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.
The second show from our recent trip to Istanbul. We meet a Dominican friar whose Christianity is inspired by the mystical tradition of Islam. And, an Eastern Orthodox bishop is creating what he calls a “dialogue of life” as a religious minority in this crucible of the ancient church.
We experience the religious thought and the spiritual vitality of two Muslims—male and female—both American and both with roots in ancient Islamic cultural, intellectual, and spiritual traditions. Their stories and ideas, music, and readings, evoke a sense of the richness of global Islamic spirituality and of some of its hidden nuances and beauty. They reveal how sound, music, and especially poetry offer a window onto the subtleties and humanity of Islamic religious experience.
The 13th-century Muslim mystic and poet Rumi has long shaped Muslims around the world and has now become popular in the West. Rumi created a new language of love within the Islamic mystical tradition of Sufism. We hear his poetry as we delve into his world and listen for its echoes in our own.
“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
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.