Omid Safi

Omid Safi

is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Thursday.

He is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.

Omid is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and Voices of Islam: Voices of Change were published 2006. His last book, Memories of Muhammad, deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam.

Omid has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN and other international media. He leads an educational tour every summer to Turkey, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trip is open to everyone, from every country. More information at Illuminated Tours.
Thursday
BY Omid Safi
May 26, 2016

We have charms to ward off harmful glances, but what might they teach us about more gracious and loving communication? Omid Safi studies the significance of the "evil eye," and wonders if it can inspire us to better interaction.

BY Omid Safi
May 19, 2016

After a lifetime of learning and loving and losing, Omid Safi shares a few — five, to be precise — practical lessons to you and recent college graduates about what it means to lead a successful life.

BY Omid Safi
May 12, 2016

Do we place women on an unrealistic pedestal when we celebrate Mother's Day? Omid Safi on honoring motherhood in its fullest, most human sense, and moving to an ethics of care for all, whether family or fellow human beings.

BY Omid Safi
May 05, 2016

We mourn people whom we have never met at a personal level. But why? Our columnist pens a loving in memoriam for Fr. Daniel Berrigan, an exemplar of fierce love and radical faith, a man he never met.

BY Omid Safi
April 27, 2016

As social creatures, we are shaped by our unity with one another. Omid Safi on the power of connectedness to magnify the good in ourselves and in our neighbors.

BY Omid Safi
April 21, 2016

North Carolina's "bathroom bill" has created quite a stir, a political and cultural imbroglio. Omid Safi on the need to stand up and not remain silent, no matter what action you might take.

BY Omid Safi
April 14, 2016

We so often highlight acts of hostility and hate, but we have a tougher time amplifying the good. Omid Safi appeals to our collective power to undermine hatred by elevating the good and the beautiful.

BY Omid Safi
April 07, 2016

To put the children first is a parent's most basic instinct. But when does self-sacrifice become self-destruction? Omid Safi offers a new understanding of the importance of self-care.

BY Omid Safi
March 31, 2016

The violence in Lahore on Easter Sunday thrusts us once again into disbelief and mourning. Omid Safi on the necessity of the right response, and the resilient stories of love and neighborliness that often go unreported in the face of terror.

BY Omid Safi
March 24, 2016

Faith can be a salve for the soul in the face of the suffering we witness. But, Omid Safi reminds us, our spiritual love must be bolstered by how we stand for the weak and vulnerable in our midst.

BY Omid Safi
March 17, 2016

The clock presses upon us and our families every day. A reminder that it's not the roses we should stop to smell, but the most tender gestures written in the morning's light.

BY Omid Safi
March 10, 2016

Reflecting on a line from Wendell Berry, our columnist Omid Safi reflects on our collective worthiness for love and the gift we deserve regardless of our circumstances or stations in life.

BY Omid Safi
March 03, 2016

Presidential politics and front-running candidates are prompting some Americans to ask the question, "Where would I move to?" Omid Safi prompts another kind of reckoning — of an America yet that has yet to be.

BY Omid Safi
February 25, 2016

Challenged by Donald Trump's recent fear-mongering, Omid Safi asks us to look deeply into our history and ourselves and find the courage to save our democratic experiment.

BY Omid Safi
February 18, 2016

Reminding ourselves to breathe is simple enough, but the act of slowing down and bringing our awareness inward can be difficult. Omid Safi with a reminder that the ritual of respiration can be the place where presence of spirit begins.

BY Omid Safi
February 11, 2016

After a stint in the rain, our columnist comes to appreciate a new orientation to gray days, both in meteorology and in life.

BY Omid Safi
February 04, 2016

Our language to be inclusive through terms like "Judeo-Christian" and "Abrahamic" might not be big enough to encompass the needs of the many.

BY Omid Safi
January 28, 2016

If there's one thing winter teaches its humbled residents, it's that gratitude begins before the snow falls and happiness finds new heart in the thaw.

BY Omid Safi
January 21, 2016

After an act of animal generosity by the imam of an Istanbul mosque, Omid Safi meditates on the meaning of true human kindness. A celebration of love extended beyond the borders of kinship, community, and species.

BY Omid Safi
January 14, 2016

Pride for our identities and communities can be a source of strength. Pride can also lead us to forget empathy for those unlike us. A generous reminder that the reach of our compassion must stretch beyond the familiar.

BY Omid Safi
January 07, 2016

Sometimes when a conflict involves Muslims, “Islam” may not be the best category for understanding it. Omid Safi with a reflection on the current crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and why framing it as religion is not the most helpful framework.

BY Omid Safi
December 31, 2015

Untamed, wild beauty kindles a yearning and an awe that few man-made structures can, even the most sacred churches, mosques, or temples. Our resident bard with a praise song for the wide open spaces that beckon us to open our hearts to all people and things before us.

BY Omid Safi
December 24, 2015

Christians and Muslims are celebrating the births of Muhammad and Jesus on back-to-back days. Omid Safi reflects on these beautiful adjacencies and what the unity of these two traditions can teach us about opening our hearts, minds, and homes to those seeking physical or spiritual refuge.

BY Omid Safi
December 17, 2015

More than 800 years later, the great Sufi mystic Rumi continues to influence millions. Omid Safi marvels at the unifying and ripening power of Rumi's wisdom and grace through his poetry and his presence.

BY Omid Safi
December 10, 2015

Our responses to violence have become routine, which is its own tragedy. A necessary reminder that while good will is essential, it is powerless if it does not fuel our actions.

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