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Sacred Footsteps - The Podcast
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Sacred Footsteps - The Podcast

Author: Sacred Footsteps

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Sacred Footsteps is dedicated to travel, history and culture from a Muslim perspective. We talk to writers, historians, artists and others, about travel as a spiritual practice, and discuss aspects of Muslim culture and history that are often overlooked.
34 Episodes
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.
Sana Gillani visits the tombs of her ancestors: the parents of the influential scholar and saint, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Gilani, in Iran. 
Abdullah Sattar explores the roots of Sufism in Punjab, which spread, in large part, through the words of poets that are still recited and resonate today.
Alex Reynolds from lostwithpurpose shares her experiences/conclusions/insights from more than four years of full time travel. 
The Sacred Footsteps core team share their reflections on the journeys, challenges and successes of a year that was...unusual.
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, including the Prophet Adam. 
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.
027 Qawwali

027 Qawwali


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, reciting poetry and participating in rituals in order to achieve a higher spiritual state.  
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 racist colonial policies had the unintended effect of preserving sufism and traditional Islam in the region.
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 on the controversy surrounding English translations of his work, and the claim that Islam has deliberately been ‘erased’ from his poetry. We consider how Rumi was received in the West and the East, and how his poetry, or perceptions of his poetry differ accordingly.
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), and tells us about the Wali Songo, the 'Nine Saints' of Indonesia.
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 Kunta-haji and their legacies.
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 
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 experience.
Zara and Muazzam speak to Mohammed Isaaq about 'finding' or 'knowing' yourself and ultimately, God, through travel. Isaaq explains how this desire has always been a reality for humans, and the ways in which it has evolved in the modern day. He talks about the importance of intention and introspection when travelling, and the essential quality that traveller's must possess: courage.
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 Brooklyn’s Tatar community, the longest serving mosque in the United States, and discuss the identity-shaping of Muslims in the West.
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 historical preservation. They also ask why there are lack of Muslim travel writers.
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 responsibility of travellers to ensure their travel practices are ethical and not harmful.
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 weeks, following the revocation of Article 370.
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 pilgrim travel accounts from the past. 
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Oct 12th
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