Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Mustafa Ansari Tarsusi er Rifai el Qadiri was born in Tarsus, Turkey, to a devout Muslim family of Seyyids (descendants of Prophet Muhammad). He completed his university studies in Michigan, where he helped found the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada. He was initiated into the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa in Istanbul under Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, from whom he received his license to teach Sufism. His spiritual lineage also includes the Naqshbandi, Mevlevi, and Bektashi orders. Under his Shaykh’s orders, Shaykh Taner founded a new order of the Ansari Tariqa of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa. After the passing of Shaykh Muhyiddin’s lead khalifa, Shaykh Nureddin Ozal, who raised Shaykh Taner as the successor of the order, Shaykh Taner assumed the leadership of the Qadiri Rifai Sufi Order worldwide as his Shaykh decreed. Shaykh Taner and his wife Es-Sharifa Es-Shaykha Muzeyyen Ansari travel to and have helped establish the worldwide centers of the order, among them in South Africa, Mauritius, Bosnia and the United Kingdom.
Shaykh Taner teaches Sufism throughout the United States and abroad. His book on Sufism, The Sun Will Rise in the West: The Holy Trail (Ansari Publications, October 2000 explains in clear, concise language the mysteries of the Sufi path. His book What About My Wood: 101 Sufi Stories (Ansari Publications 2003) is a collection of Sufi teaching stories, many of which are based on real life experiences of his students and former shaykhs. His latest book, Grand Masters of Sufism (Ansari Publications 2008) contains his translations of Abdul Qadir Geylani’s Secret of Secrets and Ahmed er Rifai’sGuidance to Mysticism.
Shaykh Taner teaches the Holy Quran and gives weekly talks internationally through live classes on the Internet. He also holds regular lectures and congregational zikr. He has spoken about Islam and Sufism and alternative healing in radio interviews, at churches, synagogues, schools and universities, among them Harvard University, Humboldt State University, Napa Valley College, Boston University and has given several presentations at the Annual Sufism Symposium.
Shaykh Taner is also a healer. Along with his wife Shaykha Muzeyyen Ansari, he has presented healing workshops worldwide for healers and health professionals andanyone else interested in the healing arts. His Alternative Healing: The Sufi Way (Ansari Publications 2007) has remedies and health tips for those interested in spiritual healing.
Shaykh Taner is currently engaged in the building of the main center of the Tariqa in upstate New York. Plans are for the center to be an environmentally friendly model of sustainability. His commitment to the environment and self-sustainability resulted in a book he compiled titled Surviving 2012 & Beyond: A Must Have Survival Book (Ansari Publications 2010). He and his family reside at the main center in upstate New York.
Es-Sharifa Es-Shaykha Muzeyyen Ansari is the Shaykha of the Islamic Sufi Order of Qadiri Rifai Tariqa, Ansari Tariqa in upstate New York. She raises the youth of the order through guidance and loving care. She is the Rehbar of the order, training new students. Shaykha Muzeyyen gives lectures and leads congregational zikr locally and on the Internet. In addition she is a second-generation healer. Along with her husband Shaykh Taner Ansari, she has presented healing workshops in the US and abroad and has been interviewed on the radio about spiritual healing. She and her husband founded the Ansari Institute of Sufi Healing (AISH) to teach the healing arts. She has edited and written many articles on Sufism and healing. Several of her projects have involved the translation of original Turkish texts into English, such as her participation in the translation ofWomen Called to the Path of Rumi: The Way of the Whirling Dervish by Shakina Reinhertz (Hohm Press 2001). Her essay “A Journey to the Beloved” was published inSufi Women: Journey Towards the Beloved (International Association of Sufism 1998). She is also a main editor of all of Shaykh Taner Ansari’s books. As a healing practitioner, Shaykha Muzeyyen works together with her husband, seeing patients and doing remote healing. Both she and Shaykh Taner are owners of Ansari Publications, which publishes books on Sufism and sustainability. She is also on the board of Ansari Sustainable Living, a company dedicated to building eco-friendly structures and to education on how to live sustainably. She is one of the editors of the book Surviving 2012 & Beyond: A Must Have Survival Book (Ansari Publications 2010). She and her husband reside in upstate New York.
History of the Ansari Tariqa
The Qadiri Rifai Tariqa is a traditional, Islamically based Sufi order that is a result of a merging of two Sufi orders. The Qadiri Tariqa was founded by Sufi saint and scholar, Es-Seyyid Es- Shaykh Abdul Qadir Geylani (a.k.a. Jilani) (1078-1166). The Rifai Tariqa was founded by Sufi saint, Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Ahmed er Rifai (1120-1183). Both the Qadiri and the Rifai Tariqas continue to exist as separate Sufi orders.
Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Muhammad Ansari, who was born in Baghdad, moved to Erzincan in northeastern Turkey in the early 1900s. He was a shaykh (teacher, guide) of the Rifai order and a descendant of both Shaykh Geylani and Shaykh Rifai. In Turkey he met Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi, a Rifai, with whom he studied for many years. Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi sent him to Istanbul to establish the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.
Shaykh Muhammad Ansari was the head of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa from 1915 until his death. His son, Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, born in Erzincan, succeeded him. Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari raised many khalifas (representatives) and thousands of murids (students) in Turkey and in the Balkans. Shaykh Taner Ansari took biat (initiation) from Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari during Ramadan 1970. He continued to train with him until his Shaykh’s passing in 1978. Because he knew he was not going to be able to raise Taner Ansari, Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari instructed his lead khalifa, Shaykh Nureddin Ozal to raise Taner Ansari as a shaykh and to give him ijaza (permission to teach). Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari was granted the privilege of establishing a tariqa (order) in his name at the spiritual behest of Shaykhs Abdul Qadir Geylani and Ahmed er Rifai. Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari assigned Shaykh Taner to establish and head the Tariqa as Pir (spiritual master) of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa, Tariqat-i-Ansariya (Ansari Tariqa). The current headquarters of the Tariqa is in New York State.
The Ansari Tariqa is dedicated to service to humanity, while it follows the traditional methods of Sufi instruction and worship. The intention of the Sufi murid (student) is to embody the meaning of the Holy Quran in his or her daily life. The murid maintains rabita (heart connection) with his or her shaykh or shaykha (fem.) and cleanses the nafs (ego) through zikr (remembrance of Allah). Each student has his or her own assignment prescribed by the guide. Zikr and other Sufi
practices are transmitted personally down through the generations to the present shaykhs and shaykhas of the Sufi tariqas (orders) and their students. A Sufi shaykh is a teacher of these practices who has been appointed by his or her own shaykh in a line that originates with the Prophet Muhammad.
The goal of the Sufi path is to be one with Allah through complete surrender to Allah, in which state one realizes his or her full potential as a human being. The student’s most fervent wish is to know, love and serve Allah.
Ansari Tariqa is an international order. In the USA it has been formed as a nonprofit religious organization (Islamic Sufi Order of Qadiri Rifai Tariqa of the Americas), conducting all manner of religious services, including conducting worship services, prayer meetings, weddings, funerals and providing religious education and guidance. Centers are located in South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Bosnia, Australia, Turkey, Mexico and throughout the United States, among other countries. Live classes are presented on the Internet; the public is invited to visit http://www.qadiri-rifai.org. To participate in the online classes, or for general information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership: Membership is open to anyone regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, disability and national origin who have the desire to follow the Sufi path. They then make a commitment through a ceremony of initiation (biat) Headquarters are in Nassau, NY; other main centers are in London, UK, Durban, Uitenhage, and Cape Town, South Africa, and Sydney, Australia.
Periodicals: Call of the Divine Publications by Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Ansari Tarsusi er Rifai el Qadiri The Sun Will Rise in the West: The Holy Trail, Ansari Publications, 2000 What About My Wood! 101 Sufi Stories, Ansari Publications, 2006 Alternative Healing: The Sufi Way, Ansari Publications, 2007
Grand Masters of Sufism: Abdul Qadiri Geylani Secret of Secrets and Ahmed er Rifai Guidance to Mysticism, translation and commentary by Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Ansari, Ansari Publications, 2008.