Suluk Academy

Suluk Academy2018-11-13T14:10:30+00:00

Class of 2020

New Class Enrolling for September 2018 – June 2020.

Suluk Academy offers intensive study in the teachings of the Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927). Since the program’s founding in 2003, 420 students have graduated worldwide, with something more than a conventional credential – a greater depth of self and insight into life.

Our upcoming Suluk class launches September 2018 and graduates June 2020, with eight in-person sessions being offered over the two years of the course. This particular class will take place at the Astana in Richmond, Virginia, with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan as the sole teacher.

If you would like to learn more about Suluk Academy, here are a few key details:

Over the course of two years, students, called Salik(a)s, deeply explore the fundamentals of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s school of Sufism under the rubric of Concentration, Contemplation, Meditation, and Realization.

Among the topics of study are the purification of body and mind, prayer, breath, the elements, light, the inner senses, the Chivalric Rules, the God Ideal, the Divine Names, the subtle centers, and the Spirit of Guidance.

A direct transmission is shared through a mix of practice, lecture, suhbat, and zikr, held within a container of spiritual companionship.

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

This particular class of Suluk Academy will be taught solely by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, the grandson of Hazrat Inayat Khan and current lineage carrier in the Inayati Order.

Pir Zia, familiarly known as Sarafil Bawa, is a noted teacher of Sufism. His teaching is informed by decades of immersion in the mystical legacy of Hazrat Inayat Khan and Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, focused scholarly research in religion, and wide transreligious spiritual engagement.

Pir Zia holds a Ph.D. in religion from Duke University and is the author of several books, including Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest (2012) and Mingled Waters: Sufism & the Mystical Unity of Religions (2017). For additional details on Pir Zia’s life story, please visit:

Ayeda Nizam un Nisa Husain

Ayeda Nizam un Nisa Husain is a Shaykha, Guide and Representative in the Inayati Order where she uses the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan to explain the poetry of Rumi, focusing on Sufism as a means of healing and evolving. A student of classical Chishti Sufism since 1988 and a devoted follower of the Inayati Order since 2004, she has led Inayati Order centers in Lahore, in Dubai and now in Oakville, Ontario where she lives.

A graduate of the first European Suluk class and a Knight of Purity, Nizam-un-Nisa has led Sufi retreats, taught Sufi meditation to Buddhist monks in Tokyo and been invited to the UN as part of an international delegation of spiritual leaders. A journalist by profession, she is currently working on setting the Urdu poetry of Hazrat Inayat Khan to music.

Raqib Jonah Yakel

Raqib Jonah Yakel was initiated into the Inayati Order by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan in 2000. Raqib was an active member of the Baraka Center in Washington, DC, for several years and is a graduate of both the Suluk Academy (Gulzar ‘15) and the Raphaelite Program with Himayat Inayati. Currently residing in the Kansas City metro area with his wife and two children, Raqib leads a Sufi Center and holds an active role in the growth and unfoldment of the Inayati Order’s Kinship Activity. Professionally, Raqib is a chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner.

He owns and operates Lifegate Health Center where he specializes in brain health and addiction empowering people to reclaim their health and wholeness allowing for the realization of greatness, the fulfillment of purpose, and the embodiment of peace, love, and joy in their lives.

Nirtana Gloria Deckro

Nirtana Gloria Deckro has been a traveler on the Sufi path for 35 years. She graduated Suluk in 2007 and then served as a mentor for the Alif and Andalib classes. Nirtana trained as a physician in England. After moving to Boston in 1982, marrying and starting a family, she spent eight years as Director of Training and Research for the Education Initiative of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. There she focused on training educators and health professionals in bringing meditation into work settings.

Nirtana then built her own healing practice, offering meditation training and spiritual counseling for individuals and groups. Nirtana served on the Board of the Inayati Order from 2007 to 2011 and as Executive Director of the Order from 2011 to 2014. She currently lives with her husband in Sharon MA. They have two adult children.

Suluk meets over the course of two years, four times a year with five days per session. This is a total of eight in-person sessions and 40 days of study. Dates for the upcoming class are:


Tuesday, September 11 – Sunday, September 16, 2018
Tuesday, December 4 – Sunday, December 9, 2018


Tuesday, March 5 – Sunday, March 10, 2019
Friday, June 7 – Wednesday, June 12, 2019 (begins on a Fri due to Ramadan)


Tuesday, September 10 – Sunday, September 15, 2019
Tuesday, December 3 – Sunday, December 8, 2019


Tuesday, March 3 – Sunday, March 8, 2020
Tuesday, June 2 – Sunday, June 7, 2020

All sessions arrive the first day in time for the program to begin at 7 pm. Departures are the last day after 12:30 pm. There is homework between sessions including reading and writing assignments, possible Zoom calls with one’s mentor group, and also a requirement to participate in a three-day, individual Suluk Retreat.

9:30 am Sitting Meditation
9:50 am Announcements
10:00 am Sarafil Bawa
11:15 am Tea Break
11:45 am Sarafil Bawa
1:00 pm Lunch
3:30 pm Mentor Groups*
5:00 pm Tea Break
5:30 pm Pods**
6:30 pm Community Dinner & Evening Program

*Mentor Groups are small groups of 10-12 people, led by a mentor, that Salik(a)s belong to throughout the course of the program. These groups are meant to provide a home base as one processes and assimilate the teachings.

**Pods are smaller, self-guided groups, involving 5-6 people from each Mentor Group. Pod mates support one another as spiritual friends throughout the program.

Suluk Academy has locations in the United States and Europe. Our next US class will be held at the Astana, the new headquarters of the Inayati Order in Richmond, Virginia.

While the Astana offers contemplative meeting space for up to 40 participants, we do not provide housing. Our Astana Web page provides details on housing options within a block or two of the Astana, as well as travel information, recommended restaurants, and other helpful resources.

Google Maps: 112 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Tuition for the full program is $5,400 and can be paid quarterly or annually ($675 a session or $2,700/year), with an initial first session deposit of $675 to guarantee your participation.

This includes all teachings, mentoring during and between sessions, five community meals and refreshments throughout each session, and the logistical support necessary to run the program.

Salik(a)s are responsible for their own travel, housing, and select meals (breakfast each day and at least five lunches or dinners per session), and should anticipate paying for a required three-day Suluk Retreat ($45-$125/day), and books assigned for reading assignments ($50-$100).

Expenses may be reasonably reduced by sharing – books, travel, housing, meals, and anything else that is needed.

Partial scholarships are available and can be requested as part of the application process. We invite all Salik(a)s and close friends to donate to the Suluk Scholarship Fund, via the Donate page of our website, selecting this option on the “Gift Choices” drop-down menu.

Our goal is to make Inayati Order programs accessible to all sincere seekers taking the steps necessary to enter and participate in a given program. Please always inquire about scholarship or work exchange opportunities.

Suluk Academy is designed for initiates within the Inayati Order, as well as devoted students of sister groups with membership in the Federation of the Sufi Message. If you are a student within the Inayati Order, it is highly recommended that you do the Suluk program sometime during the course of your Sufi studies.

If you are interested in applying for the upcoming North American class, with space for 40 students and launching September 2018, please share your information with us below. Upon receipt of your information, we will send additional details and a link to the application.

*If you are interested in Suluk Europe, which has a new class starting in 2020,  please email


Please contact us with any questions and we will happily guide you through the Suluk process by email,, or phone, 518-794-7834.


Sufis, instead of teaching the lesson of indifference, have taught the lesson of love and sympathy, and have called it the cultivation of the heart. In Sufi terminology, this is called Suluk, which means the divine manner, the loving manner. When a refined manner is directed by the heart quality, it becomes a loving manner, the manner of God, and all such attributes as gentleness, tolerance, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion spring from it. The great teachers and prophets did not become what they were by their miracles, their wonder-workings; what was most apparent in them was the loving manner.  – Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi Message Volume VIII (original edition) on “The Heart.”