“You’re a prisoner in a concentration camp. A dying Nazi soldier asks you for forgiveness. What do you do?”

One can seldom imagine a more staggering question. A soldier who has contributed to the systematic genocide of your people, who has killed and maimed humans merely because they were Jewish is asking you for forgiveness. And such a scenario is not taking place in the aftermath of the crime, not in a post-Holocaust setting in which some semblance of justice is present. …

Dental hygiene as a holy ritual.

Of the lesser-known edicts of Prophet Muhammad is an encouragement to use the miswaak. The miswaak is a twig made from the Salvadora Persica tree and is commonly used as a natural toothbrush.

Muhammad recommended its use on several occasions, stating that ‘the miswaak cleanses and purifies the mouth and pleases the Lord’ (this statement is found in the collection of sayings of Muhammad called Sunnan An-Nasa’i). We can see, then, that the miswaak has more than just a hygienic function for Muslims; it is a means of endearing God.

In fact, Muhammad was very close to making the miswaak…

The Sleepers of the Cave is a story of much importance in the Quran, as is the rest of the narrative espoused in Surah Kahf (the Cave). It is to be recited every Friday, so God must have wanted to imprint these particular stories and lessons deeply into our psyche.

The story is a short one. We’re presented with a group of young people, who are praying to God for a special type of God’s mercy, to which God responds by putting them into a deep sleep in the titular cave. …

I chanced upon Karen Armstrong’s autobiography, Through the Narrow Gate, whilst browsing a charity shop. I heard that Karen is a highly regarded commentator on religion, but did not know much about her otherwise. This alone would not have been enough for me to purchase the book. What enticed me to purchase the book was that it was centred around Karen becoming a Nun, and subsequently leaving. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to find out more about the depths of spirituality in Christianity. …

…regular, grassroots, and hospitable. These are the traits that I think make the best interfaith events.

But before I talk about these, what do I mean by the best? What I regard as a successful interfaith event is an event with the greatest potential for the formation and cultivation of meaningful, crosscutting relationships. In an increasingly polarised world, interfaith presents opportunities to build resilient networks to resist the centrifugal forces that threaten social integration.

With this in mind, the best interfaith events are…


Regularity breeds familiarity and familiarity fosters friendship. An individual new to interfaith might be hesitant during a…

Let’s talk about the Tablighi Jamaat movement.

The Dewsbury Markaz

The headline-grabbing infamy of ISIS and their ilk casts the complex world of Islamic movements in a negative light. This betrays the reality of most Islamic movements which reflect the diverse attempts of Muslims around the world to propagate enriching religious modalities in a peaceful manner. The Tablighi Jamaat movement is the largest example of an Islamic movement in the entire world. Yet it’s apolitical and peaceful character has enabled it to quietly exist in the background, almost entirely evading wider attention.

What is the Tablighi Jamaat movement?

The movement started in India with Maulana (teacher) Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi (1885–1944)…


Let’s talk about it.

Last year, I was at an event with two extremely senior figures from Sunni Islam and Christianity (who I will not name). Cameramen swooped around whenever the pair looked at each other or shook hands. They spoke of togetherness, mutual love, and compassion; excellent and noble words indeed, and not unfamiliar to those involved in interfaith.

How should one look at such an event? Is it a doctored, artificial veneer of togetherness that panders to the inclusivity agenda, glossing over the mutually exclusive claims of different religions? …

‘If I never see Arabia again, always will live the cherished memory of these wonderful days, of Mecca alight with the torch of a living faith, of Medina and its gardens, its peace, its charm.’

As millions of Muslims from across the world conclude their pilgrimage in Mecca, these words potently capture the spiritual and ethereal charm of Islam’s two holiest cities. But these words do not come from the millions of Muslims of Asia, Africa or the Middle East. They are the words of Lady Evelyn Cobbold, a Scottish-born aristocrat, and a convert to Islam who lived and died…

Hamzah Zahid

Multi-disciplinary commentary on religion and society; I combine the social sciences with religion to provide thought-provoking discourse.

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