Direct Participation in Sufi Life with an Afghani Pir or Murshid
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 11, 2016 01:24AM

Persons who want a direct and personal account of actual day to day life and practice in a Sufi lodge, can Embattled Saints by Kenneth Lizzio is superb.

mbattled Saints: My Year with the Sufis of Afghanistan Paperback – April 29, 2014


Lizzo described the life and career of a renowned Naqhshibandi pir, who was born in Afghanistan and had to leave after the Commununist regime change in that nation.

The history, and methods of Naqhshibandi sufi practice are described in detail in clear and lucid language. Lizzo notes how many Sufi teachers studied with masters in other lineages (Qadiri, Suhrawardi, Chishti), and how his Naqhshanbdi pir was able to assess the need of each disciple and knew how to prescribe methods from
a variety of Sufi traditions.

Professor Lizzo was trained as an anthropologist. He found that the frameworks provided by anthropology were insufficient to account for sufi life, and at great personal risk lived in the Khyber with disciples of Saif ur-Rahman and became a disciple himself.

Lizzo candidly tells us that he heard many stories and witnessed many things that could not be accounted for using academic catagories. He also makes clear how difficult and strenuous life was if one lived as a disciple in Saif ur-Rahman's khanqh. The diet was meager in the extreme. There was little privacy at night. One rose before dawn and turned in at 10 PM.

In the days when more pirs were present to lead such events, all night
dhikr sessions took place Thursdays. By the time Lizzio came to live at the
Abu Murshid khanqh, most of these pirs were dead or too old.

The khanaqh (lodge) was open to all - it was not a swank, member's only establishment.

The pir (Sufi leader) did not surround himself only with those who agreed with him. Those opposed to Sufism visited regularly.

"Like the khanaqhs of the past, the Bara khanaqah was open to all. And so they came on a regular basis: spiritual wayfarers, Muslims seeking personal guidance or a blessing, politicians, clerics, even the pir's opponents. (Corboy italics)

"..there were opponents of Sufism, usually fundamentalists, who came to debate
the pir. Some of them showed up, unannounced, and the debates were informal; others were formal, scheduled debates held under the verandah. Whatever the setting, the debates were always in Pashto, and always animated.Whereas his opponents were not well educated, the pir spoke Arabic, Persian and Pashto.
the debate, the pir would quote from this or that text, sending disciples here and
there to fetch books so he could quote from them at length. More than once,
the pir summoned me to show that his influence extended all the way to
America. Some of the debates became heated, and when guests began to raise their
voices angrily, everyone became uncomfortable, particularly the pir's bodyguards."

"Some Pakistanis came on Friday to pray in the company of a 'divine" by were not themselves Sufis. They either did not feel the need or were not prepared to make the kind of commitment required.

"Many mujahiddin (Afghanis who were fighting the Soviets) also came to see the pir. They came into the mosque on makeshift crutches or, if they were lucky, on crude prostheses made by a German charitable organization in Peshawar. They displayed not the least self-pity for their condition. The pir, however, was always visibly shaken to see his disciples in such condition."

Here is a page from Embattled Saints describing the routine.


Despite being in his seventies and very ill, Pir ur-Rahman kept a strenuous

Lizzo also tells how Sirhindi, a most important Naqshibandi Sufi took particular care to warn against importing servile veneration of Pirs, Murshids and Sheikhs, for he noted that this servility was a contamination of Hindu bhakti practice common in India and that this corrupted the disciple/pir relationship by turning the pir into an object of worship -- utterly forbidden in Islam and therefore true Sufism.

Embattled Saints also gives the reader valuable background in modern reform and revivalist movements in Islam which have led to persecution of Sufis or caused
deterioration into servile veneration of monarchical pirs and murshids. Lizzo noted that in Pakistan many sufi lineages have lost spiritual vitality and the successor pirs are merely rich landholdes who absorb money from disciples and
influence local politics.

"One time, an old Afghan man, impoverished and decrepit, came into the mosque during suhbat. He slowly crawled on his belly like a reptile toward the pir, sobbing and moaning. It was a heartbreaking display, and I imagined the man must have suffered a great loss in the war. I expected the pir to take pity on the wretched figure before him. Instead (the pir) chided him for his abject
behavior. Later, I was told that this kind of behavior --pir worship--is forbidden
by the sunna." page 188

Embattled Saints is all the more moving because we are given the social and historical context in which Lizzio's pir and his fellow disciples lived and practiced. Hundreds of thousands of sufis were singled out for extermination in Afghanistan after the communist takeover. Lizzo's pir escaped only because he had
a friend in government circles who gave him timely warning to escape.

The pir was Islam personified.


The pir lived by the daily routine of Islam - and added additional exercises.


"I never" Lizzio writes "I never saw the pir even once do something that contradicted teaching or that appeared to stem from a selfish whim or personal mood. Even though every disciple was at a different stage of his or her development, the pir's treatment of others was consistently measured by the extent to which they lived up to the teachings. Perhaps for this reason, he treated the more advanced practitioners more harshly...there was never any special treatment at the khanquah or favored treatment for advanced disciples."

The pir once spent 30 minutes berating a senior disciple for misquoting the Quran.

"What Mubarak Sahib said to one, he said to all."

"One Friday afternoon, for no particular reason, there was almost no one present for prayer. I later remarked to Ihsan how disheartening it was that more Muslims did not come to khanquah. "It doesn't matter" he said. "Whether there is one disciple standing behind him or one thousand, Mubarak Sahib will still come each day to the mosque and lead the prayer."

(Embattled Saints, pp 1919-192)

"Disciples never talked in the khanaquah about the pir's ability to perform miracles. Such talk was regarded as sensationalist and a distraction from spiritual work on ourselves. " (Ibid, p 195)

The pir lived with the anguish of having lost thousands of friends and disciples, and he cared for refugees and for disciples who were mujaheed. After relocating
in the Khyber, the pir and community endured increasing harassment by a fundamentalist community nearby; eventually the entire tariqua was ordered to leave, and they all relocated to Lahore.

Above all, Lizzo tells us in detail how "Mubarak Sahib" -- the honorific given to
Saif ur-Raman passed his days.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/2017 11:47PM by corboy.

Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 11, 2016 11:24PM

Some rituals can have neurological effects. Here are just two examples.

In the 1960s, Robert Irwin participated in the 'imara, a ritual performed at an Algerian sufi community.



Occasionally a faqir would collapse on the ground in a fit.A person who had fallen victim to one of these scary fits was described as melboos. It was generally a sign that something was wrong in the person who was writhing on the ground. It was as if the dance was being policed by a fierce and vigilent spirit. Over the years, I went melboos several times and I found it a terrifying experience. It was as if something vast, alien and dispassionate
was reaching into the heart of me to take over.This was impossible to bear and hence the fits."

This second account was written was written by a man who was a graduate student at the School for South Asian Studies in London. (SOAS). He went to attend a chanting service led by a celebrated sheikh, sometime in the 1980s while the shiekh was touring in the UK.

The SOAS scholar was quite affected by the long chanting. But he distrusted the fawning adulation of the leader.

(His descriptions can be read here


for more detail)


Once we were all seated again, Sheikh Nazim (Nizim Haqqani)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.

(Corboy this may have been trance effect.



"Unfortunately 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.



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 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 r
eally. 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.”

“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.”

Neurologist Marc Lewis wrote a biography entitled Memoirs of an Addicted Brain.

Lewis used lots of substances. He describes in each chapter how he would use
a substance (cough syrup, alcohol, marijuana, LSD, opiates) and then, takes the reader aside and gives a tour of the human body and nervous system, describing what the drug does.

The most interesting and humbling description Lewis gives is how he fell madly in love for the first time. Then, after at last winning the girl, he rapidly became bored.

Turns out dopamine and the centers of the human nervous system influenced by dopamine are part of the entire craving/hunting/pursuit/quest process. When at last you get your desired outcome (or person) -- bam, the dopamine is gone.

Explains how one craves some object, buys it, brings it home -- and gets that well known buyers remorse.

There are sneaky ways and very effective ways to instill fear. Es[ecially if one is in a scene where everyone shares belief in 'energy' 'astral influences' belief that alleged saints or gurus or operators have powerful 'auras' -- one gets versions of this in social scenes which utilize magical thinking and mental frameworks derived from Western esoteric traditions, and theosophy, whether from Blavatsky, or derivations from Blavatsky's system, such as Alice Bailey, Rudolf Steiner (anthroposophy/waldorf schools, etc)

A leader can arrange to scare people into complaince through subtle means, such that people come to fear their own doubts.


Fear Installation -- Scaring people into silence


Date: July 28, 2014 10:58AM

Do not buy this.

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

A mere mechanical rationale was given.

Some allegedly holy leader claim, or their disciples claim that negative energies directed at a blameless saintly person return automatically to the sender after gaining energy from the aura of the guiltless one.

(Sounds like the deflector shield around USS Starship Enterprise)

This is a classic way to scare people into feeling afraid not only to say anything deemed negative, but to scare people into suppressing doubt of any kind, even distrusting valid emotions of repulsion, doubt, disgust, dismay.

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

A) What 'negative energy?' Can it be measured? Has it been measured? Or must one take someone's say-so?

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

Therefore truthful reporting of an oppressive leader's abuses will not automatically 'curse' or 'energetically' harm one who thinks truthfully and speaks truthfully. One 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.

A clever leader need not state this explicitly to an entire group.

All the leader needs to do is hint to just one or two persons in a group how very dangerous it can be to disparage a "saint" because that holy persons "aura" will not only deflect ill will but will add additional energetic rebound against the tale bearer.

Those entrusted with this significant hint will feel important. Then they will, over time, pass this claim around the group.

The group, already bound together by this shared belief may well assume that this very wise leader is probably not only in contact with these saints, but may be one of these saints, one who must never be questioned for fear ones own doubts rebound against one.

Keep in mind the power of confirmation bias. We remember that which confirms our belief system.

Two -- bad things happen all the time, to the great and good, as well as to to scoundrels.

Suppose you obey the leader, have no doubts and something bad happens.

You can be told, or the leader will hint that because of your fidelity, you were spared a much worse ordeal. Or..that your ordeal is a purification for your own good.

If the misfortune happened to a skeptic, or one who did leave the group, members will assume their doubts and evil thoughts rebounded against them.

For this to be believable, one has to be in a group that;

* Takes the leader seriously
* Believes in auras
* Believes saints have specially powerful auras which act as deflector shields
* Believe in 'mental energy'

Very likely a group of this kind will have a method of vetting which excludes skeptics, keeping only those who share this belief system/cultic milieu.

Perhaps, very long ago, when there were few food surpluses, crops had to be planted and harvested on time, and communities could not afford to have too many members distracted or disabled by over indulgence in trance, this might have created a control mechanism.

One could not afford for too many members of a subsistence economy to trance out and become incapacitated. Ecstatic events would take place at set times of year, but not when it was imperative that crops be harvested in time for winter.

But now that we have monetary surplus and ease of transportation, plus food
surpluses, more people can do these rituals repetitively, and risk addiction and long term subservience to those who possess the technology of ecstatic group

Just as we now have more people who get trapped in life long enslavement to products provided by drugs dealers.

Only difference is, the needy leaders who produce ecstasy and craving through use of social technology that manipulates neurotransmitters -- they go free. Some can even get tax exemption as spiritual non profits and accumulate wealth and freedom from social accountability.

But those who sell various and sundry illicit drugs which produce those same neurological effects -- they are pursued by the DEA.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2017 10:37PM by corboy.

Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 31, 2016 11:37PM

If you are invited to be a Sufi, look and examine the size of the palace
built by each successive guru.

The larger the square footage of that palace, the more minions are needed
to scrape off the bird shit.

Ask if you've been invited to join because all they wanted was another minion.

Reincarnation and karma can instill fear
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 16, 2017 10:48PM

Just in case one follows a non Islamic sufistic sect that deals in karma reincarnation, etc, this is not always a benevolent alternative to a hell
driven Christianity.

A disciple can be led to live in fear, especially if the leader claims to be able to purify disciples and assist them to better rebirths.

Some discussions people had about Self Realization Fellowship may be useful here.

"I felt that karma was just like the teaching of Hell."


If God created the cosmos all by himself, God should not need so much scripting
and micromanagement of our worship.





One correction I'd make to Raja's essay--
No! Not, Pseudo-religious! SRF is an actual-religious ideology. What does it matter if devotees worship living or dead saints? I wouldn't call that "pseudo". SRF devotees often revere and idealize the Matas, senior disciples who had the dumb-luck to be born and join SRF while the guru-god-man Yogananda was living, breathing, and expanding in his mortal frame.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2017 11:43PM by corboy.

Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: davidserenity ()
Date: January 31, 2017 02:58PM

I would love to connect with some x members from shadilliya sufi school. I studied with ibrahim in like 97-99 out in california

Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: January 31, 2017 09:50PM

There is a private messaging system attached to this message board. You can use it to contact anyone who is a member of the message board. But you cannot post contact information on this message board.

From people who are healing - a dream analysis
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 03, 2017 09:38PM

These quotations are from a discussion by persons who left an abusive
Christian church.

Their insights may be encouraging.

This does not mean you need to return to Jesus. Each can apply this to his or her own situation.



When I was seeing a psychologist after leaving TLWF, he said something that may be of interest to those of you who have had nightmares about things like earthquakes and tidal waves since leaving TLWF.

He said the subconscious mind does not deal so much in words, but in images. The ocean is a picture of the state of your life. A sunny beach means life is good. Storms and waves indicate turmoil. Huge waves, like a tsunami, indicate the very foundations are being shaken. In my case, I was having nightmares about tidal waves that were higher than skyscrapers and mountains. There was literally nowhere to escape. Somehow, I was able to watch the storms from above, and not be destroyed. Often I just woke up.

The nightmares went from massive storms to medieval sword fights to being hunted by those who wanted to murder me. Eventually that all changed when I began to apply Jesus’ teaching and ignore the teaching of religious leaders. It certainly did not happen overnight, or without me looking to many other things for answers. I can only speak for myself, but there is way more life to Jesus’ teaching than a casual reading would first indicate.


I still cross paths with current members on a regular basis. For most who have invested decades in the fellowship, it represents little more than a social-gathering organization at this point. The 'word' has been rehashed so many times, with no evidence of fulfillment, that any excitement over it has pretty much run it's course. What they are left with are relationships which now span decades, and few believe they could ever start over finding new ones out in the world.

Most of the fine folks still warming the cheap seats have little or no clue about most of the abuses that have been perpetrated on others. Lifting the skirts on APCO-level abuses would pretty much be discounted as 'fake news'. The river denial runs wide and deep on this issue.

TLW is probably going to continue it's slow decent into oblivion as many simply age-out and die, unless of course, they find success in picking off unsuspecting Catholic youth in Brazil to buttress up their ranks. But the Kool-Aid, as they prepare it, is hard to resist when you are young and clueless. That was our drink of choice when we were young and thirsty. After all, who can resist the promise of being the ones who will save the world?

Files on Frithjof Schuon/Maryamiyya
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 30, 2017 09:58PM

The files of former Schoun disciples Glasse, Koslow and Vidali are in the public domain.




The files were mentioned in a discussion following an article posted on
Tradtionalists Blogspot.


Articles that mention Schuon's Maryamiyya


Schuon's Father involved with Steiner/Anthroposophy


(Anthroposophy, a break off from Besant's Theosophical Society was founded by Rudolf Steiner. Discussions of Steiner related projects are elsewhere on CEI)

Articles that mention Hossein Nasr (disciple of Schuon)


Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 14, 2017 10:42PM

If anyone is concerned for the welfare of a family member, a friend or oneself, this article offers ways to evaluate the in house behavior of a Sufi tariqa, lodge or

Use the find and replace function to replace the term 'cult leader' with whatever your leader uses.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2017 10:49PM by corboy.

Heavy eye to eye staring disrupts your inner life
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 31, 2017 09:37PM

All too often many gurus and workshop leaders use eye gazing techniques as an
alleged intimacy building exercise.

Watch out. It disrupts your capacity for self reflection.

If something had this kind of effect on your computer, you'd be rightfully alarmed
and call for help from technical support.

The danger with gurus and transformation workshops is, we do not understand that this heavy duty staring compromises our cognitive capacities and keeps us
from the kind of self reflection needed for genuine learning.

The only learning supported by this kind of staring is indoctrination - which
serves someone else's agenda, not yours.



Emphasizing the eyes as a guru technique - Many publicity
photographs for gurus emphasize their dark, soulful eyes.

(This entire page is well worth a peek)

Maintaining Eye Contact While Talking Overwhelms the Brain
Research indicates that eye contact, while powerful, is quite taxing on our brains. Sarah Sloat


Maintaining Eye Contact While Talking Overwhelms the Brain

Research indicates that eye contact, while powerful, is quite taxing on our brains. Sarah Sloat


Eye Contact Can Be Overwhelming

Research shows that maintaining eye contact can make it harder to think
By Victoria Sayo Turner on December 20, 2016



And you may have noticed that thinking deeply can cause someone to drop their eyes. A recent experiment conducted in Japan suggests that eye contact draws on the same mental resources used for complex tasks, so trying to maintain eye contact can impede your reasoning. In this case, the break in eye contact comes not from emotion, but from the need to preserve cognitive resources. Eye contact can deplete your mental bandwidth.

The final paragraphs of the Scientific American Article give this punchline:


If looking away to think is cross-cultural, then perhaps cultures with less emphasis on eye contact enable deeper thinking during a given conversation, while those using more eye contact might give better social feedback between conversational partners. In our everyday lives, do we talk more fluently about complicated subjects without eye contact, and if so, do we lose something in exchange?
Eye contact is something we prefer from birth, but it is not advantageous in every situation. Back in 1998, researchers theorized that averting the gaze from surroundings aids thinking by disengaging from potential distractions around us. While it remains to be seen which tasks are harmed (and which might be improved) with eye contact, complex verbal tasks seem to be more difficult for people trying to maintain the gaze of another person. So the next time you’re in a polite staring contest with an interviewer, take the time to look out the window while you ponder the hardest questions. They should forgive you the breach of etiquette if you come up with your best answers.


"A recent experiment conducted in Japan"


Cognition. 2016 Dec;157:352-357. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 15.
When we cannot speak: Eye contact disrupts resources available to cognitive control processes during verb generation.

Kajimura S1, Nomura M2.
Author information
Although eye contact and verbal processing appear independent, people frequently avert their eyes from interlocutors during conversation. This suggests that there is interference between these processes. We hypothesized that such interference occurs because both processes share cognitive resources of a domain-general system and explored the influence of eye contact on simultaneous verb generation processes (i.e., retrieval and selection). In the present experiment, viewing a movie of faces with eyes directed toward the viewer delayed verbal generation more than a movie of faces with averted eyes; however, this effect was only present when both retrieval and selection demands were high. The results support the hypothesis that eye contact shares domain-general cognitive resource with verb generation. This further indicates that a full understanding of functional and dysfunctional communication must consider the interaction and interference of verbal and non-verbal channels.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/04/2020 09:32PM by corboy.

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