Happy… Why?

We made a strategic decision to not post anything the first two days after the release of Pharrell – Happy British Muslim Project. It was beneficial to monitor in retrospect the reactions, energies and ebbs and flows circulating through cyber space. If we had responded immediately it would have been an inevitably emotional reaction as opposed to constructive and coherent. In our detachment we have learnt so much.

Our intention is clear.

To rethink the rulebook. We want to reconsider how we go about religious expression. We have a continuously growing community that is more eclectic, creative and competent than ever before. Yet, the platform for them to nurture such skills and competencies are stunted in the current religious climate. We want to look at things differently and partake in initiatives outside the usual mosque, event hall and madrasa. We have many projects coming ahead and they’re about movement – we’re moving away from institutionalized understandings of Islam (be they implemented by Muslims or otherwise) back to our roots of being an accessible community. A relevant community. We want to try and inspire a previously disenfranchised Muslim generation, who feels lost in and amongst the numerous people teaching them the do’s and don’ts before teaching them about the heart.

We are anonymous. It is our raison d’être. It is why we have such a dedicated group of people around us. The anonymity is a symbol of integrity, and integrity doesn’t need a face. It’s not about how long your phonebook is, how big your wallet is or famous your name is. We want to empower the previously disempowered individual. To give him/her the platform to feel as though he/she can positively plug into their community. To be honest with you, as people, we’re disappointing, and you’d probably be let down. But as a message or an ideal, we have reached 500,000 people in two days. Why is it a success? Because there is no face behind it, no organisational hang-ups or bureaucracy. It has come from a pure and clear intention and resulted in the global community feeling as if they have a sort of collective ownership over it. The positive sentiments resonate globally and the world defends it as if they all feature in it. This is you putting all of us before yourself. Isn’t that beautiful?

We learnt something new and inspirational about our community these last two days. Even amongst the supportive Muslims from similar inclinations, ideologies and perspectives there has rarely been unequivocal unity in our community. But if this video has done anything, it is to galvanise a tremendous, unified and coherent community voice in its defence. Cross-cultural, inter-organisational, multi-ethnic; we have all become one. And what has been the unifying force? Happiness. We’ve come together in defence of our right to feel immense pride in a religious tradition that facilitates our happiness in this life and the hereafter. So when observing the comments, blogs and updates by people from all walks of life we can’t help but feel emotional in the best of ways. For making us feel that, we thank all of you.

We will do our best to continue with our main goal of making our community happy, bringing people together and spreading hope. But this is a ‘we’ movement, not a ‘me’ movement. The movement’s success is reliant on how many people are willing to give a little bit of themselves for the greater good.

We need you to join us in spreading the happiness. Share it, tweet it, write about it. Create your own happy video for your country or city and let us know about it. Hashtag #happymuslims so everyone who supports it feels the collective happiness and let’s ride this wave together. We’re not scared anymore; we’ve seen the light in all of you. It’s about time our generation made a change.

Bismillah.

Click below for more happiness:

#happymuslims !!

47 thoughts on “Happy… Why?

  1. You have the support of everyone at Rumi’s Cave, keep doing what you’re doing!

    Over the past few years we have been working towards similar ends on the ground; and we believe that the success of our project is a direct indicator of the need for new forms of engagement.

    It’s not about dominating the discourse, but rather recognising that different people/communities/generations have different needs and that we should dismiss anyone on the basis of this. Rather we should help to facilitate a whole range of projects, enabling people to empower their own communities.

    Lots of love,

    rumis.org

  2. Pingback: Happy British Muslims: the video that made me dance for joy | Top latest breaking world news today

  3. What a refreshingly honest outlook!
    This feels like this Islam I grew up with as a boy in Yorkshire before we all became so serious and introspective
    Marsh’Allah.

  4. I am a poet who hasn’t written anything since my first son was born and this moved me to write! And moved my kids to dance with joy! Jazzak Allah!

  5. I feeeeeeeeeeel this!!!!!!
    Omg…just as i was reluctantly feeling disheartened n lone voiced..along come honesty policy with the thoughts n words swimming n swirling in my head for years! This ethos is the way forward..

  6. This is really wonderful. I appreciate seeing something we share– happiness, love of music and dance, which bring us together– despite our differences.

    Your atheist, american, bisexual friend.

  7. This made me smile on the inside and outside.
    As a wise man once said;
    ” utterly utterly brilliant!”
    🙂

  8. “We’re not scared anymore; we’ve seen the light in all of you.” That is the real j-word brothers and sisters…standing up for what you believe in and not being afraid of tyrannical voices. And boy has it paid off! May Allah protect your anonymity and give BIG UPS to this happiness project =D

  9. I’m a white, British atheist. I am also a socialist who admires hugely what you are attempting to do.
    I wish there were more groups with the same noble ambition of encouraging people to do something for the collective good of their communities
    Good luck and may your God bless you

  10. There’s a growing number of us out here who are fed up with the dominance of a stern, ugly, judgmental voice that has dominated discourse since the 90s and is now embedded in our communities. The comments your video has resulted in show the polarised nature of British Islam but a show down is long overdue. We need to stand up to the nutters who have hijacked Islam and ensure the the plurality of Islam is no longer hidden.

    • This isn’t just a reaction against that. It’s to show people that Muslims are normal people and not separate from the society of Britain. This is to say most of us are normal people who have always just wanted to be a better person to support a better community and in turn a better society.

  11. Please ignore the critics, salaam alaikum to you all, you are doing a great job and I greatly admire your mission statement 😀

  12. Pingback: The Saturday song | OyVaGoy

  13. Quilliam foundation is failing therefore now you resort to this using the youth that was neglected? You will find that you cannot change Islam ever, the pure form of Islam cannot be removed from the hearts of all Muslims. You may be able to influence the ignorant youth and people who have been desensitized to immorality and shamelessness.

  14. For me Islam is about joy and delight; not about stern faced misery merchants pronouncing everything as haram or narcissistic self publicists who claim to represent liberal or progressive Islam. This is really life affirming and Islam-affirming for ordinary Muslims. Keep up the good work! PS, if you do another video, can I be in it?

  15. Totally inspirational!! Funny, engaging and unique. Let us reclaim our tradition from all those extremes that supposedly represent us. We have remained in the shadows for too long! Our message is one of love, tolerance and the highest morality. God bless.

  16. Have been umming and arring for an age heard your song and hit the local islamic centre Thursday evening saying shahadah next Thursday,once a hater now a peacemaker.keep going

  17. You’ve created something that is heartwarming and honest and non judgemental and so very brilliant, whilst reaching out to different generations and viewpoints.
    Once again the youth humble us old folk – well done and shrug off the doom and gloom!

  18. Hi, I’m not a muslim. Just wanted to say I love what you are doing and wish you all well and success in bringing happiness to our world. Love and peace to all.

  19. Thank you for this. It made me feel happier than before I saw it. I wish you good of it, and hope the judgemental voices cannot shut you up or close you down.

  20. May Allah guide you all 🙂 , personnaly AS A MUSLIM I will not be able to accept that 1 015 597(the number of views when i saw it) people watched my mother\wife\sister\daughter DANCING, where is your jaleousy people !!? MAY ALLAH GUIDE US to the right path.
    my opinion is right and might be wrong, and your action is wrong and might be right. Salam

  21. I am not a sad sob who hates everyone or forces every woman to wear a niqab. I love to be happy and smiling is charity. However there are just certain rules we must abide by. Certain borders not to cross, within these borders everything is allowed. This is about the heart, we need to understand what our Lord, The Creator loves and what He hates. Stay away from what He hates and do exactly that which He loves. If you do exactly the opposite then what does this say about your heart? I mean I would love to sing and dance around all day singing bollywood songs to every brown girl I encounter on the streets, but is this appropriate? You tell me, or perhaps don’t. Allah knows best.

  22. Checkout this excellent response video to the “Happy Muslims” video. It certainly wasn’t a way to make Muslims happy, but a great way to make us angry for the sake of Allah. As Muslims we love what Allah loves and hate what Allah hates. I can vouch for the fact that when you give up that Western lifestyle of alcohol, music and free mixing, true happiness comes through Islam. Happiness gained in this life whilst disobeying Allah, is short and temporary but true happiness in the hereafter is eternal.

    • British society is, well, British. Like it or not, Britain is not an Islamic state. It is wrong for westerners to behave disrespectfully in a Muslim country, and I believe the same respect should be shown in a Christian country. There are differences between Christianity and Islam of course. (I am neither a Christian nor a Muslim.) If followers of either religion feel that they are being persecuted by the other, the most obvious solution is not to live in a state where the “persecuting” religion is the predominant cultural force. But I for one think that if you take the hate-inspriing rhetoric out of the conversation, Muslims and Christians can co-exist perfectly well, ignoring the aspects of each others’ cultures which are incompatible with their own. Muslims can be happy in Britain, and they enrich our society. Why is it so hard to live and let live, to be happy in your way and let others be happy in theirs? No one wants Muslim to become Christians; Islamists should not expect Christians to abandon their faith in Christian countries (because that is what we mean when we talk about “oppressive western governments”). And nobody, whatever their beliefs, approves of the scenes shown at the end of this video, scenes which were not filmed in Britain. It saddens me, a non-Christian and non-Muslim, to read the entrenched rhetoric of hatred which this joyous video has revealed. There is no filth in it, no immodesty, just an expression of innocent, pure joy by british Muslims living in Britain. I’m sorry to write so much, and sorry if it triggers more hatred. But the negative reactions have greatly saddened me. The video and the broadly positive reaction to it make me want to learn more about Islam.

  23. To those who didn’t like and especially those who made the Not-So-Happy riposte: the religion isn’t your personal property so stop acting like it is and in any case, you’re never bleeding happy.

  24. I can be happy by not imitating the west the same people who kill our brothers and sisters in the middle east, oh im not a salafi im a muslim who is proud of his identity and i will not jump around or free mix or listen to music just to be accepted.
    Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful.

  25. I am not a Muslim but an agnostic. I am a doctor with many Muslim patients for whom I have immense affection. For so long I have been bewildered by the difference between the Muslims that I meet in the privacy of my consultations and the cold, judgemental, forbidding, impression created by what I assume to be a dominant clique monopolising public attention. I think that I may have been waiting for your video although I did not know it. You have done a wonderful thing!

  26. I’m deeply touched by this video and the stereotypes it will, no doubt, diminish. All religion is at its heart about joy.
    “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi

  27. That video in response to the honesty policy was really embarrassing to watch. Sisters, is that really a way of doing dawah, if that was the intention? There are many different ways of doing this.

  28. I’m far from a hardcore wahabist, but Muslim women wearing tight pants dancing around life a bunch of kuffar is just shameful new world order propaganda. You wanna wear tight pants and no hijab, thats your choice and you shouldn`t be forced to… but don`t pretend like your choices have anything to do with Islam, and try to alienate those who remain modest and steadfast in their deen.

    That being said, there is a problem in the Muslim community of people being rude and not smiling, but this video does a horrible job of addressing it, and actually does more harm than good. A much bigger problem is Muslims with an inferiority complex desperately trying to integrate with haram culture. I will make duah for you, but this is just sad. 

    • I just don’t understand why integrating with the society in which you live is something you would only do if you had an inferiority complex. There’s nothing inferior about joining in; it shows strength of character and a willingness to cooperate, to work together for the greater good. Muslims have so much to offer.

      One of the many good things about this video is that it has made me think about Muslims in Britain, probably for the first time with any seriousness. And although I disagree with many of the negative views, I am genuinely interested in hearing them and discussing them. It has provoked thought in me, but not – I am happy to say – hate. So thank you to the makers of the film, and to all those who have commented both for and against it. You have all enriched my understanding!

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