Hurufism[1] (Arabic: حُرُوفِيَّةḥurūfiyyah) was a Sufi doctrine based on the mysticism of letters (ḥurūf),[2] which originated in Astrabad and spread to areas of western Persia and Anatolia in the late 14th–early 15th century.


The founder and spiritual head of the Hurufi movement was Fazlallah Astarabadi (1340–94). Born in Astrabad (now Gorgan, Iran), he was strongly drawn to Sufism and the teachings of Mansur Al-Hallaj and Rumi at an early age. In the mid-1370s, Fazlallah started to propagate his teachings all over Iran and Azerbaijan. While living in Tabriz, Fazlallah gained an elite following in the court of the Jalairid Sultanate. At that time, Fazlurallah was still in the mainstream of Sufi tradition. Later, he did move towards more esoteric spirituality, and, failing to convert Timur, was executed in 1394 near Alinja Tower in Nakhchivan by the ruler's son, Miran Shah. The large uprising of Hurufis was crushed, but the popular movement survived for another decade or so in different guises.

Fazlallah's greatest work was the Jāvdānnāme-ye kabir or "Great Book of Eternity", likely written in Baku before his arrest, which survived due to its dissemination due to copies made by his daughter Makhdumzāde. It was largely preserved in popular culture due to its use by dervishes of the Bektashi Order.[3]