Assalam-o-alaikum dear sheikh,
The sheikh in Imam Suhaib Webb’s website claims that there is a difference of opinion about whether people can act as any of the Prophets in movies (whether the Holy Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, or other Prophets):
“I have discussed this issue with some of my teachers and read the fatwas (rulings) of others. The basis of the majority position of prohibition is not that the Qur’an or Sunnah forbade it per say, but rather, they fear the harmful response which could be caused by the ignorance of the Muslim world.”
“If many prominent scholars and donors can get over the scripturally baseless ruling prohibiting people from acting as prophets.”
Is this true? Jazak Allah khair
Walaikum us salam
Drama as the physical impersonation of other than oneself is essentially lying, and historically rooted in pagan or polytheistic worship both in the Greco-Roman and the Asian traditions. It is alien to Islamic culture and the closest the latter comes to it is Shii puppetry and Ashura enactments. There is no such thing in Islam originally as didactic or moral theater, which was the medieval Christian excuse for bypassing the views of practically all the doctors of the Western and Eastern churches that actors are sinners damned to hell. Recent fatwas stated that acting was haram and drama/cinema culture a patent importation from the West. Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari even adduced the hadith of “people indulging in fun and games until they become apes and pigs” as a reference to acting.
Whether one agrees with the above fatwas or not, at the very least prohibition reflects a minimum of decency to exempt prophets – who are the holiest human beings possible – from being represented by their antithetical opposites among creation; or by the same types in two dimensions for that matter.
As for those who trumpet “the ignorance of the Muslim world” they echo those who called Muslims sufaha‘ and called themselves muslihun at the beginning of Surat al-Baqara.
Hajj Gibril Haddad