Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet

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This is the story of the man who changed the world in 23 years and continues to influence it today. His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was only six. Sheltered by a powerful uncle, he made a good start in life, established himself in a profitable business and married well. Then, at the age of 40, he was transformed. A man who could not read or write, he announced that he was the prophet of God. His name was Muhammad, and in the next 23 years he would bring peace to the warring pagan tribes of Arabia and establish the religion of Islam, which today has 1.2 billion followers.

Three years in the making, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet," travels in the footsteps of the prophet to the Arabian desert and the holy city of Mecca where much of Muhammad's story unfolded. But the film does not just stay in the past. Much of it's story is told through the observations of contemporary American Muslims, including a fireman at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 a second generation Arab-American family building a community based on Islamic principles, a Congressional Chief of Staff working for justice, and a refugee fleeing religious persecution, whose experiences in some way echo Muhammad's life. With some of the world's greatest scholars on Islam providing historical context and critical perspective, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet" is history in the present tense. It tells of intrigue and faith, bitter persecution and the birth of a holy book, brutal war and brilliant diplomacy in a desert environment where tribal allegiance was often the only protection.

This historical documentary shown on PBS is a very well made film. In today's times of societal tensions from wars and fears of terrorism a widening rift has arisen between people of different religions. Resentment has been fueled by several high level western religious figures and generals making quite ignorant statements such as claiming that Muhammad was a terrorist. Likewise many leaders in the Islamic world have compelled followers to perform acts of terrorism, falsely claiming that it is condoned by Islam. Muhammad who historians know more about than any of the prophets has a very interesting and admirable historical story that we can all appreciate. This is not a pro religion film but rather gives a historical context for Muhammad was and what the religion that he started believes.

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