MULLĀ ṢADRĀ SHĪRAZĪ His Life and Works and the Sources for Ṣafavid Philosophy
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 Mulla Sadra Shirazi
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Mullā Ṣadrā SHĪRAZĪ – a ‘Life’ in Progress

MuÎammad b. IbrÁhim b. YaÎyÁ al-QawÁmi al-ShirÁzi 1 known as Ñadr al- mutaÞallimin (Master of the theosists) 2 and popularly known as MullÁ SadrÁ still remains relatively unknown in Islamic intellectual history. 3 Arguably the most important Islamic philosopher after Avicenna and the ‘greatest philosopher of modern times in Persia’ according to Edward Browne, 4 his ideas have yet to find an appropriate exposition in academic works and an engaged and critical audience. He became famous as the thinker who revolutionised 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…

1 In his various works he describes himself as follows [for bibliographical details of the works, see Chapter 2]:

MuÎammad known as Ñadr al-DÐn al-ShÐrÁzÐ – AsfÁr, I, 1; al-ShawÁhid, 4; al-MashÁÝir, 2; al-TashakhkhuÒ, 120; MutashÁbihÁt, 75; TafsÐr SÙrat al-wÁqiÝa, 131; TafsÐr SÙrat al-ÓÁriq, 145.

MuÎammad b. IbrÁhÐm known as Ñadr al-DÐn al-ShÐrÁzÐ – SharÎ al-hidÁya, 1. MuÎammad b. IbrÁhÐm b. YaÎyÁ known as Ñadr-i al-ShÐrÁzÐ – Sih AÒl (Nasr), 1. MuÎammad known as Ñadr al-DÐn b. IbrÁhÐm al-QawÁmÐ – TafsÐr SÙrat al-JumÝa, VII, 136.

2 This title is first attested in a marginal note in a manuscript dated 1039/1630 of al-ShawÁhid alrubÙbiyya on  the  issue  of  the  unity  of  the  subject  and  object  of  intellection;  see  MuÎaqqiq  DÁmÁd,  ‘FawÁÞid  dar masÁÞil  va  mafÁhÐm-i  Îikmiyya’,  ÑadrÁ  5  and  6  (1376  Sh/1997),  61.  The  term  taÞalluh  (from  which mutaÞallih is derived) denotes an Arabic naturalisation of the Hellenic notion of theosis, the Platonic goal of philosophy as the attempt  to become like God that is  rooted in commentaries and understandings of the famous  passage  in  Theætetus  176  on  ‘becoming  god  as  far  as  possible’  (homoi½sis  the½i  kata  to dunaton=al-tashabbuh biÞl-BÁriÞ Îasab al-ÔÁqa al-bashariyya). See David Sedley, ‘The idea of godlikeness’, in  Gail  Fine  (ed.),  Plato 2: Ethics,  Politics, Religion and the Soul (Oxford  1999),  309–28;  Julia  Annas, Platonic Ethics, Old and New (Ithaca, NY 1999), Ch. 3; J. Dürlinger, ‘Ethics and the divine life in Plato’s philosophy’, Journal of Religious Ethics 13 (1985), 312–31; John M. Armstrong, ‘After the ascent: Plato on becoming like God’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26 (2004), 171–83.

3 For short introductions to his life and thought, see Sajjad Rizvi, ‘MollÁ ÑadrÁ’, EIr forthcoming [available at]; John Cooper, ‘Mulla Sadra’, Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy 6: 595–9;

S. H. Nasr, ‘MullÁ ÑadrÁ: his teachings’, in S. H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds), History of Islamic Philosophy

(London 1996), I, 643–62.

4 E. G. Browne, A History of Persian Literature IV (Cambridge 1924), 408.

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