Joyland and its disputed ban
Moreover, the uninformed consumers of movies aren’t shown both sides of the coin, mostly leaving them biased in favour of the movie-maker’s agenda.
What’s wrong with speaking up for LGBTQI rights: This is perhaps the most appealing argument as it involves compassion.
Even though the misery of the Intersex community is undeniable we need to understand how Islam views and deals with this issue.
Islam differentiates between transgenders and intersex people. The three separate phenomena to understand are gender identity, gender expression, and biological gender.
Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles etc.
Biological gender refers to a person’s status as female, male, or intersex depending on their chromosomes, reproductive organs, and other characteristics.
According to clear shara’ evidences, the first two categories, where the person’s perception or expression is contrary to their biological gender, are absolutely unacceptable and prohibited in Islam.
We humans are not free to choose our gender based on what we feel or like, rather this is something determined purely based on the biological reality.
In either case, if the gender identity or gender expression is nonconforming to the biological gender, these are termed as transmale (mutarajillah) and transfemale (mukhanas).
For those rare cases where the biological gender is ambiguous, generally known as intersex (khunsa), they are assigned a gender, either male or female, with the help of experts.
They are also assisted with surgical procedures if required. Similarly, the only acceptable sexual orientation is between opposite genders, obviously only within the bounds of a Nikah.
Now as per Islamic law, there can’t be a third gender and gender isn’t something fluid that can transcend the boundaries of your biological reality, therefore transgender people, i.e.
those who don’t conform to their biological gender, are seen as homosexuals by Islam when they express their sexuality with the opposite sex based on their perceived identity.
Therefore, the content of this movie is characterized as homosexual as well and therefore even more objectionable and disgusting from the Islamic and cultural perspective.
But the sensor board has cleared it: Another weak but common argument is that once a movie gets a clean chit from the censor board, we shouldn’t have any objection.
The argument should be reversed and it should be asked what validity does the sensor board hold if it clears such a movie in our country?
Or going even further, what about all the movies and dramas that are filled with violence, promiscuity, and every other possible vice humans can think of, in the name of mirroring society?
The Central Board of Film Censors, established under the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979 explicitly states as the very first of its “Principles of guidance in certifying films” that “A film shall not be certified for public exhibition if, in the opinion of the Board, the film or any part thereof is prejudicial to the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or amounts to the commission of, or incitement to, an offence.
” It should be clear that within secular democracies like ours, such laws are only lipservice in front of the hugely powerful western agenda which is seldom without financing.
On a final note, yes I understand that we can not limit all sorts of information and therefore the first and foremost line of defense remains one’s own morals, values, and beliefs, however, this can never become a justification for spreading such indecent content unbridled in society.
Together with the ahkam of protecting ourselves and our children from hellfire, the ahkam to forbid the evil (nahi anil munkar) are also very well-established and irrefutable.
This highlights the importance and some of the challenges of parenting. To conclude, I’d like to point out that sensitivities around this issue are quite pronounced among community in general where except for a few ultra-modernists, people are mostly disgusted by the theme of the movie which revolves around sexual rebellion and homosexuality.
We, therefore, see a public backlash on this issue however many other important issues escape such public scrutiny.
For instance, why is it that despite being called an Islamic republic, all kinds of violations of Quran and Sunnah are taking place under auspices of various governmental bodies, be it widespread interest (Riba), foreign interference, unjust taxation, promiscuity or many other such ills?
May Allah (SWT) protect us from all evils and enable us to fulfil our duties as parents and members of society.
—The author is a Senior Associate Professor of Engineering Management with a PhD degree in Governance and Public Policy from the Netherlands.