Khorasan has always been a place of connecting the guardians of Sufi wisdom and knowledge. From east it contains Afghanistan, where Mevlana Rumi was born, from west it connects to the birth place of sages such as Bayazid Bastami, and from north it is surrounded with the Turkic lands, from which the Yasawi darvishes carried the wisdom and teachings to Anatolia. These movements gave birth to Bektashi, Mevlevi orders and influenced many other traditions of islamic mysticism.
During this journey, we will study the roots of Wisdom we inherited from these great mystics. With meaningful conversations, we deepen in the teachings, stories, poems and music of this region. Throughout the journey, there will be introductory information from islamic mysticism resources, more specially from Alewi-Bektashi path and Israqhi (illumination) philosophy. There will also be times of self-reflection and community learning; sharing and weaving our insights as a learning group.
Whoever enters my home, feed them without asking about their faiths. If they were favored by God almighty who saw them worthy of the gift of life, then they are certainly worthy of being fed at the house of Abolhasan...
Abolhasan Kharaqani, 963-1033 AD
Imam Ali al-Ridha or Imam Reza (765 - 818 A.D.) was a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the eighth Shi'ite Imam. He was an Imam of knowledge according to the Shia tradition and Sufis. Attar narrates in his Memorial of the Saints that Maruf Karkhi, one of the foremost figures in the golden chain of most Sufi orders, converted to Islam at a young age at the hands of Imam Reza.
"Worship is not abundant prayer and fasting; rather it is abundant reflection on the affair of Allah, the Great and Almighty."
Attar Neyshabouri (1145-1221 A.D.) was a twelfth-century poet, theoretician of Sufism, hagiographer, and herbalist (alchemist) from Neishabur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. His works inspired lmany Sufi poets, such as Rumi and Hafiz. He is the author of Manteq-At-Tayr (Conference of the Birds) and Memorial of the Saints (Tazkerat-ol-Oliya), beside many other books of poetry which served as important sources for many Sufis after him.
Known to future Sufis as Sultān-ul-Ārifīn (Grandmaster of the Gnostics), Bayazid Bastami (804-874 A.D.) is considered to be one of the expositors of the state of fana, the state of loosing the lower self in mystical union with Allah. He is named by Shahabeddin Suhrewardi, as one of the important sages of the Ishraq (illuminationism) lineage.
“I never saw any lamp shining more brightly than the lamp of silence.”
Kharaqani (963-1033 A.D.) is one of the sages whose name and stories have been repeated by many Sufis such as Attar, Molana Rumi and Jami. Once he was asked about the Sufi knowledge of 'fana' (annihilation), and he responded:
"That is knowledge for the one who is as if suspended by a silk thread from the heavens to the earth and a great cyclone comes and takes all trees, houses, and mountains and throws them in the ocean until it fills the ocean. If that cyclone is unable to move the one who is hanging by the silk thread, then he is the one who can speak on fana' and baqa'."
Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi (940–1020 A.D.) was a sage (Hakim) and poet , and the author of Shahnameh (Book of Kings), which is the world's longest epic poem created by a single poet. Shahnameh is the national epic of greater Iran. Ferdowsi is celebrated as the most influential figure in Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature.
Ahmad-e Jami (1048-1141 A.D.) was a prominent Sufi writer, mystic and poet. It is said that Ahmad would attend drinking parties with a circle of profligate friends. After experiencing a spiritual transformation at the age of sixteen, he withdrew from his circle of friends, and took up the life of a hermit. He lived in seclusion for eighteen years, on the mountain of Namaq, and then on the mountain of Bizd for the next six years. At the age of forty he returned to society to guide the people.
This is the only architecture remaining from the ancient Tus city. It is said to be a Sufi school of Imam Mohammad Ghazzali (1058-1111 A.D.), one of the most prominent and influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics of Islamic tradition. His tomb is in the courtyard of Harouniyeh dome.
A total of about 60 works can be attributed to Al-Ghazali, among them Kimiyaye-Sa'adat (The Alchemy of Happiness).
Bektashi Order is a Sufi order named after the 13th century Vali (saint) Haji Bektash Veli from Khorasan. Haji Bektash was born in Foushanjan, a village near Neyshabour.
In this journey we will visit Foushanjan village, listen to the Alevi-Bektashi music, and briefly introduce the core concepts and rituals of the tradition.
Ishraq philosophy is an Islamic philosophy introduced by Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi in the twelfth century CE. The philosophy revolves around Presential (huduri) knowledge, that one is able to achieve through intuitive apprehension or contemplative vision (mushahada). In Ishraq, the light is a divine and metaphysical source of knowledge.
In this journey we will study some aspects of Ishraq philosophy, and visit two of the important sages of this lineage, Bayazid Bastami and Abol-Hassan Kharaqani.
The Bakhshis are renowned for their musical skill with the dotār, a two-stringed lute. They recount Islamic and Gnostic poems and epics containing mythological, historical or legendary themes. The social role of the Bakhshis exceeds that of mere narrator, and defines them as judges, mediators and healers, as well as guardians of the ethnic and regional cultural heritage of their community.*
On our visit to Torbat-e Jam we will be hosted by Bakhshi. With music, dance and stories, he will introduce us to the mystical heritage of the region.
Language of the Birds is a celebrated literary masterpiece of Persian literature by poet Attar Neyshabouri.
In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who their true king. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary wise Simorgh. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represents a human fault which prevents human kind from attaining enlightenment, through seven valleys to meet Simorgh.
Tazkirat al-Awliya, literally Memorial of the Saints, is a book written by Attar Neyshabouri, about the life of famous Sufis and their miraculous deeds. This is the only surviving work of Attar written as prose. It starts with a biography of Imam Jafar Sadiq, the Sixth Imam of Shia and ends with one of Mansur Al-Hallaj's, the Sufi Martyr.
The book is an enlightening introduction to the deeds, parables, and miracles of Muslim saints and mystics, and evokes the richness of the interior Sufi world.
To maintain the quality of this learning journey, we are taking maximum seven participants with us.
Beside visiting places, we offer:
Kamyar enjoys exploring wisdom, more specifically the Sufi wisdom, and the wisdom of listening.
He studies mysticism, psychology, leadership and in general consciousness through self-exploration, and in joyful collaborations with friends who enjoy exploring the same fields.
Academically he has studied computer engineering, and quality management.
He makes websites to buy rice and bread and felafel, and shoes if needed.
Traveling with his wife and companion Seda is a soulful aspect of his life.
Seda has been in strong connection with music since her childhood years. Coming from a Tahtacı-Turkmen family (a group of Alewi-Bektashi), she plays Anatolian kopuz (bağlama) and sings Sufi songs. Her way of seeking and learning is to play this music in spaces that sacred spirit can be felt and respected. She is a part of several bands and working on projects, one of which is with women. Being invited to seek her roots deeply, she got drawn to Iran and Persian language five years ago, became a student of Persian music and speaks fluent Farsi. Neyistan journeys in Iran and Turkey open an immense door for her to be in constant research on Eastern and Sufi wisdom, mostly through the role of sacred music, poetry and rituals, and to learn from the Elders, who serve as guardians of tradition.
Seda is also a graduate in English literature and gives online English, Turkish and Persian lessons.
She lives in Turkey with her husband Kamyar.
800 Euros if paid before August 1st
(minimum 50% paid at the time of registration)
If cancelled before August 15th, the paid amount minus 150 Euros will be returned. If cancelled before September 15th, the paid amount minus 400 Euros will be returned. Booked places can be replaced by another participant without additional costs.