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The ruling on portraying the Companions in movies such as 'The Message'
The following points were made when the Permanent Committee of Scholars issued a fatwaa stating that it is prohibited to portray the Sahaabah (the Companions), after they were informed of the production of a film (released in 1393 Hijri/1973 C.E.) about the life of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that depicts his Companions (radyallaahu 'anhum):

1. Allaah has indeed praised the Companions and manifested their elevated status. Hence, by depicting the life of any of them, either by means of theatrical plays or cinematic acting, negates this honour that Allaah has bestowed upon them.

2. Portraying any of them would be a form of mockery and belittlement because the people who enact their roles are a people whom in most cases are not righteous, do not have taqwaa, or proper Islaamic character, in addition to it being a means of attaining materials gains. Moreover, this leads the Muslims to lose the respect and trust that they have for the sahaabahs, in addition to opening the door of doubt and debate with regards to the companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) as it necessitates that one of the actors pretends that he is Aboo Jahl or those who were like him, and thereby abuse Bilaal, abuse the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), or speak ill of Islaam, and without a doubt this is an evil act as it can be used as a means of implanting misconceptions in the minds of the Muslims with regards to their 'aqeedah, the Book of their Rabb, and the sunnah of their Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

3. Their claims that there is benefit in such a movie as it encourages good character, and that it contains morals and lessons, in addition to them ensuring that the incidents mentioned therein are authentic, are just assumptions and presumptions, for those who are aware of the lives of actors and what they seek after, know such a role contradicts the reality of their lives and their actions.

4. It is from the established principles of the sharee'ah that whatever consists of pure evil or a greater preponderance of it, then that matter is haraam. Thus, the preponderance of evil in portraying the Companions outweighs benefit that might emanate from it. Hence, this film should be censored as a means of protecting the honour of the Companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). It was brought to the attention of the Committee that the people who produced this film had the audacity to portray Bilaal and those who were of a similar status to him from the Companions - and they are much more dignified than to be portrayed in a film such as this - because they were of a lesser stature than the four rightly guided khalufaa'. Hence, according to them, they do not have the same notability that would protect them from being portrayed and being exposed to mockery and belittlement, and this is incorrect. For every sahaabah has his merits, even though some of them may have a higher status with Allaah, nonetheless, they all have the common merit of being a companion of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that should prevent them from being belittled, and may the blessings and peace of Allaah be upon our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). End of their statement.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz then further commented by stating: "Based on what was previously mentioned [...] I emphatically reiterate my strong disapproval of the production of such a film. And I also request that all Muslims worldwide disapprove of this film, just as I hope that all the governments would censor this film. The manner that the Muslims from the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) until now have used to illustrate the life of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) suffices from having to produce such a film. I ask Allaah, glorified be He, that He guides all the Muslims and their rulers to that which is of benefit to them and to that which honours their Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his companions in a manner that benefits them. And I warn against everything that leads to making a mockery of them or their belittlement, indeed He is Generous and Gracious, and may Allaah send His blessings and His peace upon His 'abd and His Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, and on his family and his companions." (Adapted from the refutations of Ibn Baaz nos. 65)

Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts
Translated by Hishaam ibn Zayd
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