– The release of The Lady of Heaven, a £12/15m historical drama, has prompted outrage among some Muslims
– It is billed as depicting the life of Lady Fatima, who is one of the daughters of the Prophet Muhammad
– Protesters have gathered outside cinemas in Sheffield, Bolton and Birmingham that were showing the film
– Cineworld pulled the film after four days of protests saying it was to ‘ensure the safety’ of staff and customers.
Cineworld has pulled a film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad after outcry from Muslim protesters who picketed movie theatres and branded it blasphemous.
Hundreds of demonstrators have turned out in Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield to protest venues showing screenings of The Lady of Heaven, a £12/15m historical drama, written by Sheikh Yasser Al-Habib, a renowned Shia preacher.
The movie was released in the UK over the Jubilee weekend but has been pulled by Cineworld from all its branches after it was faced with protesters demanding it was canned. Vue, meanwhile, is still listed as showing the film in a number of its London branches tonight.
A video from the weekend appears to show a manager at one cinema addressing a crowd confirming the film has been pulled, prompting cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’.
BREAKING: Angered Muslim protested outside @cineworld in Bradford after launch of "blasphemous" sectarian film The Lady Of Heaven.
— Robert Carter (@Bob_cart124) June 3, 2022
The movie’s executive producer, Malik Shlibak, called the decision to pull the move ‘unacceptable’ and accused the chain of ‘bowing down to radical extremists’.
Made in Britain for £12/15 million, the film opens with the invasion of Iraq by ISIS and features a graphic jihadist murder, before telling the story of Lady Fatima, one of the daughters of the founder of Islam.
Islamic tradition forbids the direct portrayal of religious figures, with previous depictions of prophets leading to protests and even murders amid accusations of blasphemy.
Director Eli King depicts Fatima as a faceless character, shrouded by a black veil to avoid doing this.
— Ali Al-Habib | علي الحبيب (@AliAlHabib_) June 5, 2022
But protestors have accused the filmmakers of inaccurately depicting religious history and negatively portraying three of Islam’s most important figures.
In an article, titled, An Orthodox Muslim’s Review of ‘The Lady of Heaven’: A Shia Propaganda Film‘ Mufti Abdullah Moolla wrote;
Considering that the film is written by Sheikh Yasser Al-Habib, a Shia preacher, one quickly realizes that this film is about the Shia narrative of the life of Sayyidah Fatimah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā. It has been the perpetual trick of the Shia to twist and distort facts, creating corruption and problems throughout Muslim history. They continue with this practice unabated.
The film is a typical tactic used by Shias to deceive the Muslims and non-Muslims of the world into believing their tale of being oppressed, while portraying Sunnis as violent, oppressive Muslims who are behind prominent terrorist organisations…
The foundation of Shi’ism is based on attacking the finality of the Nubuwwah of Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is done by portraying his family as the only true carriers of, and participants in, the history of Islam. By doing this, no attention is paid to the teachings of the Messenger of Islam, but rather to the fabricated tales placed around him. This is why we find such a huge lack of practical implementation of the blessed Sunnah within the Shia world.
Condemnation from Shia
When the trailer was released, many Sunnis naturally condemned the film. However there were also Shia groups in Iran, Pakistan, Lebanon and the UK that also condemned the film.
Pakistani Shi’ite scholars condemned the film in a joint statement, calling it, “the joint conspiracy of evil elements backed by arrogant powers, including the Zionist regime and their puppet Britain.”
“The producer of the film ‘The Lady of Heaven’ by this evil act wants to destroy the atmosphere of peace and brotherhood between Muslim nations to achieve the goal of the arrogant powers to hurt the feelings of the Islamic society”
This resulted in the film being banned in Pakistan.
Some Shia scholars in the UK have said:
“We wish to inform all our community members that any attempt which causes friction and disunity amongst Muslims is against the teaching of Ahl-ul-Bayt and not in line with the Fatwas of our honorable Ulama and Religious Authorities (Maraji’)”
“We therefore wish to inform all Muslims that any scenes depicting revered figures of other Muslim schools of thought which may cause sectarian tensions most definitely does not represent the true Shia Islam and its followers.”
Banned even in Iran!
In fact, in Iran (a Shia majority country), Iranian clerics have banned watching the film, as it will cause discord between Sunnis and Shias. They issued the following statement:
“Without doubt, those who help to produce and release this film, as well as those who have planned to incite a lot of bloodshed among the Muslims through this film. Therefore, all those who help in the production of this film will also be responsible for any Muslim blood that is spilled on its account […] all Muslims must know that the messages intended to be conveyed through this film are neither the messages of Islam nor those of the Shia School.”
Reviews of the Film
A Shia Review of the Film
Even Haseeb Rizvi, a Shia writer from The Muslim Vibe (A liberal Muslim website backed by Shias), condemns the film and says in his review of the film:
“This film’s priority is to offend Sunni Muslims more than is it to depict a Shia Muslim understanding of this period of Islamic history”
Even from a non-Islamic standpoint, he says that the film is a:
‘poorly executed mess with bad scripting, acting and editing’
He goes further by saying:
“The film then relies on lousy acting and cringe-worthy cliches to help the audience decide who is good and evil.”
Non-Muslim Review of the Film
The film was reviewed poorly amongst the film community and was considered lackluster.
New York times’ Beatrice Loayza review of the film commented on the film describing it as:
“Historical epic about the life of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, is a mechanical history lesson riddled with cliches”
She goes on further to say:
“A shoddy script and an overwhelming reliance on cliches, however, make this would-be blockbuster feel incredibly cheap.”
The film follows Laith Lanrawai and takes place during 2014 in Mosul, Iraq, where ISIS claims to re-establish the caliphate. An ISIS recruiter attempts to recruit Laith and gets him to join ISIS. In the process he loses his mother Fatimah. He is later adopted by an Iraqi soldier, Raed and his mother.
Raed’s mother tells him the story of the life of Fatimah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā according to twelver Shi’ism; how Laith should learn the virtues and values of Fatimah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā; and how she practiced patience and was outspoken against her oppressors.
Towards the end of the film Laith goes to a Shia Mosque and is about to pray for his mother when he comes across his friend who is about to suicide bomb the mosque. Knowing this, Laith tries to calm his friend down and through the power of friendship, prevents him from blowing up the mosque.
As they are about to head out from the mosque, Jamal trips and Iraqi soldiers nearby notice the detonator fall out of his hoodie. The soldiers try to de-escalate the situation and prevent the bomb from going off.
Laith tries to convince everyone it’s all just a misunderstanding, but is later separated from his friend as Raed calls him to his side. The soldiers detain Jamal, and Laith is lauded as a hero on national television for having prevented the bomb from going off. The film ends with Raed giving Laith his mother’s notebook which he found, and we have a voice over of Laith’s mum telling Laith to learn and practice patience like in the story of Fatimah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā. Read more here
– Additional information from muslimskeptic.com and dailymail.co.uk
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