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If a Muslim can be actor, is there anything about acting that a Muslim must avoid to do?

Can males and females act in the same stage together? In what situations they're allowed and in what situations they aren't?

Can a Muslim practice blasphemy while acting for his character does? Can he act as a person of other religion? If this is possible, a Muslim woman can leave the hijab to play her role?

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In my country, Islamic Republic of Iran, we have a legitimate and Islamic cinema industry by law but one that is carefully regulated by our Cultural Ministry. Film makers are not allowed to legally record movies that endorse, normalize, or promote behavior or thoughts that violate Islam. Since the foundation of Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 which ushered in a historical opportunity for a full-blown Islamic sociocultural life, thousands of movies have been made for the purpose of promoting Islam, from those featuring the history of Islam to those promoting Islamic faith, ethics etc. Here are some examples:

Therefore our experience shows that not only an Islamically permissible cinema industry can be possible to a very good extent but also that the industry can be even used for promoting Islamic ends.

But outside an Islamic sociocultural community where filmmakers don't or are not required to observe Islamic boundaries (at least on the level of the final outcome), on a personal level, I believe, it is very hard to be in acting job without compromising one's Islamic faith. Because for example in a romantic movie, you may have to act scenes of emotional exchange with a person of the opposite sex which is hardly permissible under normal circumstances (this is even common in our regulated cinema industry in Iran). Or you may have to do things that undoubtedly violate sharia laws, such as shaking hands/hugging a member of the opposite sex, drinking (graver examples of un-Islamic behavior legally forbidden in our regulated cinema), and there is more.

So I'd say, especially in a secular movie industry, you may have hard time acting and at the same time staying faithful to your religious convictions. You may have to be selective, only accepting involvement in those movies that don't require you to act in un-Islamic scenes.

  • I doubt the Cultural Ministry you talk about would be a reliable reference. Can you add, for example, historical events from the time of the Prophet involving such matters as plays? – arsaKasra Jan 15 '14 at 7:50
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    No, and I don't think there were plays during early Islamic period. Because cinema is among modern inventions and goes into the category of mustahdithats (new institutions that didn't exist during early Islam). Therefore, naturally the permissibility of mustahdithats is not examined based upon their endorsement by Prophet (peace be upon him) unless you are following the contradictory ideology of the Salafists who argue that no modern inventions are permissible in Islam, a notion that they themselves fail to live up to as nowadays using modern innovations is unavoidable. – infatuated Jan 15 '14 at 9:33
  • Plays were there during early Islam, of course not set to movies or adapted to cinema. Consider Greek play writes for instance. And it is assumed that the Prophet was a great traveler and that he had had visited numerous alien cultures, which would probably be a good reason to also assume he had observed, or at least heard, about the concept. – arsaKasra Jan 15 '14 at 16:31
  • I'm not an expert on Islamic history, but I've never heard any historian of early Islamic period mentioning the existence of plays in early Islamic Arabian Peninsula – infatuated Jan 15 '14 at 16:32
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Acting is allowed for the female as long as she does not violate any Islamic rules while doing so.

Taking off the hijab during the act is not permissible, nor is blasphemy. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the hijab is not allowed in Islam as is practicing blasphemy. The second reason is that even if taking off the hijab or practicing blasphemy is for the act it promotes doing so in real life

If one was thinking of acting and would like to follow Islamic procedures I would advise them to avoid taking a role in which they would have to break the rules of Islam outside acting. Of course if one was acting as a career they would attain publicity and that exposes much of ones private life. It is best to stay away from such a career that raises controversy on its limitations.

  • Yeah, actually your first sentence can be the right brief answer (about actress) as you correctly remarked "Acting is allowed for the female as long as she does not violate any Islamic rules while doing so". / Although I myself personally e.g. didn't like if my wife to be an actress in order to be at the sight of thousands or millions non-mahram who many of them perhaps... / but as you remarked. it is permissible by itself if... / God Bless You – اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد Nov 2 '15 at 5:31
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Life on earth is short. If you want to act then that is up to you but just remember Allah is your creator, the one and only and he will decide your future in the afterworld. Avoid such job where there is some risk or a career that raises controversy on its limitations. Modelling and acting. Both are one of the most debatable topics in islam. You may act and model. Both are halal to do so BUT ONLY IF YOU FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS!!!!! You must never take hijab off. Never be in a role where you have a relationship with a man especially a love relation. also blasphemy is absolutely BANNED. Wear appropriate clothing. Plus all the other rules that apply in islam must not be broken.

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