In 1921, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan introduced “Universal Worship Service” to the world. Murshid knew that the misunderstanding and misuse of religion leads to suffering, intolerance, war, discord, fear, and separation. “Universal Worship” is a ceremony that honors and celebrates all the religions of the world – represented on one altar, given equal respect, and welcomed into our hearts.
It is centrally an interfaith ritual inviting understanding, tolerance, and love for the Truth that shines forth from every religion, culture, and spiritual path.
The Universal Worship Service is still practiced as a formal ceremony, and there are many ways that its essential theme has been adapted into different forms. The Dances of Universal Peace are the musical, embodied expression of Murshid’s original Universal Worship Service.
Universal Worship Services and celebrations are led by cherags all around the world. They are open to the public and all are welcome to participate.
In the last few years of Murshid’s life, he dedicated great effort toward training and ordaining cherags (ministers) who could continue to shine the light of universal truth, tolerance, and authentic love for the world’s wisdom traditions. Cherags were also trained and empowered to officiate weddings, funerals, blessings for births, deaths, and other life transitions.
In Sirat-i Inayat, a “Siraj” is a senior minister who is empowered to train and offer ordination to cherags. Training programs are designed to be two-year processes including 24 units of study and preparation. Cherag candidates are guided through a comprehensive training program that includes an exploration of the world’s religions, personal development, and cultivation of specific skills and knowledge that prepare the individual for effective, compassionate, inspiring service to humanity.
The role of a minister is to provide spiritual sustenance, religious activities, counsel, and meaningful tools in response to the realities of life. In most areas of the United States, a cherag or any ordained minister can also provide spiritual counseling.
Inayat Khan chose the word “Cherag” to indicate ordained ministers, and “Siraj” for a senior minister. Both of these words mean “lamp” or “lantern,” the vessel that conveys the light.
He chose the title “Siraj-un-Munir” to indicate the most senior minister, the head of the Sufi order, which means the lamp that is illuminated.
Ordained Cherags of Sirat-i Inayat have agreed to abide by clear ethical and moral standards. They each have a “Siraj Advisor” for supervision, accountability, and guidance. They are fully endorsed and blessed by Sirat-i Inayat.
Ordained Cherags of the Sirat-i Inayat include:
Mumina Rebecca Freise
Cherags in training who may be available for some services and needs:
Themis Waduda – Washington
Raziya Cruz – Florida
Malik McGregor – Oregon