Written and Produced by Marilyn Mellowes
William Cran, Senior Producer and Director
Air date: April 6, 1998.
This detailed PBS documentary puts the early Christianity in the proper context of Judaism. In other words the Jews are in the middle of the discussion between the Christians and the Muslims. This documentary, in a manner of speaking, puts the early Christian history in the Quranic paradigm and broadly speaking could be considered a commentary of the following verse:
“And the Jews say, ‘The Christians stand on nothing;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same Book. Even thus said those who had no knowledge, like what they say. But Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree.” (Al Quran 2:114)
It is in this trilateral discussion, between the Abrahamic faiths that we can succeed in our search of finding the Truth, especially about the person of Jesus of Nazareth!
It’s a television first, claims the BBC Press Office. OK they would say that wouldn’t they but I think it might be the first time in decades – if not ever – that a British network has screened a programme, let alone a series, about Muhammad. According to the blurb it charts the “extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than 20 years, changed the world forever”. The series as a whole raises questions about some of the more contested areas of Islam such as women, religious tolerance and conflict.
The three hour documentary proceeds in a chronological fashion based on the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the third part has a fairly detailed discussion on Sharia and polygamy.
Were the series not interesting enough – even critics of Islam and religion generally are sure to find something in it – the backdrop to it is also fascinating. I’ve been asking BBC executives for years when they planned to show such a series – first asking its director general Mark Thompson, then its head of religion Aaqil Ahmed (more about him later) and then most recently BBC One controller Danny Cohen. After years of nagging, lo! It has come to pass. Read more in Guardian UK:
And We (Allah) have not created the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose. That is the view of those who disbelieve. (Al Quran 38:28)
Three well known atheists, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Matt Ridley debated two Christian and a Jewish apologist, including William Lane Craig, recently in Mexico, regarding the purpose of human life.
Now let me present a collection of excerpts from the writings of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community about the purpose of human life, click here.
If Muslim speakers from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had been included then the atheists would have at least gotten rid of theology with resurrection of dead and miracles that are in violation of the natural order and harmony and would have been left with a much more sublime theology! To read further click here:
The Making of Islam: Empire of Faith
by Robert Gardner, Producer
The production of Islam: Empire of Faith was a big challenge from the beginning, simply because it covered more than a thousand years of history and culture, and a very large part of the world.
But we really wanted to push beyond the conventional form of historical documentaries, which have depended on pans and tilts of still pictures, supplemented with landscapes and interviews. We wanted to find a way to use the visual techniques usually reserved for fiction motion pictures to tell a story of great scope that took place in pre-photographic history. This meant the project would require very large scale costumed re-enactments and equipment far beyond the ordinary documentary production package of camera, zoom lens, tripod and small light-kit.
We knew that we had to find a way to present images of cultural history — both re-enacted scenes and contemporary scenes of Islamic architecture and city life — in a way that would evoke the past, but maintain a sense of authenticity. The scenes would be dream-like and impressionistic but would still give viewers a sense that what they were seeing was accurate in historical terms.
We designed a production package that included a robotic crane with an 18-foot reach (Jimmi-jib), allowing us to fly the camera through architectural spaces, and a Steadicam that would allow for smooth camera moves through buildings at ground level — even mounting it on a truck to shoot running horses at full speed. We took a wide selection of lenses from extremely wide to telephoto and we also brought a high-speed camera for true slow-motion (500 frames per second) allowing us to slow an action down that actually took one second to fully twenty seconds on-screen. All of these taken together would provide an extraordinarily production palette. But it also meant that we had to travel with more than 40 cases of equipment — and do so in seven different countries. The logistics were severe. Read further: