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Title: The rise of Ni‘matullāhī Shi‘ite Sufism in early nineteenth-century Qājār Persia : Ḥusayn ‘Alī Shāh, ‎Majdhūb ‘Alī Shāh, Mast ‘Alī Shāh and their battle with Islamic fundamentalism
Author: Tabandeh, Reza
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 0849
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
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The fundamental question I have tried to answer in this thesis is how the Ni‘matullāhī ‎masters were successful in reviving Ni‘matullāhī Sufism in Shi‘ite Persia during the ‎early nineteenth century. This study investigates the revival of the Ni‘matullāhī Sufi ‎order in Persia after the death of the last Indian Ni‘matullāhī master, Riḍā ‘Alī Shāh (d. ‎‎1214/1799) in the Deccan. Meticulous attention is given to the role of Ḥusayn ‘Alī ‎Shāh (d. 1234/1818), Majdhūb ‘Alī Shāh (d. 1239/1823) and Mast ‘Alī Shāh (d. ‎‎1253/1837), who were the masters (quṭbs) of the Ni‘matullāhī order after Riḍā ‘Alī ‎Shāh. The Ni‘matullāhī Sufi order flourished as a Persian Sufi order in 8th/14th century. ‎During the Safavid era most of the Sufi orders in Persia became inactive or ‎systematically suppressed. With the advent of the Safavids, the Ni‘matullāhī order ‎moved to Hyderabad in India, and gradually became less important in the mystical ‎milieu of Persia. After the fall of the Safavids, the revival movement of the Ni‘matullāhī ‎order began with the arrival of the enthusiastic Indian Sufi master Ma‘ṣūm ‘Alī Shāh ‎during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Later Persian masters of the ‎Ni‘matullāhī order in the beginning of the early nineteenth century solidified the ‎order’s place in the mystical and theological milieu of Persia.‎ Ma‘ṣūm ‘Alī Shāh and his disciples soon spread their mystical and ecstatic beliefs all ‎over Persia. They succeeded in converting a large mass of Persians to Sufi teachings ‎despite the opposition and persecution they faced from Shi‘ite clerics, who were ‎politically and socially the most influential class in Persia. The clerics were able to turn ‎the political powers against the Sufis to a certain extent, such that Āqā Muḥammad ‘Alī ‎Bihbihānī, principal champion of this oppression, largely succeeded in his persecution ‎of Ma‘ṣūm ‘Alī Shāh and his disciples. The question of the Ni‘matullāhī Sufis’ survival ‎in Persia after Maṣūm ‘Alī Shāh is evaluated here by using the biographies and ‎writings of later masters and modern scholars. ‎ The conclusion is reached that Ḥusayn ‘Alī Shāh, Majdhūb ‘Alī Shāh and Mast ‘Alī ‎Shāh were able to consolidate the social and theological role of the Ni‘matullāhī order ‎by reinterpreting and articulating classical Sufi teachings in the light of Persian Shi‎‘ite ‎mystical theology.‎
Supervisor: Lewisohn, Leonard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sufism ; Sufism ; Persia ; Persia ; Shi'ite Sufism ; Usulism ; Shi'ite Usulism ; Ni'matullahi Sufism ; Ni'matullahi