An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education



Charles Upton, born insane Francisco, California in 1948, is a poet, social critic, and lifelong student of traditional metaphysics and comparative religion, as well as a veteran of the counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s. He began his writing career as a poet; his short epic Panic Grass was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books in 1968, and his second book of poems, Time Raid, that same year. In the 80’s he participated in the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America and the sanctuary movement for Central American refugees, and shortly afterward did a tour of duty, partly as a participant, partly an investigator, in the mass magical/populist peace movement of the New Age. In 1988, the year he entered Islam, his book on the Sufi saint and poetess Rabi’a, Doorkeeper of the Heart, appeared (Threshold Books; republished in 2003 by Pir Press). In 1993 he published an analysis of the Men’s Movement entitled Hammering Hot Iron: A Spiritual Critique of Bly’s Iron John (Quest Books), his first work of “metaphysics and social criticism.” He also spent two years in the 90’s working homeless in Marin County, California, where he lived most of his life until moving with his wife Jenny to Lexington, Kentucky in 2004. As the in the late 1980s, his wife Jenny discovered the traditional metaphysics of the “traditionalist school” – René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Frithjof Schuon and their followers – and introduced him to them. His book The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age came out in 2001. Two more books appeared in 2005: Legends of the End: Prophesies of the End Times, Antichrist, Apocalypse, and Messiah from Eight Religious Traditions, and Cracks in the Great Wall: UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics; In 2006 he published The Virtues of the Prophet: A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Greater Jihad, the War Against the Passions. In 2008, he published five books, one co-authored by his wife: Knowings, in the Arts of Metaphysics, Cosmology and the Spiritual Path; Shadow of the Rose: The Esoterism of the Romantic Tradition (with Jennifer Doane Upton); Who Is the Earth? How to See God in the Natural World; Reflections of Tasawwuf: Essays, Poems and Narrative on Sufi Themes; and Folk Metaphysics: Mystical Meanings in Traditional Folk Songs and Spirituals. 2010 saw the appearance of Findings in Metaphysics, Path and Lore, and this year (2011) he published The Science of the Greater Jihad: Essays in Principial Psychology. His fourth book of poetry (including Doorkeeper), The Wars of Love and Other Poems, was published in August, 2011; Vectors of the Counter-Initiation: The Course and Destiny of Inverted Spirituality—a sequel to The System of Antichrist—appeared in June of 2012.

Farah Benhalim is a mother of five children (1 boy-eldest, 4 girls) currently ranging from the age of ten and two. She is of half Libyan, half Egyptian, but to everyone’s dismay not a fluent speaker of Arabic. She was born in England and raised in the United States (New Mexico). She is married to Atif Kazmi, a British born of Pakistani origin. Farah’s favourite childhood memory is being at late night thikr gatherings, falling asleep to the rythmic sound of remeberance and having the love of Allah poured inside her heart. Farah spends most of her time in contemplation. Her deepest and most profound thoughts occur whilst doing the dishes! A wanderer and seeker like the rest of you, she is happy to share her thoughts on life, family, wellbeing, and spirituality.

Jeremy Henzell-Thomas is a Visiting Fellow at the Prince Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Prince Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at the University of Edinburgh. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he is Founder and former Executive Director of the Book Foundation, a registered UK charity which works with partner institutions in the UK, Europe  and the USA to improve understanding of Islam in the West. He was the first Chair of FAIR, the Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism, and is a serving member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. He had previously worked in education for many years, both in the UK and overseas, as a teacher, director of studies, university lecturer, research supervisor, and educational consultant. Jeremy speaks and writes widely on the themes of education, society and spirituality, having written regular columns over the years for Islamica and emel magazines, and more recently for the Credo column in The Times. He also contributes to international conferences, seminars, workshops and online forums on the relevance of the Qur’an and Islamic spirituality to contemporary issues. Jeremy is blessed with nine grandchildren.

Omid Safi is a leading Muslim public intellectual in America. He is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He is the former Chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion. Omid was born in the US, but has spent half of his life living in various Muslim countries, such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and India. His family originally comes from the city of Esfahan in Iran. Omid is an award-winning teacher and speaker, and was nominated six times at Colgate University for the “Professor of the Year” award, and before that twice at Duke University for the Distinguished Lecturer award. At the University of North Carolina, he received the award for mentoring minority students in 2009, and the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010. He has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing frequently in the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and international media. He has recently been designated as a lead Islam writer for the Huffington Post.

Saqib Safdar is a parent and educator. He has two beautiful children; a seven year old daughter Fatimah Zahra Safdar and a three year old son Owais Siraj Safdar.  He has an interest in spirituality in general and is himself rooted in the Islamic spiritual tradition.

  1. Beautiful blog, Mashalla. Lots of information to explore. Please visit our site too at

    Sufi Kids

  2. Thank you.

  3. i would like to ask a question. what is the name of the African tribe,that sings individual songs?

    thank you
    your site is wonderful

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