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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 Rabbi ath- Thani Urs Khwaja Ghulam Farid, Mithan Kot, Pakistan, 1319AH/1901CE

Dargha of Khwaja Ghulam Farid in Mithan Kot

Khwaja Ghulam Farid, the top most spiritual poet in Siraiki Language, was born in 1845 A.D. at Kot Mithan, in a family of Arab settlers who had come to this country along with the Arab forces.

Maulana Khuda Bux had two sons, Khwaja Farid-ud-Din and Khawaja Fakhar-ud-Din. It is said that when Khwaja Ghulam Farid was a child, Maulana Muhammad gave him the first lesson of the first alphabet “ALIF” and asked him to say “ALIF”. He repeated the same again and again till every-one present there was enveloped by a trance. Some qawali singers were invited and they too recited the same word on their musical instruments. The trance remained in sway for a considerable time. Continue reading

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The Quran’s message of balance includes diet

Diet plays a very important role in the daily life of a believer. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the physical body is kept healthy so that the soul and spirit may also remain healthy. Continue reading

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4th Rabbi ath-Thani Urs Hazrat Abu Yusuf Chishti, 459AH/1067CE

Chisht-e Sharif, Afghanistan

Khwaja Abu Yusuf al-Chishti (ra) was one of the great Persian saints of Afghanistan. The level of his marifah and love for Allah is rare even among the saints. Khwaja Abu Yusuf r.a was the son of the sister of Khwaja Abu Mohammed r.a. His mother was waliayah of great sanctity who was so engrossed in the remembrance of Allah that she refused to get married until instructed to do so by divine inspiration. As Khwaja Abu Mohammed r.a had no children, he took Khawaja Abu Yusuf into his own care and gave him all the benefits of his spiritual learning. Continue reading

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8 December (CE calendar) Hazrat Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, East Fallowfield, PA, 1986CE

8-december-bawa-muhaiyaddeen

Mazar in Fallowfield, PA

“Peace, unity, and equality…when we are in one place, when we live in one place, eat in one place, sleep in one place, disappear in one place, die in one place, when our final judgment is given in one place, and when we finally join together in heaven in one place, that is unity. Even when we go to that (final) place, we all live together in freedom as one family, one group. In this world and in the next world we live together in freedom, as one family of peace. This is Islam. If we find this way of peace, this is Islam.”
— M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

From the fellowship website: Continue reading

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29th Rabi ul Awwal Urs Muhammad Chishti 1040AH/1630CE

Dargha of Ghulam Muhammad Chishti Sabri – Chack Pero, Gujratwala, Pakistan

Khwaja Abu Muhammad Chishti was a mureed of Hazrat Khwaja Abu Ahmad Abdal Chishti and the murshid of Hazrat Khwaja Abu Yusuf Chishti. You can see the silsila of the current Inayati lineage here. Continue reading

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