Dr. Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Dr. Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Con. Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies


Research and Teaching Interests

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

Education and Qualifications

2014–            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” (submitted Mar. 2021)

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

2021–           Cont. Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, University of Erfurt

2021–           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 StudiesReligionsMRR, DAVO Journal, 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

-  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)



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, Thomas K. Gugler, and Michael E. Asbury).

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).

“Analytic Essay: The Idea of Sufism in the West.” In Sufism in Western Contexts, edited by Marcia Hermansen and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh. Leiden and Boston: Brill (forthcoming; co-author with Gregory A. Lipton).

“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 49/4 (2020): 525–45; 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).

“Charkhī.” Encyclopaedia Islamica, editors-in-chief Wilferd Madelung and Farhad Daftary, online 2016; http://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; www.jstor.org/stable/26810330.

“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); www.jstor.org/stable/45236378.

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)

“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, 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