BBC To Present The Life Of Prophet Muhammad Documentary

The BBC announces its production of The Life Of Muhammad for July 2011, a three-part documentary series anchored by Muslim journalist Rageh Omaar for BBC Two.

In a first for British television, from the director/producer of the acclaimed Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World, Faris Kermani (Crescent Films), The Life Of Muhammad ﷺ charts the extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than 20 years, changed the world forever.

Rageh Omaar (ex-BBC reporter, Al Jazeera) is currently travelling to the historical sites from throughout Prophet Muhammad's life - his upbringing as a shepherd in Mecca, to his struggles with accepting his Prophetic role, his flight to Madina, to the founding of the first Islamic constitution. The documentary will also detail his military and political career through to his demise and his legacy.

Rageh Omaar
Rageh Omaar presents The Life of Muhammad. Image: BBC
"I am extremely pleased to be presenting this exciting and groundbreaking series about this extraordinary man, Muhammad – the Prophet of Islam. The details of Muhammad's life really are little known, and I hope that my series will – for many – shine a light on the very beginning of Islam, taking viewers to the heart of this faith, illustrating just how Muhammad's life and legacy is as important today as it was a over a thousand years ago." - Rageh Omaar.

The 3x60 documentary is being filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Turkey, Syria, the USA, the UK and Jordan. The series also draws on the expertise from some of the world's leading academics and diverse commentators on Islam, including, amongst others: Professor Tariq Ramadan, Ziauddin Sardar, Tom Holland, HRH Princess Badiya El Hassan of Jordan, Bishop Nazir-Ali and Professor John L Esposito.

Raising questions about Islam's role in the world today and exploring where Islam's attitudes towards money, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict originate, the series offers a fascinating, timely and unique insight into the Islamic faith.

One of the challenges of this project, and any based on the life of the Prophet is that in Islamic tradition neither he nor direct members of his family are to be depicted out of respect. BBC assures viewers it will adhere to that tradition, nor will it feature any reconstructions of his life.

The men behind the series explain how they tackled the sensitivites on the Guardian's live coverage of the documentary:

"There weren't any reference points. Our reference points had to be how we would treat other religions or faiths. We had to look at all the big issues, all the controversies and deal with them like we do with others." - Director David Batty (executive producer for Crescent Films)

Image: BBC
Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics, on whether he had any anxieties about making broadcasting history (in the west at least):

"From my point of view you always have anxieties. I don't mean to be flippant. I don't have any specific anxieties because it's about Muhammad."

"I am very pleased to be able to bring Rageh Omaar's The Life Of Muhammad to BBC Two. This is a very timely landmark series filmed in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, the USA, the UK and Jordan. It features comment from some of the world's leading academics and commentators on Islam – a subject that many people may know little about. For some people in the UK, Muhammad is just a name, and I hope this series will go some way to explaining who he was, how he lived, what his prophetic message was, and how all of this compares to his legacy today." (BBC Press Release)

The Life Of Muhammad will transmit on BBC Two in mid-July 2011

Main image: Indiewire.com

{BBC Press Office}

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