Community Bulletin Board

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Ziraat newsletter 2016

Ziraat newsletter 2016-1


The Kinship Activity is in the process of establishing a community information email list to share information and opportunities beyond the Center activities.  If you would like to be added to this list, please contact Basira.

2/16/16:  Leelah is facing surgery again and can use some help.  If you are available, please contact Basira.  She also has a Go Fund Me site where you can contribute financially, if you are able.

Sufi Order Online Groups

“Hope is life, and without hope life ends”
by deepa Patel
in Sufi Order Jamiat Am
“Hope is life, and without hope life ends.”
Sending hope to the UN summit on climate change Nov 30 – Dec 11

The first day of the climate change summit meeting has started in Paris. Nearly 40,000 people, including over 150 heads of State, activists, businesses, non-profit organisations have begun the work of drawing up an international agreement reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to minimize climate change.

As we know this isn’t the first time the nations have attempted to draw up an agreement and we have not succeeded yet. And it’s precisely because we have tried and failed before that we need to bring our collective and individual intention, prayers and actions to this meeting. We have another chance to hope for a different outcome for as Pir-o- Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan said:

In the East there is a beautiful saying, “Brahma extracted honey from all flowers and it was hope”. That means, Brahma, God, extracted the essence from all things in the world. The essence is wisdom. The things, all objects in the world, are flowers that attract us, and they attract us by hope. Hope is life, and without hope life ends.”

So today and each day for the next two weeks let’s take a moment and bring to our minds, hearts and bodies this quality of hope. Hope that all those attending the summit will find their way to an agreement that will make a difference for humanity’s next century of living with climate change.

. . .

For more details on the climate change summit, please check out this overview by Mashable:

Something to contemplate:
Let my heart become a planet
In Thy heaven
>From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Nature Meditations

Or maybe you will consider taking an action: here are 10 you can choose from–ekE2mOTIBx


Day 2 COP21

Today is Forest Action day in Paris. As I write this the panel discussion
on “Building Effective Global Partnerships for Development Without
Deforestation” is just finishing.

I found this beautiful passage from Murshid’s biography on a journey he
took through the forest:

*“The solitude of the* *forest, the** sounds of the birds that one never
feels nor hears in the crowd, the trees standing in stillness for hundreds
of years, a place never occupied by man, gave him a feeling of that calm
and peace that every soul longs for, consciously or unconsciously. This
journey was a kind of answer to the cry of his soul. He felt in the sphere
a welcome and blessing given by the long standing trees, venerable in age
and appearance. He saw the hand of God blessing in every bending branch. He
pictured his hands in the branches that stretched upwards, hands constantly
praying and asking for blessing from above.”*

Lets raise our hands in solidarity with all the trees in the world!

A practice for the next two weeks from Aziza Scott:

Ya Alim -Ya Wali -Ya Fatah

Oh Divine Intelligence, Oh Divine Teacher and Friend, please open the door

Contemplation from Nature Meditations:

“Trees with branches downwards: I see Thy hand blessing me.

Trees rising upwards: Praying for me with hands raised upwards.

Trees in the night: My heart stands in waiting and hope as the trees stand
still through the darkness of night.”

Please send blessings:

To those environmental activists that have lost their lives in the campaign
for a just world.


Greetings friends,

On November 9th, 2015, the SOINA Board of Trustees (SOINA BOT) met and
approved a resolution, which outlines the process by which the Abode of the
Message will begin to form its own governing structure. The first step in
this process will be the selection of members of the Abode Steering
Committee, a new sub-committee of the SOINA BOT. This committee will be
responsible, in collaboration with the entire Board, for the formation of
the new Abode of the Message BOT and management team. Please find attached
to this message the resolution, and a message from the Board outlining the
process by which nominations for the steering committee will be accepted.

The Board is whole-heartedly looking forward to a robust collaboration with
the emerging leadership from the Abode. We recognize the current and future
inter-dependence of both entities, and we look forward to a dynamic process
of working together to bring to reality a self-governing and fully
independent Abode of the Message.

As the letter from the Board indicates, nominations for the Steering
Committee are now open. We are initially seeking 2 to 4 individuals to
serve alongside one current SOINA Board member on the committee (this
number may expand in the future based on the needs of the committee). We
will accept nominees through December 11th, after which time the Board, in
consultation with current Abode leaders, will select potential members to
forward to Pir Zia, who will ultimately appoint the slate of Steering
Committee members. We plan on having the Committee in place in the first
few weeks of 2016.

We welcome your nominations for these important positions (please see
attached letter for the information on how to submit a nomination).
Committee members will work closely with the SOINA Board in creating their
charter, sub-committees and in determining benchmarks and a timeline for
reaching the final goal of an independent Abode Board of Trustees. Please
note that serving on the Steering Committee is likely to be a multi-month
commitment, and membership on this committee does not commit one to serve,
nor imply that one will be asked to serve, on the eventual Abode BOT.

Thank you for your continuing support as we seek to position our Order to
better meet the spiritual needs of today’s world.

In service,

Executive Committee,

Sufi Order International Board of Trustees

Rest of post…
<> 4 files
*📎* Abode Steering Committee Motion 11.9.15.docx
(82.44kb) *📎* Untitled attachment 00028.htm
(240 bytes) *📎* Abode Steering Committee Nomination Process – Final.docx
(180.86kb) *📎* Untitled attachment 00031.htm

7/3/15  Update:

Dear Friends:
We were privileged to participate in an historic event at the Abode of the Message at the conclusion of The Season of the Rose gathering. In September, 2010, the revival of the Knighthood of Purity was announced and the practices begun. A group of ten people who completed the practice of the Iron, Copper, Silver and Golden Rules were knighted by Pir Zia in a moving and solemn ceremony at the closing yesterday. More will receive this accolade on Sunday at the close of the retreat portion of the camp, and in future ceremonies.
This practice was established by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan toward the end of his life and is exemplified in the life and death of Pirzadi Noorunisa Inayat Khan.
We have added a page on the Knighthood under the Activities page of our SOR website, with sub-pages for the Rules and links to Pir Zia’s commentaries. This practice is open to everyone, whether an initiate or not, and the Knights are empowered to offer the knighting service to those who complete the practice. Pir Zia hopes that this activity will spread throughout the world! If you are interested, please look at the website, talk to your guide or speak to me.
Love and blessings,
Sahabat as-Safa

7/3/15  Update:

Dear Friends:

This is from Shafi:

If you have an old but decent sleeping bag, or a two person tent which has been used sporadically, please consider in passing it on donating to ond of.our homeless brothers and sisters as this will be their primary home and warmth during the night.



5/19/15 Update:

Dear Friends:
Wadud and I attended the Federation of the Sufi Message meeting at the Abode last week. It was a great experience and we look forward to telling you all about it.
Among other things, we learned that when the bookstore at the Abode was closed, a large number of the classic orange volumes of the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan went into deep storage. They are beginning to emerge and are being sent to Rani in Oregon. She had a few with her and I bought two copies of The Art of Personality (Vol III) and one of The Vision of God and Man (Vol XII). Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing one or more of these now out of print books for $15 (what I paid). She will be putting them on Amazon as they become available for $20, but offered to let me know what she gets, as she gets them, in case any of us want to buy them directly. This is a chance to build a set of these books, although not every volume may be available.
Pir Zia will be producing a new set of the volumes as he commences his new project teaching them, one at a time, but this will take years. Many of us value our orange volumes as the original edition that we collected early on.
I also purchased a copy of Hafiz Larry Decker’s book, The Alchemy of Combat, which I plan to read and pass on to someone who works with veterans. If you are interested in this book, please let me know.
Hope to see you soon!
Blessings and love,


12/12/14  Update:

Dear friends,
Please consider joining our holiday kinship effort to help area families in need.
The SOR will be providing gifts for a family with 3 children through Spiritus Chrisiti’s adopt a family program; and we will also be providing funds for groceries and gifts for the mom and 15 year old son that we had connected with for thanksgiving .
Please see below for the list of children with their sizes, gift preferences etc. if you wish to donate any funds checks can be made out to SOR with “kinship” in the memo line.
Please direct any questions to Rahima at 584-202-7534.
Thank you for your generosity !
Rahima,Basira and Shafi for the Kinship concentration

Shanae- girl 16- gift cards or medium tops, scarves, gloves, hat, perfume

Lamaya- girl 14- gift cards or medium tops, scarves, gloves, hat, bath and body work sets, perfume

Coutore- boy 5- gift cards or educational games, size 8 tops and bottoms, hat scarf, gloves, trucks, toys

7/18/14 Update:

Dear Ones,

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of a tragic loss in our Federation Sufi Family. Allahbakhsh Willem Witteveen, Kalyani Liduine Heerkens and their daughter Marit Witteveen were passengers in the unfortunate Malaysian Airlines flight that was lost over eastern Ukraine on July 17th. Allahbaksh is the son of Murshid Karimbakhsh Witteveen, who has been a pillar of the Sufi Message in our time and a great leader in the Sufi Movement International. Please see the attached message from the Sufi Movement about this tragic incident.

We know that God knows best, but our hearts still carry the pain of such a loss. All of us in the Sufi Order send our deepest condolences to Murshid Karimbakhsh and his family, and to all of our brothers and sisters in the Sufi Movement. We share in their loss, and we pray that God will guide Allahbakhsh and his departed family in their continuing journey toward the One.

With love,

6/5/14 Update:  Dear Hearts,
There are many opportunities for Kinship within our own Sufi Order of Rochester Community. At times some of our family may need help because of illness, family situations or other kinds of crises. We would like to organize this assistance to make it easier for people to let us know what is needed, by whom, when and where. We cannot guarantee that there will be someone available, but we will try our best to help.
So we are asking you for two things:
1. Would you be willing to volunteer to provide assistance to others? Let us know what you could provide:
a. Prepared food
b. Rides to doctors or other important appointments
c. Shopping or errands
d. Provide respite for the person who is doing the primary caretaking so they can run errands or deal with their own needs.
e. Visit with someone who is needs company and/or spiritual support.
f. Investigate or recommend community resources which might help the person meet their needs.
g. Other? Tell us what
h. Is there a specific geographic area that might be easier for you to provide any of the above assistance?
Please let Basira ( ) know and she will keep a list to facilitate getting people the help they need. We understand that volunteering may still mean that you cannot respond to an individual request because of things happening in your own life, but it helps to have an idea of who might be willing to provide what kind of help.

2. Please let us know when you have a need for assistance.
a. Let us know what you need, when you need it and where.
b. If you need food and have some kinds of food limitations, please let us know what they are.
c. Give us as much lead time as possible.

We will do our best to find available volunteers to help out. Contact Basira ( and Rahima ( if you need help. If you know of someone in our Sufi family who might need some of the above assistance, check with them to be sure it is okay with them and let either of us know and we will contact the community members with a request for help. If no one on the list has volunteered or is able to provide the help needed, we will also send word out to the entire Sufi community.

Thank you!
Basira, Rahima & Shafi
Kinship Coordinators
Sufi Order of Rochester

3/8/14 Update:  Universal Worship today featured stories related to each tradition, some about the lives of the Prophets, some about the cultures, some from our own travels.  It was a beautiful sharing among a community of friends.  Next week:  The Cosmic Celebration!

3/4/14 Update:  Today we set up a Twitter account, so if you Tweet, follow us: @RochesterSufis.  Coming up:  A Cosmic Celebration of Earth Rhythms, the first of the Equinox and Solstice celebrations that will occur throughout the year on the appropriate Sunday at 11:00 am in the Universal Worship time.

2/10/14  Update:  Rev. Shafi Skatharoudis, Rev. Leelah Shoshan and Rev. Basira Karpinski were formally ordained as Cherags of the Universal Worship yesterday by Rev. Wadud and Rev. zaynab, assisted by Revs. Jabbar, Rahima and Amina, and surrounded by a community of friends.  Please join us in appreciating the years of preparation they have undertaken to come to this moment of fulfillment.  May the work of their hands be blessed, and may they share the Light of the Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty far and wide.

2/6/14  Update:  New issue of Heart and Wings from the Sufi Order International with a featured article by Wadud, click here:  H&W+Winter+2014

1/30/14 Update:  A Note from our National Delegate to the SOI Board:

Dear Friends,

I recently came across the practice written out below.   It was given
several years ago by Pir Zia to the Abode and extended community, and is
related to the way the prophetic voice is manifest in our time.

This practice allows one to focus on God and the Rasul (Messenger) – a
balance between the Divine and the Human.

The Prophets had to work through their limitations so that their teaching
could be real. They are present as a cloud of witnesses, looking upon our
limitations with compassion and encouragement (Rasul)

Done as a fikr (breathing practice) only

Inhale:  Rahmanu Rahim

Exhale:  Rasul ul-Karim

In the early AM do this practice as a fikr to set ones agenda for the day
Throughout the day come back to it when one gets bogged down or stuck.

To help unite the practice of everyday life and the practical, with divine
inspiration and vision.

The Divine nature and loving kindness
The Sufi is like an infant in the bosom of God

The embodiment of the Message is received and transforms

We inhale and exhale the personality of the Messenger

Karim Generosity and Dignity
There is a natural dignity in the one who behaves with respect, kindness
and humility

The vowelization as it comes through the oral tradition is as follows:

In:      Rahmanu Rahim
Out:   Rasul ul-Karim

Tara Chishti
National Delegate

12/8/13  Update:  A Letter from SOI Executive Director, Nirtana Deckro:

Dear Friends,

On Thursday morning I had the precious opportunity to sit in the meditation hall at the Abode with 51 members of the Suluk Graduate studies class as they gathered for the beginning of their December session. In this coming together of members of eight different Suluk classes there was a sense of power and sacredness that felt like the rivers of paradise converging. This moving experience caused me to reflect on the enormous blessings of these past few years. The following update is to share some of these recent developments with you. There is much to report in three main areas – outreach, infrastructure and finances.

Outreach – this year we updated information for all our Centers. In North America with the inclusion of our affiliated Centers in New Zealand and Australia there are currently 108 Centers. In 2013 we have welcomed fourteen new leaders to swell our ranks to 267 coordinators, representatives and guides. New curriculum was distributed this year including two new training modules and two new modules of Suluk curriculum. These modules are increasingly being utilized by many of our Centers. During 2013 three Suluk classes graduated, one in Europe and one on each coast of the USA with a total of 104 students. Programming for Suluk graduates continued at the Abode in 2013 and a new Graduate class began in Europe.

Last year Pir Zia published his book Saracen Chivalry giving literary form to the moral culture and adab of chivalry, this year his book Caravan of Souls provides a much needed introduction to our Hazrati path. Pir Vilayat’s book Awakening was translated into Turkish this year and is on sale throughout Turkey. Pir Zia traveled widely in 2013, offering programs in Turkey, Germany, France, Switzerland as well as in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin Texas, Washington DC and Naropa University in Boulder Colorado. This year we developed a number of new offerings including a magnificent Urs celebration and Sufi music festival at the Abode in February and collaborative programming by leaders from Ziraat, Universal Worship, Kinship, the Esoteric School and the Healing Order that awarded CEU’s for participants at the July, East Coast Camp. In addition our Campus has hosted many wonderful programs offered by our teachers, as well as the Jamiat Retreat for our Ruhan
iat brot
hers and sisters.

Planning is underway for new and inspiring programs in 2014 including the West Coast Camp in Washington State next June, a healing program for health professionals at the Abode in May and an introduction to the Sufi path with Pir Zia at the Abode in April. There will also be offerings by Kinship, Ziraat and a program over Labor Day weekend based on the book Physicians of the Soul.

Infrastructure – Much energy in the past few years has been devoted to shoring up infrastructure in a range of areas including implementation of a new database, fiber-optic network and telephone system on Campus and a new Suluk website with archives for the teachings. There has been significant progress this year in archiving manuscripts. Many treasures have been brought to light including a book on meditation written by Pir Vilayat in 1993 that will, God-willing, be published in time for his 10th Urs next year. At our Campus and heart-quarters we completed a cycle of renovations and improvements this year – the outcome of three years of progressive, well planned work. We have now prepared the sacred Shaker property in New Lebanon NY so it is ready to accommodate a premier school of Sufi Studies arts and culture. We not only invested with a view to providing infrastructure and increased capacity for the expanded School but also in order to bring greater financial stability
and sust
ainability to our work.

Improvements have included upgrades to the mountain camp with the expansion of its kitchen to accommodate larger groups, replacement of five roofs, and installation of a new septic field. This year saw the culmination of these upgrades with completion of the renovation of Fattah, the largest and most historic building on campus, to provide 32 additional guest beds and wonderful upgraded bathrooms. We also replaced the severely corroded original Shaker water main and installed much needed fire safety infrastructure. Finally, this November we purchased back Sherdil Manzil, the little house opposite the red barn. This three bedroom home will be dedicated for the use of visiting teachers, beginning next Summer.

All this investment over the past three years has been possible while remaining debt free, due to many factors including expert financial management by our Abode Controller that allowed for the building up of reserves, tremendous generosity from many donors and expert volunteers and much work above and beyond by our dedicated staff and wonderful community at the Abode. Finally, we heard during this past Spring that our conservation easement application submitted in collaboration with a number of neighbors has been approved for governmental funding. Details are still under consideration but the potential exists to protect a vital wildlife corridor from future development while generating a substantial influx of capital.

Finances – In order to share an overview of annual financial operations for Sufi Order International North America/Abode attached is a PDF document with simple pie charts. These break down revenue and expenses into broad categories and show them as percentages of the total operating budget. Numbers are based on 2012, our last complete fiscal year, they show an overall budget of around $1.3 million. For the purpose of clarity, money taken in for program housing then paid directly to other facilities (for West Coast Camp and West Coast Suluk program) is excluded. Donations given for special projects outside general operations are also excluded. Programs costs include salaries of staff directly dedicated to providing programming and outreach such as our Pir and Secretary General. Programs income includes all tuition and rental revenues for programs at the Abode and for programs administered by SOINA such as Suluk on the West Coast and the West Coast Summer Camp as well as Pir
revenue for teaching seminars and programs.
Please feel free to contact me in person with any reflections or questions.

Wishing you every blessing.
With much love and gratitude,

Nirtana Gloria Deckro
Executive Director
Sufi Order International NA
5 Abode Road,
New Lebanon, NY 12125
518-794-7834 x122

11/29/13 Update:  Please register for the upcoming seminar with Amina Linda Hall on December 14, Becoming the Magnet for What You Seek.  Please see the Upcoming Special Events page for more details and the seminar flier.

Message Class will be focusing on Fulfilling the Purpose of Your Life for the next several months.  We hope you will join us for this new material and learning modalities.

11/5/13 Update:  Regional Representatives and Senior Teachers in the Sufi Order International gave a seminar called The Mind of the Mystic at the Noor Center in Cleveland, OH this past weekend.  Friday night was an introduction to Sufism, Saturday focused on the teachings of Inayat Khan on mystic relaxation and Sunday offered a Healing Universal Worship.  We were happy to visit with friends old and new at the edge of our Region, which reaches from the Abode to Cleveland.

The Sufi Order of Rochester Center for Sufi Studies now offers Universal Worship every Sunday at 11 am.  Once a month we hope to offer a children’s service, the first of which was given by Cherag zaynab, on the theme of being one’s own unique self.  Please check our calendar for future offerings.

10/6/13 Update:  Today was the first weekly Universal Worship Service at the Sufi Order of Rochester Center for Sufi Studies.  Twelve people attended the ceremony, led by Rev. Cherag Wadud, focusing on the Divine Names in many traditions.  A children’s service is planned for Sunday 20th.  Families and children are welcome.


Devi is coming for a seminar Friday evening 25th – Sunday 27.  She will be offering a Healing Universal Worship on Sunday 27th at 11:00 am as part of the seminar.

Autumn Season Ziraat evening:  Tuesday, 29, 7:30 at the Center.

9/4/13 Update:  The Abode of the Message could use some help.  See the following message from Noorunisa:

Been to the Abode lately? The weather is wonderful here in the fall and we need you! Fattah is due to open on October 1st .Walls on Fattah’s 2nd and 3rd floors want to be prepped and painted. Are they calling you? Can you hear them? Will you respond?

Please join us next week for a prepping party (September 9 to 13) or the week after (September 16 to 20) for a painting party. The Abode will offer room and board and good company in exchange for your help. If you are an ex Khadim, a friend of the Abode, a friend of a friend or an at large community member and want to visit us, now is the time. We are looking for those of you who have time to help and have some experience painting and/or prepping. Please let me know by sending me an email with your level of experience, the time you can come and if you wish to receive room and board. Musicians are also welcome.

Then come and join us for the grand opening (after October 1st) where we can all admire your contribution and celebrate.
Noorunisa Anne-Louise Smallen
Abode Managing Director
5 Abode Rd
New Lebanon NY 12125<>
1-518-794-8090 ext. 113

8/8/13 Update:

Kismet Weeber, Senior Teacher in the Sufi Order International and Rising Tide International in Sarasota, FL visited for several days and led us in a lively and experiential seminar on Stones, Color and Vibration.  From Rochester, Kismet embarked upon a 40-day retreat with Aziza Scott.  Be sure to catch her next workshop in Rochester, hopefully in the summer of 2014.

The renovations and decorating of our new Center space is nearly complete!  Please contact Leelah if you are able to help with trim painting and curtain sewing.

Stay tuned for details about our upcoming Grand Opening Celebration on September 21st.  Eat, Dance and Pray returns at last after a long hiatus until we found our new home.  Subhan John Lloyd will visit and install his artwork.  See the Calendar for details.

Check out new listings for upcoming events.

7/14/13  Update:

The 13th Annual Ziraat Summer Retreat Day, held at the home of Kalida and Moshe in Wayne County, was a wonderful gathering of our Ziraat Family.  We spent the day in beautiful surroundings delving into aspects of the essence of mind, sharing from the pool of our resourcefulness (photos below).  We will continue on this theme for the next three seasonal gatherings.  Come and join us!

IMG_1190 IMG_1192

6/30/13 Update:  

Dear Friends:
We are so excited about our new Center! If you haven’t come to experience the space, make sure to come in soon. There is tremendous potential for growth in this dedicated, full time home.
The Message Council met Wednesday night and, among other things, we looked at the kinds of things we would like to have for furnishings. If you have any items on the list below or other things to offer as a donation, please contact Leelah at to see whether your item will fit in with the Beautification Committee’s planning. Here’s the list:
a. Seating: Beautification committee (Leelah is facilitator) Estimate: up to 10 each of Bolsters; cushions; Yoga blankets; Back jacks.
b. Painting supplies and help painting
c. One or two bookshelves for Library room
d. Altar table (we have one scoped out)
e. 5 floor lamps with dimmers
f. Side table and two chairs and a floor lamp (above) for interview room
g. UW candles, holders, lighter, altar cloth
h. Kitchen and bathroom supplies – serving bowls and implements, pots and pans
i. ? screen for front door: Wadud will see if handyman can estimate
j. curtain to separate vestibule from front room
k. A large oriental style rug and smaller floor coverings
l. Wireless (may be available through AAUW for fee)
m. Bulletin board
n. Art Work
o. Coat Rack; Wall coat hooks
q. Outdoor seating (Leelah will donate inexpensive chairs as a trial (we want to watch for theft potential)

Love and blessings,

6/13/13 Update:  The Sufi Order of Rochester has a wonderful new meeting space at 492 East Avenue, Rochester, the Carriage House behind the AAUW mansion!  We will be moving in shortly and plan to hold Healing Class there next Thursday.  We will be cleaning, painting and gardening soon and all hands are welcome and needed to help.  Stay tuned for more information.  This is a big and exciting step forward for our community and we hope to have many interesting offerings to share with the general public and our membership.

5/7/13 Update:  The seminar with Murshid Shahabuddin, held at the Carriage House behind the AAUW on East Ave was a great success!  Over 50 seekers attended, our out of town guests had housing and the community provided two bountiful lunches and snacks for all.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Our beloved Miriam Qahira has one more chemotherapy treatment ahead and then she can close this chapter of her life and concentrate on recovery.  Please keep her and Shahid in your thoughts and prayers.  The Canandiagua Study Group met tonight to focus on a letter from Pir Zia on the subject of Awakening, as well as themes from last week’s Message Class on the Prophets.

4/18/13  Update:  Letter from Pir Zia:  Please click the link below to read the letter from Pir Zia to the international Sufi community.

pir zia letter

3/11/13  Update:  The Sufi Order of Rochester took a bold step in November, 2003 to move out of the living room and into a public space at the then Open Sky Yoga Studio.  Since that time, the space became Physikos Continuum Studio and has been our home for classes, semas, seminars, Eat Dance and Pray evenings and concerts.  As we come to the end of our tenure there, we offer our gratitude for the support that this space has given us.  We have learned and grown during our time there.  As we move on to the next chapter in our unfolding adventure, we remember fondly these nearly 10 years of offering the Sufi Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty in our community and we look forward with excitement to the next dispensation of our work at the Piano Works in East Rochester.

We have a seminar with Murshid Shahabuddin coming up in May.  Our community has a long and honorable tradition of hosting out of town guests in our homes.  This hospitality makes it possible for many friends to come to these important events.  If you can open your home to accommodate one or more guests, please contact zaynab.  Let her know whether you have pets, stairs or other factors that might be important to know for possible guests.


3/7/13 Update:  After searching and viewing many spaces and canvassing the community, the Message Council has agreed to move forward with a space at Piano Works in East Rochester.  A little off the beaten path, but closer to some of our community members than Village Gate, Piano Works offers many advantages.  We will keep you posted on progress.  Meanwhile, the last offerings SOR will have at Physikos will be Message Class, Monthly Universal Worship and Foundation Class.  Healing Class will be held at Wadud and zaynab’s, and Zikr will be at Amina and Husam’s.  Eat, Dance and Pray is cancelled until the new space is ready.  Please check the Calendar for details.


2/8/13  Update:  The space we had hoped to rent for our Center is no longer available.  The Message Council is moving forward to find the right place and we will keep you posted.  For more details, please see Amina’s post under Notes from the Message Council.  Let us know if you have suggestions!


1/15/13  Exciting news!  The Sufi Order of Rochester is planning a dedicated space for our Center! This opportunity will give us a chance to expand and explore new potentials.  Please watch this space for more information, coming soon!



1/19/13  Coordinator Appointment:  Basira Maryanne Karpinski has been officially appointed as a Coordinator in the Sufi Order International for our Center, as of January 14!  This is a big achievement, as there was much work and attunement involved in the training.  Of course, Basira is uniquely skilled at coordinating anything she is involved with and has been doing this for SOR all along.  Now she’s official, so please join us in congratulating her and welcoming her to this new responsibility. ________________________________________________________________________

1/22/13 – Sufi Order of Rochester

            The Sufi Order of Rochester is a vibrant, active center in all the concentrations and many affiliated activities, consciously striving to move “Toward the One…” through both our struggles and successes.

The Sufi Order of Rochester (SOR) emerged from the spiritual yearning and search of a few individuals decades ago.  Seminars with Murshid Shahabuddin David Less through the Buffalo community and many guide-mureed relationships, and retreats and teachings at the Abode gave us the inspiration to develop further.

Growth happened slowly, beginning with a class and zikr held in a living room, and monthly Dances of Universal Peace at other sites.  By the 1990s, two Cherags held the Universal Worship concentration, one member was in Representative training, Ziraat lodges were meeting and there was a regular zikr circle.

An influx of energy as we entered the new century encouraged an expansion of activities.  We now have several Representatives (Guides and Teachers), Senior Teachers and a Coordinator in the Esoteric School, Healing Conductors (in the Healing Order), Farmers (in Ziraat) and Cherags (Ministers of the Universal Worship), as well as Shafayats (Senior Teachers in the Sufi Healing Order and Art of Healing Foundation), Regional Representatives and Leaders and Mentors in the Dances of Universal Peace.   Most of our classes are now held in a public space.   Our Center formed a Message Council to provide direction and respond to the wishes and needs of the community.  Leaders of the various concentrations were chosen by consensus, with the Esoteric School shared by the Representatives and Representatives in training at the time.  Zakirs  (leaders of Zikr) were appointed, and new Dance activities developed.  The Sufi Order of Rochester maintains a website with a calendar, information about the teachings and special events, and more (  An email list keeps in touch with 85 people and about 30 active members form the core community.  Weekly Thursday evening classes include a Message class (themes from the Message volumes), Foundation class (practices), Healing class and Circle, and Zikr.  A monthly gathering called “Eat, Dance and Pray” offers a pot luck meal followed by Universal Worship and Dances of Universal Peace, serving as a community social time and an introduction to the Center for anyone who comes.  Additional activities happen at other sites or people’s homes, including chanting , dance and drumming circles, Universal Worship, healing services, introduction to Sufism classes, a New Year’s Day Aramaic Prayer, seasonal Ziaraat gatherings in Pittsford and a yearly Ziraat retreat on the shores of Lake Ontario.  The Sufi Order of Rochester also offers short courses or workshops on various topics, and ongoing mentoring for Dance leadership, Cherag, Healing Conductor and Sufi Order leadership training.  Senior and newer teachers visit for seminars and events, and we have nurtured our own local teachers who also travel to other centers.  Devi Tide, head of the Sufi Healing Order, has been an important influence, offering Raphaelite Training (a form of spiritual healing) in Buffalo and seminars in Rochester.  Community members generously open their homes to provide housing for out of town guests, often developing wonderful friendships.  Our membership has grown steadily, and more initiates are entering leadership roles across the range of Sufi activities and trainings.  A Sufi study group and Universal Worship meets in nearby Canandaigua, and meditation, dances and healing activities are held in Wolcott.  Our Kinship concentration leader and Golden Heart Award recipient sits on the local interfaith forum.  We are able to offer personal retreats with retreat guides certified to lead both esoteric and healing retreats.

We’ve achieved a balance between independent member/leader initiatives and coordinated, Center sponsored activities.  Our different personalities provide a variety of attunements and approaches, and we try to support one another’s initiatives.  Community members often suggest ideas, spearhead events such as garage sales and fundraisers, and support the center and its activities financially, emotionally, spiritually and by their presence.  The range of activities offered provides a variety of doorways for new people to become familiar with the teachings and the community.

We remember gratefully the patient years of internal growth, the support from our nearby Buffalo Center and our previous Regional Representative, Noor Nicolai, the commitment of Murshid Shahabuddin to his mureeds and to our general area, Devi and the solid support of the national organization.  Several of our members have been actively involved at the national level with the Sufi Order, Healing Order and The Art of Healing Foundation Boards, and have been involved in editing and publishing works on Sufism.  The Sufi Order of Rochester continues to be a work in progress with many new ideas and dreams.  We are about to transition to a new, full time public space and expect our activities to increase even more.  Come and see us on the shores of Lake Ontario!

The Message Council of the Sufi Order of Rochester:  Husam Richard Bachner, Amina Linda Hall, Inayat James Leff,  Jabbar Richard Briggs, zaynab Kathleen FitzPatrick, Wadud Henry Cretella, Rahima Karen Keenan and Basira Maryanne Karpinski.


The Sufi Order of Rochester Center for Sufi Studies, 494 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607, the Carriage House behind the AAUW mansion (Carriage House is 492).