The Life of Muhammad

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For the article listing biographies of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, see List of biographies of Muhammad.
The Life of Muhammad
The Life of Muhammad.jpg
Title card
Genre Documentary
Written by Ziauddin Sardar
Directed by Faris Kermani
Presented by Rageh Omaar
Narrated by Rageh Omaar
Composer(s) Jez Spencer
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 3 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David Batty
Aaqil Ahmed
Producer(s) Faris Kermani
Editor(s) Tim Arrowsmith
Location(s) Saudi Arabia
United States
United Kingdom
Cinematography Philip Chavannes
Nasir Khan
Yousef Ibrahim
Andrew Psarianos
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Crescent Films
Original network BBC Two
Original release 11 July 2011 (2011-07-11) – 25 July 2011 (2011-07-25)
External links
Production website

The Life of Muhammad is a 2011 British three-part documentary miniseries examining the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the origins of Islam. The documentary was directed by Faris Kermani, written by Ziauddin Sardar, and presented by Rageh Omaar. It was broadcast by BBC Two over three consecutive weeks from 11 July 2011 to 25 July 2011.


The series was the first time that a British television network has screened a programme about the life of Muhammad,[1][2][3] and the first full account of the history of Muhammad's life to have been shown on "Western television".[4]

It charts the life and times of Muhammad, a man whose name is invoked in reverence by the billion and half Muslims across the globe as the messenger and final prophet of God. In a journey that is both literal and historical, Rageh Omaar travels to the place of Muhammad's birth to re-trace his actual footsteps; from humble beginnings in Mecca, his struggles with his prophetic role and divine revelations, his migration to Medina, to the establishment of the first Islamic constitution, and his subsequent military and political successes and failures, before his final return to Mecca following armed conflicts through to his death and his legacy.

It also raises questions about Islam's role in the world today and explores where Islam's attitudes towards money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict originate.[5]


The trio of hour-long films were directed and produced by Faris Kermani.[6] The series is a Crescent Films production for BBC Two, and was commissioned and executive produced for the BBC by Aaqil Ahmed. The executive producer for Crescent Films is David Batty.

In line with Islamic tradition, the programme does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature any dramatic re-constructions of Muhammad's life.[7]


The series was filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Turkey, Syria, United States, United Kingdom and Jordan. It drew on the expertise and comment from some of the world's leading academics, specialist thinkers and commentators on Islam including:[8]


Episode Title Original air date
1 "The Seeker" 11 July 2011 (2011-07-11)
Beginning in Muhammad's birthplace of Mecca, Omaar investigates the tribal loyalties and polytheistic religion in the 6th-century Arabia Muhammad was born and raised in. The programme examines Muhammad's first marriage to Khadijah and how he received the first of the revelations that had such a profound effect both on his life, and on the lives of those closest to him.[9][10]
2 "Holy Wars" 18 July 2011 (2011-07-18)
Omaar assesses accounts focusing on key events in Muhammad's life including the Night Journey to Jerusalem, his life-threatening migration from Mecca to Medina, through to the establishment of the Constitution of Medina and the eight-year war with the Meccan tribes.
3 "Holy Peace" 25 July 2011 (2011-07-25)
Omaar analyses and investigates key events during the later part of Muhammad's life, including the introduction of a moral code known as Sharia, and the concept of Jihad and Hijab. The programme also explores his use of marriage to build alliances, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, and looks at the key messages included in his final sermon.[11][12]


The Iranian minister of cultural and Islamic guidance, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, without watching any of the series, told Iran's Fars News Agency that, "the BBC's decision to make a documentary on the life of (the) prophet Muhammad seems dubious and if our suspicions are proved to be correct, we will certainly take serious action."[13] Hosseini added: "What the enemy is trying to do in ruining the Muslims' sanctity is definitely much more than causing us to react and unfortunately, some Islamic countries are not taking this issue seriously. One way to show objections is to express condemnation of the West over their despicable actions."[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2012 Sandford St. Martin Trust Awards Television Premier Award Crescent Films Won[15][16][17]
Royal Television Society Programme Awards Nominated[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butt, Riazat (5 July 2011). "The Life of Muhammad BBC documentary - live coverage". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Sandford, Peter (9 July 2011). "Rageh Omaar on The Life of Muhammad". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Ahmed, Aaqil (9 July 2011). "Aaqil Ahmed on The Life of Muhammad". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Harvey, Chris (11 July 2011). "The Life of Muhammad, BBC Two, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Rageh Omaar to present The Life Of Muhammad for BBC Two". BBC. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "BBC to show film on Muhammad's life". The Independent. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "BBC2 orders Muhammad docs". Televisual. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Former BBC journalist will tell the story of Muhammad". BBC. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Datzic, Toby (11 July 2011). "The Life of Muhammad, BBC Two, preview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Is Muhammad a force of good?". Emel. July 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Power, Vicky (25 July 2011). "The Life of Muhammad, episode 3, preview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Life of Muhammad exposed our own ignorance". Metro. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Iran threatens 'serious action' over BBC plans to screen documentary series on Muslim prophet Muhammad". Mail Online. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (28 June 2011). "Iran attacks BBC for documentary series on life of prophet Muhammad". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Vote in RT's faith award - and win £1000". Radio Times. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Cole, Tom (24 May 2012). "The Life of Muhammad wins top prize at Sandford St Martin Trust Awards". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "TV Awards 2012". The Sandford St. Martin Trust. 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Anderson, Kelly (28 February 2012). "RTS Programme Awards announces 2011 nominees". Real Screen. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 

External links[edit]