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Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī (d. 1871) - Select Biographical Sources

Select Primary and Secondary Sources for the Biography of Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī

Stephen N. Lambden UC Merced. 

In progress: last updated 05-05-2017.


Select Persian, Arabic and other sources for a biography Karim Khān Kirmānī

Risala-yi Tadhkirat al-awliya' dar sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i marḥūm Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī (Treatise on the Memorials of the Chosen Ones).

Cover page of the Nasiri Press ed. of 1313/1895-6. 

This volume is a detailed and important source from the life and circumstances of the first Kirmānī Shaykhi leader, Ḥājj Mirza Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī. 147+

رساله شرح احوال شيخ جليل اوحد امجد مرحوم شيخ احمد بن زين الدين احسائى

  • Risala-yi Tadhkirat al-awliya' dar sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i marḥūm Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī. Bombay: [Murtada al-Husayni al-Sirjani]. Nasiri Press, 1313/1895-6.
  • PDf. T-awliya.pdf
  • Risālah-i sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i Shaykh-i ajal awḥad marḥūm Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Zayn al-Din al-Aḥsāʼī ...  va Tadhkirat al-awliya, Sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i marḥūm Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī. dated 1387 AH/  
  •  2nd ed.  Kirmān : Chapkhana Sa`āda, nd. [after 1387/ 1967] 196? or early 1970s?. There follows the 2nd edition of this work in two Pdfs :
  • A - PDf Risālah-i sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i Shaykh-i Aḥmad ... Risala Ahsai.pdf  This Persian treatise was written by one of the sons of Shaykh Ahmad.  
  • B -PDf  Risala-yi Tadhkirat al-awliya' ... Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī... Risala tadhkirat al-awliya.pdf

The opening biographical section on the life, circumstances and writings of Ahmad al-Aḥsāʼī translated into Persian by Aqa Muhammad Tahir Khan occupies pp. 1-51. This is followed by the Risala-yi tadhkirat al-awliya' dar sharḥ-i aḥvāl-i marḥūm Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī  (Treatise on the Memorials of the Chosen Ones)  is basically a commentary on the life circumstances (ahwal) of the late Āqā-yi Ḥājj Muḥammad Karīm Khān Kirmān [and others]), from pages 52-181. This second part was composed by Ni`mat-Allah Ridawi. 


Henry Corbin (d. 1978) was professor of Islamic relgion at the Sorbonne and director of the department of Iranic studies at the Institut franco-iranien in Tehran. He wrote about the life of Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani in certain of his published, mostly originally French, writings and translated a few extracts from a few of his numerous Persian and Arabic writings. See, for example,

  • 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 Shiʻite Iran [Series: Bollingen series, XCI, 2]. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, ©1977.  2nd ed. Princeton, 1989.
  • Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, From Mazdean Iran to Shī`ite Iran. 3rd ed. London: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. 1990.
  • Ch. X = Shaykhī Hajji Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani, Seconf Successor to Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa'i (d.1288/1870) (London 1990, pp. 222-239). This volume contains several extracts from the Kirman 1354/1935 of the  Irshād al-`awāmm (Guidance for the Masses):
  • 1. `In what sense is the Body of the Faithful Believer is the  Earth of His Paradise', trans. pp. 222-236 = Extract from the Persian Irshād al-`awāmm... Kirman 1354/1935 vol.1 Pt. ii pp. 48-9, 66-68, 271, 277, 282-6.
  • 2. `A World in Ascent, Not in Evolution', trans. pp. 236-239 = Extract trans from Irshād al-`awāmm... Kirman 1354/1935 vol.2 Pt. 3 pp. 274-5.

Realisme et Symbolisme des Couleurs en Cosmologie Shi`ite'. Paper delivered at the annual Eranos Conference (at Ascona Ticino, Switzerland) in  1972, which had the theme `Le Monde des Couleurs' The proceedings were first published in Eranos-Jahrbuch XLI (1972), (Leiden: E.J.Brill, 1974) with the lengthy Corbin paper being on pp.109-175(6).  This paper  also appears in the 1980 French volume of collected papers  of Henri Corbin entitled Tempel et Contemplation (Paris: Flammarion et Cie) which was  translated into English by Philip Sherrard in the (Isma'ili) series `Islamic Texts and Contexts' as  Temple and Contemplation (London, Boston, Henley:  KPI. 1986 ). In this English volume the Corbin paper is entitled, `The Realism and Symbolism of Colours in Shi`ite Cosmology' , According the "Book of the Red Hyacinth" by Shaykh Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī (d. 1870).

En Islam iranien Volume 4.

  • 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. Something of the life and writigs of Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani are found in vol. 4 :236-248. Corban gives the first Kirmani Shaykhi leader's dates of birth and death as 18th Muharram 1225 / 1809 - 22nd Sha'ban  1288/ 1870.

See PDf here for Corbin on Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani in his En Islam Iranien  IV:236-248. 

Denis M. MacEoin

  •  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.

In his doctoral thesis listed above and its slightly revised publication in his massive 'The Messiah of Shiraz', MacEoin  has occasion to touch upon the life and writings of Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani, especially in the light of his opposition to the person and claims of Sayyid `Ali Muhamad Shirazi, the Bab (1819-1850). 

  • The Messiah of Shiraz, Studies in Early and Middle Babism. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2009. Essential for the study of Shaykhism and Babism this weighty tome includes most of MacEoin's writings relating to Shaykhism including his 1979 Ph.D thesis with some updating and most of his EI2 and EIr. articles.
  •  "Early Shaykhí Reactions to the Báb and His Claims," in Moojan Momen (ed.), Studies in Bábí and Bahá'í History, (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1982) volume 1 pp. 1-47.
  • `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.

See further the MacEoin bibliography within this webpage :   

Jalali, Aflaton. 

  • The Shaykhīya of Ḥājjī  Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī.

A thesis submitted to the Victoria University of Manchester for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies, 1982.  vi pp.+260 pp+ pp. 261-75 [list of sources]. A thesis In seven chapters. The granting of this doctorate  was rescinded after complaints of plagiarism from the thesis of Denis MacEoin.