Dear Companions on the Path,
I am writing to share with you a piece of wonderful news: The Inayati Order, North America, has a new Headquarters!
Two years ago it became clear that it was important for The Inayati Order to free itself from its time-consuming responsibilities toward The Abode of the Message and allow the Abode to become self-directed. At the same time, I felt the “pull of the future” drawing me to establish my work in a new and more populous and diverse setting.
While considering a long list of cities, my family and I took a road trip last year, driving from New York to Georgia and back. Richmond, Virginia, was not on our list, but on the return journey we felt compelled to stop there. We stayed at a Holiday Inn, and when we stepped outside of the hotel and looked around, something felt very right in our bones.
I communicated my enthusiasm to the Board, and Alia and some of the members of the Board visited Richmond and experienced a similar sense of the rightness of it. The search for a Headquarters building now began. Alia and the Board (especially Fazl and Roshan Peay) put in a lot of work, and at last a splendid building was found. When all signs were positive, my family and I went to Richmond to see the building. Lo and behold, we discovered it was diagonally across from the Holiday Inn where we first arrived in Richmond and felt intuitively we had come to the right place!
The building is a historical brick edifice that has been beautifully renovated inside. It has room for a reception, a meeting space for approximately forty people, an archive, offices, and breakout areas. It is situated on a quiet street not far from the city center.
It was by virtue of a generous low-interest loan from friends within the Order that The Inayati Order was able to purchase the building. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have supported this grace-filled move. Alhamdulillah.
Our new Headquarters in Richmond will be called the Astana, which means, “the Threshold.” Our intention is that it be the beating heart of our order; a magnetic and energetic center; its outer physicality reflecting our inner quest for harmony. Our hope is to fill it with an atmosphere of hospitality, with music, visiting scholars, a shared commitment to matters of the heart, and abiding adab.
I look forward to seeing you all there as soon as you are able to come and visit.
The Astana Key Details
The Astana may be found at 112 E Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia, between the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and downtown. A few key features:
- The Astana will serve as the Inayati Order’s North American Headquarters
- It is a historic brick, three story building, built in 1856 (3828 sq ft)
- The property has been fully renovated and is a mix of 19th Century charm and clean, modern aesthetic
- The grounds include a private gate, courtyard and two-story carriage house
- There are also four parking spaces in the back
- The Astana will include a reception & sales area, archive, library, meeting space for 35-40 people, an audio & video room, two private offices, one large open office, two kitchenettes, one full kitchen, and three bathrooms, one on each floor
- Pir Zia and his family will live about 20 minutes away in Henrico County
The Astana Programs
- We will move to Richmond the first week of July, right after Season of the Rose at the Abode.
- Our first event at the Astana will be Wisdom of the Prophets: Sufism & Christianity, November 2-5, 2017.
- Beginning in 2018, Pir Zia will teach two classes (Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings) a week except while he is traveling.
- Suluk Academy’s next two-year course will be held at the Astana, with Pir Zia as the sole faculty member. Launch date is September 2018 with applications available later this fall and due next spring.
- Various other programs will be held at the Astana throughout the year.
Additional details about new staff positions, coming events, and overall move logistics will be shared in future emails. If you would like to support the creation of our new headquarters in Richmond, donations are most appreciated and can be made here. We hope to see you in Richmond!