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Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters | Lecture by Omid Safi | 8:00 | $10

In spite of the ubiquitous claim to “follow the Sunna”, Omid Safi contends that we as Muslims have largely forgotten about the profound prophetic character of the Prophet’s mission. This presentation is an attempt to remember the profoundly transformative challenge that the Prophet represented—and represents—to the spiritual, moral, economic, and political structure of human society then and NOW. Of particular emphasis will be the mystical qualities of the Prophet, highlighted during the Heavenly Ascension (mi’raj), the forgotten legacies of Islamic art related to the Prophet, and the mandate for a holistic and indivisible sense of justice. No background knowledge required or assumed.

Omid Safi is a leading public Muslim intellectual in America. He 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 at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion.

Omid is an award-winning teacher and speaker, and was nominated six times at Colgate University for the “Professor of the Year” award, and before that twice at Duke University for the Distinguished Lecturer award. At the University of North Carolina, he received the award for mentoring minority students in 2009, and the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010. Audiences and students alike marvel at his ability to communicate the subtleties of religion, politics, and history in an accessible, straight-forward, and humorous fashion deeply steeped in a genuine humane commitment.
He is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003). In this ground-breaking volume,  he inaugurated a new understanding of Islam which is rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious/ethnic pluralism. His work Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, was published by UNC Press in 2006. His last book was published by HarperCollins, titled Memories of Muhammad, and deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has a forthcoming volume from Princeton University Press on the famed mystic Rumi. The Carnegie Foundation recognized Omid as a leading Scholar of Islam in 2007-2008. That topic will be the topic of his next book from Harvard University Press. His volume on American Islam is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

He has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing frequently in the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and international media. He has recently been designated as the lead Islam writer for the Huffington Post.

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