Qalandar Shi’ism in Safavid Iran

In our upcoming monthly lecture Dr Lloyd Ridgeon is Reader in Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has published extensively in Sufism, but his current project investigates flexible interpretations of shari’a law in modern Iran.

The Safavid dynasty is commonly known to have been anti-Sufi, yet a more nuanced understanding recognises that there were periods when various Sufi movements were tolerated and even promoted. This presentation looks at the case of Qalandar Sufis in Iran, whose Shi’a sympathies most probably gave them a certain degree of protection from those clerics who were hostile to Sufism. In this lecture, the nature of Qalandar Shi’ism is examined along with the role and functions provided by the Qalandars in supporting the state