... serving California's Bay Area, Sonoma County, and the region

Sufi Heart and Wings Symbol "There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all souls, who constantly leads his followers toward the light." -- the Sufi thoughts of Hazrat Inayat Khan



The Dances of Universal Peace

A circle of women and men and young people are holding hands, in silence. Then on the cue from a guitar-playing leader in the center, they begin to move and to sing a simple chant. A drum and a guitar back up the sound of their voices.

The words may be in Arabic or Sanskrit or Hebrew or Aramaic or English, but the message they point to is about love, harmony, beauty, peace, and unity.

The movements are simple: walking, stepping in, out, to the side, raising and lowering the arms, turning, or making symbolic mudras with the hands. Each dance is explained and shown by the leader before it is done. There is no audience; the meaning is in the participation.

Here (and all over the world) people from all walks of life, from all religions or no religion, come together to take part in these dances. But it's not really about dancing or singing; many of them would not say they are gifted at either music or dance. With the right attunement, the Dances of Universal Peace can be a beautifully accessible meditation or prayer in motion, which can support us in finding our natural capacity for mindfulness and presence, open the heart, center and deepen our experience of who they really are, build community, and even fill us with love, joy and peace.

Dances of Universal Peace, as a prayerful spritual practice, honor the traditions of the Goddess, of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, the native peoples of the Americas and Africa and much more. The dance is always taught before doing it, so no experience is needed. At every meeting there are lots of newcomers.

The Dances are sometimes called Sufi Dancing, because their inspiration and creative impulse came to us through Murshid Samuel Lewis, known as "Sufi Sam", around 1970 in San Francisco.

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Name of God in Arabic Calligraphy

Zikr, or remembrance of God, is the traditional practice of Sufi orders everywhere. This simple chanting of sacred phrases can help us to lift our veils of illusion, and become more attuned to the real.

The word zikr is in Urdu, the native language of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. In different parts of the world, it is also called dhikr (Arabic) and zekr (Farsi). The practice at its heart is one with the Mantra practices of the Dharma traditions, and the Rosary and Litany practices of other faiths.

The Zikr Circles listed on this site typically involve a circle of people standing or sitting, with a leader teaching the words and simple movements for a given cycle; these are repeated for some time before being brought to a silent close. There will generally be several cycles like that. Some Zikr leaders include Dances of Universal Peace, meditation, readings etc at their respective gatherings as well. Newcomers are generally welcome to attend, while holding an attitude of devotion to the One Truth.

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Sufi Healing Circles

Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, the revered teacher whose being and whose legacy continues to inspire women and men on the path all over the world, had a great interest in healing; and many of us who follow him today are called to serving those in need of healing, one way or another. Of the Sufis who take part in the healing concentration some are involved in health care, conventional and alternative, openly or privately, and many others are not.

What we have in common is the practice taught us by Inayat Khan, and still observed today, of the Service (or Ritual) of Absent Healing. Typically our Healing Circles gather to share practices with breath, sound and concentration, to build magnetism, and to perform this ritual to send healing energy to others.

The secret of healing is to rise by the power of belief above the limitations of this world of variety, that one may touch by the power of intelligence the oneness of the whole Being. It is there that one becomes charged with the almighty power, and it is by the power of that attainment that one is able to help oneself and others in their pain and suffering. Verily, spirit has all the power there is.

Sufi Retreat

Full moon, where will you be going from here? - Into a retreat. Why do you take a retreat after fullness? - To make myself an empty vessel in order to be filled again. -- Hazrat Inayat Khan

Traditionally khilvat or retreat has been considered vital to development on the path of Sufism. Sufis have considered the power of separating oneself for a time from the world, under the guidance of a teacher, keeping silence and devoting oneself to meditation and spiritual practice ... which can give deep insight and refreshes one for everyday life in our various worlds. It is a privilege and a blessing to make a retreat.

In view of the universal roots of our lineage, it is no surprise that retreats led by Sufis come in many different flavors. Common to all is spending some time away from outer distractions to focus on the inner life.

For information about group retreats, see the calendar. If interested in taking an individual retreat, contact your initiator or Khushi Tanveer.

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Sufi Camp

  • SUFI RUHANIAT INT'L WEST COAST CAMPS: In some ways like a retreat, these camps usually offer a variety of teachers and teachings, more Dances of Universal Peace, singing and other expressive, family and outdoor activities, often kids' and tween/teen camps, and rustic accommodations in a beautiful natural setting. Mendocino Sufi Camp in our area is the centerpiece of the years's camp schedule, held every July, with bookends formed by the All-Bay Area camps: June's East Bay Campout in the Oakland hills, and in August the Santa Cruz Camp. Read more from the Golden Gate Sufi Circle for camp details, flyers and usually online registration!
  • MEXICO SUFI CAMP is held every January at a beautiful beach retreat on the subtropical west coast of Mexico. Led by Asha Greer and Atum O'Kane, this is a unique combination of winter getaway and Sufi retreat. Watch our home page for announcements.
  • HUMBOLDT SUFI CAMP and NORTHWEST SUFI CAMP are annual late-summer events, also announced on our home page as the time approaches
  • Many other Sufi camps are held every year, across the country and around the world. Visit the Sufi Order Events, the Ruhaniat Calendar, or events in the International Sufi Movement.
  • Federation of the Sufi Message: an holds annual open meetings for all the orders of Hazrat Inayat Khan, in Europe or the United States. Information on these gatherings, with teachings and practices by Pirs and senior teachers from five international Sufi orders, and recordings from past events can be found at
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Service in the World

Engagement in service to humanity is a very high ideal among our Sufi family. In accordance with the principle of being "in the world but not of the world", we generally find our own ways to serve, according to our abilities, inclinations and inner guidance. Of special note are the activities of the Healing orders. But in addition there is a service project in India, connected with the Dargah or shrine of Sufi Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, called the Hope Project . We encourage its support among all those who have benefited from the transmission of our founder, Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.

For listings of all known local Sufi events related to the Sufi Order, Sufi Movement and the Sufi Ruhaniat International, see the SufiPaths Calendar


Current event announcements see our Home Page.

West Coast Sufi Ruhaniat events

Upcoming Camps & Retreats everywhere:
Sufi Ruhaniat / Sufi Order


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Content: mostly by Shaffee. Color art at top: Fatima Lassar. Magic by: the World Wide Web.!