The Universal Worship (Church of All) is the religious activity of the Sufi Order. It is so named because its purpose is to promote the unity of religious ideals, to give an opportunity to those belonging to different religions to worship together, and to discover that there is one source from which all scriptures have come.
»There is only one truth. For anyone who has ever reached it or will ever reach it, it is one and the same truth. Truth can be traced in all the great scriptures of the world and is taught by all the great ones who have come from time to time. Nothing, no community, Church, or belief, should keep one back from that realization in which lies the purpose of life. Verily, truth is the seeking of every soul and it is truth which can save.«
»The work of the Sufi Message is to spread the unity of religion. It is not a mission to promote a particular creed or any church or religion; it is a work to unite the followers of different religions and faiths in wisdom, so that without having to give up their own religion they may strengthen their own faith and focus the true light upon it. In this way a greater trust, a greater confidence will be established in mankind.« - Hazrat Inayat Khan
The service consists of three main parts: the lighting of candles, each representing one of the great world religions; an attunement to the Spirit of each religion and to its Message through dances, songs, chants, prayers and/or meditations; and reading from scriptures. Those who conduct the service are ordained as Cherags (male) or Cheragas (female) into the Universal Worship. The Universal Worship services are held in most Sufi Order centers, but Cherag/as may also be invited to perform the service in schools, churches, institutions or centers.
»The Universal Worship is not another Church to be included among the variety of existing Churches. It is a Church which gives an opportunity to those belonging to different religions to worship together. Also it gives practice in paying respect to the great ones who have come from time to time to serve humanity. The different scriptures of those who have taught wisdom are read at the altar of the Church of All. Nevertheless, no Sufi is compelled even to attend this Church of All; a Sufi, to whatever church he goes, is a Sufi. Being a Sufi is a point of view; it means having a certain outlook on life but not necessarily going to a particular church.
This Universal Worship was the hope of all prophets, the prayer and the desire of all great souls: that the light given in all the different forms such as the Buddhist scriptures, the Qur´an, the Bible, or the teachings of Krishna or Zarathustra, should be known by everyone. The work of the Sufi message is to spread the unity of religion. It is not a mission to promote a particular creed or any Church or religion;it is a work to unite the followers of different religions and faiths in wisdom, so that without having to give up their own religion they may strengthen their own faith and focus the true light upon it. In this way a greater trust, a greater confidence will be established in mankind.« Hazrat Inayat Khan
»This validation of life [in the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan] is in some way connected with an evolutionary trend in the notion of God - no more 'up there,' transcendent, out of reach - as the universe, including ourselves.
This breakthrough in the 'concept of God' represents freedom from the theological conditioning of our minds. Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan was announcing the spirituality of the millennium. He called it the 'Message of Spiritual Liberty', liberated from many of the hackneyed views of the past. Notice also that it is a collective awakening, rather than a personal one, therefore something that is happening to humanity as we evolve.
The Message is the awakening of the consciousness of humanity to the divinity of man. - Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
This may serve as a clue to what is meant by the 'Universel'. It now becomes clear that on that last day when Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan was with his mureeds in Suresnes, before departing for India where he was deceased, he was announcing the next step: the Universel, beyond all 'isms'. The temple could not just be a building in stone, a housing for the celebration of the unity of religious ideals, but a temple made of people - people who, through the power of prayer, are announcing the spiritual message for the future: the liberated message of spiritual liberty.
The solution to the problem of the day is that the consciousness of humanity may be awakened to the divinity of the human being.
O Thou who art the maker, moulder and builder of the Universe,
build with Thine own hands the Universel, our temple,
for Thy divine Message of love, harmony and beauty.«
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan