A Night of Remembrance, Meditation, and Healing

In dedication to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, Mawlana Shaykh Hisham, and GrandShaykh Abdullah Daghestani of the Most Distinguished
Naqshbandi Sufi Order

Special Guest Sh. Bapak Waleed

November 8th, 2012 | Yale University | New Haven, CT

dervishThis evening at the St Thomas More Center at Yale University, hearts gathered in remembrance and appreciation, to celebrate the life of the mystic poet Rumi, who lived 800 years ago in Central Asia. The evening began with selections of the PBS documentary “Rumi, Poet of the Heart,” which provided background information on this widely celebrated mystic, poet, and saint. Dr. Ali Shakibai, himself from Iran, presented a selection of the ‘Song of the Reed’ in its original Persian, the introduction to Rumi’s Mathnawi.

Shaykh Bapak Waleed, special guest and world traveler, himself on his own search for truth and beauty, led the group in a special, healing gathering of ‘zikr’ or remembrance, in which everyone was invited to participate, even without necessarily knowing the words. The practice of zikr has been taking place for centuries, and this particular flavor is attributed to GrandShaykh Abdullah Dagestani (q) of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, who himself lived to be 127 years old and passed without even falling ill. He recommended this as a weekly practice to everyone as a benefit for every aspect of their lives. At several intervals during the zikr, Shaykh Waleed stood, bowed, and began to whirl in the turning motion inspired by Rumi and his disciples.

Afterward, the calm and peaceful atmosphere of the zikr chant lingered, and people remained quietly seated while Shaykh Waleed gave a short ‘suhbah’, or conversation, elaborating on some of the principles. He reminded all of the bounties that we enjoy, and the benefits of thankfulness. The recent storms nearby are enough to give each of us pause and to remind us that things can change in an instant. He further encouraged those present to reach out to those who are less fortunate.

It was a healing and transformative event; even one of the attendees remarked that his difficulties with asthma from the past 10 days abated during the zikr. Most of the attendees stayed afterward, not only to enjoy the delicious baklava and cookies provided by the Turkish Kebob House and Manjares cafe in Westville, but mainly to approach Shaykh Waleed and thank him for his time. They also shared of their own experiences with seeking. Many were returning to a zikr circle after years of not finding what they were looking for, from all walks of life and backgrounds. Still more asked about the chant itself, in hopes of being able to hear it and recite on a more regular basis.

People came from throughout the state, from as far as Hartford and Granby, and also from right here in the Greater New Haven region. Graduate and professional students participated, as well as faculty and staff, from fields as far flung as Medicine, Divinity, Engineering, History, Sociology, and Religious Studies. All left looking forward to the next opportunity for a ‘gathering of the hearts…’

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With thanks and appreciation to our sponsors, the Institute of Sacred Music, Office for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, and the Yale MSA, and to the St. Thomas More Center at Yale for hosting the event. Gratitude to the Turkish Kebab House in West Haven, Kasbah Garden Cafe on Howe Street, Manjares Pastry Shop in Westville, and Starbucks for the delicious refreshments.

For information on future events, please contact us at yale.zikr@gmail.com.Thank you!


“Thanks for the wonderful zikr today.”

“It was great and very informative! Thanks for organizing.”

“Thanks for that amazing presentation!”

“We need more of this.”

Read the review of the previous event in this series.

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