Mohammad, Messenger of God (1977)

 

 

 

Director:     Moustapha Akkad.

Starring:     Anthony Quinn (Hamza),  Irene Papas (Hind),  Michzel Ansara (Abu Safyan),  Johnny Sekka (Bilal),  Michael Forest (Khalid),  Garrick Hagon (Ammar). Damien Thomas (Zaid), André Morell (Abu-Talib), Martin Benson (Abu-Jahal), Robert Brown (Otba), Rosalie Crutchley (Somaya), Bruno Barnabe (Umaya),  Neville Jason (Jaafar).

Country:    Arabic film

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

In the Islamic religion, it is a form of idolatry to present the face of Mohammed, so in the film he is never shown.  The movie deals with the beginnings of Islam.

In one sense, Islam is just an extension of Judaism and Christianity.  Watching the movie, one realizes how, like Christianity, the early days of Islam were fraught with prejudice, discrimination, hate and violence.  Like Jesus, the local authorities saw a threat in Mohammed and attempted to kill him.  Mohammed was forced to flee from Mecca to Medina, as were his early followers. 

But there was an option open to Islam, that was not open to Christianity.  The Christians had no hope of using force to give them breathing room to spread their faith.  One of the greatest empires on the face of the earth, the Roman Empire, held down any hopes of fighting to get one's way.  But such was not the case in Islam.  The Arabs were not united, nor were they governed by a central power.  They could use the force of arms to strike back at their oppressors. 

Turkey and Russia had many wars over the centuries.  Certainly a reinforcing division between the two countries was the Islamic religion that spread through much of Asia Minor in the 8th century.

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

ISLAM

570 A.D. – Mohammed born at Mecca.

He was of the tribe of Fihr, or Quarish, established in the south of Hijas (Hedjaz), near Mecca (the principal religious and commercial center of Arabia).

His father died soon after Mohammed’s birth.

576 – at the age of six, Mohammed’s mother died; his uncle Abu-Talib took care of him. He worked as a shepherd and caravan attendant.

595 – at the age of twenty-five he married the rich widow, Khadeejah, fifteen years his senior. Together they had six children, but only his daughter Fatima survived.

On journeys to Syria and Palestine he became familiar with Judaism and Christianity.

612 – at age 40 he received a call from the Angel Gabriel. He converted his wife, his daughter, father-in-law Abu Bakr, adopted son Ali Omar, and his slave Zayd, plus about 35 others

622 – he was driven from Mecca to Medina because of his preaching and attack on heathenism in Arabia.

At Medina he was recognized as a prophet. He and his supporters conquered several Arabian, Jewish and Christian tribes.

630 – Mohammed entered Mecca. He demolished the idols of the Kaaba. More importantly, he united all the tribes under one emblem and one religion.

632 – he made his last pilgrimage to Mecca along with 40,000 followers.

633 – at age sixty-three, Mohammed died of a violent fever, soon after his return from Mecca.

In less than a century, the successors of Mohammed, the caliphs, had conquered Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa, and the South of Spain. The Moslems even crossed the Pyrenees, to threaten Rome. 

732  --  Charles Martel defeated the forces of Islam at Tours. 

700s and 800s  --  Islamic forces conquered Persia, Afghanistan, and a large part of India.

1100s  --  Islamic forces conquered all Western Asia, Spain and North Africa, Sicily, and more.

1200s  --  the Mongols and Turks finally stopped Islam, but they in turn converted to Islam.

1453  -- Islamic forces overthrew the Byzantine Empire (1453). From Constantinople they threatened the German Empire.

1683  --  the forces of Islam were successfully defeated at the gates of Vienna, and driven back across the Danube.

 

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