The Princess Spy:
Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan
Hazrat Inayat Khan and Sufism
A. Hazrat Inayat Khan
was Hazrat Inayat Khan. He was born on July 5th, 1882 to the proud
parents Khatija-Bibi and Rahmat Khan. He had two younger brothers and
a cousin who lived with the family. The family grew up with two different
cultures: Hindu and Muslim. To justify ideas from both cultures, a
natural merger was adopted. Rahmat Khan, Hazrat's father, came from
a Sufi tradition. Sufism was the religion which merged the Hindu and
Muslim ideas together. Hazrat became fascinated with the religion.
He was very dedicated, studious, and reflective. So much so that
Hazrat's father, Rahmat became a little concerned about his eldest son, but
Hazrat's dedication was rewarded. Khwaja Syed Mohammed Abu Hashim Madani,
the Chief of the Sufis, took Hazrat under his tutelage. Hazrat would
eventually become the head of a Sufi order with the mission of uniting the
East and the West through the harmony of music.
| A young Hazrat Inayat Khan
|Hazrat Inayat Khan playing
B. What is Sufism?
So what is
Sufism? Understanding this unique religion is one of the keys to understanding
the character and mental make-up of not only Hazrat, but also of his daughter
Noor. Then what is sufism? Sufism teaches that everything is
connected. For example, people should not separate themselves into separate
little groups based on differences of opinion or dogma. People should
accept differences in belief. A Sufi is one seeking to remove the false
self and discover God within their own lives. A Sufi seeks happiness,
illumination, and harmony for themselves. They believe the ultimate
goal is to practice love towards all things and to lose one's selfishness.
C. Inayat Khan's contributions to
the Sufi order
D. Hazrat Inayat Khan marries Ora Ray Baker
Hazrat Inayat Khan
Throughout his adult life, Hazrat Inayat Khan went from place to
place, mainly in the Western world, establishing new Sufi movements in different
countries. The fruits of his labor include the International Sufi Movement
and the Sufi Order International-North America. Both organizations are
in existence today. The International Sufi Movement maintains a web
page at this link. This
sect of Sufism currently maintains a website at this link. One source
for resources and more information about the Sufi movement is the Wisdom's
Child bookstore. To visit the Wisdom's Child bookstore, click here.
Ora Ray Baker was born on May 8th, 1890 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
She was the niece of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science
religion. She was also the niece of Senator O'Brien and came from a
fairly wealthy family. Many members of her family were lawyers.
Ora Ray Baker
(Photo taken after her marriage to Hzrat Inayat Khan)
Hazrat fell in love and
eventually married Ora Ray Baker. She became Begum Inayat Khan. No
one either in Hazrat's or Ora Ray's family approved of the marriage. Hazrat
and Ora Ray waited several years to get married. They waited in the
hopes of winning their families' approvals. It did not happen. Finally,
Hazrat and Ora Ray were married in the civil register office of St. Giles,
London, on March 20th, 1913. The couple were living in London at the
time. Soon after their marriage, Hazrat, his wife, his brothers, and
another guest or two moved to Moscow where they met Count Serge Tolstoy. Hazrat
and Begum were living in Moscow during December 1913 when Begum gave birth
to the couple's first child, a daughter named Noor.
Hazrat and Begum Inayat Khan