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May 30, 2010

The Face of faceless Dolls

This entry seeks to serve as a follow up to my “Amirah the Muslim Doll” post. Recently I have noticed my booba imitating in more nurturing ways. She has been wiping my nose, stuffing food in my mouth, trying to push a stroller. It is with this that I realized she is not ready for the Amirah I so wanted for her. Developmentally she identifies with a baby. I had a "duh" moment, all she knows is how to take care of a baby, it is what she has seen and experienced. Mommy doing diapers, feeding etc. etc. Well you know me, it takes me forever and a day to decide on something. So while I pondered on dolls I brought her a stroller(Yes a stroller, before a doll). Which she is very happy with. My mother also took the liberty of buying her a Madame Alexander doll. This confirmed my thoughts, she is not ready for the 16" dress up dolls. She almost immediately tried to feed and put a diaper on it. So I am still left with no doll for her. She is most defiantly not ready for the Barbiesh Fulla ( very popular in the middle east created by UAE company Newboy) or Razanne doll (created by an American company it it more available here than fulla). They are by far the most popular Muslim dolls, here is a link to tell you more about them. Unfortunately, they have far too many small parts. In addition, all of their dolls are Arab(Which isn't in its self a problem, but as I am trying to raise a daughter who is comfortable in her own skin, if and when she has dolls the majority if not all must be reflective of her.) Nor is she ready for the 8 years old Iranian twins Dara and Sara dolls But again this is of no consequence as my daughter still needs soft cuddly dolls.

With that being said, I love the Desi Doll. Well I almost love it, it is a cute cuddly hijabi doll, and the coolest thing about it is it recites Quran and everyday Muslim sayings. Even better the company has recently developed a doll that recites with proper tajweed.Unfortunately they are also only Arab. Actually it’s quite funny, when you think Desi you think brown skin and the doll is white as rice. (Muslmia media watch talks about that here) I keep writing the company to produce brown dolls. They have never responded….

Now that I have discovered the type of doll I need as far as materials and "age" of the doll I am still torn on one mater. If I should buy a doll with a face.

In Islam we are to avoid attempting to imitate Allah’s creation. As such some Muslim avoid dolls with faces. I personally have not taken a strong position one way or the other on the matter. But still something is holding me back from buying. From my research I have not found any authority that says that dolls with faces are categorically prohibited. Instead they all say that dolls are allowed and faceless dolls are preferable as it is recorded that Aisha (Ra) used to play with similar dolls. If you want to read more about this check out here and here and here).

Anyway I have gone through great pains to find cute faceless dolls. Here are the sites I found. I am totally in love with the Aminah’s Comfort dolls, if I do ever decide to go for faceless dolls, those would be the first. I do think their is value in faceless dolls, in that they will promote imagination and the doll can have a variety of emotions.

Aminah's Comfort-- I think these are too cute, I love the variety and the freedom to customize. You can make a doll fit for a girl of any age. The doll to the left is from this sisters company.

Aisha Dolls This company makes cute accessories, including prayer mats and prayer clothes. Love that they have black and white and male dolls.Below

Faceless dolls
(Shown at the beginning of this post) a cute blond family found at a few Islamic sites, such as The Muslim Baby Shop

Habitat not Muslim but cute contemporary faceless doll. They hold that faceless dolls inspire creativity.

Zahrah Dolls-- As seen on the left these cute dolls, some are realistic and some come with various color hair, like purple and red.

Believers garb Cute dolls that wear hijab or throbs. They come in various complexions and are reasonably

Soumayyah dolls Unique when compared to the other dolls in this post. These funky colored dolls shown below wear with cute outfits. A

While researching I discovered some interesting facts. Muslims are not the only people who use faceless dolls. The Amish play with faceless dolls for similar reasons. In the Bible, in Exodus and Deuteronomy, it says you are not supposed to make any thing (to worship)that is in the image or likeness of male or female. To my surprise their are several cultures who have a very interesting history of faceless dolls. The Iroquois believe that dolls with faces encourage girls to be vain. While, the Dominican believe that no one doll can adequately represent the multicultural society, so all dolls should be neutral and thus faceless. To read more about these cultures including the Chinese, Dominican, Iroquois and Russian you can check out Linda's Blog. Here is also a blog about faceless dolls that depict Indian history and culture and one about Dominican dolls. Linda Walsh also makes and sells beautiful Vicotrian dolls I also found a blog about faceless black figurines created by Annie Lee, she is also famous for doing faceless paintings. Much like Linda's dolls these soulful figurines are not intended for little girl play. Here is another blog about a doll that looks similar to barbie, the doll was designed to promote creativity. You can buy this faceless barbie here. Here is an article on a school that only has faceless dolls. The school follows that Waldorf teaching philosphy. And lastly here is a link to a brothers blog, specifically his entry on buying Islamic toys.

Here are pictures of dolls that we not made by Muslims for Muslims. They have such an understated beauty.

The Annie Lee collection is to the right.

Above are beautiful faceless dolls

Faceless doll that is similar to Barbie --->

So what is the end of the story? Dolls as with most things we interact with have an affect on children. They help shape morals and idea of self. They foster creativity and encourage nurturing. They should be chosen wisely.

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