… with the subtitle, The Journey of Muhammad Asad. Who was originally Leopold Weiss, Jewish, born in Austria, but converted to islam in the 1920’s and became, as said by a Palestinian on the West Bank, ”an enlightened Islamic thinker, a great scholar”, still today worshipped for his contribution to a modern understanding of the Quran, that he late in his life (he died in 1992) translated and interpreted in a way that made his version banned in many places.
The title of the film refers to his book about islam – and the subtitle to a book he wrote and to the structure of a film, that takes the viewer to the places where the cosmopolite Asad went: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (he became the first UN representative of the country), USA, Morocco, Spain. The film crew meets people who knows about Asad or have met him, they interpret his importance, what he has meant for them, at the same time as the story of his life is told. He rode the camel, he lived with the bedouins, he helped the constitution of Pakistan to come to life, he talked against extremism, and had quite a different, non-militant interpretation of jihad.
A lot of respect for this well made thought provoking, rich and multi-layered film that must be a very useful and intelligent visual tool for debate in the world of today.
Austria, 2008, 92 mins.