Michael Muhammad Knight is a PhD candidate in Islamic studies at UNC Chapel Hill. His research focuses on American Muslims and notions of the body in hadith literature. Michael became Muslim at the age of 16, after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and at 17 traveled to Pakistan to study Islam at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Michael is the author of 9 books of fiction and nonfiction. His novel, The Taqwacores, has become the basis for two films: an adaptation of the novel, as well as a documentary covering taqwacore (Muslim punk rock) artists who adopted the novel as an influence. Michael’s other projects include research of the Five Percenter community, several memoirs of his experiences as an American Muslim, and a narrative of his pilgrimage to Mecca.
This semester at UNC, Michael teaches Religion 248, Introduction to American Islam, which examines American Muslims in the contexts of broader American engagements of race, gender, and religious diversity.
“Sometimes my belief guides my action and sometimes my action guides my belief. Sometimes I pray because the act of praying makes me someone who believes in prayer. That practice is the journey of making myself a Muslim, and it’s a lifelong journey.”