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Home » Entertainment » “Umar” Ramadan Series: Review and Synopsis of Episode 12

“Umar” Ramadan Series: Review and Synopsis of Episode 12

Synopsis: The episode starts with the aftermath of Badr, showing the Qurashi prisoners. The situation in Mecca is then shown with dozens of women dressed in black and mourning the loss of their sons/husbands/fathers/brothers at the Battle of Badr. Hind bint ‘Utbah, who lost her uncle, father, and brother in the battle, is shown crying and wailing in her house with several other women. Abu Sufyan then comes into the room and yells at her and urges her to stop wailing. Hind then vows that she will not rest until Hamzah (who killed ‘Utbah at Badr) is dead and she has cut him open and tasted his liver (quite disturbing scene to say the least!). At a Qurashi council held later, Abu Sufyan is seen debating with Safwan ibn Umayyah and Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, both of whose fathers were killed at Badr. Abu Sufyan tells them to direct their anger to the Prophet who was the one “who placed swords in the hands of slaves and shepherds and made them lords (literally “imams”) in their own right.” They all then vow themselves to revenge upon the Muslims, which is met with unanimous agreement in the council. Khalid ibn al-Walid, while present at the council, is shown deep in thought about his brother al-Walid who was taken prisoner after Badr.

Meanwhile in Medina, Bilal is seen tending to the Qurashi prisoners and giving them water. He tells them that the Prophet has agreed to allow them to be ransomed, each in accordance with his wealth. He also states that if one of them is unable to ransom himself, then in exchange for his freedom he should teach one of the Muslims to read or write. Al-Walid ibn al-Walid then strikes up a conversation with his jailers, expressing his gratitude for their generosity in giving those who had fought against them food and water. Suhayl ibn ‘Amr is also shown among those imprisoned. Back in Mecca, Abu Jundal is depicted as refusing to go to Medina to pay the ransom for his father (Suhayl).

In Medina, the brother of Suhayl is shown offering himself in the place of Suhayl, while the latter goes to Mecca and returns to Medina with the ransom payment.  A very interesting scene, which underscores the importance of blood-ties in this Arabian society. As ‘Umar escorts Suhayl out of the city, he tells him that the only reason he is still standing is because of the Prophet’s mercy.  ‘Umar continues and says that if he had things his way, he would have severely punished Suhayl for all the abuses he had levied against the Prophet in the past. Suhayl is touched when he hears about the Prophet’s mercy. From a distance, Abd Allah ibn Suhayl is shown looking towards his father and weeping, saddened by the fact that he was taken prisoner and that he still had not accepted Islam. Next, we see Khalid ibn al-Walid imploring Umar–for the sake of their kinship ties–to release his brother al-Walid. ‘Umar responds by telling him that he needs to pay the ransom and that with regard to kinship ties, Abu Jahl was his uncle but he died with ‘Umar being one of his staunchest opponents. The next scene shows Khalid and his brother al-Walid riding back to Mecca…looks like Khalid paid the ransom after all. Khalid is seen scolding his brother for allowing himself to be taken prisoner. Suddenly, al-Walid announces that he never, for a minute, was an opponent of the Prophet. Khalid is infuriated that his brother refers to Muhammad as “the Prophet of God”. Al-Walid responds by explaining how the Prophet brings nothing but good. He goes on to say that for years he was contemplating the message of the Prophet, despite of his father’s staunch opposition to Islam, and realized that only arrogance and pride prevented al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah (his father) from embracing Islam. He then announces that he is a Muslim. Khalid angrily tells him that he should have declared his conversion before he was ransomed with all the wealth he paid. al-Walid says he deliberately waited for himself to be ransomed so no one would claim that he only converted to Islam to free himself from captivity. In Mecca, Safwan ibn Umayyah and another individual (‘Umayr) are speaking of a plan to assassinate the Prophet, which ‘Umayr takes upon himself as a task. The next scene shows Khalid ibn al-Walid dragging his brother al-Walid into a prison cell in Mecca as punishment for his conversion.

The next scene shows ‘Umayr entering Medina on his camel, at which point ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab states that “this is the enemy of God, ‘Umayr who does not come here except for an evil purpose.” He demands to know why ‘Umayr has come, at which point th latter responds that he has come to ransom his son who is held prisoner.  He asks to see the Prophet, but ‘Umar is reluctant to allow him to do so…at this point, Bilal interrupts and states that the Prophet has given ‘Umayr permission to speak with him privately. We are not shown what happens next and the next scene shows the return of ‘Umayr to Mecca where he is warmly embraced by Safwan ibn Umayyah who asks to know what happened. ‘Umayr states quite bluntly that he has accepted Islam. He then goes on to explain that Muhammad is indeed a Prophet and he had known (thanks to divine knowledge) that ‘Umayr had come to Medina to assassinate him and told him that…’Umayr says that none but a Prophet would have known about that plan, since it was a strict secret. Safwan is outraged and tells ‘Umayr that he has been switched and demands that he removes himself from his presence. ‘Umayr is then shown preaching in public in Mecca, announcing his conversion to Islam and calling people to the faith. He states that he had gone to Medina with the express intention of murdering the Prophet, but what he found was a Prophet of God who cared for him and his salvation. As such, he says that he embraced Islam and took it upon himself to preach Islam publicly and call others to the faith in the hope that his previous sins would be forgiven. He states that the Quraysh are an ungrateful lot…rather than being thankful that God has blessed them with a Prophet from among themselves, they continue to disobey and fight against him. Abu Sufyan, Khalid ibn al-Walid, and Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl then throw a tantrum and yell at ‘Umayr to be silent and leave the city.

Next, we see Abu Sufyan sitting with a few others and being declared the foremost chieftain of the Quraysh. Safwan is speaking directly to Abu Sufyan and telling him that the standing of Quraysh was greatly eroded by the defeat at Badr and continues to suffer as a result of the empowerment of Muhammad in Medina. Hind then appears on the scene and urges the elders of Quraysh to meet the Muslims in battle once more. Next, we see the Quraysh summoning Wahshi to them, who is apparently the most talented in Mecca at throwing a spear, and telling him that he will accompany them to the next battle. They say that if he succeeds in killing Hamzah, he will have attained his freedom. Hind adds that if he is successful she will throw in her jewels as reward. In the following scene, Wahshi is seen sharpening his spear and talking with Rayhanna and expressing his excitement about his impending freedom. He says he does not care about intra-Arab conflicts, and only seeks his liberty, even if that means killing one man.

The focus then turns to Medina with hundreds of Muslim warriors, led by Hamzah, marching to battle. At this point, Abd Allah ibn Ubayy withdraws an entire contingent of the army and heads back to Medina. Meanwhile, within the Jewish quarter of the city a discussion is occurring between several of the Jews themselves about the pact of Medina and their obligation to assist the Prophet militarily. The rabbi explains that they are obligated, by both legal norms and religious values, to fight alongside the Prophet and thus fulfill their oaths to him. The Jewish chieftain, however, strongly disagrees and accuses the rabbi of being a secret Muslim. The rabbi responds that he is indeed a Jew, and one who keeps his word and fulfills his oaths. The episode ends with the rabbi telling the Jews to take whatever course of action they see fit, but as for himself…he was going to join the army in fulfillment of his oath.

Review: This episode was a well-done follow up to the Battle of Badr and does a good job transitioning into the Battle of Uhud. I particularly liked how they conveyed the conversions of al-Walid ibn al-Walid and ‘Umayra, demonstrating how more and more Qurashis were gradually entering into the religion. Hind emerges in this episode (as if it wasn’t obvious enough already) as the primary villain, whose desire for revenge for the deaths of her relatives develops into a hatred for the Prophet and Islam. Abu Sufyan, who was a rather minor figure in previous episodes, also takes on a major role as the new chieftain of the Quraysh following the deaths of Umayyah ibn Khalaf, ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, and Abu Jahl. The final scene with the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir was done quite well I thought, and departs from the stereotypical depiction of Jews which is quite common in Arab cinema. I’m looking forward to seeing how that part of the story is developed further. I also thought it was quite wise on their part to avoid showing the whole execution of prisoners after Badr and the whole controversy surrounding that. It would probably confuse the hell out of a 21st-century audience and send the wrong moral message. However, one critical comment I would have is about the absence, rather than the inclusion of certain facts. I was really upset that the show has completely sidelined or completely excluded the figures of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib and Zayd ibn al-Harithah, not to mention al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam, Talha ibn ‘Ubaydallah and many many others. These are all key figures who will need to be brought into the story at later points due to their central roles. Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, in particular, is one of the most central figures at this point…since he was, along with ‘Umar, Abu Bakr, ‘Ali and ‘Uthman, one of the key companions around the Prophet. Oh well, I guess I should be realistic that with a show like this it is very difficult to integrate all the key characters.

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5 Comments

  1. fate7a says:

    Heyyy— sooo just a comment on one thing here. Ja’far ibn Abi Talib is in habasha at this point (Abyssinia). If I’m not mistaken he doesn’t return until after the victory at Mecca, and then he is martyred in the Battle of Mutah.

    I’m also surprised that Musab ibn Umayr doesn’t make an appearance– he was a companion who supposedly looked like the Prophet and died in the Battle of Uhud. And yeah, the Zaid thing is weird… he was the adopted son of the Prophet (s) after all.

    One other thing I was dissapointed about earlier was the lack of anything about the Lady Khadijah (a) or any of the other early women of Islam. The Lady Fatema (a) barely made an appearance and there were actually women who participated in some of the battles but they were nonexistent in the show so far… Even at the pledges of aqaba (where the people of yathrib made pacts with the prophet)– there were women at the second meeting. Anyway… that’s that!

  2. ballandalus says:

    Yeah you’re right, but I still wish they would show him and talk about his role just a little. After all, he was the head of an entire Islamic community…the first “Western Muslim” community if you will. As for the women thing, it’s not weird at all…to be honest I was really shocked they even showed Fatimah (A.S.), as depictions of the daughters, mothers, and wives of Prophets are strictly forbidden usually. This prohibition is even extended to other female Sahaba. I guess they made an exception for Fatimah because at the point they showed her she was still a very young girl. And also, it seems Rayhanna is the only Muslims woman with any major screen time.

  3. fate7a says:

    About Habasha– yeah it would be interesting to show life in habasha– but I don’t know how much information we even have about that period in history?

    Alsooo, I was talking to someone about the scene with the Lady Fatemah (a) (I was shocked they showed her too)– but someone said that it might have been Abu Bakr’s daugter who was also named Fatemah? She was asked about her father but it didn’t say who. And it wouldn’t make sense for Fatemah to be in a different house than her father at this point because she was so young–so why was she in a different house?

  4. fate7a says:

    And even if they didn’t show the women… they could at least TALK about the women. Granted… I don’t understand Arabic, but it seemed like they glossed over the Lady Khadijah’s death so quickly and that was a very very sad moment for the Prophet (s) especially so soon after Abu Talib. I guess I’m really rah rah women on all this stuff lol

  5. ballandalus says:

    Hmm, I think it makes much more sense that the character was Fatimah or Asma’ bint Abu Bakr (I don’t recall the character being mentioned by name in the show to be honest) and not Fatimah bint Muhammad (A.S.). Good point! This may explain why we don’t see her again in any significant role. As for Abyssinia, I agree we have very little but that’s where artistic license comes in I think…we have just enough material which can allow one to construct a plausible picture of the life and struggles of the Muslims there. But that would depart from the classical narratives of the Prophetic biography which are very Medina-centric. I’m at least glad that the show focuses even minimally on the Muslims in Mecca to remind us that there still existed various groups of believers who did not/could not make hijra.

    You aren’t alone when it comes to the strong views on the female historical figures (probably because I spent the better part of last year researching women in Islam). I was quite surprised (and very very disappointed) that they didn’t underscore the role of Khadija (RAA) and I hated the way her death was glossed over, with all the emphasis being placed on Abu Talib. For the Prophet (SAW), it seems most of the accounts indicate that his grief for his wife far exceeded that for his uncle (although both were tragedies in their own right ofcourse!). One reason why I think there is so very little emphasis on women is that Arab TV serials are still very much male-centric and somewhat patriarchal when it comes to this issue. Also, one really needs to dig deep in the classical texts to find important details about the role of women in the Prophetic period. Oh well, 15 episodes to go…I hope that gives them ample time to include a few more female leads (aside from Hind [the actress whom does a GREAT job conveying her insanity btw] and Rayhanna).

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