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Review of "" podcast series

This simply produced series shows how much interesting work is being done in Islamic intellectual history.

24 October 2020

The title of this podcast series is really a misnomer. It is not a podcast about the history of the Abbasid dynasty, or even the period of their rule.

Instead it is about the history, especially the intellectual history, of the Muslim majority world, particularly the central region from Muslim ruled Spain, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. (Obviously the Abbasid period is included.)

At the time of writing, there are 16 episodes, covering a range of topics that will appeal to those who are interested in the history of Islamic thought.

The linked page has a list of the episodes, which can be heard from there.

I listen on Apple Podcasts and believe that the series is also available on other podcast platforms.

Overview of the podcast series

This podcast series shows how much can be achieved by one person with a microphone.

The creator and presenter is Talha Ahsan, (Twitter @TalhaAhsanEsq) a PhD student at SOAS, University of London. He describes himself on his website briefly as follows:

“Welcome! I am currently a PhD student in history supervised by Prof. Hugh Kennedy at SOAS (2023). I am interested in Ḥanbalite political theories from the 9th to 18th century.”

Why I listened to it

Since I went on pilgrimage to Mecca in 2002, I have had a very significant interest in the history and thinking of Islam and Muslim scholars.

This was strengthened by joining the British Association for Islamic Studies in 2015 as a non-academic member, and I have attended its annual conference every year since then.

My opinion of the podcast series

I have listened to almost all of the 16 episodes so far, apart from skipping the odd episode where I just wasn’t interested in the subject. (Also, I am always short of listening time.)

That demonstrates that I find it worthwhile, since it is one of those podcasts where I aim to listen to every episode.

I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Islamic scholarship and history.


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