In September of 2019, Azahara was blessed with the visit of the American scholar and spiritual teacher Dr Umar Farouq Abd-Allah, together with a group of international students who had attended the Zawiyah retreat nearby. Many of them fell in love with Azahara!
We shared communal meals on the patio, gave tours of the land, and prayed at the Azahara open-air mosque, where Dr Umar gave a beautiful talk about our need to reconnect with nature. We also hosted a music concert with Ali Keeler of Al-Firdaus Ensemble and other local musicians.
Also in attendance was Shaykh Muhammad Hydara Al-Jilani, a Qadiri Sufi shaykh from Gambia, who had visited Azahara several times previously. On one such occasion, when the mosque was as yet a ruined barn, Shaykh Muhammad gave his blessing for it to become a mosque.
Ali Keeler called the adhan, and the process was set into motion! Within a year, with the help of local craftsmen, the ruined barn became Azahara’s signature prayer space, complete with bamboo roof, canopies to shade from the sun, handmade Moroccan wool rugs and traditional terracotta floor tiles. We look forward to welcoming many more groups to this special spot!