Pir Moineddin assumed leadership of the Ruhaniat in 1971 upon the death of Murshid Samuel Lewis, after the latter designated him as his spiritual successor. Continuing his teacher’s vision, Pir Moineddin oversaw the spread of the Sufi Message of Love, Harmony, and Beauty through spiritual practice, the Dances of Universal Peace, the Healing work, SoulWork counseling, and conscious community involvement. The Ruhaniat grew from some 150 people to a worldwide network of Sufi communities throughout forty-two states, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Kuwait, The Philippines, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
During his tenure as spiritual director of the Ruhaniat, Moineddin met a number of challenges faced not only by the Ruhaniat but also by other spiritual organizations that came out of the 1960s and 70s. Many of these challenges centered on issues of spiritual authority and accountability. With regard to the former, Moineddin shepherded the individuation of the Ruhaniat from the Sufi Order International in 1977, affirming the practice of Murshid SAM that the living relationship between Sufi mureed and guide was more important than any attempt to impose organizational rules on the relationship. With regard to the latter, Moineddin instituted ethical guidelines and an ethics procedure in the Ruhaniat in the early 1980s and required all initiators to have an active supervisor or “check-in” person, as was the practice of Murshid Samuel Lewis in his own life. Both of the later developments were controversial at the time, although later adopted by many spiritual groups.At the same time, Moineddin attempted to follow the vision of Murshid SAM by increasing the importance of collaborative leadership, or as Murshid SAM put it, “the group-unit becoming the nexus of spiritual authority.” In this regard, Moineddin decentralized leadership from a small group in the San Francisco Bay area, and encouraged various concentrations like Dances of Universal Peace and the Healing Ritual to flourish under their own vision and energy. With regards to this, Moineddin saw wisdom born of necessity as well as wisdom for its own sake. In a brief haiku, he expressed the former, and in an aphorism from Job’s Tears the latter:
From Job’s Tears:
I am not Murshid; we are Murshid.
I do not have all the answers; we
may have the answers.
On the level of organizational structure, Moineddin reorganized Ruhaniat governance from a Board of Trustees and Jamiat Khas centered in the San Francisco Bay area to ones composed of representatives from throughout the USA and, more recently, the world. In addition, along with Pir Hidayat Inayat Khan of the International Sufi Movement, Moineddin cultivated the foundation and establishment of the Federation of the Sufi Message, which now includes a number of other lineages of Sufi work that stem from the inspiration of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Pir Moineddin was a great uniter, a man of tremendous heart and great humor who worked steadfastly on behalf of the greater good of all, even in the face of his own health concerns.
Frail but determined, after complete kidney failure followed by several of years of thrice-weekly hemodialysis, and a successful kidney transplant in February of 1981, Moineddin moved to Maui, Hawai’i in August of that year, to rejuvenate his body, mind, and spirit, and married Mei-Ling Chang of Ha’iku, Maui, an energetic woman of Hawai’ian/Chinese descent. Mei-Ling supplied Moineddin with the emotional fuel he needed to heal and to carry out his destiny and purpose. He survived with the help of an additional kidney transplant 10 years later.
With his personal health concerns continually uncertain, he gave all he could to those of the community, who asked for and sought out his counsel and guidance. For years he taught meditative practice and helped people uncomplicate their lives, by offering fresh and noble angles from which to view life situations. His Midwest upbringing laid a foundation that made strangers feel like friends. His easygoing sense of humor and “don’t tell me, show me” attitude challenged and inspired friends and students to uphold their integrity. His truthful feedback and simple common sense wisdom helped farmers, business people, doctors, lawyers, and politicians alike become better people, content within themselves and their community.
From Job’s Tears:
The breath is enough,
The heart is enough,
The eye is enough,
The atmosphere is enough.
One of his great contributions was the emphasis on what he dubbed Soulwork, a psychospiritual counseling approach that promotes clarity within an individual so that one may heal one’s wounds and unite one’s struggling internal personal identities. His Soulwork training was inspired by the late Rev. Frida Waterhouse and is continued under the guidance of Murshida Mariam Baker.
During the last five years of his life, Moineddin founded the Southwest Sufi Community on 1900 acres outside Silver City, New Mexico. The SSC comprises Khankah Noor Inayat, a residential community; Voice of the Turtle Retreat Center; and Bear Creek Nature Preserve. He described this community with the following statement:
As we prepare to come together for this experience in holistic living, remember that we are living in a time of rapid change and intensive growth—a process which brings out the worst and best in each one of us.
Everywhere people are challenged to stick to their ideals in a world of fearful emotions which too often lead to abusive words and violent acts, even in our own homes. Our work is to root out these imbalances in ourselves, so that our hearts can become havens of safety, peace, and refuge for each other.
Practicing thus, we develop individual spiritual capacities which, when transposed to the level of intentional community, create greater potential for harmlessness, compassion, and loving kindness to arise planet-wide.
Moineddin passed from this world on February 27 2001 after several weeks of illness. Friends and family from all over the world held vigil during his final days, and beyond.
In one of his letters he writes:
“To each of you I offer these words of counsel:
Deepen your compassion.
Love the wounded places in you that need healing.
Open yourself to the grace of illumination.
Give freely of your joy.
Share your neighbor’s burden.
Through all these avenues, discover your soul.”
Throughout his tenure as spiritual director of the Ruhaniat, Moineddin worked on the commentaries of Murshid SAM and Hazrat Inayat Khan. He completed a series of commentaries on Hazrat Inayat Khan’s papers on “Moral Culture” as well as a commentary begun by Murshid SAM entitled “Instructions for the Pir.” An excerpt by Moineddin from the latter concludes this brief biography. His poetic works, encompassed in the collections Job's Tears and The Color of Her Hair, were published in 2007 in book form entitled The Gift of Life and available from the Ruhaniat. Moineddin’s correspondence is also a treasure of spiritual wisdom, which, inshallah, will be published in future years.
-- Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, Mariam Baker, Malik Cotter
Bowl of Saki (Hazrat Inayat Khan): The great teachers of humanity become streams of love.
Tasawwuf (Hazrat Moineddin Jablonski): The Pir does not have to become a great teacher, but the Pir does have to become a stream of love. Without the capacity to become a stream of love, one is not properly a Pir.
Now, how does one become a stream of love? One becomes a stream of love by immersing oneself in the living waters of spiritual realization. And for a Pir this realization begins with fana-fi-Rassoul, the effacement in the spirit of one or more of the great teachers of humanity, which can include the Christ Child and the Divine Mother.
The Pir, as a human being, will have frailties and fallibilities. Thus, the Pir will have a divine exemplar or series of divine exemplars toward whom to look as beacons of realization and behavior. The Tasawwuri Walks shared by Murshid Samuel Lewis are particularly helpful in attuning one to the greater rhythm and being of the Messengers of God.
The specific portion of humanity assisted by the Pir is the body of mureeds entrusted to his or her care. Care is the operative word here. For without care, there is no love. The Pir is entrusted to love and care for the mureeds as if they were members of one’s immediate family. A beautiful similitude of the caring attitude of the Pir can be found in the Biblical phrase, “And there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.”
All of the preceding lessons in this series emphasize the importance of the love-element in the work of the Pir. This love can come through a kind word, and it can come through a heartfelt silence. This love can come through the glance, through the breath, through the atmosphere. The heart of the Pir, having been proven through many tests of loss and pain, will be large enough to accommodate the sorrows of the mureeds, will be living enough to sympathize with their needs, will be strong enough to help them bear their burdens, will be peaceful enough to transform their losses into new beginnings.
For those on the Path of the Pir, it is well to remember the words of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan: “Our work is for eternity.”