Episodes
You can donate to the show here: https://www.thinkingmuslim.com/contribute Is modernity destroying the human mind? This is the question we ask our guest this week, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr Tim Winters of the Cambridge Muslim College). Many of us are fortunate to live in a world where every desire we have are met yet curiously our ability to process these blessings leads many to a dark place, a state of mental anguish. It seems the more we have the less happy we are. The more we live in...
Published 04/30/22
Published 04/30/22
At the time of this episode’s release, the outcome of the French presidential election has yet to be announced. It is likely the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, will come back to office, once again defeating his hard-right rival Marine Le Pen. Many Muslims may breathe a sigh of relief, Le Pen stands out as a viscerally anti-Muslim candidate in a country where it’s hard to find any moderate voices. But in many ways, Macron’s return to power is meaningless for the Muslim community in France. For...
Published 04/23/22
Zakat is often mischaracterised as merely the act of paying individual alms. In reality it is a sophisticated system of wealth redistribution and spiritual sacrifice that helps to nurture a true Muslim fraternity. It is customary to pay Zakat in Ramadan, as this is when the reward is greatest for all deeds but also the heightened sense of brotherhood and the absence of Shaytaan’s whispers asking us to hold back, means that charitable donations flood various causes. But what is Zakat? To whom...
Published 04/16/22
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominates the news. This audacious attack on a neighbouring country has shocked Europe with its sheer brutality. Of course, Muslims have experience of Russia’s tactics in war, from Grozny in Chechnya to East Aleppo and beyond – the Russian military machine is neither guided by morality nor humanity. In Aleppo alone, some 30,000 civilians were slaughtered, leaving the few that remained to painfully evacuate their city. But when all is said about the double...
Published 03/22/22
We are back after a short pause.  Britain for the past 21 years has been overtaken by what can only be described as a national hysteria. The recent jaw-dropping investigation by the New York Times Serial podcast into the so-called Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham, revealed how this hysteria translated into a deep-seated national display of Islamophobia. Fahad Ansari is a lawyer and public activist, who in his professional career has defended many Muslims who have fallen foul of Britain’s...
Published 03/02/22
This past week marks twenty years since the opening of the infamous detention centre, Guantanamo Bay. It remains a symbol of the hollowness of the very values that underpin the liberal world order. Camp X ray was to house dangerous ‘jihadists’, a nebulous general term that is used to describe those foreign fighters that would for no 'explicable' reason travel to distant parts of the world to fight other peoples wars. Within time, the term came to explain a universal ideology, from Bosnia to...
Published 01/18/22
Today we invite back Dr Shadee Elmasry, Imam and community leader who has worked tirelessly at the local level to develop strong communities premised upon an Islamic framework. We ask Dr Shadee to spell out the importance of communities in Islam and how the modern maladies that come from individualism can be remedied. Thanks to the team: Riaz Hasan, Musab Muhammad, Reem Walid, Adeel Alam, Yusra Zainuddin, Ahmed Serag, Ahaz Atif and Umar Abdul Salam. You can donate to the show here:...
Published 12/23/21
The Sahel, a region spanning the countries of West Africa, has been rocked by instability for the past few years. There is what the West calls an Islamist insurgency that has provoked international intervention, from France (the former colonial power) but also the United States. The region is one of the richest in the world in terms of natural resources, including oil, gold and uranium. Yet it’s one of the poorest in the world, the proceeds of these extractive industries rarely reaches the...
Published 12/13/21
In this second part of an extended interview with Ottoman historian, Dr Yakoob Ahmed from Istanbul University, we take a look at some of the challenges and controversies that are associated with the ulema during the latter period of the Ottoman Empire. We ask Dr Ahmed to explain why it is said that the ulema were an obstruction to the progress of the Caliphate and scrutinise the claims that the ulema outlawed the printing press and coffee. You can donate to the show here:...
Published 12/04/21
In this two part show we talk Dr Yakoob Ahmed from Istanbul University about the relationship between the ulema (scholars) and the Ottoman empire. Were they mere political apparatchiks, steeped in the power and patronage of powerful sultans? In this first part we take a look at the Ottoman ulema in the early period, the issue of the 'caliphate', Sultan Fatih's ilmiyah reforms and Sultan Selim's defeat of the Mamluks and the response of the Arab ulema and the independence of the ulema...
Published 11/26/21
As you all know, this podcast is no stranger to dissecting the narrative forwarded by liberals in general and those within our community that self-identify as Muslim liberals. And if you know me you would know that I don’t particularly find the modernist narrative appealing nor elegant in their appeals to what I and I think most Muslims see as the ideas of an incoherent worldview that has undermined human societies the world over. With these caveats in mind, this episode we dedicate to a...
Published 10/11/21
Since the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, the Muslim world has moved from one crisis to another. The parlous state of the ummah is now the subject of many discussions and numerous Islamic groups have attempted to find the magic formula to reverse this decline. Invariably and correctly, the subject of a return to Islamic governance has become a rallying call for many that seek to return to a place where the ummah was a leading one. Yet recently, the rise of ISIS and the return to the Taliban...
Published 09/28/21
This week we bring together two commentators and analysts to make sense of the regional and international dimensions to the crisis. Sami Hamdi is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest. An experienced geopolitical analysts, he is a frequent guest on Aljazeera, Sky News, TRT World, and other outlets. Ibrahim Moiz is a writer and researcher on South Asia with considerable insight into Afghanistan and Pakistan. He writes for TRT World and other outlets. We consider the events of the...
Published 09/05/21
This episode we bring together two scholars, each on either side of the reform debate. Mustafa Akyol is probably the most notable Muslim modernist and reformer, he has authored several best-selling books on the subject, most recently “Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance”. His argument, as we will hear, is certainly well-articulated and nuanced. He writes regularly for the New York Times and other publications. And his is joined with Professor Ovamir Anjum who is...
Published 08/18/21
We live in a world crafted by the tenets of liberalism. Western societies, of all hues, broadly base their politics, laws and thinking around this very idea. Inevitably, Muslims have been impacted by liberalism, not least because after the fall of the Ottoman caliphate, the Muslim world became subject to a liberal intellectual inquisition. Today many of us cannot see the tradition except through a liberal lens, this is most pronounced with Muslims living in western societies. This week we...
Published 07/18/21
The Ottoman state was the last Islamic Caliphate, that at its height brought diverse Muslims together under one banner. Yet, for a state that dominated world politics and created a unique order in the world, very little of its details are studied and understood by Muslims. According to Dr Yaqoob Ahmed, my guest this week, this ‘collective amnesia’ was deliberately devised as a means to consolidate the modern nation state. I initially asked Dr Ahmed to discuss Ottoman decline, why this vast...
Published 07/03/21
Masjid al-Aqsa is a sacred mosque on a sacred site, observed by Muslims to be the third most revered religious site in Islam. In this episode, we talk to Ustadh Iyad Hilal from al-Arqam Institute about how Muslims should understand this Masjid and its precincts. He takes a look at the contemporary attempt to reduce its importance in the eyes of the ummah and reflects on his own families experience after the nakba in 1948. We also cover the history of Islam’s entry into Palestine at the time...
Published 06/20/21
France, like many European countries, were once the colonising force in the Muslim world. And like many of these countries, colonialism was sold as a benevolent project, looking to civilise the savages. France’s history is at times brutal, but the French also had a strong commitment to spreading so-called enlightenment values to the east. In the process, it sought to bring the good message of French liberalism to the Muslim orient. This French obsession remains to today, with the most recent...
Published 05/25/21
For most Muslims, Ramadan’s routine of prayer, reflection and dua was interrupted by the horrific acts of savagery perpetrated by the Israelis against palestinians. It started with the Sheikh Jarrah land grab, the latest episode in the ongoing project of settler colonialism and then the sanctities of Al-Aqsa was defiled by police officers hell-bent on provoking the sentiments of worshippers. This week we discuss the politics of Palestine with the veteran commentator Dr Azzam Tamimi. Support...
Published 05/15/21
Mohamedou Slahi’s period of unlawful detention in Guantanamo Bey has recently been portrayed in the film ‘The Mauritanian’. His resilience and sense of human dignity comes through in the movie. In this episode, we reached out to Mohamedou to find out about his fortitude, what gave him the ability to remain strong throughout his ordeal? I asked him about his childhood, the context of his arrest and his ability to contextualise his incarceration and not descend into bitterness. I start with...
Published 04/27/21
In the month of Ramadan we commonly hear that this is the month of the Qur’an. Usually, we associate this with its increased recitation in say taraweeh prayers. But how do we gain an intimate relationship with the book of Allah? This week we speak to Nuh Saunders who has given a lifetime of service to inculcating a love for the book of Allah. His passion for the Qur’an can be seen through his social media interactions, in a recent post he talked of his desire to build a Qur’an school in...
Published 04/17/21
The subject of the sighting of the moon has become a metaphor for our broader division as an ummah. We have disputes over the correct day to start and end Ramadan and invariably this leads to division. This weeks guest Ustadh Iyad Hilal argues that in origin what constitutes sighting has been subject to differences between the classical scholars. To insist on one way, as some Islamic groups do, in the absence of a caliphal authority, comes from a shallow understanding of the lawfulness of...
Published 04/10/21
If you want to see a film that simultaneously depicts the horrors of man’s excessive barbarism but also the indominable spirit of human resilience, you have to watch The Mauritanian. Set in the legally dubious post-9/11 world, it tells the gripping story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi and his rendition to the infamous ex-Soviet airbase, Bagram in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bey. Slahi was falsely accused of links to Al-Qaeda and without recourse to due process, international treaties and...
Published 04/03/21
The social sciences, the humanities, politics, geography and the like are looked upon with the same reverence as natural sciences. And the queen of these sciences is economic science. Economists in the new era have convinced us that they have unearthed the universal truth of human economic activity and the markets are infallible. We often hear newsreaders speak of ‘the markets’ as if they were a natural law, a deity that cannot be questioned. Our guest this episode is Dr Asad Zaman has a...
Published 03/20/21