The On Being Project

Omid Safi
Omid Safi

leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at Illuminated Tours.

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and PluralismCambridge Companion to American IslamPolitics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam; and Memories of Muhammad. His forthcoming books include Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York TimesNewsweekWashington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at [email protected].

Where Do We Go From Here? Twelve Points to Ponder After President Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

by Omid Safi

Following the president’s decision to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem, our columnist reminds us that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a simple question of theology. It is wrapped up in political, historical, and colonialist motivations that prevent the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities from reaching a peace in the holy city that all can share.

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Where Do We Go From Here? Twelve Points to Ponder After President Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

The Characterization of Sufism as a Separate Sect Within Islam Is Inaccurate and Problematic

by Omid Safi

Omid Safi explores the harmful good Sufi/bad Muslim construct in the way we talk about Islam — and calls for a greater understanding of the true breadth of the spectrum of Islamic thought.

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The Characterization of Sufism as a Separate Sect Within Islam Is Inaccurate and Problematic

The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know”

by Omid Safi

It can be hard, sometimes embarrassing, to admit we don’t have the answers. But there’s grace and wisdom in owning up to what we don’t know — and giving space for the strengths of those we might overshadow.

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The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know”

We Can Do Better Than “Not All Men”

by Omid Safi

On joining our individual reckoning with injustice with the practical work of changing the broken structures that affect our lives.

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We Can Do Better Than “Not All Men”

The Mystical Experience of Driving

by Omid Safi

We never would have guessed it, but Omid is a total gearhead. What a jaunt in a convertible dream car taught him about seeking out the luminous moments in the mundane — that while we can’t all speed around in expensive convertibles, we can find the joy of driving the family car with all the windows rolled down.

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The Mystical Experience of Driving

You Know You’re An Immigrant When…

by Omid Safi

To feast on Mom’s home cooking is its own blessing — but sometimes, traveling with it is a different story. On the particular frustration of traveling while brown and Muslim, and on food as a vehicle for love, not judgment.

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You Know You’re An Immigrant When…

How Can We Live Beautifully in an Age of Vitriol?

by Omid Safi

It’s easy to respond to vitriol in kind. But, our columnist asks, what if we looked to examples of our better nature and chose to reflect back a spirit of kindness, instead?

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How Can We Live Beautifully in an Age of Vitriol?

The Problem with Asking “Where Are You From?”

by Omid Safi

We might laugh at the clumsiness of the question, posed so often to people with brown skin in the U.S. But Omid Safi asks us to consider what we’re really saying when we ask this question — and how we might expand our imagination about what American identity is.

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The Problem with Asking “Where Are You From?”

How to Reach Out to Someone Who Is Struggling

by Omid Safi

Asking for help in hard times can be difficult, sometimes accompanied by shame. Our columnist offers practical tools for sharing and lifting the burdens of loved ones who have fallen on hard times.

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How to Reach Out to Someone Who Is Struggling

The Blessing of Friends Who Weather the Storm With Us

by Omid Safi

When it feels like our life has been turned upside-down, sometimes the greatest comfort isn’t advice or a solution, but having someone to simply endure alongside us.

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The Blessing of Friends Who Weather the Storm With Us