Artwork

Short Film: Deserted Heavens

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By the Queens College Short Film Team – 3rd Place Winner of the 2019 NY MSA Showdown Competition

Editor’s Note: Muslim Youth Musings had the honor and opportunity to collaborate with NY MSA Showdown for their 2019 Competition, assist in judging the Creative Writing and Spoken Word contests, and publish selected winning entries in the categories of Creative Writing, Spoken Word, Photography, and Short Film. We congratulate all of the competitors and winners on producing high-quality work that is now being shared with Muslims across the world.



A healthy amount of the theme, “Striving for Recovery: Mending Broken Roads”, considers the distraught and adversities of today’s ummah due to societies influences. All the while we grow closer to death every day, we never take the time out of our “busy” lives to understand the meaning behind the words of Allah (swt) and the true goal and road we should be pursuing. The true meaning of life is to strive toward attaining Allah’s pleasure before our sole chance is over, which is in essence, brings up the value of time. It is truly Allah’s grace, love, and mercy that He continues to guide us, despite how far off the correct path we have strayed. Verily, Allah intervenes in each of our lives in intimate ways. Sometimes, this may be Allah’s aid in very subtle means. For example, the presence of coming across verses of the Quran when in hopelessness or interactions with things you come across can change the direction of our life. We hope this film can serve as a reminder to those who see reality in a similar context as the main character.

The story is about a foreign exchange student, who comes to NYC for the first time, and isn’t able to adapt to the culture and his studies as the semester nears its end. Coming in grateful and with very firm in his belief, he begins fading as he is mocked in public for offering his salaah. He invests himself in making dua for worthy grades and job offers, but puts no effort into his goals. Nevertheless, due to him obtaining nothing, he begins losing hope on praying and slowly starts burning his bridge with Allah, questioning the existence of a God who doesn’t answer his prayers. To be honest, many of us have experienced a similar situation but everyone has different response mechanisms, this case being to choose to shy away from Islam itself. As he’s in darkness, he comes across a translation of the Quran serendipitously, where Allah mentions “… so that you may not grieve over what has eluded you, and not exult over what He has given to you” (57:23).

Coming across a homeless person praying in the harsh cold, it was eye opening in the case that even those who have nothing still praise and worship Allah, so what is his issue? This makes him regret the direction he chose, quickly turning back to Allah for his faults. The film serves the purpose to show that a calamity that brings one closer to Allah is better than a blessing bestowed which makes one forget Allah [as quoted by Ibn Taymiyyah].

As a team, we hope for nothing else, but to motivate the audience, and to inspire them to perform good deeds; to remind them that the Creator is to whom we shall return. The most important element in conveying our understanding of the theme was to trigger a sense of urgency in the audience.


About the Team

Pictured left to right: Muhammad Hamza and Nael Ahmed

Muhammad Hamza is a chemistry student with a passion for videography.

Nael Ahmed is a finance student. In a world where he could be anyone, he chooses to be himself, a risk taker, and an adventurer.

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