MOVIE REVIEW: THE PRINCE AMONG SLAVES

In the darkened hall where the movie was playing I heard “Why are they doing that to him” the young African American boy sitting few seats down whimpered in a scared and pained voice and clung to his father.

The bloodied feet, the moaning and groaning of the slaves on the ship and the creaking of the bows of the ship added to the illusory pain felt at a much deeper level than any silver screen can depict.

In depicting the terrible condition of the slaves on the ships this illusive context was far more potent than actual imagery of the dhulm or torture that these humans of color underwent on the Atlantic ocean enroute to America.

The plaintive voice of the boy sitting in my row made me wonder………was it the milk of human kindness or was it his genetic pain that had come to life on hearing those sounds?

“The Prince among Slaves “ did not leave a dry eye in the audience.

We are at the mosque for an evening at the movies and they are showing “The Prince among slaves” in celebration of Black History month and maybe to understand American history.

The story is classic but the messages in between the lines are powerful.

The 19-year-old prince from Timbuktu is abducted by a conflicting tribe, sold to the slavers bound on the ship to America………..for two bottles of rum and gunpowder.

I watch with amazement at the Istiqamah of Abdurrahman and realize it comes from his knowledge of the Quran ………they show him memorizing the Quran as a child…. who would have thought that one day at age 19 he would have to commandeer from his memory the verses of the Quran that speak of Istiqamah, reflection, forgiveness, and Qadaa wal Qadar.

His journey speaks of it, step by step, as he has to pull out the teachings of the Quran and rise above the hate, cruelty, physical degradation and most of all loss of personal freedom.

He runs away and three nights in the swamps of the south he lays in the grass and reflects on his predicament and comes to understand it as Allah’s will and decides to go back to the slave master. Immediately one realizes his decision has been made not from despondency but from Submission to the Qadaa wal Qadar of Allah Subhanawataala.

His treatment of his master……..and the money he made for him is from Ehsaan……..

It is a wonderful source of inspiration and elevation of the human spirit soaked with spirituality that the moviemakers have tried to embody on the silver screen.

However it is what is left unsaid, what is imagined in still pictures is far more potent than the actual events shown.

The teachings of the Quran unfold in his 19 year old young man’s life who is enslaved in a foreign country by ignorant coarse masters and goes on till age 60. Nowhere are the pages of the Quran more potent than in the life of Abdurrahman Prince of a municipality in Timbuktu.

There is a lot to read in between the lines in this movie.

The ignorance of the coarse farmer is forgivable but the ignorance of the President of the United States unable to differentiate between Timbuktu and Morocco gives one pause.

The most poignant scene is when he is forced to leave his children and grandchildren…………

Watch it and you will have a fresh view of your African American neighbor next door.

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