The Ultimate Authority: Allah, Most High
Because we are aspiring Sufis, we approach life with the intention to always remember Allah and to embody the Divine Truth that Allah is One and that we are all part of that Oneness. The true leader of our community has always been and will always be, Allah, the All-Mighty.
Allah has complete authority over all of our affairs. Our community first and foremost turns to worship Allah alone and serves Him through our service to community. He alone is the highest authority over each of the organizations and councils that watch over and support our community.
Allah’s Final Messenger: The Prophet Muhammad
may the peace and blessings of God be upon him
The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is the prophet and Divine messenger Allah sent to the Arabs in the 6th century CE. The Prophet Muhammad’s purpose was to spread the Divine message of God’s oneness and to transmit the collective body of knowledge contained within the Qur’an and the hadith. The Prophet had a perfect character and was the final prophet to receive and transmit a holy book (the Qur’an).
Our beloved guide Sidi was well-educated and extremely knowledgeable in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Everything Sidi taught his students was from the Qur’an and the hadith and contained the Divine Light of the Prophet, which came shining through. Sidi’s students, even those unfamiliar with or fearful of Islam, could feel the beauty, pure goodness, and Divine Light within these prophetic teachings.
Our Guide Who Showed Us The Way
Our beloved guide Sidi took all of what he knew and showed us how to feast from the Divine Table of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Healing. Sidi is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, both biologically and spiritually. He gave us everything–all of the tools we need to walk, to heal, and to be in deep service to Allah’s creation–and the mandate to do so.
Over the course of the years he taught in the U.S., Sidi inspired and led his beloveds to create the organizations and teacher ranks described in detail below.
Overview of Organizational Structures Established by Sidi
Systems like those in our community are a traditional part of many Sufi communities. Sidi guided us to form the following organizational structures, educational system, and teacher ranking system to support us as the community grew in North America.
- Shadhiliyya Sufi Center/Communities (SSC)
- The University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism (USHS) which transformed and grew into two separate schools; the Institute of Spiritual Healing and the University of Sufism.
- Councils to advise and support the community and its leaders
- A Teacher Rank system
Important Councils, Organizations, and People
Before he passed away, Sidi designated those in the Murshid Council to spiritually care for our community after he was gone. These murshids and murshida hold the highest rank established by our guide. They are available to teach and offer guidance and council to all beloveds. They oversee and support the spiritual heart of our community, each in their own unique way, and collectively as a council. Members of the Murshid Council include:
Murshid Advisory Council
This is a council of community members who advise the murshids to help them better serve the changing needs of our community. Current members include; Abdullah Pat Aylward, Mahdi al-Jamal, Salih Kent, Zahra Lee, Mohamed Moosa, and Amany Shalaby.
This is a group composed of major tariqa stakeholders, including members of the Murshid Council, SSC’s Board of Directors, the Institute of Spiritual Healing, the University of Sufism, and others. The intention is to provide a forum for these groups to collaborate and work through issues that affect our community that need unified support.
An independent council that sets guidelines for community relationships, hears grievances, and offers mediation services between parties that are in conflict. Current members are: Amany Shalaby, Mohamed Moosa, Jamila Faith, and Zahra Lee.
Institute for Spiritual Healing (ISH)
The Institute for Spiritual Healing provides two main programs:
1. Foundations of Spiritual Healing program. This is a pre-requisite to attend the University of Sufism.
2. Advanced Sufi Walking with Murshid Ibrahim Jaffe and Murshida Salima Adelstein.
University of Sufism
The University provides more advanced academic programs. Their vision is to open the heart of humanity to the reality of Divine Love, gnostic understanding, and complete healing.
Sidi has family in America and in East Jerusalem. His three sons, Mahdi, Ahmed, and Mahmoud are actively involved with our community. Mahdi al-Jamal lives in northern California with his wife and children and teaches for SSC on a regular basis (The Voice of Peace from the Land of Peace). Ahmed and Mahmoud live in East Jerusalem. They help to distribute donations from Jerusalem Charities to those in need it and they host students who wish to visit the Holy Land.
Though she is not a member of any of the aforementioned organizations or groups, Amina is a vital part of our spiritual family. She is one of Sidi’s oldest students in the U.S. at Sidi’s behest, Amina created Sidi Muhammad Press, the publisher and distributor of most of Sidi’s books. Amina also offers zawiyah at her home in Petaluma, California, organizes tips to the Holy Land, and is very close with Sidi’s family.
Salih Kent, Amany Shalaby, The Lairds, The Cottens, all of the community leaders, and so many more…
There were so many people close to Sidi who supported many beloveds in the community. We are grateful to them all and pray that they are all feeling Allah close to their hearts.
All of the Beloveds
Each beloved who has taken hand with Sidi, a murshid, or an authorized teacher and has joined our way has a place in leadership for our community. Our community is one hand, one heart. No one beloved, regardless of rank or station, is greater than or more important than any other. We are all brother and sisters in God. We are mirrors for each other and we rely on each other for support and encouragement as we walk together toward the door of Allah, Who is our only source of peace, freedom, and salvation in this world and the next.