DunyaAya

And what is the dunya [worldly life], except the enjoyment of delusion? (Qur’an 57:20)

For over a year, we at Zujaja interviewed dozens of interesting and opiniated American Muslims of all shapes, sizes, colors, and facial hair on “dunyawi” topics: fashion, art, relationships, and more. What did we end up with? A vibrant collection of distinct voices.

fashion_title

Who are we being fashionable for? What if all Muslim men and women wore pretty much the same thing, something like a standard “uniform” for Muslims? Do modern Western contexts cause Muslims to accentuate their individuality rather over their collective identity? Why do you think this is? Would you let a hijabi fashionista be a role model for your daughter?

Muslim Fashion is Flourishing. And the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Valued at nearly $100 billion (with a b) dollars, it’s clear that many Muslim women are seeing little, if any, conflict between modesty and keepin’ it mad fresh. But what’s at stake? Is there too much glitz and glamour and not enough dhikr and fikr? We spoke to a diverse group of Muslim women on the issue, from supermodels, to niqabis, to everything in between. The first topic of the dunya series is on the way western Muslims are navigating new fashions, while trying to retain a level of mandated modesty. Is it possible to be modest and fashionable? Are there limits?

There is also an extended (25 minutes) version of the documentary here.

96Billion

 

But what about men? An extended interview with Shaykh Rami Nsour, explaining how Muslim men’s fashion might be even more important than Muslim women’s fashion.

Find an extended, 25 minute version of Fashionably Modest above.

marriage_title

Who’s to blame for the marriage crisis in the American Muslim community? Men? Women? Family expectations? Something else? How well do you have to know someone before you consider marrying? How closely do you look towards your parents’ marriage as instructive for your future relationships?

How are Muslim men approaching marriage in our times? How do women feel about their approach? How much are we talking past one another rather than with one another? What expectations do we have for each gender, and how in-sync with reality are they?

The statistics to the right are taken from the 2011 Muslim American Survey, which is available for viewing here.

 

  • % of Americans in general who are married 54%
  • % of American Muslims who are married 55%
  • % of Americans in general who report being divorced and/or separated 13%
  • % of American Muslims who report being divorced and/or separated 6%
  • % of Americans in general under 30 years old who are unemployed 28%
  • % of American Muslims under 30 years old who are unemployed 37%

This short documentary is still under development, and we need YOUR voices to finish it! If you’re a Muslim with some opinions or stories about marriage and/or relationships, or if you have an interesting story lead, please drop us a line at hello@zujajacreative.com .

 

art_title

Is there any way to just let a Muslim artist speak on his or her own? Said otherwise, how can Muslim Americans prevent the politicization of their identity in the public sphere? What kinds of effects does the burden of representing the world’s single largest religion have on Muslim artists? Does it make them better? Worse? Can we criticize Muslim artists without feeling as if we’re bringing down “one of our own”? Should we? Where are Muslim artists’ creative energies most needed?

 

Rabia Christine Brodbeck is a renowned modern dancer. Born in Basel, Switzerland, Brodbeck was trained in ballet and modern dance in London. She has performed for thousands of people all over Europe. After embracing Islam, she now lives in İstanbul where she gives dance lessons. She has also published two books, called From the Stage to the Prayer Mat and The Longing of the Soul.


On Being a Muslim Artist

In this section, we speak to Muslims involved in the creative industry, be that in writing, film, fashion, even comic books. The burden to represent Muslims and Islam is real and palpably for many. Is it possible to just do creative work as a professional? Can communal association coexist side by side with personal expression and artistic license?


This short documentary is still under development, and we need YOUR voices to finish it! If you’re a Muslim artist and want to be heard, or if you have an interesting story lead, please drop us a line at hello@zujajacreative.com .

Don’t let this be it. Bring the conversation to your local masjid, Islamic center, MSA, or Islamic school!

 

Host

Are you a Muslim student leader on campus looking for a cool event to host? Or maybe you’re a masjid board member wondering how to connect with youth and young adults, or an Islamic school looking for an interesting guest lecture? If so, you may be interested in sparking critical discussions within your community. Consider hosting a local screening of the Dunya series. Please direct all inquiries to hello@zujajacreative.com .

 

Discuss

All screenings are followed by a facilitated discussion with the Zujaja team about the topics shown in the video. We promise to engage our audience, and move them to share their opinions and solutions and approaches to these issues.

 

Benefit

It’s hoped that the ideas produced in these local screenings will serve not only as a means of empowerment, but also an entryway into a global conversation taking place among Muslim communities worldwide. Our collective growth as a community is hurt the longer we put off these conversations,

 

Questions to Think About

 

Fashion

Who are we being fashionable for?
What if all Muslim men and women wore pretty much the same thing, something like a standard “uniform” for Muslims?
Do modern Western contexts cause Muslims to accentuate their individuality rather over their collective identity? Why do you think this is?
Would you let a hijabi fashionista be a role model for your daughter?

 

Art

Is there any way to just let a Muslim artist speak on his or her own?
Said otherwise, how can Muslim Americans prevent the politicization of their identity in the public sphere?
What kinds of effects does the burden of representing the world’s single largest religion have on Muslim artists? Does it make them better? Worse?
Can we criticize Muslim artists without feeling as if we’re bringing down “one of our own”? Should we?
Where are Muslim artists’ creative energies most needed?

Marriage

Who’s to blame for the marriage crisis in the American Muslim community? Men? Women? Family expectations? Something else?
How well do you have to know someone before you consider marrying?
How closely do you look towards your parents’ marriage as instructive for your future relationships?