Spirituality in Daily Life: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ostad Elahi

By James W. Morris, Prof. of Theology at Boston College April 30, 2007

The life of Ostad Elahi (1895-1974), the celebrated master musician, jurist, philosopher and spiritual teacher—spanned a period of dramatic transformation in the conditions of religious life, both in his native Iran and globally. The striking contrast between the traditional ascetic disciplines and ecstatic rituals of his childhood upbringing, and his later experience of a deeply engaged social and professional life, is reflected in the characteristic emphases of his mature personal teaching. This lecture will focus on his explanation of the manifold spiritual lessons we can draw from the constant tests and challenges of our everyday life: from the daily practice of our ethical responsibilities towards self, family, colleagues, society, and other creatures.

James W. Morris is currently Professor of Theology at Boston College. He has previously taught Islamic and comparative religious studies at the University of Exeter, Princeton, Oberlin, the Sorbonne, and the Institute of Ismaili Studies in Paris and London.  He has published widely on many areas of religious thought and practice, including the Islamic humanities and mystical poetry, philosophy, Sufism, and the use of cinema in spiritual teaching. His most recent books include the translation of Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (SUNY 2007); The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); and Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004).


University of California Irvine
Calit2 Auditorium (Calit Square Building)

University of California Santa Barbara, McCune Conference Room
6020 Humanities & Social Sciences Building

The University Club, College Hall, 1st Floor
One West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019