Inayat-Khan, Vilayat 1916-2004

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INAYAT-KHAN, Vilayat 1916-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born June 19, 1916, in London, England; died June 17, 2004, in Paris, France. Religious leader and author. Inayat-Khan was the leader of the mystical sect of Islam called the Sufi Order International. The son of the previous leader of this religious group, Pir Hazrat Inayat-Khan, who had moved to England from India and helped establish Sufism in the West, the younger Inayat-Khan studied philosophy at Paris University, where he earned a B.A., as well as receiving a musical education in the cello at the Sorbonne. As it had been his father's intention to groom his son for the succession, Inayat-Khan next studied Sufism under various Sufi masters in India and the Middle East. With the onset of World War II, Inayat-Khan, being a British citizen, served in the Royal Navy aboard a minesweeper and participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. In 1957, he took over as president of the Sufi Order International from his family, which had been running the organization since his father's death in the 1920s. As the order's leader, he helped gain followers in Europe and, in the 1960s, reestablished its foothold in the United States, where it had been lost due to a leadership dispute after World War II. In 1977 he founded the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, which organizes educational programs in holistic health. One of Inayat-Khan's most important contributions to Sufi mysticism, however, has been his many books on the subject, which include such titles as Toward the One (1974), Transformation (1980), and Awakening: A Sufi Experience (1999).



Religious Leaders of America, second edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.


Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2004, p. B11.

New York Times, June 22, 2004, p. A21.

Washington Post, June 28, 2004, p. B4.

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Inayat-Khan, Vilayat 1916-2004

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