Dergah Event: Discovering the “Messenger from Our Souls/Selves”: Assimilating the Deeper Dimensions of the Hadith / Talk by James Morris / October 7, 2017
View Hadith Handout
Dergah Event: Discovering the “Messenger from Our Souls/Selves”: Assimilating the Deeper Dimensions of the Hadith / Talk by James Morris / October 7, 2017
View Hadith Handout
It is well known that both the classical poetic and spiritual expressions of the Islamic humanities (including the vernacular masterpieces of Sufi poetry and spiritual pedagogy across the Muslim world) and the learned Arabic intellectual and spiritual traditions of Islamic thought are alike deeply rooted in contemplation, practice, and ongoing reflection on the immense corpus of Prophetic sayings and teachings that were recorded in the early centuries of the Islamic era. Yet today Muslims and non-Muslims alike often tend to imagine the hadith as somehow limited to their most mundane–and often problematic–uses by jurists, political ideologues, and the like.
Since we are just entering a period when more and more hadith are increasingly available in English, this short talk will begin by introducing a few basic considerations that can help anyone (I.e., without any specialized background) to begin to appreciate the deeper spiritual dimensions of a wide range of translated hadith. Then we will turn to discussion and questions regarding a representative sample of a few very practical hadith on adab, or spiritually appropriate attitudes and behavior.
Professor James Morris (Boston College) has taught Islamic and comparative religious studies at the Universities of Exeter, Princeton, Oberlin, and the Sorbonne, and lectures widely on Sufism, the Islamic humanities, Islamic philosophy, the Qur’an, and Shiite thought. Recent books include Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (2007); The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004); and Ibn ‘Arabi’s The Meccan Revelations (Pir Press, 2003).
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Persian Music Ensemble’s music is infused with the lyrical poetry of Rumi and Hafez, as well as Sufi repertoire including Persian Ghazal, Arabic folk songs, and Turkish Sacred songs (Illahi). Instrumentation includes the rich sound of the Persian Setar, the Arabic Oud and world percussion.Amin Sarshar – Setar, vocals
April Centrone- Oud, percussion
Juliet Rabia Gentile – Vocals, frame drum
Ali Rahman – Vocals, dafAmin Sarshar is originally from Hamadan, Iran and has performed with various ensembles. He was also classically trained to sing Persian ghazals under the Persian Dastagh system. He received his PHD in mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.
April Centrone is the Executive Director of The New York Arabic Orchestra. She is a versatile performer of drumset in the genres of hard rock, jazz, funk, world, progressive and avante-garde. Her other trademark is as a performer and educator of the riqq (Arabic tambourine), as well as the darbekkeh (goblet drum) and frame drum. For almost ten years, she was student of master Lebanese/Palestinian percussionist, Michel Baklouk Merhej, and studied Arabic music and its other instruments, including the oud (Arabic lute), buzuq (Arabic ‘saz’) and violin. She has performed with renowned Arab artists such as Marcel Khalife, Ziad Rahbani, Bassam Saba, Charbel Rouhana and Najib Shaheen.
Juliet Rabia Gentile is a student of sufism, writer and performance artist. She holds an MA from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA from New School University. She is a student of her teacher Shaykha Fariha Fatima of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Community. Juliet has led prayer ceremonies and lectured widely on Sufism throughout New York City at venues including: the U.N. General Assembly, Riverside Church, Barnard College, Cathedral St. John the Divine, New York Open Center, Union Theological, Auburn Seminary, Museum of Jewish Heritage and One Spirit Learning Alliance. Juliet is a vocalist who sings Sufi improvisational chants in Arabic known as Qaside, Persian folk songs and Turkish sacred songs, as well as plays the frame drum. She performs in several ensembles including Red Union, Brooklyn Raga Massive, American Sufi Project, Adam Maalouf and The Tribe, I Guillari di Piazza. She also teaches Sufi Sema (whirling) both privately and in groups in NYC.
“There is no proof, among the animals, of the epithet of the True described as every day hu is upon a brilliant radiance more indicative of change than chameleons. You see, there is no adjective in the universe and no state which remains for two time periods, and no image which emerges visibly two times – and knowing accompanies the first and the last, so hu is the first and the last, and the visible and the invisible. This is the hu – she is colored and one in multiplicity.”
Dr. Eric Winkel (Shu’ayb) has just printed the third of six sections of the 10,000 page Openings revealed in Makkah to Ibn al-Arabi, the chapters on Changes. Here, halfway through the Futuhat al-Makkiyah, Ibn al-Arabi is counseling us to learn about changes, by observing ourselves and by identifying the coursing of the Divine in the cosmos. In the animal world, we observe the chameleon. In the human world, we watch the shadow play, which children and others who recognize the Divine understand is exactly their religion, while the obtuse adults dismiss it as frivolous: they are taking their Religion, which teaches us that we are shadows in a play, as mere play and amusement.
Murshid Ali writes in The Treasure, “With Dr. Shu’ayb’s translation of the Futuhat, by the gift of the Merciful, there will be no more exclusivity of this great work, which is a gift to all of humanity. The time has come to see people gathering and exploring and studying, and removing the darkness that has been plaguing this world for so long. The only way is to make peace with Heaven so that Earth will be transformed for the new humanity. I beseech my Beloved Allah to fulfill this vision of mine in the near future.”
Calligraphy is the most prominent art in Islamic culture. Having its roots in the Qur’an, the practice of calligraphy is a multidimensional endeavor. The practice of calligraphy requires patience and discipline, develops understanding of space and design, and, as the calligrapher develops, engages the intellect in a contemplative way. Mastery of the craft comes after years of effort, but the rewards that come from perseverance along the path enrich the soul.
Elinor Aishah Holland is one of four North American calligraphers to receive an icazet in Thuluth and Nashk scripts within the rigorous Ottoman School. She is the only calligrapher among her contemporaries to practice with equal discipline in both the Arabic and Latin scripts. Holland presents and exhibits extensively across the US and Canada. Clients include the Smithsonian Institute, US Department of State, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Rubin Museum. She has exhibited at King Fahd Qur’an Conference, Sharjah and Kuwait Biennials, New York Islamic Arts Kadim Sanatin.
Marin and Kurfirst’s music has grown out of a decade-plus friendship and collaboration rooted in a shared interest in music as a spiritual vehicle. Their exploration reached new heights in 2016 as they were invited to perform in Calcutta and Goa, India with the American Sufi Project an ensemble which demonstrates the potential of interfaith and cross cultural relationships through reinterpreting traditional sufi music in a modern context
Join us for an evening of exploratory music originating from Central Asia, Turkey, Iran and the Middle East, as interpreted in New York City. The first set will showcase explorations of this music on traditional acoustic instruments . The second set will utilize these traditional melodies of the Islamic world as fertile ground for group improvisations, allowing for a unique blend of Eastern modes and Jazz sensibilities. Gabriel’s use of the fretless electric guitar will serve as the nexus where East meets West, a truly one of a kind instrument where the possibilities for cultural syncretism are endless.
They will be joined by many special guests throughout the evening.
Dan Kurfirst is an NYC based percussionist, composer and improviser. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, his music is a product of his good fortune to have been brought up amongst people of all different cultures and master practitioners of all styles of music.
He has performed extensively in the New York City world music and improvised music scenes for years and has performed with various groups throughout Europe, India and the Middle East. Some of his most frequent collaborators include Gabriel Marin, Abraham Mennen, Matt Darriau, Tomchess, Brian Prunka, Kane Mathis, Daro Behroozi, Brandon Terzic and Fima Chupakhin.
Dan currently serves as creative director of the American Sufi Project, an ensemble which demonstrates the potential of interfaith and cross cultural relationships through reinterpreting traditional sufi music in a modern context. In 2016 he co founded Ensemble Fanaa, a trio that explores the past and future of global musical exchange.
He recently worked as Musical Director with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to develop a touchscreen app for Children to explore music of the Islamic world.
Multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Marin “boasts insane chops, impeccable time, mastery of diverse traditional scales, rare fretless guitar fluency, and a gift for manipulating effects-” Premier Guitar Magazine. Called “the guiding light for his generation of six-stringers”-Buffalo Times, And “A fretless guitar virtuoso whose microtonal adventures rival those of many eastern musicians, and a talent for rhythm and nuttines- Bass Musician Magazine
Gabriel has studied and performed music from North and South India, Iran, The Balkans, Turkey and Central Asia as well as western classical music and avant-garde jazz. As one of the few players to explore the fretless guitar, he has found a truly unique and expressive voice. He is a founding member of internationally renowned fusion band Consider the Source. In addition to Guitar, Gabriel is versed in Dutar, Dombra, Tanbour, Balti Saz, and Kamancha.
Sharing an evening to emerge, in musical frequencies with Alan Kushan’s self made instrument; His philosophy and understanding of an inner energy that we call soul, and her reflection on human’s body; To fathom heart Rhythm, soul’s velocity and the geometry of our emotional system; Traveling through a musical soundscape and their hidden property in our daily life.
A Leading exponent of the New Santur style
Alan Kushan has passed through multifarious phases of musical composition and performance on his supremely delicate yet highly sophisticated musical instrument — his self-made hammered dulcimer or santur. His compositions and arrangements range from traditional Eastern music to innovations with Western classical and Eastern mystical music, to jazz and world music, thereby creating newer, fresher, elevated musical forms.
Alan Kushan relentlessly expands the horizons of his art form. The speed and precision of his dazzling techniques on his self-made santur are simply breathtaking.
He studied music composition in Zurich, Koln and Berlin as well as Canada and the U.S. He studied with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Ustad Vilayat Khan, among other master musicians. As a child, he studied under three of the greatest Persian santur masters, H. Malek, F. Payvar, and R. Varzandeh.
Over time, not satisfied with the limited range and capacity of his chosen musical instrument, Alan decided to apply his skills as a master instrument-maker to broaden the range of his instrument by adding elements from the modern piano, the harp and the guitar. The result is a unique and powerful instrument, which embodies the musical textures of the ancient and the new.
He cultivates exploration of unusual “universal frequencies”, claiming that this is and has been a prominent source of his creative energy. During the 80s he cultivated expressions of freedom and immediacy against a backdrop of constant “galactic buzz”, while deliberately suspending control of reason and will.
He applies this spontaneous perspective not only in his artistic and poetic creativity but also in his everyday life. Alan Kushan’s performance method reveals an academically meticulous technique that is, paradoxically, in stark contrast to the “dream space” he generally endeavours to depict, and its markedly other-worldly, mystical dimensions.
Alan Kushan has come to the realization that Time itself is captured within Sound, so that it is Sound that is boundless and limitless, and Time itself is a Prisoner within its paradoxical confines. “The Dimension of Sound is akin to the vast universe that mercilessly compels me to progress beyond its peripheral territories. I wish to experience these states of consciousness thoroughly and primordially, so that I may evolve both dynamically and philosophically as an Artist.”
“It is the Quintessence of Sound that I seek. This is an eternal quest for any authentic musician. Alas, what is the source of this quintessence? In order to achieve it, I must be released from my mortal frame for a deeper, more spiritually penetrating journey, all the way back to this source, and then forwards again towards the ultimate consummation of that self-same journey. Could this then be the Silence of God? A mirror of the Absolute Divine?”
Please let us know of your intention to come as soon as you can.
Mevlana and Music: “The sema is like a spiritual field where one can plant seeds of faith. The teaching of Mevlana depends upon and is expressed in three elements: dance, music, and love.”
The workshop will be led by Sakina, a dervish of Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi. Please call or email to register for the workshop. Donations are welcome.
Music is the art of arts and the science of all sciences; and it contains the fountain of all knowledge within itself.
–Hazrat Inayat Khan
Barbara Eramo: Lead Vocal, Ukulele
Pejman Tadayon: Oud, Kamanche, Vocal
Stefano Saletti: Buzuki, Oud, Vocal
Featuring: Giovanni Lo Cascio: Percussions
Pejman Tadayon’s ensemble merges the three disciplines that best express the essence of Sufism: music, dance and poetry. Persian Sufi music consists of devotional compositions inspired by the verses of mystic poets such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Sa’adi, among others. Music is also the basis of the Sema, the ceremony of the whirling dervishes. The beauty and sacredness of Sufi music and dance represent the yearning for union with the divine.
Pejman Tadayon is a musician, composer and painter. He is the director of the Pejman Tadayon Ensemble. He has released several music albums, including Universal Sufi Music. Pejman plays the oud, kamancheh, ney, daff, and setar. He is also an innovative painter and the creator of pittura sonora, paintings that are musical instruments with strings that can be played. Born in Esfahan, Iran, Pejman lives and creates in Rome, Italy.
Barbara Eramo is a classically trained opera singer and musician whose evocative melodies seek the expression of pure emotion. Barbara gave voice and sound to the inspiring mages of Emily Dickinson’s poems in her solo album “Emily.”
Stefano Saletti is a composer and musician of traditional Mediterranean music. He is a vocalist, a buzuki and an oud player. Together with Barbara Eramo, Stefano Saletti worked on Hector Zazou’s contemporary-Oriental version of I Feel Love song, featured on the Buddha Bar XIII compilation.
Many say that life entered the human body by the help of music, but the truth is that life itself is music.
This book chronicles the life of Muzaffer Efendi and provides an account of the rich legacy of Sufi teachings which he offered as a gift to the West. Like Bodhidharma’s transmission of Zen Buddhism to China in the fourth century, Muzaffer Efendi is honored as an important modern pioneer in the transmission of authentic Islamic mysticism to the United States. The teachings of Sufism are love-centered and pacifist, rather than penal-centered and retributive, a much needed balance to the restrictive and often violent interpretation of Islam so often featured in the world media today.
This new edition of Lifting the Boundaries revises and expands the 2005 first edition, offer- ing a substantial amount of new material and photographs. The new edition incorporates nearly a decade of further research, more interviews and input from Muzaffer Efendi’s intimate companions and family members, as well as additional Sufi teachings from archival recordings of Efendi’s sohbets in America.
Gregory Blann has been an active student of Sufism and the world’s religions for over three decades. He received initiation from Pir Vilayat Khan in the Sufi Order International in 1980 and served as a representative in that order for a number of years. In 1990, he received bayat (initiation) in the Halveti-Jerrahi Order from Sheikh Nur al-Jerrahi (Lex Hixon), and also studied with Safer Efendi. He was given the name Muhammad Jamal, and became a Jerrahi sheikh in 1994. He worked closely with Sheikh Nur for four years, translating the traditional mystic hymns of the Jerrahis from Turkish into English, to be sung by dervishes in the West.