(c) Muhammad Haniff Hassan, July 2002
The Star Wars craze has once again hit us – with Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Oh no … this is not another review for the film. Instead we shall pick out aspects of the film’s production that we can use to further our da’wah cause. So we’ll call this episode of In-Touch, “Star (Da’)wah”!
By analyzing the Star Wars movies, books and toys, one is easily overwhelmed by the tremendous effort and imagination that have gone making this fiction a “reality”. Great care and attention to details have gone into its production such that we become familiar with the characters, the weapons, technology and even scientific terminologies. Read Star Wars; The Visual Dictionary and Star Wars; The Definitive Guide For The Craft From Star Wars: Episode II for reference.
It is not surprising then that young audiences are led to believe in the actual existence of the Star Wars world. Fiction has transcended into reality.
The resulting package has been so seamless put together that the audiences do not perceive any incongruity with our own values or bias. For example the characters in the movies are dressed in period costumes similar to those worn during the medieval period in Europe. While this period is often associated with the age of darkness and backwardness, audiences do not seem to be negatively affected by the association. This highlights the influence of this packaging on our society. Our imagination draws us to accept the fantasy world of Star Wards as reality and to perceive something dated as being trendy. Such is the powerful influence of the imagination – a powerful tool when ulitised in da’wah.
Another aspect that should be analyzed is the existence of The Force and The Dark Side which are polarized symbolic representation of God and evil respectively. Here is where we can inject an Islamic parallel. Try to visualize an Islamic world order, the beauty of life managed by an Islamic political power and spreading the message of Islam for mankind. Through the imagination we can influence man’s perception of what is Islam and instill positive values in them.
Wouldn’t it then be possible that through this process that we will be able to change the negative perception of hijab or modesty in Islamic attire. Let’s create characters like Princess Amidala, the Senator from Naboo wearing hijab and Jedi warriors in robes and modest costumes.
In our context this is where humour magazines such as Apo, Gila-Gila, Ujang and their genre can be the right channel for such approach in da’wah. However it will require us to approach and educate the cartoonists in the right direction. Who is up for the challenge? Unfortunately our own Khalifah Muda was short-lived due to lack of support and funding.
Star Wars is a reflection of successful work ethics, determination and commitment. If only we are as zealous as its producers in our pursuit of God’s Paradise. That will truly be Star (Da’)Wah!