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Nawwab Seminary (Mashhad)

Nawwāb Seminary or Ṣaliḥīyya School (founded in 1086/1675-76) is a well-known seminary in Mashhad, located on the northern side of Shirazi Street (former Nadiri Street), near the Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a). The foundation of the school dates back to 1086/1675-76. It has a peculiar architecture with chambers within two floors. The library of the school has been interesting for scholars because of its manuscripts.

Interior View of Nawwab Seminary



The school was founded near the Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a) in 1086 during the period of the Safavid king, Suleiman I, by Nawwab Mustatab Mirza Salih Radawi, a nobleman and a Radawi sayyids. This is why the school came to be called Salihiyya Nawwab.

In the years before 1320/1941, the school was handed over to the Ministry of Culture and Endowments, and was deployed for a while as a high school for rational and transmitted sciences. Then, after events of 1320/1941 and the collapse of Reza Shah's government, it was reorganized and was handed back to the seminary school. It was then fundamentally repaired by its previous supervisor, Mirza 'Ali Akbar Nughani. Nawwab School has for long been a place of congregations and teachings for seminary students. The lectures of Arabic literature by Adib Nayshaburi and advanced courses of Shaykh Hashim Qazwini were held in this school.


The school has two porticos on its northern and southern sides, and numerous chambers within two floors. According to older reports about the construction, seventy five chambers were built on the four sides of the school both upstairs and downstairs, and the forefront of the portico is decorated with colorful tiles.


The school has a library which was founded by its endower at the same time as its opening. More books were added to the library throughout time. The library of Nawwab Seminary has 32461 volumes of books within 15761 titles, and is thus one of the richest libraries in seminary schools of Mashhad. Microfilms and images of all its manuscripts have been made by experts of the Library of Astan Quds Razavi, and is provided to students and teachers of the seminary.

Endowed Books

Some beneficent scholars have endowed many books to the library, and have thus added to its richness. Many of these books are manuscripts. Kazim Mudirshanachi who was appointed as the supervisor of the library in 1320/1941 at the command of Nughani, the then-supervisor of the school, writes about the library and the number of its books: "the manuscripts of the library in 1328 amounted to an overall of 674 volumes". Under his supervision, 223 volumes were added to the library, amounting to 897 volumes.

The Present Condition

The school is located adjacent to the Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a) on one extreme of Shirazi Street. After its reconstruction, it came to be known as the Higher Seminary of Nawwab and is administered under the management of seminary schools of Mashhad. Since 2002, Nawwab School has been active as an expert school in three fields: Islamic theology, Arabic literature, and jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence.