Archive for October, 2012

Pir Zia Inayat Khan in Boston November 30 and December 1-2, 2012

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

The Heart’s Vocation

Weekend Meditation Seminar

with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

All are Welcome!

Cost: $225.00 / $120.00 one day

Early Registration by November 5th: $190.00

Free for MIT Students

For more information, or to arrange financial aid, email

or phone 617-522-0800



December 1 & 2, 2012

10:00AM – 4:00PM

MIT Wong Auditorium

70 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA

What would it mean to think, speak, and act from the heart?

How would such a reorientation affect one’s way of life, relationships, emotions, and identity itself? Through conscious breath, sacred sound and movement, prayer, and meditation, the transformational implications of focalizing consciousness in the heart will be explored.

Pir Zia is a scholar and teacher of Sufism in the lineage of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. He is the president and spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International and founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom. He established the Suluk Academy, a school of contemplative study with branches in the United States and Europe. Pir Zia holds a doctoral degree in Religion from Duke University, is a recipient of the U Thant Peace award, and is a Lindisfarne Fellow. His anthology A Pearl in Wine was published in 2001. His forthcoming book Saracen Chivalry; Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest will be published in November, 2012.

To register, please go to

Scholarship discounts are available, if you need one, please contact us.

To contact us email or phone 617-522-0800

Co-sponsored with MIT Prajnopaya.

via Sufi Order of Greater Boston Constellation of Light.

Also with Pir Zia:

Ethics as a Nexus between Islam and the West

A Talk by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Followed by dialogue with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
and Tenzin Priyadarshi of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values

Friday, November 30th, 7 PM

Stata Center Auditorium ( 32-123 ), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Whereas religious systems differ markedly in their theological views and ritual practices, the world’s religions and enlightened philosophical traditions find themselves in perfect accord on the essential importance of ethical integrity. At a time when the Islamic world and the West seem locked in an interminable symbolic conflict fraught with global peril, the ethical values that unite Islam and the West are a timely topic for exploration and celebration.

All are welcome to attend this free event.

Sponsored by the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values.

Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam’s history – Middle East – World – The Independent

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Masjid an-Nabawi, Medina

We must do something about this! I cried when I read this article even though I had known about this before from other presentations. We will loose our heritage because of the greed of the Saudi government. Their authoritarian rule has already destroyed the Prophet’s (saw) birthplace and the house he lived in with his beloved Khadija.

They long ago destroyed Jannat al Baqi because of their misguided misinterpretation of Islam. This is already lost, these important historic places must be preserved. There are many ways to do this and still expand the Masjid. Muslim and other historians, archaeologists and conservators should petition the UNESCO to make both Medina and Mecca world heritage sites!

These places should be preserved for humanity – they are the birthplaces of Islam, a religion now practiced by 1.6 billion people around the world, certainly these people deserve to have the heritage preserved! Read the article here or use the link below to get to the original article in the Independent, UK.

the Authorities are building a mosque so big it will hold 1.6m people – but are demolishing irreplaceable monuments to do it

Jerome Taylor

Three of the world’s oldest mosques are about to be destroyed as Saudi Arabia embarks on a multi-billion-pound expansion of Islam’s second holiest site. Work on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, where the Prophet Mohamed is buried, will start once the annual Hajj pilgrimage ends next month. When complete, the development will turn the mosque into the world’s largest building, with the capacity for 1.6 million worshipers.

But concerns have been raised that the development will see key historic sites bulldozed. Anger is already growing at the kingdom’s apparent disdain for preserving the historical and archaeological heritage of the country’s holiest city, Mecca.  Most of the expansion of Masjid an-Nabawi will take place to the west of the existing mosque, which holds the tombs of Islam’s founder and two of his closest companions, Abu Bakr and Umar.

Just outside the western walls of the current compound are mosques dedicated to Abu Bakr and Umar, as well as the Masjid Ghamama, built to mark the spot where the Prophet is thought to have given his first prayers for the Eid festival. The Saudis have announced no plans to preserve or move the three mosques, which have existed since the seventh century and are covered by Ottoman-era structures, or to commission archaeological digs before they are pulled down, something that has caused considerable concern among the few academics who are willing to speak out in the deeply authoritarian kingdom.

Read more at Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam’s history – Middle East – World – The Independent.



Hajj perspective #2 – prepare the heart for Hajj

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Amr ibn Al-‘Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet (SAW) spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” – Sahih Muslim

The ultimate reward. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj … except Jannah!”

What is the first verse that you read in Surah Al-Hajj? It does not speak of Arafah, nor does it pronounce the pillars of Nahr day. It simply says …

022.001 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ
022.002 يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ
022.001 Ya ayyuha alnnasu ittaqoo rabbakum inna zalzalata alssa’ati shay-on ‘atheemun
022.002 Yawma tarawnaha tathhalu kullu murdi’atin ‘amma arda’at watada’u kullu thati hamlin hamlaha watara alnnasa sukara wama hum bisukara walakinna ‘athaba Allahi shadeedun
022.001 O mankind! fear your Lord! for the quaking of the Hour of Judgment will be a thing terrible!
022.002On that Day you shall see that every nursing mother will forget her nursing-babe and every pregnant female will miscarry, and you will see people as if they are intoxicated, though they will not be drunk: such will be the horror of Allah’s chastisement.

Hajj is not a journey of the body such as one may take to a vacation spot or tourist attraction. It is a journey of the soul and heart.

When one pays a careful eye to the verses speaking of Hajj, they will find that verse after verse concludes with a commandment of being conscious of Allah’s presence, or a reminder of Allah’s bounteous favor upon us, or a link between Hajj and the final day.

The Destination

In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful. There were no gas stations to fill up with chips and refreshments, or rest stops to slurp water from a fountain. In fact, there was not a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes. Losing the way meant losing your life.

Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.

From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Ka’bah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless. Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell.

002.197 الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلا رَفَثَ وَلا فُسُوقَ وَلا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الألْبَابِ
002.197 Alhajju ashhurun ma’loomatun faman farada feehinna alhajja fala rafatha wala fusooqa wala jidala fee alhajji wama taf’aloo min khayrin ya’lamhu Allahu watazawwadoo fa-inna khayra alzzadi alttaqwa waittaqooni ya olee al-albabi
002.197 For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is piety and right conduct. So be aware of Me, o ye that are wise.

On the day Buhaym Al-‘Ajlee set out with his companion for Hajj, he looked toward the endless desert awaiting them both and wept, his chest soaking from the tears. “This is something,” said Buhaym, “that has made me understand the most certain journey I must one day take to Allah!”

Hajj – the journey of hearts.

The Provider

In the early days, when someone decided to perform the journey for Hajj, it was synonymous with bidding farewell to life on earth. This was due to the treacherous obstacles of traveling in the desert – trials such as sickness, starvation, and the struggles of the separate situations. An entire village might gather to bid those people farewell.

When someone would go through such a remarkable journey and return alive, they would dedicate their lives to the worship and obedience of Allah. Gone was the cheating, or the lying, or the missed Salah. He/She was now a Hajji.

Today, with the Jumbo jets and ocean liners and Mercedes buses, the facilitation of performing Hajj has taken away the luster of the title Hajji. Some might complain that there are no queen-size mattress beds in Mina, or that the air conditioning motor is a bit too loud.

But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessing that we are living in? It is the same Allah that has tested us on the plains of Arafah. The slave of Allah can only truly understand the favor of Allah when it is taken away.

002.198 لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلا مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُمْ مِنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ عِنْدَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
002.198 Laysa ‘alaykum junahun an tabtaghoo fadlan min rabbikum fa-itha afadtum min ‘arafatin faothkuroo Allaha ‘inda almash’ari alharami waothkuroohu kama hadakum wa-in kuntum min qablihi lamina alddalleena
002.198 There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord (during Hajj). But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at Al Mash’ar Al Haram. And remember Him as He has guided you, for indeed you were before that among those astray.

Alhamdulillaah. Indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor.

Allah knows we are going to get dusty during Hajj, Allah knows it. So don’t be surprised when that dust blows, instead turn to Allah with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah.

022.029 ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
022.029 Thumma lyaqdoo tafathahum walyoofoo nuthoorahum walyattawwafoo bialbayti al’ateeqi
022.029 “Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House.”

Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote a Qasidah about this journey of the hearts, here is only an English glimpse of some of the Arabic verses:

He says, my slaves have come to me (for Hajj) out of love for me
And I am merciful to them, bounteous and loving
Glad tidings O participants of that stand (on Arafah)
a moment when Allah forgives all sins and showers His mercy

Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” – Bukhari

Getting the heart in shape same for life as for Hajj.

Many years ago, as the Hujjaj swept through the valley of Muzdalifah, a man remarked out loud, “My look at the number of Hujjaj!” The wise man replied, “Nay, the passengers are many, but the Hujjaj are few.”

I once heard the story of a man who was blessed with the opportunity to join the caravan for Hajj regularly. However, his shortcoming was that he could never control his anger during the days of Hajj, and would snap cursing others.

Well, one person had an idea for him. His inspiration: Instead of cursing Muslims during Hajj, write all your bad comments on a piece of paper – fold it – and then when you get mad at someone, just hand him the paper. On the top of the tiny envelope write, ‘Do not open until after Hajj’. The man agreed.

As incident after incident assailed him, the man would simply smile, then frown and hand out the tiny envelopes to the provoking party.

Everything was going smoothly until the day when he was walking to the Jamarat and someone stomped his toes. He lost all control. Teeth gritting, he snarled and took out his briefcase of envelopes and dumped it on that poor guys head.

In Hajj there are people who snatch for patience and the reward of Allah during those trying moments, like a man pan handles for gold. I asked myself, what is different from them and those who spend their breath in criticism and argumentation? It finally dawned that it was not the body of Zayd or ‘Amr that I was witnessing, but it was the hearts of Zayd and ‘Amr.

Some people come to hajj prepared financially. Others come with a prepared heart – that is what’s essential. Whether the grindstone grinds us to dust or polishes us up depends on what we are made of.

Part 2

Now – How to get that heart in shape for Hajj or life?

Firstly: Gain knowledge.

Hajj is one of the pillars that Islam is built on. When someone intends to perform this rite it a must upon them that they learn it well. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.”

Imam Bukhari writes in his Saheeh, ‘knowledge comes before statements and actions.’ He then quoted the verse of Allah:

047.019 فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ
047.019 Fai’lam annahu la ilaha illa Allahu waistaghfir lithanbika walilmu/mineena waalmu/minati waAllahu ya’lamu mutaqallabakum wamathwakum
047.019 Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.

Secondly: Establish Salah and perform Qiyaam ul-Layl

When Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – was preparing his heart for the mission of conveying this Deen, Allah ordered him to prepare using Qiyam ul-Layl.

Allah ta’ala says:

073.001 يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ
073.002 قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلا قَلِيلا
073.003 نِصْفَهُ أَوِ انْقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلا
073.004 أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلا
073.001 Ya ayyuha almuzzammilu
073.002 Qumi allayla illa qaleelan
073.003 Nisfahu awi onqus minhu qaleelan
073.004 Aw zid ‘alayhi warattili alqur-ana tarteelan
073.001 O thou folded in garments!
073.002 Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night,-
073.003 Half of it,- or a little less,
073.004 Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.

A student once slept over at Imam Ahmad’s house, rahimahullah. Imam Ahmad had left a vessel of water for him, and upon arriving at Fajr time, found the vessel still full of water. He was shocked and remarked, “How can a person be a Talib Al-‘Ilm (student of Islam) and not stand for Qiyam ul-Layl!”

Some said to Ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be pleased with him, “We are unable to wake up to perform Qiyam ul-Layl.” He told them, “You are distancing yourselves from it by your sins.”

Thirdly: Repentance to Allah and Dua

It was during the days of Tashreeq when Jirbreel – alayhis salam – came to Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – with the words of Allah:

110.001 إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
110.002 وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
110.003 فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
110.001 Itha jaa nasru Allahi waalfathu
110.002 Waraayta alnnasa yadkhuloona fee deeni Allahi afwajan
110.003 Fasabbih bihamdi rabbika waistaghfirhu innahu kana tawwaban
110.001 When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory,
110.002 And thou dost see the people enter Allah’s Religion in crowds,
110.003 Celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy).

The conquest of Allah is in our hearts, remember that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US now Alhamdulillah!

This was the culmination of 23 years of Da’wah, Jihad, and work; here now was the farewell pilgrimage. What did it end with? [Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord (Tasbeeh) and ask forgiveness of Him]

Subhaanak Allaahumma wa bihamdika, Allahumma ighfir-lana / Glory be to you O Allah, and may You be praised. O Allah, forgive us!




Contact Imam Salim

Contact Imam Salim

Hajj perspective – #1 – Unity

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Bayt Allah

Dhu’l Hijjah is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar and of which the first ten days are filled with a blessing. That blessing is the yearly journey of 2 million pilgrims to Mecca to answer the call of our creator and sustainer to come to His house and perform the Hajj rituals culminating in Arafat and ‘Eid al Adha.

Performance of the Hajj is incumbent on every Muslim man and woman who is financially and physically able to do so. Those of us who remain at our homes urge our brothers and sisters on and perform other deeds of worship as we are able.

One aspect of this great gathering of souls that is often spoken of but bears repeating here and now is the sense of brotherhood/sisterhood that exists among all those there no matter where in the world they come from and no matter what their financial standing. This great event equalizes king and pauper – queen and servant and puts each of us equal in the heart of Islam. In the lines of people around the Kaaba we see only fellow muslims and muslimahs who have answered the call. There is no way to tell, nor is there really any importance in knowing, who is a corporate exectutive and who is a ditch-digger, who is a university professor and who is a seamstress. As we look over the crowd we cannot see the distinctions and differences that divide people, we only see our ummah comming to Bayt-Allah to be re-united with the beloved.

Indeed we are equal in the sight of Allah (swt) who tells us in the Qur’an Sharif:

049.013 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
049.013 Ya ayyuha alnnasu inna khalaqnakum min thakarin waontha waja’alnakum shu’ooban waqaba-ila lita’arafoo inna akramakum AAinda Allahi atqakum inna Allaha ‘aleemun khabeerun
O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other not that ye may despise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things.

One of my earliest memories of learning about the unity of the Hajj was in reading the autobiography of Malik El Shabazz (Malcom X.) His account of being in Mecca, surrounded by peoples of many different races and ethnic origins and his immersion in it was both illuminating and touching. He wrote about it in a letter:

“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.

You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.

During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.

We are truly all the same-brothers.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

What he saw was the message of the Qur’an, the message of Islam alive in front of his eyes.

Surely there is knowledge there for those who consider. There are many wonderful lessons that we can learn from the Hajj, the story of Ibrahim and Haggar and Ishmael are central to the theme and we hope to learn from them. Rasul Allah (saw) had much to teach us through the rituals and rites of this pilgrimage and a lasting and universal message delivered in his (saw) last Khutbah delivered in Arafat. But this lesson of unity, kinship, and realization of humanity’s common origin in our creator is one that hajjis experience first hand and deeply personally. Proof of our lord’s (swt) telling us that his signs are within us as well as out on the horizons. The signs are a part of our make up, a part of what makes us human and a part of what is yearning inside us to return to the beloved. Many of us can answer the call to the pilgrimage in Mecca but there is an inner pilgrimage that all of us can take – the Kaaba within is always there for us to reach in for our connection with divine guidance.

And for those of us in our homes while the two million are in Mecca, that inner Kaaba is where we must journey to each day to be in unity with our brothers and sisters all over the world. A world where we are sincere in our love of each other and of Allah (swt)

And Allah knows best.



Contact Imam Salim

Contact Imam Salim

Abida Parveen gets lifetime achievement award

Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Abida Parveen

Abida Parveen

New Delhi: Sufi legend Abida Parveen was honoured with a lifetime achievement award here by Kaladharmi Begum Akhtar Academy of Ghazal.

Abida is an internationally acclaimed Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music.

Her songs include mainly ghazals, Urdu love tracks and her forte, Kafis, a classical form of Sufi poetry. Some of her hits are `Duma Dum Mast Qalandar`, `Teray Ishaq Nachaya`, `Latthe Di Chadar`, `Kuch Is Ada Se Aaj` and `Kafian Bulleh Shah`.

“I am honoured to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Begum Akhtar Academy of Ghazal. It is always and a proud moment when I get an award. Thank you,” said Abida, who received the award from Tripurari Sharan, Director General, Doordarshan.

After recieving the award, the 58-year-old was requested by her fans to sing, to which she obliged and enthralled the audience with her famous rendition `Lal meri pat rakhiyo bhala jhoole laalan`.

Born in a musical family, Abida received initial training from her father Ustaad Ghulam Haider which created the basis for her career.

She began her career with Radio Pakistan and gained new fans following her appearance in `Coke Studio`, a TV music programme that showcases collaborations between classical and rock artists.

During her career, Abida has been awarded both the `Pride of Performance` and the `Sitara-e-Imtiaz` by the Government of Pakistan.

via Abida Parveen gets lifetime achievement award.