The Symbol of the Inayati Order

by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

The symbol of the [Inayati] Order is a heart with wings. It explains that the heart is between soul and body, a medium between spirit and matter. When the soul is covered by its love for matter, it is naturally attracted to matter. This is the law of gravitation in abstract form. As it is said in the Bible, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When man treasures the things of the earth, his heart is drawn to the earth. But the heart is subject not only to gravitation, but also to attraction from on high, and as in the Egyptian symbology, wings are the symbol of spiritual progress, so the heart with wings expresses that the heart reaches upward towards heaven. The crescent in the heart suggests the responsiveness of the heart. The crescent represents the responsiveness of the crescent moon to the light of the sun for naturally it receives the light which develops it until it becomes the full moon. The principal teaching of Sufism is that of learning to become a pupil, for it is the pupil who has a chance of becoming a teacher, and once a person considers┬áthat he is a teacher, his responsiveness is gone. The greatest teachers of the world have been the greatest pupils. It is this principle which is represented by the crescent: the crescent in the heart signifies that the heart which is responsive to the light of God is illuminated. It is the divine light which is represented by the five-pointed star, and the star is reflected in the heart which is responsive to the divine light. The heart which by its response has received the divine light is liberated, as the wings show. In brief, the meaning of the symbol is that the heart responsive to the light of God is liberated.


The symbol of the [Inayati] Order, which is a heart with wings, is symbolic of its ideal. The heart is both earthly and heavenly. The heart is a receptacle on earth of the divine spirit, and when it holds the divine spirit it soars heavenward; the wings picture its rising. The crescent in the heart symbolizes responsiveness; it is the heart that responds to the spirit of God that rises. The crescent is a symbol of responsiveness because it grows fuller by responding more and more to the sun as it progresses. The light one sees in the crescent is the light of the sun. It gets more light with increasing response, so it becomes fuller of the light of the sun. The star in the heart of the crescent represents the divine spark reflected in the human heart as love, which helps the crescent toward its fullness.

Hazrat Inayat Khan, Religious Gathekas, The Religion of the Heart

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).