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Trance Effect of Chanting & Fawning on a Christmatic Pir
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 28, 2014 09:46PM

This is an important first hand report. The author trained
at a top notch graduate school in London (School of South Asian Studies/SOAS)

Very astute. And he candidly describes how he was swept into ecstacy
by chanting. Powerful stuff.

However, the social scene and fawning behavior permitted by the Sheikh
worried him - rightfully so.

All this could be observed by a visitor.

What is far more dangerous is when a group is a social and psychological
kindergarten centered on a charismatic leader and keeps all this a careful
secret, behind closed doors, in a secretive members only enclosure.

A talented but vulnerable person could be targeted for recruitment and not
even know what he or she is being recruited into. Especially when recruitment
is done so very gradually that one doesnt sense any incongruities.

The Sufi Path: Abooli's Blog []

(Quote)Abooali’s Blog 3. The Sufi Path soas-islamic-soc3
Members of SOAS Islamic Society, October 1980.

I joined the SOAS Students Union Islamic Society as soon as I started at London University in September 1980 and became it’s president in 1981, a post I held until 1984.

During my presidency I set up an Islamic bookstall, organized talks and debates and showed films, set up a room for daily prayers and got permission to use one of the lecture rooms for Friday Prayers. At first we shared the responsibility of giving the sermon among the students, but this proved difficult, as most were either too busy too prepare a talk or felt unqualified to do it.

Eventually we decided to invite a speaker from outside and approached Dr Kalim Siddiqui, the Director of “The Muslim Institute” just down the road in Endsleigh Street. Dr. Siddiqui was obsessed with the Islamic revolution in Iran and was on a mission to promote a similar revolutionary ideology amongst British Muslims. He later went on to form “The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain” with the aim of creating a “non-territorial Islamic state” in the UK.

At first our Friday prayers, led by Dr. Siddiqui and his understudy, Dr Ghayasuddin, were well attended. The talks were always highly political and revolved around the history of European colonialism in Muslim lands and how this was the cause of the backwardness, poverty and decline in Islamic values that Muslims were suffering at present. A great deal of rhetoric was also directed at America, ‘The Great Satan’, which, it was claimed, was embarked on a new form of economic and social colonialism even more sinister, since it used puppet regimes to keep Muslims enslaved and ignorant of their Islamic heritage.

Interesting as this was to young students eager for a cause to take up, the subject of God and spirituality seemed conspicuously absent, and many of us began to tire of hearing the same thing, week after week.

After a while the numbers attending started to go down, and as the responsibility of clearing chairs, laying sheets and putting everything back was becoming a chore that my close friend Hussein and I had to do on our own, I decided to end Friday prayers on the campus and recommend students attend a local Mosque.

There were two mosques near enough to walk to and be back in time for afternoon lectures – though it meant skipping lunch.

“The Mosque of Light” near Euston Station, was a small room in the basement of an Edwardian terrace that had seen better days. Most of the congregation came from the Bangladeshi community in the area, many of whom worked for British Rail or as traffic wardens. They would rush to the mosque, straight from work and, still in uniform, place handkerchiefs on their heads and squeeze into the cramped space, spilling out onto the street. The only signs of the room being a mosque were the sheets on the hard floor and a small broken bookshelf that leaned over, top heavy with Qur’ans.

The second mosque was in the plush new offices of the “Muslim World League” in Tottenham Court Road.

Funded by Saudi Arabia to propagate Islam, it was full of well paid administrators who dealt with applications for grants. The prayer room was a smart carpeted hall, well stocked with expensively bound books.

At first I attended “The Mosque of Light”, as I found the atmosphere there much more authentic, but then the renowned Sufi preacher, Sheikh Nazim, began giving sermons at The Muslim World League every other Friday.

I had been reading some of the great Sufi poets and writers and was drawn to their universalistic and mystical approach, so I was eager to listen to Sheikh Nazim.

Born in 1922 in the town of Larnaca in Cyprus, he first moved to Istanbul to study Chemical Engineering at university, and then to Damascus in 1945 to study under Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani, of the Naqshabandi Sufi Order.

From there he traveled around the world, particularly in Western Europe, where he had built up a large following and was presently based in Peckham, south London. His followers spoke very highly of him and told me he had ‘special’ knowledge about many things, including the coming of the Mahdi – ‘the Rightly Guided One’ prophesized in hadith.

It seems odd now that the Saudis, who did not approve of Sufism, allowed him to preach at the World League, but the director at the time was an amiable, broad minded Saudi who embraced many different views, and it should be remembered that in the early 80s there had not yet developed the sharp ideological divisions amongst Muslims in Britain that were soon to occupy them.

Sheikh Nazim arrived to deliver his sermon, wearing a huge green turban and a long flowing green cloak. He was flanked by Murids, students of his spiritual path, dressed in the same manner.

I was immediately struck by his presence and charisma. He had a slow and deliberate way of speaking, in which he paused on words he wished to emphasise, and when he smiled, which was often, he looked like your favourite granddad, about to make a sweet appear from behind his ear. His strong Turkish accent only added to the endearing quality of his speech.

I enjoyed his talk greatly and wanted to speak to him in person about his predictions of the Mahdi, but there was never time, as I had to rush back to university. However, when one of his followers invited me to attend a small gathering in Peckham, I jumped at the chance.

The mosque in Peckham was a converted flat over a grocer’s shop and gave no outward clue to the devotions inside. More than half of those present were white Europeans, an odd assortment of professionals, ex-hippies, eccentrics and drop-outs. Many of those I spoke to seemed to be very narcissistic with a messianic complex, which jarred with the perception of Sufism I had got from reading Rumi and Ibn Arabi. I sat next to a young English convert who looked like a 1920s gangster – slick back hair, pin striped suit and dark glasses. As the room was only dimly lit, I assumed he could see nothing through the glasses.

“Assalamu-Aalykum, my name is Hassan.”
“My name is Sulayman.” He lowered his glasses. “But you can call me Slim”
“Are you a regular here at Sheikh Nazim’s circles?”
For no apparent reason he replied in Arabic.
“Al-Hamdulilah, Kuntu azooru Sheikh Nazim al Halaqa li Mudda Atiqa.”
It translated as “Praise be to God, I was visiting Sheikh Nazim the Circle for an ancient time!”
“Oh.” I nodded
“Wa min ayna anta?” (Where are you from?) he continued in Arabic.
“Ana min Finchley fi Shimal London,” (I’m from Finchley in North London) I said trying to get into the spirit of things.

Sheikh Nazim came in followed by his students in green turbans and cloaks. As he sat down, a plump German lady rushed up and kissed his feet. Several others followed and either prostrated at his feet or kissed his hands. Slim encouraged me to join him in greeting the Sheikh.

“Assalamu Alaykum,” I said stiffly, extending my hand for him to shake.
“Wa Alaykum Assalam wa rahmatullah,” he replied, taking my hand and smiling.

Once we were all seated again, Sheikh Nazim began leading the Zikr (Remembrance), congregational chanting of God’s names or supplications. He started repeating the words “Allahu, Allah Haqq” (God! God is Truth). Everyone immediately joined in and started gently swaying to the rhythm of the words.

After what seemed like a very long time Sheik Nazim signaled a change in the words and the pace, by repeating

“Allahu, Allah Hayy” (God! God is Living). By the time Sheikh Nazim led another change, the energy level had grown so great that the whole room seemed to be vibrating to the rhythm.

“Allah Hayy, Ya Qayyum.” (God is Living, Oh the Awake!)

Most had their eyes closed and appeared to be in a state of intense concentration as they swayed together.

I couldn’t resist the pounding rhythm and became carried away with rocking back and forth as I repeated “Allah Hayy, Ya Qayyum” over and over again.

The room became hazy and looked like a black and white negative image; everything around me was disappearing. It was an almost psychedelic experience and I was completely lost in the moment, throwing myself backwards and forwards without any inhibition or self consciousness. U

nfortunately it also meant that I was unaware of the abrupt end to the proceedings and to my great embarrassment, I continued chanting and swaying for a second or two after everyone else had stopped.

Sheik Nazim recited some prayers and began his sermon. He spoke in a heavy accent, mispronouncing many English words
“Allah love all his serv-hents. Allah love everything! Every human, every creature, every plant, every rock. Allah does not hate. If Allah hate something it cannot exist.”

He would choose someone in the audience to look at in the eye, as though he were speaking to someone special.

“Allah’s love is not animal love we see in Dunya (this world). It is love that never change. It is love that never die. Our purpose is to reach higher love and immerse ourselves in Love Oceans.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by ‘Love Oceans’, but it sounded wonderful.

“Only when the serv-hent worship Allah can he wake Love Oceans.

We live in time of hate and misery. Most human know only physical love and so become unhappy and miserable.

Without waking Love Oceans we can never content.”

I was impressed by both his message and his manner, but felt uncomfortable about the exaggerated reverence his followers showered on him, and decided to ask him about this, during the question and answer session that followed.

“Is it Islamic to allow people to prostrate at your feet? Prophet Muhammad didn’t have people prostrating at his feet, did he?”
My question prompted angry murmurs and boos, which made my face blush and eyes water.

“I do not ask they do, but if they wish for love and respect, I accept. Remember parents prophet Yusuf prostrate to him.”

I wanted to ask him more questions, particularly about his prediction about the Mahdi, but others were keen to speak. A young couple presented themselves – both converts, one English and one Asian.

“We would like to ask your holiness for your blessing to get married.”

After asking their names and a little about their background, he gave them his approval, placing his hand on their foreheads and saying a prayer. Others quickly came forward with questions.

“I had a dream Sheikh that I was on top of a mountain, there was a light above me and flowers began raining down.”

“This is good dream my child, you receiving Divine gifts.”

“My sister is sick, Sheikh. Please pray for her recovery.”

He held his hands up and prayed, and everyone followed.

Eventually he got up and moved towards the staircase, still surrounded by petitioners.

This was my final chance, before he disappeared. I squeezed myself forward through the crowd.

“Sheikh Nazim, can I ask you about the Mahdi. You said he’s coming?”
He started walking up the stairs followed by his green bodyguards.

“He is here!”

“In this room?” I followed him up the stairs.

“No, in Hijaz.” (The area around Makka and Madinah.)

“Does anyone know who he is?”

“He has not exposed to anyone yet.”

“Then how do you know?”

“My Sheikh tell me.”

“Is that the Sheikh who’s dead?”

Sheikh Nazim believed he was in contact with a Sheikh who had died in the 1940s.\
“It depend on what you mean dead?”

“In the meaning of not being alive.”

Sheikh Nazim’s bodyguards had heard enough of my questions and aggressively blocked my access, pushing me back down the stairs. The Sheikh was swiftly escorted out of sight.

I was a little disappointed with what I had witnessed at Sheikh Nazim’s circle. Not so much with Sheikh Nazim himself, but the way his followers fawned upon him.

It seemed little more than a cult of personality.

I was also extremely skeptical of his claims to special knowledge from a dead Sheikh. After Sheikh Nazim had retired upstairs with some of his Murids, I started to move towards the exit when I was approached by a tall bearded Englishman.

“Are you on the path, brother?”

“Do you mean am I a Sufi? No, not really. I like Sufism and want to learn more, which is why I came here today.”

“To learn more you must take the path.”

“The problem is I find some things a bit off-putting, like kissing feet and special knowledge from a dead Sheikh.”

“In order to follow us you must not judge or object to anything. This is how the Seeker of knowledge must approach his teacher, just as Khidr told Moses not to question anything if he wished to learn.”

“Well, Moses is one thing, but it seems there is a dangerous potential here for the blind to lead the blind, wouldn’t you say?”

“That’s why you must follow the true Sheikh, so you can completely trust him.”

“I find it difficult to completely trust anyone in such matters.”

“Then that is the source of your problem, brother.”

“What makes you trust Sheikh Nazim so completely?”

“In every age there is one chosen representative (Khalifah) of God. In our age it is Sheikh Nazim. He is the Perfect Saint.”

“What is your evidence?”

“Those who follow him have evidence. Sheikh Nazim knows things that cannot be known by ordinary men. He has proven this on many occasions. For example I myself witnessed him predict the precise time that one of his followers would die and it happened exactly as he said it would.”

“I’m not doubting your word, but there may be many rational explanations for that.”

“Yet another proof for you, my dear brother, is that he has the ability to be with every one of his Murids at every given moment. He can be in one place with one and with another in a different place.”

(Corboy: Meher Baba made identical claims. So have many others. Big deal)

“I’m sorry but I find that very hard to believe.”

“It’s the arrogance in your Nafs (Ego) that prevents you from believing. You must stop resisting, let go and open your heart.”

Our conversation reminded me of a passage in Alice in Wonderland:
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Sheikh Nazim has been the subject of many outlandish claims and linked to some far-fetched schemes.

Perhaps one of the more bizarre is “The Moon Temple Project”, a venture aimed at erecting a Mosque on the Moon as a “true sign for rational people.”

The project’s founder, a Russian Muslim called Asadula, said, “There is some Divine predetermination in the fact that the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam and the minarets atop our mosques resemble spaceships.” Asadula got the calling to build the Moon Temple while praying for his brother who was in surgery:

“And in an instant, oh wonder, I lost all sense of reality. It was as though some super-powerful beam of light struck me in the eyes with its radiant brightness. I closed my eyes to shut out the blinding light, but this did not help – the celestial radiance continued to permeate to the core of my very being. I felt as though all the organs of my body had been pierced through and strung out on this mysterious thread of unprecedented light. And, as though continuing some conversation begun long ago and causing my whole body to tremble, a Voice said unto me:

“And such ordeals shall pass, but your destiny is invincible! Your brother has not come to the end of the goodly provision provided unto him. He will recover. And he will stand by your side as you toil together to build a Temple on the Moon. This will be no easy journey. Your path, Asadula, is winding and rocky. And you will raise a Temple on the Moon as a symbol of human faith. And the five-fold azan (call to prayer) for salvation will be heard throughout the universe.”

(Corboy: At least a temple on the moon would not annoy the neighbors.)

Sufism is admired in the West as it suits the trend for religion to be moderate, liberal, and embracing a variety of lifestyles.

One Sufi Sheikh I invited to give a talk at SOAS explained that Sufism is the pinnacle of all religions and one can find Christian, Jewish and Hindu Sufis as well as Muslim Sufis. Sufi Sheikhs were often regarded with the same awe in the 60s and 70s as Hindu Gurus and other mystics of the East, and many a hippie trail ended up following Sufism in one form or another.

But I was unconvinced by Sheikh Nazim’s circle and the Sufi circles I susequently visited.

My experiences made me very skeptical of the claims of such Sheikhs, which seemed at best harmless eccentricity and at worst dangerous self-delusion. Of course I did not blame Sufism as a whole for the short-comings of particular Sufi Sheikhs or their followers, but it did put me off joining a Sufi order.

Nevertheless I was drawn towards the spiritual and metaphorical understanding of Islam that Sufism taught and although I could not call myself a Sufi, I did develop a leaning towards a less literal interpretation of the Qur’an.

A belief that behind the words was a deeper meaning and significance that was not immediately apparent.

I also enjoyed Sufi writings, poetry and parables. Amongst these parables are the light-hearted stories of Joha (also known as Mullah Nasrudin). They are told throughout the Muslim world and are part of an oral tradition going back centuries. They are humerous tales that at the same time impart a wisdom. Perhaps my favourite is one that pokes fun at Sufism itself:

Joha was leading a procession through the local bazaar. Whatever Joha did, those following him did the same. Every few steps he would stop and rock back and forth chanting “Hu Hu Hu Hu!”.

Those following him did the same. He would stop and shake his hands. Those following him did the same. He touched his feet and jumped up in the air. Those following him did the same.

One of the merchants, who knew Joha, quietly asked his old friend;

“What are you doing, Joha? Why are these people imitating you?”
“I have become a Sufi Sheikh.” Replied Joha “These are my Murids (spiritual seekers), I am helping them reach enlightenment!”

“How do you know when they reach enlightenment?”

“That’s the easy part! Every morning I count them. The ones who have left – have reached enlightenment!”

8 Responses

1. whatabastor said, on December 6, 2008 at 12:09 am
I knew a few sufi’s myself, and like you was interested in it because of the poets… but it did not make sense to me.

2. Al said, on December 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm
Interesting chapter, fully of insight!
Can see this is a chronologically linked to chapter 1; some other links are lost, you come across as having lost your faith, at this moment in time as you question the Sufis.
If the goal is to show another side of Islam then it is done very well. The narrative to your life is broken and we lose touch with who you are here; maybe this will become clearer later on as you might say I went on to follow school X.
Very good style.

3. Peter Hearty said, on January 1, 2009 at 4:29 am
Fascinating. I can’t help but draw parallels with Ed Hussein in his book “The Islamist”. He also explored different variants of Islam, but AFAIK, he has remained quite taken with Sufism. I wonder if he, in time, will follow your path?

4. Mathurine said, on January 3, 2009 at 8:45 am
I was deeply into Sufism for the last decade or so, even though I had some of the same problems you are describing here, such as blind adherence to shaykhs, the reverence, the fantastical claims about their abilities, and so forth. But what I ended up seeing was that a lot of these groups are cults of personality, as you mention, and some of them function as cults. It is all so tiring. Not only is prophet the perfect person but so is the shaykh and all shaykhs before him and it’s like, god isn’t there a single regular person on this earth besides me?

5. BoB said, on January 8, 2009 at 3:00 am
This is a good read.
Reminds me a bit of Ziauddin Sardar’s book, Desperately Seeking Paradise.

6. prep4md said, on January 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm
-” It seems odd now that the Saudis, who did not approve of Sufism, allowed him to preach” —- Yes, that is very odd.
-”His followers spoke very highly of him and told me he had ‘special’ knowledge about many things, including the coming of the Mahdi – ‘the Rightly Guided One’ prophesized in hadith” —- this is common nonsense that you hear in some sufi groups which you wont hear in salafi groups. They praise their scholars and teachers way too much and some claim they not only have special knowledge but “special skill” too. Like knowing what the students are doing in secret, interpreting dreams, meeting with or seeing the prophet. you can find more ridiculous examples in the old books of sufis that claim that some of their scholars could walk on water and others went into the sea to teach jinn underwater.

-”ushed up and kissed his feet. Several others followed and either prostrated at his feet or kissed his hands.” – again this is common. But doesn’t it contradict what islam teaches about one being humble and down to earth and sufi teachings of purity selflessness?

-”My question prompted angry murmurs and boos” – so typical of blind followers.
-”My sister is sick, Sheikh. Please pray for her recovery” why dont they ask God directly for her recovery?
-”Sheikh Nazim believed he was in contact with a Sheikh who had died in the 1940s.” this is common in extreme sufi circles
-”I was a little disappointed with what I had witnessed at Sheikh Nazim’s circle. Not so much with Sheikh Nazim himself, but the way his followers fawned upon him.” – Ill be more disappointed with him, if I were you. They are naive and follow him blindly. If he noticed flaws in their actions he should make them change.
-”In order to follow us you must not judge or object to anything. This is how the Seeker of knowledge must approach his teacher, just as Khidr told Moses not to question anything if he wished to learn” — were we created with brains to set them aside and follow others blindly? I do not think so. Perhaps this is why this cult has come so long. Generations upon generations of blind close minded people.
-”In every age there is one chosen representative (Khalifah) of God. In our age it is Sheikh Nazim. He is the Perfect Saint.”
— what about the guy that is followed now in Indonesia, and the other one in Sudan and the third in Syria and the forth in Iraq, all of them are claimed to be “chosen representatives” who should we believe?
-“It’s the arrogance in your Nafs (Ego) that prevents you from believing. You must stop resisting, let go and open your heart.”
— you should have told him: for gods sake you open your brain!

7. Salman Latif said, on March 29, 2009 at 9:20 am
Fine chapter. There are indeed many personality-cults existing in the sufi circles.

Yet, I’m sure a person would never form a rational understanding of any single aspect of a whole ideology on the base of such limited interactions as with a single group or cult.

*(Corboy:SL calls this a "limited interaction' to Corboy does not seem limited at all. Abooli went to a lecture by Nizam, and then made a second journey to attend a full dhikr service. Abooli describes being at the latter for hours and how he was swept into ecstacy by the dhikr chanting. He tells how he persistently asked Sheikh Nizam questions until the Sheikh's bodyguards intervened and shooed him away. To repeat, not a limited interaction. Corboy dares wonder if Abooli had taken bayat, followed Nizam for five years, then decided to leave, whether someone else would have said, "But you left after only five years. This takes a lifetime!" Uh, uh.

Two, the author kept reading Sufi literature (Ibn'Arabi)and invited other Sufi speakers to campus. He did not ‘give up’on Sufism, just continued to have a well founded distrust of the personality cultism that is endemic to the scene--not universal but endemic. It appears Salman Latif equates Nizam Haqqani with Sufism. Thus anyone who cannot accept Nazim as unquestionably holy is lacking. One cannot argue with unquestioning faith.C)
(Salman Latif continues)If you gave up on sufism merely because of this single interaction and the resulting disagreement, I don’t think that was fair enough.

Your narrative is really interesting though.

8. tailorofthegoodgarment said, on June 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm
I love this chapter. As you say it, so it continues and will continue to be!


Options: ReplyQuote
Instilling fear through wonder stories of saints and use of hints
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 01, 2014 08:27PM

Fear Installation - Scaring people into silence w hints

One person in a discussion wrote that he'd been told that it is
'very dangerous'to malign a holy person or saint.

The person claimed that some 'sufi' asserted that was hazardouss to malign a blamless saintly person. Why? Because, this 'sufi teacher' claimed, bad talk would backlash against those daring to malign a saint.

This was not tit for tat karmic payback.

Instead, so the person reports, ‘the teacher’ alleged that bad energy from the ill wisher actually gains added force from the aura of the slandered saint --- recoiling with increased velocity against the perperator!

(***If*** there is such a subject as paranormal ballistics one could term this 'karmic recoil'. Other terms might be 'knockback' 'kickback' or 'kick'.)

This property of the saintly aura gives better protection than body armour currently worn by well equipped combat troops.

This talk of saints' auras is a clever way to instill fear – via story telling.

By contrast, pre Vatican II nuns, brothers and teaching clergy – the ones parodied in Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You, immortalized in countless memoirs – they instilled fear using crude methods, easily identifiable.

But fear instillation done inferentially through story telling of karma or of saints’ auras – that is more difficult to identify. It is administered so gently, one doesnt recognize one's mind and emotions are being subtly colonized and conditioned.

Lets unpack this. Or as our friend The Anticult has put it, let us look under the hood and examine the moving parts of this engine of influence – the story, the speaker, the audience.

If karmic recoil is a reality (Says who? Has it been measured?) making it very dangerous to malign "blameless saints", imagine the danger of feeling skeptical about assertions made about saints.

Two -- the person who tells these saint stories. He or she is speaking about and on behalf of saints. The trustful listeners may associate the speaker with subject matter and associate the speaker with the saints and their wonders.

By unconscious association many of the listeners may infer that it is not only hazardous to express doubt about saints; it is potentially dangerous to entertain silent doubt about the speaker.

Veterans of harsh crude fear mongering as perpetrated by pre Vatican II nuns may be quite unable to notice smoother forms of fear mongering -- such as this kind.

To use a crude analogy, persons who hated castor oil will believe they'll never take a laxative ever again; they'll not object if you proffer them chocolate Ex Lax.

One tastes nasty, the other tastes sweet; the effect is the same.

Peddling stories of gurus saints, avatars with karma deflecting auras gives a sheen of the miraculous to the one who stands with the microphone, smiling face enhanced by stage lightning, flowers banked at the sides, pictures of holy persons on the walls, facing the devout audience. Wonder tales of saints empower the teller of tales – thrilling the audience into marvelling at the saints and subtly submitting to the speaker’s authority.

If one dare not speak out against saints, one dare not have doubts about the speaker.
One can be led to fall silent and not ask, "How do YOU know this? Who told you?
Do you, Sir or Madam also have this kind of aura?"

Oh no. You dare not speak up. You dare not even voice such doubts to yourself.

And if a group has been pre-selected through a vetting process that excludes
skeptics -- bingo. This assertion tightens the story tellers hold over the audience.

Let us look at this further.

Confirmation Bias. The group is apt to remember those instances where skeptics incur misfortune. They will ignore how many former group members or skeptics are doing very much better and seem happier.

Misfortune happens to all of us at one time or another. Fender benders, stubbed toes, bad medical diagnoses, etc. As they say on the street, shit happens.

This can be rationalized plenty of ways.

If a person under a guru's protection and in favor with the guru suffers misfortune, he or she can be told that without the guru's protection, this would have been so much worse.

Or the person will be told he or she is special, the misfortune is not punishment but purfication that remove karmic cooties/samskaras at a faster rate, making for a better rebirth.

If the person is in bad repute for opposing the guru or being a skeptic, the misfortune is considered that person's karmic payback, the news is murmured throughout the community and everyone smiles compassionately.


This talk of auras around saints and bad intentions gathering force from a saint's aura and rebounding with increased velocity against a saints ill wishers -- this is modern language, in an idiom that derives more from New Thought, spiritualism, science fiction and modern forms of theosophy (Blavatsky, Bailey, Steiner, etc) than from the venerated sufi saints of old.

Think of the descriptions of the deflector shield around USS Starship Enterprise

One can also disseminate these stories by making hints to a few chosen disciples of high rank who can then claim the leader said this....and use this to scare skeptics into line. People will feel too frightened to check this for themselves by asking the leader directly, “So and so said you told him or her about the dangers of speaking ill of saints due to the special power of their auras. Is this true?”

In cults like in codependent or addiction ridden families, a lot of communication is indirect, done through hints. This is not an adult way to live and just keeps people trapped. When a leader is powerful and suspected of having yet greater powers, one dare not question even hints or rumors of what the leader is said.

One dare not even question the assertion of the senior disciple who makes such claims. After all, he or she is in favor with the leader. One must be careful.

It is common place for oppressive religious leaders to claim that anyone who speaks ill of their abuses will suffer misfortune or come to a bad end.

A) What is 'negative energy?' Has it been measured? Is this some assertion one must submissively heed as a condition of remaining in good standing within this group?

B) If a leader is indeed abusing trust, instructing followers to lie to the outside community, if the leader is indeed abusing power, abusing money, abusing sexuality, teaching followers to act in arrogant bad faith toward the outside world, that leader is *not* guiltless.

Therefore truthful reporting of an oppressive leader's harmful behavior will *not* automatically 'curse' or 'energetically' harm a person who thinks truthfully and speaks truthfully.

The whistle blower may incur painful legal or social flak from the group, but thats not paranormal.

A true saint would not have lawyers on staff, anyway. A true saint trusts in God and does not instill fear or speak in hints, or maintain a quasi royal court.

Jesus was alone in court, without a lawyer, btw.

Other points:

1) Some belief systems trivialize Jesus by calling him an avatar. This runs counter to Greek scripture in which Jesus spoke of himself not as an avatar but as speaking in fulfullment of earlier Jewish prophets. Jesus was, so the story goes, flogged and crucified. If Jesus had had a 'deflector shield' aura his tormenters should all have had hideous deaths and all this should have been avidly recorded, with those records being plentiful enough to have survived.

Instead, Jesus prayed, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

2) Sufis such as Al Hallaj and Suhrawardi were both killed. No record of their persecutors dying horribly.

3) Prince Dara who was a Sufi, supported interfaith dialogue. Dara was overthrown and killed by his envious brother. His brother had a decades long reign as the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. During Aurganzebs long reign, Sikhs and Hindus were tormented and killed. Aurengzeb died of old age in his bed.

4) Joan of Arc was burnt alive. There is no record of her tormentors coming to
visible bad ends. They died at a rate comparable with statistics of the day.

And for a most interesting study, get and read a history of the early dervishes, God's Unruly Friends by Ahmet T Karamustafa.


These renunciates intentionally rebelled against the affluence and social stratification that took place in the Muslim world after the conquests of wealthy areas of the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia.

Rebelling at all this, the dervishes, intentionally sought to instigate ill treatment, dressing and behaving in ways that were repugnant. A group of these dervishes (aka 'Qualandars') was executed by the Mongol commander, Hulagu.The conquerer was advised by orthodox Muslim advisors that these dervishes were worthless.



Hulagu lived out a successful career as a Mongol khan and war-leader.

Other Mongols obliterated the great Muslim cities of Baghdad, Balkh, Merv, Rayy, Urgench, killing thousands, and likely many saints.

(Jaluladin al Rumi was born in Balkh. His parents fled the city because the Mongols approached, and that is why Rumi lived out the rest of his life in
Anatolia -- now modern-day Turkey).

Genghis Khan and Hulagu, the first generation of the Mongol warlords, destroyers of high Muslim and sufi culture, slaughterers of many saints--these ferocious men died rich and successful.

They should have dropped dead from a plenitude of negative energy rebounding from the auras of the martyred saints -- but no, this did not happen.

Genghis Khan died a success. So did Hulagu.

So...we need not fear ballistic recoil from the auras of soi disant (self proclaimed) sufi potentates who claim bad fates for anyone who dares malign them.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2014 10:28PM by corboy.

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Fear Mongering -Black Garb & Crosses: White Garb &Roses
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 01, 2014 09:11PM

But many who were hurt by abuses in mainsream churches and sought better and kinder alternatives went into the pathless path.

Tragically, some ended up recruited in moments of desperation by outreachers for gurus, sufi or hindu.

These gurus had ways to instill fear -- and in ways more subtle than nuns wielding rulers and yardsticks.

If you disliked a particular Catholic school or parish, you could move to a different neighborhood and go to another one. Or opt to send your child to public school.

But... suppose you've been put through an arduous secret 'initiation' process and given your bayat (loyalty) to a Pir or Sheikh who claims to be the only One in the universe who Knows All and can protect you on your journey.

You have no one else to go to if you dare to doubt a guru who is Sole Master of the Universe or claims to be God. (And a few gurus dare claim to be God) To believe a human being is God or directly channels God places you outside of
mainstream Christianity, Islam, Judaism (though you may conceal this if
participating in 'interfaith' events. This is to be imprisoned by secret keeping.)

Unlike mainstream churches, there is no outside body of canon law by which to
assess the claims of a guru who says he or she is God or speaks directly for God and knows all the cycles of time.

Dare doubt such a person, you are alone. You fear karmic retribution (see above), most of your friends, possibly all your friends may be in this group -
unless you were independent enough to preserve some friendships outside of the group -- and you may have had to keep these outside friendships a secret, too.

And perhaps you dared not tell your outside friends the full details of what you are expected to believe, for fear they will be horrified or laugh at you.

It can happen that persons who rejected fear laden religious upbringings and sought healing and spiritual liberty have ended up or even re-enacted the institutionalized structures of oppression they so disliked as children and
wished to spare their own children.

Oppression colonizes the mind at the unconscious level, long after one has fled
the brick and mortar church and schoolyard.

But bypassing unconscious anguish by seeking lush and lovely sensation cannot
give self repair and self insight needed to root out the lingering effects of
early oppression in family and in cruel forms of schooling.

Refugees from the bad old times of church schooling may, despite their deepest longings and best intentions, unconsciously create new authority figures, recreate oppressive social structures, calling them hindu, sufi, universal, etc.

These may be harder to identify as oppressive because in the early stages, the authorities have smiles, wear bright colors, take care to cultivate a cheerful environment. Most of us are pleased by this.

Later, they may be tired and harried, but learn to hide this behind well crafted
smiles and cheer. Married people may have little time for each other if both
are kept busy on various group projects. But they may have to put on a facade
of marital wholesomeness as part of the group esprit de corps.

(Or as the Brits say, -- "Keep your pecker up, old chap!"

Few if any imagine that perhaps this collective cheerfulness could be an evasion of grief and depression that members have disowned in thier own lives.

These are not the sour grim faces of the old Catholic clergy.

Instead, smiles. No talk of grim duty.

Bright colors are worn, not black or brown.

But what creates danger is that if based on the personality of some charismatic leader, whether living or dead, there are no objective guidelines.

How does one tell when a leader's generosity is mutating into greed?

Or if he or she has appointed a successor who is self indulgent and greedy?

What if people are kicked out on unspoken whims of the leader? And without
any grievance procedure?

Many scarred by pre-Vatican II Catholic upbringings thought the nuns were harsh--and yes, there were horrors aplenty.

By contrast, Popes go to confession.

The Guru or Master who is God or speaks for God never
has to say he or she is sorry.

Worse, the whims and lusts of a God-Man or God-Woman are unquestionable, period.

And if every one of your friends, your spouse, your business networks are all
tied to this one community -- you're stuck. If you dare doubt, you may
have to leave it all--possibly even leave town.

One can have a quarrel with a mainstream church and find another place to
go to. Even a discontented Buddhist or Hindu can find another sangha.

But if your leader claims to be the Only Show in the Universe and Master
of Time -- you have no outside alternative unless you heroically
kick a hole in the system and emancipate completely.

Nuns in black robes--oppressive.

People in white who insinuate that one must never doubt or speak against saints because "blameless saints" have high velocity karma deflector auras -- hey, lets swallow those stories whole. Keeping busting ass to donate money and labor and stage good cause events to enrich the white clad leader and upgrade the center and the leader's' house.)

This is an effective way to instill fear. Subtle.

Not crude, like the rulers wielded by the black clad Catholic nuns.

Kids were free to be conscious of their fear and to consciously hate being treated this way. They were free to resent their oppressors and free to resolve never to subject their own children to this kind of treatment.

When we are children, we learn to identify hard power -- hard rulers,
hard penalties.

But as children, we lack the awareness of soft power, oppression disguised
with smiles, coziness.

When drowning, we reach out when someone in what looks like a rescue boat throws us a rope. If they have great music and fellowship and warm blankets
we are all the more grateful.

Too grateful to notice if rats are on that ship.

Even if we later notice the rats, some of us, filled with joyous wonder
at our new lease on life, beguiled by the cheery music sung by the crew,
may feel grateful to the crew, eternally loyal to the crew...and, lulled
by the merry music, feel even loving loyalty toward the rats on this ship.

We may be so blissful as to ingore or forget that rats can carry a multitude of
diseases -- and it is best to stay far away from them.

And that a well regulated ship would not have rats.

Lucky are those who can feel glad to be alive -- but know that a well
skippered rescue vessal and its crew never, but never permit rats on board.

Those fortunate persons persons will be glad to be saved from drowning, appreciate that the crew saved their lives -- but not be charmed
by the merry music. They will be glad to be alive but not
be persuaded that ships rats are part of the charm.

Instead, the fortunate ones leave that ship as soon as possible and avoid ever boarding it again, knowing that a well regulated rescue ship will be kept sanitary and never have rats at all.

A good teacher, whether sufi or something else, teaches discernment in
all things and will train students to know when it is time to leave
a ship and go further on.

A good teacher, whether sufi or some other title will not demand concerts, sweet music, will not require that the brass fittings sparkle, will not demand silk sails and gold decorations while smiling and allowing rats to proliferate on his or her ship.

If a doddering master refuses to clean everything up, wise student sailors will leave such a ship rather than coexist with the rats.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2014 09:56PM by corboy.

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A Sufi looks to G-d for protection, no where else
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 05, 2014 03:56AM

To get a feel for Sufi writings and aspirations, get and read

Annemarie Schimmel's Mystical Dimensions of Islam.


Your sufi group should not get you bogged down in lots of rituals meant to protect you from astral influences, or protect the teacher from astral influences.

Some westerners who became interested in Sufism started out as participants in Theosophical or other societies in western esoteric traditions.


(Quote) (comments section)
Another book I read about Golden Dawn states that the founders of the traditions were Freemasons and Rosicrucians. The Golden Dawn tradition is a synthesis of many things put together by middle class people in England in the late 1800-early 1900’s with a keen interest in metaphysical studies. I think this was the time period in which Theosophy really took off. Needless to say, the practice of magick is deeply emphasized, if not the key component. That was what also sent me away from the school.

There are layers to my rejection of the school.

The teaching felt disjointed, uncohesive. I remember trying to practice the rituals and thinking, “Why are there so many prayers for protection? What kind of energy are we messing around with that we require “protection?” That frightened me. At other times I had a hard time taking it seriously. I mean, I could not understand what any of this magickal practice had to do with creating a more satisfying life. It just never felt right or good. No matter how hard I tried to justify it, I could not find any good reasons for continuing with the program. (Unquote)

Robert Irwin gives a picture of a group of English initiates expecting
pious wonders from an Algerian,a refugee from persecution of his Sufi center, whose father was arrested and tortured by the FLN. They expected Khalid
Bentounes some impressive presentation. Here is what ensued.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2014 09:53PM by corboy.

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A true sufi group will not generate this kinds of tragedies
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 17, 2014 12:22AM

If yours is a good tariqa and your khanqh or tekke or zawiya or center is in spiritual health it should never breed incidents of this type.


One should not have people suddenly disappearing. Marriages should not be
disrupted. And if one person in a couple is a participant and another doesnt share the commitment or does share a bayat/sufi tie and then loses interest,
the two should be able to stay married and those who later leave or lose
interest in the sufi stuff should still be able to remain married to their
sufi spouse and maintain easy and cordial friendships with both sufi and non
sufi friends.

Finally, being 'interfaith' is big these days.

If you are in a sufi community they should not keep you so busy as to
interfere with your being able to attend holidays with your non sufi relatives.

And your relatives and non sufi friends should feel at ease when visiting
your house.

If your non sufi friends and relatives stop visiting or calling you please
ask them. They may fear to tell you if they are worried that you've changed
your clothes, your behavior, your house decor.

They may have seen pictures of your sheikh, your pir or murshid that make
them feel nervous.

Most of us, especially in the cosmopolitan areas of the US, make wide allowances for spiritual expression.

Two, if you were lonely or depressed for a long time, your friends may be
happy that you've lightened up, and may hesitate to say they feel
worried about your religion and your community -- it seems to be
helping you, yet something about it makes them nervous and they may
be conflicted and at a loss for words.

Many people may drift away, just not knowing what to say or do.

So if your friends or relatives actually feel edgy, and they have
not been around, ASK them, if they're simply been busy or if something
is worrying them and ask if there is something they want to tell you
but feel afraid to tell you.

This kind of honesty can be considered spiritual practice. Go to your non
Sufi friends and relatives as you would go to God for help. For God is

Your friends may be able to offer you a valuable outside perspective.

Underneath it all, you may be feeling worried or nervous about those pictures

You may remember that the founding guru dressed simply.

And didnt sit wearing gold, jewels, pearls as the current sheikh does in official portraits.

And you may be liberated if someone you love finds the courage to say
what they feel.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2014 10:36PM by corboy.

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An obituary for Shaykh Ibrahim al-Battawi of Cairo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 21, 2014 11:23PM



this past July 10th (14th Rajab 1430 in Hijri Calendar) the Grand Shaykh of Darqawi Shadhili tariqa has passed away into the Mercy and Pleasure of Allah Most High and His Loving Care, ... inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un! we are from Allah and to Him is the return. May Allah be well pleased with him.

Quoting from a Eulogy by Ibrahim Hakim al Shaghouri:

"If a number of you have not heard of him, it is because he chose to live a life based on the principle of hiding and erasing yourself to instead show a reflection of Allah's Attributes, and indeed anyone who came into contact with the gentle tranquility and effacing humility of his being knew that he was one of those that Allah chose to guard under His veils of jealousy. His entire life - from when he was conscious of his surroundings until his passing away at an age exceeding 80 years - was truly spent entirely for Allah.

He loved orphans, and said many times that no one can build a sound connection with Allah while ignoring the orphans; like the Prophet alayhi salat wa salam, he was always looking out for new opportunities to make du'a for someone; he preferred that people know Allah more than knowing him, because "Allah is greater and more everlasting" as the Qur'an says, and because of this his whole being and demeanor was subtle and limpid. When he one time saw my large Moroccan style Tasbih, he showed me his tiny unnoticeable tasbih.

(Corboy Tasbih, aka subha, misbaha -- prayer beads.)

He never extended his feet, even when he sat alone, because he never felt himself absent from Allah's vision. He slept very little during the night, and regularly spent his nights reciting Qur'an and having intimate conversation with Allah, even into his old age.

He will be missed for all of the above, as well as for many other deeper spiritual aspects of his being, spiritual aspects which even many Muslims would find confusing and distant, being unfortunately so tied up with the material world while being unfamiliar with the matters of the soul. I ask Allah to rest his graceful soul firmly on the carpet of His Presence and Nearness, and I also ask each of you to recite a "Fatiha" on his behalf, and feed an orphan in his name.

(Here follows Shaykh Ibrahim's Sufi lineage (silsilah -- chain of transmission). Even if a Sufi claims special illumination (and some great ones have this--they are termed uyessi--even then, these remain accountable to Muslim praxis, to the shariah -- and even these will find ways to study with other Sufi masters to deepen their insights. Do not tolerate behavior that runs counter to the sharia or ten commandents, or even basic good manners, even if Khidr himself does it.)


Shaykh Ibrahim Muhammad al-Battawi Abu-Dhikri's ancestors, from the sadah (carpet) of the Prophet Muhammad,‘alayhi salat wa salam, came to Egypt from the Maghreb in the time of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi. He was a contemporary of Shaykh Abdal-Halim Mahmoud, the great mujaddid of the 20th century in Egypt, and Shaykh al-Azhar. he taught the works of Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali for some 25 years in the Azhar, as Professor in the Department of Speculative Theology and Philosophy in the Azhar.

(Azhar -- the university of Islamic studies in Cairo -- greatest of its kind for centuries.)

In the path of Shadhuli sufism Shaykh Ibrahim dedicated himself for most of his long life, in the service of his Lord. Shaykh Ibrahim was first a disciple of the great mujaddid of the Sufi ways in Egypt, Sidi Salama al-Radi - the shaykh of the Hamdiyyah-Shadhuliyyah tariqah. That noble shaykh was an inheritor of Imam Abu-l-Hasan al-Shadhuli. Most recognise the line as going through Sidi Abu-l-Abbas al-Mursi, who was Imam al-Shadhuli's sole successor, and then through Ibn Ata'illah al-Iskandari, the author of the famous ‘Hikam' - but they often neglect that while Sidi Ibn Ata'illah was the transmitter of the ‘written teachings' of the tariqah, there was another successor of Sidi Abu-l-Abbas. Sidi Yaqut al-Arsh was the transmitter of the ‘oral teachings', which have not been written down, and are passed only from shaykh to student by word of mouth.

Shaykh Ibrahim al-Battawi, Mystic Saint, SadiqShaykh Ibrahim was a professor in what is well known to be the most difficult department at the Azhar. Shaykh Abdal Halim Mahmoud, the great Shaykh al-Azhar and a contemporary of Shaykh Ibrahim, had graduated himself from that department. Every year, he would identify a few students who appeared to be attracted to certain principles, and would teach them privately at the small zawiyah that was housed a few minutes down from the Azhar mosque in Old Cairo. Here, he would focus on transmitting the knowledge of classical books of the Islamic canon in the traditional manner, where the student would recite, and he would clarify the meanings of the words as time went on.

In that zawiyah, the hadrah might be held - although in recent years, that zawiyah became less common as a meeting place, as he focused on the second zawiyah in Heliopolis, which was also a mosque in one of the new suburbs of Cairo. There, he had also built a hostel for students, as well as a clinic for taking care of the sick; such was the model he followed when building mosques all around Cairo and further.

His students were literally from all around the world. They did not come to him out of a note of his fame, for he stuck very strictly to the doctrine of transparency of the Shadhuliyyah - what a great Shaykh of that way described as ‘More glow... and less show.' And certainly, Shaykh Ibrahim was glowing.

He lived incredibly simply, but he was wealthy inside - and indeed, much of his external lack of wealth was due to the amount of money he constantly gave to his poorer students and others. He often gave the khutbah in the mosque of Sidi Ibn Ata'illah, his ancestral teacher in one of the lines that he inherited the Shadhuli tariqah from. He often visited the cities of Makkah and Madinah, for a long time doing it on a yearly basis.

His way was simple. He called for attachment to the shari'ah, and abhorred any suggestion that success in tasawuf could be reached outside the realm of the shari'ah and the tradition of this religion of Islam. He reminded his students to pay attention to their dreams, which the Prophet himself, ‘alayhi salat wa salam, described as a part of prophecy. He turned their attention to the orisons of Imam Abu-l-Hasan al-Shadhuli, certain in the value of these collections of du'as and ayat from the Qur'an. He insisted they spend a portion of their day studying the disciplines of the shari'ah, and reading from the book of Allah.

And finally, clearly and without any doubt, he said that one of the conditions of his way was to guide people to the truth of Islam through love, and he emphasised ‘love' very strongly. He specifically warned against taking any price or profit in dunya for this work; this work is for Allah, and for Allah alone, with absolute sincerity.

Shaykh Ibrahim al-Battawi was taken from us in this world on the 14th of Rajab, 1430 hijri, surrounded by his family in Cairo. We may never see the likes of him again, but as he reminded one of his students, ‘in the realm of the spirit (ruh), distance means nothing.' Wa-l-hamdulillah

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2014 09:39AM by corboy.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2014 11:30PM by corboy.

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The leader should never be the secret - just give teachings
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 22, 2014 12:35AM

Note: it is misleading for some Sufis to claim 'Oh we are apolitical.'

If you own tax exempt property you are still involved in politics. You are being indirectly supported by the infrastructure paid for by secular tax payers.

Any expansion of or noise coming from your center could annoy neighbors unless you include your neighbors in your planning and have real respect for them.

This is to be political.

And, historically many Sufi groups did provide safe spaces where plans could be made to resist outside invasion. When public life and discussion were shut down by police, prayer groups were often the only places left where people could gather. Sufis led uprisings in North Africa, the Sudan, the Caucasus. Armin Vambery, travelling Central Asia in the 1860s, met a Turkoman slave raider, a cruel and vicious thug, who was venerated as a Sufi preceptor.

Many call themselves Sufi and are even identified as such by others.

Few are holy.

To examine someone both Sufi and if G-d was pleased with him, was a holy person, the reader is invited to ponder the obituary of Shaykh Ibrahim al-Battawi quoted above.

The true saints never presume to have G-d's favor. And many accounts will end with a cautious coda: "(Only) Allah knows best."

This obituary conveys the norms and manners of a Sufi order rooted in its cultural and religious context. And it conveys how disciples, rooted in this same context, evaluate the life of a teacher, for both disciples and teacher want to serve Allah according to Islamic guidelines.

The teacher and students share both a social and religious context.

It is only in First World countries that it became possible to imagine
that "Sufism" coult be detached from its Islamic social and religious context
--and an even greater departure to imagine something desirable, even praiseworthy could result.

Beware of any Sufi teacher who ‘reinvents himself or herself.’ One cannot
'reinvent' oneself in a traditional culture.

Only in rootless Westernized cultures is it possible to imagine this.

Be cautious if someone slushes together too many elements from different cultures and religions. Each of those traditions requires lifetime immersion.

The Sidi’s obituary shows the wealth that emerges in a life deeply rooted in one religion.

Proper and Improper Secrecy

"Sidi Ibn Ata'illah was the transmitter of the ‘written teachings' of the tariqah, there was another successor of Sidi Abu-l-Abbas. Sidi Yaqut al-Arsh was the transmitter of the ‘oral teachings', which have not been written down, and are passed only from shaykh to student by word of mouth."

In many cases these may be instructions on how to utter the prayers and possibly what visualizations and breathing patterns to use while doing one's prayer. And what indicates one is progressing and what signs and symptoms indicate one should stop the practice and consult one's preceptor.

This is the subject and the only subject that should ever be secret in any Sufi group:those teachings given word of mouth to students ready to receive them.

As noted, Robert Irwin mentioned how some prayers were considered too strenuous for new students. The prayers are usually one of the 99 Names of G-d, and do not
contain any doctrine contrary to Islam.

Irwin's Memoirs of a Dervish gives many descriptions of persons who went off balance temporarily or permanently, due to over strenuous spiritual exercises.

And he tells us the local children saw no difference between ordinary lunatics
and those who were religious ecstatics -- the urchins would hurl stones and clods of dirt at persons who exhibited strange mannerisms outside of the precincts of the Zawiya.

Later in his memoirs, Irwin described ecstacy. He said he was advised not to mention ecstacy unless instructing someone. This is understandable. It can be tempting for a new student to hear tantalizing stories and then by will and imagination seek to cultivate similar states. This can lead to trouble.

(Note: Irwin tells the reader that in Sufi poetry, one image used for ecstacy is
drunkeness. Irwin stated that he considered this both a cliche and inaccuarte.
As he put it, he had been drunk plenty of times prior to his conversion. He also went on to have many episodes of ecstacy while participating in the rituals of the 'Alawi tariqa and found that drunken-ness and ecstacy felt entirely different from each other. In his case, ecstacy was accompanied by considerable pain and suffering. For more, read here and next page.


These special teachings must NEVER contradict Sharia, or the ten commandments. They should not require behavior that violates norms of decent behavior. They should not contradict what you were told when you first joined the tariqua. And they should never instruct you to do anything forbidden by religious law, civil law or your own conscience.


Because the anguish and turmoil of having your conscience violated and keeping heavy secrets will subtract from your psychological and spiritual integrity.

You will become a partner in crime with the teacher who is telling you to do these things. You will become estranged from the rest of the community and toward those who are outside your community.

Secret keeping give a sense of intensity, and the tension may predispose you to ecstatic experiences -- especially if you are in the hands of a charlatan who knows a thing or two about trance induction --G-d preserve you from this and aid in your speedy escape.

But this intensity and ecstacy are as misleading as the high you get from
heroin or cocaine. And like them, you will be trapped.

There is nothing holy about any of this. It’s a sign of your incurring debilitation, not of God’s love.

Inner crisis, turmoil shame, toxic secrecy will drain vitality away from your spiritual practice –and from your day to day relationships. You will feel distance not only from those you love but also from G-d. And that is WRONG and a sign that your teacher has done wrong to YOU.

To fill the aching void you may become more dependant on prescription tranquilizers, and if a non moslem, you may find you are drinking more than is good for you.

You may slide into into shopping addictions, possibly encouraged in this by the false teacher and his or her inner circle who may also share this psychological bondage. (One might even accompany this teacher on shopping sprees, especially if out of town, in other countries and get some giggly intimacy. This is not
holiness, btw).

Members of this corrupt group who are humble, prayerful, who adhere to modest
lifestyles and simple habits may be ridiculed as prudish and dull. But the ones who jeer may unconsciously envy that persons liberty.

No true Sufi group should generate shopping addictions or a high rate of abusing prescription medications or visits to expensive spas. (Constant remodels of ones house, constant changes of clothing due to changing whims of the Shiekh may also qualify as shopping addictions. One may find oneself hiding these purchases from others.)

This may be disguised by spending excessive funds on amenities for one's children. This can bring pressure to the children.

Repeat, no initiation should require you to violate religious law, civil law, or violate your own conscience, period. You must not keep secrets from your friends or spouse. This will ruin relationships and a true spiritual practice enriches relationships, not ruining them.

The Teacher Must Not Be a Secret or Become a Secret.

Claiming publicly that your order venerates a particular teacher while concealing that another person actually runs the order, lives in luxury and whose whims are catered to – that is a debilitating secret.

Worse, it re-enacts life in an alcoholic or addicted family. Those of us who grew up in such situations can find this familiar, even cozy. In guise of being ‘Sufi’ one can merely re-enact dysfunctional family life yet believe one has a special place in the cosmos. This is not spirituality, it is merely a re-enactment of neurosis. Jail under another name. Nafs run rampant.

The habits and behavior of the shiekh, murshid or pir must never be secrets, nor those of senior students. Ditto for finances. Those should be open books.

Crimes committed by members of the tariqa must never be covered up -- they should go make amends to those they injured and expect no special treatment in court.

Membership should never give political or business advantages.

The head of an order or supervisor of a center should not operate it to give
advantage to relatives or business partners, nor to relatives of deceased former leaders.

Members should not be pressured to buy clothes imported or sold by a relative of the Shiekh or a favorte of the sheikh. A sufi center should not be used to gain property at an accelerated rate through exploitation of tax exemption and volunteer labor.

If members want opportunities to be of service, the sheikh pir or Murshid should urge them to find a favorite cause outside of the tariqa and donate labor to that. For there is a grave risk that if members donate sweat equity to upgrade the leader’s house or the compound, this merely enriches the leader.

If the leader dies and his or her house is inherited by children or grandchildren, years of donated disciple/salik labor has gone to enrich someone who is merely a family member of the leader. It can be just too muddied and too tempting for a leader to gain by allowing or encouraging members to upgrade his or her house via donated labor.

Far better to live modestly and not need such servicing.

Members should also not be pressured (not even by hints) to give zero or low interest loans, donate labor to assist in growing a favored member's new business.

Let that member go to the bank, take out loans in the normal way, inteview and hire workers and pay those people a fair days wage for a fair days work and follow the workplace safety guidelines applicable in the state.

If that member really wants to cultivate a rare degree of virtue and spiritual attainment, let that Sufi go one step further and insist that his or her new business become unionized. Nothing like unions to empower workers and challege the subtle trickery of a business owners nafs (carnal ego).

And no sufi center should ever operate to assist immigration or as a marriage

Marriages should not be interfered with, btw. A Sufi order should not be the sheikhs or pirs private kingdom or court. Especially not in the USA or in the UK.

Note: According to the hadiths, it is forbidden for men to wear gold though women can do so.

(Though this has not kept many Saudi and Gulf Arabs from wearing woolen cloaks with heavy gold thread embroidery at the collars.)

But a Sufi sheikh, pir or murshid ***if genuine*** will have a deep love for full and proper practice and should not have any interest in wearing gold or jewels -- not even in private.

A Sufi Sheikh or Pir should not have secretive private parties to which only a favored few are invited. He or she should not secretly slip away for plastic surgery or liposuction to hide the effects of age or conceal the effects of chronic overeating or drunkenness.

Nor should they go away on fancy trips with just a favored few in the entourage and make a display of wealth, jewels or clothing in those distant locales.

Those in on these secrets will have the burden of these secrets on their consciences. The tension of hiding the habits of a luxury loving leader will weigh on those who are of the inner circle, and compromise their spiritual progress. They will be unable to confide in friends, only in each other—if then.

And they may, under the burden of this secret keeping, take up tranquillizers or some other means to dull their consciences.

This is to be Sufi only in name.

To repeat, truee Sufi tariqas are not elitist organizations. They are socially inclusive.

And they originate in a context of Muslim practice and do not in secret
depart from that practice.

The only secret should be the more advanced teachings, prescribed according
to a salik's/students apititude. Those should be the only secrets.

The identity of the leader should not be a secret.

The leaders or groups financial assets should, in the US or UK be
open book, full financial transparency.

The leader and the leader's habits should never be a source of

The leader and favored members should not be living a closeted secretive of life of debauchery or shopping addiction.

The leader should not assemble favored members into a personal entourage
or 'court'.

The leader should not be secretly slipping away to have face lifts or
other treatments to produce an illusion of youthfulness or to hide
the physical effects of his or her bad behavior.

A sufi leader should never have favorites or scapegoats and if one is genuinely
in love with God, one will never, ever ridicule, rage at or make fun
of any student.

And no true teacher will ever utilize the fallacious crazy wisdom alibi and
senior students should never do this either.

Believing the leader or teacher has magical powers, a claim the outside world would ridicule (the US) or consider heretical (Sharia) – that is another secret that is non spiritual and debilitating. To believe your Shiekh has magical protective powers – that keeps you enslaved. No human being can fully know the will of God. If you are told you will meet a bad end if you oppose the Sheikh, that is to turn the Sheikh into a Jinn, a bad spirit. Take refuge in God, not in this kind of Shiekh.

The Sheikh.

Going by the obituary quoted above, he was deeply rooted in the larger context of Islam and the long line of Sufi teachers who preceded him. . He dressed simply and allowed age to show on his face. He didn’t resort to plastic surgery to make himself look half his age.

Reportedly his students were from all walks of life, with the Sheikhs attention given to the needs of poorer students. Note: the sufi teachings of Sheikh al ‘Alawi of Mostaganem were propagated by Arabic speaking sailors between 1910 into the 1930s. Working class men.

It was Europeans who, influenced by prior membership in esoteric groups (theosophy, anthroposophy), projected their own preoccupations making Islam and Sufism hand-maidens to their elitist ideologies. These are the ones who created lodges for the wealthy and those who had high likelihood of developing earning power. (Schuon, Guenon, Idries Shah). Some legitimate Sufis who found themselves stranded in the West did get welcome support from theosophist groups but found themselves pressured to validate
theosophical concepts that have no place in Islam – karma, reincarnation.

It is Corboy’s hunch that if you encounter a group that calls itself Sufi but makes few if any references to Allah or Mohammed, no reference to salat, or charity, fasting or Haj to Meccah and Medina, makes few references to hadith, suspect that the group may derive much of its material from Western esotericism, New Thought and thesophy – of the latter there are many varieties. Quite a few started out in Blatvatkys, Besants and Bailey’s theosophies before stumbling into Sufism.

It is Corboys hunch that if one detaches Sufism from Islam, it will over several generations revert to a slush of theosophical ideas. Sufism developed from and in relation to an existing exoteric religion – Islam – think of a gourd vine. With a trellis (sharia) the vine will climb, grip and the gourds (sufi practice) will ripen in the sun.

Without a trellis (absent Islamic commitment), the vine of “sufism” will sprawl upon the ground, stunted in development for lack of anything to climb, and if any gourds grow, they will not be to full size. And on the ground, the vines will be vulnerable to rot and other pests.

Such is Corboys opinion. The rose as emblem of Sufism might be joined by the metaphor of Sufism as a climbing vine – its fruit cannot ripen without the trellis support of Islamic life and practice.

Likewise, Zen becomes mere word games and technique if without the trellis of Buddhist ethical precepts and manners.

The dilemma of Pir Inayat Khan when stranded in England and when the only support he and his family could get was from Theosophists.
A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order ...
Zia Inayat-Khan. the old hagiographic rivalry between Sufis and yogis. Much later, in his "Review of Religions," Inayat Khan expressed his views on Theosophy ... very difficult when people brought me the question of karma and

A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order ...
Zia Inayat-Khan. artistic expression. They tried to create a closed circle of people under the gentle guidance of a great artist, beginning to be known in Europe for

Sources of the Fallacious Equation of Sufism and Secrecy

In the West, Sufism has acquired mystique and an air of secrecy. After having
done a lot of reading and in many sources, it is Corboy's opinion that this
is a distortion. Mark A Sedgwick, in his work, Against the Modern World traces how secretive European 'Traditionalists' influenced by prior commitments to Western esotericism, turned thier sufi lodges into secretive elite clubs.

Robert Irwin, in his Memoirs of a Dervish, initiated into a Sufi order in Alegeria and noted its social inclusiveness. He tells the reader that many joined various Sufi orders for political and social reasons, not necessarily to
pursue religious refinement. He noted that all the same, the Sufi contribution to art, especially literature and music, has been immense.

Yet another distorted influence which equated Sufism with secrecy was the claim that Sufism was Gurdjieff's source of the Fourth Way. Gurdjieff was not observed to follow sunnat, the prayers, pilgrimage to Mecca, and he was notoriously fond of alcohol, and as for cleanliness, enjoined upon Muslims before prayers, his personal habits were uncouth to say the very least.

GURDJIEFF by Anthony Storr - Prem RawatGURDJIEFF CLAIMS OUR INTEREST because he, or his doctrines as
propounded by his disciple Ouspensky, ..... His personal habits could be
disgusting. - 49k - Cached - Similar pages

Gurdjieff - Prem RawatGeorge Ivanovich Gurdjieff was probably born in 1877 in Alexandropol in ... His
personal habits could be disgustingly dirty and he quarrelled and broke with all ... - 17k - Cached - Similar pages

All this would horrify a devout Muslim, let alone a true Muslim sufi.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2014 11:33PM by corboy.

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Dont be satisfied with hints and seductive silences
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 26, 2014 09:36PM


(Quote) (X)tried to avoid making any open, specific claims about himself while constantly hinting and alluding to his advanced state and experiences with nod, nod, wink, wink responses. This is standard operating procedure amongst more reticent gurus.

The constant deception that can be part of the "spiritual life" - especially when your guru wishes to remain relatively incognito except to followers.

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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 29, 2014 09:04PM

Sufism/Tassawuf should aim at deepening one's inner life.

It is not about show business, ie constantly staging choir performances,
constant writing and rehearsal and performance of plays and skits.

True sufi music is the 'sema' -- the music honors Allah, Muhammed, the companions and in some cases, the martyrdom at Kerbala of Hassan, Hussain
and their companions.

One doesnt require new costumes for each performance.

The Mevlevis (Rumi's order) wore the same white robes and black coats and
tall hats each time, without adding new features.

Robert Irwin, in Memoirs of a Dervish described the visitors and residents hat the 'Alawi center as wearing what clothes they could afford. There was no unformity. One man happened to wear a robe different from ones worn by the locals -- no one seems to have stopped him.

The Shiekh was noteworthy for wearing all white, but he was a superior. And Irwin noted that even the Shiekhs of the order deferred to local usage. When young, they were not bearded, because in Algeria, even among the devout, beads were the prerogative of older persons.
are often from the Koran or from sources close to it.

Nor is it about continual costume changes for the Shiekh, Pir or Murshid.

And one should not require costant trips to swank department stores or
neurotic concern with one's make up and hairstyle.

For that stuff, better to go to Las Vegas and enjoy the glittering floor shows
put on by the professionals.

Your Shiekh, Pir or Murshid should not be a performance artist or see
Sinatra and the Rat Pack as role models to emulate in dress or manner.

In deep seriousness, glittering costumes, bling, white marble, gold furniture,
mirrors, flash, patter -- all of that is distraction.

As much distraction and illusion as taking psychedelic drugs or chasing
the opium dragon. (No accident that Coleridge is rumored to have written
his poem "In Xanadu" after a voluptuous opiate vision.

Creating pleasuredomes is not Sufism. It is distraction and nafs run wild.

Better to admit you crave distraction than to claim this kind of distraction
is part and parcel of Sufism.

There are alleged "sufi" pirs who live and display wealth like petty princes.
Many are in backward areas of Pakistan, with peasants tied to them in debt
bondange and worse. These same pirs are hand in glove with the landowners.

All the worst of the old American plantation system.

Being a true Sufi should not require looking with a nervous eye to Massa or Mistress and worry about what is going on in the Manor House.

This isnt Sufi.

Louis XIV, maybe.


Kubla Khan

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight ’twould win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2014 09:52PM by corboy.

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A tariqua should not be socially or intellectually inbred
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 31, 2014 11:25PM

A group should not become socially isolated or cut off.

If your group exists because of a schism after a leader died, you should
be given an honest description so that you can research the background
to your own satisfaction. Last thing needed is to be pulled into
a spiritual group that turns out to re-enact family secret weirdnesses.

If you want family secret stuff, you can probably get it by attending
your own family re-unions, at least what you know you're getting
is family secrets and family weirdness without dragging God into the

And you should not be confined to reading only literature by
or approved by the group.

You should feel free to read material beyond what is
printed by the group's own publisher.

Material omitted from a group's 'authorized' version of a text
may be available in editions from outside sources. Allow yourself
the liberty to read both.

This is especially important if there is any chance you might marry within
a group or perhaps have children or send them to a school run by a group.

Family secrets within one's own family are heavy enough.

You want to be part of a group that isnt weighed down by too many
unresolved conflicts at institutional level.
If the preceptors try to force you to read
only material written by and for your group, it is possible that it
is part of an indoctrination process that will cut you off from outside
influences and in the long run, turn you into an inmate.

For one thing, whoever translates books for your group may not be
a reliable. Better translations may have been done by persons not tied
to your group and are unfettered by its ideology.

Your group may actually be in schism or outright heresy in relation to other
groups and preceptors may be trying to hide this from you by
giving you only limited information.

Ditto for music.

You should not risk losing favor by reading material or listening
to music beyond what is produced by your group.

Sufis produced a range of literature and music over thousands of years.

(Again, see Marie Schimmel's valuable Mystical Dimensions of Islam).

Dont allow yourself to be pressured or intimidated into reading only literature or translations produced 'in house' by and for your group.

A good spiritual group should not become tyrannical.

Its books may be mediocre. Persons outside the group may have written better translations.

And, at the very worst, in house literature may contain material that
isnt spiritually beneficial, but merely supports the pretensions of the leader.

It is entirely appropriate for a new member to learn
something of the history of a tariqa and the parts of the world where it
is and has been influential.

If older members try to discourage you from learning more, this may
be a clue that this branch of the order may be going off kilter,
and possibly has been disowned. As one example, a group led by
a self stated Naqshibandi, Nizam, now deceased, had world wide exposure
and many internet sites. But it appears that the other Naqshibandi
orders disowned this person.



One of Nazim’s biggest impostures is his claim to be the head of the honourable Naqshbandi order worldwide, something he inherited from his master ad-Daghestani. Al-Qubrusi is called in an article by one of his disciples ‘leader of the Naqshbandis’, in the Q-News magazine of February 1998, page 285. Like other pseudo Sufis who arrived in the early English Muslim community, few questioned his status or had the ability to see through appearances. Since then the situation has considerably changed, if only because
information did come from the Middle East and his home island.

Real Turkish Sufis are also spreading in Britain and they will not put up with Nazimites, ‘in shâ’a-llâh.



Even in Daghestan, the country where his master originated, there is not recognition for him in Sunni circles. The Mufti of this Caucasian land, master of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, Sayyid ’Ahmad ibn Sulaymân Darwîsh Hâjjieff produced a fatwà warning Muslims against the impostor. The contents of one of his letter are as follow: “In the name of Allâh the All-Merciful, the Merciful. Praise be to Allâh. Now, warning against people who have gone astray is a duty we have been ordered to perform.

Especially those who use the name of religion to disguise, in order to lead people astray when actually,they are the enemies of religion and so far from it. Among those, we count Nazim al Qubrusi who has spread a lot of corruption over the earth and has distorted the name of Islam among those who know little about Islam. He dresses like scholars to conceal what he is to the people. This Nazim is the disciple of ^Abdullâh (ad-Daghestani).” You may
want to contact the Daghestan Moslem Spiritual Board yourself at this address:
Makhachkala 367015, Aziz Aliev Street 2, Daghestan, Russia.

The author of this document even gives an example of how a splinter
group may publish translations of esteemed Sufi classics, yet misrepresent
what the author intended.

in this document, an example is given of how an off kilter "sufi"
order attributed opinions to a revered Sufi (Al-Jilani)., have used. A western neophyte, with no background in Islam or Sufism would be taken in. This is reason enough to beware of any group that pushes you to read only its own literature.


When I started surfing on the Internet some years ago I found obvious examples of their double language. Their claims to a strict orthodoxy wass displayed, but at the same time they could not help giving hints about their real nature. For instance, in one of them, in a section called ‘Muslim Scholars’, I found in Rajab 1419 the following title: ‘The
Endowment of Divine Grace and the Spread of Divine Mercy’4
, attributed to
AbdulQâdir alJilaniyy (qaddasa-llâhu sirrah). This is what they wrote:

“O ye people! When you join spiritual study circles (halaqãtu zikr) you mainly go there as spectators, not to cure your illnesses. You refrain from hearkening to the advice of the gnostic shaikh, ...
Child, your progress has been curtailed by your ... Your current dependence on
created resources and your forgetting to trust the causal being Who created
everything... karmic habits ... how can you then reach the Causal Being Who created everything?”

Do they really expect knowledgeable people to believe our master ^AbdulQâdir
alJîlâniyy would suddenly start speaking like a Hindu or Buddhist guru, referring regularly to “karma”, that he would fall into such blatant kufr as calling Allâh subhânaHû wata^âlà ‘The Causal Being’.


Al Fathu Rabbãni wal Faidhu Rahmãni
The Endowment of Divine Grace
& The Spread of Divine Mercy
by Sidi Shaykh Muhyiddeen Abdul Qadir Gilani
trans. by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Akili
© 1990-2014 Pearl Publishing House



Above all, if this is supposed to be a Sufi group, learn the Koran. Much
Sufi poetry will make little sense unless you already have some
exposure to the Koran.

Robert Irwin's Memoirs of a Dervish gives a valuable overview of the adjustments
made by a non Muslim -- and how he continued to progress as a scholar and
continued to enjoy novels and music as well.

Irwin's most remarkable disclosure is that the Sufi order he joined was
socially inclusive, not at all a secret, and all social classes were represented.

Memoirs of a Dervish is a valuable corrective to the cloak and dagger
accounts by Idries Shah and others who make it seem Sufism is all about
secrets and social exclusiveness. In a footnote in Mystical Dimensions of Islam
Marie Schimmel also advises that Idries Shah's material is not for serious
students. Schimmel herself not only knew German and English, but mastered
Arabic, Persian Turkish, Urdu and Sindhi.

In Dangerous Knowledge, Irwin paid affectionate tribute to Schimmel. He noted
that 'in a moment of idleness' Schimmel translated one of Irwin's novels into German!

Note; From Wikipedia, here is a list of books by al-Jilani

Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen) – 78 discourses, fairly short and to the point but very powerful.

Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation) – 62 discourses, definitely longer, given in the Ribaat and Madrasa in Baghdad AH 545–546.

Jala' al-Khawatir (The Removal of Cares) – 45 discourses, also in the same locations, given in the year AH 546.

Malfuzat (Utterances of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir) – This is a collection of quotes from the Shaikh. Generally, it is found at the end of the hand-copied, Arabic manuscripts of Fath ar-Rabbani.

Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth, also known in the Indian sub-continent as Al-Ghunya li-Talibin). These five volumes, written by the Shaikh at the request of one of his murids, is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of Islam, both the inward and the outward.

Khamsata 'Ashara Maktuban (Fifteen Letters) – These are 15 letters originally written in Persian by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir to one of his murids.
Al-Fuyudat al-Rabbaniyya (Emanations of Lordly Grace)

Bashair al-Khairat (Glad Tidings of Good Things) – A Salawat by Shaykh Abd al-Qadir by way of inspiration from Allah.

Kitab Sirr al-Asrar wa Mazhar al-Anwar (The Book of the Secret of Secrets and the Manifestation of Light

None of these titles seems to match with "The Endowment of Divine Grace & The Spread of Divine Mercy "

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2014 10:42PM by corboy.

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