Opposites attract, but what about opposing ideologies? In Zee TV’s Ishq Subhan Allah, Zara Siddiqui (Eisha Singh) is an open-minded Islamic studies graduate and Kabir Ahmed (Adnan Khan) a staunch traditionalist and aspiring maulvi. The two meet as protests erupt in Aligarh following the August 2017 landmark Supreme Court ruling that declared triple talaq unconstitutional. The attraction is instant, but the couple’s charming first encounter is foiled when the two realise that their ideas about Islam is poles apart. Among other things, they differ on triple talaq – the practice that allows a man to divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq” three times.
Through the prism of romance, Ishq Subhan Allah explores pressing topics such as the triple talaq debate and religious dogma. The Creative Eye Limited production was premiered on Zee TV on March 14.
“The term religion is well explained by all means, but the customs and traditions vary,” the show’s writer Danish Javed told Scroll.in in an interview. “Sometimes we are not able to differentiate between customs, traditions and the religion. We often think that the custom or tradition we are following is a religious practice. So I felt the need to make that distinction through the show.”
Javed’s writing credits include the Doordarshan series Nargis, Sony TV’s Tu Naseeb Hai Kisi Aur Ka (1999) and Piya Bina (2002). He conceptualised the show after he noticed a void in Muslim-centred programming after Zee TV’s popular series Qubool Hai ended in 2016. “Being a practising Muslim, I have a knowledge of the religion,” Javed said. “We also had many scholars on board for research. We confirmed and consulted with the scholars at any point of doubt. Our intentions are very clear because we do not want to hurt anyone.”
However, the show hit a hurdle recently when a Mumbai Islamic organisation filed a complaint against it for allegedly showing Islam in bad light. The Raza Academy has sought a ban on the show.
Javed clarified that the show’s intention was to represent different points of views without taking a stand. “I have not received any copy of the complaint yet, so I cannot say anything without seeing the complaint, but I never expected this kind of a controversy,” Javed said. “Our motive is to make people more aware about the real practices of the religion. Nowhere in the show are we going against the religion and the practices.”
He reiterated that the show is primarily about love, not triple talaq. “This is a story of two characters, Zara and Kabir,” Javed said. “So when we make a story of two characters with specific names, the names show their religion. When the characters have a certain religion, they have to practice it and the good and bad of the practices are bound to come. Talaq is just a part of the story.”