Teaching The Message
What's important to understand about this film, however, is that as the title indicates, it focuses on the message rather than the messenger. Students will see people reacting to Islam, suffering persecution, building the first mosque, and defending their faith, but they will come away knowing little about Muhammad's mode of life, the wives of the Prophet, and similar biographical details which are also important in the Muslim tradition. It also leaves out a lot of the politics in Medina, though some of that may be made in the longer Arabic version.
We haven't had our class discussion yet, but my initial impression is that showing this was a success, and when supplemented with appropriate readings and lectures can lay out Muslim doctrine in its narrative context rather than simply as a dry list of beliefs and rituals. I expect to use this again in the future.