by Seyedeh Sahar Kianfar
Report: 52nd Annual
by Arife Ellen Hammerle
by Soraya Chase Clow
14 Commercial Blvd.
Tel: +1 415 382 SUFI
Tel: +1 415 382 7834
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of the International Association of
Sufism, a non-profit organization
affiliated with the United Nations.
various articles presented
here represent the individual
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Eigth Annual Sufism Symposium
My heart torn in
its every beat by longing
for Your love, pain of
parting drags to dust
my being without cease.
How much longer will
You rebel in communion
by the tossing of Your
hair? I beg of You, rebel
no more against my
Either grasp this heart
in your embracing
or brighten with a
joyous tulip the desert
that I hold within.
-Moulana Shah Maghsoud,
20th Century Sufi Master
the dawn of existence, human beings have longed to understand. They
have spent millenniums in the universe of the heart with hopes of
seeing the unseen. This primordial yearning was cultivated by the
earliest Sufi mystics at the advent of Islam. For centuries after,
great salek(s) have conveyed their insight in numerous magnificence
forms in order to nourish the hearts of fellow seekers. In this
Divine spirit, Sufis have made invaluable contributions to the fields
of literature, science, philosophy, art, architect, music and movements.
These mystics expressed their desires to celebrate the glory of
Unity in complex and revolutionary ways. Modern scholars are struck
by these varied methods which echo a common truth. Present -day
students of Sufism immerse themselves in these inspirational masterpieces
and long to be elevated to a state of Divine drunkenness.
International Association of Sufism honored these expressions of
our Divine desire to know at the 2001 Sufism Symposium, themed:
The Souls Longing: A Language of Spirit. This years
symposium was the eight time in which esteemed academics, scientists,
and mystics from multitude of countries and backgrounds joined together
to celebrate the wisdom of Sufism. In 1994, for the first time in
fourteen centuries, students of Sufism gathered in this international
forum to share their experiences of peace, harmony and love. From
March 23 until March 25, 2001, speakers and participants were enraptured
in camaraderie as their own longing to unite with the Divine transcended
cultural and philosophical barriers.
At the Symposium, many speakers reiterated the necessity of truly
understanding expressions of divinity.
our knowledge of the truth of religion is to embody a real understanding
and not mere verbal formulae, it must be distilled into the real
knowledge of the heart, not the half-informed speculation of accepted
dogma. Only then, through the light of the heart, can our faith
be other than uncertainty and darkness.
Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar
An Uwaiysi Sufi
Excerpt from Introduction to Religion.
was clear that the light of Divine knowledge illuminated the hearts
of Symposium participants. The truth was spoken clearly by modern
philosophers, scholars, poets, musicians who shared the unifying
message with the audience.
Friday, 23 March 2001
Friday afternoon, a panel of psychologists and researchers showed
how spiritual principles and practices fulfill our desire to know
the Divine and, subsequently, cultivate tranquillity within. The
forum served as an uplifting prelude to the evening celebration
of Sufi music and poetry. Classical and modern metaphysical poetry
was read by Seyedeh Nahid Angha, one of the major Sufi translators
and teachers of our time. Musicians from various backgrounds harmoniously
thread global melodies between Seyedeh Nahid Angha’s readings. Performers
included the ensemble Taneen, the Persian instrumentalist Mohammad
Saeed Nejad, and the vocalist and harpist Destiny. The musicians
were over whelmed by the presence of the Divine that they joined
together in a spontaneous Zikr, elevating the audience.
to my thirst
Reveal the secrets to me
Be glad when poor,
It is the alchemy of being that
poverty to wealth
14th Century Sufi Poet
Trans.: Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha
24 March 2001
Saturday morning, Sheikh Ahmed Tijanis voice echoed in the
hallways, calling upon the participants and fellow seekers to join
in the worshipping of Allah. Sheikh Ahmed Tijanis familiar,
hearth-felt opening the Symposium reminds the audience that the
into their own souls. The magnanimous adhan was followed by
two days of keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops and
25 March 2001
both Saturday and Sunday evenings, the days events culminated in
zikr(s) led by Sheikh Tijani, who united participants in the divine
melodies of Taneen. The crowd of Divine lovers enmeshed their hearts
and v souls, submitting to their Divine desire through remembrance.
Each night, the audience was empowered and elevated through the
support of this great Sufi family, meeting each year to rejoice.
As the immense tranquillity and harmony surrounds our memory of
the Eighth Annual Sufism Symposium, we eagerly await the next time
we meet to celebrate our single longing-to experience Allah.
cold nor hot this fine breeze blows
The dust cloud from the rose garden of desire.
Drink Your Wine!"
To the loving heart of the yellow rose.
11th Century Persian Mystic
Trans.: Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha
international sisterhood of Sufi Women Organization (SWO) rejoiced
in the opportunity to reunite, again, at this years Sufism
symposium. Raising social consciousness and actively protecting
human rights are the humanitarian focus of many SWOs projects. The
four primary SWO projects-United Nations, Prison and Literacy, Resource
Library, and Open Letters reported major accomplishments n the past
year and projected a promising outlook for the year 2001. With representatives
on every continent, the SWO share stories of action through an active
on-line dialogue. SWO members share a deep heart connecting and
the symposium served as wonderful revue for them to meet in person.
For more information, visit SWO on-line at: sufiwomen.org.
SUFISM PSYCHOLOGY FORUM
Sufism Psychology Forum (SPF) welcomed a group of distinguished
scientists, academics, and psychologist to discuss the accomplishments
and goals of the Forum. This international network of scholars expresses
the immense benefits of SPF in developing a nurturing community
within the field of psychology. In this light, the members discussed
plans to develop a code of ideals and standards for professional.
SPF looks forward to finalizing and disseminating the code before
the next Symposium. For more information, visit SPF on-line at ias.org.
SUFI YOUTH INTERNATIONAL
department of the International Association of Sufism, the Sufi
Youth International (SYI) held a roundtable discussion on March
24 at this years Sufism Symposium. The participants discussed
how they could continue to cultivate local and international service
to the Sufi community and the broader society. This work encompasses
three primary dimensions: 1) suopport and communication amongyouth
who study Sufism or whose parents study Sufism, 2) local community
service work in areas where SYI is active, 3) international research,
education and writing projects. These three dimensions are designed
to help facilitate the spiritual growth of the participants, contribute
to society in accordance with the principles of Sufism, and stimulate
international dialogue and cooperation. Paralleling the work of
the IAS as a whole, SYI intends to work steadily toward including
and involving more and more representatives from Sufi Orders around
the world. This years Symposium reflected the progressive
integration of Sufi students from Seattle, Washington into the activities
of the SYI and the IAS generally. Ongoing dialogue between SYI coordinators
has yielded a new organizational structure. The present coordinators
are: Emily Hedges - National: College Groups, Seyedeh Hamaseh Kianfar
- International: Onilne Dialogue, Seyedeh Sahar Kianfar - National:
Community Service Groups, David Roper - International: Research
Groups. For more information, visist SYI online at sufiyouth.org
and workshops, beautiful music and poetry, enchanting zirk, meeting
old friends and making new ones, enraptured us once again and
made our family reunion a reunion to remember.
Mark your calendar, see you next year,
May 24-27, 2002, Bellevue, Washington