A TV series based on the life of Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan, the founder and first caliph of the Umayyad caliphate, is in development.
The series is considered the largest production in the history of Arab drama and the most expensive of all time. The cost of the project is around $75 million.
Palestinian-Egyptian director Tariq Al-Arian is helming the series from a script by journalist Khaled Salah.
The project marks Al-Arian's first experience in directing TV series and Salah's first experience writing in a drama series.
Production began in July 2022 in the Tunisian city of Hammamet, which is located on the Mediterranean coast. Some scenes were also filmed in the Tunisian city of Kairouan inside and outside the Uqba bin Nafie Mosque.
The series' final scenes are currently filming in Tunisia.
The project features Lojain Ismail as Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan, Ayman Zidan as Uthman bin Affan, Eyad Nassar as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, Souhir Ben Amara as Hind bint Utba, and Asmaa Galal as Muawiya’s wife.
Aicha Ben Ahmed and Jamila Chihi will also star in the project.
The series is set to screen in the Ramadan 2023 drama marathon on "MBC" TV channel and is predicted to cause a great uproar over some of the issues it contains such as the Battle of Siffin, the Battle of the Camel, and the Battle of Karbala.
The series tackles the first fitna in Islamic history, which started during the reign of Caliph Uthman bin Affan and led to his martyrdom. Imam Ali bin Abi Talib was his successor.
Differences arose between Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiya who accused Imam Ali of being late in taking retribution from the killers of Caliph Uthman bin Affan. The conflict led to the battle of Saffin.
For the same reason, another battle broke out between Muslims during the caliphate of Imam Ali, which is known as the Battle of the Camel.
It will also feature the incident of the martyrdom of Imam Ali and his son al-Hasan assuming the caliphate, then his abdication of the caliphate to Muawiya, who announced that his son Yazid would assume the caliphate after him.
The series also showcases Muawiyah’s death and Yazid’s assumption of the caliphate. Al-Hussein opposed the ruling which led to the Battle of Karbala and his martyrdom by the army of Yazid ibn Muawiya.
The series will be the first to present the battles on the screen.