Before writing these posts I tend to have a rough idea what I want to talk about. I’ll draw up an outline and then put in some research. However this time, I want to talk about The Walking Dead. In season 8 we are introduced to a muslim character, his quote in his first appearance at the start of the season effects the main characters actions in the finale. In this post I’m going to be talking about fictional characters as if they are real people, so bare with me.
Siddiq – the first Post Apocalyptic Desi
Now I don’t actually like the character of Siddiq (played fantastically by Avi Nash), I find him annoying and whiny. I liked Carl and I see Siddiq as the sole reason why Carl is dead. But I actually like the inclusion of Siddiq. I don’t know what American Muslims guys are like however he seems to have characteristics that Muslim youth can not only relate to but also aspire to. Righteous, well mannered and good to his parents.
The second dimension to this character that appeals to me is his ethnicity. He seems to be South Asian, probably the first post apocalyptic desi I’ve ever seen. Again they don’t rub it in your face. I find the walking dead to be quite progressive, it’s a shame that it took a zombie apocalypse for a brown Muslim man to be accepted as a part of a diverse and multicultural community. Actually, I just want to give a round of applause to the writers of the walking dead. Thank you for not calling him a terrorist at any point of the show.
Although I don’t appreciate the actions of the character, I do enjoy what he represents, Muslims in a post apocalyptic future and that gets my support. I’d love to see more Muslims in Sci-fi and fantasy movies, represented in a natural and organic way rather than a stereotypical bad guy or a victim.
When we first meet Siddiq as a starving wayfarer, he says the following quote from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
[su_quote cite=”Al-Bukhari and Muslim” url=”https://muflihun.com/riyadussaliheen/1/419″](Allah Says) My Mercy prevails over My Wrath[/su_quote]
In a similar verse from the Quran, Allah mentions:
[su_quote cite=”Quran 7:156″ url=”https://quran.com/7/156″]I bring My punishment on whoever I will, but My mercy encompasses all things. I shall prescribe My mercy for those who do right, and practise regular charity, and those who believe in Our Revelations[/su_quote]
Siddiq’s quote is repeated again in the finale by Rick after his battle with his nemesis, Negan. Throughout the past 2 seasons these guys have been at eachothers throats. Causing both parties a lot of personal pain. During this final battle, Rick lies to distract Negan, then slashing his throat. Has Negan chokes to death on his own blood, Rick orders Siddiq, a trainee surgeon, to ‘save him’, which he successfully does. Exhausted after fight Rick reclines on a tree laughing to himself, victorious, he repeats “my mercy outweighs my wrath”.
The impact on the story
The takeaway here is revenge isn’t the answer when looking for justice. We have seen Rick brutally kill in revenge. What I find interesting is that in the Qur’an, Allah mentions the heart a lot. It’s true that the brain processes information but it’s truly the heart that decides affairs. When you follow your heart, when you act with clean intentions, you will be at peace. The language of the Qur’an is there to penetrate into the heart and cleanse it. Allah chose the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to reveal the Quran for all of mankind. It could be because of the words that Siddiq said, Carl and Rick took steps and actions that were slightly out of character and more compassionate.
In Islam we are told that we should treat each other how we would want God to treat us. If we commit wrongdoings, we would want to be forgiven however if someone wrongs us, we instantly begin plotting our revenge. This is not the way of a person of faith. Rather we should find it in our hearts to forgive them and move on with our lives.
Step aside Daryl Dixon – there is a new bad-ass in town
While on the subject of characters, Siddiq isn’t the first muslim character on TWD. We were introduced to Nabila in season 7, episode 13, brought to life by the talented Nadine Marissa. This compassionate, hijab wearing bad-ass is refreshing to see and something everyone can get behind. I’d love to see more of her on screen and I look forward to seeing her character develop as the show goes on.
I want to be represented more in the media. I want more “everyday” Muslims on screen. Your story, TV show or movie doesn’t have to have a Muslim in there because it’s needed but because it’s important for the story to be told. Nobody has to personally like the characters themselves but it’s important that they exist in a positive manner (i.e not a terrorist or a victim that needs saving by the white male hero). The example the walking dead has set is the perfect step towards this.