Kuwaiti preacher Mubarak al-Bathali ruled recently that marriage depicted on television is considered valid and real. His ruling was based on a Muslim
hadith, a saying by the Prophet Muhammad.
In this hadith,
Muhammad defined three issues as pivotal and serious even if used jokingly: Marriage, divorce, and freeing a slave. "This hadith shows intent has no central part in these three matters," said the preacher, who also ruled that a woman who is married cannot depict a character getting married on television.
"If an actress is married and she married on a show, she committed a great sin. She and her real husband must clear this severe matter."
Unsurprisingly, the ruling caused uproar in the culture and entertainment circuits in the Persian Gulf. Kuwaiti
actor Abdul Imam Abdullah said that "writing a contract makes marriage official while a wedding scene (on television) is no more than a depiction of reality."
He said that when he participates in a wedding scene in a TV show, no contract is drafted, "since it could get us in trouble."
Kuwaiti screenwriter Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hashash said the dilemma the preacher raised runs deeper. "If an actor has to act in a scene in which he wishes death on his colleague, is his wish real? and does he have to answer for it in court? The whole matter is acting, and artists are colleagues," he said.
Kuwaiti women were not pleased by the ruling, either. Media personality and actress
Fatma al-Abdullah said: "We act and make art. I play a character whose name does not represent me, who belongs to a family that isn't mine. These rulings are nothing more than an attempt to narrow the role of artists and creators in the Gulf
countries and the Arab homeland, and turn the public against them."
Another prominent actress was quoted as saying: "We present stories that are realistic, so the details must be accurate if the idea is to reach the viewer."
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