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Rihanna under fire for playing Islamic hadith during lingerie show

Globally renowned superstar Rihanna in New York, US on 12 September 2019 [Steven Ferdman/Getty Images]
Globally renowned superstar Rihanna in New York, US on 12 September 2019 [Steven Ferdman/Getty Images]

Globally renowned superstar Rihanna has been criticised for using a song that contains a narration from an Islamic Hadith during her recent lingerie show.

Released on Amazon Prime on Friday, the track featured in the Savage X Fenty soundtrack contains a Hadith – Islamic phrases from the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) that are used as guidance for Muslims – which talks about the signs of the Judgment Day and the end of times.

Vocal samples of the Hadith had been sped up and layered over a dance track for the song “Doom” by London producer Coucou Chloe.

She was previously championed for using a diverse casting, including a hijabi model in her past beauty campaigns for her cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty.

However, it’s now being pointed out that she “cant even take the time to actually educate” herself on the model’s religion.

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Many have taken to Twitter to accuse the “Good girl gone bad” singer of disrespecting the religion by using the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) in a sexualised context.

Twitter user @reversecoconut labelled the 32-year-old singer’s use of the song as an example of cultural appropriation, also noting that in a former show, models wore scarves around their heads like hijabs before commenting that “my religion is not y’all’s aesthetic”.

Models at the Savage X Fenty show, which included Palestinian-American supermodel Bella Hadid, danced along to the controversial song sped up, making the Hadith difficult to decipher.

Another added: “As a Muslim, no words can describe how disappointed I am with Rihanna for letting her models dance to hadith.”

Some fans believe Rihanna was entirely unaware of the meaning of the Arabic included in the song chosen for her show, however, it’s not the first time the singer has faced accusations of being “disrespectful” towards Islam.

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In 2013, Rihanna was asked to leave the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi after taking “inappropriate” photos outside it.

“I think the person who created the song knew what they were doing,” wrote one observer. “That is a very specific hadith. You have to go looking to find it. It’s not something non-muslims know unless they research. So the fact that the song is called Doom & the hadith is about the end of times? @rihanna?”

“Rihanna is messed up for using a song with a Hadith in it to play at her lingerie show,” another fan added. “What is up with artists using Islam as an aesthetic?? Have some respect.”

Rihanna has not yet publicly commented on either controversy, despite calls for her to apologise.

Coucou Chloe released the following statement on Twitter: “I want to deeply apologise for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song ‘Doom’. The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith.”

“I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We have been in the process of having the song urgently removed from all streaming platforms.”

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