New Sufi Centre Location 2015

As Sufi Teacher Ibrahim Ansari has moved the Centre to Merrylands (near Parramatta in Sydney), it has been decided that the Sufi Ceremony of Rememberance will return to Sundays. Our first official meeting for 2015 will be on Sun 11 Jan, then every Sun after that inshallah, at 1pm.

You can find more info about  the Sufi Ceremony of Rememberance here.

RSVP to Muhyiddin (John) Galea on 0432397694 to get the address for the new Centre.

What is Sufism?

By Shaykh Ibrahim

Our right to grow spiritually has been under attack for centuries. “Religion” has warped and deviated from its initial purpose. The essence of Religion is contain a spiritual foundation from which to understand and appreciate life. It is abuse when you are told what to believe. It is abuse to be compelled to “have faith” in something which makes no sense to you. It is contrary to the very nature of one’s heart when choice, sense and free will are removed. It is abuse when one’s heart is ignored and discounted.

When abused by people claiming to represent religion we tend to shut off all things connected to that source of pain. The refusal to accept the spiritual, though a natural consequence of abuse, is understandable. To push away all things spiritual is reactive, but perhaps childish.

To be human is to seek the spiritual, as well as to seek love, a job, family, etc. in this short life. The source of religion is the spiritual. A river has to start somewhere. The best way of accessing the spiritual headwater is through love, joy and choice. We learn through choosing and taking responsibility for those choices.

To freely give one’s heart to seek the meaning of one’s being is a Right. You deserve the Right to find your own sprititual balance. It is a human Right to explore and choose a spiritual system that is rational, moderate and embraces the vast complexity of sciences and infinite knowledge that swells over us every moment. You have the human Right to seek the Divine and fulfill your heart’s true desire.
This is the purpose of Sufism.

Change in the Air – Nasruddin strikes again!

Nasruddin was walking past a bakery in Marrickville in the Inner West of Sydney. George, the Greek baker, was making mouth-watering baklava, sumptuous sourdough and irresistable profiteroles. Nasruddin caught the heavenly aromas wafting out of the bakery door. The bakery smelled so good he decided to stand outside the door and just keep smelling the beautiful gift from Allah. After about half an hour of Nasruddin standing and smelling, George the baker called out to him.

‘Are you going to buy anything?’ he asked.

‘No,’ said Nasruddin. ‘I’m just smelling.’

‘You can’t just smell. Either buy something or leave.’

‘It’s a free world. I can smell if I want to.’

George started to get angry. ‘Look here,’ he said haughtily. ‘I break my back making this stuff. I don’t do it for you to hang around and smell it. You need to pay me for the privilege.’

‘I do not,’ said Nasruddin.

‘Fine, I’m calling the cops,’ shouted George. He’d had enough of this Nasruddin joker.

‘Whatever,’ said Nasruddin, continuing to sniff the air and grinning with pleasure.

It just so happened that Pete, a beat cop from Marrickville Local Area Command was walking up the street at that moment. George called out to him.

‘What’s the issue, mate?’ asked Pete.

‘This character,’ George began indignantly, ‘Is smelling my bread without paying.’

‘Smelling it?’ Pete asked.


‘Nasruddin, I warned you about ticking off the locals,’ said Pete. ‘Ok, I think we can resolve this. Nasruddin, do you have any change in your pocket?’

‘Yes,’ said Nasruddin.

‘Jingle it,’ said Pete the cop. Nasruddin did.

Pete looked sardonically at George the baker. ‘You’ve been paid.’



Nasruddin was taking boats across the smuggling route from Indonesia to Christmas Island. Whenever he arrived on Christmas Island the authorities would be extremely suspicious because he always arrived in a shiny new boat. One particular border guard was Nasruddin’s nemesis – he made it a point to inconvenience Nasruddin as much as possible, searching every nook and cranny on every boat for asylum seekers, drugs, money, any smoking gun that would prove what he suspected – that Nasruddin was a smuggler. He never found anything except completely innocent cargo, and Nasruddin’s papers were always in order.

Years later, the same border guard had retired, and Nasruddin had moved on too. Nasruddin was working in a pub in Darwin when who should come in for a drink but the same border guard from Christmas Island. The border guard recognised Nasruddin, sidled up to him and asked ‘Ok, I’m retired now, you can tell me. It’s been eating me up. I know you were smuggling something back then, but you beat me – I could never work it out. What was it?’

Nasrudin smiled and said ‘I was smuggling boats’.


Perhaps another way to think of Sufism is that it is industrial strength spiritual training. That means no one tells you what to do. You have a trainer (the Shaykh) who suggests and advises and counsels. The final arbiter is you: You are responsible for what you think, what you say, what you do. Sufism is adaptive, flexible and coherent. It is reasonable and moderate. It is not a religion. It is a way of helping you make better choices.

Marrickville Zikrs!

Marrickville Zikr

7-9pm, 10 November 2011
Above the gallery at the Addison Road Centre, Marrickville (near Reverse Garbage)

Regular Sydney Zikrs are on their way! We are meeting on Thursday, 10 November at the Addison Road Centre, Marrickville for the first of what we hope will be monthly gatherings, for those in Sydney who have wanted to experience a Zikr but have been unable to make it up to the Woodford Centre in the Blue Mountains. If this is you, please call Muhyi (0432 397 694) or visit our contact page for more info!

Getting Out of the Way

(from the book: Getting Out of the Way: Living Sufism by Shaykh Ibrahim Ansari)
-a sohbet is a spiritual discussion-

Sohbet 03-03-05
Getting Out of the Way
Shaykh Ibrahim: Bismillah Rahman’r Rahim… I’d like to discuss the idea of “getting out of the way”. What do you understand it to mean?
Suleiman: Acknowledging that Allah is the one really in control – it is not ME but HE.
Rose: Not to allow the ego to rule the situation. Be aware of our ego. Only Allah is in charge.
Stephanie: To allow passage.
Suleiman: To act for God, not just for myself.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Have any of you read the Tao Te Ching?
Rose: Yes. I like his poems, sounds like knowledge of Marifet to me and Confucius (or Lao Tzu) speaks of Shariat.
Suleiman: Yes, many times. A perfect tutorial about getting out of the way.
Shaykh Ibrahim: When it says “Do Nothing” it is saying to get out of the way and let Allah do His will through you.
Rose: Yes, no action. But sometimes I get confused about “do nothing”/no action”.
Shaykh Ibrahim: No action for self, action only if Allah moves.
Stephanie: So you must remain present to do this, yes?
Shaykh Ibrahim: Yep.
Rose: An example?
Shaykh Ibrahim: Sometimes things come to your heart to say or do. You may not understand what it means, but it just happens, and it is absolutely right. That is No Action, Do Nothing.
Rose: Yes. Back to heart issue.
Suleiman: The heart is in contact with the “way”?
Stephanie: What about tests to show you are in the way stuff?
Shaykh Ibrahim: You are in the way almost all the time. When you are out of the way, you know it because everything is in a fluid state, and you feel safe and happy with Allah.
Suleiman: I find that when I approach that state, a great relief overcomes me.
Shaykh Ibrahim: There is rabita, Adab, and contentment.
Suleiman: Yes, a sort of light-heartedness. An openness.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Yes to all those ideas. So when you are feeling strong emotions, find a way to get out of the way. The nafs wants to get in the way.
Stephanie: Laughter is good!
Suleiman: Reminds me of the emotional/mental states that martial artists try to achieve.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Breath, laughter, zikr all good.
Rose: Shaykh, you mentioned when things come to our heart …it’s right. I have a good example now. Can I share?
Shaykh Ibrahim: Okay, Rose.
Rose: My heart has been telling me to keep away or do nothing with my “good friends” and I don’t understand why (with good friends). It says these people keep me occupied with their problems and not Allah.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Sometimes the feeling of being out of the way is like being in the still center of a tornado. There’s all this movement around you, but you are calm and present in this center. I’m sure it’s different for each person.
Stephanie: If friends call and you need to be with Allah. Can dealing with them be being with Allah? Even though it is difficult?
Shaykh Ibrahim: Yes.
Stephanie: Allah always.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Yes. You can’t really help anyone unless you are out of the way. Do any of you have other examples of being out of the way?
Suleiman: Meditation allows me to get close to that state of being out of the way.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Good.
Rose: I can only think of this: I was informed of a serious issue in my family and I panicked. Then I remembered Allah, and let it go. Let HIM take care of it and not worry. In time I will know the end result of this issue.
Stephanie: Me too. But at those moments breathing does the job.
Shaykh Ibrahim: It’s Allah’s world, Allah’s time, and Allah’s plans. Allah always wins.
Stephanie: How do we change Our Plans to meet Allah’s?
Shaykh Ibrahim: The smart person thinks, “Heck. If Allah is always the winner, I should be on the winning side. I’ll stop betting against the obvious.” Thus we end up where we started: Surrender is the key to getting out of the way. “I” give up trying to control the situation. Instead, I will listen to my heart, and remember Allah, and then I can’t lose. If the heart is happy, everyone wins.
Stephanie: Do you sometimes make a choice that mixes up the plan?
Shaykh Ibrahim: It is a continuous learning experience.
Suleiman: I screw up the plan by becoming too invested in the outcome of events.
Stephanie: It might just be a longer way to Allah at times.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Yes, it’s easy to become attached to what you put your energies into.
Suleiman: Interesting thought; I wonder if it just seems that way sometimes, as if Allah is further away.
Shaykh Ibrahim: The antidote for me is to ask myself, “What if Allah knocked on the door right now, and said, “it’s time to go!” I have to drop everything NOW. Could I do it?”
Suleiman: Ah yes! Excellent question. I’m writing that one down now.
Shaykh Ibrahim: One of the practices of being a Sufi is learning how to keep letting go.
And to practice it everyday. Because, y’know, someday… everything’s really gotta go.
Rose: Non-attachment to everything except Allah.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Here’s something for you to practice some day: Imagine this is your last 24 hours on earth alive. What will you do? What will you say? How will you act?
Suleiman: Ah yes, I remember that exercise from a couple of years ago.
Shaykh Ibrahim: And?
Suleiman: I was dismayed at how my last day started – too preoccupied. I just hoped I was doing zikr when the moment arrived.
Stephanie: Totally grateful and loving to all.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Actually, every day should be like that. Like it is your last.
Rose: I remember the Prophet (saw) said, ” Pray to Allah as if you are going to die today”.
Rose: I’m thinking what I’d do with only 24 hours left, what is my priority…
Shaykh Ibrahim: Right.
Stephanie: So if you are feeling frustration, is it different to Allah, acting on the frustration?
Shaykh Ibrahim: If you are feeling frustrated, it means there is an attempt to control a situation, because you did not get your way.
Stephanie: Ah. So watch and learn.
Shaykh Ibrahim: Feelings are indicators. Learn to read them accurately and honestly. Feelings are neither good nor bad. Just read-outs of something occurring internally.
Risan Allah, Risan Rasulallah, Risan Piran, al Fatiha… Amin. May Allah give you much Love and Light and protect you from nafs and backbiting. Salaam Alaykum. Hu.