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How drama My Jihad got its name

Shakeel Ahmed


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Throughout the entire process the title has always been My Jihad. At no point was any other title in contention.

Maybe there was a hint of mischief when I made the choice, but My Jihad always felt like a very obvious title to me, and luckily, nobody ever questioned it, because I wouldn't have even entertained anything else.

There may have been a sense of wanting a title that was dramatic and caught people’s attention. But ultimately, it was the title's thematic resonance to the story that made it perfect.

Fahmida and Nazir finally go on their first date...

First and foremost the title refers to a Muslim’s inner struggle to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible by marrying a woman of the same faith, providing for her and bringing up their children. It is less a quest of discovery and more a battle to make oneself a more rounded, productive, merciful and compassionate human being. To make oneself whole.

So often in our lives, the most transformative moments are not hugely thrilling or accompanied by dramatic music and explosions. Despite this, we change and develop, and this is the essence of drama. So if the writing is any good, the Nazir and Fahmida we have at the end of the series will be different to the Nazir and Fahmida we started with in episode one.

Will love blossom for the pair?

Nobody who watches the films can argue that the title is not appropriate, and I feel like the series speaks for itself. As for audience takeaway, it's impossible to second-guess that reaction. For my part, if a viewer decides to watch the films because of the title, makes it to the end, smiles, and does not feel like he or she has wasted their time, I'll be happy.

I believe that most people out there know the nuances regarding the meaning of 'jihad'. It does have a military meaning but it also relates to many other things that are just pushed out of the discussion altogether. Linguistically it relates to exerting oneself. For many people it only conjures images of warfare and brutality, but jihad is also ridding oneself of ugly traits like envy, gluttony, pride, arrogance and conceit. And in the modern era, I think we could all do with a little bit of that!

Shakeel Ahmed wrote My Jihad.

Episode one of My Jihad is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Three new episodes will be available to watch in BBC iPlayer from Sunday, 28 June.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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