PD Dr. Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh


Lecturer (Seminar für Religionswissenschaft)

Office hours

by arrangement

Visiting address

Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Philosophische Fakultät
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

PD Dr. Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Research and Teaching Interests

-  Islamic Studies
-  Sufism / Islamic Mysticism (in both medieval and modern periods)
-  Mystical / Islamic Theology
-  Persian Literature
-  Sufism in Western Contexts
-  Muslims in the West
-  Comparative Mysticism
-  Intellectual History
-  Cultural Transfer / Translation

Education and Qualifications

2014–2022   Habilitation in Islamic Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany; research subject: “Sufism
                      in Western Milieu: Contextualization and Inculturation of Sufism in the Frame of the Modern
                      West”; Habilitation lecture: "Antinomian Concepts in the Thought of Hafiz (ca. 1320-1389)"

2007–2013    PhD in Religious Studies / Islamic Studies, University of Erfurt; dissertation subject:
                      “Practical Mysticism: Jalal al-Din Rumi and Meister Eckhart” (magna cum laude)

2000–2002    MA in Islamic Mysticism, Imam Research Institute, Tehran, Iran; thesis subject: “Practical Teachings of
                      Rumi in the Mathnawī

1995–2000    BS in Industrial Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

1992–1995    Diploma in Mathematics and Physics, National Organization for Development of Exceptional  
                      Talents (NODET), Hamadan, Iran

Professional Experience

2022-           Habilitated Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, University of Erfurt

2021–2022  Research fellow, Institute for the Study of Islamic Culture and Religion, Goethe University Frankfurt

2017–2021  Coordinator, MA program "Religious Studies," University of Erfurt

2014–2021   Assistant professor / Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Department of Religious Studies,
                      University of Erfurt

2014–2021   Chair, Examination Committee for Doctoral Program – Islamic Studies, University of Erfurt

2020             Visiting scholar, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, Canada (Mar.)

2020–           Member, Editorial Board of TEOSOFI: Jurnal Tasawuf dan Pemikiran Islam

2019             Visiting scholar, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK (Feb.–Mar.) 

2018–            Associate editor, Mawlana Rumi Review (Brill)

2018–            Member, Advisory Board of A Research Journal of Sufi Philosophy and Practices

2017–            Peer reviewer for journals (Islamic StudiesReligionsMRRDAVO Journal, Critical Research on Religion, etc.)

2016–2018   Member, Advisory Council of Mawlana Rumi Review

2016              Peer reviewer, Medieval Institute Publications and Arc-Humanities Press, Michigan, USA (collaborating
                      with Amsterdam University Press)

2016             Peer reviewer, Austrian Science Fund (FWF; Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen

                      Forschung), Vienna, Austria

2016              Academic consultant, exhibition Brücke zwischen Ost und West: Der Nachlass Professor Annemarie 
                      Schimmel  (1922–2003), University and Research Library Erfurt/Gotha

2015–2016   Co-organizer (with Prof. J. Malik), international workshop "Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and 
                      Cross-cultural Exchange between the West and the Muslim World" Web
2015              Peer reviewer, The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; Nederlandse
                      Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek), The Hague, Netherlands

2015–2018   Member, Organization team for annual international summer school Muslims in the West, Erfurt

2013–2014   Post-doctoral researcher, University of Erfurt

2010–2014   Lecturer / Lehrbeauftragter, University of Erfurt

2008–2009   Teaching assistant, University of Erfurt

2004–2008   Co-organizer and co-editor (with Prof. M. Yousef-Sani), research project “Descriptive Bibliography 
                      of Islamic Mysticism,” Imam Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

2003–2007   Junior member, Islamic Mysticism Scientific Group, Imam Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

Honors and Grants

2014–2021    Research grant, Freistaat Thüringen/University of Erfurt, Germany (for Habilitation as a part of
                      working contract)

2015–2016    Organization grant, German Research Foundation (DFG), for the international workshop
                      “Sufism East and West” (co-organizer with Jamal Malik)

2012–2013    Completion scholarship, Forschung und wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs (University of Erfurt),
                      Germany (three months)

2007–2011    PhD scholarship, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Germany

2007–2012    University of Chicago PhD scholarship, USA (could not attend)

2002              Honor MA Student in Islamic Mysticism, Iran

Memberships (Active)

-  American Academy of Religion

-  European Association for the Study of Religions

-  Middle East Studies Association (MESA)

-  Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW)

-  Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)

-  Canadian Society for the Study of Religion

-  Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society

-  Scientific Association of Islamic Mysticism (Iran, participation in founding)


List of publications

Lectures / Presentations (Select)

“Transformation of the Soul in Mystical Islam: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi,” in Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting, Montréal, Canada, Nov. 2023

“Persian Poetry, Sufi Spirituality, and the Modern ‘Self’,” in the 34th Deutscher Orientalistentag, Berlin, Sep. 2022

“Islamic Mystical Theology and Neoplatonism: The Case of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī,” in the 3rd World Conference on Social Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic, Sep. 2021

“Islamic Mysticism and Cultural Translation,” in Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies, University of Oxford, UK, Dec. 2020

“Sufism and ‘Orthodoxy’: An Old Debate in a New Context,” in Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto, Canada, Mar. 2020 (cancelled, Covid-19)

“Sufism and ‘Modern’ Culture,” in Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, Mar. 2020 (cancelled, Covid-19)

“Mystical Islam in the Occident: Multifaceted Presence and Association with the ‘Counter-Culture’,” in Annual Meeting of American Academy of Religion, San Diego, California, USA, Nov. 2019

“Love in Sufism,” in the international workshop Meister Eckhart und die Liebe, Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt, Nov. 2019

“Reconstructing Religion in the Post-Medieval Period: The Entanglement of Mysticism and Modernity,” in WEI International Academic Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences, Harvard, USA, July 2019

“Rumi and via purgativa,” in Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Exeter, UK, Feb. 2019

“Mysticism in the Modern Age,” in Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Exeter, UK, Feb. 2019

“Islamic Spirituality and Cultural Transfer,” in the 5th World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), Seville, Spain, July 2018

“Sufism: An Outsider Perspective,” in Visiting Speakers Series, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), University of Exeter, UK, Nov. 2017

“The Construction of the Image of Sufism in the Euro-American Sphere since the Late Eighteenth Century,” in the 33rd Deutscher Orientalistentag, Jena, Sep. 2017

“Islamic Mysticism in the West: A Historical Overview,” in the international summer school Muslims in the West, Erfurt, Aug. 2016

“Sufism in the Modern West: Trajectories, Typologies, and  Engagements with Western Modernity,” in the international workshop Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-cultural Exchange between the West and the Muslim World, Erfurt, Apr. 2016

“Prophetic Piety and Muslim Modernity in Sufi Reformism of Eighteenth-Century India,” in The Middle East and the Islamic World in the Mirror of Humanities and Social Sciences (joint international conference of DAVO and DMG), Ruhr University Bochum, Sep. 2015

“Rumi–Mystiker der Liebe,” in Mystische Nacht, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Sep. 2015

“Integrationist Sufism in the Context of Modern West,” in XXI World Congress of International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR), Aug. 2015

“Living Diaspora in the West” and “Islamization and Ethnicity in the West,” workshop presentations in the international summer school Muslims in the West, Erfurt, Aug. 2014

“Stages and Practices in the Way of Mystical Perfection: Love versus Intellect,” in International Conference Meister Eckhart - interreligiös: Theologie, Kirche und Spiritualität, Munich, Mar. 2014

“Practical Mysticism of Rumi: A Reconsideration,” in the 32nd Deutscher Orientalistentag, Münster, Sep. 2013

“Meister Eckhart and Sufism,” in Workshop: 1313-2013: Der Thüringer Meister Eckhart als Begründer der Rheinischen Mystik?, Predigerkloster Erfurt, July 2013

“Practical Mysticism: Jalal al-Din Rumi and Meister Eckhart,” poster presented in Der Universitäre Schwerpunkt Religion der Universität Erfurt, Thüringischer Landesvertretung in Berlin, May 2013

“Eckhart’s Mysticism of Intellectual Detachment,” in International Conference Meister Eckharts Reden für die Stadt, Augustinerkloster, Erfurt, Apr. 2011

“Ibn Arabi and the Unity of Being,” in Islam und Kunst, Die Poetik des Geometrischen, Kleine Synagoge, Erfurt, Feb. 2011

“Konfirmandenunterricht Islam,” Predigerkloster, Erfurt, Sep. 2010

Courses Taught (MA/BA, Select)

Introduction to Sufism, Medieval Mysticism and Persian Literature, Islamic Theology and Sufism, Persian Language, Farsi for Foreigners, Contemporary Issues of Islamic Studies, Europas Muslime, Sufism Past and Present, Die islamische Diaspora, Sufism: Theory and Practice, Gespräche über Mystik, Selbststudieneinheit zur Islamwissenschaft, Reading Islamic Texts, Muslime im Westen, Mystical Dimension of Islam, Häresie und Heterodoxie im Koran und Bibel, Sufismus und der Diskurs der Liebe.

Theses Advised (MA/BA)

Michael Edward Asbury, “Laṭā’if and Chakras: The Subtle Anatomy in Sufism and Yoga”

Ehsan Safaeimoghadam, “Critical Rethinking of Islam in Modern Iran: The Case Study of Ākhūndzāde (1812–1878)”

Helen Kleylein, “Seyran Ateş und die Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Moschee in Berlin im Kontext des islamischen Feminismus”

Edwina Rädlein, “Frauen im Iran nach der islamischen Revolution”

Muhammad Hamza Tariq, “Modernist Trends in Ilahiyat Faculties [Ilahiyat Fakültesi] in Turkey: Post-coup 1980”

Richard Woldt, “Da‘wa in Deutschland: Cyber-da‘wa am Beispiel Pierre Vogel”

Yousra Ibrahim, “Salafi-Sufi Debate and Its Repercussions on the Egyptian Society during the 20th Century”

Gëzim Pakashtica, “The Concept of Knowledge in New Age Sufism: The Case Study of Idries Shah (1924–1996)”

Shereen Ali, “Ibn ‘Arabi and William James in Conversation: The Human-Divine Relationship”

Khaoula Aboudou, “North-African Sufism: The Case Study of the Boutchichiyya in Morocco”

Mohamed Gamal, “Arkounian Critique of Islamic Reason”

Carolin Zumbrock, “Islamische Migrantenselbstorganisationen und Integration in Erfurt”

Mahabbat Maltabarova, “Death and Sufism: Al-Ghazali’s Contemplation on Mortality”

Hafiz Ghulam Ali, “Epistemology of Disagreement (‘Ilm-ul-Ikhtilāf) in Islam: A Comparative Case Study of Deobandi and Barelwi Movements with Emphasis on the Issue of Sufism”

Miki Kitamura, “Making Muslim Space: Cologne Central Mosque”

Azeem Samuel, “Covid-19 and Christian Community of Labor Camp, Lahore”

Florinda Jolla, “Educated Veiled Women in Post-Secular Turkey”

Asolatkhon Usmanova, “The Process of Radicalization among Uzbek Migrants in the West”

Ayse Yasar, “The Süleymanci Movement in Germany”

Sarah Ildeniz, “Medizin und Identität: Die Rolle der Unani-Medizin in Südasien im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert”

Muhammad Naveed, “Tahrik Khatm al-Nabuwwa, 1953-2010”

Moaddab Fatima Farhan, “Portrayal of Refugees in the German Media”

Bruce M. Bulmuo, “Finding Sacred Spaces in Thuringia: Recounting the Experiences of West African and Pakistani Muslim Migrants”


Social Network

Personal webpage in academia.edu here