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Distributed for Leiden University Press

The Rise of the Ni‘matullahi i Order

Shi’ite Sufi Masters against Islamic Fundamentalism in 19th-Century Persia

Sufi mysticism’s surprising revival in nineteenth-century Shi‘ite Persia.

Islamic mysticism experienced a remarkable revival in nineteenth-century fundamentalist Persia. Sparked by the return of the Sufi master Ma‘um Ali Shah from India, the Ni‘matullāhī  Order rapidly spread throughout the region amid fierce opposition from Shi‘te clerics. Rise of the Ni‘matullāhī  Order charts the movement’s unlikely rise across three generations of Sufi masters. Reza Tabandeh demonstrates how Ma‘um Ali Shah, Majdhub Ali Shah, and Mast Ali Shah sustained the revival by reinterpreting classical Sufi teachings for a Shi‘ite context.

322 pages | 3 color plates, 1 halftone | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Iranian Studies Series

Middle Eastern Studies

Religion: Islam

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“A valuable and accessible work on the revival of Sufism in nineteenth-century Iran. Tabandeh illustrates successfully the precarious efforts of Ni‘matullahi Sufis to carve out their space in the religious landscape of Iranian Twelver Shiism.”

Oliver Scharbrodt, University of Birmingham

“This insightful study is an astute and sensitive portrayal of one of the world’s most important repositories of esoteric Islam, the Ni‘atullahi Sufi order. Drawing upon an impressive range of sources, many still in manuscript form, Tabandeh paints a compelling and fascinating portrait of the history and spiritual traditions of this Shi‘i community of mystics.”

Shafique Virani, University of Toronto

“The book offers a clear image of the Ni‘matullahi order’s migration, its revival and reformation, and its leaders’ political and religious involvement in Iranian society. . . . I would like to congratulate the author for his detailed research and studies of Sufism and providing original reference material for students, scholars and researchers in the field.”

Eliza Tasbihi, McGill University

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