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Friday, March 14, 2008

More Information about Baba Ali's Movie

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

With the Ask Baba Ali Season Finale just one week away, I often get asked “what’s next?” and my answer is “A Movie InshAllah”. Instead of the typical Muslim documentary or drama film, I wanted to try something new and different: A Muslim Comedy. The goal isn’t just to make my audience smile but more importantly get a message across by using the tool of humor.

The reason I think most filmmakers don’t go touch the Muslim comedy genre is because it’s a slippery slope. Sometimes comedy is done by those who care more about making the person laugh and sometimes its done by people who don’t care about following the rules of Islam. I pray that I don’t fall into any of those categories InshAllah.

Alhamdulillah one of most amazing things I have noticed when I go and speak at events is the wide range of audience members that attend. You have everyone from non-practicing Muslims to conservative Muslims to even non-Muslims who come to the event. I remember my first speaking event I saw some Salafi brothers sitting at one table and the table next to them was the Muslim Hip Hop brothers. At the same event I saw both Niqabies and non-Hijabies and I was like wow, everyone came tonight (and I was the only speaker at that event). That’s when I realized that whatever I was saying in the Reminder chair was reaching a very broad audience and this is why I haven’t changed my style. I figured if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Well, that is why I planning to continue this same “serious comedy” (humor with a message) style but this time, I hope to take it to another level: A full length movie. Instead of me sitting in my chair for 7 minutes, I want to go out to the real world and show the adventures of something that most of us can relate to: The Adventure of looking for your future spouse .

Basically, the movie is about this guy, Ali, who turning point of his life comes when he best friend gets married. That is where he decides to seriously start pursue looking for his future wife. He sets on this adventure and tries almost everything to find his better half (online matchmaking, chaperoned meeting through parents, marriage program at Masjid, etc..). Although many of the prospects on the surface seem to be a good match, each experience ends up being a comical disaster. Ali learns through his crazy adventure the impact Culture, Racism, and even Nationalism has on the Ummah and the difficulties of halal path.

In the movie Borat, the main character is the strange one and the society is normal while in this movie it is the exact opposite, the main character is normal one and the society is strange (because they gave up parts of their religion for the sake of their culture that conflicts with Islam). You are going to watch this character go through a crazy adventure and its going to fun InshAllah. Although the experience can be comical at times, more importantly there is a message, and my goal is get that across InshAllah.

I asked a Director to come up with a budget of how much it would take to make a professional film. He broke it down in detail and the price he came to a little over 100k. Of course, the more funds we have the better resources we have access to (equipment, cast, crew, location, etc…) so the better the turnout InshAllah. Thus, a movie made with a 250k budget can be much better than one made with 100k. Individually, most of us can’t afford such amounts but I figure if we all work together, we can get the necessary funds together by chipping in what we can afford. So if you can help, please click on the link below to contribute:

The reason I started sponsorships with Ask Baba Ali is because I wanted to raise funds for this movie and that is where I plan to put the funds that I raised from those sponsorships. Also, I won money from two film contests and I’m planning to put that money into it as well. I'm not asking you to do something that I'm not doing myself. For those who don't know, I don't get paid a dime from making the Reminder videos or the Ask Baba Ali videos. Whatever I have made, I have put back into Ummah Films. Money doesn't inspire me and I would much rather have good deeds (hasanat) than money. Because the money in this life is temporary and won't help me on the Day of Judgment.

I don't believe in signing petitins or standing on the street corner holding a sign each time the film industry tries to build a negative stereotype of Muslims. I much believe that there is a better way of putting our 2 cents on things. The movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was an independent film that was watched by millions and you didn't have to be Greek to enjoy or learn from it. I have the same frame of mind with this film InshAllah. For whatever reason, people feel less threaten when humor is involved and this is why comedians can talk about sensitive subjects. This is why I think I have been able to bring up taboo issues in my videos as well.

Remember, the media is a very powerful tool and using the tool of movies/films is even more powerful. For those who are familiar with the Cosby Show, it was a show about an African American Doctor and Lawyer raising a family in the middle class. The show never had to say that “Black people are people too” but rather they showed it by living normal lives. Each time you sis a sister on TV, she is talking about either the topic of “Women in Islam” or “Hijab”. Don’t Muslim women talk about anything else? Don’t they just live normal lives? Of course but that won’t get airtime. The film industry doesn’t want to “humanize” Muslims for their own reasons. Anyways, that’s a whole email of its own so I’m not going to get into that now.

Nevertheless, I hope to have a website up soon InshAllah that will have more information of the film. The goal is to show the different aspects of the filmmaking process so from writing stage to the premiere, I hope to keep our audience in the loop with the various parts of the film (auditions, location scouting, behind the scenes, etc..). Also, since the audience is help fund this film…I want them to play a role on some of the decisions so just like did with some of the decisions with UF (dvd cover, t-shirt design, etc), I hope to use the same voting mechanism as well.
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Looking to get married?
Visit Baba Ali's Muslim Marriage site halfourdeen.com


At March 14, 2008 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is the ask baba ali video for march 14?

At March 14, 2008 1:20 PM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

in the post below

At March 14, 2008 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its been deleted?

At March 14, 2008 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. The project sounds great. Will you be allowing people to help from a distance -- specifically with the writing stages? Or is it all locally produced?

At March 14, 2008 11:23 PM, Blogger mkpmedia said...

Salaams, the film sounds great!

I don't know how the US is, but Canada is a really great market for this stuff. The #1 sitcom in the country is "Little Mosque on the Prairie" on CBC [you can watch almost all of both seasons on YouTube], and it's pretty much everyone's favourite show, whether or not they're Muslim. www.littlemosque.ca I believe.

At March 15, 2008 2:23 AM, Blogger MOoN said...

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,

Brother Baba Ali, I've recently started watching your videos, enjoyed all of them A LOT, and I highly appreciate the efforts you're making in the way of "Dawah". I hope and pray it makes a Great difference for our religion Islam and in spreading of it. INSHA ALLAH. May Allah bless you with the best in this life and hereafter. Aameen.

Take care.

Fee Amanillah.

Pakeezah, Sister in Islam.

At March 15, 2008 4:49 AM, Blogger MOoN said...

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,

Brother Baba Ali, Your Idea of the movie is really nice, and I hope it turns out to be a Great Success, INSHA ALLAH.

I Being a Student, can only contribute "Prayers" for your project, May Allah ease the process of movie-making for you, grant you His Support, success and all the help that you need. Aameen.

Would wait for the release anxiously!

Any plans of coming to Asia??

All the Best, Fee Amanillah.

Pakeezah, Sister in Islam.

At March 15, 2008 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam Brother

At March 15, 2008 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum
Brother the idea of a movis sounds like a great idea!!!! Really good to know that ummah films is gettig bigger and better!
i pray that Allah (swt) rewards u 4 all the hard work and time u have put in.
i know for a fact that the movie will become a real big hit here in London....the reminders r
Take care

At March 16, 2008 7:42 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sound like a cool idea. If you are want to make your movie even more crazy, you can come here to Morocco. I will show you things that Muslims are doing that will blow your mind away!!!

May Allaah guide us all!!!

At March 16, 2008 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg i SO AGREE with what you said about muslim girls having lives beyond their hijab. this one time my school principal was trying to explain something to me and tried to compare it with a MASJID, as if i'm some kind of animal that doesn't comprehend anything that's not related to islam. and you're right, the media definitely does not put forth any effort in humanizing muslims whatsoever.

At March 16, 2008 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

100k or 250k don't look like a big target if we all put something on the table......we have like 100k users hitting on each video...if only 20k of them chip in $5. That will bring us 100k right there......you know what i m saying.....you know what i ma saying.....

At March 17, 2008 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow dats great, wonderful idea, i totally agree with evrythin uv said! may Allah grant you success in this life and the next! ameen

At March 21, 2008 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1211$ mash'Allah!

At March 21, 2008 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At March 22, 2008 11:28 AM, Blogger Bhavna said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At March 23, 2008 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalaamu Alaikum,

I really think it's a good da'wa opportunity to make this movie for nonmuslims and muslims alike. However,I found it really hard to imagine how you would go about making the movie on this topic without either compromising some Islamic values or come off as really awkward.

I guess the main issue is if you make the movie about finding a spouse, are you going to have sisters or girls in it? It's not very Islamic to have Muslim women in the public eye unless absolutely necessary. If you try to get around it by not having girls in it at all, it will just be very noticeable and awkward.

I think it would be much more flexible and easier if you addressed another issue that could also attract nonmuslims to learning more about Islam.

Jazakullahu Khair for all of your efforts! ma asalaama


At March 23, 2008 6:02 PM, Blogger Bhavna said...


I completely agree with your points and have the same questions and doubts. Of course I wholeheartedly support Baba Ali's effort but would like to be more educated on how this balance (between maintaining Islamic values and not being awkward) can be achieved with male and female Muslim actors. As far my limited knowledge of Islam goes, it seems to me that acting itself is a bit un-Islamic. But please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

At March 24, 2008 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalamu Alaikum:D

Firstly, brother you have done a fantastic job masha'allah on the videos so far:)

Secondly about the acting. I think you can have a film about marriage without compromising Islamic values. I guess that's why marriage is such a good topic, because there are SO MANY (unfortunately!) situations that people have experienced that the acting doesn't have to come off as awkward. It all depends on the writing I guess.

(Example... having a girl judging the character Ali by his looks doesn't necessarily mean she has to stare at him continuously, or acting inappropriately around him...it could just be a conversation between her and her sister or friend etc.)

If the main character is trying to find a spouse the halal way, then the values of Islam won't be compromised because he will stop others (and himself) from doing anything wrong...It will be a way of educating people of what to do, and what not to do in situations that occur. That is what the film is tryin to say right?

Anyways... I look forward to see what you do with the film insha'allah. I'm sure you won't be short of any ideas lol. :)

Asalamu Alaikum


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