Noor_idol.jpgQuick! When you think of what married life is in the Middle East, what comes to mind? Women clad in black burkas, abayas (robes), hijabs, and face veils, sticking close to home, raising kids and following the lead of her dominating Arab husband? A relationship where the man is in charge and the woman sticks to the roles of wife and mother?
Not according to “Noor,” a popular Turkish soap opera that’s gaining huge viewership across the Gaza strip and in Saudi Arabia. It features a handsome protagonist names Mohannad, a blue-eyed Arab heartthrob married to Noor, who aspires to be a fashion designer. And get this–Mohhanad supports her goals! According to a Newsweek article, women across the Middle East are swooning for this atypical Arab hero against the wishes of strict, conservative Arab-Muslim clerics who are urging people to tune out the “un-Islamic” show.

Some women are advising their husbands to learn from Noor and Mohannad. In the Newsweek article, 24-year-old Heba Hamdan, a housewife who married straight out of college, told her husband, ” … learn from him (Mohannad) how he treats her, how he loves her, how he cares about her.” Hamdan, who lives in Amman Jordon, said “Noor” has inspired to go out and look for a job.
“Noor” is an interesting mix of Muslim, Western, and Arab practices and traditions. The characters observe the fasting month of Ramadan, the title character’s marriage was arranged by Mohannad’s grandfather. But strict Muslims are riled because the couple drinks alcohol with dinner and had sex outside of marriage. (The husband had a child with an old girlfriend.)
But it is a Turkish soap opera, from a country that’s less conservative than its Muslim counterparts. And conservatives seem powerless to stem the tide of “Noor’s” popularity. In Saudi Arabia, three to four million watch the show daily according to Saudi satellite channel MBC.

Setting aside the character’s obviously un-Islamic practices, I think the relationship shown in “Noor” is one that’s very Islamic. The Islam I was always taught says a woman’s first priority is to make sure her family is taken care of in the best way. And after that, she is encouraged to do more–get educated, contribute to society, work. And her relationship with her husband is one of love and consideration–not domination. If I got “Noor” in the U.S., I would probably watch.
The show will wrap up before the start of Ramadan (when religious programming takes over in the Middle East) at the end of August.
More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

NFL quarterback Brock Purdy is crediting his Christian faith for a heart of gratitude and giving him confidence to lead his team. Purdy arose to starter after a series of injuries bumped him from his initial position as the third-string quarterback. In August 2021, Purdy told Sports Spectrum his “identity is in Jesus.” Purdy, 23, […]

Actor Chris Pratt said that he “wouldn’t change a thing” about his 2018 MTV Speech in which he told audiences that God loves them and stressed the importance of prayer. In a recent Instagram post, the “Jurassic Park” actor reflected on his speech after accepting the Generation Award at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. In […]

With everything happening in the world right now, many people think that we’re living in the End Times. However, “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist” puts you in the middle of what feels like the end of the world. The film is set six months after “Left Behind,” which follows a group of those left […]

Actor Richard Dreyfuss, famous for roles in movies like “Jaws” and “American Graffiti,” sat with Glenn Beck on his podcast to discuss his retirement from acting and his new passion: promoting teaching civics in schools. Although Dreyfuss “retired” from film acting in 2004, he has continued to appear in various roles throughout his 75 years. […]

Close Ad