2016: Sufi Mystical Poetry Webinar

Nov 22, 2016 | Announcements


Delve into the depths of your heart.

Explore the Universe within.

Swim in the ocean with the mystics.

Lose yourself in the Language of Love.



Join us for this 12-week webinar to explore the poetry of Sufi mystics: Rumi, Hafez, Ibn al-Arabi, Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal.

Spark the flame of passion in your own heart.

This will be an interactive, experiential, educational series of lectures and exercises from scholars, authors, teachers, and translators, including:

Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Christiane Karam, Iraj Anvar, Amany Shalaby, Abd al-Haqq Godlas, Mahmoud Jamal al-Rafa’i, and Salima Adelstein. 

You will be led through lectures to inspire your intellect, as well as exercises to open your heart, and pour out your own love letter to God.

We will join together through interactive audio/video with a phone-only option.

Classes will be held Thursdays at 5pm US Pacific / 8pm US Eastern, with the exception of the first class led by Kabir Helminski, which will be on December 7th.

Every class will be recorded, and the recordings will be made available to you to replay and/or download.



You’re invited to join us for this very special offering!


DATES: December 7 – February 23 (The first week is on a Wednesday, the rest are on Thursdays)

TIMES: 5pm PT / 8pm ET

TUITION: $595 (Or pay in 3 installments of $199)




About the Course:

Week One: Shaikh Kabir Helminski, author, translator, student of Sufism for over 30 years, and Shaikh from the Mevlevi order, will kick off the event. Shaikh Kabir has translated many volumes of Sufi literature, including at least 5 books of Rumi poetry and two books on the Sufi way of living.  He is a gentle soul with a wealth of information to impart to us.

Week Two: Christiane Karam, Associate Professor of Voice from Berklee School of Music in Boston, will present her favorite works of mystic poetry, and offer a special treat.  Christiane’s gift is in helping you to find your inner truth through unlocking your own voice.  She will guide you through your blocks to find your own voice – a gift you can carry with you through the remainder of the course and beyond.

Week Three: We will apply Professor Christiane’s lessons as we invite the mystical messages into our hearts.  You will be guided to find the truth in your heart that relates to the yearning of the mystics to swim in the Ocean of Love.  You are invited to explore your own voice, whether through writing, speaking, singing, movement or whatever art form you find best releases your heart’s love for Love.

Week Four: Dr. Iraj Anvar, author, translator and teacher, will share from his favorite works.  Dr. Iraj teaches Persian language and literature, and has translated many works of Rumi and other Persian poets.  He will share with us some of the hidden secrets in the sacred languages of the mystics that cannot be conveyed in the straight translation into the English language. Dr. Iraj is the brother of Rida Marz Attar, one of our US Shadhiliyya Sufi community leaders.

Week Five:  Reflection, exploration and integration of what we’ve learned from Dr. Iraj.  How can this deepen our understanding of and appreciation for the works of the mystics?  How can this knowledge carry us deeper into our own hearts?  You will be guided to play with the teachings you’ve received and allow them to dance in your heart. Is there an expression of love that wants to move out from within you?

Week Six: Dr. Amany Shalaby, author, poet, translator and teacher, will share her favorite works from the Sufi master, Ibn al-Arabi, as well as a piece of her original poetry from her book, Hidden Pearls.  Amany served as translator for the teachings and books of Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, who was Head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem, and our guide Shadhiliyya Sufi order and The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism.  One of her many gifts is helping her students understand how the mystical can be lived in daily life.

Week Seven: Reflection, exploration and application of Dr. Amany’s teachings.  How can you bring the love from the depths of your heart into your daily life?  You will be encouraged to dig deep to find your innermost yearnings for love, to bring them out in expression and to carry them into your daily life – your love for yourself,  your relationships with others, your work, your life purpose, and even the seemingly mundane.  Every act can be an expression of your love for the Divine.

Week Eight: Dr. Alan Abd al-Haqq Godlas, student of Sufism for over 33 years, and professor of Religion, Islamic Studies and Arabic at the University of Georgia, will present select couplets from Rumi’s famous Masnavi.  The Masnavi is Rumi’s greatest poetic work of deep mystical teachings, composed during the later and final years of his life.  Rumi said the Masnavi was “the roots of the roots of the roots of Religion” and explained secrets of the Qur’an.

Week Nine: Reflection, exploration and application of Dr. Godlas’s teaching.  How can the secrets revealed in these works help you to know yourself more completely?  How can this work help you to fall more deeply in love with God?  We will swim in the ocean together, explore the depths and see what God wants us to bring to the surface.

Week Ten:  Mahmoud Jamal al-Rifa’i, son of Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, who was Head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and our guide of the Shadhiliyya Sufi order and The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism, will share some of his father’s poetic works.  He will help us understand his father’s life and inspiration, and what the poetry meant to Sidi and to Mahmoud as well.  Mahmoud has put some of his father’s poetry to music, and insha’llah (God willing) will be sharing some of this work with us as well.

Week Eleven: Review, reflection and application of Mahmoud’s teachings, taking the essence of love deep into your heart and soul, carrying you into the ocean of your existence! Sharing your inspirations and experiences. How is this work transforming your relationships and your perspectives on life?

Week Twelve: Salima Adelstein, M.Ed., D.D., and Co-President of The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism, will complete this series with an explanation of how what you’ve received in this series translates into the walking on the spiritual path to God, healing and purifying the heart to be One with The One, to live in the Ocean of Love, Peace, Mercy, Justice and Freedom for all.


Meet Your Instructors:


Shaikh Kabir Helminski

Kabir Helminski is a translator of the works of Rumi and others, a Shaikh of the Mevlevi Order (which traces back to Jalaluddin Rumi), co-director of The Threshold Society (Sufism.org) and director/founder of the Baraka Institute (barakainstitute.org).

In 2009 and subsequent years Kabir was named as one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by Georgetown University and the Royal Strategic Studies Center (Jordan). He has toured North America as Shaikh with the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey bringing Sufi culture to more than 100,000 people.

The focus of his work has been developing an “applied spirituality,” based in classical Islamic Sufism, that can meet the needs of our time. The Threshold Society offers spiritual training to small groups throughout North America, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

In March 2017 Holistic Islam: Sufism, Consciousness, and The Needs of Our Time will be published by White Cloud Press.

His books on spirituality, Living Presence and The Knowing Heart, have been published in at least eight languages. In 2017, Living Presence is being published in a commemorative 25th anniversary edition in the Spiritual Cornerstones series by Penguin Books. Among his recent publications are: Love’s Ripening, Rumi on the Heart’s Journey (Shambhala 2010); and The Rumi Daybook (Shambhala 2012). In total, his books have sold about 250,000 copies.

He regularly writes and blogs for The Huffington Post, Tikkun, Patheos.com, and The Times of India.


Christiane Karam, Associate Professor

Christiane Karam is an Associate Professor of Voice at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA, specializing in Voice.  Her passion is helping students to access their truth through finding their unique voice, through song, speech and writing.

Christiane is a founder, leader, and vocalist of the Boston-based world/Middle Eastern music band ZilZALA.  She is a founder of the Shades of Orient concert series at Berklee, 2001–2003, and cofounder of the Berklee Music and Peace Initiative.

Christiane is a founder and leader of the Annual Berklee Middle Eastern Festival.

She has collaborated and performed with the Assad Brothers, Atlas Soul, Ran Blake, Jamey Haddad, Bobby McFerrin, the Millenium Gospel Choir, the New York Arabic Orchestra, the NY Gypsy All-Stars, Yanka Rupkina, Bassam Saba, Hüsnü Senlendirici, and .WAV, and also with the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Solo recordings include award-winning EP I’m Alive with producer Angel Angelov and self-produced Songs of the People with ZilZALA

Christiane has been featured on VH1 and PBS, and was a Kimball P. Stickney Scholar, NEC, 2004–2006.


Iraj Anvar, Ph.D.

Iraj Anvar, co-founded The Tehran Theater Workshop, taught Persian Literature and Language at NYU, translated Rumi poetry and has been reading Rumi, Hafez, Ferdowsi and other Persian poets for Iranian and American audiences for past several years. Now in Brown University, he has been appointed to start a Persian program; he teaches Persian language and culture and a course in Iranian Cinema.

Born in Tehran, has an extensive background of directing and acting in Italy, Iran and the US. He studied acting and directing in Rome. When he returned to Iran he soon became one of the lead figures in the avant-garde theater in Tehran.

In Kargahe Namayesh (Tehran Theater Workshop) he translated, adapted and directed several plays, including adaptations of the ancient literary Persian material such as Shahnameh of Ferdowsi and other classics. After a distinguished career, in 1978 he traveled to the USA, having obtained a scholarship to attend NYU.

After the Iranian Revolution he decided to remain in this country and while teaching Persian Language and Literature at the department of Middle Eastern Studies (NYU) he worked toward a degree and received his PhD from NYU in 1991.

His English translation of forty-eight ghazals of the renowned Persian thirteenth century poet, Rumi was published in 2002. His recent activities include several musical performances and poetry readings in New York and other cities of US.

He has been commissioned twice; by Asia Society to adapt stories of Shahnameh and perfume them as Naqqali (a form of Persian story telling) He currently lives in Barrington, Rhode Island with his wife and his seventeen year old son.

His translation of the second set of the Rumi’s poems, “Rumi, Say Nothing” was published in August 2008 by Morning Light Press in the US.


Amany Shalaby, Ph.D.

Amany Shalaby, Ph.D., is a poet, author, and teacher of Islam and Sufi studies.  She works as a translator of Islamic books and teaches in diverse study circles across the states on Islamic spirituality. Amany is the author of The Essence of Creation, The Emanation of Consciousness, and her book of poetry, Hidden Pearls.

Amany graduated as an electric engineer from `Ein Shams University, Cairo, Egypt 1985. She obtained her Post Graduate Diploma in Islamic Studies from Islamic College of Advancing Studies, Middlesex University, London, UK in 2002 and her Master’s degree in Comparative Philosophy of Religions in 2014 from the Islamic College of Advancing Studies, Middlesex University, London, UK.

She is on faculty of The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism.  She is a co-founder of Radiant Hands Inc., an organization that helps single mothers in need, and Nur Corner Institute.


Alan ‘Abd al-Haqq Godlas, Ph.D.

Alan ‘Abd al-Haqq Godlas, PhD, is authorized to teach Sufi contemplative practice in the Shadhili tradition of Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal of Jerusalem and the Naqshbandi tradition of Hazret Ibrahim Jan of Kokand, Uzbekistan.

He has been practicing both American and traditional Islamic forms of Sufism since 1973. First initiated into Sufism in the Chishti tradition of Hazrat Inayat Khan through the lineage of Murshid Sam Lewis, Dr. Godlas subsequently encountered the Naqshbandi-Shattari Sufi way, as taught by Idris Shah, through study under Dr. Claudio Naranjo. From 1974 to 1977, he lived and practiced in the Nimatullahi Sufi center in Tehran.

Dr. Godlas received his PhD, concentrating in Islamic Studies and Sufism, from the University of California–Berkeley in 1991 and began teaching as a professor of Religion, Islamic Studies, and Arabic at the University of Georgia. In addition to teaching at numerous Sufi and Islamic venues, he has taught and lectured about contemplative Sufi practice at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in the Bahamas as well as at the Tibetan Buddhist Mangalam Center in Berkeley.

His current research investigates resources of the world’s religions (in particular, Islam) for enhancing emotional intelligence. As a part of this work, Dr. Godlas became authorized to test emotional intelligence by David Caruso of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

He has delivered scholarly papers about Sufism in 14 countries, including Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Egypt and Morocco. Dr. Godlas’ website, “Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism’s Many Paths” is the leading comprehensive academic website for Sufism.


Mahmoud Jamal al-Rafa’i

Mahmoud Jamal al-Rifa’i is CEO and Founder at JCRD, an NGO for a Better Jerusalem.

Mahmoud is perhaps best known to us as the son of our guide, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal al-Rifa’I ash-Shadduli, who was the head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as founder and guide for The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism.

Mahmoud studied at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. He currently resides in Jerusalem where he serves as CEO of JCRD of Jerusalem, an NGO dedicated to the children and the future of Jerusalem.

Mahmoud embraces the Sufi way of life and the teachings his father brought to his many thousands of students. Mahmoud serves to preserve the teachings for us and to keep the spirit alive for those of us who have benefited deeply from his family’s service.

Mahmoud recently worked with a group to put some of Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal’s poetry to music, which was presented at a music festival in Morocco. We are blessed to have him share this music with us in this class, and to share his father’s poetry in its original language and in English, helping us to understand the deeper meanings that get lost in translation.



Salima Adelstein, M.Ed., D.D.

Salima Adelstein, Co-President of The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism and chair of the department of Spiritual Ministry and Sufi Studies.

Salima Adelstein M.Ed., D.D., helps people to discover and embody the deep truth of their beauty and essence through her work as a healer and teacher. Salima is a master healer who has helped hundreds of clients heal from illness and lifelong emotional pain.

Salima also has a private healing practice in Pennsylvania. She is an international speaker and teacher, facilitating spiritual healing seminars nationally and internationally. Her heart is filled with the joy and compassion that result from living in the heart of God.



Mastura Debra Graugnard, M.Div. – Your Program Facilitator

Mastura Debra Graugnard has been involved with The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism since 1998, and currently serves as the University Relations Coordinator. She is also a spiritual healing practitioner, a teacher, writer and blogger, with a weekly post called Hello Rumi Tuesday!

Mastura has been a spiritual seeker for about 30 years, and a student of Sufism for the past 20 years. Mastura’s journey began with the “incurable” diseases of hypoglycemia, fibrocystic disease and ulcerative colitis. Refusing to accept these ailments as a permanent part of her future, she embarked on a healing journey which taught her healing for the body, mind, heart & spirit.

In addition to her work with USHS, Mastura established Joyfully Living Wellness, her private healing practice, and The Community for Conscious Living, an online community dedicated to Personal Transformation for Universal Harmony. In all settings, her work is based on Sufi teachings and spiritual healing principles with a mission to help people world-wide to discover the health they want, the joy they deserve and the love that they are!



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to the language of love within you,

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