Retreats, Special Events and Webinars


Classes and Workshops

Sufi Community Gatherings

COMING Friday September 21, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m Webinar 

Tales from Muhammad Jamal: Personal Encounters with Remarkable Teachers

Only one person was both a Representative of Pir Vilayat Khan and a Shaykh of Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi: Muhammad Jamal Gregory Blann, who thus unites the Indian and Turkish streams of Sufism represented by our center. He studied Kaballah with Jewish Renewal Movement co-founder Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and made zikr with our spiritual grandfather, Grand Shaykh Muzaffer Ashki of Istanbul. All these teachers reached inward to mystical heights and also outward in ecumenical peace-building across religions. Come hear the stories from this gifted storyteller in an atmosphere of intimate friendship.  (He’s attending through the magic of the internet; if you’re far away, you can too!) Ya Jami’! O Gatherer, please gather your Friends!

You are also most welcome to join us in person at the Light Upon Light Sufi Center as we connect with Muhammad Jamal on Video Webinar.

Classes & Workshops


Mining the Jewels, Sewing the Quilt: A Deep Encounter with the Qur’an, A four part series

Look for it again in Fall 2018

What does it mean that, “Allah is the Light of the heaven and the earth,” or that, ‘You cause the day to enter the night and the night to enter the day, bring forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living’? What are “the keys of the Unseen?” or the “Doors of Subtle Grace,” and why is it that, “Surely with difficulty comes ease”? An exploratory journey into beloved Qur’anic passages and the endless bounties and treasures therein. We’ll draw on Physicians of the Heart, the Morning Litany of Pir Nureddin Jerrahi, Shaykh Nur’s Three Days of Prayer and al-Qushayri’s Subtle Allusions, an unmatched collection of ancient Sufi commentaries. Adding the lights of your own experience, guidance, and intuition, you’ll begin your patchwork quilt of blessing, support and sustenance. Even a drop from the Luminous Ocean is still the Ocean!

This is a four part series, with each session lasting 90 minutes.  While it’s best if you can come to all four, you  are welcome to attend however many you can.

Note from the presenter, Karima Vargas Bushnell:  “I’m excited and want to tell you a more! Those attending will each assemble a metaphorical ‘patchwork quilt’ of phrases, verses and chapters with colors and shades of meaning that are personally beautiful and meaningful to you, with ‘fabric’ strong and durable enough to help you through the tough times. The jewel-mining metaphor says the same thing in a different way: Lovely, gleaming treasures of insight await you in the inexhaustible mine of the Qur’an.  

It’s a door into the Mother of the Book (Umm al-Katab), which contains all the  holy scriptures as well as what Hazrat Inayat Khan calls “The Sacred Manuscript of Nature.” The Qur’an says, “We will show them our signs on the horizons and in themselves until they believe.” Believe what? In this case, that life has infinite, unfolding meaning, present everywhere and available to you in every moment. This is a treasure hunt for love and wisdom!

Your goals: One ‘Compass Phrase’ to memorize, one long verse or short chapter to memorize, and a journal of your reflections, questions and experiences. Come and explore!”

Karima Vargas Bushnell (M.A. Intercultural Relations) stepped on the spiritual path at age five and has studied and practiced world religions all her life. She’s a 24-year Jerrahi dervish of Shaykh Nur and Shaykha Fariha, Circle Guide (Khalifa) for the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Circle of Ishq (Divine Passionate Love), and has begun studying with Physicians of the Heart co-author Imam Bilal Hyde.


Community Gatherings

Please join us for Zikr, Dances of Universal Peace, Potlucks, Musician Gatherings, Movie & Popcorn Nights, Relaxed Sufi Study Group, Sharing Spiritual Practices and more.  Check here or on the calendar to see what’s coming up next, or sign up for our email newsletter.

It’s good to be together!

Five Hour Zikr – coming in the New Year!

“Any zikr less than five hours is just fooling around.”  We don’t remember which Shaykh said this but it has inspired us to present:
The No Fooling Around Zikr!     Which will take, you guessed it, five hours.

Hakim is just beginning work on this, structuring it around Ibn Al ‘Arabi’s “Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection” which some of us have been doing for a while. This longer form will allow us to unpack each section in depth.
Hakim’s plan is to do it twice on his own, then consult with his teachers, Imam Bilal and Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, and with their advice and input do it twice more before presenting it publicly.  Hakim is always hungry for intense experience.  This feels like it could be enough…  for awhile.  Karima is in enthusiastic accord.  This will probably be ready late February or March. We will let you know as soon as we have a solid date.


For the Dances of Universal Peace schedule, you can check our calendar or the meetup group, where you can also find additional Dances of Universal Peace going on in the Twin Cities.  Click HERE for the Dances Meetup

Retreats & Special Events


On May 4 – 6th, 2018, we welcome back Muhammad Jamal, author of The Garden of Mystic Love: Sufism and the Turkish Tradition and Lifting the Boundaries: Muzaffer Efendi and the Transmission of Sufism to the West, whose forthcoming book, Open Spirituality, which focuses on the universal approach of three of his spiritual teachers, Pir Vilayat Khan, Lex Hixon and Reb Zalman Schatcher-Shalomi.

A lovely, deep and experiential workshop is planned,  so please Save the Dates!  The retreat will be held at the Sufi Center – Friday evening, most of the day Saturday, and part of Sunday (Cost, details and registration will be added soon).

We’re also planning to host a zikr on Saturday evening, free of charge; all are welcome!


We love to host or tell our community about retreats like some of those held in the last few years:

Sacred Presence, held in Rochester a couple of years ago with Guest presenters Imam Bilal and Murshida Tasnim Fernandez, where we experienced  beautiful Dhikr – the music & prayer ceremony of Divine remembrance, Dances of Universal Peace & Sufi Teachings.

Imam Bilal Hyde, founder of the Nurani Institute, is a profound scholar, powerful dhikr leader and co-author of Physicians of the Heart: Sufi Guidebook to the 99 Beautiful Names Of Allah. Samples of his events include, “The Heart of Love’s Secret Ecstasy,” “Reintroduction to the 100 Steps of Love on the Mystic Path of Sufism,” “Arabic Grammar and Pronunciation and Quranic Tafsir” (insightful interpretation) and “Dhikr of the Two Niles”. Let’s see what he has for us this time!

Rev. Tasnim Fernandez, co-founder of the Center for the Dances of Universal Peace, taps a lifetime’s immersion in world religions to guide, teach, and train Dance leaders, Sufi students and Universal Worship ministers. A Representative, Center Leader, Healing Conductor and Siraj (senior minister) with Inayati Order, she is also director of the Church of All and a trained semazan in the Mevlevi Whirling Dervish tradition. 

Mysticism Retreat with Rabbi Gersholm in beautiful Sandstone , MN near the Kettle River

Opening Door, a lovely experiential workshop  with Muhammad Jamal, author of The Garden of Mystic Love: Sufism and the Turkish Tradition and Lifting the Boundaries: Muzaffer Efendi and the Transmission of Sufism to the West, whose forthcoming book, Open Spirituality, focuses on the universal approach of three of his spiritual teachers, Pir Vilayat Khan, Lex Hixon and Reb Zalman Schatcher-Shalomi.

We plan to invite more wonderful teachers and spiritual guides to be with us either in person or virtually so please check back here or on our calendar often!

In addition to retreats, we also host Ramadan gatherings, and other occasional special event community gatherings.