Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Movie Review - The Life of Muhammad

I have been asked to give a review of a recent movie on Muhammad's life.

Movies about Muhammad are very important for a number of reasons.

1. They are one of the ways that Islam is promoted.
2. The are much easier and faster than reading a biography of his life and therefore have a bigger audience.
3. They have the potential to tell the truth or to hide it to a large audience.
4. The Qur'an revolves and evolves around Muhammad's life. When teaching people about Islam it is handy to have a good movie to show them so that they can get a basic idea of the events. This allows them to understand the basic context of the Qur'an and Hadith.
5. If the movie is made by Muslims then it shows you how they like to think of Muhammad.

Muslims have made a movie about Muhammad called "The Message" (1976). It is very popular and I have been given copies. However, I think for many of us we find this movie unsatisfactory because of the way it only shows the "nice" side of Muhammad and does not include the many other aspects of his life included in the Sira and Hadiths. This new movie, "The Life of Muhammad", seeks to correct this one sided presentation.

The movie has been made on a very small budget. It is basically an eclectic collection of still pictures with actors reading a script. The script is based on Martin Lings book, "Muhammad", supplemented by references to Ibn Ishaq and the main Hadith. While the production is very basic the script is not; it includes all aspects of Muhammad's life, not just the "acceptable" side.

I enjoyed watching the movie and found it touching at various points. It helped me to see some familar events in a new context. For instance, when the Christians of Najran came to Muhammad and he invited the Christians and Muslims to curse each other to see who had the truth about Jesus (Qur'an 3:59-61). The Christians refused to curse but the very next event that is recorded in the sira is that Muhammad's son Ibrahim dies. I do not know if there is meant to be a connection here but I felt there was a connection between these two events when watching the movie.

The movie shows Muhammad's face. This is a contentious matter for Muslims. I would have preferred that the movie did not show his face because I want Muslims to watch the movie and I fear they will not because of this. This movie is however very respectful and I actually think Muslims will like it. Artistically I think it is a much better step forward then the derogatory cartoons.

For those of us involved in ministry to Muslims I think this is a good tool to introduce people to Muhammad's life. I would get people to watch this movie and the "The Message" and get them to compare and contrast.

Part 1: Muhammad in Mecca

Part 2: Muhammad in Medina


Fisher said...

Since the movie is based on Martin Lings' biography of Muhammad, I'm going to guess that the positive comments that you make regarding the movie apply to the book as well, aye?

Radical Moderate said...

One of the things that I find interesting about Mohamed, is that Mohamed seems to beg people to follow him.

Compare that to Jesus and there was no begging he called people followed. He cast away and people fled him

Baron Eddie said...

pay jizya now all you nice politician and don't care people ...

Life is more than iPad, tablets and video games!


PoliticallyIncorrect said...

Dave, you might want to post this video on my Youtube channel. I'm sure you would have much to say about it! It sickens me to even watch it. However those unaware of what's taking place in america concerning Islam might need to see and understand this.
Thanks brother.

andy bell said...

I'm really having a hard time with the australian accent dubbing. I know it's petty, but the monotone uninspired dialogue is really taking away from the biography.

Mary said...

It is ridiculous that they have what sound like English accents. It is also interesting that the story is told using the women in his life, especially considering his later championing of domestic violence. Domestic violence abusers typically have issues with their mothers being controlling and not letting them be their own man, so they grow up resenting/hating women and wanting to dominate, control, and abuse women. They become predatory, searching out vulnerable women to dominate and abuse, which makes the idea of Kedeshia pursuing him not so believable. She was a mother-figure for him, and his favorite wife was the very much younger women he later married.

I also found it interesting that Mohammad was consecrated in the Ka'ba and participated in the pagan rituals there. But, he was begrudged his place there. He was also given to Bedouins for a time, growing up as part of a caravan, and his mother died while in a caravan. Does this explain his later domination of the Ka'ba and his propensity for robbing and murdering caravans?

WhatsUpDoc said...

Very informative videos. When David points out to some of the incidents in these videos he is called an Islamaphob. LOL

Traeh said...

I liked all the colorful artwork/scenery for this video a lot.

Not sure how balanced the telling of the story was. Not a whitewash, but perhaps a bit mild.

goethechosemercy said...

To make these films, the producers have had to represent Mohammed figurally, to make drawings of him.
I thought that to represent Mohammed in any way, either on film, in drawings or whatever, would bring down the wrath of the constantly-outraged Ummah.

Kim said...

Of course you had to draw the Prophet to insult the Muslims. Thank you, I'm not watching it.

SGM said...

@ Kim,

It is interesting that you get insulted by drawings of Mohammad and not his murders, rapes that he committed, wife beating instructions, his hate against other religions and many other likewise characteristics.

simple_truth said...

Kim said...

" Of course you had to draw the Prophet to insult the Muslims."

I don't see how it is an insult to represent Mohammad, especially when the author is trying to present a historical perspective of Islam and Mohammad. It only makes sense to have a pictorial representation of him to make the story complete.

"Thank you, I'm not watching it."

It is quite silly to not watch something because someone tries to represent a picture of your prophet. It was done in good taste and according to Islamic accounts. You would rather miss the information given on account of a drawing that represents him. I suppose I shouldn't read the Qu'ran because it insults Christians, Jews, and all other groups that are not Muslims. Your logic dictates that I do this. Now that I have pointed out how silly your stance is, are you willing to change your view or consider that your position isn't that sound?

Foolster41 said...

@kim: Of course once again, any kind of criticism of Islam, regardless of TRUTH is am "insult". you refuse to look at what the evidence brought in, thus you are making the judgement without looking at the facts.

Once again for showing us what an un"moderite" and insincere person you are!

simple_truth said...

SGM said...

" @ Kim,

It is interesting that you get insulted by drawings of Mohammad and not his murders, rapes that he committed, wife beating instructions, his hate against other religions and many other likewise characteristics."

You hit the nail precisely on the head. Those things that you speak of have been normalized; so, these are not issues to Muslims because their religion and prophet are perfect. Their standards are much different than most people who wish to exercise their brains and think outside of the box. You are asking too much for Muslims to see things outside of their paradigm without applying their standard to evaluate things. They probably get lost and confused when they are forced to think outside of Islam.

For the sake of the Muslims, please don't force them to think outside of the box because their brains may explode under that much pressure.

simple_truth said...

I think that the movie actually makes a good case against Islam for those who are open to criticize the actions of Mohammad. At least, that is the way that I felt. Maybe it is because I am Christian and try to think of how Christ taught us to live. Maybe some of it is also trying to equivocate 7th century Arabia with modern views of morality, justice, etc.

I am not sure how I see this movie. It seems to take a fairly objective view of things. Of course, there is so much that has to be left out in order to make it concise. It may be helpful to have some more context to certain incidents. I am not really criticizing the movie but offering suggestions for future features.

david said...

the movie exposes all kinds of sources if a person well pay attention. islam is no victim it creates circumstances for other people that do not agree. Islamist do not like to be critiqued.They well tell people that Islam is a moderate religion (?). But not fill in the blanks with verity of history. People are aware of Islam more now than before because of their antics. One thng islamist do not want to talk about is how people who were born in muslims lands are leaving Islam in the droves. Thank you Mr wood's for the movie and more.

curly said...

Hello Kim,
"you had to draw the Prophet to insult the Muslims" . I am just curious, Why??

Anonymous said...

Isn't drawing humans and animals FORBIDDEN in Islam?

If you draw a human or an animal in the after life Allah supposedly asks if you can bring the human or animal you drew, if you can't you will go to hell.

So any Muslim who draws a cartoon, portrait or caricature of people or animals is going to hell in Islam.

Unknown said...

Piece of bullshit, you don't know our prophet, even he was named in your bible, he was the best human in the world, he didn't beg anyone, the people followed him, stop saying shit false information to people, and you you people, you are idiots, you believe this shit, and I know that you know it's fault, let's see in the judgement time, these terrorists aren't muslims, we got enough from them, they take the Islam as a cover to do their idiotic shit, and you people know that Islam is peace religion, but you keep saying bullshit, we will see, we will see who will go to hell and heaven, you will see that Allah is the real god, and the jesus is called Issa, and he was one of god's prophets, and I'm sure you all know that, but you are saying bullshit, the Zabur, Gospel, Torah and Qu'ran are holy books was made by allah and gave them to their prophets, but you guys are idiots, just making the true false, about your Jesus which is our prophet, he is a prophet sent by allah to a group of people which are the the sons of Israel, to get them to be muslims, but they wanted to kill him, and they wanted to crucify him, but allah took his soul, and put another soul instead of it. We will see, we will see which religion is the real, and it's Islam, if you translate Islam from Arabic to English, it comes from the word salam, which means peace, oh god, people wake up, WAKE UP! stop faking shit, stop faking everything, you say we are terrorists, but you know that we aren't, and the muslims are being killed by terrorists too, because the terrorists are taking Islam as a cover, stop cursing at our Prophets, they are better than all of you. Our Prophet Mohammed is the best human, because he never lied, he didn't do any sin, he is perfect, STOP SAYING SHIT ABOUT HIM, AND YOU KNOW ALL YOU ARE SAYING IS A PIECE OF BULLSHIT. I've no more to say, because you know we are saying the truth and you are faking it. Stop cursing at our prophet Mohammed. Please allah, guide these oppressors and liars, please allah put them in the hell to know the truth, allah please bless our muslims and put them in the heaven, and show these liars and oppressors who are faking the truth and you know it's the truth, please show them, and put them in the hell for cursing at our prophet and it's a sin.