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].

What Hamilton Taught Me About Religion

by Omid Safi

A lesson in expectations, disappointment, and living forward tradition from our Hamilton-obsessed columnist.

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What Hamilton Taught Me About Religion

Seeking the Spirit in the Midst of a Hurricane

by Omid Safi

The recent hurricanes and wildfires teach us not only about climate change and human folly, but also about the fundamental goodness of people in the face of disaster.

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Seeking the Spirit in the Midst of a Hurricane

His Voicemails Were a Kind of Afterlife

by Omid Safi

A modern-day tragedy has befallen Omid: His iPhone has died. But there’s a deep lesson in this, too — on ensuring that our memories are stored in a deeper and more enduring place.

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His Voicemails Were a Kind of Afterlife

Solitude Is About More Than Just Being Alone

by Omid Safi

The value of solitude isn’t simply in retreating from a chaotic world. It’s a discipline that’s different for all of us — and one that we can practice wherever we are.

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Solitude Is About More Than Just Being Alone

What Maya Angelou Taught Me About Paying It Forward

by Omid Safi

An ode to a sentence from the legendary poet on recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of generations past to get us where we are — and on “paying it forward” as the best way to pay them back.

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What Maya Angelou Taught Me About Paying It Forward

Orüç Güvenç’s Music Is the Closest I’ve Come to the Sound of Heaven

by Omid Safi

Learning of the great ethnomusicologist’s death, our columnist offers an “ocean of remembrance” in return for the Turkish Sufi master who embodied the poetry of Islam in both his music and his being.

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Orüç Güvenç’s Music Is the Closest I’ve Come to the Sound of Heaven

The Power of Being Seen for Who We Are

by Omid Safi

How can we nurture our identity and faith if we don’t feel recognized for who we are? A reflection on yearning for a community that truly sees us.

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The Power of Being Seen for Who We Are

I Am Not Your Other

by Omid Safi

Omid Safi on the experience of being institutionally invisible — and how our structures and spirits might change to acknowledge each other’s entire being.

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I Am Not Your Other

The Spirituality of the Ordinary Is Luminous

by Omid Safi

The extraordinary is revered and celebrated, but where does that leave the ordinary? On rediscovering the meaning of awe, and finding it in the quiet majesty of the daily grind.

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The Spirituality of the Ordinary Is Luminous

Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk

by Omid Safi

There are gems at the heart of all our faith traditions. Omid Safi on the challenge ahead to polish away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the light from shining.

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Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk