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Sacred Laughter of the Sufis

by Imam Jamal Rahman


Sacred Laughter of the Sufis

Awakening the Soul with the Mulla's Comic Teaching Stories & Other Islamic Wisdom

by Imam Jamal Rahman


Date: Wednesday, June 14 at 9 AM PDT
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Cost: Suggested donation $10 US.

We will offer this program free to those whose resources are limited.


Watch a Recording of the Program


A first-of-its-kind combination of the legendary wisdom stories of Islam's great comic foil with spiritual insights for seekers of all traditions―or none.

We would do well to heed the Mulla's wisdom. One day, inevitably, our personal storms will not abate before causing destruction. Something will break our hearts and cause us to ask deeper questions. At that point we will become spiritual seekers, each in our own way.... We will begin to hear deep inside the mysterious calling of our soul to fulfill the purpose for which we were created.

~ from the chapter "The Storms in Our Lives"

The mythical Mulla Nasruddin is a village simpleton and sage rolled into one. His wisdom stories, timeless and placeless, emanate from a source beyond book learning, and contain several layers of meaning.

In this unique presentation, Imam Jamal Rahman weaves together spiritual insights with the Mulla's humorous teaching stories and connects them to the issues at the heart of the spiritual quest. Addressing such topics as human vulnerability, the rigors of inner and outer spiritual work, the hazards of the ego and more, he roots the Mulla’s stories in Islamic spirituality by pairing them with sayings from the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad, Rumi, Hafiz and other Islamic sages.

Together, these sources combined with spiritual practices will awaken your spirit with laughter and inspire you to transform yourself and the world around you.


About the Author

Jamal Rahman, Imam, Writer, Speaker, Spiritual Advisor, is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs.

Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.

He is the author of Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mullah's Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom; Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights & Practices from the Qur'an, Hadith, Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind; The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam; and co-author of Finding Peace Through Spiritual Practice: The Interfaith Amigos Guide to Personal, Social, and Environmental Healing; Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith; Out of Darkness into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources; and Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi, and an Imam.

Jamal's latest book, The Teachers of Spiritual Wisdom: Gaining Perspective on Life’s Perplexing Questions is co-authored with Duncan S. Ferguson and Mary Petrina Boyd. 

Jamal's passion lies in interfaith community building. He remains rooted in his Islamic tradition and cultivates a "spaciousness" by being open to the beauty and wisdom of other faiths. By authentically and appreciatively understanding other paths, Jamal feels that he becomes a better Muslim.

This spaciousness is not about conversion but about completion. Since 9/11 Jamal has been collaborating with Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don Mackenzie. Affectionately known as the Interfaith Amigos, they tour the country sharing the message of spiritual inclusivity. Recently, Rabbi Ted Falcon decided to retire and Rabbi Laura Kaplan has come in his place.

Imam Jamal, originally from Bangladesh, has an abiding faith in the power of heart-to-heart connections to encompass differences and dissolve prejudices. He enjoys programs that celebrate life and unity through delight, laughter, and food. He has a private spiritual counseling practice serving individuals and couples, and is available for interfaith weddings and ceremonies.

Jamal offers a variety of classes and workshops, including the popular "Blush of the Beloved," a course in spiritual deepening and discernment drawing upon the practices, insights, and wisdom within Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.


About the Hosts

Donald Mackenzie is a minister of the United Church Christ. He is a graduate of Macalester College, Princeton Theological Seminary and holds a PhD from New York University. He has served on the faculty of Princeton Seminary and was an associate minister at Nassau Presbyterian Church before becoming Pastor of the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, a congregation of the United Church of Christ. He also served as Minister and Head of Staff at University Congregational Church in Seattle. After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, he and Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal formed what became known as the Interfaith Amigos. After twenty years, Rabbi Ted retired in the summer of 2022 and now he and Imam Jamal are excited to welcome Rabbi Laura Kaplan to their interfaith work. 

Don’s country band, Life’s Other Side, played at the Midnight Jamboree at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville in January of 2005. They also recorded the soundtrack for the documentary film “Family Name.”


Laura Duhan-Kaplan is Director of Inter-Religious Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology, and Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue.

She has won many awards for her teaching of religion and philosophy, including the Carnegie Foundation’s prestigious U.S. Professor of the Year.

Rabbi Laura is the author of Mouth of the Donkey: Re-Imagining Biblical Animals and Shechinah, Bring Me Home: Kabbalah and the Omer in Real Life. She has also collaboratively authored four books on interfaith topics including friendship, reconciliation, othering, and hope.

She is delighted to be part of the Interfaith Amigos, after admiring their work for many years.

When Rabbi Laura is not working or exploring spiritual practice, she’s usually volunteering at a synagogue or interfaith initiative; hiking, singing, or leading prayer services with her spouse; laughing with family; or hanging out with companion animals.



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