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Mohammed: Messenger of God

(1977 c 177')

En: 7 Ed: 8

In 610 CE the prophet Muhammad has his first revelation from God and inspires others to join him in a new religion worshipping one God rather than idols. The early success of Islam is seen the lives of those who knew Muhammad and spread the teachings.
      Three Arabs ride horses in the desert. They part and go in different directions.
      One of them comes to the court of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) and reads a proclamation from Muhammad asking him to accept the religion of Islam. Heraclius asks who gave him this authority, and the Arab says he is a messenger from God.
      Another brings the message to the Patriarch of Alexandria.
      The third Arab delivers the message to the Emperor of Persia, but he rips it up.
      Muhammad was born in Mecca.
      In 610 people bring their goods to the shrine of the Kaaba in Mecca. People bring gifts to many gods, and Abu Sofyan (Michael Ansara) of Mecca orders one hundred sheep sacrificed for them. A speaker praises Abu Sofyan for inviting poets. Abu Sofyan’s wife Hind (Irene Papas) orders silks from China and gets a discount.
      The wife of Muhammad’s uncle asks why 40-year-old Muhammad must come there and challenge Abu Sofyan. His uncle Abu-Talib (André Morell) is afraid he will harm himself.
      Young Zaid (Damien Thomas) comes to Abu-Talib, and they realize that Muhammad has been on the mountain for three days. Abu-Talib says men see the world too well from a mountain.
      On that mountain in a cave Muhammad begins receiving revelations from God telling him to read.
      At night Zaid comes out of Muhammad’s house and tells his uncle Abu-Talib and others that Muhammad is still trembling underneath a blanket. Zaid says he was alone in the cave when an angel came to him and told him to read. Muhammad replied that he cannot read. The angel told him to read in the name of God who created man from a drop of blood. Zaid says Muhammad saw the angel Gabriel standing in the shape of a man. Gabriel told him who he was, and he told Muhammad that he is the messenger of God. Abu-Talib asks whom he has told about this, and Zaid says his wife, Ali, his friend Abu Bakr, and Zaid himself, his adopted son. Abu-Talib says he will continue to protect him.
      Merchants come to Abu-Talib to tell him to restrain Muhammad so that their businesses will not be ruined. They offer to give him whatever he wants. Abu-Talib goes into another room and talks to Muhammad, and he comes back and tells them he told him he would not renounce his message which is from God.
      Hind angrily asks her brother why he disobeys. His father says he gave him everything he could, but his son says that Muhammad gives him more. His brother tells his father to get him out of here. Hind tells her brother that he is torturing their father.
      Zaid is telling four men that God said it before and is saying it again to Muhammad. Jaafar (Neville Jason) comes in and shows them the very word of God, and he reads it which says the deeds of every soul will be known. He says he was there when Muhammad received this. Ammar (Garrick Hagon) and Jaafar leave first, and then the others go.
      Ammar goes home, and his father says he kept his mother awake all night with worry. An idol is accidentally broken, and Ammar says the real God is unseen and is not made of clay. His mother says they see the gods every day in the Kaaba. His father says he is spreading dangerous ideas. Ammar asks if it is dangerous that no man should starve and that the rich should not defraud the poor and that the strong should not oppress the weak. People ought to be able to choose or refuse a marriage. He said to stop the burial of new-born girls. His mother says she was to be buried like her two sisters; but her father could not do it a third time. Her husband says it is the custom, but she says it is wrong. Ammar says he promised to go to Muhammad’s house to pray. His mother says he is a good man, and his father says he can go.
      Abu Sofyan says that Muhammad cannot read, but Ammar says he speaks the words of God. He remembers what God tells him and recites it to others who write it down in the Qur’an. Hind says Muhammad’s eyes are shut, but Ammar says his heart is open. Abu Sofyan asks Muhammad to realize that they live by housing the gods. They own the Kaaba to which everyone in Arabia comes to pray and buy things. He asks what would happen to Mecca if they replaced three hundred gods with one who cannot even be seen. Ammar says they cannot buy and sell God. A man warns him he is close to the whip. Umaya (Bruno Barnabe) says that Muhammad teaches that a slave is equal to his master. He asks if his slave Bilal is equal to him. Ammar says that Muhammad said that before God all men are as equal as the teeth of a comb. Hind says these ideas are pleasant to slaves and beggars and give them pretensions. Umaya orders the African Bilal (Johnny Sekka) to take a whip and beat Ammar to teach his master a lesson. Several people tell him to do it including Ammar, but Bilal drops the whip. They scold Bilal.
      Outside in the sun Umaya whips Bilal and asks who is stronger, his master or his God. Bilal says there is only one God. Umaya orders three men to put a boulder on Bilal to break him, but he survives. Hind arrives and asks if they are finished with him. Zaid arrives and says that Abu Bakr will buy Bilal for 100 dinars. Zaid offers 200. Hind puts her foot on the hand of Bilal and says if the price of slaves is raised, they will have to bathe themselves next year. Umaya tells Zaid to take Bilal because he is of no use to him anymore. Zaid gives him the money.
      Zaid comes into a house and tells men waiting that God and his messenger will declare Islam to all men. They go out and proclaim the teachings.
      People gather in Mecca, and a rich merchant tells them to defend their gods. The new believers chant that there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God. People throw rocks at them. The believers clasp arms and stay together as they walk to a place of traditional worship. Abu Sofyan says they have done enough, and that more will only create sympathy for them. He waves people to stop. Zaid stands on steps and preaches, but he is made to get down. Men attack them. They see Hamza (Anthony Quinn) coming on his horse, and he dismounts and walks through the crowd to the believers. He says Abu-Jahal (Martin Benson) is brave when he attacks unarmed men. Abu-Jahal says that Muhammad is a liar, but Hamza says he does not let him speak. He asks where is the truth. Abu-Jahal says Muhammad is a fraud, and Hamza slaps him, knocking him down. Hamza tells him to stand up and fight. Hamza says he is for his nephew’s religion, and he says whatever he says. He tells those with courage to fight with him. The men walk away. Hamza tells Muhammad that he knows when he hunts in the desert at night that God is not kept in a house.
      Hind asks who would have thought that Hamza would join Muhammad. She asks how an illiterate man can go up on a mountain and come down three days later with poetry. She says he offers heaven. Abu Sofyan says they will teach them not to listen to him, and they will begin with the weaker ones.
      Abu-Jahal whips a slave and has Ammar tied to a post. Then he has men stretch out the arms and legs of a woman who is tied up on the ground. She continues to believe in the one God, and Abu-Jahal kills her.
      Hamza arrives on a horse and sees those who have been tortured or killed. Others with him release them. Hamza looks into a house and sees more who have been injured. Zaid helps Ammar and says the first martyrs of Islam are promised paradise. Hamza takes off his coat and gives it to an old man. He asks Ammar and others how much they are prepared to suffer. A man arrives and says the prophet has said that they must leave Mecca. Hamza says if they stay, they will kill them one by one. The man says Muhammad said there is a Christian king in Abyssinia, and no man is wronged in his country. Hamza says they must leave now.
      About a dozen believers walk in the desert. They rest and share their water. They see a dozen men on horses and hide from them. After they go on, they continue walking.
      The leader says they followed their tracks, but they disappeared. Abu Sofyan says they let them escape. Abu-Jahal says Muhammad has stayed, and only the weakest have gone. Abu Sofyan asks Amr (Donald Burton) if he can use his friendship with the King of Abyssinia, and Amr says he thinks he can bring them back.
      The King of Abyssinia tells Amr to rise, and he says he will give him anything. Amr says some slaves have run away to his kingdom. The King says they will go back if he returns their slaves. Amr admits there are some free men among them who are rebels. The King asks why he was not informed, and Amr says they are rebels in religion. The King says that at one time or another all religions were rebellious. He says the souls of men are like the sheep of Jesus Christ. Amr says they have betrayed the religion of their fathers and follow a lunatic they call a prophet. The King says he cannot chain souls without listening to them.
      The King with Amr and others goes to meet with the refugee believers. He walks to his throne, and his people bow except for the believers. The King asks if they bow before their prophet. Jaafar says Muhammad is a man, and they kneel only to God. Amr asks where are Muhammad’s miracles. The King says it is true that God gives his prophets miracles. Jaafar says the miracle of Muhammad is the holy Qur’an. Amr laughs and says it was written by an illiterate but was attributed to God. The King sits down and says they made a poor case. He has men bring out the chains. Jaafar shouts that when they were persecuted in Mecca, Muhammad told them to go to Abyssinia because the king there is just and wrongs no man. Amr says their punishment was just. The King asks why Muhammad sent them to him. Jaafar says it is because he believes in the book of the one God and because he knew God would protect them. Amr says talking to them is like drawing water from a mirage. The King says he has a duty to listen to them. Jaafar explains that for years they worshipped figures of wood and stone they manufactured and lived in ignorance of God. They had few earthly laws and no heavenly laws. The rich neglect the poor, and human pity that lifts others up is called upsetting the social order. To this inhumane situation has come a man whom God chose. They believe that. He speaks of the messenger of God. Muhammad teaches them to worship the one God, speak truth, love their neighbors, give charity, protect women, shelter orphans, and turn away from gods of wood and stone. Amr says he cannot keep silent. He steps forward and says they are an ancient civilization. He says they do not worship the form but the spirit that resides within the form. The King agrees that idolatry is not always fully understood. Jaafar says God made woman to be the companion of man, but she is equal. Amr laughs and says they buy them, feed them, clothe them, use them, and discard them. Jaafar says they must respect the woman who bore them. The King asks Amr why he is tongue-tied. Jaafar says God spoke to them through Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He asks why they should be surprised if he is speaking through Muhammad. The King asks who taught him those names. Jaafar says they are names in the Qur’an. Amr says he knew Muhammad when he was an orphan tending sheep. He says they deny Christ because Christians worship three gods. He says they believe that God cannot have a son. The King asks them about Christ. Jaafar says that God’s spirit went into Mary, and she conceived Christ, the apostle of God. The King asks what the Qur’an says of the birth of Jesus. Jaafar recites the words of the story of Mary who received a message from the angel Gabriel. God said to Mary that it is ordained to have a son even though no man has touched her. The King tells Jaafar that the difference between him and them is no thicker than a line. He tells Amr that he would not give them up to him for a mountain of gold. He says they may live in Abyssinia in peace for as long as they like.
      Abu Sofyan says it is intolerable that Muhammad disturbs even their foreign alliances. He says they will make a foreigner of him. He says Abu-Talib is protecting him, but they will throw both men out together. They will expel the family.
      A decree is given that no one may trade with them; no one may shelter them; no woman may marry them until they recant. A man paints a blue cross on the doors of those houses. They break into their houses and destroy their goods.
      The believers have been cast out in the desert, and they suffered there for three years. Muhammad’s wife Khadija died.
      Abu-Talib is dying and tries to reconcile Muhammad and Mecca, asking for one word. Abu Sofyan says the word he wants would dethrone all the gods. They go out, and Abu Talib dies.
      Having lost protection, Muhammad and Zaid go to the hillside community of Ta’if, but children were sent out to stone them and drive them back into the desert. Muhammad said this was the bitterest day of his life. Then a delegation came from rich and divided Medina and met him by the rocks of Aqaba. They asked him to come to theme and mediate between their factions and settle their quarrels. Muhammad agreed provided they promised to worship only one God. A man warns them that this pledge will expel them from the rest of Arabia. He says war is in this pledge. They will make enemies of brothers and firewood of their gods. He says taking the pledge means they cannot turn back. He says Muhammad is the prophet of God foretold by the Jews in their city. Another man says if anyone has doubts about the pledge, they can go now. The first man asks them to do as he does as he pledges himself to the one God and to Muhammad, his prophet. The other man invites him to bring his followers to them in Medina.
      Hamza on his horse leads the seventy believers walking across the desert to Medina, and this pilgrimage became the beginning of the Muslim calendar. Muhammad remained behind until all those going had left safely.
      Abu Sofyan says Muhammad has become a nation with a city and made treaties. He tells Salool (John Bennett) who claims to be King of Medina he has lost his city. Salool says Abu Sofyan should worry about himself because every time they try to take things to Syria, they will have to go past Medina. Salool says he will wait until they remove him to save their way of life. Salool says he will accept his call and convert in order not to lose Medina. Hind asks if he will get on the floor five times a day to pray. Another merchant says they should kill Muhammad. Abu-Jahal goes to the window and shows them seven young men from different families who will stab him together. He says if the responsibility is shared, there will be no guilt. Abu Sofyan is reluctant to join him, but Hind encourages him.
      The seven men with spears climb over a wall and sneak around buildings. They enter Muhammad’s house; but they find his cousin there, and the leader says no.
      Abu Sofyan asks who they are fighting. He says he must take to the desert and cannot escape. A reward of one hundred camels is offered to the man who kills Muhammad or brings back his head. He advises them to look for three men— Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and his Bedouin guide. About ten men leave on horses.
      An African guide examines the excrement of a camel and says they came from a city. He tells Abu-Jahal that they are going west, not toward Medina, and they follow him. They follow the tracks to a cave and tell Muhammad to come out. They see a cobweb, and Abu-Jahal says they could not be in there. Muhammad was there protected again.
      Hamza and others are waiting for Muhammad to arrive. He says no man can survive that heat. A man in a palm tree says he sees them. People go out from Medina to greet them. Salool tells his black slave to run and hide; he may free him as a gesture. People celebrate by singing. A leader in Medina welcomes Muhammad. Salool says he has the best house, and he invites him to stay with him. Others offer also. Hamza asks how Muhammad can choose between so many. A man on a camel says that wherever God guides his camel there he will build his house. They release the camel. Salool says he is clever because a choice made by a camel will not offend anyone. The camel walks in the town, and they follow him on foot. The camel looks around and sits down. Hamza says they will build the house of the prophet here, and Zaid says they will also build a meeting house for prayer.
      Men make large blocks and build the walls. Hamza tells Muhammad he is doing too much. He tells him to sit down and let them do it. Hamza says he is still working at the age of 53.
      They have completed the walls and house, and branches provide shade in the yard. Hamza says they need something more and suggests a bell. Another says a drum. Someone suggests the human voice, and Hamza tells Bilal to use his voice. Bilal goes up on a high place and announces that God is great and that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is his prophet. He invites them to come to pray. Zaid tells them that today a man of Medina will share with a man from Mecca. He encourages them to embrace their neighbors in brotherhood. Bilal embraces Salool.
      Salool goes to Abu Sofyan and says he is tired of embracing slaves. He says Muhammad is making laws like a king. Abu Sofyan reads the laws aloud, and they criticize them. Salool says he is remaking his city. Another says he took sons from them and their future. Abu Sofyan burns the laws and says this time they will take everything of value they have.
      Salool arrives on a horse and tells people in Medina that he has news from Mecca. He says everything they left behind has been taken by thieves. Their houses were sold. He asks them to fight for what they own. Hamza says they will fight when the prophet tells them to fight. Salool says they are peace-loving people. He rides off, and Hamza tells them to go back to work.
      Hamza tells Muhammad that they have to defend themselves. He says they are led by greed, but we are led by God and him. He knows he hates the sword, but he says they have to fight. They are taking things to Damascus right past their doors. He thinks they should get it back. He asks Muhammad to fight them.
      Men are working in a garden, and they hear the call to prayer. They realize it is not the time for prayer and go to the place of worship. Zaid tells Hamza and the others that they are to fight in the way of God against those who fight against them. They are to drive them out of the places where they drove them out. Persecution is worse than slaughter. He tells them to fight them until persecution is no more. They fight for God; but if they stop, let there be no more war. God never loves those who start wars. Hamza shouts that God is great, and they repeat it.
      The believers walk in the desert carrying spears and swords. They stop, and Bilal announces that they may not harm a woman or a child or any old person. They may not harm those who work in the fields or cut down trees. They are to strike only those who have expelled them and stolen their rights and enriched themselves with their possessions. Hamza draws his sword, and others do so also.
      Waleed (George Camiller) on a horse arrives in Mecca and warns them to arm themselves because an army of three hundred is coming from Medina. Abu-Jahal says they will have more horses and camels. Another says he will bring wine to celebrate in a war they want to fight. Abu-Jahal tells Waleed where they will camp.
      Abu Sofyan tells Waleed he does not like it because too much of Mecca is in his caravan to be risked. He goes out and gives an order that they are going west away from the other Meccans. Abu Sofyan says he will avoid Muhammad because his honor is on the backs of his camels.
      In the camp a woman dances while they eat. Abu-Jahal says Muhammad has occupied the wells of Badr, and another says he has moved directly into their line of march. Two men with swords dance. Waleed comes and says that Abu Sofyan is moving west. Otba (Robert Brown) says the caravan is safe, and so there is no need to fight. He says if they fight, they will start blood feuds between brothers. Abu-Jahal says he means between father and son. He says Mecca is bigger than his family. Waleed is Otba’s true son, and he will fight. Waleed says they should fight, and Otba says he is not a coward. Abu-Jahal announces that they will fight.
      Hamza and others drink water at the wells. At two wells apart men are filling them in. They see many men coming toward them. Hamza orders them to take battle positions. The Meccans go to the two wells but cannot get water from them. Waleed says if they want water, they will have to fight. Hamza comes out of a tent and tells his brothers that they hold the wells. They stand in the name of God and wait.
      Otba comes out in front and shouts for them to send out their champions. Three men come forward. He asks who they are and says they expect their equals and peers. Hamza tells them to come back, and they do so. Otba says his brother Shaiba, his son Waleed, and himself will challenge them. Hamza says Ubaida and he and Ali will accept the challenge. The six men walk toward each other with swords. Hamza asks Utba if they are his equals. He says there is only one God, and Muhammad is his messenger. They start fighting, and Hamza kills Utba. Ali kills Waleed, and Ubaida kills Shaiba.
      The Meccans charge toward the Medinans, and Hamza orders the archers to shoot. Many Meccans are killed. Meccans also shoot arrows that kill Medinans. The Meccans on foot turn and run back while the Meccans on horses charge. Some are shot by archers. Hamza gives an order, and the archers move back as those with spears hold them out. The Meccans on horses retreat. Hamza says they are regrouping. The Meccans charge with horses arriving first. They engage in hand to hand combat with swords. Bilal kills his former master. Abu-Jahal fights on a horse but is killed by a spear. The Meccans flee and the Medinans let them go. Hamza orders the prisoners to be cut loose and given water and equal food. He announces that any prisoner who teaches ten Muslims to read will go free.
      People in Mecca demonstrate, and inside the house Hind asks why they don’t go away.  Abu Sofyan says they blame him, but he saved the caravan and their future. Hind is angry at Muhammad, Ali, and Hamza. She vows she will give them measure for measure because they killed her brother. Abu Sufyan says they will call in their allies and raise a new army against them.
      Bilal calls them to prayer in Medina. A merchant arrives with his slave and sees shops deserted. He asks if there is a plague and wonders what kind of a town they have entered. Hamza walks over to him and says God is minding the shops. The merchant says he came from Yemen, and Hamza asks if he stopped in Mecca. The merchant warns him that every man in the desert with a sword is on his way to Mecca. Hamza says their strength is here, and he goes to pray. The merchant says in Mecca there is music in every house.
      Abu Sofyan, Hind, and others watch women dance. The African Washshi (Salem Gedara) throws a spear through a loop on her head. Hind gets up and promises to free him and give him his weight in silver and his height in silk for one throw like that.
      At dusk Hamza sees men approaching from a distance and says they have come at last. A scout returns and says it is a big army. They beat them a year ago. Hamza tells them to go home and get their swords.
      Hind on a horse in front of the soldiers of Mecca and tells them they will have blood for blood. They must avenge the deaths of Badr. She goes to Washshi and says he must kill Hamza to get his fortune.
      Hamza asks about the horsemen on the flank, and he is told that is Khalid (Michael Forest). Zaid comes up and tells Hamza that fifty archers will attack those horsemen, and they must hold them off. Hamza sends Zaid to tell the prophet they are ready. Hamza says they are outnumbered, and so it is a fair fight. Zaid gives the signal to Hamza who orders them to march forward.
      The Meccans attack running, and the Medinans shoot arrows. They fight with swords. Washshi looks for Hamza and throws his spear into his stomach. He falls and dies. The Medinans are aroused, and the Meccans retreat. Hind tells them to fight, but they keep fleeing. Medinan archers on the flank see a victory and begin to charge, though one man orders them to stand where they were told to stay.
      A man tells Khalid they have lost the battle, but he says they have not lost yet. The horsemen ride past the place where the archers were and attack the Medinans. One man says Muhammad is alive and fighting. The Medinans retreat to the mountains and are pursued by horsemen. Khalid orders them to halt. Abu Sofyan says they have avenged Badr, but the risk to go into the mountains is too high. Abu Sofyan says they are even; but a Muslim says their own dead are in paradise while the others’ dead are in hell.
      Washshi shows Hind the body of Hamza. She asks if hears her and if he remembers killing her father and brother. She orders Wahshi to cut him open.
      Medinans are working in a garden. Salool says they lost the battle, but they come home and work harder. The Yemeni merchant says they are happy even in their loss. They believe that God has tried their faith. Salool says they fight for the sky, but he warns they could get Mecca. Salool says Mecca is more than their home; it is where God spoke to man. They are homesick souls, and this year they are going unarmed as pilgrims to Mecca. The merchant says they will be slaughtered in the desert, and Salool agrees they probably will be.
      The pilgrims chant as they walk and stop at a waterhole. Horsemen appear on the ridge. Jaafar tells them to stand firm and not let them provoke them. Khalid and others ride to them. Bilal stands forward and wishes peace to Khalid. His horse whinnies, and Bilal is not hurt. Khalid looks at him with contempt and rides away with the others following him.
      Zaid says that they must renew their oath to God under the tree. Khalid watches them line up and is impressed.
      At night in a tent Zaid tells Bilal and others that Suheil is coming, and that means they may be able to agree. Suheil (Nicolas Amer) enters the tent and asks if they have agreed with the conditions of the truce. He is given a document and reads it. He tells them to strike “the God who is most gracious.” He cannot agree with “Muhammad, the messenger of God” either. He wants it more factual. He says it is agreed that they will go back this year, but they may make their pilgrimage next year for three days. He also agrees to the truce for ten years. If they injure anyone, the truce ends. He rolls up the document and leaves. Bilal says they need those ten years and will use it.
      Zaid hands out three letters from Muhammad to the rulers of the world to call the world to Islam. They go to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Persian Emperor.
      In a shaded area Zaid teaches that there are no superior races in Islam, but all are equal before God.
      By trees Jaafar teaches that unless you care for your neighbor as you do for yourself, you are not a Muslim.
      Bilal in a field says that the ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr. A man reading is handsome in the sight of God. He urges them to learn to read and then to teach.
      By the sea another Muslim says that the people of the book, Christians and Jews, are to be respected because their books also came from God.
      A man sitting on a wall tells a story about a man collecting firewood. Muhammad asked if he could do it, and the man says he is the prophet and can’t do that. Muhammad says he is not above other men. He admits he is the prophet, but he does not know what will become of him. Khalid and Amr hear this. They ride into Medina, and Amr tells his former slave that he came there to ask them to take him. Khalid testifies that there is only one God and that Muhammad is his messenger. He asks God to forgive him for having fought against them. Bilal says Islam does away with all that comes before it. Khalid takes off his jewels and gives them to the poor. He also offers his sword to fight for God.
      At night a man says they are winning the hearts of men. Suddenly horsemen attack and slash them with swords.
      The next day Abu Sufyan arrives on a horse and dismounts. He asks why he is being insulted. He says they are not at war. He came to speak to Muhammad and asks where he is. He is told he is in the mosque and walks over there. Abu Sufyan says that Mecca did not break the truce. He asks why he is turning from him and tells him not to go. He shouts to people that bandits broke the truce, not them. He says the night was dark. He says he is the leader of Mecca and asks why he is insulted. Khalid says it is because he does not keep his pledge. Abu Sofyan does not like being defeated by a former shepherd. Khalid tells him to inform Mecca that their gods are dead and that it is useless to resist. He warns him to travel fast, or the men will be close behind him. He says Abu Sofyan broke the truce.
      The army of Medina is marching. Khalid says by tonight they will have 10,000 men from every tribe.
      Abu Sofyan returns to Mecca and tells Hind and others that it is no use because there are thousands of them. She calls him a coward, but he says they cannot resist.
      Bilal announces they are camping here for the night.
      At night Abu Sofyan and Hind on horses look at their many fires. She can smell the bread they are baking, and he hopes that means they don’t want blood. He says he can bargain with that. He rides into the camp alone and gets off his horse. He asks them to take him to him. He says they are not offering him any bread and wonders if they will decide to kill him. He goes with them and enters a tent with Bilal and Khalid. Sofyan says he saw their fires, and he knows what power Muhammad has put into his men. He says he cannot resist and asks if he will agree. Khalid asks if he dares to come there and ask for conditions. Abu Sofyan admits he still has doubt in his heart. Khalid says cutting off his head would remove all his doubts. Bilal tells Khalid there is no compulsion in religion, but it comes in God’s time. Abu Sofyan says Bilal is the best school. Abu Sofyan says if the gods he worshipped had been of any use, they would have helped him. He declares that there is one God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
      Horsemen ride into Mecca and report that they are coming. They hear drums and men chanting as the Muslims approach. Soldiers in Mecca tell people to get inside their homes. Those on horses ride slowly in front of the others. They march into Mecca. Relatives are reunited. Bilal announces that no doors will be broken down. All are safe.
      Hind says at least he kept his word and did not break in the door. Abu Sofyan says he storms hearts and that it is a permanent victory. She dreads going out, but he says they must appear. She asks if they were wrong, and he admits that they were trapped in their own wrongs. Their gods were less than they were. She sees him entering the Kaaba on a white camel. The gate is opened. People watch as he goes inside the Kaaba. He prays and says God gave this house to Abraham to be a sacred place. He says to worship God and no other gods. Idols fall and are removed. People cheer and chant. Bilal climbs up the Kaaba and walks on the roof. He gives the call to prayer. Muhammad declared Mecca a holy place where no one may kill a living thing.
      Muhammad called the people to him and spoke to them for the last time. He tells them to help the weak. They will meet their God who will call them to account. The best are those who most regard God. He advises them to let their feuds be abolished. Every Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim. Between Muslims there are no races or tribes. They should not take anything from their brother but what is given freely. He tells them not to oppress others or be oppressed. He admits he is but a man, and death will overtake him. He has left them the Qur’an revealed by God which is light and guidance. He says he has perfected the religion of Islam for them. Muhammad died at the age of 63. Many people were surprised. Abu Bakr stood up and said that whoever worships Muhammad must know that he is dead; but God is alive and cannot die. Muhammad’s body was buried by the mosque in Medina, but the religion he preached found its way into human hearts and endured and multiplied. People still come to Mecca to pray to one God.
      This biopic is original in not depicting Muhammad because of the orthodox interpretation of the Qur’an. Yet his teachings are revealed by the changes that occur in people who follow them. The story is told accurately, though it also does not show other key people such Muhammad’s wife Khadija, Abu Bakr, Ali, and his other wives. Thus it is a biopic of a new religion more than of its founder that sprang up in Arabia inspired by the writing of an illiterate man who taught the unity of God and the importance of prayer and charity but also who fought in the early wars of the religion.

Copyright © 2012 by Sanderson Beck

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