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Zirrar talks to translator, vocalist, poet, and educator Haleh Liza Gafori about her book GOLD, a new translation of Jalal al-Din Rumi's poetry. They discuss the Persian ghazal, a poetic form consisting of couplets, and explore why Rumi's appeal, eight centuries after his death, has been so enduring. Haleh also describes her translating process, an…
 
Zara talks to Dr Abu Bakr Sirajuddin Cook and Dr Rami Dawood about the history of Islam in Australia- beginning with the arrival of the Makassan traders, that pre-dates European settlement, to the Afghan Cameleers, who set up the first mosques in the country. They discuss the legacy of the early Muslims in the country, their interaction with Aborig…
 
Zara and Zirrar talk to author and Arabist Diana Darke about her most recent book Stealing From The Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe. Diana explains how cultural exchanges between Europe and Islamic Syria shaped Gothic architecture, and why this has become a point of controversy in Europe today.…
 
Sacred Footsteps presents, Khayal Diaries, a series of personal accounts, narratives and critical reflections on topics like Islamic history, culture and travel. Zara Choudhary revisits her journey to Adam’s Peak, a mountain in Sri Lanka visited by Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians for its association with several religious figures, includi…
 
Muazzam speaks to Saaleh Baseer and Momodou Taal about their respective journeys as students of knowledge- with Saaleh travelling from California to South Africa, and Momodou from Birmingham, England to Egypt. Both tell us about their respective experiences, motivations and daily lives as students of sacred knowledge, far from home.…
 
Omar, Yasmine and Shahroze discuss the history, evolution and spiritual significance of qawwali. Qawwali incorporates music, poetry and story-telling in to a celebration of Love. The singing of qawwali in Sufi shrines and mausoleums is a practice of samaa, a devotional practice that involves singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, praying, r…
 
Mustafa Briggs speaks to Professor Rudolph Ware, author of the 'Walking Quran', about models of liberation in West Africa. They talk about the West African approach towards power and religion, and consider the diverse response of the ulama to the challenges presented by the transatlantic slave trade and European colonialism. They also discuss how r…
 
Zara and Zirrar talk to poet Baraka Blue about the life, work and legacy of Jalal al-Din Rumi. Baraka tells us about the era in which he lived and how he came to be the great poet we know him as. They discuss his most famous work, the Masnavi, which is often referred to as the 'Persian Quran.’ Zirrar and Baraka share their somewhat differing views …
 
For our first ever crossover episode, Zara speaks to Imran Ali Malik, host of the American Submitter podcast. They discuss the concept of travel as a 'mutual unveiling' and share 'transformative' travel experiences. Imran talks about his time in Guinea Bissau, where tribes were converting to Islam after an elder dreamt of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)…
 
Muazzam is joined by journalist, producer and avid traveller, Salahuddin Mazhary. Salahuddin tells us about the history of Islam in the Caucasus, with a focus on Chechnya and Dagestan. He talks about the Sufi tariqas in the region and the role dhikr played in resisting the Russians. He also tells us about notable figures such as Imam Shamil and Kun…
 
A few years ago, Zirrar, poet, photographer and key member of the Sacred Footsteps team, went on an incredible journey. Having already spent considerable time in Iran, he decided to set out alone, in search of the tomb of Imam Ghazali. In this episode, Zirrar reads his beautiful article recounting that journey. You can also read his words on sacred…
 
Omar Rais and Zirrar speak to Alex Reynolds (Lost With Purpose) on how is travel political. They discuss the pressures of travel blogging while travelling in politically charged countries and the intentional and deliberate steps needed to challenge passive neutrality. Alex also sheds light on how politics factors in to the female solo traveller exp…
 
Omar Rais speaks to Alyssa Ratkewitch, a third generation Tatar Muslim living in Brooklyn and the vice president of the board at the historic Brooklyn Mosque. Also joining the conversation is travel writer, journalist and broadcaster, Tharik Hussain who specialises in the Muslim heritage of the West. Together they explore the migratory roots of Bro…
 
Zara and Ali speak to travel writer Tharik Hussain about Lonely Planet's new Saudi Arabia guide book (which he authored) and the new Saudi tourist visa and its possible implications for travellers. They talk about historical sites in the country, including surviving Ottoman heritage, and indications that there is a shift in attitudes concerning his…
 
Muazzam Mir speaks to fellow Kenyans, activist and founder of Halal Safaris, Samia Bwana and conservationist and Mandela Washington Fellow, Raabia Hawa, about the conservation of wildlife and the environment, specifically from a Muslim perspective. They talk about whether hunting animals for sport is permissible in Islam, and discuss the responsibi…
 
Omar Rais and Muazzam Mir speak to Sana Saeed, Sanna Wani and Hassan Yassin about their experiences as part of the Kashmiri diaspora. They consider what being ‘Kashmiri’ means, and the multiple cultures and identities that it entails. At the time of recording, Kashmir had been under a media and communications blackout, imposed by India, for several…
 
Zara and Ali are joined by Salim Bharwani and Maaria Lohiya to discuss their experiences of Hajj. They talk about whether or not pilgrims should be taking photos during Hajj, as well as the history of photography in the Haram al-Sharif. They discuss how modes of travel for pilgrims have changed over the centuries, and the benefits of reading pilgri…
 
Yaseen Kippie talks to Zara about the history of Islam in South Africa. He tells us about the early community, made up of influential people exiled to the Cape by the Dutch. A story of survival and resistance, Yaseen tells us about 'the revivers', individuals who ensured the preservation of Islam in South Africa.…
 
Omar Rais & Muazzam Mir speak to Thuraya Tarig, Mandour El Mahadi & Ehab Eltayeb, about their experiences growing up as part of the Sudanese diaspora. They discuss their individual experiences & memories of Sudan, their attempts to 'belong' & stay connected to 'home' while navigating two identities. They tell us about the role of the diaspora in su…
 
Zara and Ali speak to Salim Bharwani winner of our Sacred Spaces competition about Arbaeen, one of the world's largest gatherings of people, and visiting the tomb of Imam Husayn. He explains its significance for Shias, as well as the profound effect it has had on him personally. Later, Muazzam speaks to Muhammad Zahir, one of the cyclists from the …
 
In this special episode from Kenya, Muazzam Mir speaks to Salim Amin, son of the late Mohamed Amin, at his home in Nairobi, about his father's legacy & the remarkable achievements of his career as a photojournalist. They talk about his work on the Ethiopian famine, that raised awareness and an outpouring of charity across the world, eventually lead…
 
Zara speaks to Shahroze Khan, a politics and history student and photographer, about the walled city of Lahore. Shahroze explains its history, from its somewhat contentious roots, steeped in Hindu mythology, to the heights of its splendour under the Mughals, followed by its brief period as capital of the Sikh Empire in the 19th century. He discusse…
 
Zara is joined by Sacred Footsteps' writers and photographers Afaq Ali and Omar Rais, and Chirag Wakaskar, a photographer based in Mumbai, India and creator of the @everydaymumbai project on Instagram. We discuss the response to our previous episode on Orientalism in travel photography, and Ali tells us about the 'Rooftop campaign' that demands Nat…
 
During the so-called ‘Dark Ages’, the Islamic world was undergoing was period of cultural enlightenment; at the same time, another empire, further east, was also flourishing. Historian Hassam Munir tells Zara about the cultural exchange between the Muslim and Chinese worlds. He talks about the history of Islam in China, explaining how and when it f…
 
Zara and Yasmine talk to Afaq Ali and Zain Haider about the legacy of Edward Said and look at modern day travel photography through the lens of Orientalism. They discuss the ways in which ‘othering’ still takes place, and how well regarded photographers, intuitions and publications are still promoting that narrative. They also examine questions of …
 
In episode six, Zara speaks to Muazzam Mir about the history of Islam in East Africa, particularly along the Swahili Coast. They talk about the role of travellers, traders and sufi tariqahs in the spread of Islam in the region, as well as noteworthy scholars. Muazzam refutes the colonialist idea that Africa was a land of darkness before the arrival…
 
In episode five, Zara speaks to Wafa Aouchiche, founder of Burgundy Roots, about their retreats in Jamaica. We talk about the Jamaican Muslim community and the ‘Ras-Mus’ (Rasta-Muslims), and the connections between the Caribbean & Algerian revolutionaries. We discuss the negative impact of foreign-owned island resorts and some of the problems Jamai…
 
In episode four, Yasmine and Zara speak to SF writer and photographer & founder of Zirrar Tours, Afaq Ali about his experience travelling expensively in Iran, particularly as a Sunni in a Shia country. He talks about his visit to the tomb of Imam Ghazali, the Armenian Christian quarter of Isfahan, and the Jewish communities of Iran. Links are in th…
 
In episode three, Zara talks to Mustafa Briggs about the history of Islam in West Africa. They discuss the roots of Islam in the region, the intellectual achievements of Timbuktu and other centres of learning, sufism and the empowerment of women through scholarship that can be seen throughout West African history. Mustafa also tells us about his up…
 
Zara speaks to one half of spoken word duo Poetic Pilgrimage, poet and playwright, Sukina Pilgrim about her experience of visiting the rawdah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Madina, and the challenges and joys that it entailed. They also discuss the experience of notable women in history when visiting Madina and the difficulties wome…
 
In episode one, host Yasmine Ahmed-Lea speaks to co-host & founder of Sacred Footsteps, Zara Choudhary, about the concept of 'spiritual travel' & the story behind the website. They also discuss the recent passing of the esteemed Mauritanian scholar Murabit al-Hajj. All of the links to the articles mentioned can be found in the shownotes here: https…
 
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