The first part of the documentary explores the nature of the Qur’an and how – as a religious text - it does not conform to any existing genre; it doesn’t follow an obvious chronology or reveal a great deal about the life of the Prophet Mohammed. It is a series of revelations, using everyday language to suggest that which is beyond our comprehension – the nature of God and the afterlife.
However – as with all major religious texts - the Qur’an is open to interpretation. When Muslim society was in the ascendancy, the values of freedom and tolerance it took from The Qur’an, encouraged persecuted Jews and dissident Christians to flee Europe and seek the protection of Islam.
But when the Muslim world felt threatened – either by external enemies or internal disruption – the impulse was to close in, and take a very different message from The Qur’an. In the minds of many Muslims, we are now living in such a time.
This documentary explains how the differences have arisen between the major branches of the Islamic religion - Sunni, Shi’a, Sufis and Wahabi - and explores their respective current influence in the Muslim world.