Thursday, March 10, 2005

Anab's Sufi Oasis - Internet Radio

Although the idea of Internet radio has been on the
periphery of my consciousness, for some time, only
recently did I begin to actively explore how to go
about actually owning and operating an Internet
radio station. In fact, for the last three to four days,
I have been busily engaged in trying to make the
aforementioned, virtual possibility become a virtual
reality - thus, no postings to the Sufi Amanesis Blog
during these past few days.

Freedom of expression is sometimes said to be
only as potent or as useful as one's capacity to be
able to communicate one's ideas, feelings, and/or
opinions to the community at large. Prior to the
advent of the Internet, only the relatively rich
could afford to distribute their views and to have
a chance of inducing others to read or hear about
what they thought about this or that topic.

Now, even though one still needs to have a little bit of
money through which one can purchase a computer,
pay for an ISP, and so on, nevertheless, the possibility
of actually being able to reach out and touch a considerable
number of others in a virtual sort of way is something that is,
now, much more within reach of many millions of people.
Moreover, one not only has the ability to communicate with
others, but, as well, one this ability carries within itself a
potential for affecting the lives of others in both constructive
and destructive ways ... and not just virtually.

In any event, I have taken a leap into the great unknown,
and as of the present time, I am the owner of a radio station.
The station is called 'Anab's Sufi Oasis', and, perhaps, a few
words are in order to describe what is, and may be, entailed
by all of this.

Those who tune into Anab's Sufi Oasis, an Internet radio
program which is being aired through live365.com are
likely to encounter a variety of formats. These range
from: music, to: interviews, news items, discussion of
current events (based on a Sufi perspective), readings
from traditional sources of Sufi literature (both ancient
and modern), poetry recitations (original and derived),
editorials, Quranic recitations, educatonal reflections,
coming events, commentary, humor, listener feedback
and/or questions, along with whatever other formats
can be conceived and generated which will offer an
opportunity for listeners to be introduced to different
dimensions of the Sufi perspective -- at least as I and
others who may participate in this program understand
that perspective.

The url to reach the station is:

Anab's Sufi Oasis .

There is a free download of a live365.com radio software
program which will permit a person to access the thousands
of Internet radio stations (both personal and professional)
which are broadcasting through live365.com.

However, a caution is in order, because although the
software is free and although it does permit one to
have access to a great deal of music, spoken words,
and discussion, nevertheless, the free radio comes
both with advertisements (I have barred any ads
involving alcohol, tobacco and adult x-rated content
from my radio site) and, as well, from time to time,
one also encounters fairly brief spaces of dead air space
which interrupt a person's listening experience - - the
presence of both of these features is undoubtedly directed
toward encouraging a person to sign up for the more
aesthetic and uninterrupted commercial, radio-listening
package (which, actually, is pretty cheap).

As intimated above, it is possible to obtain access to
Internet radio live365.com in a way that is free of all
commercials and which does not involve any interruptions
of broadcasting. But, as with most other things in modern
society, there is a cost attached to this, and, so, you
may want to weigh what you get for free against the
nominal, monthly sum which is required to have
uninterrupted, advertisement-free access to, among
other things, Anab's Sufi Oasis.

This might be an appropriate time to voice a further
word, or two (or three), of caution concerning the format
of Anab's Sufi Oasis. A listener will hear a very eclectic
mix of radio tracks on the aforementioned Internet radio
station.

For example, at one point one might be listening to a
recitation of the Qur'an. This could be followed by music,
either qawwali, or something much more modern such
as: folk, popular, classical, or rock music. The latter might
be followed, in turn, by poems in praise of the Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him), or, alternatively, material
concerning the life of the Prophet, followed, yet again, by
this or that musical track.

If one will listen carefully, all of the material which airs on
Anab's Sufi Oasis has been chosen to address different
dimensions of human existence through various formats.
All of that material has something to say to our hearts,
souls, and minds.

God willing, individuals who come to my Internet radio
station will reflect on what is being aired. Indeed, this
theme of reflection plays an essential role in every
facet of Anab's Sufi Oasis. One might say that a central
element of any program like mine is to seek to induce
listeners to think about life in all of its manifestations
and to try to discern what the events of life mean with
respect to human purpose, identity, and meaning.

God teaches us through the events of life, and although
a special place of educational importance is reserved for
that which is given expression through the life of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), nevertheless,
God also can teach us through the words, music, deeds,
and stories of those modes of manifestation which are not
revelation, as well as those individuals who are neither
Prophets nor saints. Everyone and everything has something
to teach us. It is just a matter of determining what that
'something' is.

Moreover, please keep in mind, and heart, that all things
which take place through Anab's Sufi Oasis are always
brought back to Allah - and this cannot be otherwise. This
is the nature of the created Universe.

This is why various tracks being aired through Anab's
Sufi Oasis -- which give expression to very different
dimensions of human existence -- are placed in
uxtaposition to one another. All parts of Anab's
Sufi Oasis are intended to resonate with one another,
according to the character and capacity of the modality
of manifestation in question.

Consequently, no matter what one might think or
feel about this or that track which is being aired, the
name of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him), and the teachings of both Islam and the
Sufi Path are not very far away. Indeed, God, the
Prophet, and tasawwuf (the mystical dimension of
Islam) form the woof and warp of the Internet radio
station called Anab's Sufi Oasis ... these are the focus
and horizon of my Internet radio station, and the other
components of this broadcast are like so many streams
leading back to the Ocean.

However, if the foregoing sort of mixing, resonance
and juxtapositioning is offensive to you, then, the
best thing I can suggest is for you not to tune into
Anab's Sufi Oasis Internet radio program. Nonetheless,
what one individual may object to on this or that
theological ground may be just what is necessary
to induce another person to struggle on a bit further
with respect the long and difficult journey of seeking
God.

At an oasis, people come from many directions and
have traveled different distances. The people who
come to an oasis arrive there in various physical,
economic, emotional, and spiritual conditions. All
come with a thirst. The people who take rest at an
oasis stay varying lengths of time and for different
reasons. When they have received what they need
or desire, or when they are ready to head out again
into the wilderness, then, they move on.

The essential purpose of Anab's Sufi Oasis is to
provide listeners with an accurate, interesting,
stimulating, nuanced, and varied listening experience
to enjoy, be informed by, to reflect on, and/or find
comfort through -- much as one might experience
at any good oasis in the desert. Presently, the
programming is not live (i.e., it consists of previously
recorded pieces that, currently, encompass more
than 40 hours of established, ready to listen to,
programming features), but, God willing, this should
change within the near future.

More specifically, if God wishes, within two weeks
(probably beginning around March 21, 2005), there
will be a live, weekly broadcast emanating from
Anab's Sufi Oasis that is entitled: The Sufi Study
Circle. This program will last, approximately, two
hours and may (or may not) be aired several times
a week in various time slots to try to accommodate
people in different time zones.

The Sufi Study Circle will follow a format somewhat
similar to a series of meetings which I conducted
for about 15 years on behalf of my shaykh, Dr. M.
Qadeer Baig, at the University of Toronto. These
weekly sessions usually began with brief readings
from different Sufi authors, both modern and ancient,
and, then, these were followed by a discussion focusing
on various ideas, principles, values, teachings, and
activities concerning an array of facets of the Sufi
mystical tradition.

These discussions might focus on some aspect of
a reading. Or, the ensuing explorations might address
other issues and themes which although unrelated to
a given reading, nonetheless, had relevance to the
Sufi mystical tradition in particular, or Islam, in general.

Questions posed by those who participated in the weekly
Sufi Study Circle gatherings at the University of Toronto
played a vital role. In this regard, there are a few technical
obstacles with respect to the Internet which prevent the
sort of quick and easy, dynamic interchange between those
who ask the questions, and the one who will attempt to
provide some intelligent responses to such inquiries (namely,
myself), which were characteristic of the non-virtual,
Univeristy of Toronto gatherings.

Nevertheless, I do invite people to e-mail questions on
matters of importance to them that can be addressed
during various Sufi Study Circle meetings (names, of
course, will not be divulged on air). Such e-mails can
either be sent anytime prior to the regularly scheduled
weekly meetings, or while a given, session of the Sufi
Study Circle is being aired. For those who are interested
in joining in through this means, the e-mail address is:

anabs-sufi-oasis@spiritual-health.org,

In addition to the proposed Sufi Study Circle, there
are several other possibilities being considered. One
such idea concerns a regularly scheduled live broadcast
involving commentary and discussion in relation to a
variety of modern problems, ranging from: democracy,
to: education, ecology, spiritual abuse, and whatever
other topics seem appropriate to pursue within such
a venue.

If a live broadcast along the foregoing lines is established,
then, details concerninig the day of the week and the
time of day for such a program will be provided, both
through Anab's Sufi Oasis, as well as through this the
Spiritual Health web page. Alternatively, if one is sufficiently
interested and has not seen or heard any updates concerning
this kind of program, you could e-mail me at the foregoing
e-mail address.

A further possibility which is being reflected upon is a
weekly, live broadcast of Fatiha for those who would like
to participate in such a session but, presently, have no
one with whom to observe this practice, and/or for those
who just enjoy being part of a process of giving thanks to
God, as well as remembering those who were great spiritual
personalities in the past. If these meetings are held, there
could be some form of qawwali (sacred music) following
the saying of Fatiha.

Anyone can offer Fatiha. One does not have to be shaykh, or
spiritual guide, or imam to do so -- and I am none of these.

The general nature of this practice of remembrance and
giving of thanks was first taught by the Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him). Different Sufi Orders and Branches
have taken this basic practice and given expression to it
in a variety of ways. I am not a native speaker of Arabic,
and, so, those who wish to participate -- provided such
sessions are held -- should attend these gatherings with
a certain amount of tolerance and forgiveness for someone
who is, to a degree, linguistically challenged.

Fortunately, we have been informed that Allah looks
to the intentions of our hearts rather than the outer
forms of our actions, and may Allah forgive me for
whatever mistakes I may make. In any event, if such
observances are conducted, they are likely to begin
toward the end of March/ 2005 or the beginning/middle
of April/2005.

These sessions probably would last about an hour.
Furthermore, in order to try to accommodate at least
a few time differences, I am thinking of airing the Fatiha
sessions at 11:00 p.m. - Eastern Standard Time, on either
Friday or Saturday evening.

This may be a little late for people in eastern North
America. On the other hand, since either of the days
following the holding of Fatiha are, for most people,
non-working days, then, perhaps, this time might prove
to be the most inclusive time possible.

----------------

Perhaps no one will come to my radio station. Maybe it will be
like an oasis in the desert which awaits visitors, only to exist
undiscovered and unused as travelers through the desert
choose routes which take them in other directions.

But, an opportunity exists, and I am excited about seeing
how the venture unfolds. Even if only a few people stop
by, now and them, for a listen, there is, nonetheless, a
happiness associated with knowing that one has struggled
to create something, by the Grace of God, which may help
others, or entertain them, or inform them, or induce
them to think about life in, possibly, a different way.

Having said the foregoing, I would invite anyone who
reads this Blog to investigate both Internet radio, in
general, as well as live365.com, in particular. There
are thousands of radio stations being operated by
ordinary people who are exploring virtually any theme
one can conceive -- both musically and conceptually
-- and, I believe there is still some space left for those
who have an interest in taking to the airwaves of
Internet radio.

Blogs have had a democratizing effect, providing people
with access to a capacity to have an impact on events
in non-traditional ways. Just ask Dan Rather about
the potential power of Blogs.

Internet Radio is the audio counterpart to a Blog. Both
can serve as tools for enhancing democracy and
helping, to a degree, to redistribute a certain amount
of media power (and, therefore, the capacity to engage
and, possibly, influence or collaborate with others) within
society.

Once again, the url for my Internet radio station is:

Anab's Sufi Oasis

Anab Whitehouse

2 comments:

al-muwari said...

Hello Anab.

I have visited your blog site - Sufi Amanesis, and also your Internet Radio site - Anab's Sufi Oasis.

I like the contents of your Internet Radio and find them to be refreshing as the contents are mixed and balanced. Keep it up.

I hope more people will visit your blog site.

was-salam

Anonymous said...

Dear Anab,

I listen to your new station quite often, and it's great! The variety of music you play is amazing, and all of makes me think about life, love, and God.

Can't wait to hear you live!

A Fan