Pirani Ameena Begum (Hindustani: अमीरा बेगम / امیرآ بےگم) (born Ora Ray Baker; 8 May 1892 – 1 May 1949) was the wife of Sufi Master Inayat Khan and the mother of their four children Noor-un-Nisa (1914-1944), Vilayat (1916-2004), Hidayat (1917-2016) and Khair-un-Nisa (1919).
Baker first met Khan when she attended one of his lectures in San Francisco, after which the pair quickly fell in love. However, resistance from Baker's family prevented them from marrying until 1913, at which point she took the name "Ameena Begum". After living in London and Moscow for a time, the family settled in Suresnes, near Paris. She left a collection of 101 poems, "A Rosary of one hundred and one beads". Some poems were lost during World War II, but 54 have been preserved and were published in 1998. She was a cousin of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church in the USA.
Hidayat Inayat Khan wrote: "In 1926, Hazrat Inayat Khan gave my Mother an exceptional initiation as "Pirani", which was only to be given to her. That special initiation was not to be given to any one else in the Sufi Movement, either in the present or in the future". Hazrat Inayat Khan said in his Autobiography that without Ameena Begum's help he would never have been able to bring his Sufi Message to the Western world..
Articles and poetry
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- Women's Seclusion in the East, by Amina Begum Inayat Khan. "The Sufi" magazine No. 3 Vol. I, Sept. 1915
- Poems from Thy Rosary of a Hundred Beads, a collection of poems written by 'Sharda, Pirani Ameena Begum Ora-Ray Inayat Khan'. "Caravanseari" magazine (Canada) November 1988 pp. 31–34 
- Poems from Thy Rosary of a Hundred Beads by 'Sharda, Pirani Ameena Begum Ora-Ray Inayat Khan'. Published in book of Hidayat Inayat Khan "Once upon a time..." Groningen (Netherlands) 1998 pp. 53–87
- Rosary of a Hundred Beads 'Sharda' to 'Daya by Pirani Ameena Begum Ora Ray Baker. Published by Petama books (Zurich) ISBN 978-3-907643-03-7, paperback, 64 p.
Sources and notes
- Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan (Madeleine), George Cross, MBE, Croix de Guerre with Gold Star by Jean Overton Fuller. East-West Publications, London, Den Haag (1971); ISBN 0-85692-067-3; pp. 30-32, 47-49
- The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States by Edward E. Curtis IV. Columbia University Press 2007 p. 47
- Elisabeth de Jong-Keesing: Inayat Khan. A Biography, East-West Publications, London, Den Haag (1974); ISBN 0-7189-0243-2, pp. 106, 119.
- Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Shrabani Basu. Omega Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (August 1, 2007); ISBN 0-930872-78-9, pp. 19-21
- Camille Adams Helminski. Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure, Shambhala (2003); ISBN 1570629676, p. 158
- Melton, J. Gordon (1999), Religious leaders of America (2 ed.), Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, p. 299, ISBN 0810388782, OCLC 41000889
- Melton, J. Gordon; Clark, Jerome; Kelly, Aidan A. (1990), New Age Encyclopedia, Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, p. 442, ISBN 0810371596, OCLC 20022610
- Once Upon a Time. Early Days Stories About My Beloved Father and Mother by Hidayat Inayat Khan. Groningen. Netherlands 1998
- The Biography of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. London/The Hague: East-West Publications, 1979 ISBN 0-85692-012-6 (in "Personal account" pp. 115-118)
- HJ Witteveen. Universal Sufism. Publisher: Element Books Ltd (September 1997); ISBN 1-86204-093-1, pp. 36-37
- Russo-Indian Relations in 1900-1917. A Selection of Documents. (in Russian). Moscow: The Oriental Literature (Russian Academy of Science). 1999; ISBN 5-02-018155-2
- Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Shrabani Basu. Publisher: Omega Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (1 August 2007); ISBN 0-930872-78-9
- bbc.co.uk/timewatch "Noor Inayat Khan: Life of a Spy Princess", bbc.co.uk; accessed 24 September 2016.