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City of Brass

City of Brass

Islam and Star Wars Day: Allah is the Force

A long time ago, in a suburb not far away... my beard was a lot less grey

Jumah Mubarak, and May the 4th be with you! Today is Star Wars day, the day we remember with fondness the three greatest movies of our childhood and tolerate three others that were loosely related.

The Jedi order has always had a special resonance for geeky muslim youth in the West. Every muslim kid knows that green is the color of Islam as well as the color of the coolest Jedi (Obi-wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker). But for more substantive parallels, look no further than my friend Irfan Rydhan’s epic post about Star Wars and Islam, which documents how much Lucas drew on Islamic sources for inspiration.

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But there is a philosophical connection between muslims and Jedi as well, regarding the source of our power. For muslims, Allah is The Force.

Consider how Obi-Wan (Luke’s ‘alim) explained The Force to his young student, in the desert madrasah on Tatooine: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power… It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” In other words, the Force is not confined to any one place but exists in all places, arising from life itself. In Islam, Allah is also omnipresent in Creation, upon the throne of Heaven and at the same time “closer to Man than his jugular vein” (Qur’an 50:16). Though the Force is described as an energy field arising from living things, in Islam it is life that arose from Allah’s will – the connection to life itself is inextricable.

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Later, Master Yoda teaches Luke about how the Force elevates him above the level of the merely material:

[The Force’s] energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, Luke (Yoda pinches Luke’s shoulder), not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me… the tree.. the rock… everywhere!

Again, the emphasis of the omnipresence of Allah, but here Yoda also explains to Luke that is via The Force that our true selves can be realized. Our existence on this mortal plane is not the totality of our existence, we are more than merely our “crude matter” of flesh. In Islam, as well, acceptance of the Oneness of Allah (Tawhid) is the key to unlocking the truth about reality and our purpose on this crude world. In Islam, Allah is what makes us luminous, what surrounds and binds all muslims and humanity alike.

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Of course, it’s just a movie, with a simplified philosophy suited to fiction. But the higher philosophy of the Jedi is one that muslims should recognize. And of course, the Qur’an is our lightsaber…

May The Force be with you… Always. And Fi Amaan Allah (Allah’s peace be with you).

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