How Hidayat and Aziza Came To Be DHO Godparents

Some of our Godparents were always there – like Joe & Gwin & Frida & Kennet Roshi – some came later on, like Hidayat & Aziza…


One Saturday afternoon, almost 20 years ago, I was just finishing a talk at the Textile Museum, in Washington, DC, and called the store to see if anything was needed.

My manager said that the answering machine had a message for me, but it was too faint to hear…someone was in DC, and they were the brother of someone, and the son of someone else.  But it was ‘foreign,’ and too faint to hear and understand.

Probably some carpet dealers, wanting to do business – I remember saying.  I’ll deal with it when I’m in on Monday.

Well, Monday comes, and I turn up the volume of the answering machine, and hear Hidayat’s voice suggesting a meeting.  “Ana Perez has suggested that I speak to you,” he said.  “I am now in a position to apologize for the Sufi Movement, for the terrible manner in which they treated Murshid Sam.  I am at this number until Sunday, please call me.”

I felt my eyes tear up, and my heart skip a beat.  I called the number, and got a referral to Canada, where I spoke to Hidayat Inayat Khan, the current Pir O Murshid of the International Sufi Movement.

I remembered him from my days at the Rainbow Bridge Bookstore, when he came through the Bay area in the middle 70’s.  I was very impressed with him then, and what he was offering to do again brought tears to my eyes.

I remember he was involved with a group called “The Friends of the Message.”  He called it, at the time, a non political way of connecting his fathers mureeds.  This later blossomed into the Federation of the Sufi Message.

How shall we do this he asked.  “I am willing to go anywhere, and make this a Public Apology,” he said.  I was very touched, both my his open hearted humility, and by his willingness to make a Public Apology on our terms and at our convenience.

We decided to have a face to face meeting in the Netherlands, as I was passing through Amsterdam en route to Turkey, and he and his wife Aziza lived a few miles away in Haarlam.

We met at the American Hotel – where he informed me that Inayat Khan had given talks.  My first impression was on suppressed pain, and great determination.  As we began to quiz each other – “Do you say Toward the One, or – Towards the One?”  How do you feel about changing the words of the prayers?  How do you feel about my brother Vilayat? – it became apparent that we had more in common than not, and that his vision of attempting to unite the spiritual family of his father was something I also felt a call towards,.

I felt it was time to take the next step, and made the proposal to our leadership.

I must say our leaders were not so enthused:  someone made the remark, “what if he uses this as an opportunity to advance his own political agenda?”  “He won’t do this.”  I remarked.  “If he starts to do this, I’ll stop him.”  This seemed to calm all the nerves, and it was agreed that we would meet at Murshid’s grave on Lama Mountain during one of our periodic gatherings there.  {maybe 18 or 19 years ago.}

Ananda and I hosted them.  We met in Albuquerque and drove up to Lama Mountain.  He never said a word, but one could see that he was a great pain walking.  He walked up with us to the gravesite, and there in the presence of Moineddin, Wali Ali, Saadi & ourselves (can’t remember who else was present), he fell to his knees at the foot of Murshid’s grave and placed his head on the foot stone.

When he stood, he proclaimed in a loud and firm voice “As the Pir O Murshid of the International Sufi Movement, I humbly apologize for all the terrible, and unwarranted things, done to Murshid Sam by the International Sufi Movement.  Please accept our apologies, and may we become friends again.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and I was so moved that I spontaneously asked him to be the God Father of the DHO.  Then Aziza jumped in “What about a God Mother?”  she asked.  “Of course” I replied.

Then Moin was so moved, he asked them to also be the Godparents of the Ruhaniat, which they accepted.

Later, we were all made Murshids in the Sufi Movement, and they were made ‘honorary’ Murshids in the Ruhaniat.

His hearts direction to reconnect the spiritual family of his father is now functioning as the Federation of the Sufi Message.  And, through this opening we have all benefited with new family, and new directions.  May it continue.

— Saul