Khaneghah, House of Present
"Khaneghah" or "Khaneh-gah", literally means the "House of Present."
"Gah" is that real or true moment in which a person is present. It is that moment of presence that one needs to continuously reach and prolong, both inwardly and outwardly.
Each true moment in one’s life must be discovered and saved from being wasted in the transient and unstable aspects of the material life. Eventually the gate to the realms of knowledge and love opens to the true seeker of the path. The salek (or seeker) needs to constantly gather in his truth and not be preoccupied with the distraction of others in order to be present and one with existence in every moment of his life. To gain any kind of knowledge, one needs to go to school and turn to the teacher who has the knowledge. In Sufism, the school is called "Khaneghah."
In the old days, when a person was truly seeking his own truth and could not do it on his own, he would turn to Khaneghah for spiritual guidance.
He would put aside all his social ranks and acquired knowledge, and with pure humility turned to Khaneghah to discover his inherent knowledge beyond the boundaries of time and space through the presence of the teacher and the practice of zikr.
The Rules of Behavior in Khaneghah
Khaneghah has its own rules and conditions. Social norms and dominant social rules have no value in Khaneghah. The colors of the outside world lose their desirability compared to the purity and attraction of Khaneghah.
Upon arrival to Khaneghah, one takes off his shoes and leaves it outside. This represents the leaving behind of all worldly belongings and attachments. While at Khaneghah, he attends to his spiritual self with complete concentration and presence.
Discipline and order are the basis of a salek’s journey. That is why he manifests order in all aspects of his everyday life, including his outer appearance. The person wears a simple white outfit with no pattern at Khaneghah, because he has left the transient patterns behind to discover a deeper level of his being. He is not just reflecting the predominant trends of society. His outfit is white; his goal is to be pure. His outward and inward calmness saves him from distractions and leads him to tranquility and peace within.
With total presence, the salek focuses on his journey. Khaneghah provides him with a suitable environment for practicing the principles that will enable him to free himself from his instabilities and desires. The true personality of the salek is gradually developed at Khaneghah, so he can maintain and expand his state of balance, peace, and tranquility into all aspects of his everyday life. In other words, he experiences the true meaning of being present. That is how he truly becomes the "child of his time," and discovers the true meaning of Khaneghah or the "House of Present."
1. Molana Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, Sufism and Knowledge (Washington D.C.: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1996), 20-21.
2. Molana Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, Theory “I”: The Inner Dimension of Leadership (Riverside, CA: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 2002), 166.