Jalal ad-Dın Muhammad Rumı, also known as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic. Rumi is widely considered the greatest mystical poet in history. His path is one that brings a deep and passionate divine love to mingle with humanity.
More recently, his work has also become among the best-selling poetry in America.
From April 21-23, the Mercy By The Sea Retreat and Conference Center in Madison will host Omid Safi, a leading Muslim public intellectual and Director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center, one of the leading institutions for research on Islam and promotion of publically accessible scholarship on Islam and Muslim communities worldwide. He is a professor of Islamic Studies, and specializes in contemporary Islamic thought and spirituality.
The retreat will examine Rumi as an example of Islamic mystical poetry in a way that challenges many commonly held ideas about Islam. In particular, his masterpiece, the Masnavi, will be considered as a mystical text that charts a path from brokenness and suffering through the path of erotic Divine love to arrive at healing and realization as a full human being. No previous familiarity with his work is necessary.
Omid is also the Chair of the Islamic Mysticism group at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion. He is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism. His work, “Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam”, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, was published in 2006. His “Memories of Muhammad” is an award-winning biography of the Prophet Muhammad, and he has a forthcoming volume from Princeton University Press on Rumi. The Carnegie Foundation recognized Omid as a leading Scholar of Islam in 2007-2008.
The weekend will include presentations, conversations and time for individual reflection to enjoy the spring beauty of the gardens
and shoreline. For more information, call 203-245-0401 or visit mercybythesea.org.