With a ten-day programme consisting of a jam-packed schedule of events featuring artists, scholars and poets, Bradford once again says hello to the Bradford Literature Festival! With hundreds of events planned, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a list of seven Islamic events that cannot be missed this year:
PETER SANDERS: A RETROSPECTIVE
Join Bradford Literature Festival to hear from Peter Sanders, one of the most celebrated photographers in the Muslim World. Sanders’ captivating retrospective will take you on an incredible journey spanning over 55 years, starting with his early days photographing rock ‘n’ roll legends like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, to his spiritual awakening and his focus on capturing the beauty of the Muslim World.
In addition to his retrospective, Sanders will share, for the first time, photographs of lost and forgotten Islamic heritage sights, including Syeda Khadijah’s house, Syeda Aminah’s grave, and photography from Jabal al-Nur.
THE ART OF CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOP
This year, BLF is honoured to welcome the celebrated calligrapher Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang for a very special workshop. The acclaimed artist will demonstrate his peerless calligraphic technique, a remarkable fusion of Chinese and Arabic art. He will also offer insights into the form and function of his calligraphy.
As a Chinese Muslim, Haji Noor Deen’s calligraphy is like an article of faith, akin to prayer with a paintbrush, with the sole aim of beautifying the word of God. Join us for a rare opportunity to be taken through a step-by-step guide to learn the essential techniques of this unique calligraphy directly from the master craftsman himself.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF ISLAM: AKBAR AHMED AND SHAMIM MIAH IN CONVERSATION
Take part in a captivating event delving into the Golden Age of Islam, as we bring together distinguished experts Ambassador Akbar Ahmed and Dr Shamim Miah. Renowned anthropologist and Islamic scholar, Ambassador Ahmed, will discuss his new book, The Flying Man: The Golden Age of Islam and its Contribution to Science and Philosophy, illuminating the lives and legacies of key Muslim personalities and their profound influence on the West.
Ambassador Ahmed will be in conversation with Dr Shamim Miah, author and lecturer whose new book, Ibn Khaldun: Education, History and Society, sheds light on Ibn Khaldun’s pivotal contributions in this area. Engage in a thought-provoking exploration of Islamic intellectual history and its enduring impact on the modern world, as we reveal the vital role these key figures played in global and Western progress.
RECALLING THE CALIPHATE
Don’t miss this thought-provoking panel discussion on the continued significance of the Caliphate in modern Muslim discourse. Although often viewed negatively in the West as an outdated institution, for Muslims, the end of the Ottoman Empire marked the end of the last Muslim Caliphate, and its legacy still holds a sense of nostalgia and romanticism.
This event will explore debates around the revival of the Caliphate and its relevance in contemporary Islamic politics. Dr Salman Sayyid from Leeds University, AbdoolKarim Vakil from King’s College London, and Dr Mahmood Chandia from the University of Central Lancashire bring their extensive research and knowledge to the discussion.
RETHINKING ISLAM & THE WEST: A NEW NARRATIVE FOR THE AGE OF CRISES
In his thought-provoking book, Rethinking Islam and the West: A New Narrative for the Age of Crises, Cambridge University visiting fellow Ahmed Paul Keeler invites us to view the tangled relationship between Islam and the West through an alternative lens, proposing that the true yardstick for measuring success should be the balance achieved between the spiritual, social, and material needs of humanity – a balance which makes it possible to live in harmony with nature. When the world is viewed from this perspective, a completely different picture of Islam and the West emerges.
Bringing this narrative to life, the special guests joining Ahmed Paul Keeler and the Cambridge University Mizan Study Circle include Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari, director of the Ihsan Institute, Shaykh Ma’an al-Dabbagh, director of research at the Tabah Foundation, Dr Samir Mahmoud, academic director of Usul Academy, and Ustadh Ali Keeler, scholar, musician and founder of the Firdaus Ensemble.
THE OTTOMANS: FROM CONQUEST TO COLLAPSE
Join our panellists for a fascinating exploration of the reasons behind the rapid expansion of the Ottoman Empire, including its military conquests, political organisation and relative religious tolerance, and the challenges and weaknesses that led to its eventual decline. Replacing the Byzantine Empire as the major power in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Ottoman Empire reached its height under Suleiman the Magnificent in the mid-16th century, when it expanded to cover the Balkans and Hungary, and as far west as the gates of Vienna.
Offering a better understanding of Ottoman history and the lessons that can be learned from the empire’s rise and fall, our special guests include Eugene Rogan, author of The Fall of the Ottomans, Caroline Finkel, author of Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire, and Marc David Baer, author of The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs.
THE WAY OF THE PROPHETS
Take part in an enlightening event of discovery and excitement featuring Professor Abdullah Alkadi’s latest book, The Way of the Prophets. Experience and learn more about the route that connects multiple civilisations through time, and marvel at the breathtaking images captured by world-renowned photographer Peter Sanders.
This remarkable book takes you on a photographic journey along the path taken by all the prophets and cultures, from southern Arabia to the grand Silk Road. Expanding on previous work in mapping the journey, it delves into groundbreaking discoveries by Professor Alkadi, including the Milestones of Arabia and the Hijrah route of the Prophet. These discoveries are currently showcased in an immersive exhibition at the Ithra Museum in Saudi Arabia.
Main Image Credit: Amal
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]