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 ‘Animated’ depiction of Prophet’s life

 Monday, August 3, 2009

Islamic Culture 

10 Sep 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com 

Arab News

IN order to introduce Western audiences to a more positive vision of Islam than the one depicted in mainstream media, Badr International produced the long awaited first animated feature film about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), entitled "Muhammad: The Last Prophet," which has proven to be a heart-rending rendering of a significant portion of the Prophet's (pbuh) life and the birth of Islam.

Muwafaq Mashour Al-Harithy, a descendant of the Prophet, produced the film to educate children about the Prophet's life. The film was made in loving memory of his late wife Siham Isber.

The film's director, Richard Rich, is also the creator of several hit animations, including "The King And I," "The Fox and the Hound" and "The Swan Princess." The animation also has a stunning soundtrack by Emmy-Award winning composer William Kidd.

The film is set in 610 A.D, in Makkah where the Prophet (pbuh) was born into the Quraish tribe, which controlled and ruled the city. The Prophet (pbuh) is not personified; light is used to depict him instead — a feature perhaps borrowed from Mustafa Akkad's 1977 film "The Message." The story shows how his uncle Abu Talib, who — even though dying as a non-Muslim — remained one of Islam's greatest supporters and cared for the Prophet (pbuh), being an orphan.

The film's narration starts before the divine revelation and depicts the turning point of Islam when the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet (pbuh) asking him to "read," which was the first word in the Holy Qur'an. He then entrusted him the task of spreading the word of God and honoring the one God.

The film covers a wide range of significant historical incidents, including the death of his wife, Khadijah, which was a very sad time for the Prophet (pbuh). Khadijah was not just his wife, but the first believer in Islam, the mother of his children and the person closest to him. Khadija and his uncle Abu Talib died the same year and that is why that year was called the 'Year of Sorrow.'

The scenes portraying the torture of Bilal, the first slave to enter Islam, demonstrate how Muslims were tortured and abused because of their new faith. Bilal was tortured by his master who tied him and placed a heavy rock on his chest demanding that he renounce his new faith. However, in zealous adherence to his newfound faith, Bilal continued repeating "One God, One God" and almost died until Abu Bakr, the Prophet's closest companion, freed him. Due to his beautiful voice, Bilal was the first muezzin in Islam. The film also depicts how Bilal, a black slave, became one of the closest companions of the Prophet (pbuh), evidence of racial fairness in Islam.

The film also depicts the plot to kill the Prophet (pbuh); a plan conjured by the strongest members of the ruling tribes of Makkah. However, the plot was divinely revealed to the Prophet (pbuh), who migrated to Madinah that same night with Abu Bakr.

The scenes in the film depict the era and are a long-awaited visual demonstration of the Prophet's life. The fact that the Prophet (pbuh) was not personified was a huge challenge. However, this has not affected the viewer's comprehension and flow of events in the story.

The Battle of Badr was beautifully depicted in the story. The battle, which took place in Ramadan, was the first battle in which the followers of the new faith were seriously tested. A Muslim army of around 300 met a heavily armed army of 1,000.

The Qur'an states that God sent the Angel Gabriel with 1,000 angels to fight in that battle against the disbelievers. The Angel Gabriel is also seen as light in the animation.

The last scenes show the Muslim army marching back to Makkah in the most astonishingly bloodless military victories of history. The Prophet (pbuh) gave amnesty to all, no homes were pillaged and no property was confiscated. The Muslim army removed the idols that the people of Makkah worshipped, and that is when Bilal — from the top of the Kaaba — made the call to prayer. Ever since, the call for prayer has been heard five times a day.

The director of the 95-minute film was able to simplify the Prophet's life events and portray the story in a fashion suitable to children as well as adults. The film is spiritually packed as well as highly educational, perfect for families and ideal for interfaith dialogue.

"Muhammad: The Last Prophet" was scheduled for theatrical release in early 2002. But following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 it was shelved in the US due to widespread hostility toward Islam and Muslims. It was finally released in 2004.

The film is available on,,, and


Posted by SultanShahin at 2:11 PM

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