Sunday, 13 October, 2019

Sami Yusuf Reacts to Criticism of Iranian Epic Film “Muhammad”

British Muslim superstar Sami Yusuf has reacted to criticism of Iranian Epic film “Muhammad”, calling them “political”.

Responding to recent Al-Azhar university criticism of the film, Yusuf told Reuters:  “Most of these reactions are political”.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the most prestigious institute of Sunni Islam, has called on Iran to ban the film.

“I am sure people in Al-Azhar and others who criticize the film haven’t seen it yet. They are against the film only because it’s a cultural export of Iran.” Sami Yusuf, who is one of the Islamic world’s biggest musical stars and who sang the soundtrack for the film, told Reuters.

Yusuf said it was a “shame” there were only two major productions describing the life of Mohammad, in contrast to the many on Jesus Christ and other prophets.

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The Iranian epic film “Mohammad, Messenger of God” directed by Majid Majidi is only the second full-length movie drama on the prophet. The first, “The Message” (1976), was directed by Syrian Moustapha al-Akkad. Anthony Quinn played Mohammad’s uncle, Hamza.

Majidi has said the aim of his work, the first part of a trilogy, is to reclaim the rightful image of Islam, which he said extremists have wrongly made violent.

The movie is the first part of a planned trilogy, focuses on the prophet’s childhood. His face will not be shown on screen, in accordance with traditional Islamic strictures. The camera shows the boy actor playing him only from behind, or only his shadow.

“You cannot study Mohammad’s life and not fall in love with him and his character. If this film makes people of the world know our prophet better and see how kind he was, we have done our job,” singer Yusuf said.

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Iranian director Majid Majidi

“Mohammad, Messenger of God” is the most ambitious and expensive cinematic project in Iranian history.

The 171-minute, visually stunning film cost around $40 million (36 million euros), partly funded by the state, and took more than seven years to complete.

The movie had its nationwide premier on Thursday, winning huge praises from early audiences.

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