DOHA - Following repeated insults by Western media on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), a Qatari-base company is planning a movie series about the life of the Muslims' spiritual leader.
The team of experts has finished writing the scenario after overcoming numerous artistic and dramatic challenges, chairman of Alnoor Holding Ahmed Al-Hashemi said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The seven-part series will have a budget of $1 billion.
It will be produced in English and will be translated into several different languages "to correct the wrong image Western societies have of Islam," the company said.
A host of prominent Muslim scholars are helping in producing the film, including Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
We are aware of the fact that this (film) is a difficult and a challenging task, the company said in September.
This is why we have consulted many famous Islamic scholars, among them Dr Al-Qaradawi, who will guide us on the Shari`ah aspect of the film.
The movie follows repeated insults of the prophet by western media.
In September, massive protests swept the Muslim world over a US-made film insulting Prophet Muhammad.
Scores of people were killed in the protests against the film titled Innocence of Muslims, which was produced by a California man convicted of bank fraud.
The insulting material, which was promote by anti-Qur'an pastor Terry Jones, has also caused strain between the Muslim world and the West over the freedom of expression.
A French magazine has also published insulting cartoons of the prophet on the pretext of freedom of expression.
Insulting the Prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam.
In September 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 drawings, including one showing a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.
The reprint of the controversial drawings by European papers strained Muslim-West ties.
The crisis prompted Muslims in Denmark and worldwide to champion local campaigns to wash away widely circulated misconceptions about Prophet Muhammad.
While the prophet will not appear in the movie, his companions will be screened.
Following the studies and the consultations, I have come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with showing the companions in dramatic work, Sheikh Qaradawi said in statements published by Qatari daily Al-Sharq on Tuesday.
Although visual depictions are not explicitly banned in the Qur'an, Sunni scholars have generally agreed that personifications of religious figures are banned because it can lead to idolatry, which is strictly forbidden.
I used to oppose the idea as we have formed our own cognitive image and characterization of the prophets and companions and that we should not distort them with human images, Qaradawi said.
However, following long researches and studies, I realized that we have been excessive in our approach and that there is no text or reference in the Qur'an or in the Prophet's Tradition and Sayings that does not allow it.
Uproar engulfed the Arab world in July over a television series depicting the life of second Muslim Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab.
Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world, issued a fatwa against the series, saying that portrayals of Prophet Muhammad and his companions are forbidden.
Saudi Arabia's Dar al-Ifta, the kingdom's Islamic legal research center that issues religious edicts, also issued a fatwa against the series.
But Kuwait scholar Tariq Al-Swaidan, the head of the consultancy team, opines that film will serve the new generations, who have new ways of gathering informationThere is a need to understand the mentality and mindset of other people.