Saturday, January 15, 2011

Irving Karchmar

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Alan Jones for his wonderful post last week. I found his interview both insightful and interesting, thank you so much for sharing Alan!

This week we have a new interview so please welcome Irving Karchmar.
Irving is a practicing Sufi Darvish and I know you will enjoy his post as well!

Here Is Irving Karchmar's Introduction:

Irving Karchmar has been a writer, editor and poet for many years, and a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order since 1992. He writes the popular Darvish blog, and is the author of Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel, which has been translated into seven languages.

1) What religion do you practice?
I practice the religion of Love. It is the mystical aspect of all religions, though I came to know it through Islam and the Sufi path.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was born to Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors, but did not practice any religion until I became a follower of love in 1992, and was initiated as a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
Other, if that is a liberal. I am a liberal of love.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
The Path of Love demands kindness and generosity towards all others, and that makes me a liberal of love :)

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
The strictness or liberality of their upbringing, and an inclination toward a particular temperament. It is both nurture and nature.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Hugging my grandchildren and kissing them on the cheek is paradise, being with the ones I love, heaven on earth.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Yes, because God is the Most Loving and the Most Merciful.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
The path of love is a very large garment, and I had to grow into it after years of maturing in the sincerity and understanding of love.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The Sufis believe that each day is holy, as it is given by God, and we celebrate it by repeating out zekr with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath, which a word or phrase, usually a name of God, given to us at initiation. In that way, each breath is a prayer and blessing.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes, all people of faith are my friends, as are atheists and agnostics :)

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes, and I have. In each I have found the kernel of love that is the heart of them all.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I do not know enough about Shariah law to make a judgment, and I do not know any woman who wears a burka, so I will not comment.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
That is a patriarchal holdover that is slowly being overturned, God willing. Women were the first priestesses and are much more in touch with the sacred, being the creative force of humanity, the child bearers. Women are the fountain of love from which men drink, and should definitely be allowed to become priests, ministers, imams, etc.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No it does not. Men and women are equal: they pray together, eat together, and meditate together in the circle of the Friend.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
The religion of love affects every decision, in that it requires that I do what love demands. Therefore, I believe all marriage is sacred, including gay marriage, and really, no one is FOR abortion, including the women who think they have no choice but to have one.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I would be happy he or she found someone they loved. That is all that’s important to me.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No! There is no hell, except what we make here on earth. See the answer to Number 7.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing Master in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I do follow the fashions in religion. I only can say that my late Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, exemplified loving-kindness. He wrote many books on Sufism as the religion of love, and was revered by his dervishes as a perfected Master of the Path. His son and successor, Dr. Alireza Nurbakhsh, carries on with love and joy.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Not yet.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes, always.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
What waits beyond the last breath is a mystery.


  1. Salaam and Bless your heart….Blessed are the ones who are hallowed with the Rainbow of love!

  2. Thank you. Very refreshing.