Leading Islamic academic labels faceless Muslim Deeni Doll 'foolish'

LSE professor Fawaz Gerges claimed that the doll would appeal only to a small minority of Muslims

A faceless Islamic doll, launched in Britain, has attracted criticism from a leading academic of Muslim societies because of its “foolish” interpretation of Islam.

The Romeisa Deeni Doll, designed by Rishwana B and manufactured in China, does not have eyes, a mouth or nose in compliance with a strict interpretation of Islam that prohibits the depiction of faces.

“I came up with the idea from scratch after speaking to some parents who were a little concerned about dolls with facial features,” Ms B told the Lancashire Telegraph.

However, London School of Economics professor Fawaz Gerges, a specialist in Muslim societies and politics at London School of Economics, claimed the doll, which is available to purchase for £25, was: “silliness and foolishness.”

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Professor Fawaz said Muslims were now part of the “global community”, who live “21 century lifestyles” and are not “frozen” in the 6 century.

“The doll is a gimmick, an ultra-conservative interpretation. It is a very isolated phenomenon and with all due respect I imagine it would only appeal to a very tiny group,” he told the Mail Online.

“It's a cultural luxury and I don't think it will have much of an audience or many clients.”

Ms B, previously a teacher in an Islamic school in Lancashire, said many parents were positive about the doll.

“We have produced a limited amount at the moment but already I have had parents take up the order,” she said.

The Romeisa doll, named after one of the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad, took four years to create with the assistance of a Leicester scholar who had advised Ms B on what was “permissible” to Islam.

“Some parents won’t leave the doll with their children at night because you are not allowed to have any eyes in the room,” she explained.

“There is an Islamic ruling which forbids the depiction of facial features of any kind and that includes pictures, sculptures and, in this case, dolls.”

Ms B added: “The Deeni Doll has no face on it whatsoever and is Shariah compliant.” Although not the first such Islamic doll, it is believed that the Romeisa doll is the most intricate yet manufacted. 

This interpretation is known as aniconism, which teaches devout Muslims to avoid depictions of living things, such as animals or humans.