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Heart and Soul


Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.


London, United Kingdom




Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.




Spiritualism and the soul

Twenty-one-year-old journalism graduate, Saskia Masaun has been attending meditation, mediumship and healing classes at the Spiritualists National Union (SNU) Church in Wolverhampton, UK, since she was 16, alongside her spiritualist mother. Saskia explains how her faith, which includes connecting with the spirit world through mediums and a seven principle philosophy described as a ‘guideline for life’, is helping her navigate her journey as she sets out on her career. She speaks to...


The Church and beer

The connections between beer and Christianity flow back down the centuries to the medieval monasteries where it was common practice for monks to brew their own beverages. Self-sufficiency was a core monastic principle, as indeed was the duty to offer pilgrims and visitors food and drink. The monks took the work very seriously, revolutionising brewing techniques with practices and principles that are still in use today. Geoff Bird visits Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium, where brewing took place...


Green Islam

There are hundreds of verses in the Quran calling on Muslims to protect the environment. Islam teaches that everyone is a custodian of nature and should treat the natural environment with respect and care. Sustainability has been part of the faith from the beginning. How are ordinary Muslims around the globe responding to that call? Reporter Zubeida Malik hears about the experiences of a local imam from Indonesia trying to persuade his community to help redress the effects of climate change...


Hindus, hate and hashtags

Vishva Samani meets young Hindus in the diaspora who believe their faith is being misunderstood and who speak out against what they say is ‘Hinduphobia’. While some academics claim the term is used to silence dissent, online hate directed towards the Hindu community has increased.


The last Afghan Sikhs

Once Afghanistan’s Sikh population numbered more than 100,000 in the 1970's. Today, it’s estimated around only 100 Sikhs remain, following the return to Taliban rule. The BBC’s Kawoon Khamoosh speaks to those who have been forced to leave in recent years. Producer: Nina Robinson


Qawwali: Music of the soul

Raees Khan explores the history, influence and enduring legacy of Qawwali music, both within, as well as outside of the Islamic World. From its earliest origins in the writings of Sufi Saints, to its spread throughout South Asia we look at how the mystical and devotional artform spread throughout the Indian Sub-continent and attracted millions to the religion of Islam. A deeply personal journey, Raees reminisces about his first introduction to Qawwali as a young boy and how the captivating...


The bible, black women and Brazil

Evangelical Christian women of colour were the kingmakers in Brazil’s last presidential election. In May, a corruption conviction that barred the former left wing President from running was quashed on a technicality. And the stage is now set for an epic election showdown where experts say it’s women of colour who will have the deciding vote. But after four years in power, will they turn a blind eye to Jair Bolsonaro’s comments that some consider misogynistic and racist? In ‘The Bible, Black...


The Deadly Sacrifice at Hawkes Bay

In February 1983, a group of 42 Shia devotees left a quiet village in the Chakwal district of Pakistan and embarked on an epic journey to Karbala in Iraq. This was no ordinary pilgrimage but had been ordained by Mahdi, the last spiritual leader or Imam of Shia faith. His instructions were communicated to the faithful in miraculous messages channeled through an 18 year old woman. The caravan left in two trucks on the 1300 kilometre journey to the port city of Karachi where they were to cross...


How do I explain this?

Writer and poet Nikita Gill and sitar virtuoso and composer Anoushka Shankar are friends and collaborators whose life stories share many parallels. In this programme, recorded sitting with tea and doughnuts on the floor of a child’s bedroom, they share an intimate conversation about a moment of spiritual awakening. Nikita reflects on the idea that awakenings or epiphanies often follow a challenging or traumatic phase of life. She recalls a series of personal experiences which compelled her...


Conversion Norway-style

In 2007 Christian and Muslim leaders in Norway controversially recognised for the first time in modern history, the right to convert between the two faiths without harassment or impediment. They also called for all missionary work to be conducted “without force or manipulation". The “Joint declaration on the freedom of religion and the right to conversion” was welcomed as an important contribution to inter-faith dialogue in the Scandinavian nation. But it was also seen by some Muslims as...


No country for Azov Greeks

Fleeing from the war-torn Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, Afina Khadzynova is trying to reconnect to her Greek roots in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The ethnic Greek community has been in Mariupol since the 18th Century. Up until February of this year the city's Greeks had a vibrant cultural life, celebrating their language, traditions and religious rites, brutally cut short by the Russian invasion. Within weeks traditional Greek settlements were levelled and the city itself was...


Faith in science

CERN, in Geneva, is the most complex scientific experiment in the world. It has just restarted operating after a break, and is celebrating the 10th anniversary of detecting the Higgs Boson, a particle that is the final piece in the jigsaw of the standard model of physics. It explains how particles acquire mass. Without mass, there would be no matter and we wouldn’t be here. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN was designed to find this Higgs boson, and smashes particles at almost the speed of...


The Church's slave plantation: Part two

In the second part of this two part series looking at the role of the Church of England in Barbados, Professor Robert Beckford explores the Christian understanding of reparations. Where does the idea come from in Scripture? Has the Anglican church been slow to address the slave trade as a focus of reparatory justice? Robert speaks to Christians in Barbados who say reparations from the Church are now both justified and necessary. But their perspective is only one side of the story. In...


The Church's slave plantation: Part one

What are the consequences of the Church of England's historic slave plantations in Barbados today? Theologian Robert Beckford considers why and how the Church's missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, got involved in the slavery business. He travels to Barbados to hear from a range of voices who tell the story of how in 1710, the Church turned the Codrington Plantation into a missionary experiment. The original mission failed but later generations did eventually adopt...


LGBTQ+: Religion and me

We explore the interplay of faith, spirituality and LGBTQ+ identity in this special episode for Pride Month 2022. We hear three fascinating cross-cultural and religious conversations between people who are also LGBTQ+. Furgie was raised a Muslim as a child in Pakistan. He speaks to Sukhdeep, a gay Sikh man in India. Abby Stein left her strict Hasidic Jewish community and transitioned but she is still very much Jewish. Abby talks to Claire who is a 73-year-old trans woman from the UK. Finally...


After ISIS: Reviving the Jewish history of Mosul

When ISIS swept into Mosul in June 2014, the organisation immediately began a campaign to wipe out the most important part of the northern Iraqi city’s unique heritage - its a multi-sectarian culture. Mosul was home to ancient and modern Christian communities, Yazidis, Shia and Sunni Muslims, and at one time, Jews. Throughout the period of ISIS occupation Omar Mohammad, a history lecturer at Mosul University, risked his life daily to get news of the city out to the world via the internet....


Finding faith on a warship

BBC Faith and Ethics reporter Claire Jones has been granted exclusive access on board British warship HMS Northumberland while on deployment to the North Sea. As Russian troops continue to invade Ukraine, Claire explores faith on a warship, and whether armed forces personnel can ‘find their faith’ in times of trouble or unrest. The military chaplain onboard the warship is Reverend Dr Louisa Pittman, one of three female chaplains in the Royal Navy. She caters for all faiths, never carries a...


Kenya's last great Laibon

In traditional Maasai culture one of the central figures of the community is the laibon. A laibon is a person who has been gifted with the power to see the future. They are not really a fortune teller and they are certainly not a witch doctor. They are more like a seer, but some also have the power to cure illnesses. A laibon is the one who advises the community as a whole on the best course of action to take in a given situation. For example, they can use their powers to say where the...


Faith in journalism

According to some studies, journalists tend to be less religious than the general population. Some find solace in faith, but others begin to question it. So is it a profession which challenges your religious convictions, strengthens faith or attracts the faithless? Atif Rashid, a Muslim, has started questioning his role as a journalist who believes in god. What place does religion have in the work that he does? To help him consider his future career steps he speaks to other journalists who...


Not even water?

It is the number one question asked to anyone who is fasting for Ramadan, which began at the beginning of April. But what is Ramadan? Why Fast? And how do young Muslims manage Ramadan in their respective lives and work? Former teacher turned journalist Mehreen Baig goes in search of the answers by speaking to Muslims from different cultural backgrounds. She explores all aspects of fasting like abstaining from food, sex, music and of course…water. Basically everything you wanted to know about...