Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and his family recently returned to his home at The Abode. They spent a year abroad in Suresnes, France at Fazal Manzil. Fazal Manzil was Pir Zia's grandfather's, Hazrat Inayat-Khan's, home. The Abode interviewed Pir Zia to share his experience abroad and upon his return, and to welcome him back to the Abode.
The Abode: Has living abroad changed your perspective on your view of the Abode and its activities and if so, how?
Pir Zia: My family and I spent the year at Fazal Manzil in Suresnes, France. In the 1920s Suresnes was still relatively undeveloped and the Sufi land around Fazal Manzil was considerable. There was a large house for visiting mureeds, a lecture hall, and a spacious garden where Murshid intended to build an interfaith temple. Suresnes was, at the time, the "heartquarters" of the Order. After the war, the municipality expropriated most of the land, leaving only Fazal Manzil. Spending time there has reminded me of how the Abode has become, in some ways, what Suresnes once was.
The Abode: When you were abroad, did you have any new inspiration about the value and future of the Abode?
Pir Zia: I think we all know at some level that change is in the air. Some of the most fundamental premises, not only of the U.S. economy, but also of the world economy, are coming into serious question. In the coming years and decades, oil - the world's prime power source - will become scarcer and more difficult to extract until it dries up altogether. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is already too full of CO2, and weather patterns are changing. We need to reduce energy consumption and develop solar, wind, and other green sources. We need to learn to live from the land sustainably. We need to shift from competition and consumption to community and contemplation. I believe that the Abode has the potential to be at the forefront of this shift.
The Abode: When you were in Suresnes, you lived in your grandfather's home. How was that for you?
Pir Zia: Fazal Manzil is a place of great baraka. I hope all mureeds will have the opportunity at some point in their lives to visit the house and to meditate in the Oriental Room and the Universel. All are welcome.
The Abode: Are you and your family happy to be back home? What do you all enjoy most about the Abode?
Pir Zia: It's wonderful to be back and to see so many good friends and neighbors. The landscape is profoundly alive - I think it lives within me as tangibly as I live within it. The Meditation Hall is a space where I feel the strong "incense" of decades of prayers and meditations.
What did my children miss most? Probably the woodland creatures. Almost every day a band of wild turkeys troops by our house, and at night we hear owls and coyotes.
The Abode: Now that you have built a bridge between Sufi Order International Europe and Sufi Order International USA, should we expect more exchanges between the two communities?
Pir Zia: Wherever I go I meet Sufi seekers who hold the sincere hope of visiting the Abode one day. I hope that their wish will be fulfilled.
The Abode: Anything else you would like to share with us?