Sufism Reoriented

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Sufism Reoriented
Sufism reoriented.png
TypeNon-profit religious corporation
Key people
Carol Weyland Conner

Sufism Reoriented is an American school of spiritual training, headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, established by Meher Baba in 1952. In November of that year he signed The Chartered Guidance from Meher Baba for the Reorientation of Sufism. He appointed Ivy O. Duce as the first Murshida, or spiritual guide, of Sufism Reoriented.

Meher Baba designed Sufism Reoriented as a universal spiritual school which recognizes a central core of divine love at the heart of all spiritual systems. Meher Baba reorganized patterns of life and inner training associated with ancient Sufism and adapted them to the needs of spiritual students in contemporary America. He identified the central principles of Sufism Reoriented as love and service: active love for God and active service to others in God’s world.[1]


Sufism was originally brought to the West by Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927) in 1910. He appointed Rabia Martin as his successor and Murshida of his Sufi Order. In the 1940s, Rabia Martin recognized Avatar Meher Baba as the reigning spiritual authority of the age and surrendered herself and her spiritual order to him. She appointed Ivy Oneita Duce as her successor as Murshida of the Sufi Order. In 1948 Murshida Duce was called to India by Meher Baba who confirmed her role as Murshida and announced that he intended to reorient Sufism under his guidance and her leadership in the near future. This was realized in 1952 with the creation of Sufism Reoriented.[2]

The members of Sufism Reoriented celebrate Meher Baba as the Avatar, the human incarnation of God and the spiritual authority of this age.[3] This represents a substantial departure from Sufism in either its traditional Islamic form, or in the form taught by Hazrat Inayat Khan. Meher Baba asserted that Sufism pre-dates the Islamic prophet Muhammad, having begun with the prophet Zoroaster of Persia.[1]

Those drawn to Sufism Reoriented also recognize a natural affinity with the school’s spiritual teacher, who occupies the office of Murshid. The term Murshid or Murshida means Guide. It is used in traditional Sufism to refer to the spiritual figure who directs a Sufi school. Meher Baba, who described himself as the Murshid of Murshids, first received Murshida Rabia Martin as His follower, and agreed to guide her and her Sufi group. However, Murshida Martin died before meeting Meher Baba physically.[4] Before passing, Murshida Martin made Ivy Oneita Duce (1895–1981) her successor (the next Murshida) of the Sufi Order. In 1952 Meher Baba appointed her the first Murshida of Sufism Reoriented. Meher Baba confirmed this in India upon meeting Murshida Duce there. Before her death, Murshida Duce named Dr. James S. B. MacKie (1932–2001) as her successor. He, in turn, designated Carol Weyland Conner, the current Murshida, as his successor.[5]

Meher Baba Publications and Media[edit]

Sufism Reoriented is the copyright holder and publisher of several books by and about Meher Baba including Meher Baba's most important published book, God Speaks: the Theme of Creation and Its Purpose. It also owns and publishes Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama, Life At Its Best, Glimpses of the God-Man Meher Baba. Volume I, and How a Master Works by Ivy Oneita Duce.[6] In addition Sufism Reoriented owns and preserves numerous films and photographs of Baba. These include color 16mm films taken of Baba during his trip to the United States in 1956 by Charmian Duce Knowles, daughter of Murshida Ivy Oneita Duce.

New Sanctuary[edit]

After decades of operating out of temporary facilities, Sufism Reoriented began construction of a new, permanent sanctuary on May 24, 2012. The new sanctuary, designed by the architectural firm of Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie, was formally inaugurated on February 26, 2017.[7] The sanctuary is located on three acres of land in the Saranap neighborhood of Walnut Creek, about twenty-five miles east of San Francisco.[8][9][10] Carol Weyland Conner, the current Murshida of Sufism Reoriented, has characterized the sanctuary as follows:

“In all spiritual traditions, the design of a sanctuary strives to be an outward expression, in material form, of the still, sacred space at the center of the human heart where man is joined with and can know God. It therefore aspires, first, to be the most beautiful form its creators can envision....My primary aim was to create a beautiful building that is an expression of our worship. The sanctuary’s curvilinear design is based on the form of the circle. Like God, the circle has no beginning and no end. This expresses eternity, the eternal life in God the Infinite. The circle is also recognized as a symbol of unity since all points on the circle are equidistant from the center, as all beings are in relation to God. This symbol embodies the essential unity of Creation and the Universal Love at the heart of all life.”[11][12]

Succession of Murshids[edit]

Name Begin End Notes
Inayat Khan 1914 1927 Founder of the Sufi Order in the West
Rabia Martin 1927 1947 Inayat Khan's designated spiritual successor[13]
Ivy Oneita Duce 1947 1981 Successor to Rabia Martin and first Murshida of the new Sufism Reoriented under Meher Baba's directive[14][15]
Dr. James S.B. MacKie 1981 2001[3]
Dr. Carol Weyland Conner 2001 Current Murshida of Sufism Reoriented

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kalchuri, Bhau: "Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba", Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 1196
  2. ^ "Beloved Archives, Inc". 5 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Beloved Archives, Inc". 5 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
  4. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau: "Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba", Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 3069
  5. ^ "The House Of Worship The Cheesecake Factory Built". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  6. ^ Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust AMBPPCT PDF file Archived 2007-03-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Meher Legacy (11 September 2017). "Buz Connor Speaking at the Sufi Sanctuary Opening" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "See the spectacular Sufi temple built with Cheesecake Factory money".
  9. ^ "Contra Costa: Sufism center to open soon; 'Village' still pending". 6 May 2016.
  10. ^ 1OveraaConstruction (17 March 2016). "Sufism Reoriented Sanctuary, Walnut Creek, CA" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "The House Of Worship The Cheesecake Factory Built".
  12. ^ "Sufism Reoriented".
  13. ^ "Murshida Rabia Ada Martin - meherbabatravels jimdo page!".
  14. ^ Harkins, David E. "Meher Baba / - Who Brought the Sufis?".
  15. ^ "Heroines of the Path, Part 7C".

External links[edit]