Founders of IAS
Dr. Nahid Angha & Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar
Dr. Nahid Angha, PhD, is the main representative of IAS to the United Nations (NGO/DPI), and the first Muslim woman inducted to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame. She is Executive Editor of the journal Sufism, An Inquiry, and founder of the international Sufi Women Organization (SWO).
The daughter of Moulana Shah Maghsoud, the twentieth century Persian Sufi of the Uwaiysi School of Sufism, Dr. Angha was the first woman appointed to teach in her father’s school, and later the first woman ever to sit in the inner circle council with Muslim leaders from around the world to lead meditation at the annual Sufi Symposium. In 2000, she earned UNESCO’s “Messenger of Peace” award for her work as a humanitarian leader.
An internationally published author, featured in media and publications including White Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America and Women in Sufism: A Hidden Treasure, she is one of the major Muslim scholars of the present time with over fourteen published works. Her dedication to peace has led her to serve in various leadership roles in large-scale international interfaith organizations. Dr. Angha has given lectures and taught classes nationally as well as internationally. Locally, she established a partnership with Dominican University that resulted in an annual Building Bridges of Understanding Series.
Dr. Angha’s international leadership roles also include:
- President of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio
- Assembly member of the Parliament of the World Religions, Cape Town, S. Africa and Barcelona, Spain
- Member of a committee to represent San Francisco Bay Area interfaith community to the Goldin Institute, Manresa, Spain
- Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for World Religions
- Member of the Organizational Design team of the United Religions Initiative (URI)
- Founding member of the URI Council for Women
- Founding and Board Member for the Foundation for Advancement of Women in Religion
- Scholar Advisor for the Interfaith Sacred Spaces Design Competition, Barcelona, Spain
… and here are a few of her selected lectures:
- United Nations-NGO annual conferences, United Nations, New York
- “Humanitarian Intervention: A Way towards Global Peace,” UN, New York
- “Women in Islam” Parliament of the World Religions, Cape Town
- “Millennium Peace of Religious Leaders,” United Nations, New York
- “Sufism: Literature and Poetry” at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C.
- “The Vision for the 21st Century” which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, in New York City as well as at the University of California, Berkeley
- Women Spiritual Leaders at the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity, New York
- Participant at His Majesty Mohammed IV’s First International Conference on Sufism, Morocco
Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, co-founder and co-director of IAS
Seyyed Dr. Kianfar has taught Sufism and Islamic Philosophy for over forty years. He holds traditional Sufi gatherings regularly throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. He is Editor-in-Chief of Sufism, An Inquiry, and founder of the 40 Days: The Alchemy of Tranquility Program.
His Holiness Shah Nazar Ali Kianfar is the is the spiritual son of Uwaiysi Sufi Master Moulana Shah Maghsoud. He began his study and devotion to the discipline of Sufism in his twenties, and later was appointed to teach in the Uwaiysi tarighat. Seyyed Dr. Kianfar was among the first of Moulana Shah Maghsoud’s students (numbering in the thousands) to be given this honor. To commemorate the significance, Moulana Shah Maghsoud gave Seyyed Dr. Kianfar the honorary title Shah Nazar (The Sight of the King).
Seyyed Dr. Kianfar has given lectures and taught classes nationally as well as internationally. This includes speaking engagements at the United Nations, UNESCO, the University of California, Berkeley, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the United Religions Initiative. He is actively involved in the interfaith community, helping to raise awareness about the peaceful dimensions of Islam and spirituality, and to open the lines of communication for a better understanding of humanity.
His books include Illumination of the Names: Meditation by Sufi Masters on the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God, Seasons of the Soul, The Zekr, Fatimah (in Farsi), History of the Robe, and An Introduction to Religion. In addition, Seyyed Dr. Kianfar publishes regularly in Sufism: An Inquiry.
New Releases by Dr. Ali Kianfar (Click image to enlarge and contact IAS to purchase a copy):