Does Islam permit acting ? Does Islam permit a Muslim woman to choose acting as profession? Does Islam encourage the kind of film industry we have? Thanks in advance for your consideration.
There is nothing in Islamic doctrine that prohibits participation in performing arts, therefore any Muslim may choose that career path. Islam is guidance to life, yet it does not encourage any type of employment nor does it discourage any occupations unless it infringes upon the moral bounds which are inherent to all human beings and provide the basis for a sound and stable society.
The film industry, however, may pose many problems. Since there may be a plethora of potential violations, all of these cannot be discussed in answering a question. However, it should be appreciated that men and women interacting together on a set may cross the bounds of the values promoted by Islam. This of course depends on the script. If the screenplay deals with drama, comedy or whatever genre, then it is obvious it would demand certain behavior from the actors. This behavior may include, but may not be limited to, touching, kissing, playing out a love making scene etc. If these elements were present then it would be obvious that the moral obligations have been trespassed. The challenge for Muslim filmmakers is to develop concepts and get the point across to the audience without showing all the intimate details on the screen. Creativity is a key factor. The other problem in creating films is the responsibility one takes on by the message they deliver through this art. What you say and whom you’re saying to is very important. For as a Muslim, you have the responsibility of producing a message that is at least harmonious with the Spirit of Islam and not contrary to it. By no means am I trying to limit a production to religious topics. For instance you can make an action flick, if you choose to, as long as does not directly or indirectly promote any thing immoral. That’s just one example. Lastly, if the religious restraints are not adhered to then who would have the right to deem something art or not? There would be no restraints but it would be up to each individual to decide what the allowable limits are; like what we have today. I am sure you can see the faulty reasoning in that especially with some of the movies that are produced today.
It should be clear that Islam is not against any profession unless the occupation requires a Muslim to go against Islamic values. Both men and women are responsible for their actions and must take into consideration what they commit themselves to. I have tried to answer your questions as completely as I can, however if there is something I have missed then I would appreciate a detailed question containing your concerns. Just remember we will be judged upon our deeds and our adherence and submission to the directives of our Lord… whatever our choice of profession.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.