Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
The documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, oppose the negative image of many about Muslims and their culture. The elements of Islamic faith such as Muhammad’s prophetic claim and journey are presented in the documentary. Muslims show the positive outcome of their faith in their lives. Islamic problems like the oppression of women and the violence under Jihad are examined. This presents an ideal life of a Muslim. Not all Muslims are terrorists like what most of the news show. The Muslim culture is presented for people to learn more about their life and their culture not the violence that we see on TV. It’s nice that Muslims participate in this unity to let people realize that they are people with dignity and aspiration in life and are just like any other religion. This documentary combines political, military, social, and aspects of the Muslim life. This documentary helps enhance our knowledge on related local issues, like crimes and discrimination that Muslims are involved.
For me, this documentary is one aspect of the bigger picture in multiculturalism, but in opposition to the terrorist attacks all over the world and it takes on an even more troubling. Like in the concept of Jihad, killing innocent people is a crime under Islamic law just like in the law of other religion. The violence and terrorism that happen in the name of Islam are wrong and are opposite to Islam. Well, generally, no one can take the life of another. But why are Muslims engage in terrorism and violence all over the world? The producers wanted to clarify opposing views in the Islamic world. They wanted the people to know that suicide bombing is considered to be the highest form of Jihad operations and that every martyrdom against any Israeli, including children, women, and teenagers, is a legal act according to the Islamic religious law, and is a part of their Islamic commandment. And when Muhammad led his troop into battle, he only did it because there was no other choice. Because there are many people who are not enlightened about Muslims and Islam, the producers wanted people to see that the world doesn’t need a biography of the Prophet or an apologia for Islam but a good judgment that modern Muslims are prepared to take on a direct discussion on the way their faith has been misrepresented by those who kill thousands of innocent people. A lot of non-Muslims who sees Islam as a religious practice don’t know Muhammad as the guiding, human spirit of the religion. That being a Muslim is not embedded in the practice of religious rituals. It is based on living your faith and that Islam is unified to a committed Muslim. It is clear that in one statement in the documentary:
They have a common bond, not only in their religious faith and in their mosques, but in this story of Muhammad, they all look to it. This is the source of how to behave, of how to be a constructive citizen, of how to be a good parent, of how to be a good child, of how to seek knowledge and truth. These are values that are expressed most clearly for Muslims in the story of Muhammad.
That Muslims abide the law of their religion and follow the footsteps of Muhammad. And that he is the guide on how they treat each other and how they implement justice and law. The 9/11 has changed the world and placed the Muslim community in the spotlight. It emphasized the need to have a communication with other religion to understand each other and to resolve worse and the cause of hatred. Muslims have a lot of aggression tossed at them. It’s a culture that’s based on the idea of vigilantism and saw justice as revenge.
I think the movie is not that successful because the truth about Islam and the explanation of the confusing features of the current scene is not that clear. Instead of saying that terrorism cannot be justified by Islam, the producers could have explained why the confusion of jihad isn’t a mistake partial to the world. They could have informed viewers why millions of Muslims approve the violence jihad urged by Islamic organizations across the globe like the Jemaah Islamiah, the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, and so many others. He tells them to be good to each other, and not to violate each other’s rights. Yeah right! That’s why there are millions of innocent people die because of their useless and meaningless attacks. They teach them to treat each other humanely, to treat each other as brothers and sisters. Do they realize that what they portray if very different from what they teach and taught? Muslims or not, no one has the right to kill or attack another no matter what the issue is. Revenge, violence, and terrorism don’t solve anything. It adds to chaos and confusion of people and death.
Kronemer, Alexander and Wolfe, Michael. Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet (2002). PBS; Kikim Media. 2002.