London Quranic Spirituality Group
Come, come, whoever you are –
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come and come yet again.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
(Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi)
Al-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be with you all!
The purpose of this group is to provide a sacred space in which we might open ourselves to the experience of divine love and truth in conscious community. During our meetings, the primary means of developing these qualities is through an active engagement in the remembrance of God (zikr) and spiritual conversation (sohbet). It is helpful to say a little more about these important practices.
Dhikr: the Remembrance of God
Meaning simply ‘remembrance’, zikr is an important element in Sufi spirituality. The zikr we do here is based on the very simple freeform repetition of God’s divine qualities, first and foremost we repeat the primary quality “Allah”. Zikr is a state of presence, as well as a process of establishing a relationship with the divine, it is the experience of loving and being in love with the divine, with infinite being.
Sohbet: Spiritual Conversation
Literally meaning ‘companionship’, in Turkish sohbet refers to spiritual conversation and is designed to aid personal reflection and development. That is, it aims to build a space in which group members might share deeper parts of themselves, rather than being concerned with religious or theological debate, or intellectual discussion.
In our meetings, we read and reflect on selected verses from the Qur’an. These verses reflect key themes in our ongoing growth and are an essential means of personal and communal transformation.
In this gathering of souls, we experience and listen to one another with humility, respect and patience. It is by being in this state of openness that the meaningful insights of other group members can touch our hearts in a deep, human way.
The open and free reading of the Qur’an by all in one’s own language followed by discussion on the reading and an exegesis is a wholly Qur’anic concept, we embrace that freedom.
Etiquette is an essential element in fostering a deep sense of conscious community. In these sessions, we aim to encourage, focus and develop our sense of adab. We try to maintain the following principles of adab:
‘Let each person in the circle speak in their turn, from their heart, sharing either concrete observation of their own lives and experience, or an insight. If someone feels they have nothing to communicate from their heart they may pass.
What is spoken is from and for oneself, never a commentary on or reply to another person’s sharing. Each person in the circle should be their own “editor.” The best words are, generally, few and from the heart. Each person should practice the art of listening without judgment. Gradually communication, trust, and mutual respect should deepen”
We learn to observe, to control our impulses when that is called for, and to lose our ‘selves when that is called for. We learn to behave as if everyone else is of a higher station than ourselves, this is called ta’ruf. Our conversation is centred on God and coming into harmony with God and each other.
Since we are attempting to bring our selves into alignment with divine concepts of character transformation, we will face many tests and it is inevitable that there will be some interpersonal tensions from time to time. Adab helps us to avoid some of the destructive behaviours that could disturb or even destroy relationships in a halka (circle).
We are not affiliated to any sect, madhab or tariqah and carry out our meetings in full fellowship and agreement with the Inclusive Mosque Initiative. As such we hold mixed gender meetings.