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Life of Muhammad on PBS Aug. 20

ARLINGTON, VA — “The Life of Muhammad,” a new three-part series presented by journalist and author Rageh Omaar, will premiere on PBS Tuesday, Aug. 20, 8-11 p.m. ET. The film charts the story of a man who in little more than 20 years had a huge impact on the world.

Rageh Omaar

Journalist and author Rageh Omaar in Medina, Saudi Arabia, one of the locations for a new three-part series “The Life of Muhammad.” (Photo: Crescent Films Ltd.)

Taking a journey that is both historical and relevant today, Omaar documents Muhammad’s life from his humble beginnings in Mecca, to his struggles with accepting his prophetic role, his flight to Medina, the founding of the first Islamic constitution, his military and political successes and failures, and to his death and legacy.

Along with the historical narrative, the film addresses Islam’s role in the world today and explores interpretations of Islamic attitudes toward money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict, providing a fascinating, timely and unqiue insight into the Islamic faith.

Leading academics

Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Turkey, Syria, the United States, the United Kingdom and Jordan, the series draws on expertise of some of the world’s leading academics and commentators on Islam. These include the following:

  • Tariq Ramadan, academic and fellow of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford;
  • Ziauddin Sardar, London-based scholar and writer specializing in Muslim thought;
  • Tom Holland, British novelist and historian;
  • HRH Princess Badiya El Hassan of the Jordanian Royal Family;
  • Dr. Amira K. Bennison, senior lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Cambridge University;
  • Bishop Nazir-Ali, author of Islam: A Christian Perspective; and
  • John L. Esposito, professor of Religion & International Affairs and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University.

3 1-hour episodes

“The Life of Muhammad” comprises three one-hour episodes:

  1. “The Seeker” examines the world into which Muhammad was born, his marriage to his first wife, Khadijah, as well as his first revelations and the profound impact they had on his life and the lives of those closest to him.
  2. “Holy Wars” focuses on key events in Muhammad’s life including the Night Journey to Jerusalem, his departure from Mecca and the eight-year war with the Meccan tribes.
  3. “Holy Peace” analyzes events during his later life, including the introduction of the moral code known as Shari’a and the concept of jihad.

In line with Islamic tradition, the program does not depict any images of Muhammad or feature any dramatic re-constructions of his life.

Rageh Omaar

Rageh Omaar is a Somali-born journalist and author. A former BBC World Affairs correspondent, he works as a journalist/reporter for ITN UK, where he is the Middle Eastern correspondent, and also hosts his own monthly investigative documentaries called “The Rageh Omaar Report.”

“The Life of Muhammad” was produced by Crescent Films for BBC Two. The series was produced and directed by Faris Kermani (“Seven Wonders of the Muslim World,” “Karbala: City of Martyrs” and “Karachi Kops”). Executive producer is David Batty (“The Cult of the Suicide Bomber,” “Christianity: A History” and “The Story of Jesus”).

“The Life of Muhammad will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from PBS at Shop PBS.org or 800-PLAY-PBS.

The program’s companion website will be available on PBS.org before air.

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