The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam Negotiating Ideology and Religious Inquiry

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In a far-r Safi examines the rule of the Great Saljuqs, a Turkish-speaking people from central Asia, who, in the 11th century, established rule over the eastern half of the Islamic world that lasted for 150 years.









Omid Safi

Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Omid is a scholar of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) as well as contemporary Islamic thought at Duke University. He returned to Duke University in 2014 (after having obtained a BA, MA, and PhD from Duke earlier) to lead the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

Omid’s passion for teaching has been recognized through the ten times that he has been nominated for professor of the year awards.  A leading Muslim public intellectual, Omid is committed to the intersection of spirituality and social justice.

Omid has published extensively on the foundational sources of Islam and Sufism. His Memories of Muhammad is a biography of the Prophet Muhammad.  His most recent book is Radical Love:  Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition (published by Yale). His next book is Breathing With God:  Spiritual Sayings of Kharaqani (also by Yale), followed by a book on the mystic Rumi from Princeton. 

Omid is also deeply committed to liberationist prophetic traditions in the legacy of Martin Luther King, Rabbi Heschel, and Malcolm X.  He has been invited by the family of Dr. King to speak at Ebenezer Church on the relevance of Dr. King for today’s America, and has delivered the Martin Luther King keynote in the annual national MLK service.

Omid often appears as an expert on Islam in the New York TimesNewsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, BBC, CNN and other outlets. He is a recent columnist for On Being, and now has a podcast (“Sufi Heart”) at Be Here Now. In his work outside of Duke, his Illuminated Tours have taken more than a 1,000 friends from over twenty countries to Turkey and Morocco since 2002, and he is now offering Illuminated Courses for online offerings on spiritual traditions open to seekers of all backgrounds.


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