The Quran: Channel 4

Peace, one and all…

Channel 4 ran a programme recently on the Quran.  It’s now available on You Tube.  I haven’t seen it myself and wanted to post it here so that I might watch it (and share it too).  Please note, there are quite a number of sessions.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Ma’as salama,
Abdur Rahman

9 thoughts on “The Quran: Channel 4

  1. I saw this when it aired a couple of days ago.
    I thought it was on balance extremely good, and captured very effectively the love Muslims universally have for the Quran.
    It set out well the historical differences between Sunni and Shia, and gave perspective on many of the issues we have today.
    I was interested to hear how many apparent contradictions there are in the Quran, which different people quote to defend their particular path – peace or war, veil or not etc. And the increasing conservatism of the Saudis and the wider effect that is having was brought into stark relief.
    There were some parts I thought were unnecessary – film of female circumcision for example. Although you don’t see the actual act, you see the girl’s terror and pain and it felt like an invasion of privacy to me – we can imagine what it must be like, surely we don’t need to be shown.
    All in all, I found it informative and a good way of encompassing the breadth of the Muslim world with all its points of difference and similarity. Well worth watching.
    But of course I was watching as a non-Muslim and I’d be very interested to know what others thought, who know Islam from the inside.

  2. Salaams Redwan

    May Allah help you as you move into Year 10. May He be a light before you, behind you, and all about you. May Allah defend you from every evil eye, from every wicked thought and from every horrible deed. May He bless you now and always and may He gather you into Jannat al-Firdous, in the company of the anbiya and the awliya and the shuhada, once your days are done.

    Abdur Rahman

  3. Peace Tess,

    I have watched pretty much all of it now. Here are some first thoughts…

    On the whole, it was an enjoyable and useful programme. For me, as a Muslim, it brought home two things – the centrality of the Quran in Muslim life and thought, and also the diversity of its subsequent interpretation. But then, any complex and long-lived religious tradition has a similar diversity of understanding and practice: the programme itself drew a comparison between Sunni/Shia Islam and Protestant/Catholic Christianity.

    I think it is also helpful to remember that this diversity has existed from the earliest times. Indeed, one of the criticisms of the first ruling dynasty (the Umayyads) was that they had changed things around to suit themselves, effectively.

    The scene showing FGM shocked me and made me feel physically sick. It also felt incredibly alien to me, as both a Muslim and as an Englishman. Sometimes, graphic images can shock us into awareness (though the act itself wasn’t shown).

    The part about the influence of Saudi was important, though perhaps overplated. Yes, they are an important force in the modern world, particularly with the sheer amount of money they can and have thrown into this revisionist project. But, it should also be remembered that for the ruling class, this has come back to trouble them (with the rise of Bin Laden and his ilk).

    The last part about the Syriac influence on the Quran was interesting (indeed, I know some colleagues here who are very interested in that kind of research). For me though, although I have yet to read the book in question, I feel that there is a lot of ideologically charged ‘scholarship’ orbiting the fringes of such ideas – and these need to be decoded too.

    All in all though, a worthwhile programme.

    Abdur Rahman

  4. Assalamualaikum Br Abdurahman

    Greatly appreciated for posting this documentary. I find it overall reasonable in comparison to what is out there. There were some misrepresentations about the Sunni and the Shi’a faith in respect to the issue of revering the Muslim saints. In some other occasion I may elaborate on it. However it was a good production. Thank you


  5. Wa alaikum salaam Br. Katib,

    You are more than welcome. I agree. Overall, a reasonable effort – or an introduction might be more accurate. I too was struck by the misreading of the Shi`a view, and I must admit, I was somewhat troubled by the rather partisan way in which the topic was discussed.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on this issue. Perhaps we might discuss it via e-mail?

    Abdur Rahman

  6. Channel Four’s documentary on ‘The Quran’ is another example on the continuous misinterpretation of the Quran which is becoming alarmingly common amongst those who claim to be ‘experts’ in Quranic understanding. Unfortunately, the doc was only a collaborator to those individuals who seem that they can portray the teachings of the Quran for their own ideas and understanding and has added fuel to fire in its attempt to ‘clear the air’.
    Amongst many misreadings, the author has portrayed the film to be a basic guide for those who are new or unfamiliar with the themes of the Quran (and as he said on an interview with Radio 5.) However, what is so inappropriate is the amount of time he dedicates to mere and unpopular accusations which a recent ‘reformist’ has claimed to discern. The doc highlights these measly claims to an extent which cultivates a sense of doubt in the reader which can only be seen as ignorance. The parable would like of a teacher explaining to a history class the basic background of the 9/11 attacks and dedicating the majority of the lesson to conspiracies and inside cover-up allegations.
    Amid the claims of neutrality and impartiality, the documentary is yet another bias report of the Quran from a western ‘thinker’ who fails to discover the true luscious savour which outbursts from the Quraan for those who seek with a heart of sincerity.

  7. Salaams Suleman

    Thank you for offering your thoughts on this documentary. I agree that there were a number of problems with the documentary. I agree that there was rather too much focus on the recent revisionist reading of the Quran.

    I also think that there were a number of problems with the seeming bias of presentation in its discussion of internal Muslim discussions.

    Abdur Rahman

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