Middle Eastern Spirituality

and Peace

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Love, Lover and Beloved:

An Evening of Sufi Devotions and Ecstatic Music


Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh

Saturday 1 March 2008, 7.00pm onwards (doors open 6.30pm)

All are welcome to participate in this evening of Sufi devotional and ecstatic spiritual practice!


Facilitators: Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School, Da’ud Bellak, Jila Peacock and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti (Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz).

The Sufi Way has been called the "Path of Love" and one of the most famous Sufi chants reminds the listener that "God is Love, Lover and Beloved." In many different ways, Sufi music and chant worldwide celebrates the sacred as an evolving relationship rather than a static set of concepts or theologies. The Sufi musicians and teachers assembled here will share music and chant that awakens the heart and revivifies the soul, from the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Europe (including Scotland).


This is a participatory evening, during which the audience will have the opportunity to learn about and join in various

Sufi chants and musical meditations for peace.


1.  Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti: Welcome and Introduction


2.  Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School: The Elixir of the Soul

The whole universe bathes in perpetual music - that of the rotating Earth, the blowing wind, the waves, the singing birdsÉ

In fact, there can be no life without music. The human being is made up of music: the beating of the heart, the voice, the demeanour; everything within the human is a rhythm. This is why in all religions and all spiritual paths music is at the very heart of their practice. Sufis, who have a particular liking for music, say that music is the elixir of the soul.

Khidmatul Khadim, a branch of the International Sufi School, is the school of peace and service of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba.  The group with us tonight comes from London.  Sheikh Bamba was a Sufi mystic and peacemaker born in Senegal in 1853, where he founded the International Sufi School. This Sufi path focuses on the personal development of its members and their awakening to a new level of consciousness: to be a peacemaker and a servant of humanity according to the prophetic model. See www.international-sufi-school.org

Before the individual is able to engage in selfless service, the heart needs to be in peace, free from all forms of conditioning.  Hence the importance of Zikrullah, the repetition of the names of the Lord, as a central practice in all Sufi traditions since it purifies the heart and liberates the soul.


3.  Jila Peacock: Poems of Hafez


Reading of poems from Hafez in Persian and in English.

Jila Peacock was born in Iran, and studied and practised Medicine in London before graduating in painting from St Martin’s School of Art in 1984. Moving to Glasgow in 1990, she has been a part-time lecturer in the GSA and is a member of the Glasgow Print Studio.

In 2003/4 she was a Visiting Scholar at New Hall, Cambridge, with an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, to make a hand printed edition of a book of ten shape poems from the Sufi mystic poet, Hafez, of Shiraz, which was exhibited in the British Museum exhibition Word into Art, in 2006.

Her interest in music and performance has culminated in a major collaboration with composers Sally Beamish and Anoosh Jahanshahi, who have made new settings from Ten Poems from Hafez. This music has formed the soundtrack for her animation film "Tongue of the Hidden," made from the shape poems with Director David Anderson for Channel 4, which premiered at the National Film Theatre in October 2007. See www.jilapeacock.co.uk


4.  Da’ud Bellak: Love’s Vortex - Jelalud’din Rumi and The Open Heart


An introduction and intimate glimpse into the Mevlevi (Whirling) Dervishes of Jelalud’din Rumi.  This programme with Da’ud Bellak will include insights into the Mevlevi Dervish brotherhood (Tariqa), stories, with group participation. Remembrance of the Divine forms the basis of Sufism and the Path of Transformation through education of the heart. Best known for the sacred dance or Sema, the Mevlevi have a personal, inner activity known as Remembrance which will be made available for the first time publicly in Scotland, and possibly in the UK. There will be an opportunity for questions following the program.

Da’ud Bellak, was taken as a novice by one of the silent masters of the 20th century, the late Suleyman Hayati Dede, Murshid of Konya (Turkey) in the 1970s, and with whom he developed an intimate relationship. Under his direction, Da’ud completed the 1001 days “chille” (spiritual retreat) and the traditional Mevlevi 18 steps of training, possibly the only westerner to have done so. He was initiated as Sheikh (representative) of Hayati Dede, and the Mevlevi Brotherhood. While in the service of Hayati Dede, he served as his translator, secretary, confidant and travel companion, and is fully schooled in the Mevlevi Dervish path. He is also an initiate of the Helveti-Jeriahi order of dervishes. He has resided in Edinburgh since 1981. 

Handout for Da'ud Bellak's presentation.




5.  Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti: Welcome and Introduction to the second part of the evening

6.  Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti: Sufi Chants from the Chishtia Sufi tradition

Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti will share several chants (dhikr or "remembrance") from the Chishtia Sufi tradition, which recall the journey of the seeker - from the One, to the One, and in the One.

Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning and co-founded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace. Since 1976, he has been a student of the Sufi path, primarily under Pir Moineddin Jablonski (d. 2001), the spiritual successor of Sufi Ahmed Murad Chishti, Murshid Samuel L. Lewis. He was recognized as a senior teacher (murshid) in the Sufi path in 1993 and gives retreats internationally each year. Since 1982 he has also served on the advisory board of the International Association of Sufism, based in the USA, the only organization dedicated to dialogue between the various Sufi orders (tariqas) of the world.

Under his western name, Neil Douglas-Klotz, he is the past co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion and has published several books on Middle Eastern spirituality and peace, such as Prayers of the Cosmos, Desert Wisdom, The Hidden Gospel, The Genesis Meditations, The Sufi Book of Life, Blessings of the Cosmos and The Tent of Abraham. In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year Award for his work on Middle Eastern spirituality and peacemaking. More information on his work can be found at www.abwoon.com and www.sufibookoflife.com


7.  Jila Peacock: Poems of Hafez

More reading of poems from Hafez in Persian and in English.


8.  Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School: An Osmosis of Hearts

Music has always been at the heart of human existence. It is the means through which human beings connects with  their inner self, and hence with their Creator.

Through music one can taste the beautiful experience of the unity of the universe, for music transcends all differences, all barriers pertaining to language, culture, race, gender or class. As Rumi said, music is an invitation to lift the veil which covers our hearts to rediscover, through the experience of the senses, the Divine within us and in whom we are. Thus musicians and listeners form but one entity: an osmosis of hearts.


9.  Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti: Thanks and Appreciation


Cost: £7/£5 (Concessions) on the door, on the night

Contact: Neill Walker   E-mail: mesp2008@hotmail.co.uk   Tel: 0131 331 4469.   Web: www.eicsp.org

The 5th Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace,

Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday 1 March - Tuesday 11 March 2008.


Festival Introduction and Welcome


From Saturday 1 March - Tuesday 11 March 2008 the 5th Annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace will bring together people from a wide range of spiritual backgrounds, educators, teachers and scholars, people from artistic and cultural backgrounds, people from diverse cultures and traditions, and people from across Scotland and internationally. More generally, all of the principal faith and spiritual traditions of Scotland have been invited to participate in this spiritual, educational, artistic and cultural, and international festival which celebrates peace and mutual understanding.

Festival Organisation

The Festival is jointly organized by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, supported by partner organisations, funders, hosting organisations, as well as participating individuals and communities.


Festival Sponsorship and Support


The Festival organisers would like to acknowledge and thank those organisations and individuals who have offered financial and in-kind support to this Festival. Financial support towards the Festival in general has come from the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, the Oneness Project, the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace, the UK Network for the Dances of Universal Peace, the Shalem Institute, the Kalliopeia Foundation, the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL.