The Ismaili is pleased to announce the launch of Muslim Footprints, a biweekly podcast series that brings listeners scholarly knowledge about the rich diversity of Islam. The first episode is available now. subscribe to Muslim Footprints on your favourite podcast platform including SpotifyiTunes, and Google.

Each episode of Muslim Footprints will feature interviews with leading academics and experts, taking us on a journey through the history of Islam. We will explore its origins, key figures, and significant events. We will discover how Muslim societies and individuals have actually lived and thought about and expressed their faith in their own ways as a pathway to the divine. We will also study the revelation itself, the Qur’an. 

At the 25th anniversary of The Institute of Ismaili Studies in London in 2003, Mawlana Hazar Imam said: “The Muslim world today is heir to a faith and a culture that stands among the leading civilisations in the world. The revelation granted to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) opened new horizons and released new energies of mind and spirit. It became the binding force that held the Muslims together despite the far-flung lands in which they lived, the diverse languages and dialects they spoke, and the multitude of traditions — scientific, artistic, religious and cultural — which went into the making of a distinctive ethos.” 

By showcasing what has emerged from these “new energies of mind and spirit”, the podcast offers a window into the diverse traditions of Islamic thought and practice that have evolved over the past 1400 years.

Our guests bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to each episode, offering listeners a unique opportunity to learn from the best and brightest minds in their field. By distilling complex academic research into engaging and accessible discussions that can be enjoyed during a commute or while working out, the podcast offers an additional opportunity for us to place the intellect at the heart of our journey to better understand God’s creation and address some of the biggest questions about life and meaning.

Episode 1: One night Nasir Khusraw had a dream, and it changed his life

A turning point: that critical time where a big decision would lead to a big change. An event where we could not control anything that happened. A moment of despair or extreme self-doubt, triggering deep questioning.

Nasir Khusraw’s turning point could be described as a midlife crisis. He was a senior bureaucrat in Central Asia, enjoying a life of travel, socialising, high — and low — culture. But a more urgent current ran under the delights of the world, namely his aching desire to have some purpose, some answer to the question of why all this exists. A powerful dream shocked him out of his 40-years’ sleep, and he became convinced that he must change his life completely, and use this truth to change the world.

Alice Hunsberger, an expert on the 11th century sage, scholar and traveller, joins us on this first episode of Muslim Footprints to talk about Nasir Khusraw’s marvellous journey - a literal journey, from Marv to the Mediterranean via Jerusalem and Jeddah, as well as a spiritual one - in search of meaning. 

At the Qur’an Colloquium organised by The Institute of Ismaili Studies in 2003, Mawlana Hazar Imam referred to Nasir Khusraw’s legacy: the lifelong search for knowledge. 

“The Qur’an itself acknowledges that people upon whom wisdom has been bestowed are the recipients of abundant good; they are the exalted ones. Hence Islam's consistent encouragement to Muslim men and women to seek knowledge wherever it is to be found. We are all familiar that al-Kindi, even in the ninth century, saw no shame in acknowledging and assimilating the truth, whatever its source. He argued that truth never abases, but only ennobles its seeker. Poetising the Prophet’s teaching, Nasir Khusraw, the 11th-century Iranian poet-philosopher, also extols the virtue of knowledge. For him, true jihad is the war that must be waged against the perpetrators of bigotry, through spreading knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance and nourishes the seed of peace that is innately embedded in the human soul.”

Listen now to this episode: One night Nasir Khusraw had a dream, and it changed his life, and subscribe to Muslim Footprints on your favourite podcast platform including Spotify, iTunes, and Google.