‘Diary of a Bad Man’ is an Internet phenomenon which has over 2 million hits on YouTube and has divided the Muslim community. He’s either in touch with the ‘yoof’ and talking about ‘their’ issues as a young, British Asian Muslim or he’s insulting Islam and Muslims and uses un-Islamic methods to portray his message.
The Revival has asked two of his followers to give their arguments regarding Diary of a Bad Man.
Diary of a very Bad Man By Samuel Iqbal
Promoting the ‘gangsta’ image, ladies not covered in accordance to the Shariah, loud, obnoxious and HARAAM music and showing Muslim parents in an ignorant and violent light. Is all this justified in pursuit of a pseudo-celebrity status?
These are just some of the negative points that jump out at you after watching an episode of the YouTube hit comedy ‘diary of a bad man’. You may be sat there reading this, thinking to yourself, “what’s got this Mulla’s beard in a bunch?”, “It’s all in the name of comedy”. You may also be screaming at me to watch the whole episode, all the way to the end, so that I can see the positive message he leaves us with. What? That 20 second to two minutes at the end of a fifteen minute video, in which he mocks his culture and more so his religion? Those few minutes he puts in there, probably just so he can justify to himself how he’s actually doing some good. Well if it helps him, and you sleep at night, fair game.
But, ask yourself one simple question. Is it the positive message that the extremely suggestible Muslim youth talk about at school, college and university campuses up and down the country, when talking about the latest episode of diary of a bad man? Or rather, are they laughing and screaming at one another, while rapping “ami, ami, jam that hype!!”
I’ve always been one to give credit where it is due. So I congratulate the ‘Bad Man’ for making a ‘rep’ for himself. So much so, that many response videos have been created, and many have taken his idea, put an original spin on it and created original videos themselves. Also, a few religious speakers have created videos speaking out against the menace that is ‘diary of a bad man’. Not to mention the countless young Muslims who speak about the latest episode for a week or two after its release.
That being said, I feel much harm has been done by these videos, mainly due to the, probably unintentional, mocking of religion and religious symbolism. His mother who wears a niqaab (full veil) in the video, and beats him up every chance she gets, puts a negative image in the head of all the suggestible young Muslims who don’t have a relative or friend who wears a niqaab. So when they see a female wearing a niqaab, what’s the first thought to pop into their heads? I’ll make it easier for you, they’ll probably turn to their friend and say look, there’s ‘Bad Mans’ mum.
The hip-hop or rap music he plays in his videos promotes the problematic genre of music to youth who may not listen to it in the first place. And rest assured, even those scholars who allow music to be listened to, will strongly suggest everyone stay away from rap music if they knew what the content of it was like.
The many young ladies who star in the videos who are not covered in accordance to Islamic dress code, or acting in accordance to Islamic mannerisms- think about it yourself, someone in the video is either flirting with one of them, or she is some guys girlfriend. Firstly, they are being used for their looks, used as pieces of meat, but let’s not get into the issue of objectifying females. What type of message is that sending to our young Muslim sisters? It’s no better than Bollywood, Hollywood or rap music for that matter. The message is clear, that females should look and behave a certain way. Our sisters need better self esteem and confidence in their abilities. They need to prosper and make something of themselves, and the subconscious messages sent through the ‘Bad Man’ videos can be harmful to the self-confidence of the female viewers. That’s not even getting into the whole issue of Muslims having a boy/girlfriend.
The worst culprit, in my opinion, is the ‘Bad Man’s’ promotion of the Gangsta image. It’s as if we as a community don’t suffer enough from brain-less idiots, parading around in gangs, each trying their level best to look like 10 men, all the while walking like they’ve pulled a calf muscle. The rest of the issues stem from this one main issue which we have suffered from for too long, and a young Muslim film-maker should know better than to continue to promote this image.
Although there is some good in ‘Diary of a Bad Man’, the negative portrayal of the Muslim youth, by far outweigh any positives. Sure he leaves us with a message to reflect over at the end of each video, something for us to think about, after a supposedly entertaining 15 minutes. But the subconscious messages the youth pick up on in the entertaining segment of the videos do much more psychological damage and lasting harm, so for this reason, I urge everyone to boycott ‘Diary of a Bad Man’. I also urge Bad Man himself to stop making the videos, and instead, put his talents to better use. He has a comedic and film-making gift, why not use it for good. To all the would-be bad-mans out there, thinking of making their own videos, please think long and hard about the consequences of doing so.
Wagwan Taliban, Wagwan! Why you cussing the Badman? By Sid Zia
Badman. What is so bad about his videos? I’m sick of this Badman bashing from every Abdul and Aisha including some angry Shaykh and even his so-called mates. I mean seriously, a lot of people are having a go at someone who GENUINELY thought he could/was/is making a difference but by being FUNNY. By making people laugh. By making people realise their worst ways. By doing things HIS way. The way that most teenagers and youngsters would relate to. Seriously man! These guys are cussing the one person who actually made an effort to help his community by dismissing his efforts and by declaring them EVIL? Seriously?! I find that sad.
Let's start off by reviewing his trademark. DIARY of A Badman. His episodes were VERY personal. He portrayed his life, the way HE sees things in HIS community. It is literally a diary. This makes it very close to home. He doesn't say it's a diary of EVERY bad-man-wanna-be but rather it's a diary of abadman i.e. HIM. Finally- the attitude- his attitude towards life is very common amongst young Muslim boys. They are “badmen”. Do people see the clever thing behind his videos? They are very personal and very close to home- may be too close for some- and very stereotypical. But that's his style, the flamboyant exaggeration of his community. It's perfect entertainment!
These guys focus on the negatives WAY TOO MUCH. Let’s spell out the positives for those who refuse to see them.
The first issue that he tries to deal with is being a young, Muslim, Pakistani, British Citizen and the fact that it's hard. He talks about the issues and challenges facing young Muslims today in a funny way that they can relate to.
Badman's mother- she's introduced as a typical Muslim Pakistani mother. Again he exaggerates but he started with his MOTHER. The one person he admires and respects the most, regardless of how much she’s portrayed to be a monster. She's a monster because he gives her grief. It’s the story of a mother/child relationship and they were as bad as each other! In his head his mum is a ninja, she’s cool and Hamza loves that about her. If you don’t believe me, then watch Diary of a Badman 6, it’ll bring a tear to your eye!
Badman's father is the stereotypical view of a typical Asian guy... the one who's the breadwinner and wins the affections of his children through materials like when Hamza asked him to buy Xbox for Eid. He gave Hamza a box with an “X” on it but instead he bought him something as cool as a Nintendo Wii. HE loves him really just resents that his way of showing affection isn't as heart-warming as he would like. I’m sure a lot of young Muslims can relate to that!
Hamza's friends are as stupid as Hamza and sometimes stupider. They are boys. Typical Asian boys who grew up in a tightly knit Asian community. I love the way he acts all naïve and boyish and young and stupid and macho. But guess what? He genuinely has a soft heart. He realises what's good and bad naturally. I love the parts when the penny drops and you see him not making any eye contact or less eye contact with the camera and he's less excited, calmer and more understanding. He's great at acting but his acting is genuine.
He's a badman who shies away from good deeds. GOOD ISLAMIC DEEDS. He loses his coolness or he thinks he does because that's the society he grew up in. The negative portrayal of the boys with the beards and the girls attached to the handsome- I find them not very handsome- guys dressed in their cool jeans, driving around in their cool cars. Hamza wants to be a cool guy but not cruel which is why his videos end with the touch of Islam. He’s a genius because when you finish watching an episode the last thing that sticks in your brain is the last thing you watch, aint that a happy coincidence?
So let me get straight to the point yeah- if you don't like it then maybe you should pick on someone who has an ego or Islamic knowledge as mature as yours? Just leave him to whatever good -however little it maybe- that he's doing. You just go and do your own thing. If it works then it works for you and I'll congratulate you for that, condition being that you actually do something as successful and humorous as Hamza has done.
Badman tackles important issues that scholars and religious people ignore. From being a gangster, identity, boy/girlfriends and dodgy cultures like forced marriages to being politically active and even campaigning for Babar Ahmed.
Yes, he’s not perfect. Yes, he’s made mistakes. Yes, sometimes some of his material is border line but he is funny. Come on… you’ve got to give him credit for being funny! I’ll finish by saying that I respect him as much as any religious person who’d go out there and talk about our issues, making us laugh and giving us the right messages to implement as or when required.
Seriously blud, Just Jam that Hype!