Introduction to Ziraat

Ziraat is one of the seven Activities of the Inayatiyya, a Sufi path of Spiritual Liberty. It connects the cultivation of the heart with our responsibility of honoring and serving the sacredness of life. Ziraat was founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan in the mid-1920s and developed further by Murshida Sophia Saintsbury-Green after his passing. Hazrat Inayat Khan’s successor, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, further enriched the purview of Ziraat, and this enrichment continues with his successor, Pir Zia Inayat Khan.

Farmer, Farm, Farming

There are three aspects to Ziraat that form a unified whole, which can be termed Farmer, Farm, and Farming. These three aspects are so intrinsically connected that it is impossible to determine where one ends and another begins.

The Farmer 

The Farmer represents the soul of the human being. One of the primary aims of Ziraat is the realization of the Farmer. In the Address of the Great Farmer, Hazrat Inayat Khan speaks of the soul’s (Farmer’s) path and purpose:

Although in essence, even after touching the deepest depths of the earth, the soul is divine, in order to realize for itself that Divine Element, it has a task waiting even after being (becoming) Human, and it is the manner in which that task is accomplished and the object gained which is called Ziraat. 

Ziraat helps to develop the Farmer’s understanding, capacity, and commitment to accomplish the Farmer’s work or purpose. This first requires taking stock of oneself and having a willingness to release attachments to conceptions and habits. This preparation is needed to prepare the ground of our being to receive the seeds of spiritual inspiration. 

The uncultivated mind is a barren desert where the soul is starved for the food it hungers after. Every effort that one makes to turn this desert into fertile soil is action done in the right direction. – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Ziraat then encourages us to care for the seeds sown, and bring them to a successful harvest by putting our inspirations into practice.

The Farm

The Farm encompasses all of creation, all that is manifest. Murshid defines the Farm in the Ziraat Dialogue:

What is the length of the Farm? As long as time.

What is the breadth of the Farm? As broad as space.

It is crucial that Farmers see themselves as not separate from the Farm, but as an integral part of it. The foundational Sufi practice of zikr, La ilaha illa ‘llahu, expresses this unified realization and opens a practitioner’s awareness to being a participant in the divine miracle of Life. 

Ziraat is for those who have the necessary sensitivity and are moved by respect for nature as a being in whom the Divine Presence and the Divine Intention are discovered. – Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan 


Farming is the Farmer’s work on the Farm, the purpose of the soul’s incarnation. 

Hazrat Inayat Khan says: 

What is the Farmer’s religion? The Farmer’s work.

The work of Ziraat is to develop both our inner life and our actions in the world founded upon that development. Ziraat helps us to become sensitive and responsive to the world around us and the challenges we collectively face. It encourages us to examine and adjust our lifestyle to promote the health of our planet and all beings. Ziraat asks us to take action in accordance with our personal guidance, to do our part to bring love, harmony, and beauty evermore into the world.

Hazrat Inayat Khan says, ‘Man’s creativity is the extension of the Divine creativity,’ but one has to learn how to coordinate one´s will with the natural forces. – Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan