Ancient Wisdom and Present Day Expressions
Distinguished speakers and guests gathered together from all over the world (the United Kingdom, Europe, Egypt, Africa and the USA) to witness the beauty and wisdom of Sufism, at the Fourteenth Symposium presented by The International Association of Sufism and sponsored by the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning and the Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities.
The ecstatic mood was set on Thursday evening whenTaneen Sufi Music Ensemble with guest guitarist and vocalist, Dr. Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, performed meditative, prayerful, original Sufi music. Contributing to the mood of peace, poetries and stories of Moulana Rumi were performed by Tamir, and Mystical West African chants and zekr were offered by practitioners of peace from the International Sufi School of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba.
On Friday morning the Symposium formally opened with the traditional welcoming statement fromSeyedeh Nahid Angha, Ph.D., read by Seyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D. “I am hoping, stated Dr. Angha,”that by the end of this weekend, as we remind ourselves of the ancient wisdom that has come along our way through the teachings of the teachers of humanity, we will all go home much wiser and more dedicated to continuing our contribution to the world and our human family.”
A rich and inspiring Program unfolded with panel presentations covering Ancient Wisdom and Meditation for Everyday Life, Koranic Teachings, Sufi Perspective on Global Security, The Sufi Way of Peace, Wisdom of the Past and Present World Peace, the Practice of Meditation and Transformation and more. Friendship and community prevailed throughout the weekend with the power of Zekr at eventide, closing each day. Seyed Dr. Kianfar completed the Symposium on Sunday, stating: “We should never underestimate the power of the Sufis. If we look back over time there have been a number of instances where one Sufi has changed the course of history by bringing peace to a society or people.” All praises of appreciation and gratitude were extended to Dr. Nahid Angha for her faithful dedication and planning.*
Nahid Angha, Ph.D, USA: born in Iran; co-director/founder, International Association of Sufism; founder, Sufi Women Organization; first woman appointed to teach in the Uwaiysi Sufi lineage, an inductee to the Marin Women?s Hall of Fame, main Rep. of IAS at the United Nations.
Jilani Julie Esterly, D.C., USA: Sheikha in the Sufi Ruhaniat International; serves on the Board of Directors for Capacitar International; moderator of local TV program “Focus on th UN.”
Sonia Leon Gilbert has been for thirty-years a President of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and Mosque. And following the Sufi as explained by her exalted teacher Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (ral.) has been her heart?s work.
Sheikh Jamal Granick, USA: student in Uwaiysi Tariqat, member of IAS, co-director of Sufism and Psychology Forum, psychotherapist, and certified Aikido instructor.
Jonathan Granoff (Ahamad Muhaiyadeen), USA: member of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship; chairman of the United Nations Committee of Temple of Understanding; attorney, author and award-winning screenwriter; active in United Nations disarmament affairs.
Arife Ellen Hammerle, Ph.D., MA, LMFT, JD, is the Clinical Director of the Community Healing Centers, and Program Director at Catholic Charities. She is the author of Unfolding Self. Dr. Hammerle is a senior student of the Uwaiysi Tariqat of Sufism.
Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., USA: co-director/founder of the International Association of Sufism; editor-in-chief of Sufism: An Inquiry; internationally published author and lecturer, appointed to teach Sufism by Moulana Shah Maghsoud, master of the Uwaiysi Tariqat.
Shahzada Syed Mainuddin Ahmed, Bangladesh: direct descendent of prophet Muhammad (S.M.); elected president of the Coordination Body of Sunni Leaders in 1988, director of Maizbhandar Dharbar Sharif Islamic complex, orphanage, madrasha and free clinic at Chittagong.
Sharon Mijares, Ph.D., USA: licensed psychologist; editor and co-author of Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom: Psychological Healing Practices from the World?s Religious Traditions.
Musa Muhaiyadeen (Emanuel Levin), USA: lawyer, international speaker on Sufism, leader in the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship.
Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D. (Saadi Shakur Chishti), Scotland: Murshid in the Sufi Ruhaniat International; director of the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning; author of The Sufi Book of Life and Blessings of the Cosmos: Wisdom from the Aramaic Words of Jesus; co-author of The Tent of Abraham.
Safa Ali Michael Newman, USA: chairman of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Sufi Studies; President of the IAS Board of Directors; author of The Gift of the Rose: Uwaysieh.
Sheikh Aly N’Daw is the third Khalif of a spiritual lineage going back to Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra), founder of Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School. The prime objectives of the School, now established worldwide, are Peace and Service. Sheikh N?Daw was a lecturer in Mathematics and Anthropology before becoming a building contractor.
Sheikh Ahmed Tijani Ben Omar was born and educated in Ghana, West Africa. He has studied Islamic Juriprudence from Madrasatol Saqaafatul Arabia. He took initiation from Sheikh Muhammad Salis Shaban, a prominent Sufi of West Africa, and he memorized the Holy Quran at the age of 15. Sheikh Tijani is currently the Iman of the Islamic Educational Congress of the United States, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the International Association of Sufism.
Amineh Pryor, Ph.D., USA: psychotherapist, member of the Sufi Women Organization; author of Psychology in Sufism.
Dr. Aliaa Rafea, Egypt: anthropology professor; daughter of the Sufi Master Rafea M. Rafea; author of Beyond Diversity.
Aisha Rafea, M.A., Egypt: writer and researcher in mass communication; daughter of the Sufi Master Rafea M. Rafea.
Ingo Ahmad Taleb Rashid, Germany, of Iraqi descent: sheikh of the Tariqa Naqshbandi-Rashidiya; choreographer of the Peace Child musical, performed by Jewish and Arabic children in Israel; creator of a new form of dance, bodywork and martial arts called Movement Concept.
Dr. H.J. Karimbaksh Witteveen, Holland: economist, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; former Minster of Finance of the Netherlands; vice-presidant and murshid in the International Sufi Movement etc.; author of Universal Sufism and Sufism in Action.