Imam literally means leader or guide in Arabic. For most Sunni Muslims, an imam is someone who leads namaaz, or prayer. For most Shi’i Muslims, an Imam is a religious or spiritual authority for the community.
Ali Asani is Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. A scholar of Islam in South Asia, Prof Asani's research focuses on Shia and Sufi devotional traditions in the region. In addition, he is interested in popular or folk forms of Muslim devotional life, Muslim communities in the West and the role of the arts in promoting religious literacy.
Hussein Rashid is currently a faculty member at Hofstra University and Associate Editor at Religion Dispatches. He is the convener of islamicate and a contributor to Talk Islam and AltMuslimah. He received an MA and PhD from Harvard’s Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. His dissertation focused on the role of music as a means of integration amongst South Asian immigrants to the US and the UK. His larger research interest is the representation and self-representation of Muslims in America. He is currently expanding his research to include graphic novels and the Muslim-American blogistan.