Khidmat Spiritual Work-Study Program

Air, earth, water, and fire are God’s servants. To us they seem lifeless, but to God living.

– Jalal ad-Din Rumi

The Program

Welcome to the Khidmat Program at the Abode of the Message, an Eco-Sufi Village in the Berkshires of upstate New York!

Khidmat (“service”) is performed by khadims and the above quote indicates even the elements – earth, water, fire, air, aether – are all considered servants of the Divine. Service, therefore, is the cornerstone of not only all creation but of the Khidmat Program.

This program is an immersion into Eco-Sufism while living in the heart of a 300 acre spiritual community and retreat center.  The Abode has a Mountain Camp and Sanctuary, sauna, library, farm, pond, herb garden, bookstore, free store, and nature trails that all may enjoy.


Village Visits

We invite prospective khadims to attend an Eco-Sufi Village Visit at the Abode (dates listed below) as an initial point of entry. These weekends are an immersion into life at the Abode and happen monthly so there are plenty of opportunities to explore. One may come in March and decide to become a khadim in August, or one may come in April and decide to stay – regardless, the Village Visit is a prerequisite entry point to any interested in the Khidmat Program.


Upcoming Village Visit Dates 2017:

  • June 23-25
  • July 28-30
  • August 25-27
  • September 22-24
  • October 27-29


Following the Village Visit, we begin an Eco-Sufi biorhythm using the new edition: Abode Re-vision (coming in 2017) of The Holy Mysteries of the Five Elements: An Eco-Sufi Handbook by Sufi teacher and Inayati Order head, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan.

Within the Eco-Sufi training, the Abode has daily prayers at 7am, 12pm, and 5pm, weekly classes on Tuesday and Thursday, weekly Universal Worship on Sunday, and monthly Dances of Universal Peace. There is a weekly khidmat class and a weekly khidmat circle. Other opportunities for spiritual engagement occur through Abode programs, weekly meetings with mentors, and community-created events and explorations. Structured spiritual study is approximately 10 hours of the Khidmat Program requirement.



Khadims get weekly team assignments in areas like programs, grounds, housekeeping, the farm, the kitchen, the Mountain Camp, maintenance, or other projects at that point in time. This diversity of assignment grows each khadim’s understanding of that work area and also expands skills across a wide swath of work. This work is for 25 hours per week.

All Abode residents also offer 3 hours of “karma yoga” to the village (service in the kitchen or scullery).  As life together is an essential piece to dwelling in this Eco-Sufi Village, all khadims share one space together – Mughni (“the dwelling place”) – and create a container of spiritual activity and work on the inner life through outer engagement.



To join the 2017 Khidmat Program, you must attend one of the Village Visits. Once attended, you may stay or may come back for a future session within 2017. Khadims may stay for multiple sessions and are encouraged to do so, with the understanding that the first month is an exploration period, the end of which may mean parting of ways, or may mean a deepening relationship. Regardless, after one month, there is a feedback process with the Residence Committee.


To apply for the Khidmat Program, CLICK HERE. The application asks for 3 references and we do complete a background check for everyone on campus.  The application process, from application submission to a final decision, may take a few weeks.  We collect $40 upon arrival as an application and processing fee.

Further inquiries can be addressed to the Khidmat Coordinator at

Previous khadims may re-apply for khidmat or apply for the Abode’s Hands-to-Heart Program.

Photo: Hilary Benas