These past few weeks, some of my friends and I have been in an excitement of a TV series uploaded in youtube. It has 30 episodes. The series was first shown Ramadhan last year in MBC1. It tells the story of the second Caliph in the past Islamic Empire, Omar Ibn Khattab (r.a). Started with a flashback plot, the story began with a scene where aged Omar (r.a.) finished his Hajj and is riding camel on his way back home to Yathrib (present day Al Madinah) and passes by a place where he used to spent his time with his camels years ago when he was young. Looking back through time, the story continues from that point till the end in forward fashion while showing the aged Omar every once in a while. The figure of aged Omar is somehow looks much different from his young character and this has made a friend of mine -who might have not paid full attention in the beginning- confused and said, ” Who is this grandpa, he showed up every once in a while suddenly and very often… ” lol
It felt like being brought to the time of the Prophet SAW and be there witnessing every single narrated story in front our your own eyes. Not only I could understand more about the conflicts, background situation, culture, and the people’s character (compared to reading book), I felt more curious to know more about Islamic history. My friend and I ended up opening many resources to learn more about several Prophet’s companions who were screened there. It pictured numerous details while being accurate as it has been approved by a committee of seven leading Islamic Scholars ensuring the authenticity of the script, historical facts, and figures.
A picture worth a thousand words, similarly, movie is indeed more descriptive and furthermore, long-lasting in memory, at least for a visual-type person like me. Maybe it is true that before watching the series, I learnt about the story from my elementary school, yet it is not the same when you watch it as a movie.
Regardless of the controversy the series triggered because of the portrayal of some of The Prophet’s companions, I found the series very informative. It has shed the light on Omar’s character, both before and after he became a Moslem. Despite his hardness, he maintained high moral value, integrity and kindness to everybody even before he became a Moslem. There is a scene where Abu Jahl abused Ibnu Mas’ud who was at that time a shepherd and had become a Moslem. Ibnu Mas’ud felt down. When Abu Jahl left, Omar (despite his hostility to The Prophet at that time as Omar hasn’t embraced Islam) came and helped Ibnu Mas’ud.
Filmed with a high quality picture, animation and sound effect, the series brought us into many battles, as well as portraying wisdom, kindness, good governance, and justice of the Caliph in managing internal affair within the kingdom. Many other stories of The Prophet companions could be learnt from the series, including Abu Bakr, Khalid Ibn Waleed, Hamzah Ibn Abdul Muthalib, etc. We learnt how they are not after the world, rather just live in the cause of God, how obedience to leader is so important, how they love Prophet Muhammad more than themselves, and many others. One article will never be enough to mention these values one by one.
There were also several interesting-to-follow stories. For instance, the story about Suhail Ibn Amr family, one noble family in Quraish. He has two sons, Abdullah and Abu Jandal. These two brothers were so different. Abdullah is a resolute son while Abu Jandal is so obedient to his father, who was so hostile to The Prophet . Different incidents broken them apart but in the end they are together in Islam.
This post is not intended to be a review for it can’t do justice for the series. I just want to share my experience in watching it. And stories that I quoted do not necessarily be the focus of attention nor it represents the whole episodes. They are just some parts of what I found amazing in this series. It was hard to stop watching it once you have started as you become so keen to know wht’s going to happen next. Sometimes I paused and looked online for more reference. My first encounter to the series, I watched four episodes in a row. Had it not because it was too late at night already and I had to come to office the next morning, I might have watched more episodes that night. The same thing happened to my friends. She finished the whole 30 episodes in 4 days, while the other one, she slept at four a.m. for two days in a row, just to watch this(not recommended to watch it this way unless you want to be so tired and forget about your day). We had been so immerse to the story such that we discussed about it almost every day at lunch, dinner, bedtime, etc. Lastly, while watching it, we can learn both English and Arabic as the audio is in very beautiful Arabic (seems so) and the subtitle is in English. I hope there will be many other series or movies about the Prophets and companions that we can learn from, especially maybe for children.
Image courtesy of MBC