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"And now, only what I have to say is this, that the practices which have been given to you are of the greatest importance in your life. You must consider that in this world you are standing against the struggle of worldly life from morning till evening. And what you need is your spiritual powers well-developed and well-conserved. If that is not done, then know that the struggle is greater. And do not think that only your enemies will go against you; your own friends will, when you have no power. That is the spiritual power, to stand against the struggle that worldly life brings you."
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Hazrat Inayat Khan
"Remember that we live in the midst of falsehood and all that we depend upon, praise and love and attachment and affection and sympathy, how long does it last? As long as you are in your proper condition. As soon as your condition is not proper everything goes away, not only your enemies, but even your friends.
Remember, therefore, that is the first thing to consider, to keep yourself well-tuned, tuned by the practices given to you. They are more valuable than a thousand prescriptions given by a doctor, because it is by spiritual inspiration they have been given. Never think, "To say a thing so many times, is that so important?" It is of the greatest importance."
Inayat Khan's Last Words to the Mureeds in Detroit, 1926
Friday Night Meditation Program
Sufi Circle Canada supports the Friday Night Meditation Program which is administered by Sufi Contact in the Netherlands.

Please also click the link below for more about Gawery Clara Cornelia Voûte who was instrumental in establishing the Friday Night Meditation Program in the 1960's.
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Gawery Voûte
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"What we generally know as the breath is that little inhaling and exhaling which we feel through the nostrils. We think that is breath and attach little importance to it, while in reality, breath is a life-current running through the innermost part of being towards the surface. It would be no exaggeration, according to the mystical point of view, to say that the breath connects heaven and earth. ... For the mystic, breath is not only a science, but the knowledge of breath is mysticism, and mysticism to the thinker is both science and religion. The mystery of breath is not a thing that can be comprehended by the brain only. The principles of mysticism rise from the heart. They are learned by intuition and proved by reason. ...  "

Hazrat Inayat Khan

More on the mystery of breath…
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inspired by the special melody of the Gentle Singing Zikar of Hazrat Inayat Khan
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Five Element Meditations
The Chromatic Zikar is sung to the accompaniment of an audio recording and is organized in six sequences. The first five sequences have one of the esoteric Elements as a concentration.
Download the Audio File

Chromatic Zikar, mp3 audio, 15' 37"

Download the Audio File

Chromatic Zikar, mp3 audio, 15' 37"

Each sequence ascends through four tones and then returns by descending to the starting note.

The eyes are closed while ascending and descending on each chromatic tone sequence.

It is not necessary to do all the sequences in one session. One could choose from any of the five element sequences and perhaps do two or three of them.
Whichever sequences chosen, one will always end with the sixth sequence, the Heart Chakra.

The Chromatic Zikar can be performed in two parts with men and women’s voices set an octave apart. With a mixed choir, it is possible to add a quint, an interval of a fifth, above the lower part.
The Chromatic Zikar practice is most helpful as a preparation for The Gentle Singing Zikar of Hazrat Inayat Khan, as well as for other concentration disciplines.

The Chromatic Zikar is sung collectively and is not intended as a individual practice. It is also important that group be lead by an experienced musician so the intonation and rhythm of the performance can accurately match the audio recording.

This practice develops magnetism in the voice by energizing the vocal cords. One might say, we are not all singers, so why should we develop the voice? The answer is, that it is with the sound of the voice, that we communicate our thoughts and feelings to others in a harmonious way or in an unconsidered way, and the sound of our voice can have a completely different impact than what one might expect.

The awareness of the voice is obviously one of the many ways with which, we can convey whatever we have to offer, and it also reveals the characteristic of the personality of the one who has made an effort to be considerate in the manner with which, the modes of expression are carried out along the voice flow.

Another important aspect of the Chromatic Zikar is that it also works as a breathing exercise. When chanting, one is breathing out through the mouth, expelling negative vibrations and toxins. Furthermore, it is also a thinking technique, because when coordinating the breath with the chanting, one is really relying on concentration.
In this practice, the breath follows a rhythm that corresponds to the group of notes chanted in each repetition of the Chromatic Zikar and the subtle sound vibrations resound within certain centers called Chakras.

Furthermore, when focusing with closed eyes on one of the five chosen chakras, while holding the thought-waves under control all along the breath-current, one’s consciousness is directly linked to the kundalini energy-flow.

The Chromatic Zikar practice is chanted on the melodic pattern of the Gentle Singing Zikar and each repetition of that pattern is successively augmented by half tones, while rising to a given pitch, and then descending in the same way to the starting point. On each ascent and descent one intones a given vowel.

The last of the five sequences is chanted this time upon the words of the Gentle Singing Zikar and with eyes closed, one mentally focuses upon the heart chakra, keeping in mind the following picture: ‘My heart is an empty bowl in which there is only place for Thee’.

The closing of this special practice is done in silence, while all thoughts and wants are cleared away, once the veil of the ‘I’ concept has been replaced by the brilliancy of the shining light in space.
Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan
Practicing the Chromatic Zikar

Our bodies exist within a field of energy. This subtle body is said to be the starting point for vitality and wellness or illness and disease. Within this subtle body there vibrates several major energy centers known as chakras, which correspond to the specific elements, colors and sounds.

In Chromatic Zikar, the melodic formula of the “Singing Zikar” is repeated on ascending and descending scales, with consecutive intervals of one half tones. This practice, which is of Zoroastrian origin, brings vitality to the chakras.

Earth Element: With eyes closed focus the inner gaze on the area of the navel. The color is yellow. Visualize the yellow color radiating out of the center of the chakra in all directions. Attributes of the earth element include stability, balance, inner security, grounding and nourishment. The tone on the ascending and descending scale is: AAH

Water Element: With eyes closed we focus the inner gaze on the area of the heart. The color is green. Visualize the green color radiating out of the center of the heart chakra. Attributes of the water element are ongoing movement, progress and continuity. This is the seat of love and the centre of our emotions. The purity and cleansing vibration of the water element purifies the heart, opening it to compassion, so that the heart “overflows” with love. As the power of flowing water can wear away stone, so the water element softens the hardness of the heart. The tone on the ascending and descending scale is: OH
Fire Element: With eyes closed, we focus the inner gaze on the area of the throat. The color is red. Visualize the red color radiating out of the center of the throat chakra. Attributes include energy, transformation, passion and enthusiasm. The throat chakra governs empowered communication and allows us to speak with conviction, sing with joy, shout with anger or scream in pain. The tone on the ascending and descending scale is: EEH

Air Element: With eyes closed, we turn the inner gaze on the area of the third eye. The color is blue. Visualize the blue color radiating out of the center of the third eye. Attributes include inspiration, intuition, telepathy, guidance, initiative, as well as thoughts and beliefs. The Sufi looks upon this area as the seat of healing in the body. The tone on the ascending and descending scale is: EUH (as in “rue”)

Ether Element: With eyes closed, we focus the inner gaze on the area at the top of the head, the Crown Chakra. The color is pale silver grey spiraling upward into a brilliant, clear diamond white light containing all colors. Visualize the spiraling diamond light radiating out of the center of the portal at the top of the head. Attributes include interaction with the Divine Presence, grace and inspiration.

The Tone on the ascending scale is from Zikar 1 of Inayat Khan - La El La Ha - El Al La Hu. This means “None exists save God. God alone Is”.

The tone on the descending scale is from Zikar 4 of Inayat Khan - HU - simply translated as “Is”.

There will be a 5 minute meditation after the Ether Element Zikar, followed by a bell tone to mark the end of the practice.
Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan
"The nature of the mind is such that it creates a thought and throws it over for another thought to take its place. This being the nature of the mind, it makes it difficult for one to concentrate upon one object steadily. The mind of an average person may be pictured as an unruly horse that jumps and kicks and throws anyone that tries to ride it. Masters of the world are those who have mastered themselves, and mastery lies in the control of the mind. If the mind became your obedient servant, the whole world is at your service. The sovereign of mind is greater than the sovereign of a nation."    ~~~ "Githa II, 'Amaliyyat 1", by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)
A Presentation

Fazalunissa Carole Harmon leads a session of Concentration Practice at the Ghost River Sufi Retreat, in August of 2017

a description of
a Sufi practice in five steps


Out of the many possibilities that emerge during this practice, decisions are made as to which possibility will remain and time is spent at the end of each stage making that choice secure in the mind.

The eyes are closed after the initial observation. Thoughts do not return from one stage to an earlier stage.

An object is displayed and the characteristics of that object, such as size, shape, color and ornamentation is observed and remembered.

Then the purpose of the object is decided upon. For example, the purpose of a candle could be to give light to a room, to create a prayerful atmosphere or perhaps to inspire a meditative experience.

One then examines what effect is produced by the thought of that object. In the case of a candle, there might be a religious quality, or the quiet peace of candlelight or perhaps the flame might represent a source of energy.

The details observed in the first step are brought together in memory and the object is reconstructed in every detail of size, shape, color and ornamentation while remaining aware of the function of the object and the quality, or impression, of it’s atmosphere.

The mental image of the object is elaborated. The object’s size, shape, color and ornamentation are changed . A number of copies of the new object are then created and positioned. An environment, either natural or artificial, is created to contains the objects.

The bundle of created objects is now mentally transported to some distant point. The location is one that is clearly remembered, perhaps one’s own home or the home of a friend. The objects are placed within this new location.

The entire process is now reversed. • There is a return to the created objects in their previous environment. • That environment is dissolved so that the bundle of objects exist in an empty space. • The number of objects is reduced to one by erasing each multiple one at a time. • The changes in size, shape, color and ornamentation are removed; the object is returned to it’s original state. • Starting at a specific point, the object is gradually erased, each of it’s remembered details removed one by one, until it has completely disappeared. One then remains in the atmosphere of a perfectly peaceful condition, united in thought with the Divine Presence, where no concentration is any longer required.

About the Practice

Regardless of what object is chosen for concentration, it is the impression alone which remains at the end of the fifth step as an abstraction of consciousness or in other words, a condition of all pervading serenity.

Of the many other inspiring objects upon which to concentrate, a pitcher of water, a rosary, a musical instrument, or a book might be recomended

• The pitcher of water could symbolize the quality of physical, mental or emotional purity

• The rosary could symbolize an ornament, a guide for a given number of repetitions of a sacred wazifa, or a channel to higher spheres

• A book might symbolize history, scientific information, philosophy, entertainment or sacred communication.

• A musical instrument could symbolize sound; either human or Divine.

The Purpose of Concentration, Deconcentration

The purpose of Concentration, Deconcentration, is to enter into a practice that might eventually offer a method of reducing or removing unwanted impressions from the mind. The repetition of the practice using objects that are visualized, offers balance in the activity of the mind, so that some distance from mental acquisitive tendencies is introduced into everyday life.

Eventually, this manipulation of the appearance of the perceived world has an indirect but similar effect upon the thoughts, emotions and beliefs. For example, one might have a fear of something occurring in one’s life. Concentration, Deconcentration could be used to clearly identify the fear and to apply an equal effort toward erasing the impression of that fear.

However, it is best to begin with the five steps as applied to a visualized object and to allow the mind to become comfortable with the process. It is of course most helpful to have guidance from an experienced teacher, but if this is not possible then one might consider sharing the experience with a supportive friend.

A glass of water could be an object of concentration

By the power of prayer, we open the door of the heart, in which God, the ever-forgiving, the all-merciful, abides.

Bowl of Saki, November 4, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

the Sufi Prayers of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote several prayers from deep inspiration. He wrote them in English, producing a beautiful collection that speaks directly to the concerns of life in the world and yet doing so without losing a great sense of deep, mystical experience. The three main prayers are presented here and could be recited daily at morning (Saum), mid-day (Salat) and evening (Khatum).

Each prayer is presented with an audio recording of Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan reciting it.
The Names of the Prayers

We are grateful for this explanation of the meaning of the names of the prayers from Murshid Nawab Pasnak.

"The names of the prayers have several layers of meaning. They are typically Muslim terms, but please bear in mind that after the Sufi Movement was officially registered in 1921, Hazrat Inayat Khan no longer followed the Muslim duties (ramadan, daily prayers, etc). In other words, the use of these words shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning that these are in some way Islamic prayers".

The Prayer Movements

Recitations of Saum and Salat are often synchronized with movements. (There are no movements for Khatum).
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"Praise be to Thee, …"

Prayer Movements, An Interview with Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

Murshid Hidayat responds to questions about the movements.
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Hazrat Inayat Khan
Celebrating the Messenger
Posted on 5th July 2018 by Murshid Nawab Pasnak
July 5th its the birthday of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan; he was born on this day in 1882, in the large house of his grandfather, Maulabakhsh, in Baroda, India.  Especially during the Master’s days in Suresnes, when mureeds were gathered there for the Summer School, it was the custom to celebrate his birthday with great happiness and appreciation.  His son Murshid Hidayat used to recall that, for the birthday, or Viladat Day as it is called, one mureed always arrived from Switzerland with a car full of yellow roses.  In 1925, Viladat Day fell on a Sunday, and in addition to the customary celebrations and speeches, Hazrat Inayat gave the following address to a class of Cherags, which is to say, those ordained in the activity of the Universal Worship.
I wish to speak to my Cherags on the subject of the prayers used in the service.  There is a prayer for every period of human evolution. The prayers which have been given in the past among Hindus, the people of Beni Israel, in the Christian Church, among the people of Islam, have been given at that particular period for which they were meant as the key to health, inspiration, and happiness.  The prayers used in the Universal Worship: Saum, Salat and Khatum, have an inner significance besides their outer meaning.  There prayers are not only praise to God or thanksgiving, but they are to draw us nearer, closer to the divine being. This is the Mission of the Sufi Message today. Therefore, it is most essential to keep the words of these prayers exact, that you may give it to future generations in an authentic form, uncorrupted.  In this you will be doing a great service to God and humanity.  There should be no attempt to add something to them or to take something from them in order to create beauty.  For if every person makes a choice in that prayer, at the end of the year it will be quite a different prayer. These prayers are too sacred to touch, for they are not coming from a human brain, they are poured out by the tongue of God. And it is in this understanding that one will benefit fully by the prayers of the Universal Worship.
There prayers increase inspiration and power as many times one repeats them. The more one repeats them so the more one is blessed, so the greater becomes one’s psychic power, and they awaken inspiration. If there is any deep desire that one has, by the repetition of these prayers that desire will be fulfilled. But the greatest blessing is that they help one to come closer and closer to God who is the seeking of every soul.
You will find people who are not accustomed to the different names mentioned in Salat become sensitive and nervous about repeating them. You must take it all silently and tolerantly, for you must see that it is natural. What one is not accustomed to is foreign to him; if it be a lump of sugar, a person will call it poison.  By forcing it upon people incapable of understanding the beauty of this, you will reduce the beauty and sacredness of the prayer. The best thing is to say no more, once you hear a person mention an unwillingness to repeat the prayer.  However great be the prayer, if a person is not willing to say it, and repeats it by force, it will do him no good. The most nourishing food, unwillingly eaten, one cannot digest and one will not benefit by it.  But you can see the beauty of the Salat as the beauty of the rose with so many petals, one flower and so many petals.  Every name you repeat in Salat is a petal which makes the flower. The Salat makes the embodiment of the illuminated souls; it is the embodiment which may be called Christ, in other terms Rasul, in other terms Boddhisatva.
And the third prayer, Khatum, is an answer to the need of today, which is to bring the divided sections of humanity together in the realisation of truth, which is the principal aim of the Sufi Message.
Hazrat Inayat Khan's address to the Cherags at Summer School, Sunday, July 5,1925
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Fazal Manzil in Surenes, France
by Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan
(To listen to recordings by Murshid Hidayat on Shagal, please scroll down).
Among the many esoteric practices given in the Esoteric School of the Sufi Movement, there are some, which are very helpful; and there are others, which might be confusing as from the start, unless one is prepared to experience them.

There are other practices, which are very important for spiritual growth for those who have a couple of years in back of them, and that is the reason why a guide can be helpful in suggesting the practice which might be the most appropriate at a given time. There are also practices which one does during one's whole life, and others again, which are especially important in certain circumstances.

Our Master was inspired by several yoga practices known since centuries and centuries, many of which can be found in the booklet called Pranayama and in particular, the practice known in Hinduism as "Mudra Yoga", which is also found in many and various publications.

Here again, when trying to do that practice from instructions found in a book, it might mean nothing to some, and obviously, nothing is experienced. For those who take special interest in this esoteric practice, it is important to know that our Master, transformed ancient cultures into gold, when translating the well-known yoga practiced called Mudra Yoga into what is now called the Shagal Practice.

In Shagal all the descriptions concerning the different sensations do not correspond to the physical impressions of the five senses. These inner experiences are of a different nature; they are of a spiritual nature.
With the Shagal practice, one does not acquire any particular powers. That is not the idea. What one does discover is an attunement to the Divine Presence. The five senses become much more intense and subtle. The experience in Shagal is the discovery of the luminosity of the inner self, which is then offered to others insofar as one's radiance captivates their hearts. With this practice, one closes the doors of the five senses and one tries to discover what is to be found on the other side of the doors. The breath is like a bridge, connecting the outer world with the inner world, which is the real spectator of all impressions, experienced through the five senses, or  five channels through which all impressions are absorbed.

All that one knows has come either through the sight, through the hearing, through the olfactory ability, through the taste, or through the touch. If these senses did not have any access to the outer world, one would know nothing. In other words, the five senses are like antennas, constantly focused outwards, in order to receive as much as one's mind is able to assimilate. And what is more: we receive through the five senses much more than our mind could ever be able to be conscious of. The eyes capture many more impressions than the mind can register. The same thing with sound, and the same with all senses.

In the Shagal practice, one is closing the doors of the five senses so that all the attention, normally directed through the senses, is now directed within.
Mystical Consciousness Experienced in Shagal
When closing the ears, one hears an inner tone, and when closing the eyes a brilliant light unknown to the eyes is then visualised. It is the inner self which experiences that tone and that light; and the same with the other senses, when the attention directed through them is reversed inwardly.
The Divine Touch
In Science it is known that as soon as a shape is created, there is a magnetic radiance around that shape. This phenomenon can be experienced when looking at a coloured dot placed upon a white screen. At a certain moment, one might notice an aura around the dot. What is it? It is the magnetic radiance of the shape that manifests to our sight, as soon as the visualised image  is received upon the retina.

From a mystical point of view, when adopting a different image of oneself, the adopted image is then translated in one's mind as an aura, just like the light in the electric globe takes the shape of the globe in appearance, but that same light also spreads out its rays into the space, as illumination. Perhaps that is a clearer way of understanding the reality of awakening to "The Divine Presence within".

The "Touch" is only there when there is something to be touched, otherwise there is no feeling of contact, whereas magnetism is always felt as a Divine caress when the mind is disconnected from the physical sense of touch. When holding hands with another, leaving a gap of four or five centimetres, one feels a subtle energy, which cannot be described. The more one experiences the feeling of tenderness in the palms of the hands, the more one understands the subtleness of the communication felt, when giving or receiving the blessing. This is a sacred communication.

Furthermore, at any time of the day, when feeling irritated, restless, worried or in need of guidance, if one tries to experience the "Divine Touch", this can help so much to understand the true mystical reality of "The Divine Presence within".
The Taste
In the previous preparation stage of the Shagal practice one becomes conscious of the Magnetic Energy radiating as an aura around the physical shape of the body. In the second part of the preparation stage of the Shagal practice, one tries to discover that same energy in the sense of the taste. This is done while gently pressing the tongue against the palate, and absorbing an unknown taste from within.During this experience, one is creating in the mind an unknown taste, which is then perceived as an inner sensation, revealed as a mystical concept of Divine sustenance.

The Olfactory Ability
Now, in the third part of Shagal, the olfactory ability becomes like an akasha, receiving the divine all-existing perfume of the Prana energy in space. This meditation is done with closed eyes, while focusing on the bridge of the nose.

The Sight
In the fourth part of Shagal, always done with eyes closed, one now concentrates upon a five-pointed star, while focusing on the third eye, which is shining with bright light, illuminating one's entire being. One is quietly inhaling on 4 beats, then holding the breath on 6 beats and exhaling on 6 beats.

The Sound
In the fifth part of Shagal, always with closed eyes, the focus is on the top of the head, the crown, and one places the fingers very gently upon the ears, so as to symbolically close the hearing, so that the inner consciousness seems to be more of a reality, when the inner sound becomes gradually intelligible, as  a Divine sound heard from within.
Basic Preparation For Shagal Practice

Focusing with eyes closed, for a certain length of time, either on the tip of the nose, the bridge of the nose, the third eye, the top of the head or above the head. These centres or Chakras could be seen as openings onto the kundalini stream, manifesting as an aura surrounding the image of oneself.

When closing the hearing, one perceives an inner tone; when closing the eyes there is a brilliant light unknown to the eyesight, and the same for all other senses.
As our master mentions in the Sangathas:  'while seeing the beauty of nature, and listening to the breeze of the air, one is experiencing the magic power of Prana, which is constantly offered.'

In other words, the one who has mastered Shagal unconsciously practices Shagal at all moments and in all circumstances, amidst the constant turmoil in daily life.
One cannot explain in words the depth of the experiences felt when concentrating on these centres, and when directing one's attention inwardly, which is the basic principle of Shagal.
Shaghal means an occupation to penetrate through the inner planes.

The first Shaghal is to close one’s ears with the tips of the fingers for about five seconds, not longer. This must be done after having inhaled a full breath; and it is necessary to control the breath, in other words to hold the breath in, while doing this exercise.

One concentrates on the word ‘Hu’ during the practice; in other words hear the sound which comes to one on closing the ears as ‘Hu’ and interpret it to oneself as a sound of the inner working of the whole universe.
This practice brings one to stillness of mind, taking one above the general noises of the world, and gives one peace in the midst of the crowd.

One should practice Shaghal 1 for five minutes and then try to hear the word ‘Hu’ by summing up all of the different noises in one. The best time for this practice is in the midst of the night or early in the morning.

By hearing this word, one gets closer to the higher planes of life, the intuitive faculties become more clear, and one is drawn closer to the Creator.


Shaghal - The Five Senses

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Shaghal - 1

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Shaghal - 2

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Shaghal In Stages
Shaghal - 1 (sound/hearing)

Shaghal means an occupation to penetrate through the inner planes. The first Shaghal is to close one’s ears with the tips of the fingers for about five seconds, not longer. This must be done after having inhaled a full breath; and it is necessary to control the breath, in other words to hold the breath in, while doing this exercise. One concentrates on the word ‘Hu’ during the practice; in other words hear the sound which comes to one on closing the ears as ‘Hu’ and interpret it to oneself as a sound of the inner working of the whole universe.

This practice brings one to stillness of mind, taking one above the general noises of the world, and gives one peace in the midst of the crowd.

One should practice Shaghal 1 for five minutes and then try to hear the word ‘Hu’ by summing up all of the different noises in one. The best time for this practice is in the midst of the night or early in the morning.

By hearing this word, one gets closer to the higher planes of life, the intuitive faculties become more clear, and one is drawn closer to the Creator.

Shaghal - 2 (light/seeing)

In Shaghal 2 one must close one’s eyes very gently with the first finger of both hands, closing the opening between the eyelids. Care may be taken that one does not press one’s eyes or put the weight of one’s fingers upon the eyes. Breathe softly and slowly, holding the breath, without straining the breathing vessels. One must think while doing this practice that one is looking at the universal light which is the cause of the whole manifestation and out of which have come all of the visible forms of this world before our view. Do Shaghal - 2 for 5 minutes.

Shaghal - 3 (aroma/smell)

This practice can be done by closing the two nostrils after having inhaled through the right nostril. The breath must not be retained longer than one second. This practice must not be continued too long. When this is mastered, one is able to absorb from the space, the vital power, the essential energy of life. It does not only invigorate one physically, but it makes the mind brilliant and the perception clear.

Shaghal - 4 (savour/taste)

Lips closed signify peace, lips open signify sorrow, greed, discontent. The mouth has a higher significance than what we know in general. It is not only a receptacle for eating and drinking, but it is with the lips that we pray and repeat the sacred word. With the open mouth the word is sent out, with the closed lips the word is retained within. That retained word becomes the primal word, as it is said in the Scripture that ‘first was the word and the word was God’. Therefore the adepts had the vow of silence; and some did not only abstain from speech, but closed their lips tight, that neither in word, nor in whisper, nor even through the breath the word should be let out.

It has always proved to be an excellent practice of Shaghal to close the lips tight, and by that to retain every bit of strength and vitality, allowing it to function in the centers within. This gives the adept the taste of the higher life and develops in him the latent powers, awakening in him at the same time, intuition and inspiration.
Shaghal - 5 (synthesis)

When the four divided parts of the Shaghal are done together - in other words when the eyes are closed, the nostrils are closed, the ears closed, and the lips closed at the same time, then the Sheghal will be complete. Once an adept begins to do the Shaghal completely, he need not do the same in parts, but experience each thing, such as the sound and the light and the fragrance and the taste at one and the same time, trying at the same time to keep the consciousness undivided.

With the sound one must feel that one is hearing the working of the mechanism of the whole universe; with the light one must feel that one is seeing the light of the whole universe; with the fragrance one must feel that one is perceiving the fragrance of the whole universe; with the savour one must feel that one is tasting the savour of the whole universe. At that time one must feel, ‘I am one with the whole universe; nothing can divide me, my consciousness’. And one must do these four things all at the same time, and that one can only do by feeling, not thinking. When one says it, one can only say one thing after another; and when one thinks of these things, then also one can only think one thing after another; but when one feels them…..then all things one is capable of feeling at one and the same time. For instance, in nature there are several trees, different flowers and fruits, each having its special fragrance, and at the same time, there comes a fragrance of the essence of all, as one fragrance.

This will develop in the adept a wonderful physical vitality also, bringing in a person a new strength and vigour, making one’s thoughts stronger, one’s words more impressive, and the atmosphere more powerful. In comparison to the one who does Shaghal, other persons who do not do it seem like clocks which have not been wound. This develops tremendously all intuitive faculties, also the psychic influence of the person who does Shaghal becomes great. It is after the mastery of Shaghal that a person begins to see and know the phenomena of life in its fullness.

When the four organs of the senses - the ears, the eyes, the nose and the mouth - are closed, one must experience by all of them that which one has experienced from them in divided Shaghal. In other words, one must hear the universal sound, see the light, perceive the Divine fragrance, taste the spiritual savour, knowing that he himself, the soul and spirit, is experiencing in the deep depths of life the essence of the manifestation, feeling that he has risen to the summit of life’s mountain, where he is enjoying the essence of life, and that all this experience is a means of awakening the consciousness of his real self. This brings a person to that stage in which he knows long, long before what is coming, and to the knowledge of something which long ago has passed. It raises man above all fear, doubt, worry and anxiety; it enables his soul, so to speak, to float in the space instead of being captive in this mortal garb.

Advanced Shaghal
Shaghal 6 - extension of Shaghal 1 - Sound/Hearing

An adept who practices Shaghal, after some time will have an experience of that Shaghal during times when he is not practicing. He will hear sounds of the spheres in ten forms: in the form of the buzzing of the bees; in the form of the bells ringing in the ears; in the form of whistles blowing; in the form of the fluttering of the leaves; in the form of the running of the water; in the form of the sound of the vina; in the form of the cooing of the wind; in the form of the crashing of the thunder; in the form of the music of the spheres; in the form of the song of the angels. Many other experiences will be vouchsafed to the one who practices Shaghal. And the less he will speak of them to others, the more powerful he will become. Shaghal helps one to be in the world and not be of the world. It raises one from the limitations of the earthly life.

Shaghal 7 - extension of Shaghal 2 - Light/Seeing

Once Shaghal has been mastered and one is able to see the light, one must try to retain that light as long as one can. One must practice, without putting the fingers upon the eyes, to visualize a spark of light. It must be made as clear as the outer light; and one must know that light to be the first cause out of which manifested all forms. This will give the adept insight into all things, and he will be able to throw his inner light upon life, thereby to see its nature and character more clearly.

Shaghal 8 - extension of Shaghal 3 - Aroma/Smell

One must try by the practice of Shaghal to absorb from the abstract the essential magnetism, or the life force. This is done by closing both nostrils after having inhaled a deep breath. By doing this, one attracts from the space life force, filling oneself thus with a renewed life. This must not be done for a long time, and one must not strain the breathing tubes or the veins of the brain by doing this practice. This practice develops in one finer perception, and one feels the nature and character of things through his breath. The master of this practice can feel conditions through breath, the nature of things, the secret of objects, the mystery of personalities, the atmosphere of places. He can sense conditions without being told about them.
Shaghal 9 - extension of Shaghal 4 - Savour/Taste

The mystic sees another significance of the mouth than for it to be a receptacle of food and drink. Through the mouth words of wisdom are expressed, sacred words repeated. Therefore the mouth is likened to a shell from which pearl-like words become manifest. As by the opening of the mouth words are expressed, so by the closing of the mouth the word is drawn within, which becomes a living word compared with all other words, which are lost after once they are spoken.

In Shaghal, the closing of the mouth by pressing the lips tight wakens in one’s consciousness that heavenly savour, that taste of nectar, that joy of spiritual union with God, that it makes the adept enjoy his silence most. Some in doing this practice close their lips light, with the tip of the tongue touching the palate. This has no other purpose than self-discipline, that even the tongue, that drops words unconsciously, often creating thereby discord and disharmony, may be locked by action and will. Life becomes a phenomenon when once this practice is mastered. The master of this Shaghal has tongues of flame, that all he says kindles the hearts of his listeners.

Shaghal - 10 - extension of Shaghal 5 - Synthesis

The one who practices Advanced Shaghal, who sees the spark without closing the eyes, who hears the sound of the spheres without closing the ears, one who smells the fragrance of the essence of life, one who tastes the savour of the essence of the whole being, must perceive life differently from all others. The adept who has arrived at this stage of Advanced Shaghal knows of happenings long beforehand and of coming events, as well as of things of the past; for he hears the whisper of coming events and he reads the record of what has passed. He can be in the midst of the crowd and not be affected by it. He becomes free from doubt, and he rises above all worries. He feels detached in the midst of all seeming attachments. The practice of Advanced Shaghal tunes a person to the cosmic rhythm and to the universal consciousness.
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Inspired by the Writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan
by Nirtan Carol Ann Sokoloff
paperback edition
Wali Ali Commentary
Wali Ali speaking to Dance Leaders in Latin America at the Mentorgarden in San Francisco, 2015.
Two Sufi Dances
This is not my body, this is the Temple of God
May the Blessings of God rest upon you…
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image: Dancing for Joy website
A Description of the Service
When the congregation enters the place of worship, a light is already burning, suspended above the altar, representing the Divine Presence, the source of all light.

On the altar, as well as flowers and incense, there are candles and scriptures representing six of the world's religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic) as well as a candle representing all those, whether known or unknown, who have held aloft the light of Truth through the darkness of human ignorance. Therefore, none are excluded; all faiths are respected in this service.

The service is conducted by three Cherags ('light bearers') wearing simple robes of muted brown as a sign of self-effacement in service.

The candles are lit, with the sincere feeling that the light which has given rise to each faith has once again been kindled.

The scriptures are read with devotion, whereupon gratitude, homage and respect are offered to the Divine source of each.

In the course of the service, an invocation and three prayers are recited. These sacred formulations, given by Hazrat Inayat Khan, clearly express the unity of all religious ideals.
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the Universal Worship altar
the Universal Worship altar
Following the reading of the scriptures, a Cherag gives a sermon on the theme of this day's service.

After a closing prayer, a Cherag blesses all those present, and the Cherags depart.

This service has also been formulated for such special occasions as weddings, the blessing of infants, the ordination of Cherags, and the passing away of a soul from earth.
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Sacred Compositions to Accompany the Singing of Sufi Chant
Directory & Information
…is both a meditative and concentrated experience based on the repetition of a sacred phrase.

These Wazifas are sung with recorded musical accompaniments that have been composed by Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan.

Vocal and instrumental versions of each Wazifa can be downloaded for private practice.

The accompaniment sets the rhythm, pitch and atmosphere of the practice. Wazifas are sung while seated with eyes closed.
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Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

Listen to a recording of Jelaluddin Gary Sill explaining and presenting some of the history of the Singing Wazifas at the 2017 Ghost River Retreat.
These buttons will link to a separate page for each Wazifa.

That page will display an audio/video player of the Wazifa music as well as instructional recordings.

Music notation for individual practice, practice with a group and a score of the recorded accompaniment is also included.
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There are several things that could be considered while repeating a particular Wazifa; purpose, meaning, quality, an element, concentration, colour and occasionally a visualisation.
The purpose is a response to "why do this Wazifa?". From the point of view of intention, Wazifas fall into three categories: help with worldly affairs, personal development or Divine attunement.
The meaning is more than a literal translation of the sacred phrase. There is an attempt to convey the deeper source of the words without taking away from the magic of the original language.
Quality can be thought of as the atmosphere created by performing the Wazifa, one which shapes the attitude and creates a sympathetic receptivity.
Each Wazifa exists in the enfoldment of one of the five Elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether and is bonded with that Element's characteristics.
Concentration places the attention on one of five possible chakras which are imagined as being positioned either at the tip of the nose, the bridge of the nose, the centre of the forehead, the top of the head or a short distance above the head.
Generally the colour focus is closely related to the Element. These usual colour relationships are: Earth (Yellow), Water (Green), Fire (Red), Air (Blue) and Ether (Iridescent). Occasionally a different colour is necessary.
Visualisation is added to some of the Wazifas and serves to direct the imagination toward the inner attraction of the Wazifa, thereby reinforcing all of the other qualities.
Jelaluddin Gary Sill has worked closely with Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan over many years translating his scores into the recorded performances on this website. For more information, click the link on the right to send an email.
Thinking of Hosting a Wazifa Event in Your Area?
Jelaluddin is available to present such a workshop or retreat. For details, click the link below to send an email.
Thinking of Hosting a Wazifa Event in Your Area?
Jelaluddin is available to present such a workshop or retreat. For details, click the link on the right to send an email.
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The Gentle Singing Zikar of Hazrat Inayat Khan
This Zikar (zikr) was Hazrat Inayat Khan's personal Zikar that he gave to his mureeds as a keystone Sufi practice.
His son, Hidayat Inayat-Khan writes in his book "Reminders":
The word ‘Zikar’ means ‘Remembrance’. The remembrance of the ‘All Pervading’, while losing oneself in the folds of a most sacred experience, which no expression could ever describe, and which can only be experienced when one is prepared to forget the self. The basic Zikar Meditation consists in the repetition of the ancient sacred words ‘La El La Ha El Allah Hu’, which means ‘None exists save God. God alone is.’
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Listen to the music used to accompany the Singing Zikar.
Once started, all four parts of the Singing Zikar will play in order.

Please note that physical CDs are no longer available.

These two booklets present the Singing Zikar; not only the mystical aspects, but also details regarding how one performs the practice.
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The Path of Remembrance booklet
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The Chromatic & Singing Zikar book

Listen to Murshid Nawab Pasnak read about the experience of the Singing Zikar practice.

From the archives: Recorded at Lake O'Hara Sufi Camp, 1991.06.05.
an image of Murshid NAwab Pasnak

pages from "The Chromatic Zikar and Gentle Singing Zikar of Hazrat Inayat khan
click to enlarge
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Sufi Circle Canada
is a Sufi Movement In Canada Community
affiliated with the Sufi Movement International

J. Gary Sill Music - website design