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.
Shaykh Taner was initiated into the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa in Istanbul under Es-Seyyid Es-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 called Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.
Shaykh Taner teaches Sufism and the Holy Qur’an and gives weekly talks internationally through live classes on the Internet. He has spoken about Islam and Sufism, alternative healing, and sustainable living in radio interviews, at churches, synagogues, schools and universities, among them Harvard University, Humboldt State University, Napa Valley College, Boston University and at the Annual Sufism Symposium.
Shaykh Taner and his wife Es-Sharifa Es-Shaykha Muzeyyen Ansari travel to and have established centers of the order in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, Mauritius, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Shaykh Taner is also a healer. Along with his wife Shaykha Muzeyyen Ansari, he has presented healing workshops worldwide for healers and health professionals and anyone else interested in the healing arts.
Shaykh Taner’s books on Sufism include The Sun Will Rise in the West: The Holy Trail, What About My Wood! 101 Sufi Stories, Alternative Healing: The Sufi Way and Grand Masters of Sufism, a volume comprised of his translations of Abdul Qadir Geylani’s Secret of Secrets and Ahmed er Rifai’s Guidance to Mysticism. He is currently translating the Holy Qur’an into modern English from the Sufi perspective. The first sura to be published as a booklet is Ya Sin. Shaykh Taner also regularly publishes articles on spiritual topics. He and and his wife Shaykha Muzeyyen reside in New York, where they teach privately and hold regular public lectures and congregational zikr.
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, 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.