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Arts & Culture

Illumination In Isolation: How Omid Safi Forms Spiritual Community During COVID-19

Omid Safi

Omid Safi, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke, knew that the months of April and May would be difficult for the Muslim community this year. Like Easter and Passover, the holy month of Ramadan will be celebrated much differently due to COVID-19’s ongoing social distancing restrictions. 

Responding to a need for an unconventional way to gather, reflect, and inspire, Safi developed a series of online lectures called Illuminated Courses, centered on the poetry of 13th-century mystic poet Rumi and other Muslim sages. The work has drawn students from several religious backgrounds. Host Frank Stasio talks to Omid Safi about spiritually weathering the pandemic and how Illuminated Courses can help Muslims form a sense of togetherness during Ramadan, despite social distancing.

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