I have a thing for historical series which they air on television during Ramadan, and this year I have enjoyed watching Omar, which is the story of the second caliph of Islam, and a close companion of prophet Mohammad.
The series has been funded very well, enough to have minimal commercial breaks… which is not something MBC is really known for, so the makers of the series (MBC and Qatar TV) have paid their dues.
Omar was one of the main administrators who shaped what the Islamic state would become, an executive or CEO if we put it in today’s business terms.
I also have a certain affinity for Omar, strangely for being a lefty, as I am, and if you never knew, lefties changed the world, someone has already wrote a book about it, and it is called Left-handed History of the World, a very interesting and insightful book, and if the author ever makes an updated edition, I believe Omar should be in that book.
The thing is, there was and still is a lot of controversy around the series as it depicts the showing of the Prophet’s righteous Caliphs as they are known, Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, which has been forbidden until now.
I personally do not think there is anything wrong with it, yet all the years of growing up hearing that it is forbidden to do so, to depict on screen those four men, I still watch with an, Oh My God they are showing him? And then him? My mind is telling me something, yet my emotions are a bit in shock, you can’t water down the many years of being told something for many years and then just snap out of it.
There is a thing going on though, with every shiekh on TV talking about Omar on their own show, some say this has political aims, but what doesn’t these days.
They commotion is mostly due to the fact that actors leave an impression on one’s mind, yet I do not recall anyone from the original Message movie which I saw decades ago, nor do I think God looks like Morgan Freeman (Morgan Freeman will always be Dracula from the Electric Company for me) but as everything new, has to have an opposition… And the stronger it is, the more it spreads.
The main actor, the one doing the part of Omar, does not look like the Omar I envisioned, yet Abu Bakr does, and Ali… well, Ali looks like what the Shia drawings of him, which in my opinions looks more Persian than Arab.
Ali from the old drawings
Ali in the Omar series
You can watch the series on MBC’s website, there is a subtitled version of the Omar series in English.
You can also watch it on YouTube, in HD.
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