Explanation of “guidance of Athiriyah”

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The book “Explanation of “guidance of Athiriyah” ( sharh al- Hedaya al- Athiriyah  ) is an explanation written by the 
pre- eminent philosopher “ Mullah Sadra” , on the philosophical work (guidance) of great  peripatetic ( Mashaa) philosopher “ Athir  al – Din Fazl  Abhari.

Many commentaries have been written on this work (Guidance = al- Hedaya) by the great Muslim philosophers.

The present book “Explanation of “guidance of Athiriyah” is one the commentaries written on, it is composed in Arabic. Mullah Sadra tries to present the philosophical method of the author (Athir al- Din) and he less applies his own viewpoint. For example Mullah Sadra rejects “substantial motion” (based on the views of the author) al thought he himself tries to prove “substantial motion” in his works.

The subjects of the book are divided into two philosophies:

1- Theoretical philosophy   2- practical philosophy

The author

Ṣadr ad-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[9]. 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.

 

The book structure

On definition of philosophy

On heavenly bodies

On  natural sciences

On the four elements (water, wind, soil, fire)

On theology

On division of existence

On recognition of the creator and His attributes

On the angels and proof of the intellect

On spiritual resurrection

On soul

On happiness and misery
 

Sources

Explanation of “guidance of Athiriyah”

Keywords


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