More openings with the Qur'an
The Radiant Eye of the Soul

Reflections from Camille Helminski from the San Damiano Feb 2024 retreat - click on the video image below to watch. The Mathnawi selections used during the retreat can be downloaded here.

More Openings with the Qur'an

We offer six more surahs of Volume XI  of the Qur’an translation by Camille Ana, the forthcoming completion volume of the series of eleven volumes, God willing, which all together are intended to hold the complete one hundred and fourteen surahs of the Holy Qur’an. This new volume, together with Volume I, is as the two leaves of a plant emerging, with new leaves and branches, and inshallah flowers and fruit, opening further, from the Center. We offer this translation to support the increased opening of our awareness to all the Compassionate Generosity and Loving Guidance of the Divine Bestowal—that Love that is always communicating with us, which we simply need to open our hearts to hear, and our eyes to see.

The Qur'an Volume I is now available to buy from all good bookstores.

Buy Volume I
Download Vol XI:
Surahs 97-103-106-107-108-112
Tarawih Maqams

A discussion of "Enderûn Usûlü Terâvih" with master musician Hakan Talu and Shaikh Kabir Helminski, with Aykut Akalın translating.

To view a complete tarawih prayer of this kind here is a precious video with Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak and dervishes from 1978:

Further examples can be found by searching: Enderun Usulu Teravih.

Click on the video screen below to watch.

Laylatul Qadr

As we enter the final days of Ramadan, we deepen in our devotion and look for the light of the Night of Power.

Camille Ana shares a poetic reflection on the Divine Names of al-Qadr and al-Muqtadir, click on the video screen below to watch:

Daniel Thomas Dyer offers a reflection on the mystical heart of Ramadan:

As we enter the last ten days of Ramadan, my thoughts turn to Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power. Reflecting on what Muhammad (peace be upon him) experienced on this night – the receiving of the first revelation (and perhaps the seed of the entire Quran) – it strikes me how deeply mystical Islam is. In fact, it seems to me that to really understand and embrace Islam, one necessarily has to be a mystic.


April Theme

Fasting of the heart is restraint from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts.

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Assisi Retreat Jul 12-15

Tending the Heart: Rumi’s Path of Transformation Through Love

with Shaikh Kabir & Selçuk Gürez, Master Sufi Musician

The human heart is the most precious faculty in existence, needing conscious tending, and energetic purification. Our retreat will be a deep synthesis of mindful awareness, a sharing of practical teachings from Rumi, an introduction to the practice of “turning” and dynamic group zikr. There will also be an opportunity for dialog about the spiritual challenges we face in a dramatically changing world.

Le Case Agriturismo Assisi is a country residence immersed in the splendid setting of the Monte Subasio Natural Park, among streams and woods, livestock farms and organic crops. Please note that you will need to book your accommodation and catering directly with the venue.

More details
UK Retreat Aug 2-5

Shaikh Kabir will be back in the UK for the annual retreat, to be held Aug 2-5 at The Vedanta retreat centre in Lincolnshire. More details in June.

Apr 7th

Join us for a monthly online meditation and sohbet with Shaikh Kabir and Camille, and special guests from the Threshold community. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month at 12pm Eastern Time (5pm UK).

Zoom meeting:
Zoom passcode: threshold

Watch last month's meeting below and see all our videos here.

Reflection on March theme: Fasting is meditation of the body for the sake of God alone.

~ Zakiuddin McNulty [California, USA]

Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
Then you’ll taste sweetness.

[The Pocket Rumi, trans. Nevit Ergin with Camille Helminski]

How might we consider fasting a meditation of the body? In our muraqaba (meditation) practice we cultivate a quiet, sensitive inner state that facilitates presence and connectedness. Fasting adds the bodily dimension and extends the practice into the social fabric of our worldly life. Sometimes this brings additional challenges. Since the physical realm is subject to the constraints of time and materiality, when we fast we may notice more acutely the grip of outer worldly concerns, including the prevalence of aggression, impatience, doubt and despair in today’s humanity.
When emotions and thoughts arise and recede during muraqaba practice, we return to the center of our being and prepare yet again to be present and to bear witness.  When we fast, we face specific struggles that often manifest as discomfort, obsession, appetites, negativity and sometimes importune behavior. With both practices, we learn to make internal course corrections to respond gracefully to episodes of heedlessness. And with a sincere appeal to God’s Mercy, astaghfirullah, we begin our reset.

Mevlana illustrates the core struggle the seeker faces as intention and will are pulled in a contrary direction by the bonds of the worldly attachment. Here Majnun and his camel pursue cross purposes, and Majnun’s journey is delayed:

If Majnún forgot himself for one moment, the she-camel would turn and go back…

The spirit, because of separation from the highest Heaven, is in a [great] want; the body, on account of passion for the thorn-shrub [of sensual pleasure], is like a she-camel.

The spirit unfolds its wings [to fly] upwards; the body has stuck its claws in the earth.

“So long as thou art with me, O thou who art mortally enamored of thy home, then my spirit will remain far from Laylá.”

[Mathnawi IV: 1535, 1545-47, trans. R. A. Nicholson]

Every time Majnun drifts off, the camel turns around and heads back to the stable. Once he comprehends this and acknowledges the camel’s nature, Majnun dismounts in exasperation, determined to part ways with his mount. But he injures himself, and ultimately, he surrenders fully to his Rabb, his Lord. Mevlana symbolically depicts him as having become a unitary sphere, rolling and at God’s service:

How should love for the Lord be inferior to love for Laylá? To become a ball for His sake is more worthy.

Become a ball, turn on the side which is sincerity, [and go] rolling, rolling in the curve of the bat of Love,

For henceforth this journey is [accomplished by means of] the pull of God, while that former journey on the she-camel is our progression [made by our own efforts].

[Mathnawi IV: 1557–59, trans. R. A. Nicholson]

The passage suggests an inflection point where effort and will are eclipsed, where that former journey gives way to the realm of intimacy, and the pull of God is acknowledged. If we get a taste of this higher level, where self-interest and personal agendas subside, our understanding of intention and will may never be the same.

This Ramadan, with so much duress and suffering across the world, I’m exploring aspects of the practice in different public settings, including at work and while commuting. My narrow aim is to cultivate spiritual perception, which of course is not really the result of effort. But the practice is humbling out in the rough and tumble world, and an opportunity to repeatedly "get back on the horse." Recently, while riding the train home from work in Oakland, I slowed my breath and refocused my gaze, peering across what in this case was a noisy and rowdy cross section of humanity.  I asked to be shown possible examples of nafs-i mutma’inna, the Essential Self. And in time, in that golden late-afternoon sunlight, I did notice several younger and older people whose thoughtful, peaceful faces appeared to reflect a quality of the Beloved. Despite all the commotion in the train car, there was a threadlike quality of serenity and reverence.

For the sake of God Alone seems important and integral to intention-setting, a ladder leading out of the well of self-interest. Even if this is challenging as a concept and an awkward translation, it is familiar advice from the teachings of the saints. The saying is a reminder that we can shift our frame of reference, as we do casually when we say, “Mash’allah,” or, “Insh’allah.” A finger pointing to the heavens.

Practicing with intention and will, and cultivating sincerity can help us draw closer to the Beloved. Observing the fast in the best way feasible creates a time of enhanced possibilities, in part because it reconnects us to natural phenomena and cycles of time. We witness the glorious arrival and departure of sunlight, or perhaps behold the moon as it travels in its phases across the night sky, and we can listen more to exquisite Qur’an recitation. Enhanced spiritual perception may also help us observe and consider the long reach of our own shadow, and guide us back into the light. And when we dedicate our practice for the sake of God alone, we may receive spiritual nourishment consciously.

Over and above the food you eat to maintain yourself physically, there is another food, as the Prophet said: “I spend the night with my Lord, and He feeds me and gives me drink.” In this world you have forgotten that other food and occupied yourself with the food of this world.

[Fihi ma Fihi, Discourse 4, from Signs of the Unseen, trans. Wheeler Thackston]

~ Zakiuddin McNulty has been a student of Sufism for more than 30 years. He lives in Fremont California, works at an energy efficiency consultancy, and leads the Bay Area Threshold circle.

The Threshold Society

The Threshold Society, rooted within the traditions of Sufism and inspired by the life and work of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, is a non-profit educational foundation with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world. Sufism is a living tradition of human transformation through love and higher consciousness. Our fundamental framework is classical Sufism and the Qur’an as it has been understood over the centuries by the great Sufis. The Society is affiliated with the Mevlevi Order, and offers training programs, seminars and retreats around the world.

Each month we intend to highlight an article about our lineage and its principles. This month we offer: Love in Islam.


Love in Islam
by Mahmoud Mostafa

Dear brothers and sisters, the guidance of Islam is the guidance of love. The innate, natural and ancient religion that is Islam is the religion of love. The Prophet (puh) came to guide us to love and to make clear the love that is at the core of all religion. Our purpose as human beings is to consciously manifest Allah’s love in our lives. This is the most significant meaning of Khilafa and Ibada that can bring purpose to us and transform our lives. When we reflect upon the history of the Prophet (puh) and the spread of his message we will realize that Islam could not have taken root in the world without the love that filled the heart of the Prophet and was clearly manifest in his way of relating and interacting with people that brought out their own deep and profound love for him. Without this mutual and abiding love, none of us would be here today. Without this love Islam would not have been possible.

[Read more...]


1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details   (K)

Apr 9: Eid al'Fitr

Jun 17: Eid al'Adha

Jul 12-15: Assisi Italy Retreat, more details   (K)

Aug 2-5: UK Annual Retreat, The Vedanta Lincolnshire   (K)

Sep 27-30:  San Juan Bautista, California retreat   (KC)


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

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