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The Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein controversy
Although the TV series "Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein" is set in the early Islamic Empire, its themes are causing great controversy
Farah Montasser, Wednesday 3 Aug 2011
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Al hassan We Al Hussein

This Ramadan, alongside the many TV shows that either mock the former Mubarak regime, discuss vividly the brutality of the police forces, foolishly depict the biographies of Arab artists, or speak of the good old days of the Ottoman emirate Egypt, comes "Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein", a historical pastiche about the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammed during the "Great Sedition" of the early Islamic Empire.

Directed by Syrian Abdul Bari Abu El Kheir, "Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein" provides perfect depiction of the early days of Islamic reign after the death of the prophet, including some of his companions — which is currently fueling huge controversy among Islamic scholars in the Arab world.  

Writers of the show, Mohamed El Seyadi and Mohamed El Hasseyan, feature some of Islam's greatest scholars and advisors, including Abu Hurreyra, Abdullah Ibn Al Zubayr, Moawya Ibn Abi Sufyan (played by Rashid Assaf), Amr Ibn El Aas, Zeinab bint Ali Ibn Abi Talleb, and Yazid Ibn Moawya. Some of the closer companions to the Prophet Muhammed, like Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the Prophet’s cousin and father of Al-Hassan (Khaled El Ghoayri) and Al-Hussein (Mohamed El Megali), and Uthman Ibn Affan, the ruler at the time, were not shown on screen. The director depended on a strong voiceover and firm speeches that educate and explain Islamic history to the audience.

"Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein" aims to shed light on an important stage in Islamic history — "the Great Sedition" — by depicting the lives of Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed, and their role in the defence of the Caliph Othman bin Affan and support their father Ali bin Abi Talib. It is such portrayals of Islamic figures that has angered major Islamic institutions, including Al-Azhar.

According to the Ahram Arabic Portal, Al-Azhar among many Islamic institutions has requested the shelving of “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein” due to its portrayal of the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammed, as they belong to Ahl El-Beit (Members of the Prophet’s household).

Al-Azhar has issued a statement warning all channels not to screen the show since the embodiment of the Prophet Muhammed’s companions in a drama is religiously forbidden. Following this statement, Egyptian Minister of Information Ossama Heikal blocked the screening of the show on official Egyptian state television channels.

Only a few days after its screening this Ramadan, four law suits have been filed against the production company of the show and Nilesat, the satellite provider, for approving the screening of the show in Ramadan. According to Ahram Arabic Portal, the four lawsuits will be heard next Wednesday, demanding to stop the series, despite the fact that the production company involved received approval from several religious scholars and institutions across the Arab World and Iran at the end of each episode, including Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, among religious scholars in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab countries, Ahram Arabic reports.

Portrayal of the Prophet, his family members and some of his Sahaba (companions) has been banned according to a law issued by Al-Azhar. The law dates back to 1926.

Muslims have always condemned portrayals of religious figures, fearing they would be worshipped as images, as in many other religious cultures. Yet Dr Mohamed Emara, author of Islam and Fine Arts, argues “Arts are allowed, depending on their purpose.” Does the TV show "Al-Hassan We Al-Hussein" serve a good purpose? 

As announced by the production company, the TV show’s budget reached over $3 million, to get a picture perfect depiction of the desert living of early Muslims. As Ahram Arabic reports, among the co-producing countries of the show are Jordan, UAE, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco.

The show debuted beginning of Ramadan on most Arab channels, including Al-Hayat, Al-Tahrir, Lebanese channel LBC, Rotana Egypt, Rotana Gulf, and Al-Nahar. Egyptian state television rejected the show one day prior to the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

Here comes the response of the audience: Ahram Online asks if this act of banning such shows isn't giving such Islamic figures a touch of divinity — the very effect Muslims rejected in the first place? Can’t such figures be treated like normal human beings as long as the truth is revealed? Shouldn’t religious authorities only reject historical misconceptions, if they occur? The decision is yours ...

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mimi
17-08-2011 01:00am
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peace this ramadan!
This series is not historical, nor is it beneficial to the community, it will increase the divide between shia and sunni brothers in Islam.Instead we should be uniting, under the Quran and the love of RasoolAllah and his family which is what he told muslims to do in the first place.
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Neveen
15-08-2011 11:58am
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Iman Hassan & Iman Hussayn
I believe that we need to know our heritage and history through drama since reading is not in our culture!!!
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foto1344
11-08-2011 07:20pm
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English translation
Imam Ali ,Imam Hassan & Imam Hosein are very great people & Shia & Sunni belive that.As Iam shia, I love them too much but I would like to know Suni idea about them.Is any chanel broadcasting this sereise in English, because I am not Arab
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Mojtaba
10-08-2011 10:12am
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Political Use of History
Lets put aside the notion of holiness. According to historical accounts, Muawiya was an Arab nationalist, who wanted to use the leverage Islam had given to the Arabs to create an empire similar to that of Rome and Persia. Gamal Abdul Naser is, I think, an equivalent of Muawiya. On the other hand, Hassan and Hussein (in general the Household of the Prophet)had ideological commitment to Islam. History bears witness that there has never been a good relation between Muawiya and Hasan and Husayn. They believed in two different schools of thought ... Ummayad dynasty usurped the Khelafat; This TV series lack the historical authenticity. I agree that we should show the characters in TVs for people to know history; this series however were a shallow narration of history. It does not show (so far) events fairly and clearly
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12



Aliraza
08-08-2011 11:48am
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Hasan & Hussain
I have not seen this serial but undrestand faces of our Imams are shown which according to shariah is not permissible so i willing say to stop screening it further..
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Mohamed
06-08-2011 03:04pm
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Hassan and Hussein
Television is flooded with bullshit in Ramadan and you want to block the only series with values! I didn’t watch it yet but from what I heard the content is very appropriate and good presented. Personally I don’t see any harm, but I’ll leave the say on halal and haram to Islamic institutions and scholars.
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hashem
06-08-2011 08:52am
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let is go
I think we shall all see it to the end, and then judge. Let's not be so negative. We all know that those who brought the firm and solid basis for Islam were Persian (sunni), and not Arabs
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nehad
05-08-2011 02:52pm
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alhassan wa elhessein serie
I agree 100/100 to see such tv serials and I hope that a lot of our muslim youth will see it. As we all know they have no time for reading (as they declare!!). So why not a good tv show with no religeous nor historical mistakes ?! I think for myself that this will serve our islamic religion to be more spred and known to the world. Islam was at it's begining an "avant garde religion", that's why we have to keep it all the time "moderne".We have to be aware of "obscurisme".
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Amer Abbas
04-08-2011 11:10pm
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Hassan and Hussein
Though the director and the producers of the show may have good intentions. The show has been scripted by Saudi backers who have their own particular take on history. They want to use this as a Propaganda tool to show the legitimacy of the Ummayad Rule and also falsely show that cordial relations existed between the Prophets Family (Ahlul Bayt) and the Ummayad dynasty. This is not the case and for this reason we demand that this serial not be shown on any television channels across the Arab World. Your brother in faith Amer Abbas Admin officer of the Facebook Group Against MBC showing the series Muawiya, Hasan and Husayn.
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mrs alzubaydi
04-08-2011 10:54pm
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boycott
agreed with noor Saudia Arabia and Wahabees are behind this work. The main purpose is to convey a false message to Muslims that Maawia and his son Yazeed are angels and they treated AlHassan & AlHussain (AS)with respect and dignity and they are not the ones who are responsible of killed both of them to start their Omayed Khilafa.As long as Omar and Abuo Baker whose ranks are less than the Prophet's grandsones are not shown on TV why should Ahlulbait be ??? '
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seyar
25-10-2012 03:51pm
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.
you have clearly been influenced by the media; "wahhabis" are sunnis and what muslims should be. "wahhabi" is a made up term that the media has created to make us hate the true version of islam. they want us to be distanced from the true teachings of the quran and sunnah. just as they called us muslims "muhammadans" because we follwed his (saw) teachings, imam wahhabi was a fine scholar and pious slave to Allah (ja). dont fall into this trap, you're talking about disunity among muslims but you're critisism is increasing disunity. i am here to inform you not belittle or mock you brother. salaam alaikum

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