Esoteric School


Sufism is a tradition of cultivating one’s personal spiritual life with the guidance of a teacher. Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan spoke extensively about the guide/mureed relationship – the connection and purpose of the initiating teacher and the sincere pupil. He brought the practices and structures of Sufism to mureeds (dedicated students) in the United States and Europe, with a keen awareness of the cultural attitudes and norms. The needs and personalities of western mureeds, are vastly different from the spiritual atmosphere and devotional culture of mureeds in India.

In the Sirat-i Inayat, all initiates are called “mureeds,” which means “dedicated students.” The teachers who have been prepared, trained, entrusted, and empowered to offer initiations and to guide mureeds are called “shaikhs,” which literally means “respected elder.”

Mureeds may seek the guidance of a teacher for a variety of reasons. And, when a mureed finds a teacher with whom there is a natural resonance of heart, the mureed may wish to receive Bayat (initiation). Initiation is an intentional step, which expresses sincerity of purpose, confidence in the shaikh, and a desire to understand oneself and life more fully. Through initiation a mureed is connected to a long line of illuminated beings, teachers, masters, and prophets, all of whom pour forth blessings for the mureed’s great happiness, peace, and fulfillment.

A sincere mureed works actively to untangle the nafs (ego attachments) and to turn the heart and mind towards Truth and Love. This is accomplished through intentional effort, loving self-discipline, and honorable self-respect. The shaikh can help a mureed to pierce through the confusions of life to experience clarity and peace of the soul.

Each mureed is encouraged to choose a shaikh who resonates joyfully in the mureed’s heart. It is important for a mureed to find a teacher in whom there is a natural confidence. Respect and a feeling of rightness, safety and goodness should be the hallmarks of the guide/mureed relationship. The initiatic connection is for this lifetime and for all time.

The Sirat-i Inayat esoteric school includes personal instruction, group classes and retreats, opportunities for study, and spiritual exercises. The direct guide/mureed relationship connects mureeds to the lineage of Sufi masters and conveys a blessing of wisdom, love, power, and beauty. 

Sirat-i Inayat shaikhs are teachers who have a depth and breadth of experience in Sufi teachings and practices. Each guide works through his/her/their own personal experience, interests, areas of study, and spiritual practices. Shaikhs in the Sirat-i Inayat are, first and foremost, life-long students. When Sirat-i Inayat shaikhs are entrusted with the empowerment, responsibility, and blessing to initiate and guide mureeds, they agree to standards of conduct and ethical guidelines in alignment with the Sufi morals of love, truth, integrity, wisdom, humility, service, and devotion.

Sirat-i Inayat shaikhs are committed to supporting mureeds in the unfoldment of the soul, the awakening of the heart, and the pursuit of the spiritual ideals. A shaikh can offer mentorship, practices, instruction, companionship, and blessings.


Some of the core spiritual practices in the Sirat-i Inayat esoteric school include:

The Confraternity Prayers of Inayat Khan (nimaz)

Recitation of sacred phrases and Beautiful Names of God (wazifa)

Spoken or sung phrases of “remembrance” (zikr)

Silent repetition of zikr phrases (fikr)

Breath practices (qasab and shaghal)

Concentration, contemplation, and meditation


The current shaikhs in Sirat-i Inayat include:

Rahima Rain

Mirabai Akeela Pope

Abdullah Arshad Belikoff-Strads

Khabir Wali’ Mayer-Glauninger

Nurlatifa Crane

Sára Rain


Each of the shaikhs offers teachings, classes, and instruction according to their interests, skills, inspirations, and wisdom. You are invited to participate in any activities you see here, and some of the shaikhs may be available for individual consultation.

Sára is the mu’alim of the Esoteric School. She welcomes all sincere seekers and Sirat-i Inayat mureeds to:

Daily Prayer Practices

Weekly Sufi Meditation (Monday mornings)

Weekly Study and Discussion (Thursday evenings)

Monthly Sufi Circle (one Saturday morning)

Semi-yearly Retreats

Khabir welcomes everyone to:

Daily Prayer Practices

Abdullah welcomes everyone to:

Weekly Gathas Class (Wednesday afternoons)

Mirabai welcomes everyone to:

Monthly Sufi Class

Nurlatifa welcomes everyone to:

Monthly Sufi Class

Check our calendar of events for specific events