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School of Isfahan

The Isfahan School (Persian: مكتب اصفهان ‎) is a school of Islamic philosophy. It was founded by Mir Damad and reached its fullest development in the work of Mulla Sadra.[1][2] The name was coined by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Henry Corbin.[1]

Because of the attention of Shah Abbas during the Safavid Dynasty in Iran to intellectual tradition in Islam, Isfahan became a famous academic city and the intellectual center of Iran[citation needed] at the time, along with the cities of Rey and Shiraz.

Historical context[relevant? ]Edit

This school of thought began to develop once Iran was economically and politically stable. The Safavid court also provided funding for the arts, which also contributed to the development.[3] At the time, there were many disputes between Shiite scholars, such as Ahamad Alavi, and Christian and Jewish scholars.[4] In this period the intellectual life of Suhrevardi was revived by Mir Damad and Mulla Sadra.[5] According to Seyyed Hosein Nasr, this school of thought plays an important role both in terms of the relation between philosophy and prophecy, and in the training of Mulla Sadra. The school of Isfahan is a subsidiary of the Shiraz school of philosophy. Several philosophers that were not part of the Shiraz school of thought had very important roles in preparing the Isfahan school, such as Ibn Turkah, Qadi Maybudi and Ibn Abi Jomhour Ahsaei. The group of founders then announced Shia as formal religion in Persia, in an attempt to unify the entire country, with Isfahan as their capital.


Mir Damad founded the Isfahan philosophical school. He was the nephew of Muhaqiq Karaki, an important Shia scholar who had influence in the Shia jurisprudence. Some[who?] consider him familiar with philosophical prophecy as a result to the problem of Time. Corbin describes Mir Damad as having an analytic mind and aware of religious foundation of knowledge. Perhaps the most important characteristic of Mira Damad's philosophy is a synthesis between Avicennism and Averroism, or his synthesis is between the intellectual and the spiritual.[1] Mir Damad's theory on Time is as popular as Huduth Dahri's, though Damad's philosophical opinion is criticized by Huduth's pupil, Mulla Sadra. Historically, there was great strife between Mulla Sadra and Mir Damad, as a result of the differences of their philosophical theories on subjects such as time.[6]

Other teachersEdit

Mir FendereskiEdit

Mir Abul Qasim Findiriski was a peripatetic philosopher and follower of Farabi an Avicenna. He select a Peripatetic stance, as opposed to the illuminationists.[7] As a scholar, He taught several scientific subjects in the physical Isfahan school, such as mathematics and Medicine.[8] it is debated whether or not Mulla Sadra studied under him, though the two worked together extensivally.[citation needed] Mir Findiriski also studied other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Hindi. He also wrote several works on Indian philosophy, a series of treatises on fine arts, and one on his mystical experiences.[9] According to Nasr, he was all well rounded in different philosophy, poetry, alchemy, and the philosophy of Yoga. Mir Findiriski collaborated with Mir Damad to wrote a piece called the Treatise of Sanaiyyah attempting to link philosophy and prophecy.[6] Mir Findiriski also attempted to translate several Indian philosophical works into Persian.[10]

Shaykh-i Baha’iEdit

Shaykh-i Baha’i was one of the three masters of Mulla Sadra, worked in the Isfahan school, and served as chief jurist on the Safavid Court.[11] Like many Islamic scholars of the era, he was both a scientist and a man of wisdom; like Mir Damad and Mir Fenedereski, he was skilled in several sciences. At the time, he attempted to harmonize the relationship between Shariah and Tariqah.[12] He coined the term Hikmate Yamani (wisdom of believing.) He believed that humans were the only being capable of intelligence in a philosophy called "The Place of Illumination for Existence".[13]

Philosophers of Mir Damad's SchoolEdit

Philosophers of Shaykh-i Baha’i's SchoolEdit

Philosophers of Mir Finidiriski's SchoolEdit

  • Agha Hosein khansari
  • Muhammad Baqir Sabzevari

Philosophers of Rajab Ali Tabrizi's schoolEdit

  • Qazi Saeed Qomi
  • Mir Qavam Addin Razi
  • Muhammad Sadiq Ardestani

Other philosophers of Isfahan SchoolEdit

  • Mulla Muhammad Sadiq Ardestan
  • Muhammad Ismaeil Khajouei
  • Molla Naima Taleghani
  • Abdu Al Rahim Damavandi
  • Agha Muhammad Bid Abadi
  • Mulla Mahdi Naraqi
  • Mulla Ali Nuri
  • Mulla Nazar Ali gilani
  • Molla Esmaeel Isfahani
  • Molla Abdollah Zonuzi
  • Molla hadi Sabzevari
  • Molla Muhammad Esmaeel Darb Koushki
  • Molla Muhammad kashani
  • Jahangir khan Qashqaei


  1. ^ a b c "ISFAHAN SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY – Encyclopædia Iranica". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  2. ^ Aminrazavi, Mehdi (2016). "Mysticism in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy". In Edward N. Zalta (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 ed.).
  3. ^ (Andrew Newman, 2006 & p.90)
  4. ^ (Rula Jurdi Abisaab, 2004 & p.79)
  5. ^ (Roger savory, 2007 & p. 217)
  6. ^ a b "Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of ... - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  7. ^ "History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the ... - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  8. ^ "From Essence to Being: The Philosophy of Mulla Sadra and Martin Heidegger - Muhammad Kamal - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  9. ^ "Mulla Sadra's Transcendent Philosophy - Muhammad Kamal - Google Books". 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  10. ^ "Knowledge and the Sacred: Revisioning Academic Accountability - Seyyed Hossein Nasr - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  11. ^ "Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran - Kathryn Babayan - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  12. ^ "Revelation, Intellectual Intuition and Reason in the Philosophy of Mulla ... - Zailan Moris - Google Books". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  13. ^ (Modarresi Motlaq, 1389 solar & pp. 42–47)


  • Andrew J. Newman, Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire, Issue 5 of Library of Middle East History, Publisher I.B.Tauris, 2006, ISBN 1860646670, 9781860646676
  • Rula Jurdi Abisaab, Converting Persia: Religion and Power in the Safavid Empire, Volume 1 of International Library of Iranian Studies, I.B.Tauris, 2004, 186064970X, 9781860649707
  • Roger Savory, Iran Under the Safavids, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 0521042518, 9780521042512

Further readingEdit