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Ostad Elahi

Born on September 11, 1895 in a small, remote village in Western Iran, Ostad Elahi was a mystic, philosopher, jurist, and musician. A virtuoso of the tanbour, an ancient Kurdish lute with a unique sonority, Ostad Elahi led an inspiring and remarkable life. Under the close supervision of his father, a renowned mystic with a large following, he spent the first third of his life steeped in classical mysticism. After twelve consecutive years of asceticism and seclusion, Ostad determined that the time had come to put his ethical principles to the test in the midst of society, where he would have the opportunity to directly confront the challenges and obstacles of daily life.

Exchanging his mystic robes for a Western business suit, he departed his mystical retreat and entered mainstream society, where he soon began working as a judge in the newly formed judicial system. Over the next thirty years, Ostad would use his unbending will and resolve to withstand the political pressures exerted upon him by immoral officials and to overcome the general atmosphere of corruption and bribery that permeated his surroundings. Despite his categorical refusal to compromise his integrity and impartiality, he rose through the ranks and culminated his distinguished career as Chief Justice of the National Court of Appeals.

Following his retirement in 1957, Ostad devoted his time to writing and music, which played a central role throughout his life. Based upon his personal experiences and observations, he wrote several authoritative books in the fields of ethics and morality, setting forth a comprehensive philosophy that he termed “natural spirituality.” During his final years, he welcomed more and more people from around the world who sought to hear his music or listen to his advice on a host of different subjects.

Ostad Elahi passed away on October 19, 1974 at the age of seventy-nine. Today, his memorial in Hashtgerd remains a site of pilgrimage for thousands of visitors each year. For more information on the life and work of Ostad Elahi, please visit