Trying to understand Hamza Ali Abbasi’s ‘halal platonic’ relationship

Published: August 24, 2019
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There was no need to indulge in this strange social virtue insisting that he randomly proposed to one of his "platonic" friends. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/HAMZAALIABBASI

A couple of days ago, the news about actor Hamza Ali Abbasi marrying fellow actress Naimal Khawar Khan broke out. I was extremely excited upon hearing the news because, in my opinion, they make one of the most photogenic and beautiful couples.

With his Robert Pattinson-like looks and prodigious acting talent, Abbasi is one of the most famous television stars and perhaps the only male actor to truly rival Fawad Khan in terms of popularity. Khan is also a gorgeous woman and her performance in serial Anaa shows a lot of promise for the future. However, then my attention was drawn towards Abbasi’s Facebook post which had gone viral and was being hotly debated on social media. Intrigued, I went on his page to read it.

I planned to say this after 25th but since the news is already out so here i go. Yes i am deliberately using this public…

Posted by Hamza Ali Abbasi on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Now Abbasi is no stranger to controversy; in the past, several of his posts have evoked a lot of storm due to their controversial nature. He has defended Hafiz Saeed, mocked Kulsoom Nawaz’s illness and then posted insensitive posts when she passed away and expressed nonsensical ideas about the MeToo movement.

But after reading this recent post, I think Abbasi has outdone himself. The content of his post has left me and many others confused about his state of mind.

The entire post focused more on flaunting his religiousity and his relationship with Allah and, like many others, I had trouble understanding Khan’s place in it. He claimed that he did not love Khan, had been in a “platonic” relationship with her for the past two years and was now marrying her to please Allah. According to him, she agreed and now they cannot even breathe without each other.

I think any woman would feel insulted if told that the guy proposing to her is not really in love with her but is doing so to solely please Allah. Abbasi framed his decision to marry her as a case of charity or sacrifice. Moreover, if pleasing God is the main consideration, then why marry a beautiful and successful woman like Khan? Why not marry someone much less privileged as that is more likely to please Allah. Or, for that matter, why marry anyone? There are multiple better ways to please the Almighty.

Even more bizarre was the claim of a “platonic” relationship with Khan. What really made the entire claim even more incredible was that in the same line he claimed that now both can’t even breathe without each other. So despite a “platonic” relation, Abbasi decided to marry Khan, which is not a platonic bond, and suddenly after the proposal, which even though was solely to please Allah, they can’t even breathe without each other. The entire post reeked of senseless contradictions, self-righteousness and twisted morality. But what made him come up with such a strange post? As I thought about it, I realised that the answer is so obvious.

Abbasi is one of those celebrities who, after “rediscovering” religion, start wearing it on their sleeves. Rather than making that rediscovery of religion a matter between themselves and God, they start flaunting it along with lecturing and judging others. They make rather extreme stances as they have to show how religious and pious they have become. Yet, at the same time, they don’t want to give up the glamour and privileges which come from their celebrity status. This internal tension then manifests itself in absurd outpourings where they convince others that they only had a “platonic” relationship with the person they are marrying.

In all probability, Abbasi wrote this post to make people believe that his extreme views do not make him hypocritical and that he is above ‘haraam’ things like love. He had to do it since he feared backlash on being religious and having an affair at the same time. Maybe he wanted to address the possible allegation of engaging in physical intimacy before marriage. After all, the plan is to transform Pakistan to a state of Madina, and as ‘cultural secretary’, he can’t be seen in a ‘modern’ relationship with a female.

There was no need to indulge in this strange social virtue insisting that he randomly proposed to one of his “platonic” friends. He makes it seem as if marrying out of love is a sin and an unnatural thing. Why not simply admit that you are in love?

Abbasi’s subsequent post, in which he has tried to address the blatant contradictions in his original post, has left me with no doubt. In this post, which is more nonsensical than the first one, Abbasi has lectured us about “haraam” and “halal” and how one should have a “platonic” relationship before marriage to keep it “halal”.

I want to again shamelessly use this attention to my marriage to again highlight a point ONLY for those who can relate &…

Posted by Hamza Ali Abbasi on Friday, August 23, 2019

This case is a lesson for all of us. We should not wear religion on our sleeves; we should avoid taking extreme positions and judge others from those positions. Failure to do so has the potential of making us intolerant and strangely contradicting just like Abbasi. It is sad that he has a massive fan following and, therefore, has the potential to influence many from such contradictory ideas.

raza.habib

Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.