Dr. Parviz Sahabi

Educator, Rumi Scholar, Architect

Thinker, City Planner, Sociologist

Cybernetician, Writer, Poet

Painter, Photographer, Calligrapher

Jewel Designer

Dr. Parviz Sahabi (May 22, 1942 - October 17, 2022) was a scholar, an artist, and a renowned Mathnawai teacher. With more than forty years of experience, as an acknowledged authority, he offered an original systematic framework to study Rumi’s multifaceted masterpiece, the Mathnawi. Zavieh Mystical Study Center was Dr. Sahabi’s vision and under his direction, this non-profit organization was established by his students in 2004. A master teacher, Dr. Sahabi dedicated his life to disseminating knowledge and betterment of his students.

Born in Hamadan– Iran, he was raised in an academic rich and diverse environment. While his formal education was under the supervision of his father, the founder and principal of a private school, his maternal grandfather, who was a spiritual leader to one of the Orders in the area, guided his spiritual discipline. At a very early age, Dr. Sahabi was entrusted into the hands of an old dervish for lessons in the art of living, and in Rumi’s Mathnawi.

Dr. Sahabi’s exceptional intellectual abilities combined with a sharp sense of curiosity led him to study many disciplines in his lifetime. Dr. Sahabi began his higher education at the University of Tehran. He studied mathematics in the Faculty of Science, philosophy and educational science in the School of Literature, architecture in School of Fine Arts, leading to a PhD in City Planning. He concurrently attended the Mathnawi classes taught by some of the most prominent Mathnawi teachers and guides in Iran, including Ostad Mohammad-taghi Jafari.

Later he traveled to France to pursue his interest in Cybernetics at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, and Urban Planning in Vincennes University in Paris; and then to Venice, Italy, to work as an Architect with Mancuzi architectural firm.

Dr. Sahabi was one of the leaders in the architectural profession in Iran. Dr. Sahabi established the graduate program in the College of Building and Construction of Tehran University, and served as chairman of the Programming and Research department. He worked as an architect and planner, and taught extensively. He was the CEO and planning director of the architectural firm “Sanza”, and the CEO of an Engineering & Architectural Consulting firm “Noi” in Tehran. He served for two terms as the General Secretary of the “Iranian Architects Association”, and two terms as the General Secretary of the “Iranian Society of Consulting Engineers”.

Early Childhood, Education and Work

After the Iranian Revolution, he left for Germany, where he attended doctoral courses in Human geography at Saabruken University. Upon receiving job offers from three different architectural firms in Vancouver, Dr. Sahabi immigrated to Canada where he resided the second half of his life. A few years after his arrival, serendipitously, through a friend, Ostaad Jafari sent words to Dr. Sahabi to start teaching the Mathnawi. Dr. Sahabi complied with his teacher’s request and started his Mathnawi class in Vancouver. Over the years, numerous other events led him teaching to a diverse group of students both in Farsi and English and in different locations besides Vancouver such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Dr. Sahabi led an adventurous life from solo paragliding to traveling widely, and was fluent in numerous languages including French, Italian, English and German.

Immigration and Teaching the Mathnawi

Dr. Sahabi has been known throughout the international Iranian community as a master of Rumi’s poetry, ideas and philosophy. His diverse and rich background, covering a wide spectrum from the precise disciplines of logic and mathematics to the freedom of artistic expression allowed him to present Rumi’s timeless teachings in a tangible and comprehensible format. His masterly use of the principle of hermeneutic circle, the mutual relationship between the text as a whole and its individual parts on one hand, and the interplay between our self-understanding and how we perceive the world, helped shed light on what appears to be a difficult and highly symbolic text.

Dr. Sahabi was a pioneer in applying principles of cybernetics to discover the amazingly complex yet systematic nature of Rumi’s “Mathnawi”. He encouraged new lines of thinking which integrate paradoxical intellectual possibilities to transcend the limitations of dualistic thought patterns. Through his unique teaching style, continuing the tradition of our Master Rumi, he communicated the exceptional quality of love that confounds logical minds and brings forth boundless joy and intoxication.

Dr. Sahabi’s Original, Systematic and Dynamic Methodology on the Mathnawi

Dr. Sahabi’s Legacy

Alive in the heart of his students and all who love him, Dr. Sahabi has left his mark in our world through his teaching, writing and artistic creations. His dynamic lectures on the Mathnawi continue to change lives and touch many hearts for generations to come.

Selected Work

Dr. Sahabi’s artistic and architectural creations are numerous, but as an example of his diversified work, one can name his beautiful calligraphic design of the wall and ceiling of a Mosque in Richmond Canada; the turnkey design and construction of the Mosque in Gajereh village, the town plan for the “Blue Jeans Factory” at Caspian Coast, and the Master plan for the City of Yasoudj, in Iran.

In addition to numerous essays, metaphysical fictions, parables and short narratives, his publications include:

  • Cybernetics and City planning

  • Basic Environmental Approach for S.O.S. Village

  • Parideh Rang- a book of poetry

  • Mabanieh Pendareh- A literary analysis of characteristics in fiction, with a review and literary criticism of a few selected short stories.