Dr. Saeed Zarrabi Zadeh

Dr. Saeed Zarrabi Zadeh

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter / Assistant Professor

Philosophische Fakultät, Seminar für Religionswissenschaft
Universität Erfurt
Nordhäuser Straße 63
99089 Erfurt

Research Interests

-  Sufism / Islamic Mysticism (in both medieval and modern periods)
-  Sufism in the West
-  Mysticism and Modernity
-  Comparative Mysticism
-  Ideengeschichte 
-  Cultural Transfer/Translation
-  Persian Literature

Education / Postgraduate Research

2014–            Habilitation in Religious Studies / Islamic Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany; research subject:
                      “Sufism in Western Milieu: Contextualization and Inculturation of Sufism in the Frame of the
                      Modern West”

2007–2013    PhD in Religious Studies / Islamic Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany; thesis 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

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, etc.)

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

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

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

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

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), 2015–2016

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

2013              Nomination for Annemarie Schimmel Forschungspreis für Islamkunde (doctoral thesis), Germany

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


2012–             Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO), Germany

2009–             American Academy of Religion, USA

2009–             Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, UK and USA

2009–2014     Meister-Eckhart-Gesellschaft, Germany

2009–             The Eckhart Society, UK

2006–             Scientific Association of Islamic Mysticism, Iran (participating in foundation)

2000–             Sharif University of Technology Alumni Association, Iran

1997–             Qalam Cultural Group, Iran (founder member)



Sufism in Western Contexts. Leiden and Boston: Brill (forthcoming; co-editor and co-author with Marcia Hermansen).

Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World, under consideration by Brill (forthcoming 2021; co-editor and co-author with Armina Omerika and Thomas K. Gugler).

Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2019 (co-editor and co-author with Jamal Malik).

Practical Mysticism in Islam and Christianity: A Comparative Study of Jalal al-Din Rumi and Meister Eckhart. London and New York: Routledge, 2016; paperback: 2018.
           Reviews: Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society (2016); Medieval Mystical Theology (2017); Reading 
           Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion (2017); Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische 
           Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity (2017); Theologie und Religionsphilosophie (2017)

Descriptive Bibliography of Islamic Mysticism [Kitābshināsī-yi Towṣīfī-yi ‘Irfān wa Taṣawwuf]. Tehran: Imam Research Institute Press, 2009 (participation in editorship with Mahmoud Yousef-Sani).

Articles / Chapters

“Sufism in German-Speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, German-Speaking Switzerland).” In Sufism in Western Contexts, edited by Marcia Hermansen and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh. Leiden and Boston: Brill (forthcoming; co-author with Gritt Klinkhammer).

“Sufism and Christian Mysticism: The Neoplatonic Factor.” In Routledge Handbook on Sufism, edited by Lloyd Ridgeon, 330–42. London and New York: Routledge, 2020.

“The ‘Mystical’ and the ‘Modern’: Mutual Entanglement and Multiple Interactions.” Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses (2020); https://doi.org/10.1177/0008429820901340

“Sufism in the Modern West: A Taxonomy of Typologies and the Category of 'Dynamic Integrejectionism'.” In Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World, edited by Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, 180–208. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2019.

“Introduction.” In Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World, edited by Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, 1–29. Leiden and Boston: Brill2019 (co-author with Jamal Malik).

“Sufism during the Sixth and Seventh Centuries A.H.” In Sufism: Origin, History and Related Issues [“Taṣawwuf: Khāstgāh, Tārīkh wa Mowzū‘āt-i Wābasteh”], edited by Fatemeh Lajevardi, 57–74. Tehran: CGIE Press, 2017 (co-author with Soraya Khodamoradi, rep.).

“Sufism and the Formative Period of German Orientalism: The Case of Oriental Manuscripts Preserved at the Gotha Research Library.” Digitale Bibliothek Thüringen (2016); nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:gbv:547-201600530.

“Charkhī.” Encyclopaedia Islamica, editors-in-chief Wilferd Madelung and Farhad Daftary, online 2016; referenceworks.BrillOnline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-islamica/charkhi-COM_05000080 (co-author with Farzin Negahban).

“Comparative Mysticism and the Problem of Interpretation: Rumi and Meister Eckhart.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 26/ 3 (2015): 287–306; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1018721.

“Jalāl al-Dīn Rumi’s Mysticism of Love-based Annihilation.” Mawlana Rumi Review 5 (2014): 26–72.

“Meister Eckhart und der Sufismus.” In Mystik zwischen Vision, Religion und Philosophie: Nachdenken über Meister Eckhart (EPD Dokumentation 34/13), 26–29. Frankfurt am Main: Evangelischer Pressedienst, 2013.

“Eckhart’s Mysticism of Intellectual Detachment.” In Meister Eckharts Erfurter ‹Reden› in ihrem Kontext (Meister-Eckhart-Jahrbuch 6), edited by Dagmar Gottschall and Dietmar Mieth, 347–76. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2013.

“Charkhi, Ya‘qub b. ‘Uthman b. Mahmud Ghaznawi.” Great Encyclopedia of Islam 19 (2011): 283–85.

“Jazuli, Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad b. Sulayman.” Great Encyclopedia of Islam 18 (2011): 57–60.

“Mendefinisikan Mistisisme: Sebuah Tinjauan atas Beberapa Definisi Utama.” Kanz Philosophia: A Journal for Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism 1/1 (2011): 93–109 [Indonesian translation of “Defining Mysticism, A Survey of Main Definitions”].

“The One Hundred Fields” [Ṣad Maydān]. In Descriptive Bibliography of Islamic Mysticism, edited by M. Yousef-Sani in collaboration with Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, 49–51. Tehran: Imam Research Institute Press, 2009.

“Practical Mysticism, Its Definition, Parts and Characteristics.” Studies in Spirituality 19 (2009): 1–13.

“Defining Mysticism, A Survey of Main Definitions.” Transcendent Philosophy 9 (2008): 77–92.

“Sufism in the 6th–7th Centuries H/12th–13th Centuries CE” [“Taṣawwuf, Sadahā-yi 6–7q./12–13m.”]. Great Encyclopedia of Islam 15 (2008): 414–20 (co-author with Soraya Khodamoradi).

“The Practical Teachings of Rumi in the Mathnawī” [“Āmūzahā-yi Sulūki-yi Mowlawī dar Mathnawī-yi Ma‘nawī”]. Book of the Month: Literature and Philosophy 95 (2005): 86–91.

Book Reviews

Ata Anzali. “Mysticism” in Iran: The Safavid Roots of a Modern Concept. Columbia, SC:  University of South Carolina Press, 2017. In Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion (online, 2018).

Leonard Lewisohn (ed.). The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition. Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom, 2014. In Mawlana Rumi Review 7 (2016): 198–208 (co-author with Michael Asbury).

Suleiman Ali Mourad. Early Islam between Myth and History: Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 110H/728CE) and the Formation of His Legacy in Classical Islamic Scholarship. Leiden: Brill, 2006. In Theologische Literaturzeitung 134 (2009): 1170–72 (co-author with Jamal Malik).


Into Persian: Mahmud Erol Kiliç. “Mysticism.” In History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman, 947–58. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. Published in: Tārīkh-i Falsafa-yi Islāmī, vol. 4, 271–86. Tehran: Hikmat, 2010.

Lectures / Presentations (Select)

“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


Social Network

Personal webpage in academia.edu here