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Omid Safi is the author of Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters (HarperOne 2009). Memories of Muhammad provides a new biography of the Prophet of Islam as the role model for millions of modern Muslims. In this new biography, Omid Safi, a rising scholar of Islam, presents a portrait of Muhammad that reveals his centrality in the devotions of modern Muslims around the world. Covering such hot button issues such as the spread of Islam, holy wars, the role of women, the significance of Jerusalem, tensions with Jews and Christians, wahabbi Islam, and the role of cyberspace in the evolution of the religion, Memories of Muhammad presents Muhammad as a lens through which to present the unfolding of both Islamic history and Islamic religion.

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I imagine God to be a loving force encompassing and transcending the whole cosmos. God is the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty. As the Qur’an says, closer than the beating of our own heart to us, and simultaneously beyond any and all that we can imagine. As the mystic Ibn ‘Arabi said, it is as if the whole cosmos is God’s womb. I like that image of an Unseen God who cares about the cosmos the way a pregnant mother provides nourishment and love for her unborn child. 1 person liked this

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in One God, one humanity.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator When my daughter was born. After that, everyday, when I see human beings reach out of love to care for one another above and beyond concern for their own wellbeing.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Every day, when I see hatred and prejudice in the world. 1 person liked this
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Rejuvenation. It amuses me that when our cell-phones begin to run out of charge, we run to the nearest plug to charge them. But so many of us, particularly those inclined towards activism, run about “doing” good when our hearts have been stuck on empty. 1 person liked this
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That the mad actions of a few crazies are more important than the everyday poetry of 1.5 billion souls on this planet. 1 person liked this
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Prophet Muhammad, Martin Luther King, Rumi, His Holiness Dalai Lama.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator To be a child of the moment. Every moment of life is a fresh creation by God, there is no reason to hang on to past pain, or to live in anticipation/fear of the future. Be here, now, treat the person you are with now as the most important person in the world, and the task that you are engaged in now as the most important task in the world. Learn from children, who everyday treat each day with awe and wonder. 1 person liked this

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator ... In a loving God that I shared conversation with, everyday. I still do.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Long, slow, patient, ongoing.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator As a Shi’i Muslim, taught that the whole of humanity is God’s creation, precious, and precious to God. 1 person liked this
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator At the heart, they are derived from the kindness and humanity that I saw my parents live, and embody without talking about. Theirs was a quiet, loving, kind Islam that was lived, without being named. 1 person liked this
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Love for one’s children was never a question for me, but becoming a parent has taught me about the importance of service, everyday service, and of service when one is tired and exhausted and there is still work to be done.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator God-willing, each and every time I encounter another fellow human being. 1 person liked this
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My wife is Catholic, though very respectful towards Islam. Our children are raised as Muslim, though we also embrace and celebrate Christian holidays as holy days, particularly Christmas and Easter. 1 person liked this
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It is easy to call oneself a Muslim. It is hard to live up to the ideals established by the Prophet Muhammad, because there is an ongoing struggle everyday against the selfishness of one’s own self. 1 person liked this
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The love for one another, as a reflection of God’s love. And prayers with my children. 1 person liked this
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Song: U2’s One. Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Book: Qur’an, and Rumi’s Masnavi Movie: Shadowlands. The first Matrix film.

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No state should be in the business of establishing or favoring one religion over another, and there should be exactly and identically the same set of rights and privileges extended to the citizens of every nation, regardless of the religious background or ethnicity of the citizens. However, I am also in favor of citizens being free to incorporate their faith traditions as forces for justice in the public arena, so long as their doing so does not deprive other citizens of their rights. 2 people liked this
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely. Religion is a pivotal component of humanity’s history. No major civilization can be understood apart from references to its religious system. The key would be to make sure that the presentations of religions are even-handed, and do not favor one religion above another, and that the teachers who are charged with this instruction have had the adequate training. 2 people liked this
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Again, these are among the most influential works in the history of humanity. The key would be presenting them both as literature, and as the adherents of each tradition have come to understand these texts. We would also need to make sure that the texts are not presented as caricatures of their faith, but as living, dynamic texts that have opened up to a wide spectrum of authentic interpretations. 1 person liked this
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It is not important. It is indispensable. Our lives and existence is interconnected. It’s easy to see the movement of goods, people, and ideas across the globe today. For there to be peace in the world, there has to be a peace rooted in genuine understanding among the religions, and the adherents of humanity’s religions.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I do. We are called to bring humanity together, or rather, to help us see our already present interconnectedness.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Faith that is not put into action is not a genuine faith, but merely a fantasy. A faith worth its name would illuminate one’s life, and would come to shape the way we treat our fellow human beings, the one planet we call home, and our own selves. Our most important action today is to see our own spiritual growth as being connected to standing up for justice for all of God's children. 1 person liked this
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Only a faith that is accommodationist would be compromised. A religious faith that stands solidly on the side of the weak and the meek of the Earth would not be. The task of religion is not to legitimize politics, but to be the voice of conscience for its society, and speak truth to power in the prophetic tradition of Amos, Jesus, and Muhammad. As Martin said, it is not to be the thermometer of society, but the thermostat. 1 person liked this
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator 9/11 should not have changed everything, but it did. It should not have, because human suffering did not begin on 9/11, but given the prominence of America on the world stage and the scale of the destruction on American soil, it did change everything. My own interest in religions pre-dated 9/11, but since 9/11 I have become even more interested in religious voices that simultaneously uplift the loftiest aspects of their faith while leading their community. What I am tired of is having to answer the same questions each and every day, which takes time away from more worthwhile pursuits. 1 person liked this

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Published October 11, 2010

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