Warning: Spoilers ahead
In this last episode of this season of Little Mosque on the Prairie involved the long-awaited wedding between Rayyan and JJ. When it begins, JJ’s parents are still arguing, and Amaar is making a deal with Fred to use the Prairie Dog Lodge as a wedding venue. Baber goes to rid the place of alcohol, gambling chips, and the painted groundhog portrait. Once the wedding finally takes place, and Rayyan gives her consent to marry JJ, JJ surprises everyone by saying “no.”
Krista: I thought this episode was one of the more complex and probably the most serious one that they’ve had. Have they ever even had anyone crying on the show before? The scene where Rayyan and JJ are talking about how they love each other and want to be together but know it won’t work out was unusually moving for this show. Also, YAY for Ammar standing up for Rayyan! He usually bothers me because he seems so insecure all the time, but he stepped in at just the right moment, and laid down the law as imam about why they had to respect her. He also gave a great sermon at the wedding about the importance of companionship. It was an unusually strong imam performance for him, but I was glad to see it.
Sobia: I don’t think they’ve had anyone cry on the show before. That was so surprising to me too and, yes, it was moving. That scene between Rayyan and JJ was quite emotional and I think they did it well. I was surprised at how “deep” they went in this one. I thought this was definitely most serious one they’ve had. I could tell it was not so funny because it was meant to not be funny. They didn’t try too hard in this one. And I totally agree about Ammar. I liked that not only did he stand up for Rayyan but he, for the first time, seemed very confident and comfortable in his role as imam. Maybe that was on purpose. Maybe from now on we’ll see a more confident imam in Ammar. Additionally, we can’t forget that he does have feelings for Rayyan so this may be another incident of foreshadowing.
Krista: JJ’s mother and Baber were both their usual annoying, unrealistic and predictable selves, so I guess that balanced things out in the show. And how cheesy was that thunderstorm???
Sobia: Oh that thunderstorm. That was really cheesy. And oh man – JJ’s mother was terribly annoying. She seemed meaner this time. And unnecessarily so. I mean, last week because of the whole hiding the divorce thing one could understand her stress. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, and her real target of anger was supposed to be her husband, her attitude toward Rayyan seemed inappropriate. And Baber was being unnecessarily picky. I can understand getting rid of alcohol, but the picture of that prairie dog? It was ugly but not offensive. However, I was glad that when Ammar explained that the picture could be offensive he made sure to clarify that it could be offensive to some Muslims. Finally, no generalizations. But for some reason the way Baber tried to get rid of the picture seemed a little disrespectful to me. Ah well…at least it was Baber who was doing it and not a more rational Muslim character.
Krista: I wasn’t sure what to think about the part with the witnesses. They need two people as witnesses, so JJ has his father as a witness, and Rayyan chooses her mother as hers. JJ’s mother jumps in (possibly out of jealousy, given her actions in most of the rest of the episode) and tells Rayyan that she can’t have only one female witness, that she needs two female witnesses to equal one man. Rayyan first tells her that “no one does that anymore,” and then finally asks her to be another witness, which she refuses.
I wish there had been more context to that scene, rather than just throwing it in there. There are different opinions about the reasons for (and validity of) the two-female-witnesses thing, and also about the contexts where this is required. I was confused about why they put that part in there, and felt like it would be especially confusing for any non-Muslims watching the show. You can’t just have someone say “you need a second woman to equal a man,” and not explain where that came from. If the writers really wanted to bring up the question about witnesses, they should have allowed for more of a discussion about it, rather than just rushing through it, and basically using it as another way to show how immature JJ’s mother was acting.
Sobia: I see what you’re saying, but this is the dilemma with LMOTP. They are trying to teach people about Muslims but they only have a limited amount of time to do it. To be honest I didn’t mind it so much. Maybe because I agreed with Rayyan. JJ’s mother represented one school of thought and Rayyan another. Many Muslims do believe that the whole two-women-equals-one-man thing is outdated, and culture and time specific. I don’t think they had enough time to address it fully but at least they addressed the stereotype that all Muslims believe or follow this – because we don’t. And I did like that.
Krista: One area where I felt the episode was lacking was at the end, when they’re reflecting on what happened. There was a lot of reflective talk about how the past is past, maybe what took place happened for a reason, and so on, and not a single mention of God, not even from the imam! I thought it really could have benefited from some indication that Islam could be a source of comfort and inspiration during a difficult time, a way to look philosophically at what happened and to feel hope that something better might be in store. I realise that they don’t want to make it a religious show, but I wonder if people watching the show are going to start understanding Islam as a set of strange rules – no gopher portraits at weddings, women are only worth half of men, etc. – and not as a source of inspiration or a positive force in other ways. Ammar’s speech at the wedding was great as a demonstration of the lessons that people can find in Islam, but I felt like the absence of any reference to any religious teachings at the end was really weird (and unrealistic.)
Sobia: I didn’t think of it that way when I was watching it but now that you mention it, I agree. It would have been nice to even have said something like “God has a plan” or “God does everything for a reason.” It didn’t even have to be Islam specific because coming from a Muslim, especially the imam, would have implied the Islamic source of inspiration. And as you said, at the very least Ammar should have said something about it. He is the imam.
However, that last conversation between Ammar and Rayyan was not so sublte at hinting at the possibility of something happening between them. Overall, not a bad show.