Viral message about Indian film ‘Allaah Banday’ is false

Bollywood has not released a film featuring a portrayal of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

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Claim: According to a viral WhatsApp message an Indian film called “Allaah Banday” will feature an actor portraying the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Fact: No such movie is in the works nor has India produced such a movie in the past.

On 20 June 2022, Soch Fact Check received a forwarded chain message on WhatsApp containing a claim that India has released a film called “Allaah Banday,” which features an actor portraying the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Visual portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are prohibited or strongly discouraged under most traditional interpretations of Islamic theology. 

The following is a screenshot of the viral message:

The message — which contains an appeal to Muslims around the world not to watch “Allaah Banday” — includes what is claimed to be a verse from the Holy Quran and alleges that the film is intended “to bring this image [of the Prophet (PBUH) from the movie] to the minds of Muslims whenever they think of the Prophet (PBUH)”. The message also asserts that Muslim Bollywood actors who disapprove of such representations will face mob violence and career-related difficulties.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check checked whether there were any existing or upcoming films named “Allaah Banday.” Based on publicly available information, there is no upcoming movie or project currently underway with such a name.

We did find a 2010 film called “Allah Ke Banday,” or People of God, which was directed by Faruk Kabir and features veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah. However, this is a crime drama film and bears no relation whatsoever to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Two films featuring a portrayal of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that have led to backlash from Muslims across the world are “The Message” (1976) and “Muhammad: The Messenger of God” (2015).

The viral text also includes the following statement:

“الله پاک قرآن میں فرماتا ہے، اگر تم اپنے لوگوں کے سامنے مجھے رد کرو گے تو میں تمہیں اپنی نظروں میں رد کروں گا
[Allah says in the Holy Quran, “If you reject me in front of your people, I will reject you in my eyes.”]”

The phrase is not from the Quran but rather appears to be lifted from the Bible, which, in Matthew 10:33, states, “But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the period from 21 June 2012 to 20 June 2022 using the search term, “Allaah Banday.” There were more than 51,600 interactions across over 2,300 posts.

Over the past decade, interactions with the search term peaked at five points in time: 1 October 2013, 3 August 2015, 9 October 2016, 25 November 2020, and 16 December 2020. The most shared, most commented upon, and most reacted upon posts are this (over 2,400 shares), this (over 85 comments), and this (over 4,100 reactions), respectively.

This 4 January 2021 video, which received 384 views, carries the viral text in its caption. Soch Fact Check took a screenshot from the video and, using Google Lens, found this clip, through which we ascertained that the video is from a 31 December 2020 segment of 92 News HD Plus’ ‘Subh E Noor’ programme. The clip does not contain any reference to “Allaah Banday”; its content instead pertains to a different movie called “The Lady of Heaven.”

On Twitter, the viral message has resurfaced from time to time since 2016. A 20 February 2022 video on YouTube perpetuating the same claim has gained more than 7,400 views.

Conclusion: Contrary to claims circulating on social media, India has not produced a film called “Allaah Banday”. In fact, no Bollywood movie in history has featured a portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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