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Pir Vilayat Inayat-Khan, 87, Sect Leader, Dies

Associated Press, USA
June 22, 2004
www.nytimes.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday June 23, 2004

PARIS, June 21 – Pir Vilayat Inayat-Khan, who headed an international order of Sufis, members of a mystical offshoot of Islam, and wrote books about it, died on Thursday at his home in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris. He was 87.

His death was announced by Donald Graham, an official of the Sufi Order International.

A teacher and lecturer, Pir Vilayat was the son of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who helped bring Sufism to the West and created the Sufi order. He allowed followers to keep practicing their own religions as they explored Sufi mysticism, though traditional Sufism is a form of Islam.

Pir Vilayat’s books included “Toward the One” and “The Call of the Dervish.” His works were translated into several languages.

Born in 1916 in London to an Indian father and an American mother, Pir Vilayat studied cello and received a degree from the Sorbonne in Paris, Mr. Graham said.

In World War II, he served in the British Royal Navy on a minesweeper. The boat was torpedoed during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and Pir Vilayat was one of the few rescued, Mr. Graham said. Pir Vilayat’s sister, Noor, worked with the French Resistance before she was captured and executed at the Dachau concentration camp.

Pir Zia Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat’s eldest son, has been preparing to take over his father’s position.

He is also survived by his wife, Mary Walls; a daughter, Maria; another son, Mirza; and two grandchildren.

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