Dr. Nahid Angha

Dr. Nahid Angha

Dr. Nahid Angha is an Iranian-American Sufi scholar, author, lecturer and human rights activist. She is the co-director and co-founder of the International Association of Sufism, founder of the International Sufi Women Organization, the executive editor of Sufism: An Inquiry. Nahid Angha is the main representative of the IAS to the United Nations (Department of Global Communications). She is the first Muslim woman inducted to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame Marin and Huffington Post named her as one of the 50 Powerful Women Religious Leaders To Celebrate On International Women’s Day. 


Nahid Angha is the daughter of the prominent Persian Sufi master Shah Maghsoud Sadiq Angha of the Uwaiysi tariqa. Her mother, Mah Tal at Etemad Moghadan, was from a prominent Persian family and a descendant of Etemad Saltaneh, whose memoir stands as one of the most important historical book on Ghajar Dynasty. Nahid Angha pursued academic studies at the University of Tehran, Missouri State University and the University of Exeter. She has taught as Adjunct Professor at the Dominican University of California and California Institute for Integral Studies; and created the Building Bridges of Understanding series program with Dominican University that created scholarship programs and hosted many prominent speakers including the Iranian Nobel Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi.

Angha had studied Sufism under the guidance of her father Shah Maghsoud and became the first and the only woman assigned to teach and lead gatherings at her father’s khaniqah, in her early twenties. She is the main translator and commentator of her father’s teachings and published works; and her book: Shah Maghsoud’s Life and Legacy is based on Shah Maghsoud’s autobiographical sketch he wrote specially for her.

Breaking Gender Roles

Angha has made a point in her work to redefine the social standard for gender roles in the Sufi religious context. At the 1994 international Sufism Symposium, Angha was the first Sufi woman to sit together with male leaders in the center circle of zikr, a position historically reserved for men. She led meditation at this event and paved the way for other Muslim women to participate and lead in the traditional Sufi gatherings. Over the last 30 years, she has organized a team of well-accomplished women that oversee the Sufi Women Organization’s (SWO) women’s leadership series since 1993. 

Humanitarian Efforts and Lectures (partial list)

Through partnerships with humanitarian organizations, under Angha’s initiative, IAS and SWO have expanded their charitable efforts to include care for children caught in refugee and migrant crises; providing basic medicine and clean water in refugee areas; educational scholarship; ending HIV through training local nurses; orphan care; health education; mobile health clinics in Africa. And in California, SWO was able to contribute towards medical case management, free testing, and free syringes in its work to end HIV by 2030. 

Angha initiated the Women’s Wisdom Women in Action Appreciation grant that is overseen by a group of well accomplished and educated women. This program honors and supports a woman or a women-led organization who has shown excellence in improving the quality of life for women through healthcare, employment, eliminating poverty, advocating for gender equality, and promoting women’s and girl’s right to education; all with focus in rural areas.

Angha’s continual advocacy for non-violent solutions for women and children in conflict areas has led her to participate in many peace campaigns, and to present talks regarding women’s rights and humanitarian intervention, such as: “Human Rights, Responsibilities and Spirituality” at the 53rd Annual United Nations Conference at the UN Headquarters; “Women in Islam: Sufi Women & Human Rights,” presented in Cape Town 1999; “Human Dignity and the New Frontier of Science,” presented in Italy, etc.

Over many decades, Angha has also worked together and in collaboration with inter-religious organizations and faith traditions beginning in the early 1980s. She has served in many-faith based organizations including as a founding member of the United Religions Initiative Council for Women; the Board of Directors of Marin Museum of American Indian; a Member of the Assembly of the Parliament of the World Religions, Cape Town and Barcelona; a Member of the National Interreligious Leadership Delegation; a Member of the Assembly for UNESCO: Culture of Peace, Mexico; on the Advisory Board of the Mystic Heart Institute; on the Advisory Board of the Institute for World Religions; as a Scholar Advisor for Interfaith Sacred Space, with a at the CPWR conference in Spain, 2004; and she presented Bay Area faith communities to the Goldin Institute, in Manresa, Spain, and more.

Lectures (partial list)

Angha has been giving lectures and presentations since 1980, including:

Women Gathering for Change, Egypt;
International Conference: Annual Sufism Symposium, US, Egypt, Spain, Scotland;
The Vision for the 21st Century, anniversary of the UN, UC Berkeley;
International Conference on Global Ethics, Fremont, California;
Global Peace and Solidarity, NGO/DPI annual conference, United Nations;
Women in Islam, CPWR Cape Town, S. Africa;
Humanitarian Intervention: A Way towards Global Peace, NGO/DPI annual conference UN;
Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, UN;
The Role of Religion and Spiritual Leadership in the 21st Century, State of the World Forum, San Francisco;
His Majesty Muhammad IV’s Conference on Sufism: Shakir World Encounters, Morocco;
Assembly member and presenter, CPWR, Barcelona, Spain;
Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity, New York;
Sufi Perspective on World Peace and Responsibility, Cairo, Egypt;
International Interreligious Encounter, Forum Universal de la Culturas, Monterey, Mexico;
Neuroscience and Spiritual Practice, Claremont School of Theology;
Bridge Over Troubled Water: Human Dignity and 21st Century, Cortona, Italy;
Science and Non-duality, Neti Neti Media, Marin County;
Position and Rights of Women in Islam, Starr King School for Ministry, Berkeley;
Sufi Path and 21st Century, Edinburgh, Scotland;
Songs of the Soul Festival, Marin County, California

Award and Recognition (partial list)

  • Nahid Anghs is a Recipient, Marin Visionary Award, Marin Interfaith Council Certificate of Recognition;
  • North American Pioneers of United Religions Initiative Recognition;
  • Encuentro Mundial Interreligioso, UNESCO, Monterrey, México;
  • First Muslim Woman Inductee, Marin Women’s Hall of Fame;
  • Certificate of Recognition, California State Senate;
  • Certificate of Recognition, California State Assembly;
  • Certificate of Recognition, US House of Representatives;
  • Resolution and Recognition, Marin County Board of Supervisors

Publications (partial list)

Nahid Angha has published over twenty books and contributed to over one hundred articles ranging from human rights advocacy to Islamic philosophy and Sufi doctrines and history. She has translated a great number of Sufi texts and literature. Her published books include (see IAS Publications to order available books): 

Shah Maghsoud, Manifestations of Thought (Padidahay-i fikr). Translation with Commentary. California: Educational Testing & Research Institute Publications, 1980; California: IAS, 2022.

Mir Ghotbeddin Muhammad Angha, Destination: Eternity: az janin ta janan, Translation. California: IAS Publications, 1984, second edition 2022.

Caravan: Biographies from Sufism Symposia 1994-2014. Compilation. California : IAS Publications, 2015; second edition 2022. 

Shah Maghsoud: Life  and Legacy. California: IAS publications, 2021.

Shah Maghsoud. Nirvan. Translation with Commentary. California: International Association of Sufism Publications, 1992, second edition 2021.

“Abdullah Ansari of Hirat,” in Encyclopedia of Islam, Three (2019)

A Force Such as the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change. Co-author, co edited; Canada: INANNA Publications and Education, Inc. 2013. 

Ansari, Abdullah. ‘Abdu’llāh Ansāri of Herāt, Stations of the Sufi Path: The One Hundred Fields: Sad Maydān. Translated with Commentary. Cambridge: Archetype, 2010.

Ecstasy: The World of Sufi Poetry and Prayer. California: IAS Publications, 2007.

Sufism: The Journey of the Lovers. California: IAS Publications, 1998.

Principles of Sufism. California: Asian Humanities Press, 1994.

Shah Maghsoud, Psalms of Gods: Avaz-i Khodayan, Payam-I dill: A Meditation. Translation with Commentary. California: IAS Publications, 1991).

The Journey: Seyr va Soluk. California: IAS, 1991.

Selections: Poems from Khayyam, Rumi, Hafiz, Shah Maghsoud. California: IAS Publications, 1991.

Deliverance: Words of the Prophet. Translation. California: IAS Publications, 1991.

The Nature of Miracle. California: IAS Publications, 1991.

Shah Maghsoud. Diwan-i ghazal . Translation. California: IAS Publications, 1984.

Negāh: Tahshi’-i bar Padidehay-i fikr. Tehran: Maktab-e-tariqat-e-Oveyssi Shah Maghsoudi, 1979.