This lavish spectacle chronicles the beginnings of Islam, one of the modern world's major religions. The story of how the prophet Mohammad saves the beleaguered people of Mecca from further oppressions focuses more on the actual battles… More This lavish spectacle chronicles the beginnings of Islam, one of the modern world's major religions. The story of how the prophet Mohammad saves the beleaguered people of Mecca from further oppressions focuses more on the actual battles than on the spiritual aspects. The story behind the film's genesis is even more interesting than the plot due to controversy surrounding it. The trouble began with the portrayal of Mohammad himself. A sacred figure to Muslim's, some sects believe that his face should never be seen or represented. To appease those protesting the film, director Moustapha Akkad decided to have the bulk of the story focus on the exploits of the warrior Hamza, Mohammad's uncle. But then the fanatical sects heard rumors that a major Caucasian actor such as Charlton Heston was going to be hired. Mistakenly believing that Akkad was about to cast the role of Mohammed to an infidel, certain fanatical Muslim sects threatened to terrorize the production. Akkad, reassured them that he was casting for Hamza, not the prophet. Then to further soothe the upset fanatics, he hired a crew of Muslim scholars to supervise the script and production process. Akkad and crew then went to Morocco, built a full-size replica of Mecca and began filming. But during shooting, something upset the scholars and they gave thumbs down to further filming, causing King Hassan, Morocco's ruler to oust the filmmakers. Desperate to finish his film, Akkad approached Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi to film in his country. That was only the beginning of Akkad's travails and in the end, he wound up filming in several different Muslim nations before the film was finally completed. As insult to injury, the still inflamed radical groups, spread such terrible rumors about the film, that it was a crashing box-office failure.