- letters from Moineddin
October 20, 1977
Not to be missed (immediately following) this letter are the proceedings of the “Mureeds Meeting” held September 29, 1977.
October 20, 1977
I too feel that it is best for you to take matters up directly with Wali Ali. Why he should have neglected to mention you during his Abode seminar, I cannot say; but I do know that he was going through severe test and trial in his personal life at that time—which may have had a bearing on his behaviour.
On the matter of saying ‘yes’ to outsiders. Joe Miller has played perhaps themost profound role as a spiritual force in my life since Murshid’s passing. I do not want to go into the details of an overwhelming experience of Murshid’s Voice received through Joe during a hug at the second Whirling Dervish Bazaar—upon hearing which I immediately entered into unity with the Buddha known as Ratna-Sambhava, and was blessed to share this realization with many on that occasion. Suffice it to say that Joe Miller is an insider as far as Moineddin is concerned. There may be some omission in the fact that you were not consulted as to his inclusion in certain proceedings, but such events are now long since past and forgotten, at least for me.
I wrote to Shamcher recently to say that Channel 5 carried a feature story recently extolling the potential virtues of OTEC. Apparently some inroads are being made somewhere.
During the dedication of Khankah [S.A.M.] Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti last Sunday (during which we inaugurated our new Worship Service; copy enclosed), Shamcher startled everyone when he said these words, words with the ring and force as if from Murshid: “Pir Vilayat is coming to town early next month, and if anyone wants to see him, go see him. It is his damn duty to see you!”
As I wrote to Shahabuddin earlier this morning, that remark placed in perspective the relative relationships, or lack thereof, of Pir Vilayat toward most mureeds, and the enduring nurturing link that Murshid held and holds for his disciples.
Also enclosed is a copy of the minutes of our recent disciples’ meeting.
All love and blessings,
MUREEDS MEETING 9/29/77(GENERAL MEMBERSHIP)
- The meeting was begun with Saum, Salat, and the Bismillah Dance led by Murshid Moineddin. Moineddin then read the Declaration by Pir Vilayat from the August issue of The Message and Pir Vilayat’s “Further Comments” from the October issue of The Message.
Q: Is it mandatory that people decide one way or the other between the Sufi Order and the Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society?
A: A third possibility is to go “inactive from both.
Q: If you feel personally okay about the Declaration, but your teacher is in S.I.R.S., do you have to make the choice?
A: Yes. Pir Vilayat wants the lines drawn.
Q: If one is a member of S.I.R.S., do we have to give up the Healing Service and the Universal Worship?
- Moineddin read his own statement from the October issue of The Message.
- Wali Ali summarized his experiences at the Abode last month and the history of the relationship of S.I.R.S. to the Sufi Order. When Murshid Samuel Lewis and Pir Vilayat first met in 1968, the situation was very different. Unity was sought for the sake of the work, and certain issues were left unresolved to permit the S.I.R.S. to be a Branch of the Sufi Order as well as the inheritor of Murshid’s transmission, with its own line of succession. Murshid’s initiations of Sheikhs and Khalifs were on God’s authority, and Pir Vilayat permitted this inconsistency, organizationally speaking. Murshid wanted unity; he never wanted separation.
Wali Ali went to the Abode to propose the Dervish Order as an alternative for those who could not abide the Declaration. Pir Vilayat ruled this out. Pir wants to streamline the Order, with people who look to him as Spiritual Guide. Wali Ali said he asked Pir Vilayat about mureeds who are also members of the Native American Church, and Pir Vilayat called their practice with peyote ‘decadent’. Pir Vilayat did not forbid the Dances to be done; he did say that the Dances were secondary, not really part of the Message. His position on Murshid’s Commentaries was the same. These things are not to be done in Sufi Order Gatha classes any longer, but they may be done in other classes. At first Pir Vilayat ruled out homosexuals from the Order, and then withdrew this position.
- Then Wali Ali read excerpts from Murshid’s Commentary on Everyday Life on the subject of drugs and stated his own position. He pointed out that Murshid had two premises: Don’t be a hypocrite and Sufism is based on experiences, not premises. Wali Ali feels the Declaration to be totally alien to the spirit of Sufism in which he was received. He stated that it will never be his policy or the policy of this center to make a rule as the one about homosexuals that Pir Vilayat made [and then withdrew]. In saying this, he noted that the koan of Murshid’s life was: “The stone that is rejected becomes the cornerstone.” Wali Ali stressed the point that there is no Bayat [initiation] to a legal entity and read excerpts from Six Interviews with Hazrat Inayat Khan by Murshid on this point. Wali Ali does not feel it is necessary to continue the relationship through the legal entity in order for the spiritual relationship to continue. Legal entities do not guarantee the descent of baraka. Wali Ali pointed out that it was not possible for him to continue with the Sufi Order, where he could only be an intermediary, with inner guidance overruled by rules. It is necessary for us to proceed on our own line of development at this time.
Q: Will there be a Service corresponding to the Universal Worship for those of us who are Cherags to perform?
A: Yes, a new Service has been received. It is based on the watering of flower blooms instead of the lighting of candles for each religion. The basic order of service is the same The new Service will be performed at the dedication of Khankah S.A.M. on October 16. All are invited. [on October 23 Khankah S.A.M. East, under the direction of Mansur, was dedicated in Hull, MA.]
Q: Are there other things besides the Universal Worship that will be different?
A: Yes, the Healing Activity. Saul feels that the S.I.R.S. should sponsor the continuance of healing activity, but there may be some changes in form.
Q: Has Pir Vilayat asked that we stop the Universal Worship if we do not accept the Declaration?
Q: Will Murshid’s Dances be done at S.I.R.S. Gatha classes?
A: Yes, in S.I.R.S. it is okay. It is important that the Dances be done in a proper and effective manner, however.
Q: Would it be in the spirit of conciliation if we do resign rather than avoiding the issue?
A: Yes. Let’s not burden Sikander [Pir Vilayat’s secretary] any more than necessary. Reminder: there is no resignation of the inner link, only the organization.
Q: Can a mureed change Initiators from one to another without actually resigning?
A: Certainly one should put it in the terms which one feels most comfortable with. Such a change of Initiators will be considered a resignation by Pir Vilayat in terms of the organization.
Q: How will Murshida Vera’s work be affected at the Seed Center?
A: She is not here, so one cannot speak for her.
Q: Is there a Sufi Order Branch here in the Bay Area?
A: Not yet.
5. Halim announced Amin and Amina’s total support for Moineddin, in their absence from the meeting. Sabira read a statement from Murshid Shamcher wishing all well.
Q: What is Saul’s position?
A: We hope to publish a written statement from Saul. It is Wali Ali’s understanding that Saul intends to go inactive but continue to organize activities with our sponsorship.
Q: What does I mean to go inactive?
A: The link of Initiation is not severed, but it means forfeiting the esoteric classes and the general work of the Order.
Q: If you go ‘inactive’ but still consider yourself to be a member, how can you a member if you don’t follow the rules?
A: That is self-contradictory. Going inactive is not a way out.
Q: What about a Cherag’s legal capacity to perform weddings, funerals, etc.?
A: These are all protected under California state law on the outer level, and you will be protected on the inner level if you are sincere.
Q: Will the scale of ranks remain the same in SI.R.S.?
A: Basically, things will go on the same.
Q: Is the Seed Center presently under the Sufi Order?
A: No, they are separately incorporated.
Q: Will we continue to use the Sufi Symbol?
A:Yes, it is public domain. Two mureeds have been asked to meditate on a new logo for SIRS also.
Q: Will there be re-initiation to join SIRS?
A: No. But mureeds should communicate with their teachers. Wali Ali is offering short Darshan interviews. If you choose to leave SIRS, you should also notify your teacher.
Q: What provision has been made for mureeds in other states who wish to go with SIRS?
A: Our Bylaws provide for the establishment of branches, and this will take place, inshallah.
Q: Are Gatha classes in Novato the only ones in Marin?
A: Yes, the first three years met at 10 am at Garden of Inayat Saturdays. In Sonoma County, Sunday nights in Sebastopol.
- Sitara Lewis spoke about how she became a disciple. She stated that surrender in the name of anything but love is a detriment and compromise of your being.
- Ruth Muhasabi proposed that pronouns referring to God not be masculine, but be all-inclusive in the prayers and other usage. Moineddin said he did not mind if others did this, but his own position was that of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who said: “Do not change my words.”
The meeting ended with various announcements: including, Pir Vilayat will give a seminar in San Francisco November 5-6 at the Saint Francis Hotel, and Shamcher is giving a special lecture tomorrow night in Berkeley at the American Baptist Seminary. $1.50.
Minutes by Fatima Roberts