February 2018

The Zephyr February 2018

Dear Companions on the Path,

I wish you a blessed Visalat Day! May the peace, blessings, and love of God be with you on this special day as we celebrate the earthly and heavenly life of our guiding spirit, Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Today, in the presence of many companions here at Fazal Manzil, and joined in thought and spirit with all of you throughout the world, I am issuing a Declaration announcing that Pirzadi-Shahida Noor-un-Nisa will henceforth be included in the Silsila of the Inayati Order. Please see the Declaration in FrenchGerman, andEnglish.

Stimulated by the discovery of a play by Pirzadi-Shahida Noor in the Astana Archive, over the last several months I have been deeply reflecting on her life and legacy. It has become clearer to me than ever before that the time has come for our Order to truly claim her as an essential tradition-bearer of the Sufi Message. Tremendous inspiration can be drawn from her writings, and even more from her life, which was a real-life Jataka tale.

God willing, Pirzadi-Shahida Noor’s play, Aede of the Ocean and Land, will be published this year. It is a fascinating spiritual retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. At Zenith Camp in Switzerland this summer a week will be dedicated to Pirzadi-Shahida Noor, chivalry, and Aede. Please do come if you can. And this, we hope, will just be the beginning.

Yours ever,

Sarafil Bawa

Zenith Summer Camp, 23 July-18 August 2018

Consider traveling to the Swiss Alps this summer, for the Zenith Institute‘s annual camp!Every year there are four weeks of programs, this year including a week focused on the life of Noor Inayat Khan, the Alchemy of Happiness, a five-day silent retreat with Pir Zia, and many other offerings with teachers including Atum & Emmanuel O’Kane, Maarten Ophiel & Madhu Sangita Van Leer, Majida Heiss, Munir Voss & Malik Hirschberg, Fatimabi Monika Grieger, Mehmet & Ali Ungan, Saki Lee & Latif Peter Brinck, Nigel Hamilton & Himayat Inayati, Deepa Gulrukh Patel & Jacob Eilenberg, and Zuleikha.

Ziraat Leadership Transition in Europe

I would like to announce that following three and a half years of dedicated service as European Vice President of Ziraat, Maumud Zak Waterman is stepping down. Maumud served conscientiously and planted seeds that are now actively growing. I thank him for his service, and am heartened to know that he intends to continue serving Ziraat in his capacity as a Farmer. At the same time, I warmly welcome the new European Vice President of Ziraat, Firos Holterman. Firos brings long experience in Ziraat, and also in sustainable farming. Please join me in thanking Maumud, and welcoming Firos. — Sarafil Bawa

Message from Maumud
Message from Firos

Gayan Commentary

Music of the Spheres: Gamaka Commentaries, Gayan

“As long as I act upon my own intuition, I succeed, but whenever I follow the advice of others I go astray.”

An eel would not do well to ask directions to the Sargasso Sea from a pike or a trout. Deep down in its viscera, it already knows the way. Its best course is to trust its instincts. The same is true of human beings.

A philosophizer asked a dervish what truth was. She pointed to his eyes. He asked what was falsehood. She tweaked his ear. Her point being: seeing is believing, and be wary of what you are told.

Whatever the question, the answer is already present. Only, it’s buried under a mass of fears and fancies. One needs to clear one’s mind to know what one knows.

Is counsel worthless then? Not necessarily. The Prophet Muhammad said, “The believer is a mirror of the believer.” A word or glance that confirms what one knows in one’s innermost core is a kind oflight upon light.

For this reason, Guides in the Esoteric School do not give advice. They work instead to empower the murid’s intuition.

See the full commentary on the Inayati Order website, and please check back for updates.

Astana Open House
Saturday, 24 February 2018Our first Astana Open House will be held Saturday, February 24, from 12-5 pm, in Richmond, Virginia. The afternoon will feature tours, an Indian luncheon, presentations, suhbat (spiritual conversation), tea and sweets with special guests Bruce Lawrence and miriam cooke. Pir Zia, Pirani Sartaj, Alia, Muhasaba, and Khawar will be your hosts.Details about the Astana Open House can be found here. Please contact Khawar atastana@inayatiorder.org with any questions. We look forward to hosting you!Additional information about the Astana, including a Calendar and Elist Sign-up, can be found at www.inayatiorder.org/astana.

Inayati Order Upcoming Events


Astana Open House
Richmond, Virginia
24 February 2018

Jamiat-Khas Annual Retreat
The Astana, Richmond, Virginia
20-22 March 2018

Inayati Leadership Spring Training
The Astana, Richmond, Virginia
22-25 March 2018

Wisdom of the Prophets: Sufism & Islam
w/ Sheikha Fariha, Sheikh Ghassan Manrasa & Pir Zia
The Astana, Richmond, Virginia
3-6 May 2018 and Online

The Alchemy of Happiness w/ Pir Zia
The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
31 August – 2 September 2018


German Easter Retreat w/ Pir Zia
Gersfeld, Germany
30 March – 2 April 2018

Turkey Retreat w/ Pir Zia
Middle Eastern & South Asian Inayati Community Gathering
Konya, Turkey
12-18 July 2018

Zenith Institute
Olivone, Switzerland
23 July – 18 August 2018

Growing Wings w/ Pir Zia
Katwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
24-26 August 2018

London Seminar w/ Pir Zia
London, England
17-18 November 2018


India Pilgrimage w/ Pir Zia
For details please contact gulrukh@inayatiorder.org.
Delhi to Gangotri
15-25  June, 2018

Please see our Inayati Order Programs Calendar for more event listings. New dates and online courses will be announced in March.


The Zephyr January 2018

Dear Companions on the Path,

New Year’s greetings! As we ring in the year 2018 and bid farewell to 2017, it’s a time to count our blessings and look toward the future with optimism.

For my family and the Inayati Order headquarters, the last year brought us a big transition. We moved from the quiet woodlands of the Northeast to the bustling Mid-Atlantic city of Richmond. It’s just as the Gayan says: In the country, we saw God’s glory, and now, in the city, we glorify God’s Name.

Looking back over the past year, I recall sparkling gatherings with many of you in various places in North America and Europe. The year’s highlights, for me, included the graduation of the Suluk Jabalqa class, Wisdom of the Prophets dialogues on Judaism and Christianity, Season of the Rose and Zenith Camp, and the retreats we had in Gersfeld, Istanbul, Suresnes, Rochester, and Tucson.

I look forward to the continuation of the caravan’s journey in the coming year, God willing. The second volume of the Centennial Edition of The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan is with the printers as I write, and I plan to offer live-streamed commentaries on these teachings in the spring and fall. Leadership gatherings will take place in Suresnes and Richmond, and a new leaders’ training course will commence in June. A new Suluk course will begin in September. I am scheduled to offer retreats in Germany and Holland, and at the Abode over Labor Day weekend. In June we will celebrate Pir Vilayat’s ‘Urs at his Dargah in Delhi, followed by a Himalayan retreat. In July, there will be a retreat in Konya specifically for the Middle Eastern and South Asian Inayati community.

Meanwhile, the Astana continues to unfold, and I encourage you to visit when you can. You will find the calendar here: www.inayatiorder.org/astana. We hope, before long, to be able to livestream the Universal Worship and Gatha class on Sundays.

With deep thankfulness to the One for the grace of our companionship, I close with a New Year prayer from blessed Noor-un-Nisa:

A deeper wish, a wish more true
Than that I have in store for you
Indeed upon this earth is none
And ne’er can be a sweeter one
Little rays of dreams come true
Sunny skies forever blue
Happy hours of endless cheer
Maybe yours this coming year

Yours ever,

Sarafil Bawa

India Pilgrimage & Summer 2018

Sarafil Bawa and his family will travel to India this June for the 13th Urs of his father, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. You are invited to join in this special pilgrimage. The dates are June 15 to 25, including a retreat and trek in Gangotri. Please contactgulrukh@inayatiorder.org for details, which should be finalized this month.

Following India, Bawa will travel to Konyathe Swiss Alps, and the Netherlands. We will post additional details about related seminars and retreats in February. Please note that with Bawa traveling all summer, there will be no Season of the Rose in North America in 2018. We do plan to return to the United State’s West Coast in 2019, for this annual summer gathering.



 Gayan Commentary

Music of the Spheres: Gamaka Commentaries, Gayan

“Every soul stands before me as a world, and the light of my spirit falling upon it brings clearly to my view all it contains.”

Would there be a world if there were no witnesses? It is the perceiving of the world that makes it a world. And as there are many perceivers, there are, accordingly, many worlds.

Imagine a hermit’s dark cell. Light flashes in through two chinks in the roof. One beam has illumined a curl of smoke. The other transfixes a moth in flight.

Spirit is light. The soul is a portion of divided light. The mind is what is revealed in the beam of that portion.

Two minds may know one another, in some measure, by comparing their perceptions through conversation. But a soul knows another soul silently—by rising up to spirit and then, descending, alighting on it.

When the light of one soul irradiates another, it witnesses what the other’s mind contains. When love unites two souls in spirit, their lights converge in a double flame and two worlds become one.

See the full commentary on the Inayati Order website, and please check back for updates.

Suluk Academy Mentors

This coming September, we will launch a new Suluk class. While Bawa will be the sole teacher, he will be joined by three outstanding and experienced mentors, Nizam un Nisa, Raqib and Nirtana. You can learn more about each of them below, and we encourage you to consider applying for this upcoming class. Applications are due by February 1, 2018. See www.inayatiorder.org/suluk for details.

Ayeda Nizam un Nisa Husain is a Shaykha, Guide and Representative in the Inayati Order where she uses the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan to explain the poetry of Rumi, focusing on Sufism as a means of healing and evolving. A student of classical Chishti Sufism since 1988 and a devoted follower of the Inayati Order since 2004, she has led Inayati Order centers in Lahore, in Dubai and now in Oakville, Ontario where she lives. A graduate of the first European Suluk class and a Knight of Purity, Nizam-un-Nisa has led Sufi retreats, taught Sufi meditation to Buddhist monks in Tokyo and been invited to the UN as part of an international delegation of spiritual leaders. A journalist by profession, she is currently working on setting the Urdu poetry of Hazrat Inayat Khan to music.

Raqib Jonah Yakel was initiated into the Inayati Order by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan in 2000. Raqib was an active member of the Baraka Center in Washington, DC, for several years and is a graduate of both the Suluk Academy (Gulzar ‘15) and the Raphaelite Program with Himayat Inayati. Currently residing in the Kansas City metro area with his wife and two children, Raqib leads a Sufi Center and holds an active role in the growth and unfoldment of the Inayati Order’s Kinship Activity. Professionally, Raqib is a chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner. He owns and operates Lifegate Health Center where he specializes in brain health and addiction empowering people to reclaim their health and wholeness allowing for the realization of greatness, the fulfillment of purpose, and the embodiment of peace, love, and joy in their lives.

Nirtana Gloria Deckro has been a traveler on the Sufi path for 35 years. She graduated Suluk in 2007 and then served as a mentor for the Alif and Andalib classes. Nirtana trained as a physician in England. After moving to Boston in 1982, marrying and starting a family, she spent eight years as Director of Training and Research for the Education Initiative of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. There she focused on training educators and health professionals in bringing meditation into work settings. Nirtana then built her own healing practice, offering meditation training and spiritual counseling for individuals and groups. Nirtana served on the Board of the Inayati Order from 2007 to 2011 and as Executive Director of the Order from 2011 to 2014. She currently lives with her husband in Sharon MA. They have two adult children.

Astana Upcoming Events

Please join us at the Astana in Richmond, Virginia, for an upcoming event! Bawa resumes his weekly Gatha Class + Suhbat today, January 7th, and Healing Service + Zikr on Wednesdays, beginning again the evening of January 10th.

Also, we are making plans for an Astana Open House on Saturday, February 24th. The scholars Bruce Lawrence and miriam cooke will be our special guests. We hope to offer a luncheon at 1 pm, followed by a talk at 2pm, suhbat, tea and sweets.

If you would like to come for the Open House, a class or a visit, please contact Khawar atastana@inayatiorder.orgWe look forward to hosting you!

Additional information about the Astana, including a Calendar and Elist Sign-up, can be found at www.inayatiorder.org/astana.

Inayati Order Fall Appeal 2017

Over $130,000 was raised during our most recent appeal. This is an incredibly generous outpouring, which greatly helps us enhance our support to Inayati Order murids, leaders and new friends drawn to the teachings of Sufism. Now that things are settled in Richmond, we are making plans through 2020. What would you like to see us do? Please feel free to email Jennifer Alia Wittman, our Executive Director in North America, with ideas, and let’s see what we can unfold for Murshid’s legacy, together.


The Zephyr December 2017

December 10, 2017

Dear Companions on the Path,
I hope this finds you well. Here at the Astana in Richmond, things are unfolding wonderfully. We now have two weekly gatherings, a Sunday afternoon Universal Worship Service and Gatha Class, and a Wednesday evening Healing Service and Zikr. Do come and join us; the calendar is here.

Last weekend the Inayati Order’s new Young Adults Council visited. We spent our time exploring the Six Activities of the Order and the inspirations and concerns of young people today. It was a generative discussion and one that we all look forward to continuing. (See photos below.)

During the weekend I offered a Universal Worship Service that was live-streamed as part of a 24-hour global vigil called One World Bearing Witness. It is always an honor to take part in endeavors that highlight the unity of the human spirit.

A few weeks ago, I visited Tucson. I spoke about Sufism and Judaism at Temple Emanu-El, after which we had a retreat among the sujuaros. What a pleasure it was to see friends from all over the Southwest. I was especially moved by the community’s initiative to support the care of the little-known tomb of Murshid’s beloved teacher, Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani, in Hyderabad.

In closing, I would like to wish you a luminous Hanukah, Christmas, and Winter Solstice. May glowing hearths and glowing hearts warm your cold December!

Yours ever,

Sarafil Bawa


Gayan Commentary

“I have learned more by my faults than by my merits. If I acted always aright, I could not be human.”

We might have been created as flawless beings in a flawlessworld. But we were not, and for a reason. In a placidly perfect world, there would be no discovery. There is a unique perfection to be found in the unveiling of the Perfect within the imperfect.

Life is a school for the education of the heart. Every day there is a new lesson. Lessons not learned are repeated until understanding comes. Successes teach something, but missteps often teach more.

Of course, it is not faults themselves that are instructive. Awareness is what guides. When vigilance illuminates a dark passage through life, the path comes into view.

Coming to terms with one’s shortcomings brings humility and compassion. Observing that one does not always perceive situations in their entirety, one learns to think twice before making brash pronouncements. Recognizing one’s own capacity for error, one is moved to forbear with others in their fumblings.

See the full commentary on the Inayati Order website, and please check back for updates.


The evening of November 29th, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei brought her Introduction to Sufism class to meet Pir Zia. VCU’s campus is two blocks away from the Astana and we were very happy to see that the university has a lively religious study and mysticism program!

Inayati Order Fall Appeal 2017

Thank you to all of you who regularly and generously give toward our work. As we organizationally move into a phase of greater refinement and expansion, we hope that you will give toward our Inayati Order Fall Appeal 2017We are deeply appreciative of your support!