I Turned Down Playboy and Still Support Women’s Choice to Do It

  • ImSoLit

    Thanks for writing this. I like your assessment of the pros and cons of doing the interview.

  • Ben Adelson

    Love it. Conforming to our paradigm.

  • Megan Wyatt

    What you did in your decision to not accept this interview should be praised because it is the right thing to do on so many levels and as a result, can be used as an example of female leadership I would like to encourage.

    Your statement here, however, stood out for me in your article:

    “It’s the woman’s decision how she chooses to practice her Islam, define her modesty, express her sexuality, and conduct herself. If your concern is Islam’s teachings, and that makes up the crux of your heedless criticism, then know that all you are obligated to be concerned with is leaving the judgment to God. Islam’s stances on modesty, sexuality, and otherwise do not entitle you to using the double-edged sword of insulting Muslim women, attacking them, or publicly ridiculing them, especially when you could care less about their positive intent. That’s your ego.”

    It is always our personal decision how we practice Islam, but it is also an *obligation* to address something that is either wrong regarding our Deen (Like ISIS), or statements by a man about how Muslim women should be treated which we deem is straying away from the straight path, or something or someone which is highly influential doing something that calls people to a path that is not noble. And most people agree, being featured with Playboy is not connected to nobility in anyway shape or form.

    There are so many better ways to be introduced to new audiences, present oneself, network and even “make some noise” to be recognized.

    While I agree that people online can be outright disgusting in how they attempt to “enjoin the good and forbid the evil” (often creating more evil than good) – we want to not follow the narrative that says having an opinion or judging something wrong = controlling Muslim women, having an unwarranted opinion, or being the being the “j” word ” judgmental. We are obligated to use our knowledge to make sound choices, as you have done in your situation.

    Allah does hold the final say on all that we do, but unless we can be mirrors for each other and highlight when we are moving in dangerous direction, we will be failing each other as a community and letting desires beat out knowledge, balance, wisdom, and Divine guidance.

    That being said, I ask Allah to strengthen Noor in her iman and to bring her heart close to Him and guide her through this challenge to that which is most pleasing to Him.

    May Allah guide us.

  • Anees

    Great article Amani. Very well put. Was looking forward to your reaction, given your unique position (founder of MG) and as a friend of Noor’s.

  • N

    article isn’t showing up ?

  • s

    Your good friend? LMAO… you do remember how much shit you’ve talk about her? Should I show you the screenshots?

    • dw

      What are u talking about?

  • http://sakeenahbegum.com Sakeenah Begum

    I’m glad you shared your perspective on the topic and highlighted the importance of making decisions with your audience in mind. Little girls look up to popular Muslim youtubers and journalists. We owe it to them to set the right example inshaAllah.

  • measuredtonesart

    Salaam. I come in total peace and just to ask a question regarding what I read in this article. I’m trying figure how it is possible for you to list all those really great reasons* why one should not do an interview with such a publication and then say that you ||unequivocally|| support her decision to do it. It seems a bit contradictory. I could understand if you said, “I would never do it but I condemn her for doing it.” Why do you feel the need to ||support|| the decision? Can’t you not condemn her but still not support her decision to do it? Curious as to what you think about that.

    * In the end, I could not reconcile appearing in a full feature photoshoot for the public eye in a traditionally pornographic magazine on behalf of a feminist Muslim women’s publication.

    I couldn’t help but notice, in the top corner of the menu bar, a link to an online application where any woman could apply to pose nude for the website, or to be considered for a Playboy Bunny role. I thought of all the Muslim Girl readers that would be redirected to this page, that could potentially give a second thought to the acceptability of selling our bodies to a patriarchal society that profits off of them while simultaneously seeking to destroy them.


    • Faiz

      Barak Allahu Feek bro

    • Fatima Zaidi

      She’s trying to be diplomatic.

  • Sit down

    Still, many in your community believe Trump, the most sexist man to ever run for President, will be the better representation for Muslims – the man who said it’s impossible for a woman to be a “10” without a big rack – the same man who would like to rid this country of Muslims. He’ll wait until he gets elected to put that policy in place.

    • Faiz

      Barak Allahu Feek

  • Kobie Williams

    We are one body called the ummah as the Messenger of Allah explained the actions of a few
    effect us as a whole. An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
    Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5665, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586

    Even non-Muslims internalize this Hadith and see us as one body.

  • Samar K Said

    With all due respect, she was NOT fully clothed in HIJAB. Do not degrade the meaning of hijab. It is not a piece of cloth….it is the way you go about yourself…the way you walk ..the way you talk…the way you present yourself. We have raped the meaning of what is meant to wear hijab. And the modesty she speaks of does not even present what true modesty in Islam is.

  • Jefferson Smith

    Here are 3 important points that too many people don’t realize regarding Playboy:


    Playboy’s online empire is STILL based around nudes. It’s the print magazine that no longer shows nude photos.

    This article hints at that (mentioning “a link to an online application where any woman could apply to pose nude for the website”), but then it confuses the issue by saying “It was explained to me that, yes, Playboy.com is rebranding, and, no, it doesn’t publish nudes online anymore.”

    Playboy does still publish nudes online, hence the link asking for women to pose nude.

    The magazine is a gateway/advertisement for their online empire & brand overall… Just like clothing stores still like to mail print catalogs, even though everyone buys online these days. The catalogs don’t bring-in many sales from people phoning to order, but they help to increase online sales, by reminding people about the company & products periodically.


    And I’ve read that Playboy is apparently getting MORE EXPLICIT with their online content, in order to compete online.


    It’s a 2-part strategy:

    (A) With so much available online, people don’t want a magazine for nude photos. And Playboy has a well-known brand, so the company makes the magazine tamer + puts that content online, and generates media buzz with news of the change early in the year. And now more buzz with this stunt.

    And more people will see the articles online vs in the magazine anyway, and the buzz gets their site lots of links.

    (B) Given the online competition, they perhaps felt their online content was too tame in comparison, so they become even more pornographic with their online nudes… just on a different section of their web site.


    So all those people saying “But they have changed their ways and rebranded” are misinformed.

    And I think the context of Playboy’s actual strategy makes this whole issue with Playboy even worse.

    The magazine generates buzz, people may visit the main page for articles or almost-nude photos, and then get links/promos to the nude photos. And contrary to what this article suggests, paid subscriptions are still central to their revenue base.

    It’s a gateway drug, essentially.

    Come for some free marijuana, then see promo offers for cocaine… probably with some free samples, and special deals for first-time buyers!


    Since some people like John Oliver-ish analogies, maybe this will change the minds of some who vehemently defend the interview decision:

    – Let’s say some dictatorship country (I’ll use N. Korea as an example, to minimize any backlash) creates a little seaside resort town that’s different from the rest of the country.

    – Would it be smart to help them promote the town?

    Of course not… Because the regime is so terrible. And the resort acts as a gateway for people to go off to other regions of “the country” (and the resort’s not all that great anyway).

    Well I don’t think this is much different… Playboy has a history that certainly isn’t in-line with Islamic principles, nudity is still key to their strategy (just online now), and they’re actually becoming more pornographic online (just not the homepage, it seems… but they prominently link to the porn).

    And this all certainly did help promote Playboy. For those that say “It’s just an interview”… well, Playboy knew that the interview & photoshoot would stir controversy and create media buzz, even in mainstream media. Plus, it seems like they specifically wanted a hijabi for the buzz… and eventually found one who agreed to it.


    Personally, I don’t understand why so many people are afraid to plainly say it was a bad choice, as seen in this article and elsewhere.

    Of course it doesn’t mean she’s a bad person overall and she doesn’t deserve to be attacked, but she made a bad decision that affects others, especially because her publicity & “rise to fame” has been so tied to hijab and support from Muslims. In her interview, she even cites the quote “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000”.

    Her interview also mentions how younger girls looks up to her. And this article does explain the negative repurcussions.

    So why not call a spade a spade? It was a bad decision… not even just for Islamic reasons: I think all of the above are reasons a feminist would also think it’s a bad decision.

    She seems like a nice person, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was unwise and helps promote a business that initiated the porn industry, still revolves around nudity & general “risque content”, and yes indeed, it is still based on paid subscriptions to see nude women.