Reminding ourselves to breathe is simple enough, but the act of slowing down and bringing our awareness inward can be difficult. Omid Safi with a reminder that the ritual of respiration can be the place where presence of spirit begins.
Tonight, all around the world, many Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad with festive decorations, devotional songs, and sweet candies. Omid Safi explains the annual ritual in more detail and the debate among Muslims about celebrating it.
On the day that a festival to locate the sacred opened, countries across the Middle East were aflame. The musical art of Bora Yoon and Riyaaz Qawwali ruptured this author's cynicism and offered a new vision of the world.
Listen to our tracks from this late-night Sufi jam session in a studio barely a block away from the tourist-filled Hippodrome and Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.
One of the people we’ll be interviewing while in Turkey is Cemalnur Sargut. She is one of Turkey’s deepest and most inspiring spiritual teachers, who is leading a resurgence in the study and practice of Sufism, the mystical manifestation of Islam.
“I hoped to get instruction in Yoga, expected wonderful teachings, but what the teacher did was mainly to force me to face the darkness within myself and it almost killed me…. I was beaten down in every sense until I had to come to terms with that in me which I kept rejecting all my life.”
—Irina Tweedie, from Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master
I hadn’t ever heard of Ms. Tweedie before happening upon this quote from Parabola, but her spiritual memoir looks like a compelling read. And if you’d like to hear more of the late Sufi teacher, here’s a poignant interview from Thinking Allowed. She talks about the mind as “the greatest obstacle” to spiritual clarity and that an inherent tension exists between knowledge and the mystical path in which “the less you understand, the better.”
As if Morocco and the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music weren't enchanting enough. A guest contribution with video by Hussein Rashid on the magical intimacy of Sufi Nights.