Wali Ali was born in Mississippi in 1942. He attended the University of Alabama at a time when it was a segregated institution and was named college newspaper editor of the year for his newspaper’s editorial campaign offering ethical and moral reasons to support integration. He went to graduate school at Vanderbilt University on a fellowship, majoring in Philosophy, and minoring in Theology. He received a M.A. in Philosophy and fulfilled all the requirements for the Ph.D. with the exception of completing his dissertation.
Inner experiences had led him to the dissertation topic of “The Laughter of God”, or “Cosmic Laughter”, but a different era had arrived in the U.S. in the mid 1960s and he was inwardly moved toward seeking actual mystical experience rather than mostly philosophizing about it. His quest became an odyssey that ultimately led him to the door of Murshid Samuel Lewis in San Francisco. Here he met a unique man, filled with joy and strength, wisdom and God-realization, whose embodiment provided the answer to his spiritual search.
He became a disciple of Murshid Sam in 1968 and immediately responded to his request for people to help him with his work. He began to come over to Murshid’s home, the Mentorgarten, almost on a daily basis and did whatever tasks he was asked to do. In January of 1969 he was invited to move in and live there, and he ultimately became Murshid’s esoteric secretary. In 1970 Murshid initiated him as a Sheikh on the Sufi path.
After Murshid Sam’s passing in January of 1971, Wali Ali continued to cultivate attunement to his teacher. He continued working on Murshid’s world projects, and stayed at the Mentorgarten. He offered classes in Sufism, Dharma classes, Dance and Walks training, and he initiated and trained students in Sufism. Wali Ali edited a number of Murshid Samuel Lewis’ manuscripts for publication, including “The Jerusalem Trilogy”. He helped Murshid Sam’s successor, Murshid Moineddin Jablonski, in carrying forward the Sufi work.
The Mentorgarten was purchased to be a continuing center in 1971. In 1972, Wali Ali founded Khankah Sam, and in time it became an expanded residential community of practitioners in the neighborhood. Now after almost 40 years teaching Sufism at camps and retreats and workshop around the world, and a stint of 8 years heading the Humanities Department at the Tandem School in Virginia, Wali Ali has returned to the Mentorgarten and Khankah SAM. He serves as the director of the Esoteric School of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, offering guidance to spiritual wayfarers on the path of awakening to the true nature of their soul.
Visit Murshid Wali Ali's home page for his schedule, online classes and free downloads