Travelling towards the Truth,
the self seeking the Light.

Not the light of the stars
nor that of the moon.
Greater even than
the splendour of the sun.

Slowly the self breaks its fetters.
The moment of return has arrived.

The “Bird of Paradise”
rises from the carpet,
soars through the firmament
and onwards!

To the Source of All Light.

And truly,
the sky is not the limit
for this yearning bird-flower self!


 

AMATULLAH ARMSTRONG CHISHTI


Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

Amatullah Armstrong Chishti

 

 

“And truly,

the sky is not the limit

for this yearning bird-flower self!”

 

 

Email: sabramat@yahoo.com

Website: http://amatullah.zikr.org

 

 

***

 

 

Born in Sydney , Australia .

 

1971: Studied and awarded Diploma of Art Education, East Sydney Technical College

 

1992: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT: An Australian Woman's Spiritual Journey Within the Traditions published by A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

1993: THE WATER OF LIFE: A Traditional Story for Our Time privately published in Australia

 

1995: LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY and SUFI TERMINOLOGY (AL-QAMUS AL-SUFI): The Mystical Language of Islam published by A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia

* Second Printing AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT , A.S.Noordeen

 

1996-97: Postgraduate Degree, Visual Arts Department, Academy of Arts , Queensland University of Technology . Thesis titled: THE ARTIST TRANSFORMED: Sufi Views on the Development of the Self and Art

 

1996-97: SUFI TERMINOLOGY translated into Indonesian and published by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia under the title KUNCI MEMASUKI DUNIA TASAWUF: Khazanah Istilah Sufi

2001: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT and SUFI TERMINOLOGY published by Ferozsons, Lahore , Pakistan

 

2001: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Russian, to be published in South Africa and freely distributed to the people of Daghestan , Russia

 

2002: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT published in South Africa by Iqra Agencies.

* Lecture Tour of South Africa and Botswana on invitation of the descendants of Soofie Saheb (RA).

 

2003: THE WATER OF LIFE and LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY translated into Russian.

 

2004: Completion of THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers

* Third printing AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT , A.S.Noordeen

 

2005: THE WATER OF LIFE published by Paramount Publishing Enterprise, Karachi .

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Indonesian. To be published by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia under the title MENEMBUS LANGIT

* THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers published by Oxford University Press.

 

2006: LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY translated into Indonesian. To be published by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT released in Indonesia under the title MENEMBUS LANGIT.

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Turkish. To be published in 2007 by Semerkand Yayinlari, Istanbul .

 

***

 

1971: Travelled to Japan and Russia and through England and France

 

1973: Travelled to Tahiti , Easter Island , Chile and Brazil

 

1978: Moved to France . Lived in Paris and then the village of Morigny-Champigny , during which period started serious quest for truth and true direction of life. Turned to personal study of comparative religion and philosophy.

 

1981-82: In search of truth made 5000km bicycle journey from Paris , through France , Corsica and Sardinia to Tunisia in North Africa , where the initial contact with Islam took place.

 

1982: Returned to Australia and pursued intense quest for knowledge through the Teachings of Islam and the Inner Teachings of Tasawwuf.

 

1983: Lived in Somerset in English countryside whilst yearning for more knowledge of reality. Travelled by bicycle to Spain .

 

1984: Travelled through the Algerian Sahara Desert where the decisive spiritual encounter occurred and Islam became permanently established within my heart. Returned to Australia and subsequently embraced Islam, in the isolation and solitude of a small seaside town at the extreme southern tip of Tasmania .

 

1985: Engaged in studying, comprehending and implementing the Teachings of Islam. Increasingly attracted to and influenced by the spiritual doctrine and practices of the great Sufi Saints.

 

1986: Invited to and attended Conference of Islamic Thought, Setif , Algeria

 

1987: Lived in Abu Dhabi .

* Attended Palestinian Writers' Congress in Algiers , Algeria .

* Attended Palestinian National Council in Algiers , Algeria .

* Personal meetings with Chairman Yasser Arafat for talks on the possibility of establishing a Palestinian Art School in the Occupied Territories .

 

1988-90: Intensification of influence of Tasawwuf upon all aspects of life, with zikr becoming increasingly important.

 

1990: Initiated into first Sufi Tariqa, a branch of the Shadhiliyya Silsilah.

 

1992: Wrote AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT

 

1993: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT published by A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur .

* Wrote, illustrated and published THE WATER OF LIFE.

 

1994: During the Holy Month of Ramadan wrote third book, LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY.

* First decisive experience of sama' (qawwali) on a video recording of the SABRI BROTHERS at the Mazar of ‘Abdullah Shah Ghazi (RA). Powerfully affected by the emanation of barakah and nur from Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI (RA). Under the divine influence of Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI wrote SUFI TERMINOLOGY.

 

1995: LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY and SUFI TERMINOLOGY published.

* Second Printing AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT , A.S.Noordeen

 

1996-97: SUFI TERMINOLOGY translated and published in Indonesia under the title KUNCI MEMASUKI DUNIA TASAWUF: Khazanah Istilah Sufi .

* SUFI TERMINOLOGY translated into Italian.

* Started planning journey to Pakistan to research the life and art of Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI (RA).

* Postgraduate Degree Thesis: THE ARTIST TRANSFORMED: Sufi Views on the Development of the Self and Art.

 

1997: Performed Haj.

 

1998: First visit to Pakistan . Ziyarats to the Mazars of Data Sahib (RA) and Mian Miyan (RA) and Bibi Pak Darman (RA) in Lahore; Baba Farid Ganj-i Shakar (RA) in Pakpattan Sharif; Baba Bullhe Shah (RA) in Qasur; Abdullah Shah Ghazi (RA), Misri Shah (RA) etc in Karachi; Bari Imam (RA) in Islamabad; Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (RA) in Sehwan Sharif etc.

* Initial meeting with the SABRI BROTHERS, Haji Maqbool Ahmed SABRI, Mehmood SABRI, Kamal SABRI and the family of Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI.

* Accompanied the SABRI BROTHERS on their two-week Australian Tour, including a stirring performance at the prestigious Sydney Opera House.

* Travelled with SABRI BROTHERS to the Urs Celebrations of Baba Farid Ganj-i Shakar (RA) in Pakpattan Sharif.

* Received generous assistance for research work into the life and art of Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI (RA).

* Selectively chosen and initiated into the Chishtiyya Silsilat as murid of the late Haji Ghulam Farid SABRI (RA).

 

1999-2000: After a brief visit to Australia returned to Pakistan for an extended period of research and direct experience of the lives of the great Awliya of Allah and their Mazars in India and Pakistan .

* Accompanied and promoted the SABRI BROTHERS at the 1999 and 2000 celebrations of Urs of Khwaja Mu'inuddin Chishti (RA) in Ajmer Sharif, Rajasthan , India . Both tours included programmes in Bombay and Delhi . Ziyarats to Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (RA), Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (RA), Hazrat Amir Khusrau (RA), Shaykh Kaleemullah (RA) and other Awliya in Delhi, and Makhdoom Shah Baba (RA) in Bombay.

 

2001: AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Russian.

* Attended Urs of Baba Farid (RA) in Pakpattan Sharif.

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT and SUFI TERMINOLOGY published in Pakistan .

* Personal Manager/ Promoter of Mehmood SABRI

* Secretary/Promoter/PR for SABRI BROTHERS.

* Programme of SABRI BROTHERS and launching of Pakistani editions of two books at Alliance Francaise, Karachi .

* Attended 789 th Urs celebrations of Khwaja Sahib (RA) in Ajmer Sharif with SABRI BROTHERS.

 

2002: Work-in-progress: THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers.

* With SABRI BROTHERS attended Urs of Baba Farid (RA) in Pakpattan Sharif.

* In collaboration with Mehmood Sabri arranged SABRI BROTHERS' Concert in Celebration of the 759th Urs of Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj-i Shakar (RA), at the Arts Council of Karachi.

* July Tour of South Africa and Botswana . Invited by the descendants of Soofie Saheb (RA) for lectures, discussions and workshops on Sufism at Sufi Centres and Sufi Circles, mosques, schools and private gatherings.

* THE WATER OF LIFE: A Traditional Story for Our Time translated into Urdu.

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT published in South Africa by Iqra Agencies

* Became murid of Pir-O-Murshid Baba ‘Abdul Razzaq Raza Shakoori-Malangi-Qalandari-Chishti.

* Appeared in Mehmood Sabri's Music Video “Nagri Wasey Shalla” .

* Ziyarat to Sukkur with Baba ‘Abdul Razzaq for Urs Sharif of Qazi Baba (RA).

 

2003: Work-in-Progress: THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers.

* Rôle in Music Video with Mehmood Sabri: “Ali Ali”

* Producer of Mehmood Sabri's Music Video: “Rabba Meray” .

* Letters Inside the Journey translated into Russian.

* Invited to speak at Conference of World Mystics in Switzerland

* Delivered lecture “The Greater Jihad” at Indus Peace and Spiritual Trust Conference, Karachi .

* Consultant for television documentary on life and Urs of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (RA) “In Search of God”.

* The Water of Life and Letters Inside the Journey translated into Russian.

 

2004: Completion of THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers.

* Third Printing AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT, A.S.Noordeen

* Promotion and Arrangement of “A Night of Qawwali and Ghazal” : Mehmood Sabri , Pakistan America Cultural Centre, Karachi .

* Continuing promotion of Sabri Brothers and Mehmood Sabri solo.

* November-December: Travel through India with Sabri Brothers: Delhi , Ajmer Sharif, Kalyar Sharif, Bombay . Ziyarats included Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya, Hazrat Amir Khusrau, Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, Hazrat Naseeruddin Chiragh Delhivi, Hazrat Alauddin Sabir, Hazrat Ibrahim Shah Soofie, Shaykh Shah Kaleemullah Chishti etc. Attended Urs Celebrations of Hazrat Amir Khusrau in Delhi . Interviewed by Kashmiri Production Company, Jaf Films for documentary on the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya in Delhi .

 

2005: January – travelling in India with Sabri Brothers. Ziyarats included Haji Malang Dulha, Haji Ali, Makhdoom Shah Baba etc. Interviewed by Mansoor Shirazi in Bombay for his documentary series “Ziyarat”.

* Jan-April: Appeared in docu-drama, “George Ka Pakistan” for GEO TV, Pakistan .

* May: Collaborated with Mehmood Sabri at qawwali concerts in London (Pakistan High Commission, MOMO Club and private gatherings), interpreting the Sufi poetry. Sponsored by British Law Council.

* June: Promoted Mehmood Sabri in Warsaw , Poland , at the launching of Paulo Coelho's new book The Zahir, and public concert in the Fortress. The first qawwali concerts to be staged in Poland .

* In Poland , made ziyarat to the Holy city of Czestochowa , place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics, where there is a miraculous Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary (RA). At the Shrine Mehmood Sabri sang a qawwali for Bibi Maryam (RA).

* July: Visited the Naqshbandi Sufi Master, Maulana Shaykh Nazim Haqqani at his Dargah in Lefke, a tiny village in the middle of Turkish Cyprus.

* September: Promoted Mehmood Sabri in Raipur , Chattisgarh , India where he performed to an audience of 15,000 devotees at the Urs Celebrations of Hazrat Qutub Shah (RA), and a second concert in the neighbouring city of Durg where he performed to thousands of devotees at the Urs Celebrations of Baba Abdul Rahman Kabuli (RA).

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Indonesian under the title MENEMBUS LANGIT . To be published by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia .

* THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers, Oxford University Press, Karachi .

* THE WATER OF LIFE: A Traditional Story for Our Times, Published in Pakistan by Paramount Publishing Enterprise .

 

2006:

* Book launch for THE LAMP OF LOVE , with qawwali concert by Mehmood Sabri, at Alliance Francaise, Karachi . The night was a charity fundraising programme for the victims of the 2005 devastating earthquake in northern Pakistan .

* LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY translated into Indonesian. To be published in 2007 by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT released in Indonesia under the title MENEMBUS LANGIT .

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT translated into Turkish. To be published in 2007 by Semerkand Yayinlari, Istanbul

* Invitation to participate as guest speaker at Sufi Conference , Arizona , USA .

* Promoted Mehmood Sabri in concerts at India Club, Pakistan Association, University of Indonesia and private venues in Jakarta , Indonesia . The first qawwali concerts to be presented in Indonesia .

* Gave various talks on Tasawwuf in Jakarta .

* Promoted Mehmood Sabri in Singapore for the Singapore Pakistani Association.

 

 

2007:

* Guest speaker at the Lahore Women's University – “The Sufi Experience”.

* Invited to participate in the Pakistan Government's recently formed Sufi Council.

 

 

***


Brief Summary of Books

 

* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT: An Australian Woman's Spiritual Journey Within the Traditions. 1993. Autobiography. Tracing a Western woman's search for the truth, from childhood in Australia , through many countries and along many paths until her encounter with and embracing of Islam, and subsequent initiation into Sufi Tariqa. Elaborates upon the struggles and difficulties she faced and also the many spiritual sweetnesses she experienced. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen. Published in Pakistan by Ferozsons. Translated into Russian and Bengali. Published in South Africa by Iqra Agencies. Translated into Indonesian and published by Mizan Publishing. To be translated into Turkish and published by Semerkand Yayinlari, Istanbul

 

* THE WATER OF LIFE: A Traditional Story for Our Time. 1994. A fully illustrated story based upon one Hadith (Saying) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and Peace be upon him). The Timeless Tradition from which this story grows was chosen because of its profound relevance to the people of our time. Its meaning holds great significance for all of us right here and right now. Within this book are indications as to how we can prepare ourselves to live in the 21 st Century in a manner that will bring benefit, not only to ourselves, but also to all of the ailing humanity. “The Guiding Light shone the Way to the Water of Life.” The 35 full-page illustrations are in the great tradition of 19 th Century European Book Illustration. Published privately in Australia . Published in Pakistan by Paramount Publishing Enterprise .

 

* LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY. 1995. Autobiographical account of one Western woman's spiritual struggles and experiences within a Sufi Tariqa. A unique approach is taken by using personal letters to the Spiritual Master with accompanying notes and commentaries. “Contained in the pages of this book are a few drops of the nectar of this teaching we call Tasawwuf (Sufism), which is the Islamic Spiritual Psychology of the Self and Knowledge of Divinity.” A highly informative and immensely valuable book for all disciples on the Sufi Path. Letters Inside the Journey is the companion volume of And The Sky is Not The Limit. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen. Awaiting translation and publication by Mizan Publishing , Indonesia .

 

* SUFI TERMINOLOGY (AL-QAMUS AL-SUFI): The Mystical Language of Islam. 1995. Comprehensive dictionary of key Sufi terms. This book has been written for the sincere seeker of Truth who desires to increase his knowledge of the Absolute by delving into the “mystical language” of Islam. This book is a set of keys, any one of which may be the vital key to open the doors to one's own self, the doors to Divine Knowledge, the doors to the Divinity. An indispensable volume for the spiritual traveller. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen. Translated and published in Indonesia by Mizan Publishing. Published in Pakistan by Ferozsons. Translated into Italian and Polish.

 

* THE ARTIST TRANSFORMED: Sufi Views on the Development of the Self and Art . 1997. Unpublished Postgraduate Thesis. The thesis examines the profound relevance that the Sufi Doctrine and Practices have for men and women, particularly artists, who are genuinely seeking Knowledge of the Absolute in the post-modern era. “Only the artist who has tasted the sweetness of nearness to Allah can communicate some of the delicate fragrances of such sweetness to others. In order to act as a receptacle through which the Divine Light may pour forth into the realm of manifestation one must have a purified heart. In order to convey to others the beauty of unconditional Love of the Absolute one must possess such Love oneself.”

 

 

Latest Book

 

* THE LAMP OF LOVE: Journeying with the Sabri Brothers. 2005.

This work encompasses the writer's unique personal experiences in Pakistan and India , her spiritual connection with two of the SABRI BROTHERS, Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri and Mehmood Sabri, and the profound mystical influence of the Sufi Saints and their Mazars in Pakistan and India .

Extract from Preface: “This is not a biography of Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri and his brothers. It has never been my intention to write their life story. And this is not a book about music either. So vast is the ocean of classical Indian music, I dare not venture past its shoreline. This is simply a story about being with the Sabri Brothers and being engulfed by their music. It is about the unfolding of a dream and the journey that took me from the midst of an Australian bushland paradise to the rapture of devotion at the Shrines of the Sufi Saints in Pakistan and India .

‘The Lamp of Love' is one story amongst many such stories of the yearning and the searching for the Beloved. Every person has a story and every person is a story. This is just one story amongst millions.”

Oxford University Press.

 

***

 

Work in Progress

Tentative Title – MALANG .

The life stories and spiritual journeys of three Pakistani Sufis: the faqir poet Baba Abdul Razzaq Raza Shakoori Malangi Chishti whose Mazar is in Karachi , Shakoor Malang Baba, whose Mazar is in Peshawar and Qazi Baba whose Mazar is in Sukkur.

 

* * *

AMATULLAH ARMSTRONG CHISHTI

Brief Summary of Books,
Documents,
Work-in-Progress

And the sky is not the limit* AND THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT:
An Australian Woman’s Spiritual Journey Within the Traditions. 1993.

Autobiography. Tracing a Western woman’s search for the truth, from childhood in Australia, through many countries and along many paths until her encounter with and embracing of Islam, and subsequent initiation into Sufi Tariqa. Elaborates upon the struggles and difficulties she faced and also the many spiritual sweetnesses she experienced. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen. Published in Pakistan by Ferozsons. Translated into Russian and Bengali. Published in South Africa by Iqra Agencies.

 


The water of life* THE WATER OF LIFE:
A Traditional Story for Our Time. 1994.
A fully illustrated story based upon one Hadith (Saying) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and Peace be upon him). The Timeless Tradition from which this story grows was chosen because of its profound relevance to the people of our time. Its meaning holds great significance for all of us right here and right now. Within this book are indications as to how we can prepare ourselves to live in the 21st Century in a manner that will bring benefit, not only to ourselves, but also to all of the ailing humanity. “The Guiding Light shone the Way to the Water of Life.” The 35 full-page illustrations are in the great tradition of 19th Century European Book Illustration. Published privately in Australia.


Letters inside the Journey* LETTERS INSIDE THE JOURNEY. 1995.

Autobiographical account of one Western woman’s spiritual struggles and experiences within a Sufi Tariqa. A unique approach is taken by using personal letters to the Spiritual Master with accompanying notes and commentaries. “Contained in the pages of this book are a few drops of the nectar of this teaching we call Tasawwuf (Sufism), which is the Islamic Spiritual Psychology of the Self and Knowledge of Divinity.” A highly informative and immensely valuable book for all disciples on the Sufi Path. Letters Inside the Journey is the companion volume of And The Sky is Not The Limit. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen.

 


Sufi Terminology (Al-Qamus al-Sufi)* SUFI TERMINOLOGY (AL-QAMUS AL-SUFI): The Mystical Language of Islam. 1995.

Comprehensive dictionary of key Sufi terms. This book has been written for the sincere seeker of Truth who desires to increase his knowledge of the Absolute by delving into the “mystical language” of Islam. This book is a set of keys, any one of which may be the vital key to open the doors to one’s own self, the doors to Divine Knowledge, the doors to the Divinity. An indispensable volume for the spiritual traveller. Published in Kuala Lumpur by A.S. Noordeen. Translated and published in Indonesia by Mizan Publishing. Published in Pakistan by Ferozsons. Translated into Italian and Polish.


The artist transformed* THE ARTIST TRANSFORMED:
Sufi Views on the Development of the Self and Art. 1997.

Unpublished Postgraduate Thesis. The thesis examines the profound relevance that the Sufi Doctrine and Practices have for men and women, particularly artists, who are genuinely seeking Knowledge of the Absolute in the post-modern era. “Only the artist who has tasted the sweetness of nearness to Allah can communicate some of the delicate fragrances of such sweetness to others. In order to act as a receptacle through which the Divine Light may pour forth into the realm of manifestation one must have a purified heart. In order to convey to others the beauty of unconditional Love of the Absolute one must possess such Love oneself.”


THE LAMP OF LOVE:
Lovers of the Sufi Saints


Presently engaged in a long-term two-strand research programme into the Sufi Saints and their Mazars in Pakistan and India, and Art of Qawwali of Pakistan’s best-loved Sufi singers, the SABRI BROTHERS. This work will encompass the writer’s unique personal experiences in Pakistan and India, her spiritual connection with two of the SABRI BROTHERS, Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri and Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri, and the profound mystical influence of the Sufi Saints and their Mazars in Pakistan and India.


* * *

 

* * *

Contact: Amatullah Armstrong Chishti
sabramat@yahoo.com

* ~ * ~ *

LINKS:

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