I’ve just returned home from a beautiful weekend retreat at the Shadhiliyya Sufi Center in Pope Valley, California – the center where the UOS classes are held.
The weekend was intended to be a time to sit with our guide, Sidi, and say farewell before he leaves the US to head back to Jerusalem for the winter and spring months. Instead, Sidi fell ill the day before the retreat began and remains in serious condition at a nearby hospital.
Still, it was a sweet gathering. People from around the country came together for this event. It was exciting to watch waves of people walk up the driveway from various communities. A car or two would arrive, then we’d say, “here comes Austin,” then “here comes New York,” then “Florida’s here,” and so on until each of our many communities was well-represented. And many new people joined us, too.
Throughout the weekend, we prayed together and shared stories about the beauty, love and transformation that we have received through Sidi over the years.
Salih Kent joined by live-stream video with daily updates on Sidi’s condition, plus readings and recordings that Sidi had prepared for us for the retreat.
Salima read to us a letter that Sidi had written for us through his beloved Halima when he arrived in the US earlier this year. Sidi called the letter “A Small Message from My Heart.”
Sa’id bin Yunus shared teachings that were just so clear and straight, and filled with compassion, humility and even humor.
Amany continued to expand on Sidi’s teachings with her knowledge, wisdom and insights into the Qur’an and Sunnah, both the inner and outer meanings. Her explanations transmit the hidden jewels that align us with the truths that our hearts know inside – those jewels that our hearts yearn to uncover on our journey of remembrance of The One.
So many of our community members shared their wisdom and love — too many to list here. I apologize for leaving anyone out of the acknowledgements.
One thing that came very clear during this time together is that Sidi has given each of us so much – personal guidance plus volumes of knowledge that he wants us to consume and assimilate into our entire beings – and Sidi wants for the teachings of Love, Peace, Mercy, Compassion, Justice, Equality and Freedom to live on and continue to spread throughout the world!
We must continue to feed ourselves with the nourishment he gives in his teachings and books as well as the spiritual food that is contained in the Qur’an and other holy scriptures which Sidi cherished.
If you had the opportunity to attend any of his events or watch his videos, you could see how lit up he would get from teaching the scriptures. Especially in this last year, it was fun to watch the joy come into his face when he taught about what he loved.
If you weren’t there, this may sound nuts. When left to read these teachings on our own, they often sound esoteric or irrelevant to the current times and culture. Teachings from any of the holy books can sound just downright harsh. Yet when put in historical context, the meanings change. AND there are deeper meanings that carry wisdom that transcends time and space – a wisdom common to the language of the heart and soul.
Fortunately for us, we have Amany Shalaby, who has been translating for Sidi for several years. Amany is offering a class to help us sort through the outer appearances of the Qur’an and other scriptures and discover the wisdom within them. Her class is called “Divine Illuminating Wisdom: Discovering the Common Wisdom in the Qur’an and Other Scriptures.” If you feel so called, please join us.
We are so blessed to have each other. If you are reading this and your heart is drawn, please consider yourself a part of this community. It extends beyond what has gathered together physically, and it continues to grow. This is a part of the continuation of Sidi’s endless work in this country over the past 20+ years.
We welcome you and invite you to connect with us through any of our events or programs. Please reach out to someone from our university or one of the community centers around the country. If you are not plugged in to one near you, click here to schedule a free consultation.
Blessings and Gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard, on behalf of your friends and family at UOS