A fatwa has been issued against Oscar-winning musician AR Rahman and renowned Iranian filmmaker, Majid Majidi for their involvement in Muhammad: Messenger of God, a movie on Prophet Muhammed. Touted to be Iran’s most expensive movie, it opened nationwide in the Shiite Islamic republic last week. The movie depicts the prophet on screen, an act that is prohibited in Sunni Islam.
The Indian Express reported that a Mumbai-based Sunni Muslim group, Raza Academy issued the fatwa, asking Muslims to reject the film. The Hindu quoted Saeed Noorie, chief of Raza Academy as saying. “We are against the title. People may use it in a bad manner if they don’t like the film, which will mean an insult to the Prophet. The actors have charged money to act in the film and they may have dubious character in real life. How can we Muslims allow such things to happen?”
The group had earlier written to Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis and home minister Rajnath Singh seeking a ban on the movie. Reports say that the group has cited the Prophet’s words, on no visual or picture of him is to be created or kept. The fatwa claims that the film makes a mockery of Islam. Reports also claimed that the fatwa demands that the Muslims who have worked on the film, especially director Majid Majidi and musician Rahman, have committed sacrilege and must read the kalma again. Rahman and Majidi must also solemnise their marriages again, the fatwa added.
This is not the first time that Muhammad – The Messenger of God is facing troubles at the hands of Muslim clerics. Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, too, hit out at the movie earlier this week describing its portrayal of the prophet’s childhood as a “hostile act” and a “distortion” of Islam. “This is an obscene work and a hostile act against Islam. This is a mockery of the prophet and a degradation of his status,” Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abulaziz al-Shaikh told Al-Hayat newspaper.
Directed by Majid Majidi, the visually stunning 171-minute film cost around $40 million, partly funded by the state, and took more than seven years to complete. Reacting to the development, Majidi had said that the aim of his work, the first part of a trilogy, is to reclaim the rightful image of Islam, which he said extremists have distorted. Hindustan Times