Complex Trauma and Spiritual Healing Power of Sufism

Since I was a 13-year-old spending recesses in the schoolyard composing poems inspired by my turbulent home life, I’ve been passionate about storytelling. My career has centered on telling thousands of stories about the interplay between economics, politics and financial markets in developing countries. I also love blogging about the ways the spiritual tradition of [Read More…]

On Saints as Friends of the Divine

Saints were everywhere in my Catholic childhood. Their haloed, beseeching visages appeared in the unlikeliest places, from laminated prayer cards that fell out of books to oblong medals glued on to car dashboards. This suggested to me that saints were holy people pulled down to earth by the concerns of daily life. Their names designated [Read More…]

What the Heart Knows

My wife and I were recently invited to lead another service at our local Unitarian chapel and when thinking about what our theme should be, it occurred to us that both Muslims and Unitarians champion the use of reason, firmly insisting that reason should be a bedrock of faith.  Yet within Islam, there has always [Read More…]

The Mercy of the Ailing Body

One evening a few weeks before my 25th birthday, I alighted from a train in the Heidelberg railway station and took off running. It was a twice-weekly routine at the time. I was taking evening classes at the University of the Frankfurt, and the train returning me to Heidelberg arrived just a few minutes before [Read More…]

The Most Important Thing I Learned From Our Murshid

He could have been someone’s grandfather from Sicily, dressed in a three-piece suit, walking with a cane, the bearer of the mischievous yet innocent smile. But, somehow, contained within this merely earthly form was a powerful generator of heart-melting love — a love free of any sentimentality, sanctimony, or possessiveness. My first encounter with a [Read More…]

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Women in His Life

        Dearest M, Where do we go from here? For the last year I have been writing you these letters like a distant admirer. But I don’t want to stay at a remove any longer. I want to be as close to you as I possibly can. And more than that: I [Read More…]

Translating Love’s Confusion: Hollywood and Misreading Rumi

The 2010 Hollywood celebrity fest chick-flick Valentine’s Day opens with Reed Bennett, a florist played by Ashton Kutscher, proposing marriage to Morley (Jessica Alba), as she wakes up on Feb. 14. Evidently startled, Morley initially accepts, sending Reed on a joyful mission to let everyone know his sweetheart said “yes”! But his elation is short-lived. [Read More…]

Mother Nature and the 99 Names

One of the aims of our new book The 99 Names of God is to help children, parents, and teachers build a spiritual link to the natural world, making us aware that God communicates to us through nature in the most beautiful, awesome, playful, and sublime manner. Young and old are encouraged to see how [Read More…]

Spiritual Wisdom In A Treasure The Burglars Left Behind

In the heap of objects strewn across the dining room floor, I spotted a sterling silver sugar bowl that was part of a four-piece tea set my mom bought about three decades ago to entertain guests. I picked up the bowl with one hand, while using the other to rummage through the pile of papers, [Read More…]

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and His Battles, Then and Now

Dearest M, My heart is heavy as I write this. Not because of anything between us: I feel my longing for you only deepening with the passage of time, the green dome of your mosque in Medina becoming a beacon of certainty before my mind’s eye. No, my heart is not heavy with doubt. It [Read More…]