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The Message: Mohammed: Messenger of God (A movie)

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A good place for the non-Muslims to start learning about the Holy Prophet Muhammad is a movie named the Message: Mohammed: Messenger of God
(1976) Rated PG.

After a non-Muslim seeker has watched this and another movie mentioned below, I propose three further stages of study to getting to know the Greatest of the sons of Adam!

“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?” Alphonse de Lamartine

The cave of Hira where the Prophet had his first revelation.
Samuel Parsons Scott (1846-1929), a lawyer from Hillsboro Ohio, USA and a  prolific writer, understood part of the charm of the Prophet’s character when he wrote:

The glories which invest the history of Islam may be entirely derived from the valor, the virtue, the intelligence, the genius, of man. If this be conceded, the largest measure of credit is due to him who conceived its plan, promoted its impulse, and formulated the rules which insured its success. In any event, if the object of religion be the inculcation of morals, the diminution of evil, the promotion of human happiness, the expansion of the human intellect, if the performance of good works will avail in the great day when mankind shall be summoned to its final reckoning it is neither irreverent nor unreasonable to admit that Muhammad was indeed an Apostle of God.[1]

What Samuel Parsons Scott missed, Reverend Professor Montgomery Watt (1909–2006), a biographer of the Prophet Muhammad, grasped or was it a Freudian slip? He high lighted above all virtues the Prophet’s trust in God:

The more one reflects on the history of Muhammad and of early Islam, the more one is amazed at the vastness of his achievement. Circumstances presented him with an opportunity such as few men have had, but the man was fully matched with the hour. Had it not been for his gifts as a seer, statesman, and administrator and, behind these, his trust in God and firm belief that God had sent him, a notable chapter in the history of mankind would have remained unwritten.[2]

The back cover of the movie states, “After seeing a vision of the Angel Gabriel, Mohammad calls to the people of Mecca to cast aside the 300 idols of Kaaba and worship only one God. Starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas, this breathtaking historical epic about the birth of the Islamic faith took six years to prepare and more than a year to film. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.”

The movie can be watched at the following link

Stage I

The stage I is defined by me as those non-Muslims who want to know about the Prophet Muhammad and are not keen to just find the negative stuff. In this stage, I suggest to watch a few documentaries. My main suggestion is to watch or read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.” After you have watched the movie, the Message, the next movie or documentary I suggest is a history channel biography of the Prophet Muhammad:

Stage II

In stage II read some of the positive things that the non-Muslim writers have written about him and I have a collection for you: Tribute to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and Quran by non-Muslim writers

Stage III

Now you are ready to read some biographies of the Prophet Muhammad. I suggest two. First let me introduce an author:

Encylopaedia Britannica states about Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan:

Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan

“Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was a Pakistani politician, diplomat, and international jurist, known particularly for his representation of Pakistan at the United Nations (UN).

The son of the leading attorney of his native city, Zafrulla Khan studied at Government College in Lahore and received his LL.B. from King’s College, London University, in 1914. He practiced law in Sialkot and Lahore, became a member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1926, and was a delegate in 1930, 1931, and 1932 to the Round Table Conferences on Indian reforms in London. In 1931–32 he was president of the All-India Muslim League (later the Muslim League), and he sat on the British viceroy’s executive council as its Muslim member from 1935 to 1941. He led the Indian delegation to the League of Nations in 1939, and from 1941 to 1947 he served as a judge of the Federal Court of India.

Prior to the partition of India in 1947, Zafrulla Khan presented the Muslim League’s view of the future boundaries of Pakistan to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the man designated to decide the boundaries between India and Pakistan. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Zafrulla Khan became the new country’s minister of foreign affairs and served concurrently as leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN (1947–54). From 1954 to 1961 he served as a member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He again represented Pakistan at the UN in 1961–64 and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63. Returning to the International Court of Justice in 1964, he served as the court’s president from 1970 to 1973.

He was knighted in 1935. He is the author of Islam: Its Meaning for Modern Man (1962) and wrote a translation of the Qur’an (1970).”

The biography by him, Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets can be read at the following link:

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/muhammad_seal_of_the_prophets/

The second biographer that I want to introduce here is by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (1889-1965), who was mentor of Sir Zafrulla Khan. He led the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from 1914 till 1965, as Khalifatul Masih II. He was one of the greatest Muslim thinkers. The community progressed remarkably during his leadership. The biography by him, Life of Muhammad can be read at the following link:

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Life-of-Muhammad.pdf

Now you are also ready to visit the official page about the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:

http://www.alislam.org/holyprophet/

The Final Stage or Stage IV
If now you admire the Holy Prophet Muhammad to some degree or already are a Muslim then here is the final segment to enhance your understanding of the character of the Greatest of the sons of Adam. You see him through the eyes of his most devoted follower, who is none other than the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Here is a collection of excerpts from his writings and there is a detailed chapter about the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, my peace of Allah be on him:

http://www.alislam.org/books/Essence-1.pdf

Here I will like to share a few samples:

I always wonder how high was the status of this Arabian Prophet, whose name was Muhammad, thousands of blessings be upon him. One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognized as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his lifetime all that he desired. He is the fountainhead of every grace and a person who claims any superiority without acknowledging his grace, is not a man but is the spawn of Satan, because the Holy Prophet has been bestowed the key to every exaltation and he has been given the treasury of every understanding. He who does not receive through him is deprived forever. I am nothing and possess nothing. I would be most ungrateful if I were not to confess that I have learnt of the true Unity of God through this Prophet. The recognition of the Living God we have achieved through this Perfect Prophet and through his light. The honor of converse with God, through which we behold His countenance, has been bestowed upon me through this great Prophet. The ray of this sun of guidance falls like sunshine upon me and I continue illumined only so long as I am adjusted towards it. [Haqiqatul Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, pp. 118-119].

And:

O all ye who dwell upon the earth, and O all human souls that are in the east or in the west, I announce to you emphatically that the true reality in the earth is Islam alone, and the True God is the God Who is described in the Qur’an, and the Prophet who has everlasting spiritual life and who is seated on the throne of glory and holiness, is Muhammad, the chosen one [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. The proof of his spiritual life and holy majesty is that by following him and loving him we become recipients of the Holy Spirit and are favoured with the bounty of converse with God and witness heavenly signs. [Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 15, p. 141]

References

  1. S. P. Scott writes in, History of the Moorish Empire in Europe. Published by J B Lippincot Company in 1904. p. 126.
  2. William Montgomery Watt. Muhammad: prophet and statesman. Oxford University Press, 1974. Page 237.
Posted by on September 21, 2012. Filed under ISLAM,Video. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

11 Responses to The Message: Mohammed: Messenger of God (A movie)

  1. Pingback: The Muslim Times’ Response to Anti-Islam Film | The Muslim Times

  2. James Allison

    September 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I first saw The Message movie played on TCM a few weeks ago. I was blown away. I then purchased the movie through Amazon.com. I have seen the English version twice and the Arabic version once and love both versions of the movie. Then reading about some of these stories in the books I have been reading has been thrilling. I do wonder what affect the movie would have had on me if it actually showed Mohammed in battle slaying people by the sword. But this overall was a great and moving movie and a great introduction to Islam. I am not yet a convert but this movie did make an impact on my life I can’t shake.

  3. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    September 23, 2012 at 4:58 am

    You say you are ‘not yet a convert’. We pray that The Muslim Times can give you the ‘last push’. Welcome to Islam! and we hope that we can welcome you to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at as well.

  4. anisa

    September 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    “not yet a convert” gives us hope this”yet” soon will be over and become ” now”. Insha’Allah.
    ( if God Willing)

    One more thing Muhammad, may peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him,did not slay people with sword. He defended himself and his people from the people that came to slay them.

  5. batjoe

    September 24, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Hello James,

    I also almost was an convert due to a friendship with a muslim girl. She is a kind person and we are still friends but the conversion is now as far away as it could ever get. Some tellings of Muhammads life made me think that there is nothing godly in it. As you mentioned the slaying with the sword. The men were already captured and they were no longer a harm. He still killed them. Why not show mercy and make a difference to the regular warlord? And all the enslaved women he captured and “used” made me think more of one of the many warlords that are still out there in many conflicts especially on the african continent than on a prophet. Just acting for his own pleasure and serving mankind. Enslaving women and having harems is against humanity. Half of the world was conquered after Muhammads death. In self defence?

  6. Zia H. Shah

    September 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Dear Batjoe

    The Holy Prophet Muhammad did grant general amnesty after Fall of Mecca to thousands, who had fought against him several battles and persecuted him and his followers for thirteen years.

    He did have to fight wars in defense but never participated in hand to hand combat. The total casualties in his life time on both sides were less than a thousand, compare it to the millions in the World Wars.

    Read about his treatment of prisoners of war and compare it with the present day treatment in the 21st century. Read about human torture over centuries and he had no part of it. For every little short coming he wanted slaves to be liberated.

    Many of the wars after him were political wars. Remember a time when sun never set on the British Empire?

    Here let me link an article: War and Peace in Islam.

  7. batjoe

    September 24, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Dear Mr. Shah,

    maybe he did amnesty to some but he definitely also killed many. Maybe not personally but thats a thing most rulers do. They dont want to take the risk to die in fights and instead let their people fight their wars. Not to speak from the enslavement of women which aspect you did not mention now. I have much higher demands to the founder of a religion than to regular people, thus a comparision to a world war makes no sense. A founder of a religion must be in every aspect a model for mankind. If he is not, he can’t be inspired by Allah. Also many other warlords in history spared from time to time the life of their captives, but that alone does not make them prophets. Prophets must be perfect. If they do bad things why should they be called prophets? Just because they did also good things? That applies to every person on the planet.
    Of course many wars were also political but to spare islam as a basic factor for these wars would be false due to Jihad.

  8. Zia H. Shah

    September 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

    A perfect human model will be allowed equal retaliation. The Prophet Muhammad, occasionally used that right and mostly forgave.

    Turing the other cheek is a Utopia preached by the Christian apologist and never practiced by Christian rulers and armies. India remains a Hindu majority country a thousand years after the Muslim rule, while the whole of Europe was Christianized on the point of sword, do not forget the thirty year war between the Protestant and Catholics. The whole of the continents of USA and Australia were taken over in recent times, while Muslim tolerance speaks loud and clear in the demographics of India, Malaysia and China.

    Islam has been a force of moderation in human history. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts, please.

  9. batjoe

    September 24, 2012 at 8:53 am

    You are saying exactly what I say. Muhammad was just human and not more. And again you could not give me a reason why enslavement of women is how prophets should behave. Or why the killing of jews and the enslavement is equal retaliation? Why don’t you just say he conquered them because he wanted to and he was able to do so? He took many slavewomen because that is what most conquerers in history did. What behaviour do you think makes him different to other people if he commited bad acts and also good acts? And again, prophets should always be perfect in their behaviour and non only sometimes. You are just saying he is perfect and he is the prophet but you can’t say what makes him so extraordinary except from this claim? Why is Ghandi no prophet or the poor jobless neighbour next to my flat who never did really anything bad in his life?
    Take a look at the map of the world and then google in which nowadays muslim countries once they were christian (whole north africa and turkey) or hindu or Zoroastrian or whatever. It is logical that a religion that comes centuries after other religions can only spread in their countries by force.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_conquests
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_of_Islam

  10. Zia H. Shah

    September 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Women rights’ discussion can be in a different post. You are seeing the world through a certain glasses and that is why it appears to you as it does. You write:

    It is logical that a religion that comes centuries after other religions can only spread in their countries by force.

    Your assumptions are your conclusions. Whereas, it is possible that Islam spread by the conviction and force of its ideas, but, you have never entertained it in your life. Have you? Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall (7 April 1875 – 19 May 1936) was a Western Islamic scholar, noted as an English translator of the Qur’an into English. A convert from Christianity, Pickthall was a novelist, esteemed by D. H. Lawrence, H. G. Wells, and E. M. Forster.

    He wrote:

    One of the commonest charges brought against Islam histori­cally, and as a religion, by Western writers is that it is intolerant. This is turning the tables with a vengeance when one remembers various facts:- One remembers that not a Muslim is left alive in Spain or Sicily of Apulia. One remembers that not a Muslim was left alive and not a mosque left standing in Greece after the great rebellion in 1821. One remembers how the Muslims of the Balkan peninsula, once the majority, have been systematically reduced with the approval of the whole of Europe, how the Christian under Muslim rule have in recent times been urged on to rebel and massacre the Muslims, and how reprisals by the latter have been condemned as quite uncalled for. One remembers how the Jews were persecuted throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, what they suffered in Spain after the expulsion of the Moors and what they suffered in Czarist Russia and Poland even in our own day, while in the Muslim Empire Christians and Jews had liberty of con­science and full self-government in all internal affairs of their communities.

    In Spain under the Umayyads and in Baghdad under the Abbasid Khalifas, Christians and Jews, equally with Muslims, were admitted to the schools and Universities-not only that, but were boarded and lodged in hostels at the cost of the State. When the Moors were driven out of Spain, the Christian conquerors held a terrific persecution of the Jews. Those who were fortunate enough to escape fled, some of them to Morocco and many hundreds to the Turkish Empire, where their descendants still live in separate communities, and still speak among themselves an antiquated form of Spanish. The Muslim Empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution by the Inquisition; and though the position which the Jews and Christian occupied there was inferior to that of Muslims it was infinitely to be preferred to the that of any Muslims, Jews or heretics-nay, even any really learned and enlightened man — in contemporary Europe.

    The Western Christians, till the arrival of the Encyclopaedists in the eighteenth century, did not know and did not care to know, what the Muslims believed, nor did the Western Christians seek to know the views of Eastern Christians with regard to them. The Christian Church was already split in two, and in the end, it came to such a pass that the Eastern Christians, as Gibbon shows, preferred Muslim rule, which allowed them to practise their own form of religion and adhere to their peculiar dogmas, to the rule of fellow Christians who would have made them Roman Catholics or wiped them out. The Western Christians called the Muslims pagans, paynims even idolaters–there are plenty of books in which they are described as worshipping an idol called Mahomet or Mahound, and in the accounts of the conquest of Granada there are even descriptions of the monstrous idols which they were alleged to worship–whereas the Muslims knew what Christianity was, and in what respects it differed from Islam. If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, in those days, those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not have taken place, for they were based on a complete misapprehension. To quote a learned French author:

    “Every poet in Christendom considered a Mohammadan to be an infidel and an idolater, and his gods to be three; mentioned in order, they were Mahomet or Mahound or Mohammad, Opolane and the third Termogond. It was said that when in Spain the Christians overpowered the Mohammadans and drove them as far as the gates of the city of Saragossa, the Mohammadans went back and broke their idols. A Christian poet of the period says that Opolane the “god” of the Mohammadans, which was kept there in a den was awfully belabored and abused by the Mohammadans, who, binding it hand and foot, crucified it on a pillar, trampled it under their feet and broke it to pieces or beating it with sticks; that their second god Mahound they threw in a pit and caused to be torn to pieces by pigs and dogs, and that never were gods so ignominiously treated; but that afterwards the Mohammadans repented of their sins, and once more reinstated their gods for the accustomed worship, and that when the Emperor Charles entered the city of Saragossa he had every mosque in the city searched and had “Muhammad” and all their Gods broken with iron hammers.”

    That was the kind of “history” on which the populace in Western Europe used to be fed. Those were the ideas which inspired the rank and file of the crusader in their attacks on the most civilised peoples of those days. Christendom regarded the outside world as damned eternally, and Islam did not. There were good and tender-hearted men in Christendom who thought it sad that any people should be damned eternally, and wished to save them by the only way they knew-conversion to the Christian faith. The mission of St. Francis of Assisi to the Muslims and its reception vividly illustrate the difference of the two points of view. So does the history of the Crusade of St. Louis against Egypt which also had conversion as its object. A very interesting illustration of this point is to be found among the records of the Society of Friends, commonly called the Quakers. It was the subject of an article by Mabel Brailsford in the ‘Manchester Guardian’ in November 1912.

    Read more: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2012/09/uncategorized/tolerance-cultural-side-of-islam-by-pickthall-the-first-british-muslim-2#ixzz27OM0UIIg

    Read another small article:
    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2012/09/europe/so-whos-the-terrorist

    I am closing the discussion in this post. We will meet in a different one in near future.

  11. Pingback: The Muslim Times’ Response to an Anti-Islam Film | The Muslim Times

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