The Taqwacores

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TheTaqwacores is a movie that views the practice of Islamic teachingsfrom a whole new perspective. At the start of the movie, the audienceis introduced to Yusef – a firm believer in Islam. He moves into anapartment with other young Muslims in Buffalo, New York. Yusef is anengineering student from Pakistan and it is his first time livingoutside campus. As Yusef is welcomed into the apartment and shown hisroom by Umar, he notices the shoddy state of the place. It is notclean, the inside walls have graffiti, and the whole neighborhoodfeels abandoned. In this first scene, it is clear from the conditionof the house that the occupants have a carefree attitude toward life.Jehangir, Fasiq, and Rabeya are the other occupants of the house.Although they are all Muslims, they have very dissenting views on howIslam should be practiced. Yusef believes in daily prayer and stayingpure before marriage. Umar seems very strict about Islamic teachingsand staying away from sin, but he has tattoos which are not allowedin Islam. Jehangir, Fasiq, and Rabeya believe in daily prayers, butthey have compromised in other areas of life. They drink, engage inpremarital sex, and openly criticize some Islamic teachings.According to Jehangir, Fasiq, and Rabeya, they are still Muslimsbecause they believe and trust the almighty Allah. Because Islam is astrong faith with principles and guidelines, the movie depicts thelives of young Muslims who have decided to alter the rules to suittheir own needs. These characters go against some basic Islamicteachings to prove that a person can still be a Muslim even if theychoose to drink alcohol or engage in other acts considered haram.

Jehangirthinks that Islam should not be too prohibitive. A person should notbe judged because they choose to listen to a specific type of musicor dress in a certain way. Jehangir believes in Islam as a religionof absolute freedom. As a personal example, although Jehangir drinksand smokes, he always leads his fellow Muslim brothers and sisters inFriday prayers at his house. A good Muslim does not judge theirbrothers and sisters they understand individual differences and livepeacefully with their neighbors. Jehangir proves this point byinviting other Muslim punk rock bands to play at his house.

Rabeyais the only woman living in the apartment with Yusef, Umar, Jehangir,and Fasiq. She wears a burqa all the time regardless of whether sheis inside or outside the house. Rabeya believes in women empowermentand at one point she draws against some scriptures in the Quranbecause they do not make sense to her. She ‘erased’ thescriptures because they were biased towards women. Jehangir andRabeya are the most controversial characters in the movie, therefore,they are the best subjects for reviewing the theme of the movie.

Taqwacoresis derived from the Arabic word ‘Taqwa’. Taqwa translates to onewho is aware of Allah. are Muslims because faith is intheir hearts and they acknowledge the presence of Allah daily throughtheir prayers. However, faith and conduct are two different things.Taqwacores believe that Islam should not limit a person from doingwhat they want.

Insum, the Taqwacores is a movie that brings a new way of thinking intothe Islamic way of living. The characters, who are all young Muslims,show that it is possible for one to be free (act according toindividual personality) and still live a holy life. Individuals aredifferent and unique and religion should not act as a barrier forthem to express themselves.