20 July 2001 –
22 July 2001
In a beautiful rural retreat center near Seattle, Washington, members of the Uwaiysi Tariqat gatheredfrom around the country for three days of spiritual purification under the direction of renowned Sufi Master Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. Throughout this blessed weekend, Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Kianfar offered profound wisdom along with specific practices for purification on all levels. He began by explaining the nature of “purity” and what spiritual purification really requires of us.
As gold is pure when everything that is not gold is removed, so the human being is pure when the beliefs and attachments of this world, and everything of which we have no real knowledge, are removed. Then and only then, do we return to our pure and true nature (fitra) as created by Allah. This is the goal of a Sufi, and understanding the means and importance of doing this was the goal of the Purification Retreat.
On the first evening, Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Kianfar placed us firmly on the path toward our true nature or fitra. He told us that, “God has given you everything you need to make your journey. It is already within you. You have just been looking in the wrong direction.”
Each retreatant was encouraged to promise herself or himself to turn to Allah alone for guidance and protection on the spiritual journey. We were then asked to make a commitment to ourselves that we would never turn back from that promise. “The first rule of spirituality” said Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Kianfar, “is to trust yourself”. He continued, “you cannot trust God unless you can trust yourself”, and then he explained in detail what this required of us.
Prayer began before dawn as we welcomed each day together in remembrance. Practices lasted throughout the day and well into the evening. Our hearts were opened to a way of being on a true path of devotion. Each of us now seeks to continue this deep remembrance, loving awareness, and the process of knowing Allah directly, in our daily lives.
The Reality sought was powerfully reflected throughout the weekend; in the deep peace felt by each person, in the loving harmony among participants and in the profound understanding reached. During the closing circle, the group expressed a shared sense of awe at the power and grace of the teachings and the presence of Allah and Allah’s faithful and wise servant, Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Kianfar.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
And whoever purifies himself does so to
his own souls benefit; and to Allah is
the journeying … [35:18]
Those will prepare who purify
themselves and glorify the name of their
Lord and pray … [87:14]
In these verses, Allah Almighty refers to the characteristics of Sufis, or those who are busy purifying themselves. They are always remembering their Lord, by recalling his names and attributes, and they are attentive to their prayers. This is the essence of Sufism, and also the essence of Islam.