Programs of IAS
Institute for Sufi Studies
The Institute for Sufi Studies (ISS) is a collaborative effort that invites people from around the world with the common interest of Sufism to join together for research and study of this ancient wisdom. ISS began in 2000 as an educational department of the International Association of Sufism. ISS offers classes directly through its center, online and at other educational institutions. Faculty are practitioners of Sufism as well as teachers in many diverse disciplines, including religion, literature, psychology, philosophy, sociology, education, martial arts, and science. ISS classes are offered under the direction and guidance of Dr. Nahid Angha and Dr. Ali Kianfar. ISS public offerings include: Understanding the Qur’an and Holy Books with Sufi Master Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar; Sufism and Psychology study groups and dialogues; Introduction to Sufism; Illumination of the Ninety-Nine Names study group; 40 Days meditation and reading group; Nahj al-Balgha of Amir al mumenin Ali study group; Awareness of Breath and Movement; Purification meditation and discussion group; Meditation and Poetry.
Sufi Women Organization
Sufi Women Organization (SWO) is an international, humanitarian, human rights organization, founded by Dr. Nahid Angha in 1993 under the auspices of the International Association of Sufism, and with the efforts and contributions of Sufi women around the globe. A forum for all women, SWO has been tremendously successful in gathering together women from diverse cultural backgrounds who share a dedication to the goals of Sufism, especially with respect to human rights. SWO’s primary humanitarian goals include women’s rights, education, and social awareness. The devotion of all who have volunteered their time, energy and expertise have led to substantial achievements. SWO has open membership, including for men, and an active grantmaking program, among other public programs and offerings.
Sufi Psychology Forum
The Sufi Psychology Forum (SPF) was established by Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar in 1993, and works to integrate the wisdom of Sufism with the knowledge of Western psychology and to bring people from around the world who are interested in these disciplines together in mutual understanding and inquiry. Initiatives of SPF include the 40 Days Alchemy of Tranquility Program, Community Healing Centers, and Beyond Identification. The 40 Days program fosters emotional balance and a deeper understanding of human behavior and spiritual development, while the Community Healing Centers are public practices run by licensed psychotherapists with many years of clinical experience and spiritual practice in the ancient wisdom of Sufism, help bridge spiritual teachings with the contemporary language of psychology. The Beyond Identification program focuses on heart-based approaches to psychotherapy.
IAS Humanitarian Award
For over 20 years, IAS has honored individuals whose life and work offer a model of engaged service and positive contributions to our community and culture in such diverse areas as education, human rights, social justice, religion, spirituality, publishing, cosmology, theology, and journalism. The International Association of Sufism’s Annual Inspiration Dinner was established specifically to honor the creative diversity that people in our community bring to the path of humanity and to serving their society’s deeply held values. The first gala dinner, held in 2000, honored distinguished professor and author Huston Smith. Honorees have included scientists, cosmologists, spiritual leaders, humanitarian and social justice activists, nonprofit leaders and community organizers, educators, and journalists, among others.
Music and Poetry
In 2012 IAS began production of the Songs of the Soul Poetry and Sacred Music Festival, and has continued to the present time, quickly establishing one of the premier gatherings in the world for artists, religious scholars, and enthusiasts from many faith traditions, cultures and generations to come together in celebration and exploration of our humanity. The Festival was designed for people of all backgrounds and spiritual traditions to share appreciation for aesthetic beauty and wonder, especially through poetry and sacred music. One of the premier performers has been Taneen (Divine Melody), a group of Sufi practitioners who compose and perform songs received through prayer and meditation and based around zikr (remembrance). Taneen’s melodies are inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammad, Jalal al-Din Rumi, and Moulana Shah Maghsoud. IAS is also home to Avay-i-Janaan (“Echoes of the Unseen”), an international group of poets, visual artists, and musicians.