Remembering Dr Javad Nurbakhsh


by ramintork

Since data wise went back in time to October the 10th and came back again I would like to rewind and remember a great man who passed away on that date.

Dr Javad Nurbakhsh the Master of Nimatollahi Sufis order from (1953 until when he died Oct 10th 2008) was born in the city of Kerman.

To be honest I ( a de facto atheist) am not very qualified to speak of such a great man but given that as a young man who was very lost I found shelter in his house and being in the company of those who have so much love gave me solice I thought I would use the coincidence of rewind to the anniversary of his death as a rewind for myself and speak of him.

Dr. Nurbakhsh was born in the city of Kerman, Iran on the 10th of December 1926. He was initiated into the Nimatullahi sufi order at the age of sixteen and appointed its sheikh at twenty.

After obtaining his Psychiatric degree from the Sorbonne, Dr. Nurbakhsh was appointed professor of psychiatry at the Tehran University school of medicine, a position which he held until he retired, along with that of director of the Iranian Medical Council, president of the Iranian Association of Psychiatrists, and head of the Ruzbeh Psychiatric Hospital. He was also an honorary member of the American Psychiatrists' Association. Nurbakhsh also supervised the World Congress of Psychiatry for the World Psychiatric Association when it was for first hosted in Iran.

He produced 37 scientific works in the field of psychiatry, as author, editor and translator, along with many articles in scientific journals and a compendium of instructional brochures for the use of researchers, professors and students.

He left Iran following the Iranian revolution in 1979, first for the United States, where he established several sufi centres or hostels known as khanaqahs, then moved to Britain in 1983 and settled there. Dr. Nurbakhsh's work in reviving and organizing Sufism through the Nimatullahi order continued until his death in Britain in 2008.

Selected Statements by Nurbakhsh on Sufism 

"The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this."

"Sufism is a path towards the Truth where there are no provisions except Love. Its method is to look solely in one direction, and its objective is God."

"True lovers prefer the Beloved's desires to their own, being content with whatever the Beloved desires - 'be it cure or pain, union or separation.'"

"...if you encounter a human being who claims to be a Sufi and behaves contrary to the human code of ethics, do not ask, "What kind of Sufi is this?" Rather, it would be better to ask, "What kind of person would this have been had he not been a Sufi?"

"The capital of the Path is, in truth, nothing other than sincerity. Sincerity has been defined as `showing yourself as you really are' and `being inwardly what you show yourself to be'."

Dr Nurbakhsh has mentioned that before Islam there was a code of Chivalry that existed within our culture and that had survived in Khorasan and this code was integrated with Islamic practices.

My personal experience of this great man

Kind, wise with a gentle smile and hospitable. When I approached him and nagged like a ninny about my horrid life he calmed me and said "It doesn't matter", "It doesn't matter". It took me a while but I think I figured out what he meant.

I would like to think that even though today I consider myself in line with dawkinian views that I took away something good from those years.

Every time I contemplate on the wonders of nature i.e. how some Orchids evolved to mimic insects, or how some parasites drive insects to madness and the insect goes on top of the blade of grass so that it gets eaten by a mammal and the parasite is passed on, or finding the golden ratio in all aspects of lives I wonder what mother universe is hiding in her palm and how much I took away from those years at Khanaqah.

If we are mother universe's consciousness then perhaps we are also her seconded Guardians!

I leave you with one of Dr Nurbakhsh's interviews where he explains the two path of Nothingness and madness:-



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The succession to Munis 'Ali-Shah Kirmanshahi

by Nur-i-Azal on

The account provided by Noureddin Chahardehi and the author of Az Kuye Sufiyan ta Huzur-i-'Arifan is a little more detailed and nuanced, not to mention sinister. Basically the allegation is that Nurbakhsh's appointment wasn't even an act of nepotism. His succession, it is claimed, was orchestrated by powerful individuals tied to the royal court. The account given is that the individual actually appointed to succeed Munis 'Ali-Shah by him was passed over by these individuals for Dr Nurbakhsh, who was only 26 years old at the time. Apparently during the gathering for the accession of the new Pir and Qutb, the real successor was barred and prohibited from entering the gathering. I believe the author of Az Kuye Sufiyan ta Huzur-i-'Arifan reproduces an actual document proving the allegation, too.


Dear Ms Rusta

by ramintork on

I am the last person on Earth to be in a position to debate or comment on the esoteric wisdom of the disputes of leadership that you mentioned.

I guess a man, his life and accomplishments but more significantly the love he leaves behind for others would speak for him more than anyone ever could, and perhaps other than that love nothing else seem to matter at the end.

Farah Rusta

Son in Law

by Farah Rusta on

The reason Dr Nurbakhsh was not accepted by many as the legitimate successor to  Zu'l-Riyasatayn Munis 'Ali-Shah Kirmanshahi was because his appointment was considered as an act of nepotism. Nurbakhsh was the son in law to Zu'l-Riyasatayn Munis 'Ali-Shah Kirmanshahi. The same is said about Dr Alireza Nurbakhsh, the son and successor to Dr Javad Nurbakhsh.


Darius Kadivar

ramintork jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

Yes that is what i think I understood too, or did I get it wrong ?  ;0).

Was he refering to the Parthians by the way ? They are said to have inspired the European Knights particularly :


Mail was first used by the Parthians in their armor which they passed on to their Roman Foes which may explain how it was introduced in Europe later on in the Middle Ages.



DK Aziz

by ramintork on

The Chivalry refered to here is what is called Javan Mardi.


Darius Kadivar

I like this part

by Darius Kadivar on

Dr Nurbakhsh has mentioned that before Islam there was a code of Chivalry that existed within our culture and that had survived in Khorasan and this code was integrated with Islamic practices.

Not sure though that his conclusion applies to our "chivalresc" Basijees today ...

God Bless Your Scholar nevertheless !

Peace !



Thank you Nur-i-Azal

by ramintork on

Your points are correct and I thank you for adding them here.

Ba Doroodeh Faravan.


May his memory be blessed!

by Nur-i-Azal on

I wrote to the Ni'matollahi headquarters in London immediately after I heard about Dr Nurbakhsh's passing last year and received a personal response from 'Ali-Reza Nurbakhsh himself, i.e. the successor and son of Nur 'Ali-Shah II (Javad Nurbakhsh's tariqa name).

Indeed Javad Nurbakhsh's immense and inestimable services for promoting Iranian gnosis and spirituality over 5 decades cannot be calculated, and it will take several generations before we really appreciate the contributions offered by this Gem. His passing was an immense loss to all of us. I shed tears of blood in grief!

That stated, sorry to be a stickler, but a point is in order: the Ni'matullahi Sufi Order in London formerly headed by Dr Nurbakhsh and presently by his son Ali-Reza Nurbakhsh is not the unified Ni'matullahi Sufi Order. In fact the Ni'matullahi Sufi Order hasn't been unified under a single, universally recognized qutb or pir since it came back to Iran from India towards the end of the 18th century CE. The Order headed by  Nurbakhsh is more accurately the Ni'matullahi-Munavvar 'Ali Shahi-Munis 'Ali-Shahi sub-branch of the greater Ni'matullahi Sufi Order. There are other sub-branches of this Order also presently active who recognize their own qutb and pir, and not Nurbakhsh, namely, the Ni'matullahi-Gonabadi Order, the Safialishahi-Ni'matullahi Sufi Order, the Kowsariya-Ni'matullahi Sufi Order, the Shamsiya-Ni'matullahi Sufi Order, and a few dozen more. As a matter of fact there are some even within the Ni'matullahi-Munavvar 'Ali-Shahi-Munis 'Ali-Shahi sub-branch who never considered Dr Nurbakhsh to be the legitimate successor of Zu'l-Riyasatayn Munis 'Ali-Shah Kirmanshahi (d. 1953), i.e. the previous qutb and pir of this sub-branch.

Be that as it may, Nurbakhsh was a giant in his own right and did a lot of good where it counted. May God bless him and may the Divine Light envelop him!


Vahdat 'Ali-Shah


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by ramintork on

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