Well, model in the sense of a devout and pious young gentleman tested in Islamic and worldly knowledge; things like actually washing the dead to prepare them for burial, counseling pregnant women out of wedlock and helping orphans.
This reality show happens in Malaysia to great acclaim and a huge following. Their Facebook page has about 45,000 followers and press reports suggest and even greater following among young Malaysian women, all hoping for one of the contestants for a husband.
What do they win? Well, other than the assigned cleric’s blessing, the winner gets an all expenses paid trip to perform the Hajj in Mecca, a car, a laptop, a small cash grant and a scholarship in a main mosque in Madina in Saudi Arabia.
Is this creativity at its best or simply pandering to the lowest common denominator and using modern entertainment programming and spin it so that the maximum advertising/subscription revenue possible is milked?
Regardless, I applaud the Malaysian TV channel whose brainchild this is. They obviously recognised a niche and went with it and found success.
I’m quite sure that this new wave of entertainment is going to grace our own meagre Middle Eastern TV offerings very soon, but as usual, I’m afraid that they’re going to make pretty hash job of it. I hope that should it be replicated here or elsewhere; however, it will be done to propagate tolerance and understanding rather than increase the sectarian rift and strife in our part of the world. I somehow think that knowing the kind of religious stations we have here, it will be the latter that will be emphasised.