. He said that although there are no biological ties, he considers Veena his sister in Islam.

He then denounced the way many Muslims had mistreated her and then, to remind her that everyone has their own flaws, he told he about some of the things he has done as a rapper. He apologized for the disrespect that was shown to her, and then simply said “May God bless you. As salam alekium.” He had a positive influence on her, as the next day, Veena Malik posted this on her Twitter account: “Salam my brother… I really appreciate ur words and alhumdulliah im Muslim n surely seek guidance.” Then she followed this up with the tweet, “keep me in ur prayers!!!” and “U really made me think”.Veena Malik endured many hardships in her life and worked to support and provide for her family. That is honorable behavior, and judging, backbiting, or mistreating anyone in any way only encourages a negative reaction.

Instead, we should remain respectful of others, focus on the positive aspects of their lifestyle and beliefs, and remember our flaws to be humble. A “holier-than-thou” attitude only serves to create distance between people; by choosing to be accepting of others and remaining humble, we can build bridges and encourage positive behavior in others and ourselves. We are all equal in the eyes of God, and instead of tearing each other down by gossiping about someone’s behavior or ridiculing someone for not living up to certain standards, we should build each other up and assist others in their journey of becoming better people. Those who choose to follow this deen are  brothers and sisters. This video taught me that people who only ever look down at others and mock them for their imperfections are inadvertently stagnating their spiritual progress; in contrast, those who continually seek to help people be the best that they can be receive the benefits of goodwill and further their own spiritual journey as they do so.     Veena Malik is my beloved sister and I want the best for her.

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