Welcome to IAS

The International Association of Sufism (IAS), a non-profit organization, a United Nations NGO/DGC, and a recipient of the UNESCO Culture of Peace and Nonviolence: Messenger of Manifesto in 2000, was established in California in 1983 by Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar.  IAS was formed for following goals:

          • To introduce Sufism in all its varied forms to the public
          • To make known the inter-relation between Sufi principles and scientific principles
          • To provide a forum for a continuing dialogue between the different schools of Sufism
          • To preserve and advance the study and goals of Sufism.

To our knowledge, IAS is the first association to be formed to enable Sufis and scholars from around the world, from many nations and traditions, to establish relations and come together in the spirit of unity and harmonyIAS has been able to achieve its goals through the cooperative efforts of many Sufi masters, Sufi orders and schools, educators, translators, artists.  You are invited to take part in this historical and humanitarian movement.

Founders of IAS

Dr. Nahid Angha
Co-Founder and Co-Director of IAS

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 Shah Maghsoud Sadiq Angha, the twentieth century Persian Sufi Master 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.  Her dedication to peace has led her to serve in various leadership roles in large-scale international interfaith organizations, and in 2000 she earned UNESCO’s “Messenger of Peace” award for her work as a humanitarian leader.

Dr. Angha is one of the major Muslim scholars and translators of the present time.  She has published a deep catalog of books and articles on Islam, Sufism, the history and teachings of Sufi masters, literature, and poetry, and is the translator and commentator of Shah Maghsoud Sadiq Angha’s works. Her books include Principles of Sufism; Sufism: Journey of the Lovers; The Journey: Seyr Va Soluk; Ecstasy: The World of Sufi Poetry and PrayerShah Maghsoud: Life and Legacy; and many more.  She is also featured in numerous books and publications, including White Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America and Women in Sufism: A Hidden Treasure.  Dr. Angha has been a university professor, and has given lectures and taught classes in the United States and across the world.

Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar
Co-Founder and Co-Director of IAS

Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D. Sufi Master of the Uwaiysi Tariqa has taught Sufism and Islamic Philosophy for over forty years. He has held traditional Sufi gatherings throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. He is Editor-in-Chief of Sufism: An Inquiry, and founder of the 40 Days: Alchemy of Tranquility Program.

Dr. Kianfar is the spiritual son of Uwaiysi Sufi Master Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadiq Angha. He began his study and devotion to the discipline of Sufism in the early 1960s under the direct guidance and teaching of Moulana Shah Maghsoud, and later was appointed to teach in the Uwaiysi tarighat.  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, Shah Maghsoud gave Dr. Kianfar the honorary title Shah Nazar (The Sight of the King).

An international speaker, Dr. Kianfar lectures and gives classes on Islam, Sufism, and the relationship between Science and Spirituality to audiences around the world, including at the United Nations and the Parliament of the World’s Religions.  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: Zikr; Illumination of the Ninety Nine Names; Seasons of the Soul; Inspirations on the Holy Qur’an; History of the Robe; An Introduction to Religion; Fatemah (in Farsi); and Uwais-i-Ghrani (in Farsi), among others.  He is also a contributing author to The Revelation of the Breath and publishes regularly in Sufism: An Inquiry.


“It is for us to open the gateway of knowledge to the human being,
and so make knowledge the light of the way
and understanding the light of the aware heart.”
– Moulana Shah Maghsoud,
 Uwaiysi Tarighat: http://uwaiysi.org/

Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadiq Angha, a philosopher, scientist, poet, and one of the great Sufis of the 20th century, was born in Teheran, Iran, on February 4th, 1916. His father, Hazrat Mir Ghotbeddin Mohammad, was also one of the great Sufis and scholars of his generation, and his mother, Khorshid, a descendant of one of the distinguished old Persian families. Shah Maghsoud’s family represented the culmination of centuries of cultivation and intellectual attainment. He is the last of the long lineage descended from Uwaiys-i-Gharan, whose way of spiritual traveling was directly approved by the Prophet Mohammad.

Moulana Shah Maghsoud wrote his first book when he was fourteen, a volume of poetry that was published by the Iranian Department of Education. He gave his own copy to his daughter, Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha, who remains the sole translator of his work. This first book of poetry was the first of many works of poetry that he had composed, even while he simultaneously pursued his scientific and philosophical investigations.  His published works in English include: Manifestations of Thought; Nirvan; Psalms of Gods; Payam-i-dil: A Meditation; and Hidden Angles of Life; among others.  Shah Maghsoud has also published extensively in Persian. Shah Maghsoud’s life and works are the subject of Dr. Angha’s newest book, Shah Maghsoud: Life and Legacy.

Shah Maghsoud studied law at the University of Tehran, Iran, and studied spirituality under the guidance of his father. He was one of the most intelligent and open-minded scientists and spiritual leaders, without the dogmatism that even great scholars sometimes fall into. He would frequently quote the teaching of the Qur’an: “Do not follow whatever you have no knowledge of” – and, thus, insisted that a human being should strive to find a knowledge of his or her own, a knowledge in its true and perfect meaning. Shah Maghsoud taught for forty years, and worked daily and nightly over the decades to construct the bridge between spirituality and science, using scientific analysis in his writings and teaching to establish and clarify the truthful religious understanding.  Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar were appointed by Shah Maghsoud to carry forward the Uwaiysi lineage by establishing a center in America.  

IAS Executive Team

Safa Ali Michael Newman, J.D
IAS Executive Team

Safa Ali Michael Newman, J.D. is President of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Sufism and Chairperson of the Association’s Executive Committee of Institute for Sufi Studies. He has given lectures on Sufism, Islam, and interfaith issues both locally and nationally, including the Association of Humanistic Psychology Conference. He has published a book on Uwaiysi Sufism and Islam entitled The Gift of the Robe and co-authored another book on Sufism entitled, Sufi Grace–Sacred Wisdom–Heart to Heart.

Sheikh Salman Baruti
IAS Executive Team

Sheikh Salman Baruti, MSW, LCSW is a Ovesi-Shah Maghsoudi School of Sufism student. He is a member of the Executive Council and the Board of Trustees. Sheikh Salman has taught community classes on the Principles of Sufism and Nahjul Balagha, the wisdom of Imam Ali. He has been involved with the IAS Prison Project for many years, and corresponded with thousands of incarcerated men and women looking for spiritual wisdom and guidance to transform their lives. He has written articles for Sufism: An Inquiry and has given talks at the annual Sufism symposium on the meaning of prayer in Islam and Sufi poetry. Sheikh Salman is also a gifted storyteller who uses the wisdom of Sufi stories in his work.

Soraya Chase Clow, Ph.D.
IAS Executive Team

Soraya Chase Clow, Ph.D. is a founding member of IAS, the President of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco and Marin Community Healing Centers, and a singer/songwriter in the music group, Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble. A researcher and published author, she recently retired from the position of Associate Professor of Humanities at Dominican University of California, where she also served as Chair of the Department of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy. 

Hamid Hank Edson, J.D.
IAS Executive Team

Hamid Hank Edson, J.D., has been a member of the IAS and a student of Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar and Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha for more than 25 years. He holds a degree from Stanford University, a teaching credential from Dominican University of California, and a juris doctorate from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco. For the last decade, he has owned and operated Family Tree Mediation, a family law mediation practice in Palo Alto where he lives with his wife and son. He is also the author of various self-published works, including a volume of poetry entitled, A Brave New World, and a book about his personal engagement with the Sufi teachings of Dr. Kianfar and Dr. Angha entitled, 40 Days on Practice.

Leili First, Ph.D.
IAS Executive Team

Leili First, Ph.D., has been a member of the IAS Executive Team for many years. She has represented IAS on the Marin Interfaith Council and also served on other governing boards. A long-time student of Sufism, she has given talks and published articles on Sufism, and holds a doctorate in Transformative Studies, focusing on creativity in theoretical physics from a spiritual perspective.

Jamal Lawrence Granick, Ph.D.
IAS Executive Team

Jamal Lawrence Granick, Ph.D. is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism under the guidance of Sufi Masters Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyedeh Dr. Ali Kianfar. He is co-director of the Sufism and Psychology Forum a department of IAS. He is a psychotherapist and educator, and holds a 5th degree black-belt in Aikido.

Amineh Amelia Pryor, Ph.D., LMFT, LPCC
IAS Executive Team

Amineh Amelia Pryor, Ph.D., LMFT, LPCC, is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism and member of the Sufi Women Organization.  She has published books and articles on Sufism, and  is a founding member and psychotherapist at the Community Healing Center and international presenter on Sufism and psychology. 

IAS Awards and Recognitions

IAS and NGO/DGC Status with the United Nations

The International Association of Sufism is both an established non-profit organization and a NGO/DGC associated with the United Nations. Members of IAS have participated and presented on topics related to faith-based initiatives and social justice at conferences and meetings at the UN Headquarters in New York and are in dialogue with other faith leaders regarding issues of global concern. As an active human rights advocate, IAS disseminates information focused on Human Rights, Social Justice, Education, and Women’s Rights offered and organized by the United Nations, and supports the dignity, human rights and health of all human beings.

Nahid Angha, Ph.D., Marin County Hall of Fame

“Through her steadfast leadership, Dr. Angha has paved the way for Muslim women to assume leadership roles within the Sufi community, the greater Islamic community and the international interfaith religious community. She established a Sufi network uniting individual Muslim and non-Muslim communities under one umbrella organization. She was the first woman ever to sit in the inner circle council of the annual Sufi Symposium – a truly revolutionary accomplishment. To recognize and acknowledge the contribution of Sufi women to the advancement of our civilizations, and to empower women, Dr. Angha formed the Sufi Women’s Organization, an international humanitarian, nonsectarian organization working for human rights with a focus on women’s rights. SWO now has chapters in the U.S. and fourteen other countries” (YWCA).

Culture of Peace, UNESCO

International Association of Sufism, Culture of Peace, UNESCO.  In 2000, the United Nations and UNESCO launched the International Year for the Culture of Peace. “The result of the International Year for the Culture of Peace was the emergence of a global movement involving thousands of national and local organizations and more than 75 million individuals, along with the National Commissions for UNESCO, UNESCO’s Field Offices and some 200 international NGOs.


Sufism, An Inquiry Honored

Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., Sufism Journal, Letter from Vice President Al Gore
Sufism: An Inquiry, the world’s longest running journal on Sufism, was first published in 1987 with over 60 print volumes and currently available in a beautiful online format.  Since its inception, the journal has included articles on human rights, scientific inquiries, new translations of classic works of Sufi literature and poetry, the stories of Sufi saints previously unavailable in English, and articles and essays by leading Sufi masters, poets, psychologists on human development and the spiritual path.

Voices for Justice 

Hamaseh Kianfar, Voices for Justice
Voices for Justice (VFJ), established 2006, is a committee of youth leaders advocating for the rights of children by providing a forum for public awareness through education, community service, events, and programs so that every child and every young adult has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential. To help and reduce the “nutrition gap” in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Voices for Justice, contributes summer food access programs that provide breakfast, lunch and snacks free to children and youth.