Being a mureed for the last 30 years I noticed a growing interest on the origin and history of the Hazrati Sufi organisations as we know them today. In 2011, during the clearing out of some cupboards one afternoon, I decided to put all the Soefi Gedachte’s (Sufi Thoughts; a Dutch magazine) that I found into chronological order. My own subscription had started in the late eighties. Furthermore I had received some old (partly bound) issues from the sixties and seventies from my in-laws. A far from complete series as it appeared. Good friends of the Banstraat and the Anna Paulownastraat centres in The Hague eventually helped me to complete the collection.
Then it was Liberty Hall. I started to get curious, in the beginning mainly about the Dutch history of the Sufi Movement. Numerous questions arose. Who were all these people mentioned on those yellowed pages? What did the different meetings look like in the course of all those years? Where did the summer schools take place before the Murad Hassil in Katwijk aan Zee was built? Did the current centres in Holland exist from the beginning? Who was or were the designers of the different activities and ceremonies? My search became even more interesting when I got hold of some boxes containing English magazines. New questions arose. What was the difference between the Sufi Quarterly and the Sufi Record? If everyone travelled to Suresnes every summer until WWII, then what was the function of Geneva? Where did the brothers, successors and children live all those years and how did the Movement survive the Second World War?
Besides the Soefi Gedachte, a number of other sources were at my disposal where I could make further inquiries. Firstly the unsurpassed Biography of Pir O Murshid Inayat Khan, 1979 should be mentioned. Furthermore, the books of Musharaff Khan, Van Stolk, Keesing, Van Beek, Jironet and Horn are by now sufficiently known in Sufi circles. Less known, but certainly no less interesting and very helpful, were the two works by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan: A Pearl in Wine (collection of essays by a number of authors) and his dissertation: A Hybrid Sufi Order (…).
The civil servant in me began to make lists on: ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’. And that’s all this website eventually became: a collection of lists, but perhaps a source that will help you in your search concerning the 100 year history of the different Sufi branches. To the questions ‘why’and ‘how’ this website will hardly provide an adequate answer. These questions should be answered by future Sufi leaders, historians and publicists in the different publications of the Hazrati Sufi organizations.
Sufipedia.org is principally a reference site. All the data on this website are already available in the many books, magazines and other (occasional) publications of the Sufi Movement. But at the same time this information is also scattered over thousands of pages. Without this website, checking data (name, year, dates, address, facts, and events) sometimes makes it necessary to search and turn over the leaves of many books and read for hours. Furthermore this website makes it possible to discover parallels, connections, correlations, chronologies and patterns more easily. The collected surveys provide, finally, a clear image of the diversity, richness and breadth of the history of Hazrati Sufism.
This website is meant for any mureed or person interested in tradition and spiritual legacy of Hazrati Sufism. Furthermore it can be of great value to scholars and researchers from within and outside Sufi circles.
This websites is the result of my research over the last 5 years. All information on this website is based on the sources (both written and oral) that were at my disposal. Any incorrect or incomplete information is unintentional. I have attempted to relate the facts, names and dates as accurately as possible and in the spirit of sharing.
Please notify me if you find other errors in in this website and help me by mentioning or sending me additional sources. Thank you.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed to the realization of this website by supplying me with books, leaflets, documents and other material and by sharing many personal reminiscences and anecdotes. Without wanting to sell anyone short I would like to mention especially: Hennie Simon and Hamida Verlinden from the Banstraat in The Hague, Ameen Carp and Wahdud Grashuis from de Anna Paulownastraat in The Hague and Karimbakhsh Witteveen who has been a personal witness during the greater part of the 100 year history of the many events and developments within the Sufi Movement.
Finally I would like to address a special word of thanks to Shaikh-ul-Mashaik Mahmood Khan Youskine who has been of invaluable importance to the origin and the development of this website. Without his extended knowledge, that he was more than willing to share , this website would never have reached the size or accuracy of this current issue. In particular I would like to mention (and honour) his expertise in the field of:
- The spiritual depth and implications of the Sufi legacy
- the Arabic, Persian and Urdu mystical notions
- the – as he puts it himself – family nomenclature (i.e. the many Indian names, nicknames, caste-indications and honourific titles)
- the numerous anecdotes, stories and images ‘from the old days’
- the characterizations of the many people who appeared to have been key figures in the history of the Hazrati Sufi organisations
Finally he has been always on the sideline, inspiring and encouraging me to continue this project.
The publication of the English version of this website would not have been possible without the friendly and dedicated assistance of Qahira Wirgman of the Nekbaht Foundation. She has reviewed the manuscripts of this website over and over again via email contact and live sessions at the archives in Suresnes. Furthermore she supplied me with extra documents from the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation, the data of which have found their way to both the ‘Sufi Compendium’ (2014) and eventually this website.
Meppel, The Netherlands
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