Past Archivists and Editors

Miss J E D Furnée, known as Kinna in her family circle, was born in The Hague, 1896. As a child the family engaged an English nurse so she learned English that way, and later learned French in Vevey, Switzerland. It is believed she first met Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan in 1920. He initiated her and gave her the Sufi name of Sakina in 1921, he gave her the name Nekbakht in 1926 and it is this name that she used when setting up the Nekbakht Foundation. In the editions of The Complete Works she is referred to as Sakina Furnée, however within this website she is referred to as Nekbakht Furnée as she used the name Nekbakht from 1926 onwards.

In 1921 Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan invited her to make English shorthand records of his lectures. She enrolled in the Pont Shorthand Institute (Den Hague, Holland) and received the initial training, which she then supplemented through instruction booklets issued by the Institute (copies of which remain in the archives). Her acuity for distinguishing the different foreign names, words and titles as they occurred in the discourses, proved to be remarkable. Often she heard words with which she was entirely unfamiliar, but her faithful phonetic rendering makes it possible, in almost every instance, to reconstruct what Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan most probably said. She learned the shorthand during the winter of 1921 and spring of 1922, and the first lecture we have in her shorthand is 16th June 1922. After taking down the lecture in shorthand Sakina would write it out in longhand and then type it up from the longhand transcript. These transcripts were then sent to Murshida Sherifa Goodenough who was based at the Sufi Movement Headquarters in Geneva. These transcripts were edited by Murshida Goodenough and sent out to the Sufi Centres in Europe.

Nekbakht with Claire (Khairunissa)

Nekbakht bought the house at No. 34 rue de la Tuilerie opposite Fazil Manzil. Murshid would visit her there to dictate or to hand her papers. She describes her commission by Murshid as keeper of the Biographical Department as follows: ‘.... Murshid handed me several objects and papers. Each time there was again something which Murshid liked to add to one of these collections, Murshid handed it to me, simply saying: ‘Keep it, for the Biographical Department.’ And I kept it . . . .

After Murshid’s death in 1926 Nekbakht became more and more aware of the changes that were being made to Murshid’s words through editing and grouping various lectures together. She therefore returned to her original shorthand notebooks (none of the transcripts she sent to Murshida Goodenough in Geneva seemed to have been kept) and entered into correspondence with Sirdar van Tuyll about the changes. She lived and worked at 34 rue de la Tuilerie until 1st June 1973 when she returned to Holland, she died there on 16th June 1973.

Her work was continued by Munira van Voorst van Beest (1916 – September 1989). Munira was a Dutch mureed employed by the Dutch Foreign Ministry in the Diplomatic Corps and worked in 12 different countries such as Syria, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Peru and Italy. She took three extensive visits to India which she loved. Munira had been in touch with Nekbakht for a number of years and would visit and work with her on the archives. After her diagnosis of cancer Nekbakht wrote to her to ask her to take on the role of Archivist. When Munira received Nekbakht’s request she applied for early retirement from the Dutch Foreign Ministry which she got on the grounds of

Munira van Voorst

ill health (a botched operation in Peru and a weak heart). Munira lived and worked at No. 34 rue de la Tuilerie until her death in September 1989. She is buried in Suresnes. It is Munira who designed the way of working and presenting the teachings of Pir O Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan for the Complete Works. Together with Élise Guillaume-Schamhart (a Dutch mureed whose guide was Murshida Goodenough) they produced the Biography of Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan in 1977. As well as the Biography, during her time as Archivist, Munira edited the Sayings Parts I and II, and 1923 Volume II. She also produced the volumes 1922 Volume I, 1922 Volume II, and 1923 Volume 1. She was assisted in the work on these volumes by Professor Sharif Graham. The Sayings Parts I and II were revised in 1989 and in this work Munira was assisted by Koré Jeanne Salvato.

Professor Sharif Graham, an American mureed of Pir Vilayat since 1970, and Professor of Literature and Comparative Religion, at the University of Arizona and then at Pima College, met

Professor Sharif Graham

Munira when he visited the archive of the Biographical Department in Suresnes in 1982. Munira invited him to work with her and from that time he would visit each year during his 3 month summer holiday. He continued the work after Munira’s death and in 1998 he was invited by the Nekbakht Foundation to take on the role of Archivist and he moved to Suresnes to work full time on the Complete Works. Sharif has steeped himself in the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan and gives many lectures and talks on Murshid’s life and work. As well as the publications above where he assisted Munira, he edited the volumes 1924 Volumes I and II; 1925 Volume I, and 1926 Volumes I and II. He was assisted in this work by Koré Jeanne Salvato and Juliane Jasmine Damm. He returned to the United States in 2012 but continues to advise on the work.

What the work involves

Each lecture has its own folder. Some folders will have just one document giving the text of Murshid’s lecture; others will have many more documents giving different versions of the lecture. These are the documents which are listed in the published books for each lecture. Berthi van der Bent transcribes the lectures which were taken down in shorthand by Nekbakht (at the time of the lectures Sakina) Furnée. She works with Margaret Lesley and Anne King. The transcript is typed up, proofread and emailed to the archives in Suresnes. The typewritten or handwritten documents we have on file are then checked against the transcript of Nekbakht Furnée’s shorthand and the differences are noted.

The books we are publishing are therefore academic source texts giving a complete record of every version of Murshid’s lectures. As the second objective of this work states they ‘serve as the basis for future publications’. However we also trust that these publications will take the reader into the presence of Murshid.