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This book is one of the philosophical works of the outstanding philosopher “ Mullah Sadra”, it is written in Arabic He mixed his philosophy with illuminationism , mysticism and Sufism , to create a new philosophical method called “Transcendent theosophy” .
This book is also known as “the four journeys” ( Asfaar Arbaeh) which is the greatest and most comprehensive philosophical works of “ Mullah Sadra”.
The author made the substantial motion as the most essential philosophical issues on which many philosophical problems were established.
According to Mullah Sadra , theosophists and mystics should pass four divine journeys: 1. The journey from people towards God
2. The journey with God in God
3. The journey from God towards people with God
4. The journey among people with God
Ṣadr al- Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī also called Mulla Sadrā (c. 1571–1641), Shiraz, Iran was a Persian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century.
Though not its founder, he is considered the master of the Illuminationist, or (Ishraghi or Ishraqi) school of Philosophy, a seminal figure who synthesized the many tracks of the Islamic Golden Age, and Andalusian, philosophies into what he called the Transcendent Theosophy or al-hikmah al-muta’liyah.
Mulla 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. His was a question of existentialist cosmology as it pertained to Allah, and thus differs considerably from the individual, moral, and/or social, questions at the heart of Russian, French, German, or American Existentialism.
Mulla Sadra's philosophy ambitiously synthesized Avicennism, Suhrawardi's Illuminationist philosophy, Ibn Arabi's Sufi metaphysics, and the theology of the Ash'ari school and Twelvers.
Mulla Sadra moved first to Qazvin in 1591 and then to Isfahan 1597 to pursue a traditional and institutional education in philosophy, theology, Hadith, and hermeneutics. Each city was a successive capital of the Safavid dynasty and centers of Twelver Shi'ite seminaries at that time. His teachers included Mir Damad and Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili.
Mulla Sadra completed his education at Isfahan, a leading cultural and intellectual center of his day. He was trained under the supervision of Mir Damad.
After he had finished his studies Sadra began to explore unorthodox doctrines and as a result was both condemned and excommunicated by some Shi'i ʿulamāʾ. He then retired for a lengthy period of time to a village named Kahak near Ḳum, where he engaged in contemplative exercises. While in Kahak, he wrote a number of minor works, including the Risāla fi 'l-ḥashr and the Risāla fī ḥudūth al-ʿālam .
In 1612, Mulla Sadra was asked to abandon his retirement by the powerful governor of Fārs, Allāhwirdī Ḵhān and invited back to Shiraz to teach and run a new madrasa devoted to the intellectual sciences. He died in Basra on a pilgrimage to Mecca and was buried in present-day Iraq. He is buried in the city of Najaf
During this time in Shīrāz, Ṣadrā began writing treatises that synthesized wide-ranging strands of existing Islamic systems of thought. The ideas of this school, which may be seen as a continuation of the School of Iṣfahān of Mīr Dāmād and Shaykh-i Bahāʾī, were promulgated after Ṣadrā's death by his pupils, several of whom would became sought-after thinkers in their own right, such as, Mullā Muḥsin, Fayḍ Kāshānī, and ʿAbd Razzāḳ Lāhidjī. Although Ṣadrā's influence remained limited in the generations after his death, it increased markedly during the 19th century, when his ideas helped inspire a renewed Akhbārī tendency within Twelver Shīʿism. In recent times, his works have been studied in Iran, Europe, and America.
List of known works
1. al-Hikmat al-muta‘aliyah fi’l-asfar al-arba‘ah, a philosophical encyclopedia and a collection of important issues discussed in Islamic philosophy, enriched by the ideas of preceding philosophers, from Pythagoras to those living at the same time with Mulla Sadra, and containing the related responses on the basis of new and strong arguments. In four large volumes; also published several times in nine smaller volumes.
He composed this book gradually, starting in about 1015 A.H. (1605 A.D.); its completion took almost 25 years, until some years after 1040 A.H. (1630 A.D.)
2. al-Tafsir (A commentary upon the Qur'an)
3. Sharh al-hidayah, a commentary on a book called Hidayah, which had been written on the basis of Peripatetic philosophy.
4. al-Mabda‘ wa’l-ma‘ad, also called al-Hikmat al-muta‘aliyyah, considered to be a summary of the second half of Asfar. He called this book the Beginning and the End, since he believed at heart that philosophy means the knowledge of the Origin and the Return.
5. al-Mazahir This book is similar to al-Mabda‘ wa’l-ma‘ad, but is shorter than it. It is, in fact, a handbook for familiarizing readers with Mulla Sadra's philosophy.
6. Huduth al-‘alam, on the issue of the origination of the world, which is a complicated and disputable problem for many philosophers. He proved his solid theory through the theory of the trans-substantial motion.
7. Iksir al-‘arifin, a gnostic and educative book.
8. al-Hashr, a theory of the resurrection of animals and objects in the Hereafter.
9. al-Masha‘ir, on existence and its related subjects. Professor Henry Corbin has translated it into French and written an introduction to it. This book has recently been translated into English, too.
10. al-waridat al-qalbiyyah, a brief account of important philosophical problems, it seems to be an inventory of the Divine inspirations and illuminations he had received all through his life.
11. Iqad al-na‘imin, on theoretical and actual gnosis, and on the science of monotheism. It presents some guidelines and instructional points to wake up the sleeping.
12. al-Masa‘il al-qudsiyyah, a booklet deals mainly with issues such as existence in mind and epistemology. Here, Mulla Sadra has combined epistemology and ontology.
13. ‘Arshiyyah, also called al-Hikmat al-‘arshiyyah, a referential book about Mulla Sadra's philosophy. As in al-Mazahir, he has tried to demonstrate the Beginning and the End concisely but precisely. This book has been translated by Professor James Winston Morris into English with an informative introduction.
14. al-Shawahid al-rububiyyah, a philosophical book, written in the Illuminationist style, and represents Mulla Sadra's ideas during the early periods of his philosophical thoughts.
15. Sharh-i Shafa, a commentary upon some of the issues discussed in the part on theology (Ilahiyyat) in Ibn-Sina's al-Shifa.
16. Sharh-i Hikmat al-ishraq, a useful and profound commentary or collection of glosses on Suhrawardi's Hikmat al-ishraq and Qutb al-Din Shirazi's commentary upon it.
17. Ittihad al-‘aquil wa’l-ma’qul, a monographic treatise on the demonstration of a complicated philosophical theory, the Union of the Intellect and the Intelligible, which no one could prove and rationalize prior to Mulla Sadra.
18. Ajwibah al-masa’il, consisting of at least three treatises in which Mulla Sadra responds to the philosophical questions posed by his contemporary philosophers.
19. Ittisaf al-mahiyyah bi’l wujud, a monographic treatise dealing with the problem of existence and its relation to quiddities.
20. al-Tashakhkhus, explaining the problem of individuation and clarified its relation to existence and its principality, which is one of the most fundamental principles he has propounded.
21. Sarayan nur wujud, a treatise dealing with the quality of the descent or diffusion of existence from the True Source to existents (quiddities).
22. Limmi’yya ikhtisas al-mintaqah, A treatise on logic, this work focuses on the cause of the specific form of the sphere.
23. Khalq al-a’mal, a treatise on man's determinism and free will.
24. al-Qada’ wa’l-qadar, on the problem of Divine Decree and Destiny.
25. Zad al-musafir, demonstrating resurrection and the Hereafter following a philosophical approach.
26. al-Shawahid al-rububiyyah, a treatise not related to Mulla Sadra's book of the same name (see 14. above). It is an inventory of his particular theories and opinions which he had been able to express in philosophical terms.
27. al-Mizaj, a treatise on the reality of man's temperament and its relation to the body and soul.
28. Mutashabihat al-Qur'an, a treatise consists of Mulla Sadra's interpretations of those Qura’nic verses which have secret and complicated meanings. It is considered as one of the chapters in [Mafatih al-ghayb].
29. Isalat-i Ja’l-i wujud, on existence and its principality as opposed to quiddities.
30. al-Hashriyyah, a treatise on resurrection and people's presence in the Hereafter, it deals with man's being rewarded in paradise and punished in hell.
31. al-alfazh al-mufradah, an abridged dictionary for interpreting words in the Qur'an.
32. Radd-i shubahat-i iblis, explaining Satan's seven paradoxes and providing the related answers.
The book structure
“The four journeys” includes four journeys compiled in 9 volumes
and 47 chapters:
1. The first journey (journey from people towards God):
- The essence of existence
- On cause and effect
- Formation and precedent
- Intellect and intellectual
- Human essence, etc.
2. The second journey (journey with God in God)
- On natural science
- Existence and the sorts
- Accidental issues
- Essential issues and different kinds of essence
- On the rule of essence, etc.
3. The third journey (from God toward people with God):
- Necessary Being
- The attributes of Necessary Being
- Divine knowledge
- Divine power
- The blessing aspect of Divine essence
- God is the Alert
- God is the observant
- God is the Alive, etc.
4. The fourth journey (among people with God).
- The rules of soul
- The nature of soul
- Animal souls
- The inner perceptions
- The talking soul
- Spiritual resurrection
- Corporeal resurrection, etc.
The book was translated into Persian by “Muhammad Khajawi” and was published in 2008.
Transcendent Theosophy in four intellectual journeys
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