This film was shot in the holy month of Ramadan in 2013 in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
The soundtrack is an original composition sampling the litany of the late Talal Maddah.
Al-Madina Al-Munawwurah "the radiant city” serves great spiritual significance in the Islamic tradition.
The project was a response to an organic call within any Muslim artist to document the essence
of the second pillar of Islam “self-purification through fasting” by capturing the detailed rituals of
the holy month of Ramadan. Their main goal was to depict the spiritual nature of this month
through “showing how more than a million Muslim shares the same faithful moment effortlessly
without any preparations” while they witness it differently. They also wanted to stress on the
importance of peaceful human interactions in Islam and how it cared for its member’s psychological
and social stability. The artists wanted to emphasize on small neglected but beautiful details of the
daily life in the Masjid and tried to bring it back to life. It was like polishing a silver vase to reveal its
original shine again. They were aiming on showing the harmony and fluidity of the prayers and the
serenity in the overall atmosphere. They embedded so many symbolisms to reflect their vision and
feelings in a short yet condensed film. They were hoping that the film would feed the viewers
visually, sensually, and mentally.
Some of the symbolic elements that were implemented and shot in the film:
The practice of taking off the shoes before entering the Masjid is mainly an act of obedience
and respect to the place. Humans usually wear shoes to protect their feet from getting dirty but in a
holy place they take them off so they wont get the floors dirty. It’s that clean! It’s a sign to also take
off any type of impurities in their hearts like hatred, envy, or arrogance that would work as a barrier
from connecting to God. The barefoot also indicates the person’s submission, innocence, and
exposure in the presence of God.
In an effort to show the core and spirit of Islam, that it is not just a series of practices or a bunch
of restrictions, it’s a religion of granting freedom through offering security and safety to whomever
belongs under its umbrella. Even if the person belongs to a different race, country, color, age,
gender, they are still granted acceptance and perhaps their differences are celebrated. This whole
concept was captured in the film through showing spontaneous clips of real worshippers from all
over the world and of different ages and genders, all performing “Salat” peacefully and in harmony
in one holy place. Despite their differences, Islam focuses on the similarities they share like their
love for God the Almighty, their humanity and the shared responsibility of making earth a better
place for everyone.
The film transfers us to a period of time when the prophet “Muhammad “ (peace be upon him)
advised a sick man to be treated by eating Madinah dates produced from a special palm trees
planted in a specific location called “Alia”. Since then, the dates got a reputation for healing
powers and believed to supply the body with neutrinos to restore its health and strength.
The Madinah film connects you directly to an ancient and enchanted journey that tells a story
about series of historical events fossil-led in every Muslim’s mind. Starting from the Hijra, when
Muslims, advised by Muhammed, migrated from Mecca to Madinah and ending with the brotherly
union of Muhajireen and Ansar. Sahaba (Muhammed followers) from both parties showed
extraordinary skills in coexistence. Muslims showed sophisticated and exceptional manners in
treating each other. They shared everything from shelter to food. By anchoring this behavior as the
base of social order, it canceled typical social stratification and exchanged it with new stronger
bonds. In a story to be told to many generations to come, Madinah witnessed the establishment of
new social legislations under the banner of Islam.
On “Uhud Mountain” Muslims got defeated by the Meccans men because they didn't stick to the
original plan and they celebrated victory way too soon. The Meccan were pioneered by a great
leader "Khaled Ibn Al Waleed” who converted to Islam later on to lead most of Muslims army and
won most battles defeating persecution and injustice.
Supplications were recited by Talal Maddah who was a Saudi singer admired by half of the
population and hated by the other half. Singing careers were always degraded by extremists who
considered it as a practice of surrendering to Satan and, therefore, it was forbidden. Talal Maddah
died on stage while performing his, unfortunately, last concert. This incident is widely seen as a bad
ending among Muslim societies. This social phenomenon is known as the ”unhappy consciousness”
which was investigated and explained by Hegel. When a majority commits what they believe is a
taboo, they remorse unconsciously and always feel the urge for repentance. They create constant
inner conflicts and their awareness becomes their own misery.