Sufi Center Northeast

Our Guide


Sidi Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i as-Shadhuli

Our beloved guide, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal ar-Rifa'i ash-Shadhdhili, returned to his Lord on Wednesday afternoon, November 11, 2015 after a short illness. We will continue to be guided by the huge body of work he left behind - his example, his books and videos and more;  by his spirit, by the Qu'ran, and by the example of the Prophet (saws) and companions, God willing. We have been deeply blessed.

'Inna lillahi wa 'inna ilayhi raaji'uun.
Surely we belong to Him, and to Him we shall return. [Q 2:156]

In Sidi’s own words:
“The guide, who shows you the way, is your brother. You cannot see the way if you do not know what you feel or what you are when you follow. You are the way of the truth. To walk in the way is very difficult because you meet with darkness and many troubles. You need to have the guide to help you and to take your hand. If you do not follow the guide who know the way well, you will not know. How can you reach God if you do not follow the person who has reached God? He has walked the way before you, and has reached the highest station. He knows how to walk, and how to cut through difficulties and troubles. He knows what is good and what is bad and the right and wrong ways of this world.” (excerpt from: Who is the Guide from Sidi's book, Music of the Soul
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The Shadhuli Sufi lineage is an Islamic-based spiritual path that stems from the sacred teaching of love and surrender to God which was brought to the world by each and every prophet.  It therefore acts as a bridge that synthesizes and holds the deep teaching of the way of the Love of all religions.  The Shadhuli path (tariqa) originated in Morocco and has been handed down over several hundred years to the current imam of the Shadhuli, Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, or Sidi.

As Qutb (perfect master), and as the leader of this path for over 40 years, Sidi  lived in Jerusalem. He traveled throughout the world giving his teachings to those who are thirsty for the truth and helping them to heal their bodies, hearts, and spirits.  Since 1994, he visited the U.S. during the summer, when he gathers the beloveds and those seeking greater love and truth to Sufi School in California, Pennsylvania, Austin, and other areas of the nation.

Sidi devoted his life to the spiritual well-being of all people, regardless of race, gender or religion, and to the deepening of our level of unity with God. Sidi’s life was dedicated to world service from the time of his youth, when his grandfather instructed him not only in the esoteric aspects of Sufism, but in the healing arts and uses of plants as medicine.  Sidi was a master herbalist and was frequently consulted for medicinal/herbal healing, as well as special prayers and healings designed to heal specific aspects of physical, emotional and spiritual disease. In addition, his poetry and writings open the door to the One for all those who hear.

The “ecstatic” Sufis are said to be drunk with God, and blind to earthly existence. In contrast the Shadhuli path is counted among those of the “sober” Sufis, who are inwardly turned toward God and outwardly grounded in deep service to the world. Regular spiritual practice and the “lapidary tumbler” of community continue to polish and refine us, so that we may personally heal, and give the Love of God wherever we are called. This becomes not only easier, but a source of joy, and ultimately, ecstasy, as we dissolve more and more, with Sidi’s guidance, into the heart of God.
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