Spiritual Transformation

in Daily Life

by Means of Remembrance, Gratitude, & Love:

The Sufi - Islamic Path

with Dr. Alan ‘Abd al-Haqq Godlas

Director of Sufis Without borders

And Professor of Religion at the University of Georgia


Date                      Saturday/Sunday: March 29 and 30, 2008


Time                  9 AM to 5:30 PM w/ lunch breaks; optional dhikr on Saturday evening. 


Presenter            First called to Chishti-Inayati Sufism in 1972, Dr. Godlas has also received training in the Ni’matullahi, Shadhili, and Naqshbandi Sufi orders. Embraced by Islam in 1974, he lived in a Sufi center where he received Sufi teachings for three years, while also studying Persian at the University of Tehran. Dr. Godlas received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California, Berkeley, after further study and practice in Cairo and Istanbul. He has been teaching courses in Islam, Sufism, Arabic, and World Religions at the University of Georgia since 1991.  The focus of his academic work is Sufi Qur’an commentary. Author of Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism’s Many Paths, www.uga.edu/islam/Sufism.html , Dr. Godlas is also the director of Sufis Without Borders, an international association of Sufis of many orientations. He has been authorized to teach Sufi practice by the Naqshbandi lineage.


Location                Transformations Spirituality Center, (Sisters of St Joseph

                             3427 Gull Road, P.O. Box 02, Nazareth, (Kalamazoo) Michigan 49074


Cost                      Early registration $120 (after March 15, cost will be $135), which includes vegetarian lunches and coffee/snacks in Seminar room. Registration at the door is possible, room permitting,

                             and may not include the meals.  Please send CHECKS ONLY, payable to: Michele Gauthier (Note: Godlas Seminar), mail to P.O.Box 189, Grand Junction, MI49056 . (If you are not commuting, contact Sister Lucy Schneider, as indicated below, in order to arrange for lodging.)


Program                Program Coordinator: Raiyan. For questions about the program, contact her at:

Questions             beaverquillstudio@btc-bci.com  The coordinator is hearing impaired, so please

                         communicate with her by email or by U.S. mail rather than phone calls. For those without email, call 269/434-6255 until 12:00 pm on Friday the March 28, then call 269/382-6290 and ask for the Godlas Seminar representative.


Lodging &           The setting is a wing of a Catholic Convent with pleasant dining and sitting areas, an interfaith

Transportation      chapel with prayer rug, and beautiful walking trails on large well-tended 57 acres grounds.   NO SMOKING IN ANY OF THE BUILDINGS. 15 simple, clean rooms with private bathrooms are reserved until March 19. These rooms are near our Seminar location and cost $45 for single occupancy, and $60 for double occupancy.   Please call Sister Lucy Schneider at 269/381-6290, x 310 to reserve space and mention that you are there for the Godlas Seminar.  Mention also if you are willing to share your room with someone you may not know. PLEASE make arrangements for lodging with Sister Lucy.  The Transformations Center email address is: retreats@transformationscenter.org   For further room and facility information and directions see:   www.transformationscenter.org .


                             Those coming from out of town may want to arrive Friday night and should make those arrangements with Sister Lucy Schneider.   Vegetarian meals can be reserved in advance for dinner and breakfast at low cost. Commuters welcome!  Transportation to the Transformation Center is located close to the airport, close to freeways; information about public transportation can be obtained at METRO TRANSIT, 269-337-8222 or on the web: www.kalamazoocity.org/portal/metro.php



Schedule for

Spiritual Transformation in Daily Life

by means of Remembrance, Gratitude, and Love:

The Sufi - Islamic Path


 Dr. Alan ‘Abd al-Haqq Godlas


Saturday/Sunday: March 29 and 30, 2008



On both days Dr. Godlas will relate the Sufi topics under discussion to expressions in the Qur'an, the sayings of Muhammad (hadith), and the works of classical Sufis (like Rumi, Hafez, and Ibn 'Arabi).  Frequent periods of Sufi meditative chanting (dhikr) will be included.



Schedule for Saturday, March 29

Focus on Sufi Perspectives in General

(Optional Saturday evening dhikr meditation)


A.    Introduction to Sufi-Islamic Psycho-spiritual Transformation in Daily Life

1.    Active and Receptive Embrace of Grateful Surrendering

B.    The Political, Ecological, Psychological, and Spiritual Importance of This Transformation

C.   A Brief Survey of the Sufi-Islamic Understanding of Human Spiritual and Sufi History

1.    The best of creation

2.    "The fall"

3.    A brief history of Divine guidance on the path of surrendering: prophets and saints

4.    "The return"

5.    Macro and microcosmic process


D.   A System for Understanding the Dimensions of the Sufi-Islamic Viewpoint, encompassing:

1.    Knowledge (its sources)

2.    Reality (God, nature of existence [good & evil], planes of existence, afterlife)

3.    Primordial human nature, current human condition

4.    Consciousness

5.    Purpose of Life

6.    Methods: surrendering-both worldly (right speech and action) and religio-spiritual (5-pillars, sharî’ah, sunnah, Qur'anic recitation, tarîqa-mystical path) and their interrelationships


Schedule for Sunday, March 30

Focus on Psycho-spiritual Transformation

(Optional sunrise Qur'an recitation walk with Dr. Godlas)

A.    The Remembrance of La ilaha ill Allah and Allah

1. Shirk: ego (nafs) and devotion to "other than God" (ilah)

2. Qualities, names, signs, and theophanies of God

3. Surrendering from ilah to Allah

4. Surrendering and Taking Action: the two complementary ways of effort

B.   Four paths: parallel processes

1. Self-injurious path

2. Well-adjusted non-religious path

3. Religious path

4. The cyclical Sufi path beyond mediated and conditional surrender and love

   a. this moment

   b. unmediated and unconditional surrender and love

   c. ecstasy and passing away-annihilation in God (fana)

   d. subsisting through God (baqa)

C.    Life problems, feelings, and Sufi Solutions (the inner and the outer)

1.   Avoidances & facing life; facing, dancing with, and uniting with the Beloved

2.   Negative habits

3.   Desires

4.   Guilt, blame, & anger

5.   Anxiety, fear, & sadness

6.   Illness

7.   Problem solving & action

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