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Teachers


Aimée Brodeur Johnson

Aimée was initiated by Pir Vilayat in 1985 and has lived at the Abode since 1988. She is an ordained Cheraga and a conductor in the Healing Order. She retired a few years ago from 25 years as a teacher and director of Mountain Road School in New Lebanon, New York. Her work with Tara stems from her connection with Tara Dhatu, a worldwide non-profit sacred arts organization formed to protect the integrity of the Mandala Dance of the 21 Praises of Tara. This spiritual dance practice is based on ancient prayer and developed by Prema Dasara,spiritual and creative director…

Amanda Salima McCall

Amanda Salima McCall is a beloved mureed and coordinator within the Inayati Order. She is a graduate of Suluk Academy and has been consciously walking a personal spiritual path for many years. Her professional life is an outgrowth of her foundational belief that everyone deserves to be seen and cared for. This devotion to tending to the well-being of the human experience, body and soul, has driven her personal and professional life. Salima has been a healing arts practitioner for close to two decades and is a licensed nurse. Currently she is pursuing a degree in social work. Salima trained as a circle leader through the…

Amida Cary

Amida Cary directs the Retreat Guide training and holds the Retreat concentration for the Inner School of the Inayatiyya in North America. She supports a network of retreat guides and oversees training for those interested in becoming retreat guides. A primary focus is encouraging retreatants to enter deeply into the transformative process. Amida has immersed herself in the study of the ancient art of Alchemy and the Sufi retreat process with Pir Zia and Pir Vilayat, and by taking and guiding many retreats. She worked closely with Pir Vilayat, editing his curriculum. Amida helped Pir Zia found the Suluk Academy…

Amin Dawdy

Producer-director Amin Dawdy has had a distinguished career as a motion picture producer, journalist, and businessman. As a student of the Sufi Inayat Khan, he is now the Writer-Director-Producer of My Heart’s Song, a documentary motion picture about the early days of the poet and influential musician who has helped shape 21st century culture. “My desire to tell this story is to spark new interest in Inayat Khan by showing how his times and experiences as a youth shaped his remarkable spiritual philosophy,” says Mr. Dawdy. Mr. Dawdy began his career as a reporter-photographer for the Lewiston, Idaho, Morning Tribune…

Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned mystical scholar, Rumi translator, spiritual teacher, poet, novelist and architect of Sacred Activism.

Aziza Scott

Aziza Scott, M. ED., has guided retreats for many years as the head of the Inayati Order’s International Esoteric School. She is Emeritus at this time. She is one of the core faculty of the Suluk Academy in North America with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and has a retreat center in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. She worked closely with Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan for more than 30 years and is a beloved friend of the Abode of the Message.

Batina Sheets

Batina Janess Sheets is a senior teacher in the Inayati Order, a Cherag of the Universal Worship, and a certified retreat guide. Batina has served as a member of the North American Kinship Council, regional representative for the Inayati Order, representative for several IO centers, and is currently administrator for the Mureeds’ Emergency Relief Fund, a member of the North American Esoteric Training Committee, and representative and guide in the local center in Austin, Texas, USA.

David R. Montgomery

David R. Montgomery studies the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He received his B.S. in geology at Stanford University (1984) and his Ph.D. in geomorphology from UC Berkeley (1991). His published work includes studies of the evolution and near-extirpation of salmon, fluvial and hillslope processes in mountain drainage basins, the evolution of mountain ranges (Cascades, Andes, and Himalaya), and the analysis of digital topography. Current research includes field projects in the Philippines, eastern Tibet, and the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Deepa Gulrukh Patel

Deepa Gulrukh Patel is a Sufi teacher in the Inayati Order, which she also serves in her capacity as International Coordinator and Executive Director for the Zenith Institute, a four-week Sufi meditation camp in the Swiss Alps, where she guides retreats for young adults. She is also the Chair of Tamasha Theatre Company and the Loss Foundation, a bereavement support service for people who have lost loved ones to cancer. Her past roles have included being a music education producer for the BBC, a campaigner on HIV/AIDS for Action Aid, and Managing Director of Creative Partnerships (a national UK Government…

Devin Franklin

Devin has loved exploring in and learning about nature since early childhood. He discovered his thirst for the Wilderness Teachings in 1994 and has been walking the wilderness path ever since. In his first four years, Devin studied Survival, Tracking, and Awareness skills with Dan Fisher of Wilderness School in Maine and Tom Brown Jr. at the Tracker School in New Jersey. Devin has trained for six years in Naturalist Mentoring and Community-Building skills through Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School, as well as Mark Morey and the Vermont Wilderness School. Devin received a degree in Environmental Education from Prescott…

Don Azar Baksh Weiner

Don Azar Baksh Weiner is a retired Ph.D. psychologist in Corpus Christi, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Cal Tech and Stanford in math and honors psychology, and received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he did the first doctoral dissertation on meditation. He was a student of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan for 25 years, and is a Murshid (senior teacher) in the Inayatiyya (a Sufi Order). He has written GPS for the Spiritual Journey and Upgrading the Operating System of the Soul: A Manual of Quantum Sufism (with a foreword by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan). He and his…

Dr. Espabad Michael Yoshpa

Dr. Espahbad Michael Yoshpa is Inayati Sufi Order representative in the Russian Federation. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Chemistry, Masters Degrees in Biology and Education. He has been facilitating self-exploration retreats, teaching workshops and classes for more than twenty years. Michael is a teacher of qigong, yoga and meditation, a photographer, an author and facilitator of several co-creative laboratories, such as “Living Dreams”, “LifeStream”, “Living Myth” and “Living Science”. He is the founder of “Future Now” educational project for all ages. One of his recent projects is “MySelf” laboratory for psychologists and social workers.

Dr. Randy Weston

Randy Weston, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1926, didn’t have to travel far to hear the early jazz giants that were to influence him. Though Weston cites Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and of course, Duke Ellington as his other piano heroes, it was Monk who had the greatest impact.  “He was the most original I ever heard,” Weston remembers.  “He  played  like  they  must  have  played  in  Egypt  5000  years  ago.” Randy Weston’s first recording as a leader came in 1954 on Riverside Records  Randy Weston plays Cole Porter –  Cole Porter in a modern mood   It…

Eric Akbar Manolson

Eric Akbar Manolson (Yehezkel Shmuel ben Lev Ya’acov ha Levi) grew up in Montréal, Québeec, Canada. As soon as he could after high school, he moved to the country and discovered the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan on music and sound. While developing his musical and business career, he studied and performed with the renowned late rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach. He was asked by Shahabuddin Less to lead the Dances in 1975 and has continued to do so since that time, sharing them in many parts of the world. Eric was the coordinator of a program that brought over 35 multicultural…

Evan Thaler-Null

Evan Thaler-Null, Abode Manager of Ecology, has been working on the Abode land for the past five years. Evan moved to New Lebanon in 2012 to take over the management of the farmland at the Abode with his partner, Sarah Steadman, who grew up down the road from the Abode, the daughter of long-time Sufi parents.  As the co-founder and manager of Abode Farm CSA, Evan brings his connection to agriculture, ecology, and community to his role as Manager of Ecology for the Abode. Raised with a love for the outdoors, animals, and plants, Evan first began studying botany and herbalism…

Eve Ilsen

Eve Ilsen is a psychotherapist, singer and storyteller.  Her studies and work have taken her from somatic psychology in California and Denmark to flying to rural villages in Alaska to Jerusalem and her studies there of the imaginal world with Mme. Colette Aboulker-Muscat.  For twenty-seven years she partnered in teaching with her late husband, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.   Photo: Michael Kosacoff

Fatima Hafiz-Muid, PhD

Dr. Hafiz’s has more than 35 years’ experience in the field of education. Her research interests focus on emotions in social spaces where issues of race, gender, class, ethnicity and nationality intersect. Fatima currently serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College and Columbia University in teacher education and social work. Her pedagogical approach and education content knowledge has impacted hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students for the past 16 years. Fatima has been on a journey of self-healing, meditation and spiritual development for more than 35 years. Her practices include meditation from different spiritual paths. As an educator and…

Gayatri Hull

Gayatri Hull has been a practicing healer and a certified Raphaelite Work practitioner for many years. She is a representative and guide in the Inayati Order and a certified retreat guide and a Shefayat and healer in the Sufi Healing Order. She is also a certified leader of the Dances of Universal Peace and has studied the Mevlevi Turn. She has given vocal concerts and retreats on healing and transformation, the Voice of Life and Rumi.

Grandmother Sasa

“My name is Joyce Bryant, but I am known as Grandmother Sasa. My name means Swan of the North. All names have meaning and can reveal the reason for one’s birth and the work that one is to do in this Life. White and North both indicate a Keeper of Wisdom, one who holds Knowledge and Wisdom deep within their being. They are born to teach others. In the ancient Celtic traditions, a Swan was the symbol of the soul. I help to guide others in awakening the essence of who they are through the Wisdom that Life offers. I…

Himayat Inayati

Himayat Inayati, M.S., Th.D., has been studying Hazrat Inayat Khan’s universal Sufism for forty-six years. He worked closely with Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan while serving as International Kefayat of The Sufi Healing Order for twenty years. During that time he created twenty-seven international and national conferences addressing the evolution of spirituality and science in education, healing, and health care. He created The Raphaelite Work ™ – a method of healing and embodied transformational process through presence, inquiry and touch. Himayat has presented the teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan on spiritual liberty in fourteen different countries. He taught at Season of…

Ivan Ickovits

Ivan Ickovits was born in a small town near Debrecen, Hungary to survivors from Aushwitz. After a few years, in Hungary, his family’s escape took them to Haifa, then Toronto, Canada, and finally settling in Los Angeles, California. Ickovits’ higher education included a PhD program after Physics and Math undergrad at UCLA in quantum theory and particle physics. His teachers were Julian Schwinger, and Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winners in Physics). Between his undergrad and graduate school studies, he became an intern at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico in an effort to produce a functional controlled nuclear fusion to…

Kainat Felicia Norton

Kainat Felicia Norton is a senior teacher, retreat guide, and serves on the faculty of Suluk Academy within the Inayati Order. She is First Vice President and International Head of the Ziraat activity. She tours the solo dance/theatre piece ‘NOOR’, which she has performed in Edinburgh, London, Paris and most recently in NYC. She co-founded and facilitates, with Muinuddin Smith, the Light of Guidance Center for Sufi Studies in New York City. Kainat and Muinuddin co-authored the book An Emerald Earth: Cultivating a Natural Spirituality and Serving Creative Beauty in Our World and together they offer meditation retreats and workshops internationally.

Kevin Bose

Kevin’s inspiration comes from the intersection of Permaculture and Nature Connection. He has been lucky to have been a teacher and mentor of these for children and adults for over a decade, working to bring back the old relationship between humans and the natural world.  He sees this as a powerful tool not only for bringing out an individual’s gifts, but also rebuilding the “village” in the human community. He is a graduate of the yearlong Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness Program, focusing on nature mentoring, Culture Repair, and Permaculture Design, where he was mentored by Jon Young, Penny Livingston,…

María Cristina Fernández

María Cristina has been a student of Sufism since 1979, a Retreat Guide, Cheraga (minister in the Universal Worship), and Representative for more than 25 years. María Cristina was director of the Hope Project in New Delhi, India for two terms, and has worked in different capacities within the Inayati Order, and the Abode of the Message.  “Individual retreats are a transformative way to bring out the real aspects of one’s Self.”  She is a Suluk graduate and continues her studies in Sufism. She  holds an BFA, MA ed. and currently teaches Spanish to vivacious high school students.

Muinuddin Charles Smith

Muinuddin Charles Smith, PhD, is a senior teacher and retreat guide within the Inayati Order. Charles teaches leadership and sustainability studies at Hofstra University. He co- founded and facilitates, with Kainat Felicia Norton, the Light of Guidance Center for Sufi Studies in New York City. Kainat and Muinuddin co-authored the book, An Emerald Earth: Cultivating a Natural Spirituality and Serving Creative Beauty in Our World and together they offer meditation retreats and workshops internationally.

Naima Khabira Brown

Naima Khabira Brown is a spiritual guide and teacher with 40 years of experience. She is currently a Vice President of the Esoteric School of the Inayati Order, a school of Universal Sufism, where she also was a founding mentor in the Suluk Academy, their school of spiritual practice and study. She worked in early childhood education for many years promoting and practicing whole child education and creative expression through the arts. Naima is also a visual artist, bringing to her art the exploration and collaboration between meditative practice and creative expression and fostering art as a natural flow from…

Nur Azad Mangold

Along with his wife, Zarifah Kadian, Nur Azad is a co-director of the Baraka Center of Washington, DC.  The Center offers teachings on Sufi principles and practices, meditation for individuals and groups and he participates as a Reverand Cherag during the regular offering of the Universal Worship, a celebration of the world’s great religious traditions.  He is currently a Vice President for the Kinship Activity of the Inayati Order International, an organization devoted to awakening the reality that we are all one family, united in the parenthood of God.  He is also a psychotherapist in private practice in Bethesda ,…

Onaje Muid

Onaje Muid, a transformative, Sufi social worker/ activist has a thirty-year career which combined human services, human rights, and spirituality, especially for descendants of formerly enslaved Africans and indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere. He is the creator of the Saba Uhuru Saba Ujija Healing System and the SEEDS Garden Network. He has served as an advisor to graduate students at  Columbia University School of Social Work and taught as an adjunct lecturer.  His United Nations work culminated in the declaring the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a crime against humanity at the seminal United Nations World Conference Against Racism, in Durban,…

Paul Naamon

Rev. Monshin Paul Naamon is the Jushoku (Abbot) of the Tendai Buddhist Institute, Jiunzan Tendai-ji, Tendai-shu New York Betsuin, Jushoku of the California Tendai Monastery, and Secretary General of the Japanese Tendai Buddhism in North America.  Rev. Naamon was educated at the University of Buffalo, University at Albany, and Taisho University, Tokyo, Japan.  Additionally, he was a Research Scholar at Federal University of Brazil Research Hospital, Bahia, Brazil and University of Tokyo School of Medicine, Japan.  His Tendai Buddhist priest training was in Japan at Taisho University, Tokyo, Enryakuji, Mt. Hiei, and Tamon-in Temple, Chiba, where he was ordained in…

Peter Schein

For more than forty years Peter has been teaching math, science, philosophy, as well as writing, storytelling, juggling, and playing tennis.  He has mostly avoided a full time job to be free to go on meditation retreats. He is an interfaith spiritual guide, and has studied in Taoist, Buddhist, Jewish – and most recently – Sufi traditions.

Pir Netanel Miles-Yépez

Pir Netanel (Mu’in ad-Din) Miles-Yépez is the head of the Inayati-Maimuni lineage of Universalist Sufism and a scholar of comparative religion. He is the translator of My Love Stands Behind a Wall: A Translation of the Song of Songs and Other Poems (2015), and the editor of Meditations for InterSpiritual Practice (2011). Born into a Mexican-American family, in his late teens, Miles-Yépez discovered his family’s hidden Jewish roots and began to explore Judaism and other religions seriously. After studying history of religions and comparative religion at Michigan State University, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to study with the innovative Hasidic master and leader in…

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Pir Zia, also known as Sarafil Bawal is the first son of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and Taj Inayat, born in 1971 in Novato, California. He grew up in California, New York, and New Mexico. Pir Vilayat made it clear to Zia at an early age that he wished him to continue his lineage. He prepared him by instructing him in meditation, and at times guiding him in spiritual retreat—once in his cave in the Alps of Chamonix. When Zia was 13, Pir Vilayat sent him to Dharamsala, India, to study under the auspices of his friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Sufism,…

Robin Becker

Robin Becker, MA, RSME, is an internationally recognized teacher, dancer, choreographer, and founder of Robin Becker Dance. She is an authorized teacher of Continuum, an innovative field of movement education based on the study of the body as a fluid system.  Her teaching weaves together her lifelong experience in dance, 38 years of experience as a student of Sufism, 29-year study of Continuum with Emilie Conrad and Susan Harper, and 17 years of study with Gary David in Epistemics and Affect Script Theory. She is committed to working with people as they seek a deeper connection to life through the body

Sarah Leila Manolson

Sarah Leila is a professional consultant and facilitator of Organizational Change and Development, as well as Representative and Retreat Guide in the Inayati Order. Sarah Leila was born to Sufi parents and has been actively studying Sufi teachings since 1999, and leading zikr and classes since 2001 in various locations in Canada, the US, and Europe. After several years living and working at the Abode and graduating from Suluk’s inaugural class, Sarah Leila returned to Montreal in 2008 where she runs the Inayati Sufi Centre. She believes strongly in cultivating the inner life while taking an active role in life,…

Suhrawardi Gebel

William Hassan Suhrawardi Gebel earned a BA in physics from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory. He was an assistant professor of astrophysics at SUNY Stony Brook. Leaving academia in 1971, he performed in original shows with the Omega Theater company and worked as a technical writer. Completing an MA in counseling psychology from Leslie University, he then became a psychotherapist. He served as Secretary General of the Sufi Order International until his retirement in 2012.

Taj a Nur Grant

Taj a Nur (Iris Anne Grant) is a visual artist, Cheraga, and a 2015 graduate of The Suluk Academy. She has written a chapter in the book The Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy, A Transpersonal Approach Through Theater Arts, edited by Saphira Linden, in which she describes her method of helping people create their own inner thresholds as visual expressions. She has taught art for many years at Lesley University, and maintains a home studio where she offers painting classes for groups and individuals.

Taj Inayat

Taj Inayat is the former Vice President of the Sufi Order International, a mystical and ecumenical fellowship rooted in the visionary legacy of Hazrat Inayat Khan. She offers spiritual guidance to those who wish to know the Sufi path of transformation and service to the world. Taj is a minister of the Universal Worship, which honors all the world’s faith traditions, a pastoral counselor, and also offers individual and group retreats. As a long time student of Sufism, she is adept at working with the inner worlds. Taj guides people in accessing their deepest nature and then living this fundamental…

TAMIR

TAMIR is an actress, poet and playwright, author and performer of five one-woman shows “In the Land of Israel” and “I Belong Elsewhere” which she adapted from the books of AmosOz. “Poetry on Prayer” also on CD is an interfaith celebration of the human spirit. Some of her roles are: Maria Callas, Medea, Bernarda Alba, York in “Richard II” and Leah in the “Dybbuk.” Her new solo play “Now” is about suicide awareness and healing through Shakespeare, dance and faith. She is currently writing “The Embrace” a play for four women about dying consciously and the struggle of letting go. She…

Wahhab Sheets

Wahhab David Sheets is a senior teacher in the Inayati Order (IO), a Siraj of the Universal Worship, and a certified retreat guide. Having served in many national and international roles in the Inayati Order, including as International Secretary General, Trustee of the Inayati Order Board and the Board of the Universal Worship, member of the Council of the Federation of the Sufi Message, and Advisor to Australia and New Zealand in supporting the development of Inayati Order leaders, Wahhab now lives in Austin, Texas, USA, where he serves as a representative in the local center, guides in-person and online…

Wahida Ashki Janice Young

Wahida Ashki Young is a Suluk Academy graduate and an ordained Cheraga in the Inayati Order and coordinator of the Universal Worship at the Abode. She is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and taught T’ai chi for 10 years. She has long been a student of Feng Shui. Wahida previously served in the role of Volunteer Coordinator at the Abode as well as head of the housekeeping concentration. She drew on years of experience as a French teacher and her own experience as a work-exchange resident to perform her roles, striving for fairness while holding a high…

Yaqin Joseph Aubert

Yaqin Joseph Aubert has been studying in Sufism for more than 40 years and is a senior teacher in the Inayatiyya Order, as well as the Order’s Vice President for North America. He was a student of Pir Zia’s father, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. Yaqin is a Cherag (minister) in the Universal Worship and has been a teacher in the Suluk Academy, a school of contemplative study with branches in the United States and Europe. He is a founding member and former director of the Abode of the Message, a spiritual community and retreat center in upstate New York, where…

Yasha Wagner

Yasha Wagner is a renaissance being, a visionary MC, and the founder of Worldchangers Organization 501(c)3. He is also a certified T’ai Chi & Qi Gong instructor, Primordial Breathwork facilitator, dream-reader, and initiated Sufi Dhakir with the Inayati-Maimuni Order. As a student of the Inter-Tribal Altar, Yasha leads healing workshops and rituals with the authorization of his Taino elder, MMR. Having completed his Bachelor’s Degree in World Wisdom Traditions at Naropa University, Yasha is now pursuing MA-PhD studies in Archetypal Jungian Psychology. Since early childhood, Yasha has traveled all over the world, while actively receiving and sharing a diverse range of interspiritual, initiatic,…

Yuval Ron

Yuval Ron is an internationally renowned World Music artist, composer, educator, peace activist and record producer. Graduating Cum Laude as a Film Scoring Major at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he has continuously researched various ethnic musical traditions and spiritual paths worldwide. Among his many honors, he composed the songs and score for the Oscar winning film West Bank Story in 2007, was the featured artist in the Gala Concert for the Dalai Lama’s initiative Seeds of Compassion in the Seattle Opera Hall in 2008, and has collaborated with the Sufi leader Pir Zia Inayat Khan since 2006. His awards include the Los Angeles Treasures Award…