Fazal Inayat-Khan

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Pir-o-Murshid Fazal Inayat-Khan

Fazal Inayat-Khan (Urdu: فضل عنایت خان ‎) (July 20, 1942 – September 26, 1990), also known as Frank Kevlin, was a psychotherapist and poet who led the International Sufi Movement from 1968 to 1982.[1]

He was the author of Old Thinking, New Thinking: The Sufi prism (1979) and Modern soefisme: over creatieve verandering en spirituele groei (1992).

Early life[edit]

Born in Vichy France to a Dutch mother and the composer, Hidayat Inayat Khan, Khan was brought up speaking Hindi, Dutch, English and French. His grandfather was Inayat Khan. His aunt was Noor Inayat Khan.

He went to university in California.


Khan worked as a poet, psychotherapist and publisher.[2] An inspiring speaker and teacher, the summer workcamps, trips, and retreats he frequently led incorporated transformative experiences. These and the use of chilla (personally focused challenges) reflected traditional Sufi methods, yet were new and fully grounded in late-20th century Western culture. Perhaps nothing exemplified this more than the motorcycle adventures he led in India. These were weeks-long, open-ended journeys throughout the subcontinent where the ostensible destination (say, an ashram in Madras) was just the placeholder for the true destination – the self.

Finding that his family name influenced people's perception of his work, he changed his name legally to Frank Kevlin.[3] As an early promoter of Neuro Linguistic Programming, he was the main motivating force behind the creation of the Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming.[4]

International Sufi Movement[edit]

From 1968 to 1982 he was head of the International Sufi Movement.[5] He held that Sufism has three aspects: it is non-definitive, inclusive, and experiential –

  • non-definitive because the real exists without needing to be defined;
  • inclusive because it is found in all religions and accepts any form of worship or meditative practice that is appropriate to the moment;
  • experiential because it goes beyond theology and second-hand spiritual experience, accepting the possibility of direct revelation.


  • Inayat-Khan, Fazal (1979). Old thinking, new thinking: The Sufi prism. San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-064086-3.
  • Inayat-Khan, Fazal (1992). Modern soefisme : over creatieve verandering en spirituele groei (Modern Sufism: on creative change and spiritual growth) (in Dutch). Katwijk aan Zee: Panta Rhei. ISBN 90-73207-28-2. OCLC 65771646.


Inayat-Khan's grave, The Hague, Netherlands

"You can always love more."

"Sufism has always changed, and that's why it is always the same."[6]

"Everything matters, nothing matters."

"Sufism is a call, a cry to awaken, to the minds who are ready, to the human beings who have slept enough, but to those who still want to sleep, it is merely a lullaby along in their dream."[7]

"My mind is limited. But my heart is not, I hope."

"... minds are not made to agree, but to express beauty ..."[8]

"Sufism, then, is an attempt to bring us to the point at which we have the freedom, the courage, to look at things as a baby does, without foreknowledge"

"Many people are interested in meditation, but not so many are interested in computer programming. Yet computer programming is so similar that you could call it meditation."

"Reality is a symbol."[9]


  1. ^ Melton, Gordon J. and Baumann, Martin. Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. ABC-CLIO, p. 1482.
  2. ^ Heart of a Sufi: Fazal Inayat-Khan, A Prism Of Reflections. Arch Ventures Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-907303-01-2. External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "A Short Biography of Fazal Inayat-Khan 1942-1990". Self and Society: European Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
  4. ^ "Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association - History". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  5. ^ Jironet, Karin (2002). The image of spiritual liberty in the western Sufi movement following Hazrat Inayat Khan. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters. pp. 215–218. ISBN 978-90-429-1205-2.
  6. ^ "Old Thinking, New Thinking", "Sufism", p. 5.
  7. ^ "Old Thinking, New Thinking", "Sufism", pp. 10-11.
  8. ^ "Old Thinking, New Thinking", "Contradiction and Reality", p. 21.
  9. ^ Quoted by Deepak Chopra in "Creating Health: How to Wake Up the Body's Intelligence", ch32: "Reality, Manifest and Unmanifest", p. 161.