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TV series on the life of Caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab
During Ramadan, the Arab World is treated to an abundance ofnew television shows. Most filmmakers, actors, and even advertising agencies focus on television production, especially in recent years as Ramadan comes in the summer. But this year, one stands out, a great production and the most controversial television series in the Islamic world so far - "Omar".Two weeks after its release on Saudi private channel MBC, "Omar" has the most viewers among Muslims around the world, the channel announced. By its third episode, viewership on MBC increased to 317,432, along with over 140,000 online viewers.Today the viewership, according to channel officials, has increased to six million viewers per episode on average worldwide.Furthermore, MBC says, that "Omar", directed by Syrian Hatem Ali, is the largest drama production in the history of Arab television, with over 300 actors, including Egyptians Abdel Aziz Makhyun as the Prophet's Uncle Abu Talib, and Mohamed Abdel Hafez as Hothayfa bin Otba, as well as ten thousand extras....
A member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family has vowed to stop a series to be telecast by a Saudi satellite TV channel during the fasting month of Ramadan about some of the ancient Muslim leaders who were close companions of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, son of the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, slammed the Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC) for its intention to show "Umar Al Farooq" series, which has been jointly produced with Qatar.
"I swear to God that I disown and distance myself from MBC's work, especially Umar Al Farooq.I will do my best to stop this series.Qatar must accept God's will otherwise, we will go to court," he told Saudi newspapers.
The Prince said he had heard of reports that well known Muslim scholars in Qatar, including Sheikh Yousuf Al Qaradwi, a prominent Egyptian cleric, have approved the showing of the series.
"Y ou will see what I will do and I hope you will pray for me," he said.
The Prince's comments are the latest in a series of remarks criticizing that series, which is supposed to be shown on the first day of Ramadan next week. MBC, one of the largest TV establishments in the Middle East, said the costly episodes would be telecast in most Arab countries and in Turkey.
Saudi Arabia's mufti (top cleric) Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al Shaikh, said last week those behind "Umar Al Farooq" series have committed a "grave mistake and a crime" by spending their money on the production of such work.
"Turning the life of Muslim Caliphs and the Prophet's (PBUH) companions into TV and cinema work is wrong and brings insults and criticism to them," the Mufti told thousands of Muslims during Friday's open-air prayers in Riyadh.
"Return to your God and stop wasting your money on wrong things...this is a grave mistake and a crime..all those who are funding, adopting and participating in this work are mistaken and misled," he added.
Thousands of scholars, dignitaries and other people have already used social networks and newspapers to attack the episode "Omar Al Farooq", better known as Umar ibn Al-Khattāb, the most powerful of the four Rashidun Caliphs and one of the most influential Muslim rulers in history.
Omar, who succeeded Abu Bakr Al Siddiq as the second Muslim Caliph before he died in 644, was a Sahabi (companion) of the Prophet (PBUH).
More than 550 actors from most Arab countries take part in the series.
Umar is personified by Syrian actor Samir Ismail while Abu Bakr is acted by Ghassan Massoud, also Syrian, who acted as Saluhddin in the famous film "Kingdom of Heavens" which covers the conflict about Jerusalem.
Professor of Islamic law at Saudi Arabia’s al-Qassim University, Khaled al-Musleh, lashed out at critics of the TV series depicting the life of Islam’s second Caliph Omar ibn al-khattab and accused them of agitation.
“The issue of impersonating the prophet’s companions has always been controversial with some scholars sanctioning it and others considering it prohibited,” Musleh was quoted as saying by the Saudi newspaper al-Hayat.
Musleh cited the example of prominent preacher Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Saadi and who attended a reenactment of one of the prophet’s battles, namely the Battle of Badr, at the Scientific Institute of Riyadh.
“That was 50 years ago and he did not see a problem with that.”
Musleh also explained in an interview with al-Safwa TV channel that the crew of the series, currently aired on MBC, had every right to choose one of two stances on the impersonation of revered Islamic figures and act accordingly.
“They choose to go for the opinion that it is religiously permissible to impersonate them. That does not give those who adopt the opposite view the right to start slandering them.”
The war waged by critics of the series against those who took part in it, Musleh noted, is like promoting sedition.
“Those who slam the series and its team are inciting hatred and creating an atmosphere of hostility and conflict.”
Musleh argued that instead of attacking people who believe impersonating the prophet’s companions is not against Islam, it is better to set the criteria that determine how they are impersonated.
“Strict rules should be imposed on the way those figures are presented to the audience in order to avoid any possible mistakes that could provoke the other side.”
For Musleh, Muslim figures can also be impersonated by non-Muslim actors as long as the intended message is still conveyed in the same way.
“Take the example of the film about Libyan freedom fighter Omar al-Mukhtar and you will realize that there is no problem if non-Muslim actors play the role of Muslim figures,” he concluded.
Re: TV series on the life of Caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab
Excerpt taken from the OPs link
In an MBC interview with Sheikh Salman El-Auda, the sheikh said: "I encourage the investment in such a project, at a time when we all seek freedom of expression to help create cultural awareness and educate the masses about Islam.""The world is changing and we must improve our interpretation of Islam and bring back prosperity to our region; and drama and arts are major elements," he argued.
As though the Sahaba (ra) didn't get it right the first time, subhanallah
Where are we heading?, May Allah guide us and keep us steadfast
Re: TV series on the life of Caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab
God knows best.
my personal opinion is that, islamic education is good in all forms, this might be the spark of someones journey into islam. I think the major issue is about depicting respectable islamic figures and the budget.