The Saudi Costume Festival: Who Should Muslims Look Up To?

The GEA (General Entertainment Authority) in Saudi recently held a huge costume festival in Riyadh:

Hundreds of Saudis dressed up as their favorite superheroes, movie, and anime characters and paraded around Riyadh City Boulevard last week in a two-day costume event held as part of the Riyadh Season megafestival.

Here is a link to a video showing the festival in question.

When it comes to choosing from historically inspirational figures for Muslims, the list is truly endless. From genius Islamic scholars with wisdom beyond their years and brilliantly innovative military minds to uncompromisingly fair and just rulers, Islamic history is filled with such gems. However, the Muslim youth displayed here seem infatuated with fictional characters.

Don’t they know of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ?

Forget the military intellect of Khalid bin Waleed, the bravery of Ali ibn Talib, the generosity of Uthman ibn Affan, the justice of Umar bin Khattab, and the steadfastness of Abu Bakr-as-Siddique. Don’t they know of the Prophets of Allah? Forget the humility of Adam (AS), the resilience of Nuh (AS), the sacrifices of Ibrahim (AS), the patience of Ayub (AS), the wisdom of Moosa (AS), the trustworthiness of Yusuf (AS), and the miracles of Eisa (AS). And what about the best amongst the best of creation? What about our Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)?

Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often. (33:21)

Instead, they would rather dress up as characters that never existed. That is a part of a story that never occurred. And where do you think these characters come from? From Muslim writers? No, instead these personas are imagined by disbelieving authors with disbelieving ideologies. Authors often use their storytelling abilities to express certain ideologies they harbor. Even if unintentional, the characters they write express what they want to convey to their readers, i.e., the ideas they believe are right. Which in this case, are ideas like atheism, liberalism, feminism, and modernism.

RELATED: The Satanic Symbolism in Metaverse’s Ad: A Warning for Muslims

For example, just take a look at this statement from one of the cosplayers from the video above:

I see more than 500 anime characters, and God willing, what is next is more beautiful.

Anime, which are Japanese cartoons, are insanely popular these days. And some young Muslims, including Arab Muslims, watch them quite a lot. Now, most of these cartoons are based off of Japanese comics called manga, and their mangakas (authors) are often writers who hold Western lifestyle and ideologies in very high regard. Especially, the core idea of secularism, which is the ‘murder of God by the State’. This idea of being free from God and religion is something these authors find very appealing. And to them, the devil is what embodies this freedom. This ‘liberation from God’. The topic may be explored more in-depth in a separate article, but the point is that this is what the present generation is consuming nowadays. And it doesn’t matter what reason you’re watching it for, these ideas are something that slowly seep into unsuspecting minds until it’s too late.

In fact, just take a look at this image. This particular individual decided to sport a full on devil mask, horns and all!

And as we can see in this case, it’s gotten so bad that to these Muslims, spending hefty amounts of money on costumes and showing up to such an event is something they find appealing:

“When I went to buy a costume today, I noticed that the prices of costumes and cosplays had doubled in the stores, and there’s only a few shops to buy costumes in Riyadh,” Aamer Al-Harbi, 28, told Arab News.

In this same article, you even have someone proudly dressing up as a caricature of Loki, one of the gods from the pagan Norse mythology.

To see such a scenery and claim that is ‘beautiful’, and what’s to come next is even MORE ‘beautiful’ is beyond delusional.

And to make it worse, this event was part of the Riyadh season, which also included a huge concert held on the 18th of March. Music concerts and festivals hosted by world-famous kafir performers has been a rising problem in this Muslim country.

RELATED: Saudi Hosts Huge Satanic Music Festival

And to think that this all happened right before the Blessed month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the Saudi government banned livestreams of prayers in mosques around the country. Why?

One of the main reasons some modern Muslims fall for this level of superhero, comic book worship and why such empty caricatures allure them is their lack of knowledge of the rich and vibrant history of Islam. They are unaware of the immense and relentless struggle that Muslims undertook and the unwavering faith in Allah they showed in the face of all odds. They are unaware of the intense battles fought by the Muslims in the scorching blaze of the desert against staggering opposition, and how through their faith and perseverance Allah granted them victory.

What better heroes could there be?

Akbar Shah Najeebabadi describes the benefits of studying history in his book, The History of Islam, Vol.1, pg.30:

In short, knowledge of history is a preacher of thousand preachers and the best source of learning lessons. By studying history, a man finds himself constantly in the company of Prophets, kings, conquerors, friends of Allah, wise men, scholars and men of consummate skill and learning, and benefits from the fountain of knowledge, wisdom, excellence and virtues. And he can easily save himself from the mistakes committed by great kings, viziers, military commanders and philosophers. No other study can fill human hearts with so much joys without putting any mental pressure or causing boredom as a study of history can do.

If these youngsters knew and understood the lives of those who upheld the Word of Allah, there is no way that they would hold the fictitious characters of modern media in such high regard. Without that understanding, we would expect something of the following sort:

Imagine a young Muslim who bases his identity around such Kufri fictions. You enter his house and find his walls littered with posters, and his shelves lined with rows and rows of collectibles that he spent God knows how much money on, in an attempt to show his love, support, and admiration for that content. Meanwhile, there will be a corner shelf with a single copy of the Qur’an, untouched in so long that dust has started collecting on top of it. Instead of going to the Masjid in clean and neat dressing, this individual goes to extravagant conventions in these expensive costumes to ‘show his support’.

A huge chunk of his money goes into supporting this franchise. He waits impatiently day and night for the next installment of this franchise. It gets so bad that he has to count down the minutes until the next episode, the next chapter comes out. But he falsely assumes that he is just a customer. That as a fan, he is valued by this franchise as much as he values it. He falls for all the cookie filled words of love these franchises churn out to keep the cash flowing, to keep the fools buying. Where he believes he lives in a world where the customer comes first, the truth is that he lives in one where the word ‘slavery’ has been replaced with ‘consumerism’.

Are these actions not borderline worship?

RELATED: Are We Raising Real Muslim Men?

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Ahmad

What you have mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg. You’re lamenting the “compassionate imams” in the west?! At least you can critique and call them out in the west.

In the GCC, they’re state sanctioned and any opposition to any ‘official’ stance or scholar will have you thrown ‘خلف الشمس’ (behind the sun, a euphemism for being tortured in a prison in an unknown location). The same applies to any shaykh who dares deviate from the official narrative.

Abdaal

Quite alot of them do speak against it, but the sad reality is every “muslim” country is being secularised although at different rates

akh

One of the main reasons some modern Muslims fall for this level of superhero, comic book worship and why such empty caricatures allure them is their lack of knowledge of the rich and vibrant history of Islam.”

That too, but I think that the need for superhero’s (which you mainly see in young boys) is directly tied to the explosion in divorce, which started in the late nineties and early two thousands. These boys grew up in an environment devoid of masculine energy and male role models.

akh

When people chronically lack something essential in their life they will look for the next best thing to fill the void. In this case the place of the boy’s absent father is filled by a superhero.

Takeshi

Some of the heros, specially in some anime series, embody the virtues of bravery and struggle against all odds and against fierce opponents that tend to be cruel and bad individuals.
I think it’s because of this that young boys are attracted to it, it reminds them what they inherently would like to be themselves.

In the history of Islam we already have this kind of heroes, that were historical and real, no need for imaginary heroes.
*I used to watch a lot of anime in my childhood.

akh

If a boy has a father (and brothers, cousins, uncles, grandfathers) in his life embodying virtues such a discipline, bravery, honor, strong work ethic etc. He becomes his superhero.

Watching superhero’s (anime, professional athletes, action hero’s) is a sign of vicarious living and escapism.

Ps. an active father wouln’t allow his children to spend much time in front of a screen. If any at all.

Did you have a positive fatherly role model in your life at that age?