Known as "Sufi Sam," this American mystic in the Chisti Order of Islamic Sufism became famous for founding the Dances of Universal Peace movement.
After a brief stint as a student in Columbia University's mathematics department, he studied in California with several prominent Sufi leaders and later continued his religious training in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Japan.
A horticulture enthusiast, he worked on the development of environmentally-friendly fertilizers and drought-proof crops.
He was born into a wealthy Jewish family. His father, Jacob Lewis, was an executive with the
He and Indian author Ashfaq Ahmed were both twentieth-century followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Islam.