Islam is a global faith with deep roots of intense religious and intellectual activity. For nearly fourteen centuries Islamic civilization has produced profound texts which are now the inheritance of all peoples of the world. The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is honored to assist in making these texts available to many readers for the first time through our Islamic Translation Series (ITS). The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is pleased to announce the publication of another ITS title: Mullā Ṣadrā’s The Book of Metaphysical Penetrations.
Mullā Ṣadrā (c. 1572–1640) is still recognized as one of the most prominent figures of post-Avicennan Islamic philosophy and is among the most important philosophers of Safavid Persia. He was a prolific writer whose work advanced the fields of intellectual and religious science in Islamic philosophy. His most important contribution to Islamic philosophy, however, is arguably in the study of “existence” (wujud) as the foundational principle in areas such as cosmology, epistemology, psychology, and eschatology. Ṣadrā thus represents a paradigm shift from the Aristotelian metaphysics of fixed substances, which had dominated Islamic philosophy, to an analysis of existence as the ultimate ground and dynamic source of things. He posits that all beings derive their reality and truth from their wujud and that a proper philosophical analysis must therefore start and ultimately end with it. Metaphysical Penetrations’s focus on Ṣadrā’s gradational ontology provides a strong foundation for readers to understand Ṣadrā’s other works, as well as later texts by other philosophers working in the same field. This edition contains parallel English-Arabic texts and a new translation by preeminent scholar of Islamic philosophy, Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
We hope the publication of this and other ITS works continues to foster good will and understanding between people of all creeds and cultures. Our own religious tradition (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) admonishes us to “seek…out of the best books words of wisdom,” and affirms that “the glory of God is intelligence.” It is in this spirit that we present this new translation of The Book of Metaphysical Penetrations.
Morgan Davis, director of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative which houses ITS, provides more information about this new release here.