And here, in this awesomely beautiful and frightening ice storm, there is also beauty: friends reaching out to friends. There is something about storms of life that strip us to our core, literally to our heart. And what a joy to discover that there, in the mist of the storm, people are good and beautiful, that our primal instinct is to connect our lives, to reach out in love and service.
Author Archives: Omid Safi
About Omid Safi
Omid Safi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study 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 here: http://www.illuminatedtours.com
Here’s a Muslim response to the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” video: you’re boring me. These pseudo-controversies are merely a distraction from the real task confronting all of us.
We laugh at Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day because we too step in the same puddle every day, relive the same tensions with the same people every day. And ultimately, love breaks the rut of existence.
One should not confuse reading quotes about Malcolm with walking in his footsteps. But Malcolm himself emphasized the importance of education. So in light of that, here are 14 of Brother Malcolm’s radical teachings.
All too often the African American History month is reduced to a mantra of “integration” and “co-existence” rather than one of liberation. This leads to leaving out the radical black tradition, as well as legacy of Muslim African Americans.
So many of us give in by bemoaning the capitalist and corporate appropriation of love by the Chocolate, Cards, and Rose Industrial Complex. (All of which is true). But none of that removes the bitterness from our hearts, and perhaps even augments it. So here are three practical steps to move from bitterness to joy on this Valentine’s Day.
Today we allow ourselves to imagine other climes, other realities, other symbols, other possibilities to see God’s mercy not merely as the sunshine that shines on all but also as the snow that covers all. What would it be like for us to imagine other spiritual “climes” without the tribalism, sexism, and classism that marked the original context of so much of early Biblical and Arab societies?
We love not in order to attain to this beloved, that beloved.
We love in order to attain to love itself.
And since God is love,
we love in order to attain to God.
Muslims remember the Prophet as having taught us: “Die before you die.” It is a paradoxical statement, with two deaths. And a luminous life in the middle.