Lessons from Star Wars

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// March 22nd, 2007 // Blog

Last night, i had the pleasure of finally catching the last episode (chronologically-speaking) of the infamous Star Wars saga, Revenge of the Sith. Being a prequel, i knew what to expect from the story line, but it was still worth the watch, just to see how things end up the way they do. The funny thing was, deep down, i still yearned for a 'happy' ending, where Anakin Skywalker somehow altered his fate to become Lord Vader, by giving two fingers to the 'dark side' – but alas, it was not to be.

I noticed that this episode registered especially high on the morality-meter, and had a lot to say about politics, relationships and life, in general. Although I am not really a Star Wars enthusiast, my efforts to explain some of the more intriguing lessons i weaned from the film has lead to my essay becoming too long to be read in one sitting. So, in typical George Lucas-style, i have split it into three parts, which i will post over the next few days. I am also issuing a spoiler warning, as i talk about various subplots in detail.

Part I: Love does not conquer all

Hollywood is famous for its tales of daring romance. The hero always saves the day, and gets the girl. Often, love is portrayed as the only reason to get out of bed in the morning, the very essence of life, and the answer to all problems. However, not so in Episode III. It is the deep love that Jedi Skywalker has for his wife, Padame, that ultimately proves to be his Achilles heel; the catalyst for his conversion to the Dark Side of the Force. Haunted by premonitions of her death, he was tricked into thinking that the Dark Side would give him the power to save her. However, the awful irony was that his 'crossing-over' ended up being the cause of her eventual demise. When Padame confronted Anakin about his murderous adventures, his new found powers cloud his judgement, and in a fit of paranoid rage, he strangled her to the point of unconsciousness, with the same vice-like 'death grip' that would become his signature attack in future episodes.

Anakin's marriage had to be kept secret, as Jedis, in their effort to remain detached from worldly distractions, are not allowed to form such relationships. If he had done the 'right thing' to begin with, by resisting his urges, then perhaps he may have been saved from the path of self-destruction. This all sounds very familiar to anyone of religious persuasion: temptations of the flesh leading to the downfall of the human spirit. However, the answer is not just to deny oneself, and live life as a celibate monk. The problem here was not that Anakin loved Padame, but rather that his intention was incorrect; his love bordered on selfish greed. This was why he could not accept that her fate was to die during childbirth; he didn't want to be alone, and face that pain, even though her death would not have been to her disadvantage, as Jedis also believe in some sort of afterlife (becoming one with the Force, or something). As the saying goes, “If you love someone, let them go”.

Love, as with any emotion or action, for the sake of Allāh alone, is the only kind of love that can lead to good; whether it be love for one's wife, love for one's family, or for a stranger. Where it is forbidden, then the intention to please God will ideally keep one safe from entering into a harmful relationship, i.e., zina , or will motivate one to alter the situation so that that love becomes permissible, accepted and nurtured, i.e., a publicised marriage. Unfortunately, Jedis don't seem to believe in God, so some brothers will have to travel across the galaxy to give them dawah.

Another potential lesson is that although romantic love can be beautiful and fulfilling, it can also be all-consuming and deadly. Basically, love isn't all its cracked up to be, so maybe we should take it off the mighty pedestal erected by Hollywood, and be more realistic about its importance in our lives. That is something i need to work on, for sure.

In the next episode of Lessons from Star Wars, i ask, “Is Evil stronger than Good?“.

5 Responses to “Lessons from Star Wars”

  1. AnonyMouse says:

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    Cause for celebration!!!! A new post, and it happens to be a post about Star Wars! Yaaaayyyyy!!!!! =D

    Hahahaha… I love Star Wars… my brothers and I are HUGE fans! :P
    We have the original trilogy, and Ep.3 on DVD…

    I found Ep.3 pretty depressing (because I love happy endings too, and even though I knew that Anakin HAD to become Darth Vader, I kept hoping he wouldn’t…), but it had quite a few important lessons in it too!

    Haha… can’t wait for the next post!

  2. Lucyp says:

    I saw the first star wars and never got the taste for any of the others despite Harrison Ford being a cutey back then.

  3. Unique Muslimah says:

    Yay a new post. I was missing those sis! I’ve never watched star wars. But I’m like that, always the last one to watch something after the hype. Like I never watched Lord of the Rings until three years later. LOVED IT! Never watched the matrix until 6 years later after the hype, LOVED IT! See, I like to watch movies because I want to watch them, not because everyone is getting hyped on them- I don’t like to follow the crowd- hehe.
    So someone told me I was mad for not watching star wars. I don’t know why I always get the image of STAR TREK when someone says star wars?! Anyway maybe in a few years when I have time on my hands I’ll watch it.

  4. Farzeen says:

    Assalaamu’alaykum

    I agree with your sentiments dear sister, but where you propose taking love off the mighty pedestal, I suggest maybe that we leave it there but redefine it. Love is a powerful and beautiful when it’s selfless, insha’Allah. Unfortunately, Hollywood promotes a selfish kind of love..in abundance.

  5. iMuslim says:

    Wa ‘alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    Mouse: I’m glad to see you are pleased! I thought i may be a little ‘sad’ to post on such a topic; so nice to have your support!

    Lucy: So, you’re not a fan of science fiction?

    U.M.: Star Trek & Star Wars are very different, even though they are both about adventures in Space! I like both of them, though not the Star Trek films… they aren’t as good as Star Wars.

    Farzeen: Romantic love is, er, lovely! But sometimes we quest after it at the expense of all other things, especially in marriage. Many couples divorce when they are no longer “in love”, like they used to be. In the case of arranged/assisted marriages, such intense love may not blossom immediately, even if both partners are respectful of one another, causing one or both partners to be disappointed, weakening their relationship.
    I think many of us have been groomed by Hollywood into thinking it is something that we are owed, rather than a gift. So when we don’t feel it, we think everything is wrong. I suspect that is how i am, and i don’t think that it is correct.

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