The “Islam Vs Art argument” is as old as Islam itself, though many scholars hold that Islam forbids art there are many who believe art; that is close to human nature and does not promote anti-Islamic teachings is lawful and permitted by Islam. As of now our entertainment industry is lead by people who neither understand nor care about the Islamic principles ergo many celebrities who want to groom themselves into a better Muslim find it fit to leave show-biz instead of staying and working on Islamization of the industry which is a task not impossible but unquestionably closest to impossible.
Most of the stories are inspirational in the way that these celebrities left show-biz when their career was at it’s peak and they were the uncrowned kings and queens of the industry with the faith that a better reward awaits them in the after life. Such transformations aren’t easy to make especially in a self righteous Muslim society like ours where people are Usain Bolt level fast at judging people but then again once you submit yourself to Allah all your pain becomes His’ and He is the healer of souls He gave them enough courage that they’ve proven everyone wrong and stood their stance to this day.
Though this article reads “Famous Celebrities Who Left Show-biz For Islam” but I will also be listing celebrities who left the mainstream show-biz but are still a part of the industry in their own ways and on their own terms.
Ali Haider was a famous singer who was also considered a heart throb. He gave many hits and was a style icon as well. He changes his path altogether because of a personal experience. Ali Haider shared in detail how the miraculous birth of his son changed everything for him. He narrated the entire story in Aamir Liaquat’s show and hoped that his story would help other people change their perspectives as well.
Ali Afzal was once a famous actor who worked in the field of showbiz for over a decade. He was known for his good looks and superb acting style. He took a completely different path when he decided to use television for a completely different purpose. He quit his acting career and was seen giving lectures about Islam on different platforms and channels. He also shared his story of transformation so that others too could get inspiration.
It is hard to be a Pakistani and not know this man, Junaid was a mechanical engineer from UET Lahore but he first gained nationwide recognition as the lead vocalist of Vital Signs back in 1987 with songs like “Dil Dil Pakistan” and “Tum Mil Gaye”. Dil Dil Pakistan soon reached the National anthem level sacredness in Pakistan and still holds that place in our hearts. Junaid worked as a solo artist from 1994-2002, he officially renounced music in 2004 and devoted his life to practicing and preaching Islam, Junaid left music but dedicated his melodious voice to Naats and Hamds, he has also hosted many Islamic transmissions over the years. To support himself financially Junaid launched a clothing outlet called “J.” (read as Jay Dot). On the fateful date of 7th December in 2016 Junaid along with his second wife tragically died in a plane crash in Havelian. PIA Flight 661 was en-route to Islamabad from Chitral, he had been in Chitral for a Tablighi Jamaat mission. Junaid was 52 at the time he died, as an artist and as a preacher we have equally loved him in all his avatars, the hollow space that this gem of a human left in our hearts will never be filled again.
Sara Chaudhry was named Iqra at her birth but she later changed her name to Sara when she joined the entertainment industry at a young age of 13-14 as a fashion model. Sara wanted to be a doctor but we have plans and then Universe has plans and Universe always wins. Sara later opted for acting with her debut being in Behlawa. She later worked in projects like Tareekiyan, Teray Jaane ke baad, Dil Diya Dehleez, Tere Pehloo Mein and soon became a household name. In 2012 Sara renounced the entertainment industry and dedicated her life to practicing Islam, ergo I didn’t find it fit to add her pictures from her modeling days here, Sara suffered the same fate as every other celebrity and was met with a lot of criticism at the hands of “900 chuhay kha ke bili haj ko chali” mentality but she stood fast to her decision to this day and hasn’t returned to the industry, she married a Dubai based businessman Faisal Khan in 2011 and now lives in Dubai.
Sataesh Khan made her acting debut in the drama serial “Tere Pehlu Main” the drama was super hit and so was Sataesh, the actress later scored many projects and was set to make her mark in the film industry when she reverted to Islam in 2012, she claims that this change of heart and life is inspired by her co-actress Sara Chaudhry. In 2013 she tied knots with Malik Noraid in a simple nikkah ceremony but the marriage didn’t last long and after a few months Sataesh got a divorce claiming that Noraid is an abusive husband, Sataesh was Noraid’s fifth wife the man had also been married to singer Ainnie Khalid who gave the same reasons for getting a divorce.
Najam Sheraz’s story is a lot like Junaid Jamshed’s. Najam made his first band with his brothers in 1987 called Brothers Rhythm before that he played professional cricket with legends like Waqar Younis and Inzamam. Najam made his second band called Wet Metal in 1989 but he got nationwide recognition as a solo artist with his single “In Say Nain” that came out in 1994 which was an instant hit and sold around 300,000 copies. From 1994 to 2002 Najam had a dream journey from getting his tracks added in international film soundtracks to touring the world after which in Ramadan 2003 his infamous hamd “Na Tera Khuda” came out which was an indication of his change of heart. The spiritual journey hasn’t ended since then. Najam now is a naatkhwah and also works for many Muslim charities.
Veena Malik (born Zahida Malik) needs no introduction since she is always making the headlines one way or another. Veena made her debut in Pakistani film industry with Sajjad Gul’s Tere Pyaar Mein after which she worked in many films and eventually made it to Big Boss season 4 in 2010 after which the doors to Bollywood were opened to her. In 2013 Veena married Asad Bashir Khan Khattak who happens to be a businessman based in Dubai after which Veena reverted to Islam and bid farewell to her acting career. This period however was short and now after getting a divorce, Veena Malik is back in the showbiz circles.
Urooj Nasir is a name as old as the PTV days the actress is known for her performances in shows like Lunda Bazar and Najany Kyun. In 2011 Urooj left showbiz and became a practicing Muslim, during an event on International Hijab Day Urooj said that she started thinking about the meaning of life back in 2005 when Pakistan was shook by the massive earthquake and many lives were changed in the blink of an eye but what finally changed her heart was the hypocrisy of the morning shows when she was asked to cover herself on Fridays and in Ramadan and Moharam while the rest of the year the shows continued to be the hokum they are even today. After her retirement from show-biz she launched her online hijab brand called Hijabeaze and she still works as a host for shows but in her hijab.
Nargis was a popular stage artist who also worked in films. She was known for her bold dances on the stage and also in film. The concept of item numbers was introduced by Nargis in Pakistani films. Few years back however she bid farewell to her long career and decided to practice Islam. She made this announcement through a press conference and since then has been out of limelight.
Noor Bukhari is the latest addition to the list of celebrities who have left show-biz to become better Muslims. Noor had recently gone through a divorce and a lot of mental and emotional torture for which she consulted an Islamic Scholar who turned out to be her savior and after meeting that Islamic Scholar Noor decided to change her life and devote her life to practice Islam. Noor received a lot of backlash for this transformation as expected of our society but her reaction to the situation was that her decision is to please Allah and no earthly being and it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of her.
Most of these celebrities have managed to stay true to their words and we sincerely hope that they will continue to do so. If you’d like to add anything to the story feel free to do so.