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Nur 'Ali Shah
15th Qutb of the Nimatullahi Order


Nur 'Ali Shah was the son of Fayaz 'Ali (Mirza 'Abd al-Husayn), the first disciple of Ma'sum 'Ali Shah and Sufi teacher in Isfahan. Though young in years, he was said to be 'old in piety'. He and his master travelled widely and throughout Persia, establishing Sufi centres in various cities. He followed his master to Shiraz, Isfahan (where his ears were cropped, along with his master's during the Sufi persecution of King 'Ali Murad Khan), Herat, Karbala, and finally, to Kermansah. At the death of his master, Nur 'Ai Shah was considered the next Nimatullahi qutb, but soon he and his followers were banished from the kingdom. His avowed disciples were at this period about sixty thousand, but many more were supposed to be secretly devoted to him. He is said to have been poisoned at Mosul. It is related that two inhabitants of Kermansah, who were distinguished by an extraordinary appearance of zeal, dressed his dinner on the day that he was suddenly attacked by violent spasms, which in a few hours terminated his existence. Their flight led all to suspect them of having poisoned him, with the Shi'ite mojtahed Mohammad-'Ali Behbahani, known as 'Sufi killer', being accused of the mastermind behind the plan, although he denied this.


1. H.G. Keene. An Oriental Biographical Dictionary Founded on Materials Collected by Thomas William Beale. London: W. H. Allen & Co., Limited, 1894.
2. H. Algar. Behbahani, Mohammad 'Ali. Encyclopaedia Iranica, 15 December 1989.
3. L. Lewisohn. An Introduction to the History of Modern Persian Sufism, Part I: The Ni'matullahi Order: Persecution, Revival and Schism. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Vol. 61, No. 3, 1998, pp. 437-464.

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