The series faced large controversy
due to its depiction of Omar, Abu Bakr
, the four Rashidun Caliphs
along with other characters, who some Muslims believe should not be depicted, much like Mohammad
. The series consists of 31 episodes and was originally aired in the month of Ramadan
since July 20, 2012.
It was made at a cost of 200 million Saudi riyals
and filmed in Morocco
, primarily in the cities of Marakesh
, El Jadida
After the series was broadcast on MBC, it was dubbed into several languages for international broadcast
and subtitled in English on YouTube
; it received great support from many different scholarly bodies and people watching it.
As the series depended largely on reliable historical established facts, the series did not face criticism in terms of its content, as past films faced.
The series starts with one of the pilgrimage of caliph Omar
where he delivers speeches to the pilgrims. The next scene comes with an exploration on Mecca
of the caliph where he emotionally flashbacks to his own 18 year's life when he was a young boy working for his rude father Khattab ibn Nufayl
. The flashback perspective of Omar shows all the past story of his life from when he was a wrestler, a businessman and above all one of the leaders of the Quraish, and then to his life after his conversion into Islam being one of the closest companions of Muhammad
and an immensely devoted believer, a brave inspiration for all the contemporary Muslims and a bold warrior in all the contemporary Islamic battles. The story goes through the Meccan victory, Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr
's legacy as caliph and his death, and finally Omar's legacy. From viewer's eye perspective, his legacy as caliph shows the biographical stories of improvements and complexities of his own caliphate
till his assassination by Abu Lulu
List of episodes
The project was started in 30 September 2010 through an agreement signed by Middle East Broadcasting Center
and Qatar Media agency (Qatar TV
) to make a drama series on the life of Caliph Omar, scheduled to be aired during the Ramadan of 2011.
The chief of MBC group Waleed al Ibrahim
stated that, the drama would not aim at profits:
The dramatic work is not regarded from the profit or loss perspectives.
Saudi producers, the Middle East Broadcasting Center
(MBC), said the series is the largest ever Arabic production, with 30,000 actors and a technical team
from 10 different countries who toiled 300 days to make the 31-part series.
The director Ali said that building a replica of Mecca
and the surrounding area was a challenge that faced him until he and the crew finally chose a location in Morocco
. The series needed a huge crew amount to 500 actors, actresses, and extras in one single day.
Ali also pointed out, several scenes in the series were difficult to shoot like which elephant treads on one of the actors.
The elephant was well-trained for the scene and we made the actor wear an iron shield just in case anything goes wrong."
The horses used in the series were brought from Eastern Europe and were trained together with the elephants to make them adapt to each other. The series featured many battle
scenes on a large scale. Ali said it took them a total of 54 days with a rate of 12 hours a day and with the participation of 500 extras that were trained on this type of scenes.
Committee members for managing historical context
A board committee of scholars was created for maintaining the historicity of the script. The major members of the board were:
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi
- Akram Zia Omari
- Salman al-Awda
- Abdul Wahab Turairi
- Ali al-Sallabi
- Saad Al-Otaibi
Receptions from Islamic religious scholars
The Grand Mufti of the Kingdom and the head of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al Shaykh
, criminalized the dramatic action saying that those behind "Umar Al Farooq" series have committed a "grave mistake and a crime" by spending their money on the production of such TV work. He also said that he is against the idea of producing the series that "displays the biography of the rightly guided caliphs in a manner that is doomed to wound and criticism." In his Friday sermon, he called for "avoiding these devious ways, which are doomed to offend in these symbols." He added, "These films and series do not bring or mean goodness, and whatever those who prepared it who claim intellectual enlightenment, they are wrong in what they have walked and know that what they offer is dangerous, wrong and crime." The Sheikh did not differ in that from what was issued by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, who had forbidden the embodiment of the Prophets, the Companions, the House of the Ten, and the Ten Missionaries of Paradise in any artwork.
On other part, Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan
, a member of the Senior Scholars Committee and a member of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas, forbade watching the series, recalling "the consensus of scholars and the Muslim World League to prohibit the representation of the Companions, may God be pleased with them." Everything that comes from Qatar is doubtful of its intentions Many writers wondered why this seasonal controversy takes place around the Ramadan series ?, recalling the controversy raised by Mustafa El Akkad's "The Message".
gave a mixed review of the series, in a video of his official YouTube channel, he said, "99.9% drama or movie in the name of Islam today is not 100% Islamic and no one can give fatwa that watching them are halal. If you can live without seeing them, then don't see it. Read Quran and sahih hadith, it will be best and harmfree option. But if any Muslim is hooked on wathing hollywood and bollywood movies and dramas and feels too much hard to reject the habit of watching them, then it will be lesser sin for them in watching these series than seeing hollywood and bollywood vulgarism and obscenity...Firstly I will suggest them to watch The Message movie, then I will suggest them to watch Omar series... There is a series called Omar series, made on the life of Caliph Omar, made by MBC, funded by Qatar Foundation. There are not all things Islamic, there are ladies without hijab, there is music in it. But the verse of Quran they quoted somehow, it is wonderful, most of the hadith are authentic, a few of them are problematic."
In reaction of Naik's view about the series, Assim Al-Haqim said, "This is like saying masturbation is better than fornication! Or calling that drinking wine, gambling and other different sins are better than shirk or kufr! What kind of logic is this?".
The series later has been broadcast in the television channels of different countries such as Turkey
etc. either dubbed or with native subtitle.
Traditional historicitic and depictional controversy
In the traditional Islamic accounts, there are two different stories found about the conversion of Umar
, the story which has been depicted in the story, some scholars argue that the story is not authentic or reasonably weak according to reliable chain rather than declaring authenticity to the second story of conversion, where Omar became convinced to convert hearing the Quran
recitation of Muhammad
in prayer outside the Kaaba
, then made himself hidden from the people for some days immediate after the conversion, and Al-As ibn Wa'il
saved the converted Umar from the attack of enraged people.
In the events of the Islamic prophetMuhammad
's living era, Muhammad himself, his children and wives were not depicted but many direct actions of him have been shown redirected from any other sahaba near to him for the restrictions and limitations of Muhammad's visual depiction in the Islamic world. Although in a sequence before the death of Abu Bakr
, there was a shadow depiction of Aisha
shown silently conversing with her father. The dress code of male companions after conversion period was also controversial, mostly for wearing gowns below ankle, which was strongly prohibited by Muhammad, and tradition says that, all the companions always used to wear clothes over ankle. Besides, in the event of the battle of Yamama
, the characters of the companions behind of Khalid bin Walid
have been shown to give the slogan "ya Muhammada
" (O, for Muhammad), which was a subject of controversy about historicity among some salafi
clerics. They argued that it could not be told by them because calling on any other except Allah
is a form of polytheism
Historical reference says that Umayyah ibn Khalaf
was killed by a group of Muslims led by Bilal ibn Rabah
, but in the series, Bilal ibn Rabah has been shown to kill Umayyah ibn Khalaf by himself.
As for the role of Omar is one of the first tools of the weakness of the work technically where the strange cold performance and the rigidity of features and divisions of his face, even with events that require a human interaction natural and unchanging.
The series also missed the historical role of the Arab tribes allied to Quraish in the invasion of one of them, including the Ahbish of Kenana, as well as the role of Arab tribes in the invasion of the trench and Taif so that the work was limited to the tribe of Quraish as well as the tribe of Ghutfan and absent from work tribes that had a presence in the historical biography of these conversations, such as the tribe of Selim and Kenana The Bani Asad tribe, the Hawazin tribe and other Arab tribes on which the Arab community of the Arabian Peninsula was built at that time.
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Last edited on 20 July 2021, at 15:29
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