By Saki Lee
At the end of April, some eighty pilgrims from various Sufi communities met together at Fazal Manzil (“House of Blessing”), the home of Hazrat Inayat Khan and his family in Suresnes, France. For many it was their very first visit.
We shared in a rich program that included music, dances, zikr (remembrance of God), suhbat (spiritual conversation), silent meditations in the Oriental Room, visits to the Archive, an Indian dinner, story-telling and poetry, a ceremony in honor of Noorunnisa Inayat Khan, and an informal Universal Worship service. Between events there was ample unstructured time to meet and be with each other. It did not seem to matter which branch of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s legacy anyone belonged to—be it the Sufi Order, Sufi Movement, Sufi Contact or Ruhaniat.
In addition to being ecumenical, the gathering was also international. Among us were friends from Russia, Turkey, Tunisia, Brazil, New Zealand, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Austria, and Belgium. What a delight to discover that the language of the heart bypasses cultural barriers!
Our weekend was greatly blessed by the presence of Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood Khan, the son of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s brother, Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahboob Khan. As he shared gems of wisdom from the treasury of our Sufi path, Shaikh al-Mashaikh’s depth of knowledge, humor, graciousness and accessibility inspired many minds and warmed many hearts.
A highlight of our gathering was the rose ceremony in honor of Noorunnisa. One by one mureeds were invited to come forward and offer rose petals, prayers and silent reflections. Not only were we paying homage to the heroism and self sacrifice of Noorunisa; we were also remembering and reigniting the spirit of courage, chivalry and idealism within our own hearts, as a torch in the darkness to guide us through the troubled times we live in.
We hope to host another Pilgrimage in 2014 or 2015, and we hope you can join us. The announcement, when it comes, will appear on this website.
Saki Lee was a student of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan from 1972 until his passing in 2004. She is a Guide in the Sufi Order International and works professionally in the field of East Asian medicine.