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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 omidsafi@gmail.com.

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Recent mass killings in Oregon and abroad inculcate a kind of fear that can be paralyzing. Through the lens of a Native American tale, Omid Safi refuses to feed those wolves and chooses to feed another wolf: love.
When teaching about 9/11 and the dignity of all lives, a professor encounters a student in class who lost her father in the World Trade Center attacks. Her kind response is a reminder that we must sometimes reconcile our advocacy for, and anger towards, others with compassion for our fellow human beings.
"In their love, their tenderness, and their hope, there is hope for all of us." Inspired by a moving photo of a pair of Syrian refugees, Omid contemplates how love can motivate us to take a treacherous path in hopes of reaching a brighter future.
"We live in a state of constant scatteredness," writes Omid Safi. Through the lens of the Hajj, he turns our gaze to the true focus of the journey: to seek, to find, and to be found.

Essay

September 12, 2015

The Shoes

The image of a small boy's body washed onto the beach awakened the world to the largest refugee crisis in decades. Omid Safi shares his heartbreak, reminding us that love and compassion must lead toward action and must reach across geographical boundaries and borders of faith.
When asked how long they'd been married, Aljosie Harding named their time together down to the minute. Omid Safi marvels at the unexpected and profound love that infuses our world at any stage of living — and it's awe-inspiring power to provide hope in the face of grief.
Suffering can be a backstop for unexpected joy. A lyrical "Rumi"ination on shadow, gratitude, and the light of the stranger.
We spill something on ourselves, and then we postpone the inevitable: the cleaning. We often do the same thing with the pain and anger we inevitably experience. Omid and Rumi have something to say about stain-treating our hearts.
The prophetic voice is one that challenges, adapts, and evolves alongside history. Omid Safi reminds us of the sermon Dr. King never gave and invites us to live up to his hopeful invitation to create an America that is yet to be.
With a vivid retelling of a story from the sage poet Rumi, Omid Safi on the wisdom of chickpeas and going from a state of hardness to one of softness — and being on fire.
A metaphorically rich reminder that the "hard" values we so often revere and strive for in this modern world often supplant the necessary gentleness required to cultivate relationships, understanding, and love of one another.