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SA Sources II


Modern Western Academic Sources containg materials for the study of the life and writings of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i.

Stephen N. Lambden - in progress 2015

Last updated 07-03-2015.

We may now register (again in loosely alphabetical order) a few key western academic sources that contain materials about or pertaining to al-Aḥsāʼī and Shaykhism in general. Not all are wholly biograhical but usually contain something of interest.

Amanat, Abbas,

  • Resurrection and Renewal, The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850. Ithaca and London: Cornell Univ. Press, 1989. Pt.1 Ch.2  pp. 48-69 is  a section headed `The Shaykhi School'.

Bayat, Mangol. 

  • Mysticism and Dissent, Socioreligious Thought in Qajar Iran. Syracuse University Press, 1982. ISBN 0-8156-2260-0. 195pp. + Notes and Bibliography pp.197-222 + Index 223-228.

Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926).

Prior to his `Year Amongst the Persians' (1888), the English Persianist E. G. Browne became fascinated with the Bab (d. 1850) and the Babi religion. This interest led him to write about (mostly briefly) and collect Shaykhi books and primary sources.



A. L. M. Nicolas : Louise, Alphonse,  Daniel  (A. L. M.) Nicolas  (b. Rasht [Persia] 1864- d. Paris 1937)   
He was the son of Louis Jean Baptiste Nicolas (1814-1875) of the French consular service. See ADD.

  • Essai sur le ChÉikhisme. I. CheÏkh Ahmed LAHÇAHI.  Paris: Librarie Paul Geuthner, 1910. Preface xix+1pp. +72pp.  In 5 chapters; Ch.1  ... Ch. 5 pp. 63-72 is a bibliography of Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī.
  • PDf. Nicolas-CheÏkh Ahmed 1.pdf
  • Essai sur le Cheikhisme I: Cheikh Ahmad Lahgahi, Paris, 1910. This volume is little more than a French translation of Shaikh Abd-Allah’s Risala (see above).
  • A partial translation of the Sharh al-risalat al-`ilmiya  is found in the Essai sur le Cheikhisme IV: La Science de Dieu, Paris, 1911, pp. iii-li..

Henry Corbin (1903-1978).

  • “L’Ecole Shaykhie en Theologie Shi’ite,” Annuaire de l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences Religieuses 1960-61; repr. with Persian tr. by F. Bahmanyar as Maktab-e Sayki az hekmat-e elahi-e Si 'i, Tehran, 1346 S./1967, pp. 924.
  • L-École Shaykhie en Théologie Shî`ite.  Extrait de'l-Annuaire 1960-61  (Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes Section des Sciences Religieuses). Reproduction Anastatique. Traduction Persane  par Feredoun Bahmanyar. Pages 1-59 in French with the title `L-École Shaykhie en Théologie Shî`ite'  then its Persian Translation by Dr. Feredoun Bahmanyar pp.1-105 to which there is also a 3 page French Preface by Corbin dated Tehran December 1966/ Azar 1345. The Persian front, cover page is entitled:  Maktab Shaykhī āz ḥikmat-i ilāhī shī `ī  bi-qalam Henri Corbin .. with Persian trans. Dr. Feridoun Bahmanyar. Tehran Chāp-Tābān, 1347/1967.
  • En Islam iranien, Aspects spirituels et philosophiques. Tome IV L'Ecole d'Ispahan, L-Ecole shaykhie Le Douzieme Imam.

 This 4th volume of Corbin's ground-breaking En Islam Iranien  (first published in 1972) after a consideration of the `School of Isfahan' deals in considerable detail (pp. 205-300 ed. Gallimard, 1972) with `The Shaykhi school' and its leading figures, followed by a section centering on the question of the messianic 12th Imam/ Qā'im.

  • Add 1999/2000 (?) Persian trans.  of   En Islam Iranien...

Not primarily biographical see also Terre celéste et corps de résurrection de'l-Iran Mazdéen a 'l-Iran Shi`ite. Paris: XX., 1960.  Eng. trans. Nancy Pearson,   Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, From Mazdean Iran to Shī`ite Iran. 3rd ed. London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. 1990.

Denis. M. MacEoin,

The following Iranica article and his doctral thesis contain much of value about al-Ahsa'i.


  •  “From Shaykhism to Babism: a Study in Charismatic Renewal in Shi i Islam,” Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1979. See especially, chapter 2  which is by far the most brilliantly analytic examination of the life, writings and influence of Shaykh Ahmad.

From Shaykhism to Babism: A Study in Charismatic Renewal in Shí'i Islam. Ph.D. Thesis Cambridge, 1979. , pp.vii+230+bib. pp. 230-240. A doctoral thesis submitted by MacEoin (Faculty of Oriental Studies King's College, University of Cambridge), in July 1979. This thesis contains  (after the Preface, Acknowledgements, List of Abbreviations and Introduction) six chapters: (1) The Religious Background, 6-49 (2) Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī, 50-94 (3) Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī, 96-124 (4) From Shaykhism to Babism, 126-155 (5) Some Aspects of Early Babi Doctrine, 156-183  and (6)The Babi Da`wa among the Shaykhis and the Break with Shaykhism, 185-229.

The MacEoin PhD is reprinted (with slight updates and changes) in his collected works entitled, The Messiah of Shiraz ... which contains much valuable material pertaiing to al-Ahsa'i and early Shaykhism.

  •  "Changes in Charismatic Authority in Qajar Shi ism", in  Bosworth and C. Hillenbrand (edd.), Qajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change, Edinburgh, EUP, 1983, pp. 148-76.
  • `Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy in Nineteenth-Century Shi`ism: The Cases of Shaykhism and Babism' in JAOS 110/ No.2 April-June, 1990, pp. 323-329.  The synoptic heading preceding the article reads as follows:
  • `Changes in charasmatic Authority in Qajar Shi`ism' in Qajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change, 1800-1925.  Ed. E. Bosworth and C. Hillenbrand (Edinburgh: ADD, 1983), pp.148-176.

Momen, Moojan,

  • An Introduction to Shí'í Islam, (Oxford: George Ronald, 1985) pp. 225-31consists of a brief account of the Shaykhi school
  • A Bibliography of Shaykh Aḥmad Aḥsā'ī  based upon the Fihrist-i kutub-i  mashāyik-i `izām. (3rd ed. Kirman: Chapkhanih Sa`adat, [1977]) of   `Abu'l-Qāsim b. Zayn al-`Ābidīn Khān  al-Kirmānī as Bahā'ī Studies Bulletin Monograph No.1 (ed. Lambden, 1st published, Newcastle upon Tyne: Hurqalya Publications,1983). See the main Shaykhism Webpage on this site and note that an on-line slightly updated version will  appear here during 2015-6.

Rafati, Vahid.

  •  The Development of Shaykhi Thought in Shi'i Islam. Ph.D. diss. Univ. Calif.  at Los Angeles, 1979. 231 pp.