This is an non-profit educational website. Its mission is to provide a broad musical resource for those on the spiritual path seeking attunement to the Divine through sung spiritual practices. The website has its origins in Universal Sufism, an ancient wisdom school which recognizes that every age of the world has seen awakened souls – masters, saints and prophets – who have openly shared their wisdom. As it is impossible to limit wisdom to any one period or place, so it is impossible to date the origin of Sufism. It can be said that this particular form of Sufism was intellectually born in the ancient Egyptian wisdom schools, devotionally reared in Persia, and spiritually refined in India, from whence it was brought to the West in 1910 by the Chishti Sufi known to us as Hazrat Inayat Khan. It incorporates teachings found in Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Egyptian Hermetic schools, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and multiple indigenous systems of belief, focusing on the common teachings, as opposed to the differences, found in the varied religions.
One such practice common to many religions is that of singing spiritual music in community. Experientially this can bring great joy to the soul, to that spark of the spiritual presence that lies as a birthright deep within each being.
Most of the major religions of the world recognize this experiential truth and celebrate their spiritual relationship with the Divine through song, each in their own way. While the names given to the divine presence vary religion to religion, to the mystic, the focus of devotion, prayer and praise is the One, the source of all being, the teacher of the lessons of life, the inspirer of the masters, saints and prophets. Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic described this reality in this portion of his poem One Song:
“Every war and every conflict
between human beings has happened
because of some disagreement about names.
It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.
What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
on this wall than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still one light…”
— Jalaluddin Rumi in The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne
As singing is such a powerful spiritual practice, it follows that many on the spiritual path are drawn to sung practices. For the past 15 years the Inayati Quartet has gathered from around the world eclectic spiritual music that resonates with the Divine presence on a personal level to the point where we feel we must share it. Thus we offer this musical milieu to those who seek to further explore the profound spiritual attunement that may arise from singing spiritual practices from a broad range of world religions.
Some of these songs have their roots in the Dances of Universal Peace, an outgrowth of Universal Sufism inspired by the work of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s student Murshid Samuel L. Lewis of San Francisco in the 1960’s. Since that time, these ‘Sufi Dances’ and their music have spread around the world. Some of our other sung practices trace their roots to Negro spirituals, to the indigenous religions, to the Gregorian Latin chants of the early Roman Catholic Church and to the Taizé Christian community in France. We’ve also included songs and chants from Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and other traditions as well, each practice chosen for its expression of the universal truth that all of humanity intermittently experiences a profound attunement to the Divine and shares a longing to relate more intimately to its presence within.
To the Universal Sufi, we are all one family of humanity. Our souls share the same source without beginning or end. Love, harmony and beauty continually touch us in our lives and remind us of this poignant presence. May this collection of music that has touched the souls of so many around the world touch even more beings through these recordings.