(No Episode VII spoilers, I promise!)
Have you ever stopped to think about how many parallels can be drawn between Star Wars and religion? Perhaps I’ve just had more than the recommended dose of geeking out over the past few days (I did watch all seven Star Wars movies in a row yesterday, from 1am until the 7pm premiere). I’ll let you all see a picture too, at the bottom. There are usually a lot of comparisons between Christianity and Star Wars, but for me…I’m sensing that the Force is strong in Islam as well.
I’m just going to throw this out there: Muslims are Jedi.
I mean, come on. We greet each other and leave each other with “Assalaamu Alaikum”, or “May the Peace be with you”. It’s basically the same thing.
The Force is a power. There are people who wield this power for good, and those who twist it for bad. Those who use it for good (Jedi) have a set of rules to follow and go through a rigorous training. Usually, the training starts very young, but there are times when people discover their powers and begin training at an older age. The Jedi Code is guided by a group of powerful, well-educated, and well-respected people known as the Jedi Council. What I really see here is our connection, as Muslims, to the scholars. We all have access to the Deen, in which most Muslims start their training early from their parents, schools, and peer circles. Sometimes, we have Muslims like myself who have discovered our connection later in life, and thus begin our training later. Like the Jedi, it doesn’t matter when we started our training, sometimes a convert will surpass a born Muslim in knowledge and execution of the Deen, while other times those who started their journey to knowledge young will retain their head start.
In Star Wars, there are huge populations of people who don’t have access to the Force, but are still good people. In real life, we see hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims who are standing up for justice on a daily basis. Often, these people implement the essentials of Islam much more thoroughly and habitually than many Muslims. Yet, the minority Jedi still feel and act as responsible guardians of the good, the diversity, and the way of life to those surrounding them. Sadly, on the flip side, there are also people without access to the Force who support the devastating rampages of the Dark Side.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda
Religion, like the Force, can be twisted by hatred and anger to be used for less-than-noble causes. Right now, we see DAESH taking Islam and twisting it with hatred to form an oppressive Empire. We see right-wing Christians using fear to create their greedy grasp at power. We see this wide-spread manipulation of fear, anger, and hate. To combat these feelings, we must respond with calm and good. If we give into the dark side, we are only hurting ourselves and entering the path of no return.
Calm yourself, and let the Force flow through you. We as Muslims have a code to follow, presented to us in the Quran and a large set of Hadiths, which are interpreted by scholars. Within this code, we are constantly reminded of Sabr (patience). As often explained by scholars (Yasmin Mogahed is one that comes to mind), the command for Sabr isn’t a command for inaction. It actually is based on carefully planned, non-reactive response to an oppressive person/action. The Jedi are not a pacifist organization, and neither are Muslims. Yet, just like Muslims, there are restrictions on the warfare permitted – like not killing even an disarmed combatant. Muslims are required to resist oppression and injustice, and ultimately to avoid becoming the oppressor. In Surat Fassilat (41:34), we are told
“Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!”.
Think of how Luke could have easily killed his own father, who had been overcome by the Dark Side. Yet, he repelled the evil and actually managed to give Vader enough hope that he returned to do good once again.
I really feel like I could continue to analyze this for a long time, but I’ll stop here. What are some connections you can see between Star Wars and (any) religion?