Dr. Ali Allawi - Hyderkhana Discourses
Starting in the fall of 1995, a weekly series of talks on the "Inner Knowledge of Islam" were given by Ali Allawi at a London sufi zawiya. This centre was commonly known as the Hyderkhana, in honour of Haider and Qamar Naqvi, followers of Shaykh Fadhlalla al-Haeri, who hosted the meetings. The talks continued for over 30 weeks into 1996. They were normally held on Thursdays and followed the recitation of the wird and the evening salat. Each discourse lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The impact of these talks varied, depending on the predisposition (or "isti'dad") of each person to the specific content of the discourses. Most acknowledged it as a positive addition to the weekly dhikr cycle, and may have been uplifted by the more moral and didactic talks. Others responded well to the more gnostic and even metaphysical aspects of the great masters, and seemed keen to delve deeper into their inner meanings and substance.
As part of the infinite variety of Allah's mercy, the passage towards the beginning of the path comes for some through reflection (tafkir in the true sense). This is Allah's way of awakening those whose intellect (or aql) is perhaps asymmetrical with their other cognitive faculties. The path remains the same. Its purpose is Allah, and its beginning is a definitive station (or maqam) of true repentance (tawbah). Most arrive at this first station through a form of inspiration or ilham. But for others, it is only by using their rational faculties that they recognise that reason itself is limited when it confronts the higher realms of existence. The realm of the unseen can only be broached by foregoing reason. While fixed at the boundaries of the tangible, the measurable and the sentient, intellect can only cast a limited light severely restricted in its range onto the realm of the unseen. It is as a lighthouse throwing its beam to tentatively delineate the shoreline of an impenetrable ocean. If you want to embark on this ocean, then you must change your craft. At some point in this journey towards the beginning of the path-a sort of no-man's-land- the other, subtler faculties in human beings become ignited and take over. The light of the intellect, through its own intellectuality, hands over to an awakened heart, which is a more assured guide to the wonders and perils of the limitless ocean.
These were the purposes of the talks. They were not designed for an academic audience but for those true seekers, who could benefit from the unfolding of the wisdom of the masters in their own spiritual evolution.