November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: The Life of Muhammad | DVD

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The Life of Muhammad. DVD. 3 hrs. Prod. by Crescent Films. Dist. PBS Dist. 2013. ISBN unavail. $24.98.
Gr 9 Up–Three one-hour segments review the life of the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with his time spent in Mecca as a chld, where he had his first revelation, and continuing with his relocation to Medina, where he established a new and unique community. The documentary concludes with his elder days as a moral leader who continues to impact the world today. Host Rageh Omaar discusses the historical context of Muhammad’s life, distinguishing true Islamic teachings from cultural practices. Modern controversies are examined through the lens of history. For example, the wearing of hijab (a Muslim woman’s traditional scarf) is considered from political, legal, historical, religious, and personal points of view, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. Background images vary from grainy film of camel caravans to modern store windows filled with glittering but modest women’s clothing in present-day Mecca. The production is enhanced by dramatic background music and commentary by Islamic experts, both practicing Muslims and non-Muslim scholars. Repeated footage of multitudes circling the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site, during the annual pilgrimage emphasizes the vast numbers and cultural diversity of Muslims today. Chapter selection is optional. After watching this engaging and informative documentary, high school students will engage in rich discussions, debating misunderstood concepts such as jihad, polygamy, and the historical animosity of Muslims and Jews. Education, after all, is the most effective tool to redefine the current clash of values between Islam and the Western world.–Toby Rajput, National Louis University Library, Skokie, IL

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