October 21, 2019

I have been fortunate during my spiritual training to have been inspired by some extraordinary teachers, people who came into my life as if by chance, but whose presence and effect on my soul could not have been prayed for, much less imagined. One of these teachers was for a period of time the owner of a café in Vancouver where I sometimes enjoyed being served a cup of frothy Turkish coffee. Murray, as he was sometimes called, was the… Read more

October 9, 2019

I recently attended a retreat where a fellow seeker described the sweetness of the companionship that unfolds on the Sufi path. He likened the sensation to “being in Love together.” It was a beautiful way of putting it. Each of us is seeking the Cosmic Love at our core, side by side. Each of us is facing our unique inner battles to tear away the veils that have separated us from this Love as we were growing up. And the… Read more

September 27, 2019

Early in my time on the Sufi path, I went to visit some friends I had known through a meditation group. One took me aside at the end of our evening and said, “There is one story by Rumi that has touched me more than any other. Do you know ‘Muhammad and the Big Eater’?” The story, which takes place in the fifth book of the Masnavi, goes like this: Once a group of people came to see the Prophet… Read more

September 15, 2019

I find myself drawn to places of silence. I attend my local Quaker meeting when I can, finding the resonance of the meeting room particularly appealing to sit, do my zhikr, and deepen in meditation. Knowing that others are also sitting in intentional silence – whether searching for the inner light (as Quakers call it) or just taking a moment from their busy lives – seems to strengthen my own practice. It wasn’t always like this of course, and it… Read more

August 27, 2019

A human being is essentially an eye; the rest is merely flesh and skin…[1] Recently I’ve been thinking about how dependent virtue is on vision. I mean the kind of vision that Rumi hints at above – a sight that includes insight. It’s the ability, for instance, to see the repercussions of our actions for ourselves and others, both now and in the future, as well as the ability to re-vision similar experiences in the past to help guide us… Read more

August 2, 2019

Just before sunset, we met in a parking lot adjacent to a marshy field. Two field biologists distributed keychain flashlights and stapled sheets of paper covered in squiggles and dashes that looked like alien Morse code, or some kind of ancient alphabet. The task before us was daunting. In the space of just fifteen minutes, and with the light rapidly fading, we had to learn this new language well enough to both understand what was being said and use the… Read more

July 14, 2019

There are so many manifestations of beauty in life. This has always been for me the supreme evidence of God, an indication that all of existence proceeds from a divine Source. And so, when I first heard the Hadith Qudsi, “God is beautiful and loves the beautiful,” I thought: this makes deep sense.  Could it be that Beauty is a path to God? Then one day my teacher said to me, “Beauty is our point of contact with Love.”  I… Read more

July 3, 2019

  What if Muslims who are in positions of religious authority acted as if Allah is Beautiful and loves Beauty? All too often Muslim religious leaders are actually in opposition to beauty and its expressions in our lives. Recently, an incident caused me to reflect upon our faith and its dominant expression in Islamic institutions, venues, and media. A dear friend of mine was holding a workshop on the Ninety-Nine Names of God for Muslim children. He was telling the… Read more

June 15, 2019

More than previous Ramadans, this year the holy month felt like a journey with my Rabb, my inmost self, deeper into the arms of Mercy. Under the gentle guidance of the Sustainer who is closer to me than the beating of my heart, I traveled through time to wounded parts of myself and allowed this body to experience the tragedy of unexpressed pain and emotion. Grief that had been tucked away, sometimes for decades, came into conscious awareness and flowed… Read more

June 2, 2019

Be patient and persistent in fasting: be always expecting the Food of God. For God, who acts with goodness and is long-suffering, bestows His gifts on those who are expectant. The full-fed man doesn’t wait expectantly for bread, wondering whether his allowance will come soon or later; but the foodless man is always asking, “Where is it?” and expecting it hungrily and seeking and searching for it. Unless you are expectant, that bounty of manifold felicity will not come to… Read more

Follow Us!



Browse Our Archives