Meet Romeisa, the faceless Islamic doll
Creepy, or what? This week a British woman drew local media attention after she launched an “Islamic doll” with no facial features.
According to this report, Romeisa’s face is:
Entirely flat, cushy, and eerie, draped in a hijab.
Ridhwana B the doll’s creator, designed it as the first model of a larger Deeni (Arabic for faith) Doll collection, that seeks to comply with what some interpret as Islamic religious law’s prohibition on the depiction of distinct features on any children’s toy.
Ridhwana, a former teacher at a Lancashire Muslim school, told the Lancashire Telegraph:
I came up with the idea from scratch after speaking to some parents who were a little concerned about dolls with facial features. I spoke to a religious scholar in Leicester who guided me through what was and was not permissible when producing the product
After four years in development, the sharia-compliant monstrosity is being manufactured in China and undergoing limited distribution (via inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org) for about £25.00.
Believing the selection of toys for observant, strictly orthodox Muslim children is quite limited now, Ridhwana claims she is considering launching a wider range of products and writing a book on Islamic child rearing.
It’s doubtful that her book it will be anything like My ChaCha is Gay, written by a Canadian ex-Muslim to combat Islamic homophobia.
Although it’s attracted a good deal of local interest, Romeisa is not the first faceless model in the world. In the thriving niche of Islamic toys, there are actually several specialist faceless doll makers, but the Lancashire Telegraph reports that Ridhwana’s dolls are unique “for their high-quality production”.
Faceless dolls derive from Islamic religious texts that prohibit the depiction of humans and animals in any medium (although encountering faces on things like coins is accepted as unavoidable). This stems from the beliefthat one ought not to create or worship idols and the fear that depictions of man or beast will lead to false worship, or at least distract people from their focus on Allah.
Creating dolls in human and animal form is explicitly exempted form these rules, so long as they have no facial features because the “Prophet” Mohammeded child bride, Aisha, played with dolls. There’s also the belief that they can teach young girls how to show affection and care for children. In the past this has led religious authorities to suggest that observant Muslims burn the faces off of their children’s conventional dolls is faceless alternatives aren’t available.