Once Upon an Actress


The world of movies and acting is an enticing one to many, full of bright lights, fancy clothes, and promises of fame and happiness. So many people are busy staring into the lights, they’re blinded to the reality of it. Hala Sheha is a contemporary sister of our times – and until a few years ago, she was also a famous Egyptian actress. In a recent television interview her husband did with an Egyptian channel, Hala called in to the program to tell her story, and give a few words of advice.


Hala: To begin with, I’m very happy to be calling this channel […], and I’m very happy to see my husband on. He’s a good, righteous husband, may Allah bless him and honor him and preserve him.

Of course, to start with, as everyone knows, I used to be an actress. And sadly… I was a girl who possibly had everything I could ever want, and [could do] everything I ever wanted to in my life.

I mean, I was famous, I had money, I could travel any time I wanted to. My life had everything that, sadly, any girl might wish to have. But despite all this, I wasn’t happy at all.

One of the things I used to always think about was… ok, I’m an actress. And then what? What’s the end of acting? I’ll be famous? Ok, then what’s the end of fame? I’ll be very famous? Ok, and then what? And is this the end for me as a human – that I was going to be famous? Ok, and then?

I reached a degree of severe crying… and the whole time, I was in a state of anguish and distress. I used to cry alone all the time. Subhan Allah – until one day, I woke up. I said: For sure, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala didn’t create me to live this life. And on that day, everything in my life changed 180 degrees. It changed completely.

When I began to pray, I loved prayer so much, to the degree that I wouldn’t stop praying. Also, the Qur’an – I finished it in this period of time, in a very short time. I finished it, reading-wise, not memorization-wise – reading, but with pondering and reflection.

When I moved away [from acting], I closed the door completely behind me. Because I knew what would happen – or what could happen – the fitnah (the trials). No one can preserve this heart of theirs from any trial that might happen to them. There were lots of people who were trying to get me to stay, to come back [to acting].

But I was very strong in my decision – and this wasn’t bravery or intelligence on my part, at all. It was from the favor of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’alah, very much so.

Interviewer: And after that, we come to the next stage [in your life] – and that you began to take the decision – the decision of niqab —

Hala: This, this is the ‘izza (honor and glory). I feel such ‘izza when I’m wearing my niqab. I feel like a queen. This, this is the ‘izza.

For this reason, I want to say this to all the girls. I want to say to them: Don’t be afraid, at all, from the hijab. Don’t be afraid at all to wear the hijab. Don’t be worried about marriage, because it’s from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, it’s rizq (Allah’s provision).

Don’t live, girls, the world, “Just like that.” I mean, I really want to tell them this. Don’t live the world, “Oh, whatever way it comes, it’ll come.” Stop, and think.


The original audio, along with a portion of the interview with Hala Sheha‘s husband, can be viewed here.