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Islam Without God on BBC Radio 4
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Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday February 12th and available to listen again, in ‘Islam Without God’ journalist, educator and broadcaster Abdul-Rehman Malik asks whether it’s possible to consider oneself a Muslim without believing in God.

Is it possible to have religion without God? 30 years ago Don Cupitt’s Sea of Faith set forth “Christian non-realism” – ethics without God – raising the ire of the Church and intriguing millions. Philosopher Alain de Botton has recently done the same. But is this just a concept for cynical post-Christians, or could it work for Muslims too?

 

Reports from the heartland of the Muslim-majority world paint a confusing picture. The ongoing political upheaval has seen the emergence of what has been dubbed “a generation of atheists” – dissatisfied with political Islam and the mullahs, and finding few willing to engage with their ideas of modernity.

  

Abdul-Rehman Malik, a faithful Muslim, isn’t convinced. Religion, particularly for today’s Muslim, is a complex set of overlapping values wrapped up in belief, culture & politics. He goes in search of Muslims at a crossroads of faith. We meet campaigner Humera Khan who, despite her frustration at male-centred interpretations & out-of-touch religious institutions, has found the best resistance comes from her faith. We talk to critic Sara Wajid, a lover of Islamic art & literature, on her rejection of grand narratives and how she came to terms with her father’s funeral – at a mosque.  We walk London’s East End with Alom Shaha, born into a British Bangladeshi home and now one of a new generation of ex-Muslims who have no desire to insult faith, but wish to give those who want to leave a way out.  We end in Cairo with Moez Masoud, an influential young preacher – equally comfortable with the Qur’an and Kantwho is unafraid to confront the doubts of his generation.

 

What Malik witnesses is a profound tension between belief and rejection and the grey areas in between. It is a tension that will shape Islam and its place in the modern world.