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Saturday, April 9, 2016 | SOLD OUT: An Intimate Evening of Traditional Trance Music From Morocco with Innov Gnawa | 8:00 pm – midnight


The lila is a healing ritual of song, music, dance, costume, and incense performed by the Gnawa people of Morocco. It takes place over the course of an entire night and this is why it is called lila (layla), which means night in Arabic. Invocations to God, the Prophet Muhammad and saints, including Syed Bilal, are invoked in order to purify the atmosphere and intentions for the ritual. The repetitive rhythm of the sintir and castanets produces a deep meditative trance state (jadba), moving some to dance. The Maalem (master) uses specific sounds and colors to guide participants through a healing journey, especially when an illness concerns an imbalance with a master protector spirit (melk).

The Gnawa lila is similar to the hadra ceremonies of other Moroccan Aissawa, Hamadsha and Jilala Sufis, however with some key differences. Since the Gnawa’s ancestors were neither literate nor speakers of Arabic, they do not begin with awrad or prayer texts, but instead they remember, through song and dance, the Gnawa of times past, their lands of origin and the experiences of their slave ancestors from various areas in Africa. Their songs tell a tale of separation, loneliness and ultimate redemption.

Innov Gnawa – Toura Toura from remix-culture on Vimeo.


Saturday, November 14, 2015 | What Goes On Inside: Ibn ‘Arabi on Discerning the Pathways and Pitfalls of Spiritual Realization | Talk by James Morris | 4:00 pm | Suggested Donation $10

One of the most fascinating and practically rewarding sections of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Meccan Illuminations is chapters 51-59 in the opening Section of that immense work, where he takes up the recurrent challenges of discernment raised by the constant interplay, in everyone’s inner life, of inspiration, intuition, random thoughts and inclinations, temptations, faith, reasoning, revelation, and the eventual contributions of all of these elements to right action and spiritual growth.  After a brief overview of those chapters, we will turn to the discussion of a few key translated passages illustrating these themes.

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).


Sunday, November 1, 2015 | Urs of Shaykh Nur | Remembering Lex Hixon | 2:30 pm

Readings from his books: 2:30 pm
Maghrib Prayer: 4:50 pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm
Dhikr Ceremony: 7:00 pm

All are welcome!

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.
– Lex Hixon / Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi

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Saturday, October 24, 2015 | Day and Night on the Sufi Path | Talk by Charles Upton | 7:00 | Suggested Donation $10

Charles Upton has been involved with Sufism for the past 27 years. His new book Day and Night on the Sufi Path provides both a scholarly introduction to Tasawwuf and a perspective on the spiritual life that arise directly from the mystical depths of that tradition, also relating it to the formidable challenges of contemporary life, both spiritual and political. Spiritual teacher Andrew Harvey has described it as “simply the best and most profound book on Sufism that I have encountered.” Day and Night on the Sufi Path demonstrates how the first textbook of Sufism is the Qur’an, and that there is no principle of Tasawwuf that cannot be traced back to the Holy Book.

In addition to reading from Day and Night, Charles Upton will introduce, and be introduced by, his colleague Dr. John Andrew Morrow, whose phenomenal book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World sparked the author’s idea for the Covenants Initiative, which has become an international movement among Muslims to defend persecuted Christians. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was both a spiritual teacher and a political leader. His outer mission was to establish faith in Allah as the foundation for social justice; his inner message was the practice of the presence of Allah, which became what is now known as the Sufi path. The ways that Outer and Inner Islam can be brought together in our time—while in no way denying the pre-eminence of the Inner—will be the keynote of this talk.


Friday, October 2, 2015 | Ibn al-Arabi and the Path of Love | Lecture by Eric Winkel | 7:00 – 9:00 PM | Suggested Donation $10

“Read what has been deposited in my ruled lines.” With this command, Ibn al-Arabi starts to see in the Youth the structure of the 560 chapters that will become the Futuhat al-Makkiyah, which he will dictate to his circle of friends. He is recording the knowledge he found etched in light throughout the body of the Youth. The knowledge is whole cloth, but perhaps the one threat that runs throughout is love. In the chapter on love, Ibn al-Arabi explains all by love: why there is a universe, how particles and molecules come together, how letters “join together” to “reproduce” words and become meaningful sentence, and why we always long for what we don’t have. The love he is talking about is “in love” in English, with other more noble and less insane forms of love being covered by other Arabic conepts. In fact the love he is speaking of is what will spread from Muslim Spain throughout Europe and beyond as chivalry and romantic love. The knight’s love for the unattainable lord’s lady can flourish precisely because it is not a “real” or consummated relationship. The love for what isn’t characterizes God’s love for the creation that isn’t yet, and our love for fame and fortune which is never enough (or consummated), and our love for this or that beloved who isn’t here. English seems too “bottom line” when translating these complex, layered, and intricate Arabic depictions of love. No wonder students in medieval universities were abandoning their Latin studies to learn Arabic—and read the Arabic poetry that came out of Spain and gave Europe the idea of romantic love.

Dr. Eric Winkel (Shu`ayb) is three years into the project to produce the first translation of Ibn al-Arabi’s Futuhat al-Makkiyah. At 10,000 pages, this work is one of the most important texts of Western civilization. Ibn al-Arabi uses many languages to describe the vision of the Youth at the Ka?bah, including grammar, mathematics, geometry, and Islamic Law, but perhaps the language of love is the most accessible to us today.


Monday, September 28, 2015 | Getting to the Heart of Your Matter (Part 3): We is Me | Lecture by Ilyas Kashani | 7:00 – 9:00 PM | Suggested Donation $20

If you take exceptional care of yourself — achieving a fine balance of a clean and nutritious diet, regular exercise, deep rest, and meditation/release — does that make you a healthy person? Is health really just a private experience?

As a result of our interconnectedness, which is multidimensional, it is practically impossible to filter out the waves of experience that ebb and surge through our local and global atmospheres. And in the face of what appears to be a ceaselessly volatile world, the inescapable nature of shared experience can be quite unsettling and troubling, and for many, quite debilitating. Not only do we share time and space in an obviously social experience, but we are intertwined in a subtle fabric that is energetic and psychic.

In truth, the smallest unit of health is not the individual, but is in fact the ‘community.’ And if we look carefully at what constitutes a community, one might soon realize that individual health is inseparable from the cosmos itself.

As troubled as the world might be, we cannot change others, much less the world. The task of changing ourselves is difficult enough. Individual awakening, however, is the key to global well-being. We have a hand in at least that much, individually-speaking.

When it comes to doing our ‘work,’ honest and rigorous self-evaluation is at the heart of spiritual growth. However, relationships provide the context for us to see ourselves. In fact, we need others to see ourselves, we need others to grow our selves.

This presentation is an exploration of health and well-being in the context of a spiritual community. Topics include: holistic perspectives and strategies for spiritual wayfarers; spiritual concerns for the mentally-ill; psycho-emotional challenges of spiritual travelers; and heart-centered communication. Join us for this informative discussion that gets to the heart of your communal matter.

Ilyas Kashani is a “hakim” or practitioner of Traditional Islamic Healing and Medicine (TIHM). His training in TIHM began at six years of age through his father. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech. He has studied various traditional and modern holistic therapies since 1990, including Homeopathy, Reiki, Osteopathic manual medicine, meditation, qigong, and yoga. He holds a Master of Acupuncture degree from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute, and is certified in Chinese Herbology by the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. In 2000, he founded the Circle of One, a 501c3 non-profit Center of Traditional Medicine, to serve people in need, regardless of their financial circumstances. At present, he is advancing the Hakim Wellness Project to revive the study and practice of TIHM. This effort includes the construction of a clinic, writing a multi-volume TIHM text, training the next generation of physician-healers, and producing a film documentary. To learn more, visit