Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity

The face of fitna or the face of Al-Qa’ida’s “stealth jihad” ?

-Christopher Anzalone (Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University)

With album sales of 2.7 million worldwide, a commercially successful world tour, a debut atop the Billboard 200 in the US, and a ubiquitous radio single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” British boy band One Direction are one of the most successful musical acts in the world.  The group is made up of five former contestants on the popular British televised singing competition The X Factor, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson.

Aside from their global commercial success, One Direction recently attracted a spurt of media attention for the personal religious persuasion of one of its members, 19-year-old Malik.  Last week Malik’s religion, which first attracted media attention in a 2010 article in British tabloid The Sun, was discussed in an online MSNBC article that highlighted the seeming dichotomy between being a rockstar and a Muslim.  On June 6, a right wing American blogger took aim at the teenage pop star and accused him of trying to “pimp” Islam under the cover of One Direction’s pop harmonies and catchy, if somewhat formulaic, lyrics.  Muslims, fans and non-fans, have been discussing his religion and whether some of his life choices are or are not “Islamic” since his appearance on The X Factor.

The recent attention to Malik’s religion and much of the ensuing discussion about it highlights the ways in which Muslim identity is simplified and stereotyped in the minds of many people.  For some Muslims, Muslim identity rests on a simplified notion of who is and is not a Muslim, one that ignores 1400 years of cultural history and the complexity of identity, while for anti-Muslim polemicists Muslim identity rests on stereotypes and ignoring, or outright ignorance of, reality.

One Direction: Ambassadors of “Boy Band Jihad” ?

Last year, Muslim fans of One Direction picked up on and discussed online a series of Tweets he posted on Twitter last August related to Islam, which are discussed further below.  These Tweets, alongside his televised comment during a Christmas dinner for X Factor contestants that he doesn’t eat pork, were discussed and debated in numerous online discussions on One Direction fan sites, blogs, YouTube (by both fans and YouTube commentators), and even communal question-and-answer web sites such as Ask.com about his religion and whether his life choices, such as smoking, getting tattoos and ear piercings, and being a pop star, were compatible with being Muslim.  Though many were supportive of his decision to not hide his religious identity while also achieving mainstream success in the music business, some self-identified Muslims looked disapprovingly on some of his life choices, saying that they are “un-Islamic.”  Many wrote that because of these he could not be a very “good” or “pious” Muslim, expressing a normative view of piety and religious identity.  However, Malik also has a dedicated group of Muslim fans who have publicly announced their support not only in response to online questions about his religion but also in Facebook fan groups, for example the group “Zayn Malik’s Muslim FANS.”

Malik’s status as a pop star even elicited a legal opinion (fatwa) on an English-language question-and-answer web site, Islam Answers.  In response to a request from a questioner for proof that Malik’s choice to be a singer was forbidden (haram) “for Muslims” so his “very large” Muslim fanbase can be shown his deviance, respondent Abu Zahra, whose specific scholarly credentials are unclear, marshaled selected Qur’anic verses, hadith, and exegetical and juridical references attacking music and pursuing a career as a singer.  Alleging that the teenage singer is causing social discord (fitna), Abu Zahra wrote, “It is indeed very saddening to see that the majority of the Muslim Ummah [worldwide community] has fallen into one of the greatest traps of shaytan [Satan]—Music,” he wrote.  “Not only that, shaytan has blinded them so much that they think there is nothing wrong with it.  This unfortunate reality is indeed one of the signs of the end of times.”  Music, it seems, is not only haram but eschatologically so.  His ultimate verdict was that listening to or being a pop star are “totally forbidden in Islam” and the one who does either is “a major sinner.”  The flourishing of music in Muslim societies around the world is a socio-historical phenomenon that seems to have escaped him.

Yemeni musicians

To buttress his opinion that music can only ever be a tool of the Devil, Abu Zahra, in the bulk of his response, cites a long list of selected Qur’anic verses, hadith, and quotes from famous medieval Muslim jurists and exegetes such as Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, and Malik ibn Anas.  In summation, Abu Zahra wrote, “It should be clear that it is totally forbidden in Islam to become and listen to ‘pop-stars,’ and that such a person is a major sinner.”  He concludes by claiming not to be encouraging hatred of Malik per say but rather hatred toward what God and His prophet have declared worthy of enmity, in this case music.  Muslim youth should also be careful, he wrote, in choosing role models because on the Day of Judgment people will be grouped with those that they kept company with in life.  Therefore, he finished, those who strove to be like the Prophet Muhammad and God’s other righteous prophets and messengers will benefit from their company whereas those who chose singers will join them in hellfire.  It is important to note that prohibitions on music or certain forms of music are not unique to Muslim conservatives and indeed are held by many Muslim jurists, Sunni and Shi’i.  The juridical discourse on the issue is deserving of a post on its own and is beyond the scope of this piece.  However, the purpose of this post is not to venture an opinion on what “is” and “is not” permissible according to the views of Muslim jurists or to pass judgment on their views.  Rather, it is to argue that lived religious identity is multifaceted and highly individualized, thus defying imposed templates seeking to establish “normative” identities.

Traditional Afghan musicians

Abu Zahra’s response led to a debate in the comments section between those supportive of his opinion and those who disagreed.  The debate centered on whether all singing has been judged by religious scholars to be forbidden.  Some commenters argued that there is a difference between the recitation of religiously-themed songs (anasheed) and pop songs.  Others stated that it is Malik’s behavior, such as smoking and his decision to get tattoos, which is haram, not his singing per se.  Similar sentiments are expressed in threads about Malik’s religious persuasion mentioned previously.  Concern is more frequently expressed with regard to certain behavior rather than his status as a musician.  These arguments were met with fierce criticism from other commenters who fully endorsed Abu Zahra’s opinion.

On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum , in a June 6 blog post, Debbie Schlussel, a far right wing American blogger well known for her anti-Muslim writings, dubbed One Direction “boy band jihad” and zeroed in on Malik, accusing the teenager of “pimping Islam” on “millions of young girls” around the world.  To support her claims she pointed to his four Tweets discussed previously and engages in a “close reading” of them that would make a textual critic nauseous.  Malik, she wrote, fasts during Ramadan and Tweeted the “shehada (sic),” which she described as “the militant statement Muslims say in their prayers every day” and the “Muslim oath of martyrdom that comprises conversion to Islam.”  She went on to prove further her ignorance of the faith she hates so much, writing that the meaning of the shahada is that “only Mohammad is a real prophet” of the monotheistic, Abrahamic God.  In reality, the shahada affirms Islam’s core beliefs that “there is no god but [the one] God and Muhammad is His messenger” and if Schlussel had consulted any introductory book or class on the religion she’d know that the Islamic tradition recognizes many other prophets in addition to Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

Sorry Anwar, you’ve been replaced as the “pied piper of jihad,” at least in Schlussel’s universe

Schlussel also cited Tweets Malik wrote about Ramadan, the Islamic lunar month of fasting.  On August 1 of last year he wrote, “First day of rosay tday, who’s fasting?,” using an Urdu word (روزے) for the fasting Muslims do during the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan.  He followed this Tweet with a second the same day writing, “Ramazaan Mubarak to everyone that is :).”  At the end of the month, on August 30, he Tweeted “Eid Mubarak to everyone today :).”  Five days before, on August 25, he re-Tweeted a Tweet in Arabic of the Muslim testament of faith, the shahada, “there is no God but the [one] God and Muhammad is His messenger,” following it the same day with its transliteration into English.  She neglects to mention that he also Tweeted on Christmas as well to his Twitter followers (for example, here and here), not to mention for New Year’s Eve.

If her textual prowess isn’t convincing enough, Schlussel pointed to a photograph of Malik wearing a keffiyeh scarf, which in her mind is the “official garb of Islamic terrorism” rather than a popular form of traditional attire in much of the Middle East, Africa, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Indian Subcontinent as well as a popular recent fashion item.  She missed the photograph of him wearing the red poppy badge (see below) that in British Commonwealth countries is worn as a sign of respect for soldiers killed in battle.

Need more proof?  If so, Schlussel pointed to the Arabic tattoo on his chest.  Her alarmism at any use of Arabic, which is also spoken as the mother tongue of millions of non-Muslims, would likely be assuaged if she could actually read Arabic and thus tell that his tattoo is actually the name “Walter,” his grandfather.  Then again, sustained Google research would have also revealed this fact.  To Schlussel, any practice of Islam as a faith tradition is a form of “extremism,” thus she sees “jihad” in lyrics such as “Baby, you light up my world like nobody else, the way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed, but when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell, you don’t know you’re beautiful.”  This is an Al-Qa’ida nasheed if ever there was one.

Media coverage of Malik’s personal religious beliefs, as well as many of the reactions to it by both Muslim and non-Muslim discussants online, are predicated on notions of monolithic, “normative” typifications of Muslim identity.  For many, non-Muslims and Muslims alike, his status as an international pop star with pierced ears and tattoos wearing designer jackets and jeans stands in contrast to their constructions of what a Muslim is and is not.  To some Muslims his lifestyle puts him outside the faith and they have essentially rejected him from the fold, considering him at best to be a lapsed and impious Muslim.  Ironically, anti-Muslim polemicists are at the same time working in overdrive to “prove” that the British teenager is not only a Muslim but that any practice of Islam is akin to joining Al-Qa’ida.

Musician or Schlussel’s “lone wolf” ?

In reality, Islam is a diverse and often contested religious tradition and individual Muslims interpret their faith in a myriad of different ways.  Muslim identity (or really a diverse array of individualized identities) cannot be boiled down to only a literal textual reading of certain sources, as some Muslims do, nor can it be accurately equated with fringe groups such as Al-Qa’ida and other militant groups, as some polemicists attempt to do.  Religious identity is lived and thus highly individualized even in faiths that emphasize the importance of the collectivity.  In an ideal world this would be more widely understood with regards to Islam and the world’s Muslim communities, as it is with other religious traditions such as Christianity and Judaism, to name just Islam’s Abrahamic cousins.  Of course, in an ideal world the personal religious beliefs of a teenage British pop singer from Bradford would also be deemed neither threatening nor newsworthy.

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About Ibn Siqilli
Ph.D. Student in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University

77 Responses to Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity

  1. Zainul Islam says:

    Hi, I like what you wrote and I appreciate your concern for Muslims. But to be honest, as a Muslim, I like to follow the earlier mainstream scholars like those you mentioned (Asqalani etc.). They understand the religion better than me and you. And it’s not just Abu Zahra who gave such a ruling about singing, there are many, Infact most modern scholars. Check these two: http://islamqa.info/en/ref/5000 and http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=1786

    All I’m saying is that you can only expect a scholar to rule on what he believes to be the truth. So I don’t think you should be hasty in criticising them, but you are entitled to our opinion. There will always be disagreement.

    • Ibn Siqilli says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, as well as for the additional links. To be clear, my argument in the post is not to determine which juridical view/interpretation is “correct” or “more” correct than another. Rather, my argument is that Muslim identity in the contemporary world, let alone historically, is diverse and multifaceted. It is also highly individualized and thus cannot be subjected to imposed “normative” templates and stereotypes either internally or from anti-Muslim bigots.

      As I mention in the post, the issue of music and either forbidding it altogether or restricting it is the subject of voluminous juridical writings and would require a separate post (or book) to deal with them comprehensively. The purpose of the post, though, was not to discuss juridical discourses among Muslim jurists about music. It was to highlight how different groups attempt to monopolize definitions of what a Muslim “is” or “is not” based on their own perceptions, which though individualized, ironically fail to recognize individualism is also the hallmark of a lived religious identity and tradition.

      Many thanks for your comment.

      • alykhans says:

        Hey there is a comment I made under this. If you wouldn’t mind could you remove it and once your done remove this one too? Thank you.

      • alykhans says:

        Would you mind removing my comment below? Thanks!

    • hum hum says:

      i hate zayn wish he could understand that he is a muslim
      i.e. tattoos are haram on the day of judgement the tattoos will come alive and where ever the tatoos are his skin will burn

      • Mahnoor says:

        I understand your hatred for Zayn Malik and I’m no directioner but I think, we don’t know the level of imaan Zayn has. True, he will be punished for his tattoos and smoking and etc. but after all, he’s still Muslim. Who knows? He might have stronger imaan than all of us? Only Allah (SWT) knows

  2. I’m a muslim guy with pierced ears….there is nothing wrong with that :)…no tattoos yet but common…smoking is not respected but we all do it get over that.

  3. lara says:

    i think the Schlussel woman is crazy! nuts nuts nuts!

  4. M.M. says:

    I am a Muslim myself and I do strongly believe religion is open to interpretation. The Quran is written in such a way that it is relatively vague. There are some things that are declared a sin, but if you read the actual text, a lot of it is written in a way that lets you decide whether a certain action is right or wrong. I think this is where Islam’s encouragement of the concept of free will comes in. You are free to make your own decision and every decision you make will have consequences. A lot of Muslims would not agree with this view but I think Allah gave us this free will for a reason, and I don’t think it is okay for you to not think for yourself just because a scholar told you this is wrong/right. Because humans are imperfect and biased and each one has their own set of views or values through which they interpret the Holy Book. I don’t understand why being a religious Muslim also seems to constitute not think for yourself. So as far as Zayn being a Muslim or not, that is not for US Muslims to decide on, or anyone else for that matter, like we’re the Muslim police and we know what’s truly in his heart. If he says he’s Muslim and declares shahada, then he is a Muslim.

    As far as music being sinful, I think its funny that people say this and don’t realize that Quran audio and our Athan (call to prayer) is always recited in a sing-songy way. It sounds beautifully melodic to me. Music can be such a positive outlet, leading to cultured, disciplined youth, and there have been countless times where music has kept kids off the streets. Clearly the work of the devil here *sarcasm*

    • Muneer Rao says:

      Hats off to you mm . I wish that every muslim and non muslim get wisdom like you to interpret the holy Quran in such a correct sense .

  5. hafsa says:

    Do not expect how much I love you “zayn”… !!I hope to meet you inchallah

  6. I agree “zayn” Islam and the Koran are the basis of life, because I’m also a Muslim and believe in the Lord ..And I love Muslims.. like you …So you are the best among your friends !!

  7. Maria says:

    I might not be a muslim but still if thats what he chose he should do it because nobody is in charge to tell him what to do with his life hes already 19 and he sholud do what he is here to do.

    • zaki intan says:

      all the things that i want to say about that article is that we should know that music made us all unite whatever who or where you are. and we’re here all over the world unite as “zayn malik lovers” is that wrong?

  8. Islam is the last of religions such as Christianity and Judaism, and is not a religion Satan, we are Muslims our religion such as you in your religion!

    We Muslims are afraid of God does not hear the songs, etc. .

    And not like your religion between Judaism and Christianity Naked women etc … Mary not be naked .. Mary is the mistress of the world and we Muslims love Mary wearing hijab and cover the body, chaste

    We Muslims believe in all the Apostle, Moses and Jesus peace be upon him, etc.
    Islam is the last of religions
    Islam is the religion of truth

    • Hadir says:

      Can you please stop with the “we”s? No one person can talk for millions of Muslims out there. To be a Muslim is to believe in the basis of Judaism and Christianity and to also respect Mary, Moses, and Jesus.

      Also I find it ironic that Muslims are saying that Zayn Malik is not a Muslim because he sings, smokes and has tattoos… Most of the Muslim Middle East is over run by music artists and smokers. As a Muslim whose been to the Middle East believe me when I say that the Muslims there are more modernized and care free than immigrated Muslims for some reason…

      And who are we as human beings to judge each other? Only god can judge us. The Quran says that we have our religion and they have theirs.

    • I am a Muslim girl from Egypt. i do not know even my comment will be read or not. i read the report and I am very happy of it. Only one thing i notice that most of people are wondering. how Muslims know weather this action is right or wrong. My answer is that Allah,God, gave us the Quran and put all his instructions in it. Now Someone will say so what! there are many things in the Quran is vague. and i will answer for that ” hey guys why you are making it a problem did u forget Sunnah :) ;) ” For who do not know what the mean of Sunnah its simply that God knows many things in the Quran may be appear unclear to us so god inspired to prophet Mohamed ( Peace and blessings be upon him , عليه الصلاه و السلام ) with an answer to these vague things because god know how humans think and that they want answer for every thing especially when it is related to what is Halal and Haram (Forbidden and allowed). So many Scholars read this Sunnah and start explaining it to Muslims and that is it. :). One last thing i wana say Prophet Mohamed said ” إني قد تركت فيكم ما إن اعتصمتم به فلن تضلوا أبدا ، كتاب الله ، و سنة نبيه” which means “O People! No Prophet or Apostle Will Come after Me and No New Faith Will Be Born. Reason well, therefore, O People! and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QUR’AN and my SUNNAH (i.e., sayings, deeds, and approvals) and if you follow these you will never go astray. So guys i hope that , if someone will read my comment first of all thank you for reading second i hope i solved this problem. I love Zayn may be now he is doing something wrongs and Haram but Im sure that one day he will stop doing it . May be now he is thinking that i can not stop singing music is my life. but as he is really Muslim there will be a voice from deep of his heart saying ” What I am doing is wrong and i will leave it one day but now at this moment i cannot” but plz Zayn if really this voice is inside harry up may be one die in anytime before this chance comes. Islam call with tolerance, cooperation , peace and love so plz Muslims do not leave with ur comments a bad impression for Unmuslims who reads ur comment

      thank you very much :) :)

    • Rayana says:

      زين انت مسلم من ريانا خليل الجحدلي انا أعيش في تلهاسي الله و يدك الجنة انت و اهلك

  9. saja says:

    im a muslim,and my opinion is to leave zayn alone hes free to do what he likes and neither me ,you or anyone can judge him except god so stop telling him what muslims are and arnt suppossed to do cause hes free to express his religion in anyway he pleases,LEAVE ZAYN ALONE.love you zaynnn <3

    • eman says:

      I agree with you Saja. I am a Muslim too and I don’t agree with everything zayn does, but none of us have the right to judge him. We should accept him the way he is.

  10. eman says:

    I agree that some of the things zayn is doing are haram such as getting piercings and tattoos, but everyone has different beliefs about their religion. Some are more conservative than others. If he says he is a Muslim, he is a Muslim, and only Allah can judge if he is a good or bad Muslim. He is 100% free to do what he wants and if he knows what’s considered right and wrong, then he knows if what he does in his life is acceptable or not. (According to the holy Quran) we should accept zayn the way he is even if he does things we Muslims think are wrong.

    • Gada says:

      I totally agree. Nowhere on the Quraan does it say music is haram. It’s scholars who try to interpret the Quraan and set rules who declared it, not only based on their interpretation of ayat which sometimes don’t even mention music, but also on personal opinion. I was really surprised that a lot of people have the idea that tatoos are haram! They are not haram, and neither are earnings, although earrings are frowned upon. Smoking is also frowned upon From my point of view, Zayn Malikis a step forward and proof that Islam does not stand on the way of Muslims, and that when they do things, it doesn’t have to be about Islam. So I see Zayn Malik as a step forward, showing young people that Muslims are not identified by the wodespreas stereotypes about Muslims, encouraging young Muslims to take the initiative to defy stereotypes and take a step out of the box called tradition, which although shouldn’t be forgotten, is a major hindrance to muslims in some areas, and also what Muslim discrimination is sometimes based upon. Lastly, Schlussel is SO an extremist and making her false interpretations based on her imagination. And the thing about the keffiya, that made me laugh. Yea this is a long comment… I should have just wrote an article. All from the mouth of a 16 year old Muslim Lebanese American girl.

    • Gada says:

      I don’t mean to be rude, but where did you get the idea that tatoos and piercing are haram? They’re not, although they are makruh, which means they are not encouraged, but not haram. I know many Muslims with tatoos who come from conservative families, in America and in Lebanon.

      • Hadir says:

        Tattoos are haram though because they ruin the image God created us in. As for pircings they heal? So I’m not sure how that works. Only that a male is not supposed to subject himself to looking like a female and that is where I think pircings are haram comes in…. Other than that only Allah can judge us and as long as you do your best to fulfill the five pillars of Islam then you are a MUSLIM. And he says he fasts so as far as I’m concerned he IS a Muslim and at the end of the day it’s really not up to me or you or anyone else to decide as to whether or not he’s Muslim.

    • Muneer Rao says:

      I agree with you eman .

  11. Mahnoor M says:

    I loved your post. This was truly what I wanted to say!!
    Every Muslim has a right to make their own decisions without the world criticizing them! And like any normal human being or muslim or even individuals from other religions … I personally believe that Zayn Malik has the right to decide for himself n his actions! And I salute him for being a proud Muslim and not hiding it! He’s still standing as a successful artist and living his dream while tolerating all the nonsense and criticism and blames about terrorism!!! So I think it’s enough already and let the kid live his life!! He has his parents, himself and his own Muslim beliefs to decide for himself!! Go Zayn! Am rooting for you! And following you on twitter (:
    – mahnoor

  12. Cookies123 says:

    No! Music is not haram or to be a pop singer.

  13. MUSLIM says:

    لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

    i belive that zayn is a muslim :) and he should be proud of islam
    Alhammd llah

  14. Zelin nanda irine says:

    ZAYN,YOU ARE MUSLIM? WOW!!! ME TOO!!

  15. zayn you are muslim????? :) me too

  16. انا مسلمية

  17. Elisa says:

    I totally agree. Nowhere on the Quraan does it say music is haram. It’s scholars who try to interpret the Quraan and set rules who declared it, not only based on their interpretation of ayat which sometimes don’t even mention music, but also on personal opinion. I was really surprised that a lot of people have the idea that tatoos are haram! They are not haram, and neither are earnings, although earrings are frowned upon. Smoking is also frowned upon From my point of view, Zayn Malikis a step forward and proof that Islam does not stand on the way of Muslims, and that when they do things, it doesn’t have to be about Islam. So I see Zayn Malik as a step forward, showing young people that Muslims are not identified by the wodespreas stereotypes about Muslims, encouraging young Muslims to take the initiative to defy stereotypes and take a step out of the box called tradition, which although shouldn’t be forgotten, is a major hindrance to muslims in some areas, and also what Muslim discrimination is sometimes based upon. Lastly, Schlussel is SO an extremist and making her false interpretations based on her imagination. And the thing about the keffiya, that made me laugh. Yea this is a long comment… I should have just wrote an article. All from the mouth of a 16 year old Muslim Lebanese American girl.

  18. zayn malik kristen or muslim? i think zayn malik good for muslim

  19. Oh yeah why not becuase the islum for all peopel …..zayn good job… i proud for zayn

  20. Shahrazad says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! I’m glad someone took the time to point out the facts of REAL Islam, not just all the stereotypes Americans (and many other people) hear all the time. Coming from a Muslim family, I’ve been subject to some pretty stupid comments/treatement, and it’s time people learned the truth!

  21. Reed Swink says:

    I’m a Christian and it’s a sin to smoke, drink, curse, use profanity, and many other things I do or have done. So a Muslim could blur the lines too. It’s not like they’re all Islamic extremists that wear a Burqaa. People need to be more open minded.

    • Moe says:

      But wearing a burka doesn’t mean a women is an extremist or her family is extremist. By burqa i do not mean the niqab (face covering), I mean simply the traditional one piece head and body covering although it applies there as well. It definitely doesn’t mean that this individual is politicized, they wear it out of belief, culture and tradition, etc. The most common reason is conservative beliefs and interpretations resting on Quranic texts and Hadtihs. If you ever go to any Muslim country or talk with someone who wears burqa you will find there isn’t anything different from her as a woman to other women in the world. Same concerns and desire for better life are universal.

      Being openminded means accepting people as they are no matter how odd as long as they follow the law. All women I know who wear burqa are college educated, many have had successful careers, some as doctors both in the West and in Muslim countries. It may be a bit conservative, but is no sign that she is an extremist,uneducated, or she is an oppressed women waiting to be rescued by enlightened western liberalism.

      Some Muslim women choose to wear the hijab and burqa. Get over it.

      • mak says:

        ^ Respect

      • hats says:

        I agree with you so much. People think we’re ‘forced’ to wear it and it is required but really most of us wear it cause we feel comfortable in it. Wearing a hijab or burqa doesn’t mean you’re an extremist nor oppressed but a feeling of comfort and conservation.

  22. IQRA KALIM says:

    ZAYN IS A MUSLIM AND IS PROUD I WEAR CROSSES TOOO BUT IT DOSENT MEAN I BELIEVE IN HAZRAT ISA MORE THEN MY GOD ALLAH .I AM A MUSLIM AND SOOO MUCHH PROUD MASHALLAH I THINK FROM MY OPINION POP IS ALLOWED IN ISLAM BUT RAP SONGS ARENT ALLOWED CUZ THEY CONTAIN FILTHY WORDS AND PEOPLE JUST LOOOK AT YOUR OWN SELF FIRST AND THEN COMMENT ON MY ZAYNNY HE IS 10 TIMES MORE BETTER THEN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET THAT STRAIGHT IN YOUR BIGGGG BRAAAINSSSS

  23. Aamir says:

    interesting article. I just wanted to add…since the time the quran was revealed – god did not bestow any individual with the authority to pass statements or claims on his behalf (this includes our so called “scholars, immams, religious authorities, etc” . The fact is nowhere in the quran does it mention such useless matters discussing whether pericings/tatoos/singing are haram or halal- do you SERIOUSLY think that god would concern himself with such stupid matters? god doesn’t give a rats a$$ (excuse my language) – but religious authorities do… they have their own interests and agendas- and we willing trust them because they wear robes, and have beards, and scare people to juma with the ‘judgement day’ (none of which is mentioned in the quran). The quran was revealed prevent humankind from being plaqued by this nonsense….but the exact opposite has happened. This may be hard to swallow- but modern day islam is 360 opposite from the quran.

    • NT says:

      Now before you even go off on defense mode, I have teenage kids and I see where the youth is messing up, not all, some! The problem with today’s youth is that they twigg the Deen to accommodate their lifestyle…instead you should build your lifestyle around the Deen, most importantly live in the example of the Prophet sws. If you are doing anything else besides that, you are out of the fold of Islam…period!!! We run around holding up a banner that says..”we cannot judge anyone blah blah blah…” and we use that catch phrase cos its a GREAT catch phrase. its a ‘politically correct’ thing to say! but the moment you sit down with your spiritual self….u gonna see the cracks but becos we enjoy doing what we doing so much, we will find a way to justify our actions…and I say this to myself first! First things first…knowledge is power…,make sure that u know what u talking about. Forget about sufiasm, forget about shiaism….read up on the main source of Islam…the Quraan and the sunnah of our Beloved Prophet sws. It addresses all aspects of life..from dress code, to behaviour, to science, astronomy…anything and everything you can think of…its there! Pick it up and find the cool in it. The Youth claim to have so much intelligence, yet they swallow the media hype of shaytaan…Sure Zayn is cool, he epitomizes what every teenager wants to be…but is he really what every muslim teenager wants to be? what has he done to change your world? Has he done away with oppression? MMMmmm…nope! has he provided women with equality?……urrm nope!! The Nabi sws has made all the changes that we take for granted today…He has given the world the gift of reading, female liberation, set humanity free, change tyrants, implemented government by the people for the people….in a nutshell, the Prophet sws is the greatest man ever…so howcum we dnt see the ‘cool” in that? howcum we think…half naked tattoed bodies who sing about disrespecting women and girls, profanity, perversion etc…Ive listened to One Direction’s music…its soft and gentle but the issue is not about their music, its about Zayn not the person but Zayn the muslim and how our youth perceive what a Muslim should be like. You see, Zayn does not know who u and I are, but we know what he brings to the world and what he brings is words, the question is whose words are those and how does it improve my life or yours for the better? Does it improve my Islam or doesn’t it? We make them our heroes when they have done nothing to earn their heroism, they tickle our eardrums with fabulous words that make our heart skips a beat for the boy or girl who doesnt deserve our attention. Ultimately…most of us (Inshaa Allah) live beyond our youth, and its becos of this fact, that our muslim youth should start to invest in who they will become as muslim adults and not make people relevant who cannot heighten their Imaan.

  24. Aamir says:

    btw…i just came across this article by mistake- I did not know who zain malik was until now. Nor do I care…but good topic nonetheless…. and I’m probably setting myself up for a lot of bashing.

    • WhatYouLookinAt says:

      I’ll probably get lots of beef for writing this but I don’t think it’s right to preach about Islam after doing everything the religion forbids. What is the point in being Muslim if you’re just gonna ignore the rules? Surely it is a sin?

      Sorry Malik but according to Islam, you’re going straight to hell dude.

      And all you 12 year old Muslim girls fangirling over him need to get a life!

      As for Schlussel, you my dear are an attention seeking spawn of the devil with a rotten racist mind. May you burn in the hell fire on the day if judgement.

      Have a nice day! ^_^

      • Muneer Rao says:

        And how do you know the scholars who preach islam havent done any sin or haraam activity. I can tell you names of many who themselves do sins and tell others to follow taqwa. And by the way you are no one to decide who is going to hell or heaven God has himself said that its his job to judge the people .Who knows maybe you or i accompany Zain in hell or heaven.

      • Salmasf says:

        Who are you to decide that? Only Allah knows.

  25. taiba hussain says:

    atleast he doesnt hide who he actually is, hes not going round saying that he is not a muslim so just leave him be.

  26. anns bilal says:

    i tottaly agree.because his father is a pakistani

  27. M.T says:

    EVERY HAS HIS OWN FREEDOM! LEAVE EVERYBODY ALONE … I’M A MUSLIM YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN AND HE IS A JUDAS! …

  28. mercelyn says:

    Wow, zayn you’re a muslim.. hmp!! Me too :)

  29. Salma Syed says:

    I don’t think we should look at the action of people around us. Zayn Malik can do what he wants to do, anyone can do what they want. They can try to prove that something is haram or halal. Islam really isn’t that complicated. There is only one person to follow-Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).His sunnah and way of life applies to our life just as much as it did 1400 years ago. Only Allah know who is going to Hell and who is going to Heaven. There could be someone who shows everyone how good of a Muslim they are, but when they are at home, they are doing bad things. Allah is the All-Knower. He know your true intentions. That is why you shouldn’t judge anyone for how good of a Muslim they are. Only Allah knows.

  30. This girl says:

    Some of the comments here are really revolting.. Saying he isn’t Muslim because he smokes, has tattoos, sings??? that’s possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m religious but something I recognize and something that others fail to is that ALL RELIGIONS PREACH SIMILAR SORT OF THINGS. Don’t sin, Love your neighbors, give thanks blah blah blah….It all started off of one religion and from there on people interpreted them differently and made them their own adding a few original touches. “God” loves all his children. It doesn’t matter what colour you are, or your habits. So all these people telling him he’s not Muslim? GUESS WHAT YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE.

  31. Emira says:

    I’m from KOSOVO You are Muslim Zayn me too ::p will speak in Albanian Zayn une jam krenare per ty.In English (Zayn I am proud of you )

  32. Raida says:

    Soooooo happy and proud ot se so many muslims.Thousand salams for zayn

  33. shiva says:

    muslimmmmm….proud of you <3 my love

  34. Ghina says:

    He’s 19 and he can do whatever he wants.. I think he knows that whatever choices he makes or any one of us(Muslims) make, we know that we will b answerable to God for them.. Which is why we’re given free-will.. To make choices.. He made his choice, then he must know what he’s doing.. And so he will answer to God himself when the time comes.. We should respect his choices wether they may seem Islamic or unislamic.

  35. Noor khan says:

    Zayn Malik is a human like all of us, he isn’t perfect neither are any of us! So cant we all just leave him alone..?? He makes mistakes… But so do we! None of us are perfect Muslims, Jews, Christians etc. So can we pls not blame and accuse him for the things most of us ourselves are also doing! We can not judge anyone and he will be judged and can only be rewarded/punished by God not us!! So pls leave him alone and try and improve yourselves rather than picking on people’s flaws!

  36. Pingback: Cultural Arts Review: “Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity” | World Religion News

  37. MAJIN says:

    he is a muslim, he will be going to heaven, but he have to go thru all the sin he have done, like tatoo, drinking, sex and that applies to all since he have a tatoo, the most important thing NAMAZ cant be done, in that condition, so if he believes in ISLAM, im really happy for him, atleast he believes but if he is not bothered abou the reality so he have to suffer ……..thank you

  38. Salleh says:

    You all should look from various angles before giving opinions. The first time I was thinking, if I was Zain. Destiny became famous singer. Well what do you think?

  39. someone says:

    i’m muslim too but i don’t think so that zayn is muslim , because muslin shouldn’t just says that i’m muslim and that’s all , he must show it in all of own life. muslim must live according to quran and try to live positive.

  40. Rayana says:

    I believe that zan is Muslim and has pleasant also I want to see you fas to fas but all I want you to do is خلي كلو 1D مسلمين الله يحضك و انا كمان مسلمه

  41. summer says:

    No they’re not psycho lol.
    You can still do wudhu and pray with tattoos as they are UNDER the skin. Know the facts before you give your 2 cents worth.

  42. Aakifah says:

    Although his nme is “Zayn Malik” it doesn’t mean dat he is muslim.Secondly is tht his mother is a non-muslim and his father-muslim which does mke hm a muslim BUT he is owt of da fall of ISLAM coz it is a sin 2 hve tatoo’s on ur body and drinkin,datin etc.Yet we dnt gve up hpe coz he might turn out 2 be a better MUSLIM thn us.May اللَّه open his eyes and soften his HEART and let hm live his lyf As a TRUE MUSLIM!!AMEEN

  43. Christina says:

    I am a Greek Orthodox Christian girl but I LOVE zayn and it doesn’t bother me one bit that he is Muslim!!! I totaly respect his religion and I am one of his BIGGEST fans!! To all those people who call him a terrorist just because he is a Muslim, YOU ARE ALL DIGUSTING RACIST PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO LIFE!!! At least zayn is proud of his religion and as a fan I support him 100% always no matter what!! I LOVE YOU ZAYN MALIK!!! xx

  44. Rameen says:

    Let Zayn live as he want why don’t we see other Pakistani singers what they want we are after him you don’t know how he really suffers from these hate all the time u just hate him for no reason leave him alone he is not a member of al-Qaeda or something he is just a British -Pakistani boy so my friends,family,cousins are he is different because he applied for Xfactor and got selected we’ll which we couldn’t do so we are jealous why him not us him whole family is Muslims we don’t see our flaws and Judgehim in front of our screens it does not mean that of
    If u are Christians u r awesome and if Muslims u can’t live or ur not have rights Zayn is a very good human he just don’t shows up his religion because he get hat a lot hates but still he does it and Zayn live please don’t make rumours about him all the time what is the problem if he tweets about his religion let him live and have a soft spot everyone support Zayn please he is really something

    • farah says:

      Assalamualaimum . I have been reading all of the comments above . I do feels glad for those people who trying to support zayn as we both muslims . Islam teaches us to love our brother and sister but i do feels bad too as you guys backing him up too much and putting away the lifestyle as written in quran and so do sunnah . If you are a muslim you should know what zayn have done is wrong . It’s true only Allah can decide hell or heaven for him . But it’s too obvious that he doesnt do things right as a muslim . All the free minded people here are backing him up because you guys love him and by that, you put away your religion and manipulated the content in quran and sunnah and put the blame on the scholar . tattoo is haram because it prevent the water when you take wudu’ or such to evenly get to your skin and also the process of drawing the tattoo is hurtful which is in islam it’s haram to hurts yourself as suicide and tattoo-ing . Men cant wear piercing or earring because it reasemble women .and for drinking alchohol , it’s haram because when we get drunk we often do things under our control such as zina .music is haram in islam if the singer are not covering their aurah and the lyrics contain filfthy words or when the songs takes u too far from the reality and if you are having too much fun listening to that music that you missed the prayer . Even if all of this things i stated here are not written in quran or in sunnah , me myself as muslim should have the awareness that a muslim should not do things which can makes the other religion thinking bad things about me as a muslim and a muslim should be different from the other religion as we have our own rules and such . Islam is really easy and uncomplicated we, the muslims who make it looks awful , complicated and more as we are all human being . Human makes mistakes but God doesnt . Whatever it takes if as long as you have a religion , you have to put your religion first . And being a free minded person isnt wrong as long you know the limits and think wisely . Everything that happen or going to happen has it owns reason . Zayn choose to be a muslim only on his name , i pray for him to gain Hidayah and taubat may Allah bless him and all of us also may Allah protects us from sins . InsyaAllah

  45. Ravneet says:

    I am a big fan of Zayn. He has the total rights to do what he wants with his life. I’m not a Muslim but I’m Indian my religion is almost like his.

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