Pharrell – Happy British Muslims Video Start Controversy

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So this video was released 3 days ago and it has already created such a wild discussion. If you’re not aware of what I’m talking about, watch this:

The video has several familiar faces – Fuad Nahdi, Director of Radical Middle Way, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, respected theologian and Islamic scholar, Fareena Alam and Abdul Rehman Malik from Q-News The Muslim Magazine, Muneera Rashida from Poetic Pilgrimage, journalist & activist Myriam Francois-Cerrah, Dr Bilal Hassam, Muslim youth activist and many others! While my Facebook timeline was filled with positive feedback about the video and how refreshing it was to see Muslims creatively express their happiness, it wasn’t long before the words “haram” started coming in to the picture.

Some questions that came out of this:

1) How does modesty govern the actions of men & women differently?

2) Is it important to carve out a Muslim identity? Can we attempt to eliminate stereotypes about the “angry, unhappy Muslims” in this manner?

3) How should Muslims behave with each other when they disagree?


In case you wanted to read some responses,

Dr Bilal Hassam, Leaf Network: “We need to be careful to not translate the diversity of opinions and ideas into the notion of “Good Vs Bad Muslims” – The video is what it is, unapologetically, a celebration of the diversity and happiness in our communities.”

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Cambridge University: “I’m delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many sceptics. Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness. No-one will produce a Sharia argument against jumping for joy! I look forward to working with The Honesty Policy on future productions.”

Abu Eesa, Al-Maghrib Institute: “Any women who claim that females dancing is not provocative or sexual, is either naïve or just plain miskeen. And any man whom claims the same, is, well, lying. Ladies, you could dance like Peter Crouch and men would find that sexual! Men don’t think like you. You lift an elbow out and just wiggle your head forget about anything else and you just provocation-ed off the provocation-meter.”

Humera Khan, Activist: “The tragedies happening around the Muslim World shouldn’t stop us from having faith in a better future. But constantly being in a state of doom and gloom and only seeing Islam as something to punish or condemn people has resulted in our young generation being left beleaguered and without joy, positive youthful role models, emotionally stunted and often misguided. I love the Pharrell British Muslim Happy video because it is the most refreshing thing I have seen for a very, very, very long time and from what I can see it is independent but rooted in love of Islam and the community – alhamdulillah. Being a Muslim is to be ‘positive’ and ‘constructive’ even in the face of tragedy and over the centuries there have been many other traumatic periods in history and somehow we got through them and rebuilt new redefined cultures. In Britain we are not living in war torn areas. The best that we can do for those who are is to build foundations for a more constructive Muslim future removed from negativity, tribalism, sexism, oppression and other ills that have taken root in the ummah. The future of the ummah will not look like it has looked in the past – however much we may love our heritage – the young generation have to make their mark, their own history and frame it in a way that is relevant today. If we cannot facilitate this then we are to blame not them!”

Blogpost titled “Clap Along if You feel that Happiness is Halal”:


What do you think?


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  1. Assalamualaykum… I’ve watched the video and feel that it’s inappropriate and distasteful … If you’re so happy and feel like dancing you can always do it in the privacy of your own home, away from the public eye, much less in front of the camera!! Not to mention the mix of males and females in the video.. It’s almost like a mockery to Islam where modesty is much emphasized , what is going on?????

  2. What I feel personally is that, we should not even comment on this lol. The thing is that not all of us are qualified to speak about this. As, you have quoted above, there are already speakers who have addressed the issue and they are taking steps on this. As for us who are not able to do much, i personally don’t think we should condemn on this but just look at the overall problem which is haya, and try to focus on how we can improve in ourselves(first!), then on our family members , friends , community etc.

    “Just because you see something online that you disagree with doesn’t mean that you need to share it alongside your thoughts on it. Sometimes you just end up making the problem worse by exposing people to something that they normally wouldn’t even be exposed to.”- Sheikh Saad Tasleem

  3. Salaam,
    Least muslims from U.K have done a great and brave job in telling the world…..Look we are ‘Proud 2B Muslims’….dun luk down upon us.


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