Omar (TV series)
Omar (Arabic: عُمَرْ) or Omar Farouk (Persian: عمر فاروق) is a historical Arab television drama miniseries-serial that was produced and broadcast by MBC1 and directed by the Syrian director Hatem Ali. Co-produced by Qatar TV, the series is based on the life of Omar ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islam, and depicts his life from 18 years old until the moments of his death. The series had to face large controversy due to its depiction of Omar, Abu Bakr, Uthman and Ali, the four Rashidun Caliphs, along with other characters, who some Muslims believe should not be depicted, much like Mohammad. The series consists of 30 episodes and was originally aired in the month of Ramadan since July 20, 2012. It was made at a cost of 200 million Saudi riyals and filmed in Morocco, primarily in the cities of Marakesh, Tangiers, El Jadida, Casablanca and Mohammedia. After the series was broadcast on MBC, it was dubbed into several languages for international broadcast and subtitled in English on YouTube; it received great support from many different scholarly bodies and people watching it. As the series depended largely on reliable historical established facts, the series did not face criticism in terms of its content, as past films faced.
English title card
|Also known as||Farouk Omar, Omar Series|
|Genre||Biography, drama, religion, history, serial|
|Based on||Omar bin al-Khattab a.k.a. Omar al-Farouk or Caliph Omar I|
|Written by||Walid Saif|
|Directed by||Hatem Ali|
Suzan Najm Aldeen
|Voices of||Assad Khalifa (Omar)|
|Country of origin||Arab World|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||30|
|Producer(s)||MBC Group, Qatar TV|
|Production location(s)||Saudi Arabia, Morocco|
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Budget||200 million SAR|
|Original network||MBC1, Qatar TV, EPTV, Nessma TV, Atv, MNCTV, Nour TV|
|Original release||July 20 –|
August 18, 2012
|Followed by||Ahmad bin Hanbal|
The series starts with one of the pilgrimage of caliph Omar where he delivers speeches to the pilgrims. The next scene comes with an exploration on Mecca of the caliph where he emotionally flashbacks to his own 18 year's life when he was a young boy working for his rude father Khattab ibn Nufayl. The flashback perspective of Omar shows all the past story of his life from when he was a wrestler, a businessman and above all one of the leaders of the Quraish, and then to his life after his conversion into Islam being one of the closest companions of Muhammad and an immensely devoted believer, a brave inspiration for all the contemporary Muslims and a bold warrior in all the contemporary Islamic battles. The story goes through the Meccan victory, Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr's legacy as caliph and his death, and finally Omar's legacy. From viewer's eye perspective, his legacy as caliph shows the biographical stories of improvements and complexities of his own caliphate till his death through assassination by Abu Lulu.
- Samer Ismail as Umar ibn Al-Khattab (physical actor)
- Assad Khalifa as Umar ibn Al-Khattab (voice actor)
- Ghassan Massoud as Abu Bakr
- Tamer Al-Arbeed as Uthman ibn Affan
- Ghanem Zrelli as Ali ibn Abi Talib
- Faisal Al-Omairi as Bilal ibn Rabah
- Alaa' Rashidi as Ammar ibn Yasir
- Rafi Wahba as Jafar ibn Abi Talib
- Abdullah Sheikh Khamees as Yasir ibn Amer
- Baha' Tharwat as Abu Hudhayfa ibn 'Utba
- Abdel-Aziz Makhioun as Abu Talib
- Mohammad Miftah as Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib.
- Ahmed Mansour as Abdur Rahman ibn Awf
- Mahmoud Khalili as Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah
- Suhail Jbaei as Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas
- Mehyar Khaddour as Khalid ibn al-Walid
- Qasim Melho as Amr ibn al-'As
- Hisham Bahloul as Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl
- Yazan Al-Sayed as Al-Qa'qa'a ibn Amr at-Tamimi
- Fethi Haddaoui as Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
- Jawad Al-Shakrji as Abu al-Hakam/Abu Jahl.
- Fayez Abu Dan as Abu Lahab
- Hassan Al-Jundi as Utbah ibn Rabi'ah
- Rafiq Al-Subaiei as Waraqah ibn Nawfal
- Ghazi Hussein as Umayyah ibn Khalaf
- Jalal Al-Taweel as Salman the Persian
- Ziad Twati as Wahshi ibn Harb
- Basem Dakak as Walid ibn Utbah
- May Skaf as Hind bint Utbah
- Bernadette Hudeib as Rayhana bint Zayd
- Fadi Sbeeh as Safwan ibn Umayya
- Mohammad Haddaqi as Umayr ibn Wahb
- Nadera Imran as Sajah bint Al-Harith
- Khaled Al-Qaish as Ayyash ibn Abi Rabiah
- Jaber Joukhdar as Abdullah ibn Masud
- Ghazwan Al-Safadi as Walid ibn al-Walid
- Mahmoud Nasr as Zayd ibn al-Khattab
- Alfat Omar as Atika bint Zayd 
- Siham Aseef as Layla bint al-Minhal
- Najah Safkouni as Suhayl ibn Amr
- Abdel-Karim Al-Qawasmi as Walid ibn al-Mughira
- Rami Khalaf as Saeed bin Zaid
- Ghassan Azb as Huyayy ibn Akhtab
- Riyadh Wrdiyani as Salul
- Nasser Wrdiyani as Khattab ibn Nufayl
- Muna Wassef as Al-Shifa' bint Abdullah.
- Abdel-Hakim Quteifan as Malik ibn Nuwayrah
- Mohannad Quteish as Al-Muthanna ibn Haritha
- Faten Shahin as Umm Jamil bint Harb
- Andre Skaff as Suraqa bin Malik
- Fatimah Saad as Sumayyah bint Khayyat
- Qamar Murtadha as Salma Umm-ul-Khair
- Nasr Shama as Uthman Abu Quhafa
- Murshad Dergham as Mughira ibn Shu'ba
- Randy Halabi as Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan
- Omar Azouzi as Al-'As ibn Wa'il
- Areej Khaddour as Fatimah bint al-Khattab
- Amn Al-Arned as Salim Mawla Abu Hudhayfa
- Yasser Abdel-Latif as Al-Najashi
- Amer Ali as Yazdegerd III
- Maram Ben Aziza as wife of Yazdegerd III (Maria)
- Jay Abdo as satrap
- Iyad Abu Al-Shamat as Hormuzan
- Jamal Abbasi as Musaylimah
- Mohammad Al Rashi as Piruz Nahavandi
- Suzan Najm Aldeen as Borandukht
- Juliet Awad as Al-Khansa
- Mohammad Quri'ah as Heraclius
- Mustapha Tah-Tah as Mukhayriq
Two actors of this series, Hassan Al-Jundi and Muna Wassef, both acted (as Abu Jahl and Hind respectively) in the 1970s Arabic language film Al Risalah (الرسالة), the version of Moustapha Akkad's religious biopic The Message (a.k.a. Mohammad, Messenger of God) made for the Arab World. Hassan Al-Jundi also acted as Kisra in the English language film while his counterpart in Al Risalah played the character of Abu Jahl in the same film.
List of episodesEdit
|01||"Umar during his youth"||July 20, 2012|
|02||"Islam begins"||July 21, 2012|
|03||"Abu Lahab"||July 22, 2012|
|04||"Family affairs"||July 23, 2012|
|05||"Torture begins"||July 24, 2012|
|06||"Bilal ibn Rabah gains freedom"||July 25, 2012|
|07||"Hijrah to Abissinia"||July 26, 2012|
|08||"Umar embraces Islam"||July 27, 2012|
|09||"Boycott against Muslims"||July 28, 2012|
|10||"Hijrah to Yathrib"||July 29, 2012|
|11||"Battle of Badr"||July 30, 2012|
|12||"Prisoners of the battle of Badr"||July 31, 2012|
|13||"Battle of Uhud & Khandaq"||August 1, 2012|
|14||"Battle of Khandaq, Invasion of Banu Qurayza, Treaty of Hudaibiyah"||August 2, 2012|
|15||"The struggle of Abu Baseer, The year of delegations, First Hajj"||August 3, 2012|
|16||"Khalid ibn Al-Walid & 'Amr ibn al-'As embrace Islam, attack of Banu Bakr on Banu Khuza'a, conquest of Makkah"||August 4, 2012|
|17||"Abu Sufian and some others embrace Islam, Death of Prophet"||August 5, 2012|
|18||"Abu Bakr becomes the first caliph, Battle against people not paying Zakat"||August 6, 2012|
|19||"Rise of Sajah, Battles against Ridda"||August 7, 2012|
|20||"Battle against Musailimah (Battle of Yamama)"||August 8, 2012|
|21||"Battle against Persians"||August 9, 2012|
|22||"Umar becomes the second caliph"||August 10, 2012|
|23||"Battle of Yarmuk against Rome (Byzantine)"||August 11, 2012|
|24||"Battle in Syria"||August 12, 2012|
|25||"Umar and his subjects"||August 13, 2012|
|26||"Conquest of Damascus"||August 14, 2012|
|27||"Battle of Qadisiya against Sassanids"||August 15, 2012|
|28||"Battle of Madain, conquest of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)"||August 16, 2012|
|29||"Famine Year"||August 17, 2012|
|30||"Plague, conquest of Egypt and death of Umar"||August 18, 2012|
|31||"Funeral of Umar Ibn Al Khattab and Election of Uthman"||Unknown, episode suggested by Muhammad Ammar Rashid|
The project was started in 30 September 2010 through an agreement signed by Middle East Broadcasting Center and Qatar Media agency (Qatar TV) to make a drama series on the life of Caliph Omar, scheduled to be aired during the Ramadan of 2011. The chief of MBC group Waleed al Ibrahim stated that, the drama would not aim at profits:
The dramatic work is not regarded from the profit or loss perspectives.
Saudi producers, the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), said the series is the largest ever Arabic production, with 30,000 actors and a technical team from 10 different countries who toiled 300 days to make the 31-part series. The director Ali said that building a replica of Mecca and the surrounding area was a challenge that faced him until he and the crew finally chose a location in Morocco. The series needed a huge crew amount to 500 actors, actresses, and extras in one single day. Ali also pointed out, several scenes in the series were difficult to shoot like which elephant treads on one of the actors.
The elephant was well-trained for the scene and we made the actor wear an iron shield just in case anything goes wrong."
The horses used in the series were brought from Eastern Europe and were trained together with the elephants to make them adapt to each other. The series featured many battle scenes on a large scale. Ali said it took them a total of 54 days with a rate of 12 hours a day and with the participation of 500 extras that were trained on this type of scenes.
Committee members for managing historical contextEdit
A board committee of scholars was created for maintaining the historicity of the script. The major members of the board were:
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi
- Akram Zia Omari
- Salman al-Awda
- Abdul Wahab Turairi 
- Ali al-Sallabi
- Saad Al-Otaibi
Most of the episodes of the series contained many expensive computer-generated imagery (CGI) effects which were maintained by French CGI production BUF in association with Hecat, as well as title and ending theme also. Moreover, the sets of ancient Mecca and Medina and other sites in Arabia and elsewhere in the post classical era were also produced by the Soora Studio, a Syrian set producer production, which previously made the sets of many other popular Arabic dramas.
The original soundtrack was composed by Turkish musician Fahir Atakoglu. A nasheed or Arabic song praising Omar and describing a complete archive of the serial was featured after the scene of his assassination in the ending episode. The nasheed, entitled "Salamun Alayka Ya Omar Al Faarouq", was sung by the Kuwaiti Quran reciter Mishary Al-Afasy.
Receptions from scholarly bodiesEdit
Saleh Al-Fawzan, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia (Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al Shaykh), Al-Azhar University, Abdul Azīz bin Fahd, Muhammad Al-Munajid, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Saleh al-Maghamsi and thousands of Saudi clerics viewed the series negatively.
|Algeria||EPTV||July 20, 2012|
|Arab League||MBC1, Qatar TV||July 20, 2012|
|Indonesia||MNCTV||July 20, 2012|
|Tunisia||Nessma TV||July 20, 2012|
|Turkey||atv, Kanal 7||July 20, 2012; June 7, 2016|
|Lebanon||Future Television||September 23, 2013|
|Iran||Nour TV||September, 2013|
Traditional historicitic and depictional controversyEdit
In the events of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's living era, Muhammad himself, his children and wives were not depicted but many direct actions of him have been shown redirected from any other sahaba near to him for the restrictions and limitations of Muhammad's visual depiction in the Islamic world. Although in a sequence before the death of Abu Bakr, there was a shadow depiction of Aisha shown silently conversing with her father. The dress code of male companions after conversion period was also controversial, mostly for wearing gowns below ankle, which was strongly prohibited by Muhammad, and tradition says that, all the companions always used to wear clothes over ankle. Besides, in the event of the battle of Yamama, the characters of the companions behind of Khalid bin Walid have been shown to give the slogan "ya Muhammada" (O, for Muhammad), which was a subject of controversy about historicity among some salafi clerics. They argued that it could not be told by them because calling on any other except Allah is a form of polytheism (Shirk). Historical reference says that Umayyah ibn Khalaf was killed by a group of Muslims led by Bilal ibn Rabah, but in the series, Bilal ibn Rabah has been shown to kill Umayyah ibn Khalaf by himself.
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