New episode out on poet Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī (d. 1058)

We speak with Dr. Kevin Blankinship of Brigham Young University about this edgy figure. Blind since childhood, poet Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī, was a vegan and anti-natalist who agitated contemporaries with his seemingly heretical views. Dr. Blankinship challenges what we think we know about this gadfly. He ends with an original translation of one of al-Maʿarrī’s Luzūmiyāt poems. Find more of Dr. Blankinship’s work here:

The dapper Dr. Blankinship
Listen here🦻

This was great fun during our Covid-19 self-isolation conducted over Google Hangout. I’ve experimented with different platforms for remote podcasting viz. Zencastr, Cleanfeed, Skype (😖), Zoom but Google Hangout I’ve found to be the clearest and easiest for all parties to use. It would be good to hear your views.

If you like our content and want to support it, please donate at our Ko-Fi beside this post. We cover hosting and equipment costs without any funding and all labour is voluntary. Cheers!

Interview with Prof. Hugh Kennedy on his career finally up! *yeah*

The inestimable Prof. Kennedy in his study

We’re so pleased to finally get out first podcast up.

I won’t lie to you. I didn’t realise recording, editing and publishing a podcast series would be so exhausting.

We’re going to provide episodes on our page. It will take some time to get them on iTunes and the major platforms.

Have a listen and tell us what you think.

Remember this podcast is for you and by you. Tell me what direction you want to take it. I want it suitable for your undergraduates as well as giving members of the academic community easy access to the thoughts of their peers.

The original plan was to release each podcast weekly. Now, I have decided to release all five in one go to so my guests’ time and efforts are given immediate appreciation. It’ll be more like Netflix for you to binge…

Expect them all up soon…


Dear colleagues,

I am currently preparing a script for the final episode for our five part pilot. I am really excited to speak with Ian Morris about his Mecca and Macoraba article in which he challenges the long held assumption that name Macoraba in Ptolemy’s Geography refers to historical Mecca.

The article has generated a lot of responses on his blog, so I am going to do something for this episode that I haven’t done for the rest. I am going to invite questions from the forthcoming listeners of AHP. Send any questions in the replies below or email

It has been a steep learning curve. I have had to acquaint myself with new technology. I am fortunate my house mate, Adam, is trained in sound engineering so his assistance and enthusiasm has been really welcomed. Ian will be our first online recording and we have spent a lot of time exploring best ways to do that. I am also becoming accustomed to using Audacity for editing and LibSyn for uploading the content.

The other four episodes:
1. Prof. Hugh Kennedy on a lifetime studying early Islam
2. Dr. Anees Lodhi on the theme of hijrah
3. Dr. Alex Strick van Linschoten on learning the Arabic language
4. Aziz Foundation scholar Yusuf Chaudhary on the Islamization of the Ilkhanate.

It doesn't help the new cats keep interrupting my work
It doesn’t help the new cats keep interrupting my work

My aim is to produce listening that can supplement a reading list. Episodes I have planned for the future are discussions with a senior peer of standard set texts for typical Early Islam history topics. This is a bonus for the diligent student as well as a crux for the less diligent student fitting in the podcast on his morning commute to lectures. I hope this extra level of pre-class analysis will make actual class discussions more informed and insightful, rather than the usual disappointing rehash or translations I have experienced during my own graduate education.

Please do send in through your feedback. This is after all your resource. I am grateful to those who have sent proposals for future episodes. Kindly be patient with me as I streamline procedures for this new venture. The Frontier heralds us.


Pilot series: FRONTIERS

We are very excited to announce that we’re in the middle of recording and editing for our five part pilot series entitled “Frontiers”.

Ready for action…

The inaugural episode with Prof. Hugh Kennedy recorded at SOAS Radio studios has been edited and ready for release.

The second episode with Dr. Anees Lodhi, formerly of AKU-London, is now being edited. He speaks about his PhD research on the theme hijrah or migration.

We want to bring together five episodes with the aim of releasing them weekly in May.