Saturday, 4 July 2015

Ultra Conservative Muslim 'Faceless' Dolls Are Scary As Hell

Aisha dolls. (source)
Call me old fashioned, but I really prefer my dolls to have eyes, a nose and a mouth. So did Tom Hanks' character in the movie Castaway. He painted a crude face on a soccer ball and called it Wilson.

Some months ago, I came across the website Aisha Dolls. Aisha is the little 9 (or 10!) year old girl, with whom a 53 year old Mohammed consummated their marriage. The Hadith apparently makes a point of specifying that the marriage actually took place when she was 6 or 7, but Mohammed patiently waited until she was nine or ten before doing the deed. What a considerate guy.
Aisha Dolls was the first of its kind on the market. Aisha Dolls are faceless, wearing modest/Islamic clothing, soft to cuddle and play friendly. Aisha Dolls cater for Islamic values, and are made with quality and imaginative play in mind, all very important aspects of every Muslim child’s life and upbringing. Aisha Dolls also offer multicultural dolls with different skin colours, reflecting our Muslim community.
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The name of Aisha Dolls says it all. I was inspired by the hadith describing how Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to play with dolls which had no facial features in the presence of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa salam). Having children of my own, I noticed that there was no company offering faceless dolls specifically for the Muslims. To begin with I made dolls for my own children, thereafter I saw other Muslim families’ need for this toy. I decided to create my own models and the idea for Aisha Dolls was born, the first company offering dolls of this kind to the Muslim community.
There's something deeply odd to me about giving a child a doll with no recognizably human facial features. I just can't put my finger on it. Happily, a Professor of Muslim Societies, Fawaz Gerges, has pointed out that the majority of Muslims out there are just as creeped out by this as me.
‘The doll is a gimmick, an ultra-conservative interpretation,’ he told Mail Online.

He added: ‘It is a very isolated phenomenon and with all due respect I imagine it would only appeal to a very tiny group.’
A similar project, the Deeni Doll -- which Gerges is above referencing -- was launched in the UK last year by a former Muslim school teacher, after some parents were expressing concern that their daughters' dolls looked human.
"I came up with the idea from scratch after speaking to some parents who were a little concerned about dolls with facial features," she said.

"Some parents won't leave the doll with their children at night because you are not allowed to have any eyes in the room.
Isn't it amazing? Eyeless, faceless dolls would scare the bejeebies out of me in a dark bedroom.

This all boils down to aniconism where you're not allowed to have any depiction of animals (humans or otherwise) in sculpture, art, etc. So much for the Venus de Milo. So much for GI Joe.

The Aisha Dolls website was actually sent to me by Toronto Pakistani sex and religion blogger, Eiynah Nice Mangos. I had originally found these cartoon depictions of people on Jamaican-born Canadian Muslim television personality Bilal Philips Facebook page. She sent me the page to point out that they're faceless for a reason and that it's the real deal for some Muslims out there.



Look ma! No eyes!

2015-07-05: Correction, Hadith not Quran mention Aisha's age.

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