In her first job after graduating from Harvard Divinity School as a Muslim chaplain at a university near Boston, Naila found herself feeling burnt out and wanting to quit. At this point Sufi teachings entered her life and everything started to change.
Ten Years of Therapy in Twenty Minutes
In a workshop led by University faculty member Nura Laird, Naila witnessed a couple having marital problems “receive ten years of therapy in twenty minutes.” Naila immediately recognized how Sufi healing moved past the limitations of conventional counseling to get the heart of the matter and bring deep healing quickly.
How to Hold People in Love
Thus began her journey to the University of Sufism. The school taught her how to connect deeply to people through the heart. “Most importantly, the teachings powerfully shift your being. We learn how to hold people in love.” These skills transformed both her professional and personal relationships. In addition to working with students, Naila facilitates a special women’s group. In both settings she uses the Sufi practices to teach people how to become stronger and more centered in whom they are.
As she heals her own heart through Allah, she is witnessing healing in her own family as well. Strained relationships are healing.
My Heart is a Garden
Before coming to the University Naila described herself as “a barren piece of land.” Now, as a third year student, “my heart is a garden that is filling up with blossoming flowers and fruit trees. There are places today in this garden that serve as an oasis for me and others in which to find rest.” “Of course,” she says, “there are still places needing to be tilled and developed – more opportunities to grow and learn!”
Naila believes “the sufiuniversity has something for everyone – no matter what your religion.” “Anyone with jobs focused on serving others would really benefit because it teaches you self-care, something missing from other typical university trainings.” She is very grateful for the high level of personal support she has received. In addition, Naila observes that “everyone working at the University has a high level of integrity.” Finally, she notes that “unlike instructors at other universities who just teach what they know, the UOS faculty sincerely teach from their heart as well as their mind.” In short, “we need more Universities like this in our world.”
More from Naila Halimah
“If you have a dream you can make it come true. Don’t let your inner voices stop you. Following your dream is pretty awesome. Have faith in Allah, however you know Allah.“
“If you ask Allah for something – He will give it to you. It may not look like what you think it will look like – but He will give it to you.“
“The Sufi teachings and the practices have become the fabric of my being. It’s hard to say where one ends and the other begins.”
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