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Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, is the spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International, a mystical and ecumenical fellowship rooted in the visionary legacy of his grandfather, Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. Pir Zia is also President of the Suluk Academy for esoteric studies. Pir Zia holds a doctoral degree in religion from Duke University, is a recipient of the U Thant Peace Award, and is a newly appointed Lindisfarne Fellow.

Founder's Blog

Wild Fruit

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on May 29, 2009

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Hills and Dales of Columbia County

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on May 6, 2009

What better way to celebrate the birthday of Novalis than to ramble over sun-dappled hillsides tracking the traffic of elementals, as we did last Saturday?

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Resurrecting Chivalry

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on April 1, 2009

When asked to explain the mission of Seven Pillars, I generally begin by outlining the four core areas. As I invoke the words Cosmology, Revelation, and Mysticism, I am typically greeted with beaming approval. Then comes Chivalry. Now my listener has a furrowed brow. Peering through that brow I can almost read the thoughts it encloses: Chivalry is sexist, elitist, and violent. Chivalry is dead.

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Sacred Spaces

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on March 4, 2009

Dargah is a Persian word meaning “royal court.” In the Indian subcontinent it commonly refers to the tombs of Sufi saints. For nearly a millennium these shrines have formed an integral part of the rural and urban landscapes of South Asia.

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Dante’s Pluralism Review

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on January 28, 2009

Dante’s relationship with Islam and Islamic thought is something of a conundrum. On the one hand, Dante notoriously assigned Muhammad (peace be upon him) a miserable fate in the eighth circle of Hell. On the other hand, the entire structure of The Divine Comedy bears an unmistakable resemblance to Muhammad’s fabled mi’raj or ascension, as Miguel Asin Palacios demonstrated nearly a century ago.

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Stop the Violence

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on January 19, 2009

Every time brother kills brother—as is happening right now in the Holy Land—it is an unspeakable violation of the beneficent order of creation, an outrage of cosmic proportions. But we hardly notice. Habituated as we are to a ceaseless flow of electronic entertainment jam-packed with murder and mayhem, violence has lost its edge for us.

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Meatless Days

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on January 7, 2009

Though raised an omnivore, as a child I had little appetite for flesh foods. I wanted nothing on my plate that reminded me of the chipmunks and robins I was trying to befriend behind our house.

One day our Buddhist neighbors lent me a book by their teacher, the late Roshi Philip Kapleau, entitled To Cherish All Life. Reading Kapleau’s harrowing account of the horrors endured by animals in factory farms, the scales fell from my eyes and I have held to a bloodless diet ever since.

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The Wine of Creation

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on December 25, 2008

Wine is the sole salvation,
Its worship and works sublime;
Be firm thy determination,
Hafiz be saved in time.

Life may be likened to a tavern in which we figure as thirsty customers. 

Tavern culture has its stages.  In the first stage, judgment is lacking.  Any mind-numbing inebriant will do.  The headache that follows is simply a prompt to drain another glass.

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A Call to Wisdom

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on December 17, 2008

In respectful tribute to the author of A Letter to Hebrews.

And what is wisdom? Wisdom is seeing the whole in the parts, and in the whole, seeing the holy.

It is for their wisdom that the prophets and prophetesses of the past are remembered.

By wisdom we receive the universe as the revelation of the Eternal and Infinite inscribed on the scroll of time and space.

By wisdom Adam and Eve were led to taste the fruit of knowledge and to step from the narrow garden of innocence into the wide world of experience.

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‘Id al-Adha

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on December 7, 2008

‘Id al-Adha is upon us!  For those who may not know, ‘Id al-Adha (“The Feast of the Sacrifice”) is the major sacred festival of the Islamic calendar.  The significance of ‘Id al-Adha turns on an event that is remembered with equal reverence by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike: the story of Abraham’s (peace be upon him) intended sacrifice of his son.

The Torah (Genesis 22:1-18) relates that God instructed Abraham to offer up his favorite son as a burnt offering, to which the faithful prophet readily assented.  Just as Abraham was lifting the knife to his son’s throat a heavenly messenger intervened, declaring that he had sufficiently proven his devotion.  Hearing this, Abraham sacrificed a ram in place of his son, whereupon the angel announced God’s blessing upon the prophet and his descendents and all nations.

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Wolfram’s Lesson

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on November 15, 2008

Politics aside, what is remarkable about Barack Obama’s victory is that, for the first time in history, it puts a “black” man in the White House.

Of course Obama is not black. I for one have never met a black person. Nor have I met a white person for that matter. Black and white might have served as useful descriptors in the era of monochrome television, but those days are gone.

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Introducing the Founder’s Blog

Posted by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on November 12, 2008

Welcome to the Founder's Blog. I look forward to using this forum to share some of my ideas and impressions touching on the theme of world wisdom. The mode of writing will likely differ from entry to entry. One day it might be a poem or prayer, another day a book review or opinion piece. Periods of extended travel excepted, I hope to update the blog at least once a month. I welcome your comments, though I regret that I may not be able to write back. Thank you for your visit, and peace be with you.

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