CAIRO – Offering Americans a deeper look into the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a leading US television network will start airing a documentary on the life of the prophet of Islam this week which may surprise American viewers.
“As major polls by Gallup, Pew, and others have reported, astonishing numbers of Americans, as well as Europeans, are not only ignorant of Islam but have deep fears and prejudices towards their Muslim populations,” said John Esposito, professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University who appears in the three-part series that debuts Tuesday (Aug. 20) on PBS, Huffington Post reported.
The PBS documentary, “Life of Muhammad”, will offer a rare portrait on his life.
Esposito praised the series’ “balance” and its attempts to describe controversial aspects of the prophet’s life with a diversity of opinions.
The three part series, titled The Life Of Muhammad, was produced in July 2011 and presented by Rageh Omaar for BBC Two.
The trio of hour-long films depicts the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from life to death tracing his beginning in Makkah and flight to Madinah where he founded the first Islamic state and constitution.
It also focuses on the “Night Journey to Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem),” as well as events during his later life in Madinah.
It also traces Prophet Muhammad’s subsequent military and political successes through to his death and his legacy.
It was also directed by Faris Kermani, the director and producer of Channel 4 series Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World.
In line with Islamic tradition it does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature any dramatic reconstructions of Muhammad’s life.
Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at University of Oxford, says in the film, “We never represent or have any images of any of the prophets.”
The documentary includes interviews for a wide range of scholars, yet it doesn’t embrace any particular perspective of those scholars.
Through a publicist that the editorial decision was made to respect the “current Muslim view, understanding that historically this has not always been the case,” Kermani, the documentary’s producer and director, said
At the end of the three-hour documentary, Omaar’s signoff at the end of the attempts to contextualize all of the stories surrounding the prophet.
“He left Arabia a better place than he found it,” Omaar says.
Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, welcomed educational materials about the prophet’s life, though he hasn’t seen the series.
“Our research has consistently shown that a knowledge about Islam and Muslims in general is very low in our society,” he said.
“The corollary to that is that as people know more about Islam and Muslims from objective, fact-based sources, prejudice and stereotyping goes down.”