Sufi Religious Figure and Poet
Hijri 1309-1368 (AH); Common Era 1892–1949 (CE)
Born Ora May Baker on May 8, 1892, Ameena Begum was a relative of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. In her late teens she met Sufi leader Hazrat Inayet Khan who was touring the United States lecturing and giving musical performances. The two fell in love but were forbidden by Ameena’s family to marry. Ameena nevertheless booked passage on a ship to London where she and Hazrat were married. They lived in Russia, the UK, and France during their married life and had four children. Ameena embraced Sufism wholeheartedly and was given the title “Pirani,” a unique feminine equivalent of “Pir,” the title given to a Sufi master. An ambassador of Sufism to the West, she wrote an article in 1915 called “Women’s Seclusion in the East” appearing in The Sufi magazine that demystified and provided reasons for women’s seclusion according to tradition in certain Islamic cultures. She was also the author of a collection of poetry called Thy Rosary of a Hundred Beads that served as means of reflection on the teachings of her husband. She supported her husband and enabled him to carry out his mission to bring Sufism to the West. Hazrat said of his wife: “If I had not been helped by her, my life, laden with a heavy responsibility, would have never enabled me to devote myself entirely to the Order as I have.”1  “Hazrat Inayat Khan,” International Sufi Movement.