Sanctity of Worship Places and The Excess

Historical and heritage sites are often used as a backdrop for television and movie shoots of various sorts. It is nothing new. A lot of public service spots, music videos and the likes have in the past made good ambient use of the above-mentioned. There remains one point though. Permissions regarding the nature of videography, if they are in accordance with the relevant location being used are primarily taken and issued beforehand. This particular step clarifies the shoot and more or less no issues are created.

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A dodgy matter that created much hue and cry among several folks of Pakistan was the controversial filming of Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed’s music video at the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. Last night on Sunday 9 August 2020,  the subject flamed like a forest fire across several social media platforms. Some were cussing and denouncing the act itself along with the artists while others were taking sides in a sly manner making is a separate issue of the clerics. The funniest point in the entire burning issue when most of the posts that appeared started targeting the clerics rather than sticking to the issue. This reminds one of the recent video of a rapper shooting a song in the church which got denounced as well, however it took the ‘blacklivesmatter’ to the drain. None of the tweets nor other posts on social media saw the diocese being blamed for anything. In Dubai there have been fashion shoots in mosques but the attires and the subjects had been in accordance with the authorities of the mosque for publications. Prior permissions and storyboards had been submitted for the authorities to approve of. Now the question arises whether or not due permissions were taken and the detailed storyboard of what the shoot comprised was taken to the authorities bringing them into confidence.

As a whole, the idea is that every place has its particular sanctity. Beginning from your home and the privacy to your workplace and its ethics to various other outing spots. Haven’t we noticed that eating is prohibited in a lot of places. That is the policy. It is the same as being at a traffic signal where it says stop while being alone and the decision is entirely ours whether or not to use our conscience and civic sense as to break it or wait the duration of the signal. Coming back to the subject we do not hear much about the same in churches and synagogues. Why? The question is left for the readers to ponder over! Let’s for example take Tel Aviv. It is supposed to be the world’s most ‘over’ liberal city but we have never heard or seen a shoot of the nature that this issue is about, being shot at their worship places. Another example from Pakistan dates back a few decades. This was when a fashion shoot was to be done at the Christian Graveyard. It was done. The theme was Goth. However, all due permissions were taken well in advance.

The problem that seems to surround the Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed controversy is that the music was or was not in accordance with the norms of our society. In simple meaning was it something that would rouse the public sentiment giving an opportunity to anti islamists to take advantage of it. This controversy gave them that edge and much posts last night could be seen deviating from the main subject – not to mention it was laughter provoking rather than a serious viral thread read. For the well informed we need not say more.

Bilal Saeed promptly issued an on online apology as soon as he saw the mess hit the fan.

Saba, tried clarifying, that the video was altered in post production and the original footage that was shot was not intended to go beyond a certain level of acceptance and very basic nikah related song video linking. She further stated on her twitter account ” Despite this if we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart. Love & Peace!”
Now who is telling the truth is anybody’s guess as the other footage that is said to be prepared in post has not surfaced yet.

All said and done, we maintain that every worship place has its sacred sanctity and reverence. That sanctity cannot be dismissed easily. And it should not be, in any case. The couple doesn’t truly deserve harsh punishment but what is required, keeping international Islamic Standards in mind a full due apology. That is the ‘criterion’ which is good enough, as Islam is a forgiving and peace loving religion.

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