On Religion’s Seven Most Popular Articles of 2016 26 December 2016

So 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year right! Still a few days left as I write this for it to really blow us all away, but since it is at least starting to wrap up, here are 2016’s eight most popular articles from On Religion.

7. Why The Theology of Star Wars Is Deeper Than It Might Seem

This was initially released for the new trilogy, but caught a new gust of interest with the release of Rogue One (and hopefully will continue to ride peaks with the release of each new Star Wars movie for the next five years!). The article is a short reflection on what the “religious” message of Star Wars is, and the intentions behind the creator George Lucas.

6. An Accidental Expert – Karen Armstrong Interview

A recent release but still one that interested readers, here On Religion speaks to bestselling author on religion Karen Armstrong about the nation state, religion and violence, Trump, and her upcoming work on sacred texts.

5. An Unlikely Saint Sri Ramana Maharshi

Nick Jordan’s lively and readable biography of the modern saint, lover of silence, and campaigner for peace. A great piece for insight into a forgotten type of spirituality.

4. Faith and Feminism Can Make Strange Bedfellows

Niamh Middleton’s honest account of her committed faith and her principled feminism was popular with readers, well written and thought provoking.

3. Investigating the Missing Mary Magdalene in Islam

A slightly festive theme perhaps, this article by Nakita Valerio asks why Mary Magdalene is absent from Quranic and hadith texts about Jesus, and ponders her role in Islamic christology.

2. Who Are Britain’s Muslims: Beyond Sunni and Shia

This long read provides a run-through of the denominational diversity of British Islam, looking beyond the overused frame of “Sunni” and “Shia” and instead asking what other theological divisions are relevant.

1. Obituary: Hafiz Patel (1926-2016) – A Spiritual Giant in an Age of Dwarfs

Our most popular article of 2016 is an obituary written by Riyaz Timol of the late Shaykh Hafiz Patel, one of the most influential Muslims in Britain, though one who largely worked behind the scenes.

So there you go, 2016’s most popular articles. You might be wondering though, why seven articles instead of say, ten? Well, I took out a few hot takes. Hot takes are short response articles written to capture a viral discussion topic. They get plenty of shares for being relevant and snappy, but are a bit more vacuous than the stuff I’m more proud of at On Religion. An example is my piece on Trevor Phillip’s documentary “What Muslims Really Think” .

We would love to hear about your favourite articles from 2016, please tweet us at @OnReligionMag or email at info[at]onreligion.co.uk. Tell us what you liked, and we’ll make sure to produce more of it in 2017.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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About Abdul-Azim Ahmed

Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed is Editor of On Religion magazine. He holds a doctorate in religious studies and an MA in Islam in Contemporary Britain.