Scheherazade’s Niche
Female Islamic Saints
The Niche · Home · Glossary · Other


Sâmiha Ayverdi

Sâmiha Ayverdi (1905–1993) was a prolific Turkish author and mystic of the Rifa’i order. A well known Turkish nationalist, conservative activist, and an unexpected face among many in the developing modernist movement, she was unique among the many nationalist modernist scholars by being a Sufi woman, with the most remembered early Islamic modernists being men, and with many early nationalists being anti-Sufi reformists and anti-Sufi conservatives. Despite being controversial among Sufis for her right-wing nationalism and prejudices, and among nationalists for her Sufism, she was an emblematic example of a female Sufi with intellectual sway, political power, and a large spiritual following, organizing for further visibility of Sufism after the prohibition of tariqahs and tekkes in Turkey, and leaving a complicated political and religious legacy in her wake.