Sufism Symposium Performers and Presenters

International Sufism Symposium, 20th Year Celebration: The Nature of Self, Reality & Consciousness

Main Symposium Page 

Performers and Sufi practitioners will invite participants to experience the way the rhythms of poetry and music can awaken the inner light and inspire spiritual renewal. Sufi walking meditations and Sufi Zikr will bring body, mind and heart together in remembrance of beauty and the grace of living. Every aspect of the Symposium is directed toward unity and self-discovery, open to all ages and faiths, and intended to provide both inspiration and practical support for daily living.

Presenters past and present include educators, students, psychologists, physicians, social workers, business professionals, lawyers, healthcare providers, artists, musicians, parents, religious leaders, and seekers of Divine Reality.


Dr. Angha

Nahid Angha, Ph. D., is the co-director and co-founder of the International Association of Sufism, founder of the International Sufi Women Organization, the executive editor of Sufism: An Inquiry, the main representative of the IAS to the United Nations (NGO/DPI); Dr. Angha is an internationally published scholar with over fifteen published books; has lectured at the UN, the Smithsonian Institute, Compassion conference, Germany, Science and Spirituality, Italy, and CPWR’s conferences in Cape Town, Barcelona; UNECO’s conference in Mexico, etc. and was among the distinguished Muslim leaders and scholars invited to gather for the first annual Shakir World Encounters in Marrakech, Morocco. Opening Statement.


Ashki-KaanSufi Mystic Ayshegul Ashki, MA, HHP, is at service as the President of Central Orange County Interfaith Council, board member of OC Interfaith Coalition for the Environment, and the Director at OC Interfaith Networking. Meeting her spiritual guides late: Dr. Lex Hixon-Sheikh Nur and Swami Chetanananda of Ramakrishna Order in 1991, through their close guidance she got involved actively alongside Sufism in various other Sacred Traditions including Vedanta, Mystical Christianity and Buddhism under the vast umbrella of Universal Islam. Alongside with her husband, Ashki has been sharing the universal Sufi teachings since 1991. While her non-dual sufi wisdom teachings and devotional practices are deeply rooted in Islamic Sufism, she universalizes them on the shared core principles of human mystic experience and One Inter-Being-Ness. Ashki leads Interfaith Peace Meditation Retreats and Sufi Gatherings in Tustin, CA. She is of Turkish origin, married and has three children. Topic: What is not Self?

Athar ShahidDr. Shahid Athar, MD, FACP, FACE, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology, an author of 7 books and many published articles. He is a speaker on various topics including Islam, interfaith, spirituality and medical ethics. His affiliations include Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Medical Association of North America (past president and former chair, medical ethics) and the International Association of Sufism. He serves on the board of advisors for Protection of Consciousness Project, an international human rights organization. For his interfaith activities, the Indianapolis Medical Society in 2002 gave him the Gov. Otis Bowen Award for Community Service. He earned the St. Vincent Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Dept. “Teacher of the Year” award for 2001 and 2007, and the St. Vincent Distinguished Physician award in 2009. The American College of Physicians (Indiana chapter) in 2007 gave him the Laureate Physician award. In 2011, he earned the “Dr. Ahmed El-Kadi Award” for distinguished service to the Islamic Medical Association of North America. His Sufi (spiritual) link is from Khanegah of Malkhdoom Saheb of Rajgir (Bihar Shareef), India. Topic: Sufi Poet Mohammad Iqbal and Mysteries of the Self Discovery in search of the Creator.

BuehlerArthur F. Buehler, Ph. D., has specialized in seeking an experienced-based understanding of transpersonal development and transformative practices by studying the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi sufi lineage. Until 2014 he was Senior Lecturer at Victoria University, Wellington. His latest book, Revealed Grace, is a selected translation of Ahmad Sirhindi’s (d. 1624) Collected Letters, one of the most detailed manuals of sufi transformative practice and experience. He currently continues his primary lifelong occupation as a low-profile flâneur and is based in Amman, Jordan. Topic: Transformation of consciousness: Preliminary principles for the 21st Century.


ErginNevit Ergin, MD. “Some of us are born restless, misfits. Often not satisfied by the comfort of religion, science and philosophy, he lives the life as a homeless home cat. I am one of those restless ones, a misfit who became prey to Mevlana fifty years ago. I found this world in 1928. I have been trying to get rid of it since then, before it gets rid of me. If death didn’t come to humans, we would be reasonably happy following the voice of reason (a most trustworthy guide in our life). But death comes sooner or late, making everything obsolete. That’s why I have been walking on a different path than myself.”


Dr. Mary Ann D. Fadae. Dr. Fadae received her Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from Indiana University and has taught courses on Arabic, Islam and Sufism, and the history of Western Civilization. A convert to Islam, Dr. Fadae is a member of the Jerrahi Order of Turkey whose main U.S. branch is in Chestnut Ridge, NY. She has given numerous talks to academic, church and civic groups regarding the beliefs and practices of Islam and Sufism and is involved in interfaith work. Her primary focus and concern is to create an understanding of the teachings of Islam and to eliminate fear and stereotyping.
Dr. Fadae has published articles, reviews, and a book entitled The Key to Salvation: A Sufi Manual of Invocation, 1996 (under the name of Danner) that is a translation of a 13th-Century Shadhili work on dhikr. Currently she is translating Allah: al-Qasd al-Mujarrad fi Ma`rifat al-Ism al-Mufrad (God: The Pure Goal Concerning Knowledge of the Unique Name) also by Shadhili Shaykh Ahmad Ibn `Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari that will be published by Fons Vitae. She has been a member of the International Association of Sufism since 2003 and in 2012-2013 served as president of the Association of International Women. Dr. Fadae can be reached at

FoxJohn Fox, is a poet and certified poetry therapist. He is adjunct associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California. He teaches regularly in the Arts & Consciousness department at John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, California, The Institute for Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California and through the Sophia Center for Culture & Spirituality at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA. He is the author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making and Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making and numerous essays. His work is featured in the PBS documentary, Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine. He works throughout the United States. John has taught in Ireland, England, Israel, Kuwait, South Korea and Canada. His work influences healing practitioners in Greece, Australia, Japan, Philippines, Lithuania and Peru. He is President of The Institute for Poetic Medicine, a nonprofit he founded in 2005. You can find out more about his work at Topic: Seven Gifts: Poetry and Poem-Making as a Pathway to Spiritual Renewal.

GibbsReverend Canon Charles P. Gibbs: A lover of the Mystery, Charles Gibbs has sought to be of service all his life. Since 1996 he has served as the founding Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative (, a global grassroots community promoting interfaith cooperation for peace, justice and healing in 78 countries. An Episcopal priest, a visionary and a poet, Charles is blessed by his friends and colleagues of diverse faiths with whom he shares a commitment to serve the world through spiritual transformation and cooperative engagement for the good of all life on this sacred Earth. As son, brother, husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather, he cherishes and is inspired by his family. Mindful of the abundant blessings that come even through life’s biggest challenges, he seeks to live each moment in gratitude. Topic: Poems of Awakening Light.


GilbertSonia Leon Gilbert. For forty years, Sonia Leon Gilbert has been a president of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and Mosque with fourteen branches in the USA, Canada, England and Sri Lanka. In that time, the study of the Sufi Way, as exemplified by her exalted teacher, M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (ral.) has been her focus and her work. Wisdom gained thereby is included in her many speeches and is her guide to continued enthusiastic engagement in numerous Interfaith Dialogues. She is a regular speaker at Sufi Symposiums and an ardent supporter of Interfaith Endeavors. Author of articles and speeches, she recently contributed a chapter to the book The Revelation of the Breath. Her essay, The Divine Vibration in the Breath – A Song of Life was included for its salient observations on consciousness. In earlier years, Sonia Leon was a voice graduate of the revered Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her operatic career spanned the concert stage, radio, and television, performing with some of the greatest singers of the latter 20th century. From 1986 to 1998 she was the owner of two gem magazines, notably the international publication Lapidary Journal. In addition to these two mineral and jewelry arts magazines, she co-founded a third gem news magazine, Colored Stone, in 1987. Concerns for the spiritual, socio-political and physical environment has also led to a partnership in One Light Pictures LLC, a company involved in documentary film productions. Topic: Transcendency.

Murshida Khadija GoforthMurshida Khadija Goforth. A traveler of the Sufi Path for 40 years, Sufi Ruhaniat Int’l Murshida Khadija Goforth practices Service and Remembrance. Through Dances of Universal Peace, Walking and Whirling Meditations, she endeavors to embody spiritual realization. She serves as a Ruhaniat Siraj (sr. minister) and Healing Conductor and in 1994 was semazenbashi/dance master at Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi’s tomb in Konya, Turkey. A mother and grandmother, Khadija lives and teaches in Seattle, WA and New York, NY. Practice: Sifat-i Allah Sufi Walking Meditations.



JaffeDr. Jaffe, is the Murshid Murrabai Ruhi (Main teacher and spiritual caregiver of the soul) for the Shadhiliyya Sufi Order under the guidance of Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal ash-Shadhiliyya ar-Rifai from Jerusalem. He is also a licensed medical doctor who, for the past 25 years, has pioneered the integration of holistic, advanced energetic, and sufi spiritual healing in the United States. As co-founder of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism located in Napa Valley, California, he is working to bring Sufi teachings, the complete Islam and spiritual healing to the world. Using a combination of these methods he has successfully helped bring the Light and Healing of the 99 Names of God, Dua, and Quranic Recitation to thousands of individuals around the world who have suffered from various physical, psychological and emotional ailments. Topic: Spiritual Healing Through Transformation of Consciousness.

Erdal Kaan
: Topic: What Self?.


Shabda KahnPir Shabda Kahn, began his root training in 1969 under the guidance of the great American Sufi Master, Murshid Samuel Lewis. Since 2001, Shabda serves as the Pir (lineage holder) of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, the Sufi lineage tracing back though Murshid Samuel Lewis and Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. In 1972 Shabda met his second great teacher, the late Master Singer, Pandit Pran Nath, and began the daily practice of North Indian classical music in the Kirana style. He now teaches vocal music and performs Raga singing and is the director of the Chisti Sabri School of Music. He worked closely with the great American Mystic Joe Miller. He is also a disciple of the illustrious Tibetan Buddhist Master, the 12th Tai Situpa Rinpoche. Shabda brings warmth, humor, and clarity in his efforts to help seekers on their Path to Awakening and Service. Practice: The Marriage of the Non-Dual and Dual Path of Sufism.

Tamam KahnTamam Kahn, is a poet, lecturer and the author of Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad, Monkfish Books, 2010. She continues to write on seventh century women, most recently researching the life of Fatima, daughter of Prophet Muhammad. She is a senior teacher in the Sufi Ruhaniat International and is the wife of Pir Shabda Kahn, leader of the Ruhaniat. Topic: Fatima Az-Zahra, Daughter of the Prophet: The Blessing of Her Life.



KatzDavid Katz, MD, was born in Wisconsin and educated in New York and California. He completed his medical degree and Residency in Family Practice at the University of Rochester. During his time in Rochester, N.Y., he met his teacher and Sheikh M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Dr. Katz and his wife Anne studied Wisdom and the Qualities of God at the feet of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen from 1976 until his passing in 1986. He states, “these Qualities continue to guide me in the care of my patients from day to day.” Dr. Katz is the current president of the California Branch of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship. He lives with his wife Anne in the Sacramento area and enjoys time with his children and grandchildren. He is currently an active teacher of medical students and resident physicians in the art and spiritual aspects of health care. Topic: The Weapons of Light and the Weapons of Death.

Dr. KianfarShah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, is the co-director and co-founder of the International Association of Sufism, and the executive editor of the journal Sufism: An Inquiry. He is a disciple of Moulana Shah Maghsoud, 20th Century Persian Master of the Uwaiysi tariqat. Dr. Kianfar began studying Erfan under the guidance and supervision of his Master of Tariq, Moulana Shah Maghsoud, and was appointed by him to teach and lead gatherings. An internationally published author and lecturer, Dr. Kianfar has taught Sufism and Islamic Philosophy throughout the world for over 40 years, with thousands of students around the globe. A few years ago, when the International Association of Sufism sponsored and organized its first conference on Sufism in Sydney, Australia, Dr. Kianfar went there as the keynote speaker. He was also an honorary speaker at a conference in Uzbekistan, organized by the government of Uzbekistan and UNESCO on the topic of Inter-religious Dialogue and Peace. At that time, and on many other occasions, he was invited as the sole representative of Sufism amongst other world religious leaders.

MooreDANIEL ABDAL-HAYY MOORE. Born in 1940 in Oakland, California, Moore’s first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. He became a Sufi/Muslim with the Shadhiliyya Habibiyya Tariqat in Meknes, Morocco in 1970, performed the Hajj in 1972, and has lived in Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Nigeria. In 1996 he published The Ramadan Sonnets (Jusoor/City Lights), in 2001 The Blind Beekeeper (Jusoor/Syracuse University Press), and in 2005 inaugurated The Ecstatic Exchange Series starting with Mars & Beyond. His latest publication in 2012 is Down at the Deep End, Chemo Poems & Drawings, and of a rhymed couplet version of Ala-udeen & The Magic Lamp with his own illustrations. There are presently thirty-six Ecstatic Exchange titles in print. He also publishes extensively on the web, with his own website,, and his blog: He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Malika, and is a member of the Bawa Muhaiyuddeen Fellowship there. Topic: Poems from the Ecstatic Exchange.

MijaresSharon Mijares, Ph. D, is a licensed Psychologist and professor at the United Nations University for Peace, Brandman University, National University and the California Institute for Human Science. She is a member of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, a mentor teacher of the International Network of the Dances of Universal Peace and a Sufi Cheraga Minister of Universal Worship. Dr. Mijares is also an author_and/or author-editor of six books. She has contributed articles and chapters supporting healing way on individual and social levels.



MusaMusa Muhaiyaddeen (E. L. Levin), is a direct disciple of the Sufi mystic and teacher Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. He met Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in 1972 and studied with him until Bawa Muhaiyaddeen left his earthly form in 1986. He now shares what he learned during the 14 years he spent at the feet of his venerable teacher. He has traveled to Africa, Europe, Asia and throughout North America speaking on the teachings of Sufism. The International Association of Sufism (IAS) has published his book: On the Road to Infinity, which is a compilation of talks given by him on Sufism in various venues throughout the world. His insights on Sufism are now available online at and are presented in audio, video and print format. He has made numerous trips to Mecca and Medina and has taken hundreds of people with him on the pilgrimage. He is co-president of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship. He is married with 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Topic: The Inner Dialogue.

El-OkeneAbdullahi El-Okene. Born in Okene, Nigeria on Thursday 6th, June 1957 (8th, Zhul-Qa’da 1376 AH). He obtained a Bachelors degree in Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria in 1979, M.Sc in 1984 and Phd in 1995. He is currently Professor of Engineering and heads the Agricultural Mechanization Research Programme. Abdullahi is a student of Shaikh Ahmad Tijani; Shaikh Ibrahim Nyass is his Role Model. He studied, travelled widely with Shaikh Tahir Bauchi of Nigeria and Imam Hassan Cisse of Senegal, and had the blessing of brief studies with Shaikh AbulFathi, Shaikh Shereef Ibrahim Saleh al-Hussainy, Shaikh Ismaila Sufi, Shaikh Aliyu Harazim al-Hausawi, Mallam Habu Danbami, Khalifa Ghali of Shaikh Yahuza-Zaria, Ustaz Ismaila. He studied Qur’an with Mall Aliyu Ogaminana where he graduated in 1968. Abdullahi follows the schools of Thought of Imam Malik with regards Sharia; al-Ash’ari with regards Tauheed and Divine Attributes; Warsh with regards Recitation of Qur’an; al-Tijani with regards Methods of Zikr. Topic: The Gift of God’s Signature to Mankind.

Perez-ChistiMurshida Rabia Ana Perez-Chisti, PhD., is an ordained minister, senior teacher and National Co-Representative of the Sufi Movement International. She functions as the head of the Religious Activity and is a member of the collaborative leadership of the Pir-O-Murshid Council and Executive Committee of the SMI. She is a professor of Religion, Philosophy and Psychology and has held academic posts as Vice President, Chair, Counselor and Professorships in many leading universities. Topic: The Sacred Meaning of Words.



ShahjadaShahjada Syed Saifuddin Ahmed Al-Hasani Wal Hossaini Maizbhandari (MJA). Tarikah-E-Maizbhandaria was established by Gausul Azam Hazrat Maulana Syed Ahmadullah Maizbhandari (R) in the middle of 19th century A.D. This Tarikah was furnished and consolidated by his nephew and chief Khalifa Gausul Azam Hazrat Maulana Syed Gulamur Rahaman Baba Bhandari (R). Since 1962 great ambassador of peace and Islam, Shaikhul Islam Baba Syed Mainuddin Ahmed Al-Hasani Wal Hossaini (R) has been preaching the religion of Islam and enhancing the Tarikah-E-Maizbhandaria with utmost efforts both at home and abroad. He has made his legitimate successor Shahjada Syed Saifuddin Ahmed Al-Hasani wal Husaini Maizbhandari (M.J.A.). After graduation his Murshid Qiblah endowed him the responsibility of conducting the Darbar Sharif. He was entrusted with Khilafat. Syed Saifuddin has thousands of disciples both at home and abroad. He loves and appreciates his disciples very much. He is the honourable President of Anjuman-E-Rahmania Mainia Maizbhandaria. Anjuman-E-Rahmania Mainia Maizbhandaria Shajada syed Saifuddin ahmed Al-Hasani wal Husaini maizbhandari (M.J.A.) founded the ‘Mainia Foundation’. Its head office is situated in the Capital city of Bangladesh. It’s a non-political but a socio-religious organization. Foundation has founded tube wells for arsenic-free pure drinking water, and takes the plantation program headed by the president in various parts of the country every year in the rainy season. Shahjada syed Saifuddin ahmed Al-Hasani wal Hossaini Maizbhandari (M.J.A.) is the leader of Darbar-E-Gausul Azam Maizbhandari to preach Sufism & tarika with tasauf in home & abroad.


MusaMusa Dieng Kala, a native of Senegal where he lived until the age of 30,is even more well-known in the world of music than within the world of cinema. He is an author-composer-singer recognized internationally for the quality and the depth of his works. He first involved himself in the promotion of African music before turning to focus on production. He has been inspired by Sufi poems and the teaching of his spiritual master, Sheikh Amadou Bamba, the first peaceful resistance fighter who broadcasted the message of non-violence before Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The media nicknamed him the “Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of Black Africa”. To date, Musa Dieng Kala has made several video-clips for his compatriot Youssou N dour and is preparing Borom Touba, a feature-length film on the life and work of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba, founder of the Muslim brotherhood of the Mourides. Dedicated to the condition of African youth, the documentary Dieu a-t-il quitté l’Afrique? (Has God left Africa?) is the result of the first collaboration with the National Film Board (NFB). His works include: Shakawtu – Faith, 1997; Compilation African Tranquillity, 1997; Compilation Soufi Soul, 1998; Compilation Prayer, 2001; Salimto, 2003; Album 18 Safar, 2008; Exil

MevleviMevlevi Order of America. The dervish tradition of whirling and devotional music provides the foundation of the Estaughfur’ul-llah Zikr. This is a dynamic living prayer invoking Forgiveness and the Remembrance of our Oneness, integrating sacred sound and movement, music and turning within a participatory experience. You are invited to join heart to heart, setting the intention of healing for ourselves, our families, our community, and for the world. This practice comes from the inspiration and the guidance of Makam Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras. He was sent by his father Murshid Suleyman Hayati Dede to be a living embodiment of the Mevlevi way, in the spirit of inclusion, equality and love. You are invited to participate in this zikr led by the Mevlevi Order of America.

TaneenTaneen Sufi Music Ensemble. With an authentic fusion of Middle Eastern and Western influences, Taneen creates new, original melodies; yet their music is deeply rooted in the Sufi tradition in its intention and inspiration. Taneen primarily sings the love poetry of the great masters (such as Jalaleddin Rumi, Hafiz, Omar Khayam and Shah Maghsoud) in English translation, making the profound message of unity and love accessible to all audiences. Taneen has performed locally and internationally at events that focus on peace-building, human rights, and interfaith understanding and cooperation, including such events as the Sufism Symposium; Women’s Partnership for Peace in the Middle East Inaugural Conference, Oslo, Norway; and at the Parliament of World’s Religions conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Avay-i-Janaan CollectiveAvay-i-Janaan Echoes of the Unseen, is a poetry slam collective originating through the Echoes of the Unseen. The members represent the journey of a human being from and into the heart and creation of the universe within themselves. Through poetry, movement, rhythm, and song, you are invited to seek your own origin in the light that emerges from the stillness of inner peace and unity.



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