Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In The Blessed Circle of Dervishes | Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi's visit

Dare, O human being, to awaken!
Harmonize your song;
Intensify your commitment.
Consult your heart
And your heart alone.
Expose yourself to loving;
Seek the protection of Love.
To arrive at true being,
Come past the curtain
Waving in front of the Divine Light,
Which is your own light.

- Shaykh Nur al Jerrahi


Last Sunday, July 20th, current sufi teacher of Nur Ashki Jerrahi sufi order, Shaykha Fariha al Jerrahi was here in Boulder at Naropa University to lead sufi zikr or divine remembrance. It was a wonderful and heart warming gathering of Dervishes both from Jerrahi sufi order and outside. Its not accident really that Shaykha Fariha is from the sufi order which is called 'Nur Ashki' meaning, God's Love Light, but she embodies that very loving light which made the gathering illuminating by her sheer presence.

Reb Zalman Schachter-ShalomIn the gathering great soul Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was also present who is commonly known as Reb Zalman. In the gathering Shaykha Fariha mentioned that she first met Reb Zalman around her teacher Shaykh Muzaffer Effendi. The Grand Teacher Muzaffer fell in love with Reb Zalman and initiated him into the sufi order. Shaykh Muzaffer once famously said ''Where is he (Reb Zalman), my blood is boiling to see him!' - such deep was his love for him.

And the presence of Reb Zalman explains the mystery of the fondness of Shaykh Muzaffer because Reb Zalman carries such a wonderful grace with him as well. I was moved deeply simply by his presence. A true dervish he is!

In her talk Shaykha Fariha honored him by acknowledging the beautiful grace, wisdom and love that flows through him, as one of the great elder of the world today - how he brings love and unity among the world traditions. She mentioned, this is also the work of sufism, this is what it strive for, 'unity to the heart of human being' by removing the veils of separation between the hearts and its Cherisher and Sustainer.

When the veils of separation are removed, then that human being find peace, who is naturally connected to the Source of love, mercy, light and wisdom. When that happens that human being can go out and be a peace maker, this is on the individual level and that human can form community. Sufism happens in community very much, the model of spiritual family and humanity as one spiritual family.

The sacred traditions are like pools within this spiritual family but all the pools offcourse have same water, only with different shapes of container - reminded Shaykha Fariha.

\\ The Remembrance and Chants

Circle of DervishesShaykha Fariha with her dervishes led the zikr. It consisted of reciting from the Ilahis (sacred hymns), invoking holy names from Islamic tradition such as Allah (Divine Reality), Ya Hayy (O The Ever Living One) and also sacred mantra such as La ilaha illa Allah (Only Singular Divine Reality Is). Following the zikr, Shaykha Fariha prayed for everyone present there and also for whole of humanity. Reb Zalman also joined the prayer and recited a prayer from Jewish tradition as well as recited Lord's prayer in Aramaic.

Photo: Happy Dervishes | Left to Right: Ali Rahman, Kabir, Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi and Shaykha Habiba al-Jerrahi.

\\ Sohbet and Dream Interpretation

After the zikr Shaykha Fariha answered questions from seekers. Also one person shared a profound dream where the dreamer was shown two different episodes just the night before this gathering, to be present with Shaykha Fariha. It was a direct guidance and reference to the dreamer's taking hand / initiation in the path with Shaykha which happened that very evening.

Nur Ashki Jerrahi sufi order has a rich tradition of dream interpretation and this particular sharing followed by its interpretation by Shaykha as well as the flow of reality was truly remarkable.

Fariha Sohbet
\\ Hand Taking of Dervishes | Initiation

Dervish Hand TakingBayat or 'Hand taking' is new dervish's initiation into the sufi path. The arabic word, Bayat in sufistic term is an act of union with the teacher in the path, with the spiritual community and finally symbolizes union with God. The practice of hand taking tradition goes back to Prophet Muhammad and about the sacred practice Quranic passage 48:10 says:

"Verily, those who give thee their Bayat, they give it but to God Himself, God's hand is upon their hands ...".

This tradition of the Prophet himself is thus observed for the initiation ceremony specific to most sufi orders. In the gathering, Shaykha Fariha initiated three new dervishes in the hand taking ceremony. It was a moment of sweetness and grace as new dervishes start their spiritual journey anew. With a new spiritual name, she blessed them and prayed for them as well.

\\ Last but not the least

Proposed by Shaykha Fariha herself, towards the very end of the program, we headed for a wonderful dinner in an Indian restaurant (managed by Nepalese owner) here in Boulder. Sharing a meal together is always considered part of the higher sufi manners and a source of Divine blessing. It also offered a blessed chance to spend more time with Shaykha, to listen to some wonderful sufi stories and so many other topics. In all sense it was a wonderful gathering and being in the circle of dervishes.

May Beloved's blessings be always with Shaykha Fariha and her dervishes. May God bless the soul of all the masters and great souls of the lineage of Nur Ashki Jerrahi order.

Dervishes in Prayer
# Further.
. Before Boulder, Shaykha Fariha was in Loveland, Colorado for Nur Ashki Jerrahi Retreat (July 4, 2008) with Dervishes. Her Khutba / talk on Adab (Spiritual Etiquette) audios are available for listening (30:40 min): mp3 stream, mp3 download

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