Strolling Through Paradise with Nicky Campbell and Imam Ibrahim Mogra
The latest episode of 'Different with Nicky Campbell' asks The Big Questions about paradise.
I miss BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’. A show that platformed guests of every flavour of religious, spiritual, political or secular belief and essentially said “have at it”. The only reason it worked so well was due to the unflappable charm of its host Nicky Campbell.
Back in September 2021 after The Big Questions came to an end, Nicky was kind enough to join me and my co-host Iram to take a look back at the show’s legacy.
You can watch that discussion in full here:
In our discussion with Nicky, he recounts the many conversations he’s had with Imam Ibrahim Mogra about the afterlife according to Muslim theology. Ibrahim appears to subscribe to the model of afterlife that was best described as “the theme park in the sky” by the late Christopher Hitchens. A literal place, that you will physically inhabit with other people.
I don’t believe in heaven, but like Nicky I’ve always been fascinated with those that do. What are the rules once you get there? Will I have my own body? Is there a dress code? What’s the wi-fi password? Do I HAVE to see dead relatives?
This belief in a physical, society-based afterlife raises a lot of important questions. For example:
This brings me to the latest episode of ‘Different with Nicky Campbell’ titled ‘Strolling Through Paradise’. Nicky sits down with the aforementioned Imam to work through some of these curiosities.
The problem you find yourself in when you subscribe to the “theme park in the sky” model of heaven is having to explain some of the logistics—and to his credit, the Imam is more than willing.
It’s a breezy 20 mins listen and well worth your time. Highlights include Nicky asking about whether Mohammad will be in paradise, and will meeting him be like a “massive book signing session with queues going right down the street?”
Oh, and there’s a brief digression on “aromatic burps”. According to the good Imam, our burps will not be as unpleasant in the afterlife as they are here on earth. In fact, they will be most pleasing to the senses apparently. Like some sort of belch-vape. “What will the aroma be, a pleasant muskiness…or?” asks Nicky. “So breaking wind is not going to be a social problem in this life?”
To his credit, in a world of slippery hide-the-ball apologists for religion, at least Imam Ibrahim Mogra is willing to be specific.
You can listen to the the full episode here or on Spotify below.