School of Sufi Teaching was founded by Hazrat Azad Rasool who was born in the town of Kankroli in Udaipur, India, in 1920. From childhood, he displayed a strong interest in spiritual pursuits. Hazrat Azad entered Jamia Millia University at the primary level and continued there through his undergraduate studies. Combining his academic efforts and spiritual inclinations, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He then went on to receive a second bachelor’s degree in education, from Allahabad University.
Hazrat explored the validity of many religious systems. He looked for answers to his questions in the sacred texts of different faiths, held discussions with religious scholars and atheists, and became acquainted with modern philosophy and scientific methods. So fond was he of the Bhagavad Gita that he read it over and over again, eventually memorizing parts of it.
Hazrat Azad also studied and experimented with spiritual practices in hopes of determining whether some more permanent reality underlies this phenomenon called “life.” He explored yoga and Vedanta, bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganges, living the life of a brahamachari (a celibate and disciplined student of yoga), and engaging in various other yogic practices. He delved into the academic study of Hinduism, as well. His master’s degree in philosophy, from Aligarh Muslim University, included specialization in both Hindu and Islamic thought.
After earning his master’s degree, Hazrat Azad received an offer to pursue doctoral studies in the United States. He declined and joined the faculty of Jamia Millia University. After many trials, just as Hazrat Azad was nearing despair, he came to know his master Hazrat Hamid Hasan ‘Alawi and Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Khan.
Hazrat Azad received permission to instruct seekers in the sacred and profound teachings of five orders of Sufism; the Naqshbandi, Mujaddidi, Chishti, Qadiri, and Shadhili.
Convinced that Sufism could satisfy the modern seeker’s quest, Hazrat Azad conceived the idea of a school offering instruction in the five main Sufi orders. With the consent and guidance of his shaykh, he created the Institute of Search for Truth, located in New Delhi.
Hazrat Azad established branches of the Institute under the name of The School of Sufi Teaching in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Poland, UK, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Oman and Kyrgyzstan. Hazrat Azad is also the author of Turning Toward the Heart: Awakening to the Sufi Way( Forty Questions and Answers). He also published several tracts in Urdu, including two booklets on the lives of earlier Shaykhs of his line: The Biography of Shaykh ul-Tariqat Hazrat Hamid Hasan Al-Alawi and The Biography of Hazrat Syyed Abdul Bari Shah, both by Hazrat’s Shaykh, Shaykh ul-Tariqat Hazrat Mohammed Saeed Khan.
Hazrat Azad passed on in 2006.