Meena Sharify-Funk

Meena Sharify-Funk is an Associate Professor and former Chair for the Religion and Culture Department at Wilfrid Laurier University who specializes in Islamic studies with a focus on contemporary Islamic and Sufi thought and identity. She also is the mom of a beautiful 11 year-old child who consistently reminds her how to live a life of awe and wonder.  Sharify-Funk has written and presented a number of articles and papers on Islamic and Sufi hermeneutics, women and Islam and the role of cultural and religious factors in peacemaking. She has written, co-authored and co-edited several books including Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics and Popular Culture (2018), Unveiling Sufism: From Manhattan to Mecca (2017), Encountering the Transnational: Women, Islam, and the Politics of Interpretation (2008), Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static (2006) and Cultural Diversity and Islam (2003).  

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In all of the world’s religions, one finds the notion of a “holy fool”: an individual who transcends societal conventions with his/her ridiculous behavior and unpredictable manner of revealing moral truths. For my “Religious Heritage of Islam” and “Religions and Cultures of the Middle East” courses, one of ...

One of my previous blog posts mentioned the significance of storytelling and how I love sharing stories of my own travel to help students imagine the world of the classroom subject and, hopefully, to inspire students to travel and experience this world for themselves. As most teachers can testify, some ...

Due to the diversity of Muslims in the southern Ontario region, my classes on Islam always bring together students from a variety of different sectarian, legalistic as well as interpretive, understandings of Islam. For instance, in my “Introduction to Islam” course, one can find Sunnis from various regions of the ...

I was scheduled to write a blog post on teaching about controversial issues and how they are shaping contemporary Muslim identities in North America. Guessing, however, that many readers may be fatigued from the barrage of unfavorable events – from the U.S. travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries ...

In my last two blogs, I have been sharing some thoughts on teaching Sufism and contemporary Sufism, giving special consideration to the importance of helping students actively explore different elements of Sufi tradition and culture in the different Islamic periods. For this blog, I would like to point out opportunities ...

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