An Evening With Ali

// March 24th, 2007 // Blog

A.k.a, An Evening of Belly Laughs

So, i went to the Ummah Films event, hosted by Imperial College ISoc, tonight. It was Fan-tas-tic. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. If laughter is the best medicine, i'm one healthy lady! The ISoc did such a great job, māshā’Allāh; it was a very professionally organised event.

It took a while for things to get started, but once brother Ali came out on stage, it all went swimmingly, māshā’Allāh. He is such a natural comedian, and seems to be a very genuine, down-to-earth individual. The thing i liked the most about him was his frequent mention of adaab (manners) and other Islamic issues in a very matter-of-fact way; he seemed like someone to whom Islam is a very natural state of being. What i mean is, it didn't feel like he was Islamifying his speech to sound pious, but rather, it just flowed from his lips, from his heart, because that is what he genuinely believes in and aspires to. Alhamdulillah, may Allāh reward him.

An example of this was a story he related about the time a non-Muslim lady asked him why he grows a beard; he said:
“Rather than explaining to her that it was Sunnah, and that Allāh, subhanahu wa ta 'ala, said this and that, i just asked her:
'Why does your son wear his pants down here?'; Ali waves his hands below his behind.
'And walk with a limp, like this?'; he demonstrates, much to our amusement.
'And wear his cap like this?'; he does a mime, putting a 'cap' on lopsided.
'And do all this stuff?'; he does the “yo yo yo” hand gesture.
'It's because those guys, like Eminem and 50 cent, have the money, the cars, the girls, MTV Cribs, and all that, and your son sees that as success. He copies them, because he wants to be 'successful', just like them. Well, Muslims see Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as the most successful human to have ever walked on Earth. No-one was more successful before him, and no-one will be more successful after him. He's been given the highest level of Jannah [Paradise], that none of us will ever be able to attain. We copy him, cos we want to be successful, just like him!'”.
Subhanallah, isn't that just a wonderful explanation of why we follow the Sunnah? Māshā’Allāh. [Btw, apologies for the lousy punctuation; i'm not sure how to write speech within speech!]

There were four Reminder videos shown, two of which were world premieres; at which i say a big “NYA HA! I got to see them before yooOOu!”. Teehee. Believe me, the two new videos are hi-freaking-larious; pant-wettingly funny! One was on marriage (yes, another one! He is making a series of four vids on this subject), and the other was on the importance of cleanliness. The latter video was killer. I laughed so much, i had to wipe the tears away with my khimar! It was so amazing to share the punchlines with an audience of 800; the Great Hall was filled with smiling faces, māshā’Allāh.

If you haven't realised it yet, i had a really good time!

One of the best moments of the whole evening was during the Q&A session, at the end, where one sister stands up and thanks brother Ali, saying that his videos encouraged her to read more about Islam, and eventually accept it. ALLAHU AKBAR! Brother Ali responded, saying that it is Allāh who deserves the thanks, and all he did was put in a little effort, the fruits of which he did not fully realise until he had heard similar stories from other reverts, like this sister. Just imagine how much reward brother Ali must be receiving; not only a reward for giving dawah, but then a continuous reward for every good deed that each revert carries out, thereafter. Subhanallah, it boggles the mind! May Allāh grant me such a fantastic source of reward.

The phenomenal success of Ummah Films, combined with brother Ali's insistence on keeping his intention pure, not making a single penny profit from the enterprise, reminded me of this hadith, narrated by Ibn Majah:
Abu 'Abbas Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'idi said, “A man came to the Prophet, may Allāh bless him and grant him peace, and said,
'Messenger of Allāh, show me an action for which Allāh will love me and for which people will love me if I do it.
He said, 'Do with little of this world and Allāh will love you, and do with little of what belongs to other people and people will love you.
Some say that this hadith is weak; even so, the meaning is clear and good, and i believe that it is personified by the noble efforts of brother Ali, and everyone at Ummah Films. Again, may Allāh reward them all.

They were filming the proceedings, so inshā’Allāh, it will be available for viewing eventually, most likely on Imperial ISoc's website [Correction: The show was being filmed on behalf of the Islam Channel & can be viewed here]. If you haven't yet seen any of the Reminder videos, THEN DO SO NOW!

9 Responses to “An Evening With Ali”

  1. Unique Muslimah says:

    Ahh that sounds like a beautiful evening. I do need a laugh these days so will see what all this is about since I have no clue what you’re talking about!

  2. shaz says:

    cool! he’s really talented, mashaAllah.

  3. Sumera says:

    the Ummah films are funny :D Wish he had come here!

  4. Farzeen says:

    Assalaamu’alaykum sis

    I’m going to reflect aloud here with you… (if you don’t mind).

    Since you posted this, my thoughts have swayed to Ummah Films and brother Ali’s ‘fame’ in the general community.

    Masha’Allah, I’m really happy for him that he is keeping it real and keeping himself humble, may Allah give him success and all those striving for Allah’s sake, ameen.

    It’s just interesting that so many people love the videos, yet he is not a comedian. He doesn’t have punch lines per se. His humour is in his delivery not content. His content is poking fun at the failings of our community for the purpose of shedding light on areas needing some serious improvements. In the least, his work provides a logically, Islamically-inclined refreshed perspective, insha’Allah.

    I had my share of chuckles about the wedding one because it’s true what he is saying and because I don’t care much to make a change in how people want to have their weddings.. But other things, such as behaviour during a khutba, I appreciate what he is saying and that he has the video, but it served as a great reminder (just as he intends for it to be – “This is Ali reminding you just in case you forgot”), not entertainment.

    I’m not saying entertainment is bad, but taking something deep or something intended for deeper use and turning into mere entertainment (I’m not saying you, I mean generally all of us), is just going to harm us even more because we can potentially desensitize ourselves to the need to improve. Wa Allahu’alim.

    I should note, I’m not criticizing the effort. I think it’s excellent, masha’Allah. I just think that Shaytan will sometimes let us forget the point of it all, which is really why I started thinking of it all in the first place.

    Oh, and I’m glad to hear you had a lovely evening :).

  5. iMuslim says:

    Salaams everyone.

    Farzeen, it is important to realize that brother Ali’s intention is to educate the Ummah through the medium of halal entertainment. At the event, he said that people remember things that make them laugh. He hopes that next time anyone is tempted to do one of the silly things he mocks, they’ll remember that they saw it on the Reminder video, become embarrassed, and not do it!

    The comments i heard at the event, and read on the Ummah Films site, show that it is working, inshallah.

    A lot of the Muslim youth grow up scared of Islam, because they think it is all really serious. Non-Muslims think we don’t have a sense of humour. The Reminder videos shows them both that they are wrong. Islam, of course, must be taken seriously, but it does not place a ban on fun, especially that which brings us closer to Allah via the Sunnah. It’s like two great things for the price of one!

    I understand that we should not go so far as to place emphasis on entertainment alone, but brother Ali doesn’t do that, mashallah. There were many moments during the event where the audience were completely silent, as we all contemplated on the advice that he was giving to us. In this way, i believe he has found a good balance; long may it continue, with Allah’s help.


  6. Farzeen says:

    Assalaamu’alaykum wa rahmatu Allah

    I agree entirely with you sis. I tried to emphasize the value of balancein my previous comment.

    My thinking-aloud concern was not about what brother ‘Ali is doing it or how he is doing it. My concern is what we do with it. Insha’Allah khayr.

  7. Daniel says:

    That was an interesting observation about Muslim youth growing up scared of Islam.

    I guess most non-Muslims think that it is a serious religion, one not given to laughter or loads of lightheartedness. Cheers!

  8. iMuslim says:

    Wa ‘alaykum salam wa rahmatullah.
    “My concern is what we do with it.”
    Yes, you are right. There is always the danger that after a while, we’ll just be tuning in to the Reminder series to get our fix of funnies, rather than hear some nasihah. I suppose we will still be exposed to the advice, but its impact upon us may be diminished, a’authobillah.
    In that sense, perhaps there is a limited life-span to the Reminder series. However, brother Ali has some exciting film projects in the pipe line, which should be very interesting, inshallah. However, as it is a part-time venture (he actually has a day job, hehe), i’m not sure when they’ll be ready.

    Daniel: My observation is partly based upon personal experience. It’s all about presentation. Islam itself is not “scary”, but the way some of the older generation teach it, can be quite off-putting. I think some Christian children go through the same experience at Sunday school, when they have scary priests/nuns, teaching them!
    As i said, it is a serious religion, because life is serious. However, there is room for entertainment, and relaxation, because human beings cannot function without it. If we cannot function, we cannot worship. It’s all about moderation.

  9. piniyini says:

    Have to chip in here and say it was a very good event! I was surprised at the number of people that turned up.

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