0211 GMT February 23, 2020
Sadr al-Din Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yahya Qawami Shirazi (1571-1640), known as Molla Sadra, is an influential Islamic philosopher, theologian and mystic who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century.
In addition, a thematic book exhibition will be held in Tehran’s Hosseiniyeh Ershad today to commemorate his high status in Iran.
Molla Sadra became famous as a thinker who revolutionized the doctrine of existence in Islamic metaphysics and extended the shift from Aristotelian substance metaphysics to (Neoplatonic) process metaphysics of change.
A keen thinker who wrote works in philosophy, theology, mysticism and scriptural exegesis, he attempted a wide-ranging synthesis of approaches to Islamic thought and argued for the necessity of the method of understanding reality through a mixture of logical reasoning, intuition, and a deep meditation upon the key scriptural sources of the Twelver Shia tradition.
A key figure of a group of thinkers whom Nasr and Corbin referred to as the 'School of Isfahan', he played a major role in intellectual life during the revitalization of philosophy under Shah Abbas I (r. 996-1038/1588-1629) and later on in life was the most important teacher at the Madrasa-ye Khan in his hometown of Shiraz.
'Al-Hekma al-mota'alia fi'l-asfar Al-'aqliya al-arba'a'
Molla Sadra wrote over 45 works. His magnum opus, ‘Al-Hikma al-Muta‘aliya fi’l-Asfar al-Aqliyya al-Arba’a’ (The Transcendental Philosophy Concerning the Four Intellectual Journeys) is a large compendium of philosophy and theology that, instead of following the traditional divisions of logic, physics, and metaphysics, maps intellectual inquiry upon a mystical metaphor of the soul's journey in this world. Hence it is popularly known as the 'Four Journeys'.
He is considered the master of the Illuminationist or Intuitionist (Ishraqi) school of Philosophy, a seminal figure who synthesized the many tracts of the Islamic Golden Age philosophies into what he called the Transcendental Theosophy or 'Al-Hikmah al-Mota'liyah'.
Molla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy, although his existentialism should not be too readily compared to Western existentialism.