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Beshara (Community)

A Sufi organization devoted to the study of the writings of Muhyiddin Ibn'Arabi, a twelfth-century mystic born in Andalucia, Spain. The community was founded in 1971 at Swyre Farm, Gloucestershire, England, and has since moved to the center that once housed John G. Bennett 's International Academy for Continuous Education at Sherborne, also in Gloucester-shire. United around the basic questions of identity and purpose in life and accepting the absolute unity of existence, Beshara offers courses on the fundamental principles necessary to complete self-knowledge and awareness of reality. The center at Sherborne also holds an Open Day, as well as a regular "Zikr," or meeting, devoted to discovering divine purpose in life.

Affiliated groups emerged throughout the United Kingdom and were opened in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. Beshara came to the United States in 1976 when a center was opened in Berkeley, California. The group's strength remains in the San Francisco Bay Area. The center publishes a Beshara News Bulletin and may be contacted at Chisholme House, Roberton, Nr Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland TD9 7PH. Website:


al-Arabi, Ibn. Sufis of Andalucia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.

Landau, Ron. The Philosophy of Ibn 'Arabi. London: Allen and Unwin, 1959.

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Beshara. Sūfī-inspired movement, started in London c.1970. The name of the founder, a Turk, is unknown, and while members stress that there is no leader as such, Beshara teaching is grounded in the writings of the mystics Ibn Arabi (1165–1240) and Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207–73).

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