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

Winner of the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award!

In the West, Islam has replaced Communism as the new bugbear, while Sufism, Islam’s mystical dimension, is often dismissed as the delusions of an irrational and backward people. Ken Lizzio corrects such misperceptions in this firsthand account of the year he spent in 1991 living with the head of the Naqshbandis, Afghanistan’s largest Sufi order. He presents the order in all its dimensions–social, economic, political, and spiritual–at a pivotal moment in history. He also gives a rare glimpse of everyday life in an Afghan Sufi school and of how the school has coped with the upheavals in its country.

Poignantly, the Naqshbandi way of life faces threats to its very existence. One threat lies in the creeping secularization of Islamic society, another in the dismissal of Sufism by various fundamentalist Islamic sects claiming the franchise on truth. But historically, Lizzio points out, Sufism has always been Islam’s wellspring for spiritual revival. And because Sufis deal in matters that transcend time and cultures, they help outsiders understand not only the true nature of Islam, but the deeper meaning of all religions. The sound of that meaning echoes throughout this eloquent and fascinating memoir.


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7th Rabi ul Awwal Urs Miyan Mir – 1045AH/1635CE

Miyan Mir’s Dargha/Mazar in Lahore, Pakistan

Baba Sain Mir Mohammed Sahib (c. 1550 – 11 August 1635CE/1045AH), popularly known as Mian Mir, was a famous Sufi saint who resided in Lahore, specifically in the town of Dharampura (in present-day Pakistan). He belonged to the Qadiri order of Sufism. He is famous for being a spiritual instructor of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He is identified as the founder of the Mian Khail branch of the Qadiri order. Continue reading

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Huge crowds converge in Senegal’s holy city for Sufi pilgrimage – Art & Culture – The Jakarta Post

Pilgrims of the Mouride Brotherhood, a Sufi order, read khassayites, written by their spiritual guide Serigne Touba, under a tent near the Great Mosque of Touba, on October 27, 2018 ahead of the religious festival of the Magal commemorating the exile of its founder, the great marabout Sheikh Amadou Baba. (AFP/Seyllou)

Pilgrims of the Mouride Brotherhood, a Sufi order, read khassayites, written by their spiritual guide Serigne Touba, under a tent near the Great Mosque of Touba, on October 27, 2018 ahead of the religious festival of the Magal commemorating the exile of its founder, the great marabout Sheikh Amadou Baba. (AFP/Seyllou)

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children converged on Senegal’s holy city of Touba on Sunday for the Grand Magal, a traditional annual march and biggest celebration of the Mouride Brotherhood, a Sufi Islamic order. Continue reading

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1st Rabi ul Awwal Urs Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (saw), Madina 11AH/632CE

Muhammad al Mustafa rasul allah (saw)

Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh Rasul Allah (saw) was the seal of the prophets, the final revelation from the one God.

During his lifetime he was a religious, political, and military leader originally from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is a messenger and prophet of God and, the last prophet sent by God for mankind. He is the restorer of an unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. Continue reading

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28th Safar Urs Hazrat Ahmed Mujaddid Alif Sani, Sirhind, 1034AH/1624CE

Dargah of Mujaddid Alif Sani Sirhindi

Imam-e-Rabbani Hazrat Mujaddid Alif Sa’ani Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564–1624) was an Indian Islamic Scholor from Punjab, a Hanafi jurist, and a prominent member of the Naqshbandi Sufi order. He is described as Mujaddid Alf  Thani, meaning the “reviver of the second millennium”, for his work in rejuvenating Islam and opposing the heterodoxies prevalent in the time of Moghal Emperor Akbar He is said to have had considerable and longlasting influence in India and to have given Indian Islam the stamp it bears today. Continue reading

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28th Safar Urs Hazrat Imam Hassan, Medina, 50AH/670CE

Present day Jannat al Baqi, Medina

Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib is an important figure in Islam, the son of Fatimah the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and of the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hasan is a member of the Ahl al-Bayt and Ahl al-Kisa. He briefly succeeded his father Ali ibn Abi Talib as the righteous Caliph following the latter’s death, before retiring to Madinah and entering into an agreement with the first Umayyad ruler, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, who assumed the Caliphate. Both Sunni and Shia Muslims regard Hasan as a martyr. Continue reading

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