The Sheikh was speaking about the evils of Hollywood, particularly on children.
“We don’t notice how insidious this is. But there are messages hidden within these movies that are designed to lead our children away from the Deen. Unless for educational purposes, it is better for the believers to keep their families away from television and movies. As but one example, consider this Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. The Muslims are putting their daughters in front of this DVD and leaving them alone with it, maybe to do some other work around the house. Beware: it is like letting Shaitan babysit your daughters! The film concerns a mermaid who falls in love with a prince and wants to become a woman who walks on the land so she can marry him. Her father opposes her desire. She disobeys him and, in the end, marries her prince and the father comes around to the idea. The message is that it is okay to follow your fancies, it is okay to disobey the authority of your family, of your culture. It is designed as propaganda to put into the tender minds of our children that they can do whatever they want, to turn against their culture and families, and eventually this will lead to happiness, eventually their culture and family can be bent to accept this. Subhanallah brothers and sisters, subhanallah!”
The Tailor interrupted thus:
You are incorrect. There is a message hidden within this movie: but it is Divine. And it is not the daughters’ minds that are malleable: within their innocence is Understanding and Wisdom of the Truth in this story. It is the parents’ minds that have been manipulated, it is the parents that need to be educated, not the daughters. It is the parents who live in an Imaginary world, while those daughters who believe in Fairy Tales are closest to the Caliphate of the Real.
The story is our story. The little mermaid is not led away from the Deen, but towards it, though the authorities oppose her.
To disobey the authority of a father is how Prophecy is initiated. Ibrahim’s Prophecy begins with the rejection of the Imaginary idols of his father:
When Ibrahim said unto his father Azar: You take idols for gods ? I see you and your people in error manifest. (Quran 6:74)
Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was upright, a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Prophet and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith. (Quran 3:67-68)
The mermaid’s story follows that of a Prophet, but from the Feminine perspective: it is our story because the believers (all of us here listening to you) are Feminine:
- She begins her journey as a sea creature, not human. The sea is the ocean of Love, the undifferentiated space of the pre-symbolic. To be a mermaid is to draw power, movement, sustenance from that boundless ocean.
- But this ocean contains a danger within: Love, after all, can turn to idolatry. And within its depths is the big fish, waiting for the end of days.
- We need to learn to walk upon that water, to eat that big fish: to achieve mastery of water through entering into the space of differentiation, to enter a man’s world of Judgement, of Shariah, of Deen. That world also contains dangers, of hatred and injustice: through differentiation, we might be lead to satanic trajectories. But that space of land, that space of differentiation, is a book that can be read with a Nur, a light. This is the mermaid’s desire: her desire is for the Prince, the Light of a Caliph that will guide her upon the hyper-geography of the Land.
- Her father, keeping her within the depths of the ocean, is not her Real Father, he is her Imaginary Father, an idolater of a pseudo-Hallajian mode. The most elevated of idolaters, for he would keep his daughter within the depths, keep her silent in the pre-symbolic. This is where mysticism can turn to fascism. “We have everything we need under the sea. There is nothing for us on the Land.”
- Her journey, the movie’s narrative, is a bodily, corporeal transformation (not an incorporeal transformation — hence it is the Greater Jihad of the Body, not the Lesser Jihad of the Mind): she is corporeally transfigured into a woman of the Land. Her struggle then is to realise herself as a Disney Princess, to meet her Prince. When this union occurs, there is the happy ending. Her journey is from one complex (of mermaid/ocean) to another complex (of prince/differentiated land): this physical becoming, this Greater Jihad of her Body leads to Marriage.
- Simultaneously, her father finally comes around to accepting her trajectory. This is a further transfiguration in parallel to her greater jihad: for the preventative authority under the sea was her Imaginary Father. The final happy ending is the revealing of her Real Father of the Sea of Love, whose face is a configuration of approval and blessing upon their marriage.
(We have said nothing of the Imaginary Mother, the evil Ursula in the movie, nor the pertinent fact that the mermaid is silent for the 3 days she is initially made Woman on the Land, nor the intermediate transformation of the Imaginary Father to a Crustacean — Deleuze/Issac Luria anyone? — prior to granting blessing by finalizing her form as Woman with Voice. But you get the idea.)
This greater jihad, the mermaid’s jihad is our journey as (feminized) Muslims. To learn to read , in other words.
And our daughters Understand. But the parents do not.
The Sheikh’s opposition to Disney enters into the mantle of an Imaginary Father, who would keep the people within the undifferentiated space of this place we call a masjid. This is right, as all sheikhs are imaginary fathers. But if you would have the Caliphate manifest fully on Land, sheikhs and congregation together, to understand our status as mermaids and then to strive for that Greater physical transfiguration: simultaneously leading to Marriage and the unveiling of the Countenance.