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Decoding the Past - Secrets of the Koran (History Channel)

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Koran is one of the most important works ever written. For almost one billion people worldwide, it is the Holy Scripture, the word of God and his prophet. For others, it is a historical artifact that has left an indelible imprint on the world. DECODING THE PAST: SECRETS OF THE KORAN probes the heart of the work that many outside Islam find mysterious. This feature-length program examines the history of the verses and their implications for modern times, as wel as the striking similarities and differences between the Koran and the Bible. Trace the influence of the Koran from the Golden Age of Islam to the modern rise of jihadism, and hear from top Islamic scholars and holy men as they share their insights into the work that lies at the foundation of one of the world’s great religions. THE HISTORY CHANNEL provides the perfect guide to understanding the fundamental work that has shaped the Muslim faith for over 1,400 years, and will long continue to influence modern history. DVD Features: "Muhammad" Episode of the Award-Winning A&E Series BIOGRAPHY; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Special Features

  • Bonus A&E Biography episode "Muhammad"

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FOQ03W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,307 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I'm very pleased with this DVD, which actually contains two programs: "Secrets of the Koran" and, as a bonus feature, "Muhammad" from A&E's "Biography" series. I've used excerpts from both of these programs in teaching world religions in college and high school. Both programs honor the Muslim tradition of not depicting Muhammad or members of his immediate family.

"SECRETS OF THE KORAN" (91 min.) is an excellent documentary on the history of the Koran and its interpretation. Topics include the religious and social milieu into which Muhammad was born; the life of Muhammad and the revelation of the verses of the Koran; the early Muslim community; the compilation of the Koran; the Koran's relationship to Jewish and Christian revelations; the Muslim understanding of the apocalypse and judgment; difficulties in the interpretation of the Koran; jihad; the Koran's emphasis on the value of knowledge; the golden age of Islam; the Crusades; Islamic fundamentalism; and violent vs. peaceful understandings of the message of the Koran.

"MUHAMMAD" (42 min.) isn't a biography precisely. Rather, it's a presentation of the traditional story of the life of Muhammad, with commentary by scholars who are Muslim or sympathetic to Islam (including two of the usual suspects, Karen Armstrong and John Esposito). This program does a good job of bringing the story of Muhammad to life, and because it's so concise, it may be more useful in my teaching than "The Message" (a three-hour movie about the life of Muhammad), which is also good.

Some other good videos on Islam:
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...Read more ›
2 Comments 50 of 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This program is from History Channel and has two parts: Origin (revelation) of the Koran and Jihad (i.e. moral "struggle" in English) and how Muslims interpret the Koran. There is a bonus section of Prophet Muhammad's biography. Don't expect you'll see actors to perform as Pro. Muhammad and his immediate family as it is against the Muslims' beliefs. DVD quality is better than most HC's historical documentaries.

Minus one star because there's no mention of Five Pillars of Islam (the profession of faith, five prayers a day, charity, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca).
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Having watched it when it aired on television, I had decided I had to own this. This helped me to better understand the Koran. It is one thing to have read the Koran, it is another to have it explained (such as it were) by Muslims and scholars. All in all, this was a very informative, well presented look into the Koran and Islam; where it came from and where it may go in the future.
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"Decoding The Past: Secrets Of The Koran" is a good documentary covering all the basics of the Holy book of Islam. Additionally, a biography of prophet Muhammad is included as a special feature, which I thought was a welcome bonus.

The Secrets Of The Koran is a well done, well researched DVD, covering most of the questions a typical Westerner might have about Islam's interpretation of this holy text. One thing I found appealing is the fact that the program addresses extremism in Islam, and explains how the fundamentalists take the verses of the Koran out of context by reading incomplete verses that suit the extremists' purposes.

The biography of Muhammad was much more tame, and exceptionally politically correct. The biography itself was rather short and covered the basics of the prophet's life, also concentrating on Islam as a whole, and reverting back to the Koran. I expected the program to be more about the prophet himself, as the original Secrets Of The Koran already covered other aspects.

I do recommend this DVD as a starting point for anyone who has no knowledge of the Koran or prophet Muhammed. Very educational and to the point, it leaves one with many questions to be answered through further research.
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Well researched. Very informative. The first disk is basically about how Islam began and how the Quran was written, and the second disk talks about some of the passages in the book.
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... Extremely well produced series ... pretty well decodes the origins of Islam with facts & dates ... extraordinary enhanced with maps ... explanations by scholars & dramatized events ... perfect to enjoy at the comfort of one's HOMETHEATER ...
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This DVD is an interesting introduction to the Koran and it's history. It's not a deep scholarly study--it's made for television and produced to be accessible to a mass audience that is largely unfamiliar with Islam. As that, it is well paced and professionally produced--similar to other programs on the History Channel.

Of course, if you want to study the Koran and Islam in a serious fashion, you will probably look to books or classes and not rely on a television script.

By the way, if you are interested in the Islamic faith, be sure to look into Sufism as well. Sufism is a 'mystical' sect of Islam that is intentionally heart and art focused. Check out Meher Baba also.

Peace
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