Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Maya Khan (Samaa TV)'s Moral Policing

Some of you might be aware of the recent Maya Khan incident, the self-righteous TV hostess who has been harassing young (unmarried) couples in a public Pakistani park in Karachi known to be a hot meeting spot for young couples in love. Here, take a look:

This lady, along with her crew (most of whom are also females), takes a mic and a camera to the park and stalks young couples sitting on benches. Some couples manage to escape when they see her coming towards them with a camera/mic, but others aren't as lucky. There's one girl who's wearing a burqa. And Maya Khan's response is pathetic, like, "Whaaat! A girl in a burqa with a guy! Shame on her!!" They interpret it as hypocrisy when, in fact, it's actually something the girl must do for her own protection. She and her crew talk about how it's the mothers' job to teach their kids "morality" and when the mothers so obviously suck at their jobs, it only makes sense that Maya Khan do it, no? Of course.

There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin. For starters, since she's judging Muslims by their actions, lemme be superficial like her and judge her by her outer appearance: she doesn't cover her head, something considered obligatory by mainstream Muslims. I am neither the first nor the last to point this out. But I do wonder what Maya's response to it has been. What was on her mind when she did this? Talk about hypocrisy.
What's worse,  I assure you that Zakir Naik, the popular Muslim televangelist/preacher/"scholar" whom I assume Maya Khan is very fond of, would say it's haraam for a woman to host a TV show. For obvious reasons, like: random men get to see her, be physically attracted to her, hear her laugh, and so on. This is haraam for a woman, according to Zakir Naik and the majority Muslim perspective unless and only unless she wears a hijab (covers her head and the rest of her body), does not laugh, does not meet and greet men on the show, etc. Another thing that makes her show haraam is that it's not educational. It's an entertainment show, really, and that's like, duh, haraam.

Forget all of this: the fact that she is appearing in PUBLIC is enough for her to be condemned for her own actions, okay? (This isn't according to me; it's according to the same philosophy she is attempting to enforce with her moral policing.) The woman, according to this philosophy, is a private entity; she is not to be in the public unless absolutely necessary (Zakir Naik and all other great scholars who preach mainstream Islam say so; believe it). Is it absolutely necessary for Maya Khan to appear on TV? No, it's not. Let's suppose is it is necessary ... then what's with the make-up? Dude, does she not know that she's supposed to be as modest as humanly possible, especially when in public?! Goodness gracious. What's close to worse - her eyebrows are shaped! Um, last I checked in hadiths and stuff, shaping your eyebrows is haraam (speaking of which, I have a blog post coming on this at some point soon). Funny how selective we are in our judgments and practices, eh.

For me, the funniest parts are when she asks the girls their names, LOL. And she does it in such an innocent way - like "Look, ALL you have to do is tell me your name." Now, WHY should anyone have to give Maya Khan their name when they know what's being done with the information? When they're asked to take the camera off their faces, Maya Khan's crew still records the conversation while not showing the faces - talk about Islam! Do they not know that in Islam, privacy is given deep significance and people's privacy is to be always respected? Fine, they think that young boys and girls meeting in a public park is unacceptable in Islam (which itself is open to debate, at least in today's world) - but how do we decide which parts of Islam to follow ourselves, which ones to ignore ourselves but impose on other people?

Still, women themselves not adhering to "Islamic" dress code that I'm sure they believe is obligatory going around and telling other people what it means to be a good Muslim is one of the most pathetic ideas ever. There is a few girls with hijab who are also lecturing, so, okay, they're not seemingly as self-righteous. But note from 007:00 - 8:30,  the three ladies who are talking about how the engagement period works ... I'm laughing!! What the HELL!!

And then from like 8:40 onward, they're soo proud of themselves for having intimidated all these young couples in Karachi, saying stuff like, "I bet there's no park in Karachi that has dating couples now, hahahahahah!" Their laughter at the end indicates the lack of sincerity in their action. If you want to solve a problem, the first step is to identify the problem. They have identified the problem, good. The next step is to figure out WHY that problem is there in the first place. Maya Khan, et al do not seem intelligent enough to know this. They have not figured out the root of the problem, and they are going out to eradicate it? In which world does this make sense? In which society is this going to be a fruitful move? I'm not necessarily supporting what the couples do, but I am suggesting that we *understand* why they do it, which doesn't require that their actions be pardoned, although that's not up to us anyway. You can't solve a problem without having acknowledged its cause(s). And the third step is to consider solutions, while the last step is to plot out ways to implement those solutions. Those ways should not require hurting other people in the process if you are sincere.

This is so immature on so many levels. What makes them think it's okay to do this? :S

As my blog readers know, I have no issues with a woman choosing not to  cover her head. But my point in bringing that up here is to show how subjective religious values really are. They are never universal -- perhaps in theory, but certainly never in practice. Just as Maya Khan is going around attacking girls meeting boys and vice versa, another self-righteous Muslim woman (and many already have all over the internet in response to Maya Khan's immature tactic of policing couples) could conveniently attack Maya Khan and her crew for not wearing the kind of dress mandated by popular Islam.

Take a look at her here in this video:

Forget the rest - focus on the beginning, her seductive facial moves, her laughter with a man who is clearly not her husband/father/etc. Again, WHAT??!! Hypocrisy much?! And let's not forget her hair: it's not covered, which it is supposed to be according to the exact same type of Muslims who will tell us that dating or meeting people of the opposite gender is forbidden in Islam.

Then there's this video, Maya Khan dancing with -- again -- a man who is absolutely unrelated to her! This, too, is haraam, in case she didn't know, damnit. What's worse, Maya Khan even hugs the guy!!!!! BIG GASP. But I suppose Islam allows her to do it but not the rest of us women, eh. Take a look:

See, the thing is, I don't believe that we should be perfect Muslims (according to theoretical Islam) ourselves before we can perfect others. I find this idea very illogical. But if you're going to expose someone else's flaws and mistakes and wrongdoings -- things that are wrong and bad according to YOUR beliefs -- make sure that you are perfect in YOUR beliefs before you go about fixing other people. So when I say "perfect Muslims," I don't mean perfect Muslim according to mainstream Islam or any other form of Islam. I mean a perfect Muslim according to our individual idea of Muslimness. If there is a list of things that make a person a bad Muslim, are you positively sure that you can cross every single one of those things on the list as not applying to you? I highly doubt it. In that case, what gives you any right to apply YOUR standards to all other people of your faith? Understand that perhaps what you consider haraam (or what you were taught is haraam) isn't in fact haraam or isn't haraam according to the people who are committing it. If they are willing to live with the consequences (by which I sure as hell don't mean being exposed on a public TV!!!! By consequences, I mean religious/after death, if there might be any), then so be it. You and I have no right to force them to live our way or to submit to our religious values or the way we submit to it. That's called compulsion in religion, something the Qur'an does not support at all and something the Prophet himself is repeatedly told in the Qur'an not to do. If even the Prophet's job was to only warn, who the hell are you and me to do more than that?

I believe, instead, in simply sharing your perspective with others when you are asked or if you see something that you think is really wrong, I think you should point it out to them privately and explain why you think what you think. If they tell you it's none of your business, then BACK OFF. If it's something like a social issue, then you (if you have Maya Khan's influence and means) discuss it in public on your TV show but you sure as hell don't go around stalking people and fooling them that they're not being recorded and exposed to the public to get your point across.

Anyway ... just thought I'd let y'all know!


  1. Maya Khan dancing like a whore in front of a Maulana

  2. As they say, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I even said to one of her "supporters" that I agree with her concept of nailing unislamic actions (though meeting in a public park can also be debatable as being an unislamic action) but her methods were totally wrong, and that's why it's hitting back at her. Truly on the Islam level, even the punisher of a sin should be free of that sin he/she is punishing, so what right does she have to "grab" a girl numerous times to interrogate her when clearly she is unwilling to contribute. This whole event was just wrong.

  3. @ Amir: Thanks for dropping by and commenting - but, while I can understand the anger you might be feeling towards Maya khan, nothing justifies your cursing her. Please refrain from referring to others with such terminology when you're on my blog. Thanks!

    @ Hinoo: I don't think he's a supporter of her, to be honest ;) (I know who you talking about, lol.) He's just trolling like he always does like the 16-yr-old that he represents, LOL. I'm quite sure he's against her approach and even her belief in reality.

  4. Okay so like most of the people on the web I absolutely hate the way in which Maya Khan approached this issue. Indeed it was very hypocritical of her and she completely took the freedom of Media to another level which might even end up hurting the media in the long run as a lot of people are calling for regulating this "free media" thingy.

    Now I would like to share a perspective with you which very few people are willing to discuss as it contradicts the mainstream reaction to her video. If you watch the video you would hear that those aunties were saying that families cannot go into those parks anymore because of these "couples". I am not sure how many of you have been in Karachi/Lahore etc recently but I myself was born in Karachi and spent the majority of my life there and I have seen how things have changed. We have all heard the stories from 90s etc where a police would chase you at Sea View if you are caught with a guy. Okay I agree that was a little too extreme as one time even my cousins who were married were forced to show their nikahnama because the dumb officer wouldn't believe that they were married at such a young age lol. Nowadays things are NOT the same. You will not believe the kind of things these so called "couples" do nowadays. From kissing in public to engaging in very shameful activities in cars, parks etc. Of course I am not going to say anything about the dance parties etc as they are held in private often secret settings but doing things like that in public? Come on where are we headed towards? It is just unethical. I mean you take your kids to the park and imagine seeing these people doing that kind of stuff. Though I believe she should have done what Waqar Zaka did i.e ask the authorities to take action against such activities. Exposing people on TV just like that is not fair as some of them might have been just innocent people.

    One thing that surprises me is how people on the web have responded to this Maya Khan issue as if allowing girls and guys to go out on dates is a totally acceptable part of our culture and Maya Khan did some major crime by exposing it. The manner in which she did it is WRONG but if you look at it she was exposing a "Crime" just like any other crime reporting show that you see on these Pakistani news channels. Some of them do justice others not so much but why haven't anyone ever despised shows such as Raid where this lame guy goes to poor thailai wala guys and expose how they are selling unhealthy stuff. I mean can you imagine what that kind of thing would do to the families of those poor guys? But of course the NGO women have no interest in it doesn't serve them.


Dare to opine :)

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