Some Muslims celebrate the Halal Media as a new way for non-Muslims to view Muslims in a positive manner. More than just the Western Media depicts Muslims as the stereotypical ‘backwards’, ‘oppressed’, ‘terrorists’, and other negative stereotypes, the new Halal Media is reshaping how Muslims should view themselves in the modern world, simultaneously embracing the modern world while holding on tightly to the ethics and values sent down to us 1,400 years ago. A dichotomy to the Western world. Yet, a daily reality for practicing Muslims.
The reality is that Halal Media, Islamic media content have always focused on their viewers, the Muslims, the Muslims who identify themselves as Muslims and are or want to be practicing Muslims.
Halal Media, also known as Islamic media content, is on the rise, as stated in the State of the Global Islamic Economy report 20/21, with it expected to rise to USD270 billion in 2024 while facing a slight dip during the pandemic to a low of USD214 billion in 2020.
Interestingly, Turkish drama exports surpassed USD500 billion in 2020 where its local drama productions, recorded in Turkish, are exported to over 140 countries. This is interesting given that their most popular drama series revolve around their Islamic and Ottoman heritage, which for the most part are considered ‘halal’. Their most popular ‘halal’ dramas: Diriliş: Ertuğrul, and Kuruluş: Osman, which are the historical dramas about the father of the founder of the Ottoman, and about the founder of the Ottoman empire.
Also Read: Reclaiming Islamic Identity Through Islamic History, The rise of Halal Entertainment with Turkish Drama and Omar & Hana Edutaining Muslim Children via Cartoons and Mobile App
Making Halal Media Mainstream
In a panelist discussion titled, Making Halal Media Mainstream, by Halal Development Corporation Berhad, where the discussion centered around the Islamic media content and their roles for Muslims, the panelists consisted of the Mr. Namanzee Harris, CEO of Al Hijrah TV Malaysia, Mr. Navid Akhtar, CEO and founder of Alchemiya.com, a Muslim-content streaming service, similar to Netflix, and Mizz Niza, cofounder of DopsTV, a YouTube-based Islamic lifestyle channel.
According to the founder of Alchemiya.com, known as the ‘Muslim Netflix’, “What we have in the Muslim community [in the UK] are people who’ve been watching 24 hours news, and they’re on a diet of negative content. So for us, actually is to celebrate Islam, for people who love their identity, care about being Muslim and not in any conflict. It fives a sense of belonging.”
“Who would have thought that millions of people are watching Turkish history. If I said to you that, ten years ago, you would have said ‘Why do I care?’ (as a non-Turkish person). The success of Ertuğrul, who is not a religious figure, but is inspired by religion.”
“What’s connecting us is that unified idea of a global Ummah comes back together, thanks to the internet.”
These Turkish series have a deeper meaning beyond being historically accurate. They give the Muslim world a whole line of ‘superheroes’ to look up to while also teaching us our core values that are made essential in Islam. These series play a key role in presenting a different perspective of Muslims across the world.
Halal Media as a Guide During the Pandemic
According to Mr. Namanzee Harris, CEO of Al Hijrah TV Malaysia, “What would a tv station, a religious media, like TV AlHijrah, – what would the audience need from us? Then we realized that the audience requires a media that can sooth them, a guidance of what to do during the time of pandemic. What to do during the time of imminent death. So fear brings about change and a change in movement in the behavior of people. “
“We focus on the Quran, the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. The response has been fantastic. It tripled our ratings. When people are seeking for Quran, for Divine intervention, so they are making an appointment to view our ‘Quran Time’ episodes at 12 noon. When we launched it (the Quran episodes) on Facebook and livestreamed it together, there were a lot of sponsors coming on board. It all falls into place, that I would call it divine intervention.”
In summary, Halal media, Islamic media content, play a role to inspire Muslims to see a more positive self-image, to embrace our heritage, and ultimately, to educate us about Islam.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.