Beyond Badr: The Madani Chronicles is a graphic comic book series based on the Final 8 years of Prophet Muhammad (saw). We caught up with Chronicles, creator Kelvin Ali to ask about the last issue, “The Death of a Prophet (saw)”.
“It’s Ramadan and this month is known as the Month of Mercy. I wrote Episode 12 during the first months of the Pandemic and it was a bittersweet memory when I wrote the final narratives in 2020. When I reflect on the entire series and to end it with the final moments of Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a humbling and a time of gratitude. Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) life as a Prophet of Allah (swt) began at the age of 40 and lasted 23 years.
When I designed the initial digital product which was an RTS video game I never thought about where we would end the journey. Being forced to pivot and make tough choices in order to continue I focused all efforts on the completion of the narrative and this required many more months of study of all aspects of writing content. When I started revising the structure and as it evolved my only intention was to keep as much authenticated hadith and revelation of Quranic verses in as best a chronicle manner as possible because wisdom had to be applied and I’ve spent decades learning just to find clarity for myself.
Studying Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) life was something I always enjoyed but I had a hard time personally in episode 12 writing some of the content as my love for Prophet Muhammad (saw) has only grown year after year. In the 10th year of the Hijrah Muhammad (saw) would pass away and after studying his life and seeing how quickly it digressed in the final days, all of the struggles, all of the ill attempts to harm him, and all of the beautiful wisdom he left for humanity through authentic hadith all made the gravity of this work weigh upon me. Any time the Prophet (saw) was harmed or oppressed personally always made tears upon my cheeks. Going for Hajj long before I would ever conceive that I would write about the farewell Hajj one day has affected me in a positive way and one in which I can only be grateful to Allah (swt) for.
If you do not cry for someone you love when they have passed on then I think there is something not right in your heart. But you must know someone and care for them in order to have your heart affected with grief and I think my heart over the past 20+ years of study, research, and the blessed visits I’ve made to Mekkah and Medina only strengthened my resolve and faith. The tremendous wisdom that was shared with me by Islamic scholars has softened my heart and increased my love for someone I never really knew of growing up being born in Toronto.
Canada was a different place in the ’70s when I was a kid and Islam was relatively unknown and Arabia was always imagined as some fantastical place of intrigue. Christian views and Eurocentric ideology were instilled into us and I still have the Gideon bible I was handed in public school. When I reflect on where I came from and what my own ancestor’s history was opened the door to learning.
I’ve seen Islam revived in the west over the past 4 decades and many would never believe the way the world once was unless they actually experienced it or studied history. Technology has made the world more connected and there are now mosques and even Islamic schools that have come to be in the past 40 years in these so many areas. I have seen over my lifetime society change, ethnic regions develop, and several cultural changes across all society, and that to me is a sign of human progress no matter how messed up the world seems at times.
Islamic history is not part of any public curriculum for me. It was not a subject matter when I was educated through a colonial public school system and I had to learn all of this knowledge on my own during post-university classes and weekly Khutbah’s until I began to travel to learn from scholars and spend wisely to learn from the best of teachers. I’ve taken many seerah classes and even then, there would only be snippets of the best and most popular hadith and wisdom derived. By I studied many aspects of the life of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and through tafsir of Quran and many years more of trying to acquire wisdom which for me is an everlasting journey.
I was only able to touch on significant events and there was none more significant than the death of a Nabi (saw) and the hadith around this event and what we’ve attempted to compile often made me sad. The Sahabah’s reactions of disbelief and Abu Bakr’s (RA) sound wisdom and rationale as well as the explanations and descriptions as told by many of my dear teachers made Episode 12 a wonderful and moving episode and I wanted to leave the reader with a message of hope and continuity to open the minds, soften hearts, and educate about the wisdom of the companions during what would have been their darkest days.
I always wanted these comics to be accessible to anyone who was serious about learning but also to be entertaining enough in a way to get a snapshot of history in a relatively authentic chronology. Allah (swt) knows best if we did a good job or not, but I know my teachers would not try to guide me astray and I would never wish to do that to anyone who attempts to seek knowledge of Islam. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have created something like this but I am so proud of the team and the wonderful people I have met along the way that made it possible for me to even attempt such a task. It was my love for Prophet Muhammad (saw) and my desire to learn what the world of the Quran meant and why which has allowed me to be confident that we did well as an Indie developer.
In video games, you are always looking for that next big mechanic or something new and fresh and this was the only realm I could find that I know no one wanted to touch because of the ambiguity of the subject matter to a western audience so I wrote for a western audience. Most people will not spend 20 years studying any religion let alone Islam, especially the youth and the masses of today in my humble opinion, I hope I am wrong, but teenagers are teenagers. I grew up in the west as a non-Muslim so I totally get it, man. Allah (swt) put this desire to inspire and educate in my heart and I made a love of learning an important aspect of my identity. My mother was a teacher at one point in her life, so it’s certainly in my DNA to want to help others in any way I can.
Do you think anyone today worries about what happened in 624 – 632 AD?
For 1.7 billion Muslims, our identities depend on believing in Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the preservation of Islamic knowledge despite all of the treasures that were burned and destroyed over centuries is something that breaks my heart. There was so much more that I am sure all of humanity could have benefitted from but Allah (swt) is the one who grants or removes knowledge from someone.
Those final moments and years from 624 to 632 CE or 2-10 AH would be the last time an Abrahamic prophet (saw) would bring wisdom to humans directly from Allah (swt). Just this fact alone, if you are a person of any faith should be intriguing to explore.
Writing “The Death of a Prophet (saw)”, I sincerely wanted to present as much wisdom from the hadith and from the companions (RA) on how they dealt with this loss, the social, political, and leadership principles that would be needed. The human side of the pain and emotional rollercoaster from the loss of a friend, a father, a husband, a great leader, a warrior, and the most compassionate of human beings (saw).
The last message I wanted any reader of this final issue was to have one of hope. I hope that the world benefits from these books and whatever else we can accomplish as we continue on. I know in my heart I tried to do my best for all of my brothers and sisters in humanity and if I made any mistakes then I ask for your forgiveness and what else can I say?
May Allah (swt) accept this work as a good deed on my scales in the afterlife and I wish for the knowledge of any of our comics to bring benefit to myself and most importantly to others who may not have the time, energy, zeal, or inspiration to seek knowledge for 20+ years. It’s ok, it took me almost 30 years of life just to have Allah (swt) invite me to learn. I was of the lucky ones in life and I can only do as my Shaykhs and teachers have told me to do. Learn, Memorize, Teach. I can assure you that you will learn something good in our comics and even in death, there is wisdom to be obtained and I leave the Madani Chronicles for the world to critique and benefit from Insh’Allah.
Episode 12 was tough man. I cried writing it, like many of the issues, there is so much wisdom cover to cover and I am always grateful to Allah (swt). I am humbled to have been able to serve the world with the talents and gifts I was given.”
Have you been able to check out any of our comic issues? We hope that you support this transmedia effort with any support you can. The final Madani Chronicles issue, “The Death of a Prophet (saw)” is currently in post-production and will be released as our final issue of the series this year!
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