Islam: Empire of Faith
Is the epic documentary that charts the history of Islam from its beginnings in Mecca and Medina in the seventh century to the glory of the Ottoman Empire 1,000 years later.
The demonization of Islam by the West has a long history, stretching back to the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century. This documentary redresses the balance by showing the riches of Islamic culture and the vital role played by Islam in preserving and building upon ancient wisdom from East and West at a time when most of Europe was stumbling through the Dark Ages. Muslim physicians, mathematicians, and astronomers stretched the boundaries of human knowledge, and Muslim architects created some of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Islam also offers fascinating insights into key personalities, from Muhammad himself–a simple merchant whose vision of a single deity forged warring tribes into a nation–to great conquerors such as Mehmed and Suleyman, who presided over an empire that stretched from Spain to India. The faith itself is clearly explained, and interviews with historians and religious scholars bring home both its simplicity and the way that it survived huge cultural changes (like the Mongol invasions of the 13th century) to emerge stronger than ever. Islam has often been misunderstood in the West, but this splendid documentary helps to set the record straight.
The first episode in a three-part history of Islam, focusing on the historical truth behind the extraordinary life of the prophet Muhammad, the early writings of the Koran, the creation of the first mosque, and the battle to establish the new religion. The rapid expansion of Islam overwhelmed the empires of Persia and Byzantium, creating a new empire larger than Rome.
The second episode in a three-part history of Islam focuses on the profound impact that Islamic civilisation has had on Western culture and the course of world history. Muslim scholars from Baghdad’s House of Wisdom developed our system of numerals, and acted as a channel for the intellectual legacies of Greece, Egypt and China, bringing about advances in literature, the arts, science and medicine
The concluding episode of a three-part history of Islam, which tells the dramatic story of how the Ottomans established a Muslim empire more far-reaching than any that had come before. The programme focuses on the harem, the centre of dynastic power, where selected peasant boys could be educated for higher office, creating a caste whose only loyalty was to the Sultan.