The Latest: 22.1 | Utopias

Boyd Tonkin surfs the coast of utopia; Marco Lauri dissects ibn Tufayl’s utopian masterpiece; Sadek Hamid dissects Khilafatopia of Hizb-ut-Tahrir; Naomi Foyle locates utopia in her ordeal of illness and recovery; Halima Gosai Hussain is scared by BBC’s ‘Muslims Like Us’; a short story by Sharbari Z. Ahmed; and poems by Hodan Yusuf.

‘Utopia’ is a ‘western’ word, coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516, from Greek roots in a Latin book. The concept it underlies has been long regarded as a matter of the West, and modernity.

When they did come for me, they came silently, gradually, graciously handing me clues along the way. There was the blue car with the dark tinted windows that idled across the street from my sixties cape every day at different times.

We all know what Muslim utopia looks like – it’s the ‘Happy Muslims’ video by Honesty Policy, the enigmatic British Muslim collective, available on YouTube. And it lasts all of four minutes and 13 seconds.

Last year I had cancer. Receiving the diagnosis was the worst experience of my life, but after the shock subsided, the six months of my illness became a kind of utopia.

While some Muslims yearned for a rejuvenated khilafah, until the rise of ISIS very few were actually working to establish it – with the exception of the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement.