Kabir Helminski is a Shaikh of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis, which traces its inspiration to Jelaluddin Rumi. He began his Mevlevi training as a student of the late Shaikh Suleyman Loras. In 1990 he was subsequently appointed a Shaikh by the late Dr. Celaleddin Celebi of Istanbul, Turkey, head of the Mevlevi Tariqa (Order) and twenty-first generation descendant of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi. Under Kabir's direction The Mevlevi Order is working to apply traditional Sufi principles to the conditions of contemporary life.
Kabir and his wife Camille founded and now direct The Threshold Society, a nonprofit educational foundation that has developed programs to provide a structure for practice and study within Sufism and spiritual psychology. He has translated many volumes of Sufi literature, including the works of Rumi, and is the author of two books on Sufism. He leads workshops and retreats for Sufis and the broader multifaith community.
From 1980 until 1999 he was the director of Threshold Books, one of the foremost publishers of Sufi literature. Between 1994 and 2000 he toured with the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, bringing the spiritual culture of the Mevlevis to more than 100,000 people. He has an M.A. in psychology and an (honorary) Ph.D. in literature from Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey. In 2001 he was the first Muslim to deliver the prestigious Wit Lectures on spirituality at Harvard Divinity School. He is now co-director of an international education project in Islamic education, The Book Project. He is also a frequent presenter at retreats and intensives sponsored by The Sacred Paths Institute.
Helminski lives with his family in Santa Cruz, California, where he now focuses on Sufi music, writing, teaching, and developing a program of spiritual education with an international team of scholars.
- Teachings on Sufi mysticism, especially the poetry and practices of Rumi
- Progressive understandings of the Qur'an and Islam
- Points of intersection between Sufism, Islam, and other world religions