Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Walking Dead S8E09 "Honor" Portrayed Two Muslim Religious Texts #TWD

[Spoiler Alert] On AMC's The Walking Dead, in Season 8, Episode 9 "Honor," as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is burying his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), he repeats the mantra "My mercy prevails over my wrath."

This is a translation of a passage in Sahih al-Bukhari, an important collection of narrations about the deeds and words attributed to the Messenger Muhammad ﷺ:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لما قضى الله الخلق كتب في كتابه فهو عنده فوق العرش إن رحمتي غلبت غضبي

Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, "My Mercy overpowers My Anger."

Carl, knowing he is going to die after having been bitten by a zombie (walker/biter/roamer, etc), plants a tree. This is an actualization of another saying attributed to the Messenger Muhammad ﷺ:

إِنْ قَامَتْ عَلَى أَحَدِكُمُ الْقِيَامَةُ وَفِي يَدِهِ فَسِيلَةٌ فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا

If the Resurrection finds one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him plant it.

Of course, this is not proof that the writers of the show were inspired by these Muslim religious texts. One possibility is that the texts came to them through a source (the comic books, for example, or some self-help book) which didn't identify their origin. Another possibility is that similar texts can be found in earlier scriptures and these inspired the writers. If anybody has either a direct line to the writers or can suggest other texts which may have inspired them, please leave a comment.

Two Muslim characters have appeared in the series so far, Nabila (Nadine Marissa) and Siddiq (Avi Nash). Nabila covers her head, wears loose, long clothing and has an Arabic name which some Muslims may name their daughters (or themselves if they revert to Islam as adults). Siddiq is also an Arabic name popular among Muslims.

Religion hasn't played an important role in The Walking Dead, although Fear the Walking Dead briefly portrayed a religious community in Mexico which attempted (unsuccessfully) to co-exist with the infected. Yet I am sure more dedicated fans can fill in details which I've missed.

P.S. Since I wrote this blog entry, I understand that Siddiq mentions to Rick & Carl "My mercy prevails over my wrath" when they first encounter him earlier in Season 8 and that Siddiq tells them it is from the Quran. Even though I watched that episode, I didn't remember that part. I like the show, but I don't study it like serious fans do! At any rate, some of the Internet's extreme Islamophobic fears that Carl Grimes would become a Muslim haven't happened (Carl's dead, buried with a cross over his grave.)