Known for her powerful vocals and wide-ranging beauty line Fenty beauty, Rihanna received a serious counterblast from the Muslim fans in earlier October 2020 for her insensitivity towards their religious scripture of Hadith. On 2nd October 2020, Rihanna launched her Savage X Fenty lingerie brand in Los Angeles and the launching fashion show was streamed on Amazon Prime. A song named DOOM by the London-based artist Coucou Chloe was used in the playlist for the Savage X Fenty Fashion show.
The Muslims around the world immediately pointed out that the song contained texts from Hadith which is extremely sacred to them and must not be used insensitively for such purposes. The song which was played during a part of the show contains a combination of certain Hadith narrations about the judgement day and the end of times. Rihanna and her team received severe backlash after their fashion show and her Muslim fans were highly disappointed at such outrageous behavior for their religion.
Hadith is a set of sayings, actions and statement by the last prophet of Islam Muhammed and this collection is held in high esteem and regards by the whole Muslim community. It is considered the second most important and righteous guidance for Muslims after their holy book the Quran. It is considered debarring to use the Quranic verses, Allah’s name or the Prophet’s words for obscene and immoral purposes. So, it was intrinsic of Muslims to come out publicly and demonstrate their anger at the world famous Rihanna for her disrespect towards Islam.
After receiving the intense recoil from the Muslim community from around the world, Rihanna took to the Savage X Fenty official page on Instagram and publicly apologized on Tuesday 6th October 2020 stating that, “I would like to thank the Muslims for showing me a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x Fenty show. I would more importantly like to apologize to the Muslims for this honest, yet careless fault. We realize that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters and I am immensely disheartened by this. I do not play with any kind of disrespect towards any God or religion and hence the use of the song in our project was totally irresponsible. We will make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding”.
The artist Coucou Chloe whose song was used in the show also took to her twitter on Monday 5th October 2020 and tweeted that, “I want to deeply apologize for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘DOOM’. I take full responsibility for the fact that I did not do proper research on the words being used and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We are under way to remove this song from all streaming platforms”.
Despite the apologies by Rihanna and the singer Chloe, Rihanna’s Muslim fans from around the world are deeply hurt. Talking to BBC news, a Muslim beauty blogger Hodhen Liaden expressed how this incident might change her thoughts about Rihanna and she might stop using her brand altogether. Another fashion blogger Arooj Aftab told BBC news that she got a little sick after watching such insensitivity being carried out in the name of her religion. The CEO of 5ive Pillars clothing brand Farrukh Ershad told CNN, “For us Muslims, Ahadeeth are a sacred scripture and fundamental part of our religion. To see a Hadith used in this type of context both by the artist, and by Rihanna’s Fenty team was distasteful and disrespectful”.
This is not the first time that Rihanna has disrespected the religion of Islam. In 2013, she faced extreme backlash for clicking and posting unseeming and inappropriate photos in front of the Abu Dhabi’s famous Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque and she was asked to leave from the mosque immediately by the authorities. The religious authorities had said that her dressing and posture was highly offensive and unacceptable for the rules of the Mosque and for their cultural values altogether. Apart from Rihanna, there are others who have been thick-skinned about the dignity of Islam and the religious sentiments of Muslims.
In late August 2020. The world famous rapper and the current candidate for the upcoming US elections Kanye West got himself involved in a controversy for naming his Yeezy Boost Sneakers in collaboration with Adidas after the Islamic angels of death and music. The sneakers were named as the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil and Esrael. Muslims from all around the world have signed petitions for Adidas and Kanye West to cancel this product and have boycotted their products as well. But neither Adidas nor Kanye West have yet come out publicly on this issue nor have they apologized for their inconsideration towards Islam.
In July 2020, the Chinese fast fashion brand Shein was called out by Muslims for stealing the idea of the Prayer Mat from Islam and selling it under the name of FRILLED GREEK CARPETS. They faced immense backlash from Muslim community and then took to their official Instagram page on 5th July 2020 saying “We’re Sorry” to the whole Muslim community around the world.
The contempt shown by these highly influential and world famous celebrities and brands towards Islam expresses the inconsideration and insensitivity towards religions. If people with influence and efficacy do not stop such unethical acts towards Islam and keep hurting the religious sentiments of people, it will portray an insignificant and fiddling image of Islam among their fans who happen to be millions and millions in number.
The author is doing M. Phil in Public Policy and Governance. He is working as a freelancer. Previously worked with HubPages and Washington Post.