Precious Rasheeda Muhammad—author, award-winning speaker, poet, publisher, and Harvard-trained researcher—is not only nationally known for her ability to educate and inspire audiences of diverse faiths and backgrounds about the full diversity of America’s unique Muslim heritage, but also for her ability to empower them with the tools to build community through a deeper understanding of the history.
Precious brings more than a decade of experience and commitment to interfaith work, including chaplaincy work at a 770-bed hospital and a significant role in planning and implementing the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Melbourne, Australia. Held in a different city every five years, the Parliament it is considered the largest interfaith gathering in the world.
Precious is widely-recognized for her original research contributions to the study of Islam in America.
As a student, frustrated with the paucity of scholarship on Islam in America, Precious founded and spearheaded the Islam in America conferences at Harvard from 2000 to 2001 to educate the Harvard community and general public about the growth and development of Islam in America and to promote tolerance, fellowship and understanding.
Additionally, while completing her graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School, Precious, who friends and family affectionately call “the history detective,” founded an educational publishing company (Journal of Islam in America Press) dedicated to publishing a broad range of titles on the growth and development of Islam in America and discovered, edited, and introduced The Autobiography of Nicholas Said: A Native of Bornou, Eastern Soudan, Central Africa, a narrative about Nicholas Said, the multi-lingual African ex-slave of Muslim heritage who served in the American Civil War and went on to start schools for black children in the south.
Precious’ articles, essays, and spoken word have appeared in the award-winning book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale Press), the African American National Biography (Oxford University Press), Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak (Beacon Press), the Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States (Greenwood Press), Azizah magazine, Upscale magazine, the Muslim Journal, on Beliefnet.Com, Minnesota Public Radio, National Public Radio, the channel formerly know as the WB, and at the Smithsonian, to name a few.
The preeminent Publishers Weekly, “widely recognized as the [publication] industry’s publication of record,” describes Precious’s chapter, “To Be Young, Gifted, Black, American, Muslim, and Woman,” in the book Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak, as one of the “best” and “most absorbing essays” in an anthology that “opens the door for other writers to explore the important and understudied topic of Muslim American women.”
Precious now brings her knowledge and interest in the history of the American Muslim community to Patheos with the “Muslim History Detective” blog.
Precious is a 2010 graduate of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute housed at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
For her continuous efforts to build community across seemingly intractable religious and cultural divides, Coe College recognized her with an honorary doctorate in 2010.
In 2011, Precious gifted the U.S. Department of State with an original research project, crossing four centuries of presidential engagement of Muslim communities (1787-2011), which debuted at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Precious currently lives in Virginia with her husband and two young daughters.