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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


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I don't know much about Sufism. How can I learn more about what you folks do?

Sufism means a lot of different things to different people. The Sufi Order International divides its activities into five Concentrations, within which different aspects of the Sufi path are emphasized. You may find one or more Concentrations particularly useful to you personally on your own spiritual path. You can visit our SOI Concentrations page to learn more.

I want to get involved with Sufism. Where should I begin?

The SOI Centres in Toronto offer a few different ongoing or special events, drawn from the various SOI Concentrations. You might start your exploration either by participating in a Universal Worship Service or an Esoteric School class. The Way of the Heart is an introductory Esoteric School class.

What is the "Gayan?"

The Gayan was written by Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan and can be found in the book The Complete Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, as well as in earlier collections of writings. It can be found online at Wahiduddin's Web and sufimessage.com. It has several sections, and includes a variety of aphorisms, prayers, and contemplations that have been instructive, inspirational, and have provided guidance for many people. You'll find randomly selected excerpts from the Gayan in the right sidebar of our website.

What is the "Bowl of Saki?"

The "Bowl of Saki" (also spelled "Bowl of Saqi") is a collection of sayings or aphorisms, each associated with one day of the year. They may be used as a theme or focus for a daily meditation. They are found in the book The Complete Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, and in other online and print publications. Each day's Bowl of Saki appears on the front page of our website, and a complete list for all days is also available. We also provide an rss iconRSS Feed that presents each day's Bowl of Saki. A full calendar with links to each day's Saki is on this website's main Bowl of Saki page. When you view the specific page for one day (for example, January 1), it shows some links to other websites that offer commentary on that day's saying.

What is an "Inayati" (or "Inyati") Sufi order?

The term "Inayati" is used to refer to those Sufi orders or other organizations and materials that trace back to Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. There are several Inayati Sufi orders, of which the Sufi Order International is one. Some others (in no particular sequence) are: the Sufi Ruhaniat International, the International Sufi Movement, Sufism Reoriented, and the Sufi Way. The Wikipedia article titled "Universal Sufism" gives a good introduction to the Inayati orders.

What do "mureed" and "Guide" mean (and fakir, dervish, Sheik, Pir, Murshid, or Hazrat)?

The Sufi Order International uses terminology drawn from classical Sufism, although it's worth knowing that different Sufi orders use different labels for similar things. A mureed is a Sufi student, and generally one who has been initiated into the SOI Esoteric School. Other Sufi orders may use the term fakir or sometimes dervish. A mureed is given personal spiritual practices by a Guide, which in other Sufi orders may be called his or her Sheik (Shaykh). Other terms or honorifics for for a Sufi teacher include Pir, Murshid and Hazrat (Hadhrat), which may each have specific associations for a given Sufi order. "Pir-O-Murshid" (one of Hazrat Inayat Khan's titles) is often translated as "Teacher of Teachers." When Sufi Order people refer to "Murshid" they usually mean Hazrat Inayat Khan, while "the Pir" refers to the current spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International, now Murshid's grandson Pir Zia Inayat-Khan.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

From the Gayan

Lack of patience starves virtue to death.
— Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Gayan - Chalas