As the pandemic crests anew in many parts of the world, the timing of the Aga Khan Museum’s new podcasts, entitled This Being Human, could be prescient. Hosted by Canadian-born and London-based Abdul-Rehman Malik, the podcasts showcase leading Muslim voices shaping the world today.
“The launch of This Being Human could not be timelier,” confirms Dr Ulrike Al-Khamis, Interim Director and CEO of the Aga Khan Museum. “It tells remarkable stories about remarkable people whose diverse cultures and contributions, as well as their spirituality, are often misunderstood, misrepresented, or indeed ignored altogether. It is our hope that This Being Human will succeed in opening listeners’ minds to their wide-ranging contributions, creativity, and humanity in our globalised world today.”
In the podcasts, Mr Malik will interview people like Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, the Emirati columnist and researcher and the Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation; two-time Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; and author and New York Times contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali. “This Being Human is about having conversations that matter with extraordinary people who are shaping the world we live in,” says Mr Malik.
Each 20-to-40-minute episode boasts expert storytelling and offers a deep dive into the lives, ideas, and contributions of the featured guest. Relevant contemporary soundscapes, news clips, and music are woven into the interviews. Toronto’s Antica Productions, one of North America’s largest independent podcast studios, is producing the podcasts.
Even the name of the podcast series offers a nod to the Aga Khan Museum’s mission -- to highlight Muslim contributions to world heritage. The title of the podcast is from “The Guest House", a poem by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi. “Rumi’s poem encapsulates the goals and the spirit of this project perfectly,” Dr Al-Khamis says. “With This Being Human, as with all our public programmes, we aim to spark curiosity, connection, and an openness to people and experiences that may be new to us. “
This Being Human will be accessible for free on the Museum’s website and wherever podcasts are available. The first season features conversations with guests including:
- WAJAHAT ALI – The New York Times contributing op-ed writer, CNN contributor, author, and playwright
- SHARMEEN OBAID-CHINOY – Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and human-rights activist
Future episodes will feature:
- SULTAN SOOUD AL QASSEMI – United Arab Emirates-based commentator and founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation
- CRAIG CONSIDINE – Rice University sociologist, interfaith advocate, and author of The Prophet of Love: A Catholic’s Note on Prophet Muhammad
- OMID SAFI – Duke University professor of Islamic Studies and founder of Illuminated Courses, a spiritually focused series of educational videos and tours