Reading Rumi in the West: The burden of Coleman Barks

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled The Erasure of Islam from the works of Rumi from English translations. This was in response to countless queries I was receiving to recommend a reliable translation, ideally one that was not by Coleman Barks. The response to this will always be the translations by Jawid…

Coffee: The “Wine of Islam”

Join me and Mokhtar Alkhanshali (historian, community historian and coffee innovator) as we follow the roots of Coffee from Ethiopia, Yemen to Makkah and then Istanbul and Europe. Mokhtar shares the intimate history of Coffee in Islam and its uses for the praise of God, its near ban and then its spread into Europe and…

The Story of Coffee in Europe

Let’s talk about coffee, and in particular in Europe. Every time you sip a cup of coffee in London, you are participating in a ritual that stretches back 365 years to a muddy churchyard in the heart of the City of London. But coffee goes way back to the 15th century Yemen where it was…

Podcast: History Of The Ghazal feat. @persianpoetics

Join me and @persianpoetics as we discuss the beautiful ‘Ghazal’, from its conception in Arabia to modern day America. Some mistake it as a sonnet, but no other language can match the depth and beauty of the Arabian and now Persian Ghazal. Notes from the podcast: The website mentioned for finding poetry is Ganjoor The…

What is Islamic Art?

Is there such a thing as Islamic Art and Architecture? What makes something Islamic? Is it the architect or artist who creates the form, or is it the bricklayer who places the bricks in a certain fashion or is it the land or time in which it is created? Or can such a rich and…

The Importance of Persia in Islam

Once known as Persia, Iran and Afghanistan hold a very special place in the history of Islam. The perception of Iran today is highly skewed and misunderstood by almost all. A plague of short-sightedness has caused even Muslims to see this great and rich land as a place with hostility, mistrust and fear. For the…

Podcast: Mexican Orientalism

Join me and Andrea Muñoz, a Mexican archaeologist and anthropologist discuss the common phenomenon of being studied and categorised by the European gaze. We discuss avocados and oil, drug cartels and terrorism, and finally the growth of Islam in the native Mexican population.

Finding Him – How I found God

If you were ‘born a Muslim’, do you remember the first time you whispered the creed? The words that recognised and then reverberated in you the oneness of God, that united all your separate existences into one – that there is none but One. Did you recognise then, or do you recognise now, the concept…

The Saints of Shiraz

Shiraz knows no parallel in all of Persia and the world. Sought by all but plucked by none, it remains a mole on the cheek of the most beautiful of Muslim lands. Shiraz has been saved it seems, most certainly by plan, to deliver to the thirsty, hungry and blind of this world – the endless stream of verses that flow in abundance from the lips of its poets and saints.