The Message: The Story of Islam
The film The Message: The story of Islam is deliberately not a usual Hollywood biopic. Depicting the start the Islamic faith from Muhammad’s reception of the angel Gabriel’s message to his death, the film pays the utmost respect to the religion of Islam and the historic accuracy of the events depicted. By never depicting Muhammad, visually or auditorily, the film honors the law of Islam that the Prophet shall never be shown, as to avoid the worship of false idols. Through this, the film profoundly makes the viewer aware of its commitment to honor and respect the Prophet as well as his followers and their beliefs. This also shows the importance of his original followers, as they spread his word and became his voice and face in the film, as the Prophet’s messages from God were also in his believers. The lack of additional Hollywood drama or sexuality in the piece is also different from many biopics, which place entertainment value over the accuracy of the events being depicted.
The Message: The Story of Islam also efficiently orients the viewer in time, through comparisons to other areas of the world. Therefore, the viewer can more fully appreciate the advancements of Islam through the knowledge that Europe is in the Dark Ages. This also aid in the elimination of the viewer’s prejudice Eurocentric ideology that Europe is far more advanced than the Middle East, as the civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula are clearly more advanced in this time.
In addition to this connection, the film also draws clear parallels through the events shown between Christianity and Judaism. These are important connections which largely reflect respect and mutual beliefs. The followers of the these three religions all believe in Abraham and are considered to be “people of the book”. This depiction is highly important, especially today when Christianity, Judaism and Islam are so frequently shown as enemies with highly contrasting beliefs. However, the Christian king offered the early Muslims refuge and safety. This similarity is also apparent in the persecution of the early followers of Muhammad. Their abuse and martyrdom at the hands of those in power of Muhammad’s early followers highly resembled that of the early follower of Christ and even Christ himself.
The film not only aims to connect Christians, Jews and Muslims but also shows the false nature of many stereotypes held about Muslims today. Muhammad’s declarations concerning the safety and rights of woman are shown as being highly radical at the time and even laughed at by non-Muslim leaders. These rules helped to lessen practices such as the infanticide of female babies through burying them alive. Muhammad also declared all men to be equal, leading to the freeing of many slaves. The film’s inclusion and focus on these points not only illustrates the true nature of Islam but also corrects and contradicts the harmful stereotypes that surround Muslims today.