Mulla Sadra
Sadr al-Din Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. Yahya Qawami Shirazi (ca. 1571–1636) is arguably the most significant Islamic philosopher after Avicenna. Best known as Mulla Sadra, he was later given the title of Sadr al-Muta’allihin (Master of the theosists) for his approach to philosophy that combined an interest in theology and drew upon insights from mystical intuition. He championed a radical philosophical method that attempted to transcend the simple dichotomy between a discursive, ratiocinative mode of reasoning and knowing, and a more intuitive, poetic and non-propositional mode of knowledge. He became famous as the thinker who revolutionized the doctrine of existence in Islamic metaphysics and extended the shift from an Aristotelian substance metaphysics to a (Neoplatonic) process metaphysics of change, from a metaphysics grounded in the primacy of substances as the stuff of existence to a metaphysics founded upon and moved by acts of being. 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, spiritual inspiration, and a deep meditation upon the key scriptural sources of the Twelver Shi‘i tradition in Islam. 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 the Safavid Shah ‘Abbas I (r. 996–1038 AH/1588–1629 CE) and later on in life was the most important teacher at the philosophical seminary known as Madrasa-yi Khan in his hometown of Shiraz.