Renegade Sufi | Dawoud's Blog

Early 2014: Dawoud checking in

Yes, it has been a long time, hasn't it?

There have been some interesting developments.

2014 is looking like a busy year so far. I'm planning two recording projects: one with Renegade Sufi, and one solo. The later may be released through Leilah Publications (more on this in a moment.). I'm also planning short tours of Chicago / Milwaukee (April), Baltimore / Philadelphia (June), and London (September). I'll keep you all informed.

My book, "A Quantum Hijra" is doing well. One of the Chicago dates will also be a concert / book release event. You can find more info here:


All else is going well! Looking forward to joining you in 2014!


Dawoud's Blog - 5/14/12

Peace, all;

It's Monday. I realize that I've been negligent about something. I haven't really written to you. Sure, I send announcements for my gigs (and believe me, you're still gonna get them). But I haven't spoken to you. Well, I'm starting now.

Yesterday I did a gig at a Wesak celebration in Hancock, NY. It was a difficult gig in a way. I was working all night at my radio job, got out at 7am, caught an 8am bus, and pretty much had absolutely no sleep. To make matters worse, my ass was being soundly kicked by a massive dose of hay fever! Yuck! Messy and uncomfortable! But, the gig must go on! And it did! I played dilruba to a pre-recorded track (this is not as "sterile as it may seem: I never use the same tracks twice, and I always deliberately forget what I prepared, so as to sharpen my improvisation skills!). The music was good, and the performance well received. Plus, I did something I never did before: I hooked up the dilruba to an MXR Phase 90, a Boss Harmonist, and a Boss Digital Delay. Being the reckless lunatic I am, I tested none of it before the gig; and Allah was merciful. It all worked! And,,, when I stepped on stage, my hay fever went away. I felt no illness or fatigue while I was playing. But that always happens.


This Wednesday, at 7PM, I'm playing at The Shrine ( I will be joined by Brandon Terzic, Josh Myers, and Jimmy Lopez. I'm looking forward to this performance; this line-up will be a nice combination of fine musicians, and we're playing some new music.


I'm in a good mood of late! I feel optimistic about the future. There is new music coming from,,, wherever my music comes from. The ideas and creativity are coming in a torrential flood! There are also some business things that I'm working on. It all looks good. 

BTW, I published my novel. It's available as an e-book ( Check it out.

I hope to see you Wednesday! Write to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Leaving the Nest

Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and the like are spiritual dojos (or they should be). They are useful and essential places when used in the right way. But the real prayer begins when one leaves and faces the world without those protective walls, or the immediate guidance of their teacher.



All spiritual teachers must teach their students to leave them. To walk away. If they don't do that, they are not real. Any true master knows that the student does not belong to them; and to have them around our short lives is a great blessing. If religion is used not as a method of perfecting the human being, but to perpetuate or augment political power - or more specifically, the transformation of the ego into a false god, then it ceases to be what it claims to be. All its rhetoric is mere Orwellian Doublethink; and in the end, the natural nobility of the human being is degraded and ruined.



Real mercy appears from time to time in its purest form, but we rarely recognize it as such, because we see it through out own distorted perceptions. The knowledge that real mercy encompasses has to be carried by the illuminated beings in this world. There's no other way. Real Faith is a dimensional shift in consciousness; a direct experience of certainty that bypasses the mind and the emotions. It is a revelation of the soul, not a subscription to a premise or a concept. It cannot be seen by the eyes or encompassed by the mind. There are no words to describe or teach it; a teacher can only show the way. There is, in the end, no intercessor between the seeker and That Which is Sought. All else is, at best, a helpful road map or a fancy GPS; not the road itself.



I am a musician. I have 40 years of practice under my belt. And as essential as it was, NONE of my studies or practice ever gave me any indication of what it would be like to be on stage, and making music that would invoke a real reaction from the listeners. An hour before I wrote this, I did exercises on my sitar: essential to keeping my fingers and skills in shape. But when I do my next performance, I must bring tears to people's eyes. I must make them feel, to go into trances and have visions. To invoke a real spiritual experience / remembrance.



Most people cannot differentiate a moment of REAL spiritual enlightenment from mere emotional or intellectual intensity. This is a fatal mistake they fall into again and again. Unless they learn the difference between true enlightenment and the the phantoms our minds and emotions throw into our faces, they will never realize the potential that lies dormant in us all,,, waiting for us to claim the gift that Allah gave us.



Who are we to refuse our birthright?


Ramsey Clarke

Last week I was visiting my friend Forest Mars at his day gig at Manhattan Neighborhood Netowork. Sometimes I just pop in unannounced (he doesn't seem to mind). During my visit, I had the chance to not only meet, but sit in the studio while they were taping an interview with legendary activist Ramsey Clarke (


His intervew was intriguing. While I found a few points I disagreed with, I found his ideas fascinating. And he is no stranger to controversy. Some consider him a great American; others consider him a traitor.


Meeting and speaking with him was a marvelous experience.



I need not describe the events of 3/11/11. My prayers go out to the people of Japan.


That morning, I had a dream that I was in my home town. It was night and I was told that a nuclear reactor was leaking and threatening to explode. I went to it, and people were gathered around it. They were welding sheets of iron in the shape of crucifixes to it; which did not help contain the radiation. They were singing some ridiculous song. I started making dhikr / chant; "Laillaha Ilallah, Muhmmadan Rasulullah" (There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah) in a different rhythmic pattern then them. I was resigned to my inevitable death. 

I woke up, turned on the radio, and heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

This is no isolated incident. There have been many events like this. It never seems to end. In my meditations on this, I keep coming back to the following passage from the Qur'an:

"When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, and the earth throws up her burdens (from within), and man cries 'What is the matter with her?' On that Day will she declare her tidings: For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown their deeds. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it."  - (Qur'an 99 Suratul Az-Zalzalah - The Earthquake)

I must also confess to another strange reminiscence:

‎"I see visions of sleeping peaks erupting 
releasing all hell that will shake the Earth from end to end 
And this ain’t bad news, good news, or any news, it’s just the truth,
Better save your souls while you can."
(Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune)

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