Description and History

The word Suluk means the journey, but it also means the manner of the journey, the art of journeying. And so Suluk means etiquette, a fine manner, because for the spiritual seeker on this path the journey itself is the destination. The journey is not a means to an end. The journey is the end. The One whom we seek is present at every way station along the way. So our manner of journeying must reflect the awareness of the presence of the divine in every moment.

This is not to say that we will not err, we will not make mistakes; we are human, it is natural that we will miss the mark. But we seek to learn from our mistakes; we seek always to increase our quality of presence, of awareness of our selves, awareness of our inner condition, awareness of each other, so that our manner can more and more reflect this greater, finer, deeper awareness.
— Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

The Suluk Academy's programs are spiritual training courses offered by the Sufi Order International (SOI). The Academy provides an opportunity for Sufi initiates to participate in a focused study of the essential perspectives and spiritual practices of the SOI Esoteric School. The Suluk Academy's form and substance derive from the mystical teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Inayat Khan's distinctive approach to spiritual development emphasizes the soul's natural unfoldment in life through the cultivation of balance and integration.

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A Path of Spiritual Travel

We are here not to add to the sum of our knowledge, nor to collect more facts, but to undergo a different kind of experience, an experience of travel, a journey within, moving through the terrain, the landscape within our own mind, within our own heart, within our own soul, to return to the center of ourselves.
— Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

The Suluk Academy is a school for Sufi studies that provides sincere seekers the opportunity to experience the fundamental practices and wisdom of the Sufi tradition, especially as expressed through the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Starting with the Core Training, participants are introduced to and immersed in practices including meditation, concentration, and prayer, which emphasize Sufi concepts of breath, sacred sound, and light. Participants develop fluency with the teachings which results in personal transformation and a deepening of heart-centered relationships with others.  

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The foundation of Suluk is the Core Training — a two-year progressive program of study currently offered in the U.S. and Europe. Graduate Studies, also offered in both the U.S and in Europe, are available to those who have successfully completed the Core Training. Please visit our Programs page for more more details.

The Core Training requires a significant commitment from participants in both time and finances. As it is important to make sure the training is a good fit for both the applicant and the Academy, a comprehensive application is required. The application also gives the Admissions Committee background information for setting up the mentor and pod groups in order to give each class a strong foundation on which to build for their studies. It also ensures that the applicant’s guide is aware of the application.

Each Core Training location (Suluk at the Abode, Suluk Europe, and Suluk in the West) has its own application process, although essentially the same requirements. You can learn more about applying to one of these programs by exploring the upcoming new Core Training courses. You may also find answers to some of your questions in the Applications section of our FAQ.

It is by the inner life that self-realization is achieved.
— Hazrat Inayat Khan

Historical Roots

Suluk Academy was founded in 2002 by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, the spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International. The Academy’s guiding vision derives from the spiritual legacy of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), the mystical philosopher and musician who gave a modern expression to the timeless and universal wisdom of Sufism. The foundation of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s movement was an esoteric school in which initiates were guided through progressive stages of spiritual development. His methods and prescriptions form the core of the curriculum of the Suluk Academy.

Sufism, therefore, is the process of making life natural.... By this process of Sufism one realizes one's own nature, one's true nature.... Sufism means to know one's true being, to know the purpose of one's life and to know how to accomplish that purpose.
— Hazrat Inayat Khan

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The Legacy of Hazrat Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan came to the West from India at the beginning of the twentieth century to cast the teachings of the Sufis in a form uniquely suited to Western ears. He spoke of the Sufi Message of “love, harmony and beauty,” and taught the unity of religious ideals — the thread of truth woven through all the world’s religious traditions. He founded the Sufi Order in London in 1917 to perpetuate and manifest this message, calling for the awakening of all of humanity to the divinity within.

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s work was continued by his son Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1916–2004), who updated his father’s message in the idioms of contemporary psychology and physics.  A renowned teacher of meditation and a senior statesman in the sphere of interreligious dialogue, Pir Vilayat in 1975 founded the Abode of the Message, a retreat center and land-based community that is now the headquarters of the Suluk Academy.

Zia Inayat-Khan, the son and successor of Pir Vilayat, became the spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International in 2004. In addition to the interfaith mystical training he received from his father, Pir Zia studied Buddhism under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His training in Sufism is in the classical tradition of the Chishtiya. His immersion in both traditional Sufi teachings and innovative, universalist approaches make him uniquely suited to articulate the beauty of the Sufi path in a Western context. He has become a much sought after teacher in North America, Europe and India.

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Language category: English

A Living Heart

What I really love about Suluk Academy is that it’s the opportunity to work with a very dynamic process, and very beautiful people who are dedicated to the spiritual life—who are willing to go through inner transformation.

 — Aziza Scott