Sheikh Ragip Frager al-Jerrahi al-Halveti
Sheikh Ragip Frager al-Jerrahi al-Halveti is the current Sheikh of the California branch of the Order, based in Redwood City.
He holds a PhD in Psychology from Harvard University, and is the Founder and President Emeritus of Sofia University (formerly known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in Palo Alto, CA.
He has been practicing Aikido since the year 1964; lived in Japan for a number of years and holds the rank of 7th Dan. He personally trained with the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, while living in Tokyo.
He is the author of several books in the field of Sufism and Islam; among them: “Love is the Wine”, “Essential Sufism”, “Wisdom of Islam”, “Heart, Self and Soul” and the most recent one, published in 2012: “Sufi Talks“.
Ragip Baba (Baba=father) continues to guide his children with genuine love and understanding, participating in the day to day operations of the dergah, managing to do so while maintaining a busy professional life. He loves his spiritual children, and they love him.
Tosun Bayrak Al Askeri Al Jerrahi Al Halwati
1/21/1926 – 2/15/2018
“I am trying to be an obedient dervish,” says Tosun Bayrak, whom many people call Tosun Baba. He was a khalifa of the late Jerrahi shaykh, Muzaffer Ozak. After graduating from Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, Tosun Bayrak attended the Academy of Fine Arts, and after a short while found himself at the University of California as an architecture student, where he also developed an interest in Indian culture. He went to Paris, Turkey, and then to London to complete his education in fine arts.
After moving to Casablanca, where he spent ten years as a businessman, he returned to the United States, began to teach at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and established the Art department. He organized seminars for famous international artists for the next seven years. He met his wife-to-be, Jamilah Hanim, at one of these seminars. Although he adopted abstract expressionism, which was very popular in the 1950s, he also created his share of street theaters and happenings, and he started to sculpt with flesh, blood, and body parts.
Tosun Bayrak explains that some people interpreted this art (named Shock Art by critics) as a protest against the Vietnam war, and some interpreted it in terms of Sufism. He says that the artists’ real aim was to convey the message: “We look beautiful from the outside, but inside we are made of blood, flesh, bones, etc. So let us see what we really are, and get rid of our pride.”
Tosun Bayrak had lived in the United States for many years when, during a visit to Turkey in 1968 with his wife, Munevver Ayasli told them about Muzaffer Ozak Efendi. The quest that had spanned more than forty years had thus ended. He established his own dergah in New York after he was given khilafet from Karagumruk. Tosun Bayrak, who ended his life as an artist, still lives in New York as a sufi whose heart and dergah are open to all.