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Seyyed Hossein Nasr
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World What is This? Provides comprehensive scholarly coverage of the full geographical and historical extent of Islam

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From its genesis twelve hundred years ago to today, Islamic philosophy (al-ḥikmah; al-falsafah) has been one of the major intellectual traditions within the Islamic world, and it has influenced and been influenced by many other intellectual perspectives including scholastic theology (kalām) and doctrinal Sufism (al-maʿrifah; ʿirfān). The life of Islamic philosophy did not terminate with Ibn Rushd nearly eight hundred years ago, as thought by Western scholarship for several centuries; rather, its activities continued strongly during later centuries, particularly in Persia and other eastern lands of Islam, including India and Ottoman Turkey, and it was revived in Egypt during the nineteenth century.

Islamic philosophy was born of philosophical speculation on the heritage of Greco-Alexandrian philosophy, which was made available in Arabic in the third century AH/ninth century CE by Muslims who were immersed in the teachings of the Qurʿān and who lived in a universe in which revelation was a central reality, considered a source of knowledge as well as ethics and law. In contrast to the Greeks, Islamic philosophers concentrated on what might be called “prophetic philosophy,” which in turn influenced deeply the philosophical life of the other two members of Abrahamic monotheism, namely, Judaism and Christianity. In addition to Greek and to some extent Indian and pre-Islamic philosophical sources, the Qurʿān and Ḥadīth served as the central sources of Islamic philosophical speculation over the centuries. In later Islamic philosophy the sayings of the Shīʿī imam also played a major role, especially in the works of Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī (Mullā Ṣadrā) and his school. Far from being simply Greek philosophy in Arabic and Persian, Islamic philosophy integrated certain elements of Greek philosophy into the Islamic perspective, creating distinctly new philosophical schools. Although Islamic philosophy drew from Greek sources, which Muslims considered to be the fruit of earlier revelations associated with such figures as the prophet Idrīs (Hermes), it belongs to an independent philosophical universe of discourse.

The Early Peripatetics.

The early centuries of Islamic philosophy were marked by the appearance of several schools of thought. The most prominent school, which is often identified with Islamic philosophy as such in Western sources, is the mashshāīʿ ī (Peripatetic). This school is not simply Aristotelian, as the name might indicate, but marks a synthesis of Islamic tenets, Aristotelianism, and Neoplatonism. Its founder is Abū Yaʿqūb al-Kindī (d. around AH260/873 CE), the “Philosopher of the Arabs.” Some Islamic sources have spoken of the Persian philosopher Abū al-ʿAbbās Īrānshahrī as the first Muslim to have written on philosophy, but nothing survives of his works save a few fragments. Some have also considered early proto-Ismāʿīlī texts as the earliest works of Islamic philosophy. In the case of al-Kindī, a number of his philosophical works have reached us, some only in Hebrew and Latin, because he was well known in the West. Like most of the early Peripatetics, al-Kindī was at once a philosopher and a scientist. Although much of his voluminous corpus has been lost, enough has survived to reveal his mastery in both domains. Al-Kindī was the first Islamic thinker to grapple with the problem of the expression of Peripatetic thought in Arabic. He also confronted one of the central problems of philosophy in the monotheistic world, namely, the harmonization of faith and reason. Among his philosophical works, his treatises on the intellect, Fī al-ʿaql (On the Intellect), and metaphysics, Fī al-falsafah al-ūlā (On Metaphysics), were particularly influential in the Muslim world; Fī al-ʿaql, known as De Intellectu in Latin, also had a widespread influence in medieval Europe.

Most of al-Kindī's immediate students were more significant as scientists than philosophers. His real successor as a philosopher, Abū Naṣīr al-Fārābī (d. 339/950) from Kh0rāsān in Central Asia, was, however, not one of these students. Many consider al-Fārābī to be the real founder of Peripatetic philosophy, and it was he more than al-Kindī who formulated Arabic philosophical language and wrote about the relation between the Arabic language and the expression of Aristotelian logic. He commented on Aristotle's Organon and is the father of formal logic in the Islamic world. He also sought to synthesize the political philosophy of Plato and Islamic political thought in his masterpiece, Kitāb arāʿ ahl al-madīnah al-fāḍilah (The Book of the Opinions of the Citizens of the Virtuous City), and is considered to be the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Al-Fārābī also wrote of the harmony between the views of Plato and Aristotle and composed also separate treatises dealing with their different philosophies; he also wrote on various metaphysical and epistemological questions in general. He is, moreover, the first Islamic philosopher to systematize the emanation scheme (fayḍ) of the ten intellects from the One, by which Peripatetic philosophy is known.

After al-Fārābī, Khorāsān gradually became the major center of philosophical activity, but throughout the fourth century AH/tenth century CE Baghdad continued as an important center, following the earlier activities of al-Kindī. In the second half of the tenth century, however, the philosophical scene in Baghdad turned mostly to the study of logic under the guidance of Abū Sulaymān al-Sijistānī, who was known as al-Manṭiqī (“the Logician”). Meanwhile Abū al-Ḥasan al-ʿĀmirī from Khorāsān was developing the Fārābian teachings further and adding a new chapter of his own to Islamic philosophy by attempting to incorporate certain pre-Islamic Iranian ideas into his political philosophy.

Early Peripatetic philosophy reached its peak soon after al-ʿĀmirī with another Persian philosopher, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā (369–428/980–1037), usually known as Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). Often considered the greatest Islamic philosopher, Ibn Sīnā created a vast synthesis of Peripatetic thought in his Kitāb al-shifāʿ (The Book of Healing), which dominated many dimensions of Islamic thought for centuries. His ontological distinction between wujūb (necessity) and imkān (contingency) became central to later Islamic thought and also deeply influenced Jewish and Christian philosophy and theology, as did his integration of the study of the three kingdoms within the scheme of the great chain of being (that is, the scheme that places all creatures in a chain, or a series of levels of being, stretching from the dust to the highest angel).

Ibn Sīnā's major works, which also included Kitāb al-najāh (The Book of Salvation) and his last philosophical masterpiece, Kitāb al-ishārāt wa-al-tanbīhāt (The Book of Directives and Remarks), were widely read by defenders and opponents of Islamic philosophy alike. Moreover, Ibn Sīnā also wrote certain “visionary recitals” and philosophico-mystical treatises that contain what he called al-ḥikmah al-mashriqīyah (“Oriental philosophy”), which is of great importance if one looks upon the later tradition of Islamic philosophy.

Ismāʿīlī Philosophy.

Featuring an emphasis on taʿwīl (spiritual hemeneutics), the Ismāʿīlī school of philosophy, associated with the Ismāʿīlī branch of Shiism, saw philosophy as an esoteric knowledge associated with the inner meaning of religion. It drew its ideas from Islamic esotericism and Neoplatonism, as well as both Hermeticism and Neopythagoreanism. The first work of this school, the Umm al-kitāb (The Archetypal Book), belongs to the second century AH/eighth century CE and is supposed to be the record of conversations between the fifth Shīʿī imam, Muḥammad al-Bāqir, and his students. On the basis of this early Shīʿī gnosis, Ismāʿīlī philosophy developed during the next two centuries and reached its full flowering in the tenth and eleventh centuries with such figures as Abū Yaʿqūb al-Sijistānī; Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-ʿKirmānī (often called the Ismāʿīlī Ibn Sīnā), the author of Rāḥat al-ʿaql (Repose of the Intellect); and finally Nāṣir-i Khusraw (d. around 470/1077), perhaps the greatest of the Ismāʿīlī philosophers. The Ismāʿīlī philosophers played an important role in the rise of Persian as the second major philosophical language of Islam, and Nāṣir-i Khusraw, the author of the major work Jāmiʿ al-ḥikmatayn (The Sum of the Two Wisdoms), wrote all of his works in Persian. Ibn Sīnā, however, was the pioneer in the use of Persian as a philosophical language, having written Dānishnāmah-yi ʿalāʿī (The Book of Science [Dedicated to] ʿAlāʿ [al-Dawlah]), the first work of Peripatetic philosophy in Persian.

The Rasāʿil (Treatises) of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʿ (Brethren of Purity) is a collection of fifty-one treatises closely associated with Ismāʿīlī circles. These treatises, which appeared in the tenth century in Basra, have a strong Neopythagorean color while integrating many of the earlier currents of Islamic thought. They were widely read by later philosophers and even theologians such as al-Ghazālī, who wrote against the Peripatetics and Ismāʿīlīs.

Independent Philosophers during the Early Centuries.

Although Islamic philosophy is predominantly associated with schools that transcend the individual, the early centuries did produce a few independent philosophers who wielded some influence. The first among them is Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī (d. around 320/932), known in Latin as Rhazes, the greatest Muslim physician after Ibn Sīnā. As a philosopher, he was closer to Plato than Aristotle and was known especially for his denial of the necessity of prophecy. He was strongly attacked by the Ismāʿīlīs for this view, as well as for positing “five eternal principles” consisting of the Demiurge, the Universal Soul, Materia Prima, Space, and Time. This may have been formulated as a result of Manichaean influences. Another independent philosopher and one of Islam's greatest scientists, Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī (d. 421/1030), held another philosophical view but admired al-Rāzī's scientific works. Al-Bīrūnī's most important philosophical contribution was his criticism of Avicennian natural philosophy, as well as his introduction of Hindu philosophy into the Islamic world. Finally, an important independent philosopher, Aḥmad ibn Miskawayh (d. 421/1030), wrote the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics, Tahdhīb al-akhlāq (Purification of Morals), as well as a book entitled Jāvīdān khirad (Philosophia Perennis).

Theologians against Philosophers.

From the eleventh to the thirteenth century, the domination of western Asia by Seljuks, who supported Ashʿarī kalām, led to the eclipse of philosophy in the eastern lands of Islam. The caliphate, supported by the Seljuks, preferred the teaching of kalām in the madrasahs (Islamic schools) to philosophy, although kalām itself developed over time in a more philosophical form. During this period, a notable philosopher in the eastern lands was the Persian poet and mathematician ʿUmar Khayyām. Many of the major theologians of this era, such as Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111), Abū al-Fatḥ al-Shahrastānī (d. 548/1153), and Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210), wrote works against Peripatetic and also Ismāʿīlī philosophy. Shahrastānī may be said to be an exception, for he does seem to have had sympathy for Ismāīʿīlism.

The most famous attack against the philosophers came from the great Ṣūfī theologian al-Ghazālī, who, however, dealt with philosophical themes himself and even composed treatises on formal logic. In his autobiography, Al-munqidh min al-ḍalāl (The Deliverance from Error), al-Ghazālī criticized the Peripatetic philosophers severely. Then he summarized their views in his Maqāṣid al-falāsifah (The Aims of the Philosophers), which caused the Latin Scholastics to think of al-Ghazālī himself as a Peripatetic. Finally, in his Tahāfut al-falāsifah (Incoherence of the Philosophers), he sought to demolish the views of the philosophers, accusing them of deviating from Islam in their denial of the createdness of the world, God's knowledge of particulars, and bodily resurrection. Al-Ghazālī's attack had the effect of curtailing the power of rationalism in Islamic philosophy, but it did not bring rational philosophy to an end, as some have thought.

The influence of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī on the technical discussions of later Islamic philosophy was even greater than that of al-Ghazālī. Al-Rāzī's most important attack against Peripatetic philosophy came in the form of his detailed criticism of Ibn Sīnā's Kitāb al-ishārāt in a work entitled Sharḥ al-ishārāt (The Commentary upon the Ishārāt), to which Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (d. 672/1273) was to write a celebrated response that resuscitated Avicennian philosophy. In the fourteenth century this central debate was carried further by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī in his al-Muḥākamāt (Trials), in which he sought to judge between the commentaries of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī and al-Ṭūsī. Shahrastānī also wrote a work entitled Musāraʿah al-falāsifah (Wrestling with Philosophers), attacking the Peripatetics. Al-Ṭūsī also wrote a rebuttal against this work.

Islamic Philosophy in the Maghrib.

While philosophy was in eclipse in the eastern lands of Islam, it flourished in the Maghrib in general and in Islamic Spain in particular. Islamic philosophy in the western lands of Islam actually began with the Ṣūfī philosopher Ibn Masarrah (d. 319/931), who profoundly influenced later thinkers in the Maghrib. Another early thinker, Ibn Ḥazm (d. 454/1064), a jurist, theologian, philosopher, and the author of one of the first Muslim works on comparative religion, also composed a famous treatise on love entitled Ṭawq al-ḥamāmah (The Ring of the Dove).

The first major philosopher in Spain and Morocco to follow the eastern Peripatetic school was Ibn Bājjah (d. 533/1138), known both for his significant commentaries on Aristotelian physics and his philosophical masterpiece, Tadbīr al-mutawaḥḥid (The Regimen of the Solitary), which maintains that the perfect state can come about only through the perfection of individuals who can unite their intellects with the Active Intellect. His successor, Ibn Ṭufayl (d. 580/1185), who like Ibn Bājjah was also a political figure and scientist, is likewise known for one major opus, Ḥayy ibn Yaqzān (Living Son of the Awake), which bears the name of Ibn Sīnā's visionary recital, but with a different structure. The work deals, in a symbolic language, with the harmony between the inner illumination received by the intellect and the knowledge revealed through revelation. Ibn Ṭufayl's philosophical novel was translated immediately into Hebrew but was not rendered into medieval Latin until the seventeenth century, when it became famous in Europe as Philosophos Autodidactus and exercised wide influence in both philosophical and literary circles.

The most famous Islamic philosopher of the Maghrib, Ibn Rushd (523–595/1126–1198), who was known in Latin as Averroës and served as chief religious judge of Córdoba in addition to working as a physician, wrote the most famous medieval commentaries on the Aristotelian corpus and was referred to in the West as “The Commentator.” He set out to revive Peripatetic philosophy by responding to al-Ghazālī's Tahāfut in his own Tahāfut al-tahāfut (Incoherence of the Incoherence). In contrast to his image in the West as a rationalist “free-thinker” and author of the double-truth theory, Ibn Rushd was a pious Muslim who set out to harmonize faith and reason, especially in his Faṣl al-maqāl (The Decisive Treatise). His influence in the West, however, was greater than in the Islamic world, where the later destiny of philosophy was more closely associated with the name of Ibn Sīnā.

After Ibn Rushd, Islamic philosophy began to wane in the Maghrib but did not disappear completely. ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq ibn Sabʿīn (d. 669/1270) wrote a number of important treatises based on the doctrine of waḥdat al-wujūd (the transcendent unity of being), and the Tunisian ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Khaldūn (d. 780/1379) established the philosophy of history in his al-Muqaddimah (Prolegomena). The most important of these later figures from the Maghrib, however, was Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn al-ʿArabī (d. 638/1240), expositor of Ṣūfī Islamic metaphysics. Although not a philosopher in the sense of faylasūf, he is one of the greatest expositors of mystical philosophy in any time or clime, and he exercised a profound influence on Sufism as well as later Islamic philosophy.

Suhrawardī and the School of Illumination.

A new school of philosophy, which can more properly be called theosophy in the original sense of the term, was established in the East by Shihāb al-Dīn Suhrawardī (d. 587/1191), who considered discursive philosophy as developed by Ibn Sīnā to be only the first, necessary step in the attainment of true philosophy, which must also be based on intellectual intuition or ishrāq (illumination). Suhrawardī integrated Platonic philosophy; Neoplatonism; the wisdom of the ancient Persians, especially Mazdaean angelology; and Avicennian philosophy in the matrix of Islamic gnosis to create a powerful new school of thought. His works, written in both Arabic and Persian, include many treatises written in a symbolic rather than discursive language, and they culminate in his masterpiece, Ḥikmat al-ishrāq (Theosophy of the Orient of Light). When he was executed in Aleppo, his followers went underground, but commentaries by Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad Shahrazūrī a generation later, followed by the better-known commentary of Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī (d. 710/1311), revived the teachings of ishrāq. Henceforth, the school exercised a deep influence not only in Persia but also in Ottoman Turkey and the Indian Subcontinent, and it continues as a living school of thought to this day.

Rapprochement between Various Schools of Thought.

The period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century marks the coming together of various schools of thought. The main arena of philosophical activity was Persia. Iraq and eastern Anatolia, which were closely related culturally to Persia, were also important centers. This period is witness to the revival of Ibn Sīnā's philosophy by al-Ṭūsī, who also wrote the most famous work on philosophical ethics in Persian, Akhlāq-i nāṣirī (The Nasirean Ethics). Other notable figures of this rapprochement, such as Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī, sought to integrate mashshāʿī and ishrāqī doctrines. These centuries also mark the spread of the doctrinal school of Sufism of Ibn al-ʿArabī, mostly through his foremost student Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī and the latter's students and successors, such as Muʿayyid al-Dīn al-Jandī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī, and Dāʿūd al-Qayṣarī. Likewise this period coincides with the spread of the school of ishrāq and philosophical kalām associated with such figures as Sayyid Sharīf al-Jurjānī.

During this era philosophers appeared who sought to synthesize these various schools. One such figure is Ibn Turkah al-Iṣfahānī (d. 830/1427), who was at once an ishrāqī, a mashshāʿī, and an ʿārif of the school of Ibn al-ʿArabī. There was also a closer integration of philosophical activity and Twelver Shīʿī theology, as seen in the works of al-Ṭūsī, who, besides being a philosopher, was also the author of Kitāb tajrīd al-ʿaqāʿid (The Book of Catharsis of Doctrines), which is the major work of Shīʿī kalām. The background was thus set for the synthesis associated with the Ṣafavid period.

The School of Shīrāz.

By the thirteenth century, Khorāsān, which had been such an important area for the flourishing of Islamic philosophy, diminished in importance as far as philosophy was concerned. For a while the school founded in Marāgheh in Azerbaijan province by al-Ṭūsī became not only the center of astronomical and mathematical studies, but of philosophy as well. The preeminence of those areas, including such cities of Tabrīz, in the field of philosophy continued until the end of the thirteenth century. From that time onward, however, Shīrāz became the most important center of Islamic philosophy for several centuries to the extent that one can speak of the School of Shīrāz as the immediate predecessor of the School of Isfahan. The outstanding figures in this school, which in reality began with Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī, include Ṣadr al-Dīn Dashtakī (d. 903/1497), the well-known theologian who was also a philosopher; Jalāl al-Dīn al-Dawānī (d. 908/1502–1503); the son of Ṣadr al-Dīn, Ghiyāѕ al-Dīn Manṣūr Dashtakī (d. 948/1542); and Shams al-Dīn Khafrī (d. c.957/1552). Most of the important philosophical issues discussed by Mīr Dāmād, Mullā Ṣadrā, and later Islamic philosophers were based on the foundations created by the members of the School of Shīrāz. Moreover, Islamic philosophy spread to Muslim India primarily from Shīrāz, and the influence of the School of Shīrāz is seen in that area to this day.

The School of Isfahan.

In the sixteenth century, with the establishment of the Ṣafavid dynasty in Persia, there began a new phase in Islamic philosophy associated with the School of Isfahan. Its founder, Mīr Dāmād (d. 1041/1631), taught in that city, although students came to him from all parts of Persia and many other lands. His most famous student, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (Mullā Ṣadrā; d. 1050/1640), is considered by many to be the greatest of all Islamic metaphysicians. In what he called the “transcendent theosophy” or al-ḥikmah al-mutaʿāliyah, he integrated the schools of mashshāʿ, ishrāq, ʿirfān, and kalām in a vast synthesis that has influenced much of Islamic philosophy to this day. The central message of his magnum opus, al-Asfār al-arbaʿah (The Four Journeys), a veritable summa of Islamic philosophy, came to be known gradually as al-ḥikmat al-ilāhīyah, literally “divine wisdom” or “theosophy.”

Mullā Ṣadrā and his followers exercised much influence in Persia, Muslim India, and Shīʿī circles in Iraq. His philosophy was taught in India and known to such figures as Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi. It was revived in Qājār Persia by Mullā ʿAlī Nūrī, Ḥājjī Mullā Hādī Sabzavārī, Āqā ʿAlī Mudarris Zunūzī, and others and has continued as a powerful intellectual tradition into the twenty-first century. This does not mean, however, that other philosophical schools, especially those associated with Ibn Sīnā and Suhrawardī have not survived to this day, but there is no doubt that in Persia, Iraq, and to a large extent India, Mullā Ṣadrā's philosophy did become the most influential.

Islamic Philosophy in the Contemporary Islamic World.

Islamic philosophy has continued as a living intellectual tradition and continues to play a significant role in the intellectual life of much of the Islamic world. In the nineteenth century, Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī, who during his years in Persia was a student of the school of Mullā Ṣadrā, revived the study of Islamic philosophy in Egypt, where some of the leading religious and intellectual figures who have come after him, such as ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Maḥmūd, the late Shaykh al-Azhar, have been its devotees. In the Indo-Pakistani Subcontinent in the twentieth century, Muhammad Iqbal was a student of Islamic philosophy, as was Ashraf ʿAlī Thānvī, and even Mawlānā Mawdūdī, the founder of the Jamāʿat-i Islāmī of Pakistan, translated some of Mullā Ṣadrā's al-Asfār into Urdu in his youth.

In Persia Islamic philosophy has continued to play an especially important role despite the opposition of a sector of the Shīʿī ʿulamāʿ. Toward the end of the Qājār period a number of outstanding philosophers appeared, such as Mīrzā Mahdī Āshtiyānī and Mīrzā Ṭāhir Tunikābunī, who were active into the Pahlavi period, when such outstanding teachers as Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan Qazvīnī, Sayyid Muḥammad Kāz‥im ʿAṣṣār, and ʿAllāmah Ṭabāṭabāʿī came to dominate the scene. From the 1960s onward a veritable revival of Islamic philosophy occurred in the traditional schools as well as in circles of Western-educated Iranians, a revival that continues to this day. It must be remembered that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini studied and taught ḥikmah for decades in Qom before entering the political arena and that the first head of the Council of the Islamic Revolution after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Murtaz‥ā Muṭahharī, was a noted philosopher. Likewise in Iraq Muḥammad Bāqir al-Ṣadr, the well-known religious and political leader, belonged to the tradition of Islamic philosophy.

In most Islamic countries in the late 2000s there is renewed interest in various aspects of the Islamic intellectual tradition, in which Islamic philosophy plays a central role. This philosophy is being studied and developed to an ever-greater degree to provide responses to the intellectual challenges from the West. In some countries in the Arab world, one sees a revival of interest in Ibn Rushd (Averroës) and what is considered a new philosophical rationalism, as seen in the works of the Moroccan philosopher Muḥammad ʿĀbid al-Jābirī. In most other Islamic countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey, not to speak of Iran itself, most of the interest is in Mullā Ṣadrā and the living tradition of Islamic philosophy. In any case, Islamic philosophy is also capturing the imaginations of an ever-greater number of Western students, who are interested in it not only historically but as a living philosophy. In Islamic philosophy one can discover harmony between reason and revelation and the fruits of inner vision and ratiocination. Islamic philosophy is the repository of a knowledge that, on the basis of rational thought, leads ultimately to illumination and is never divorced from the sacred.



  • Atiyeh, George. Al-Kindī: The Philosopher of the Arabs. Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 1966. Systematic treatment of the life, works, and main philosophical ideas of al-Kindī.
  • Chittick, William C.The Heart of Islamic Philosophy: The Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Afḍal al-Dīn Kāshānī. Oxford and New York, 2001. Treats the major themes of Islamic philosophy through the writings of the thirteenth-century figure Afḍal al-Dīn Kāshānī.
  • Chittick, William C.Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul: The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World. Oxford, 2007. A treatment of the nature of the Islamic philosophical tradition, its importance in the contemporary world, and the consequences of its weakening in modern Muslim circles.
  • Corbin, Henry. En Islam iranien: Aspects spirituels et philosophiques. 4 vols. Paris, 1971. Monumental work on Islamic philosophy, Shiism, and Sufism as they have developed in Persia up to recent times, including chapters on many important intellectual figures of the later period not treated in other books.
  • Corbin, Henry. Histoire de la philosophie islamique. In collaboration with Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Osman Yahya. New ed. Paris, 1986. Translated by Liadain Sherrard as History of Islamic Philosophy (London and New York, 1993). Treats the whole of the Islamic philosophical tradition to the present day and in its relation to the Islamic revelation and various Islamic religious schools.
  • Cruz Hernández, Miguel. Historia del pensamiento en el mundo islámico. New ed.2 vols. Madrid, 1996. Contains a particularly detailed account of Islamic philosophy in Spain and also late Islamic philosophy down to the present day in both the Arab and Persian worlds.
  • Fakhry, Majid. A History of Islamic Philosophy. 3d ed.New York, 2004. Systematic history of Islamic philosophy in its relation to theology, with emphasis on the early period of Islamic thought. Also contains a useful summary treatment of philosophical thought in the Arab world in the modern period.
  • Goodman, Lenn E.Avicenna. Updated ed.Ithaca, N.Y., 2006. Deals with the major ideas of Avicenna's philosophy, ranging from metaphysics to logic, but also includes discussion of his life and works.
  • Gutas, Dimitri. Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition: Introduction to Reading Avicenna's Philosophical Works. Leiden, Netherlands, and New York, 1988. Thorough, rationalist analysis of Ibn Sīnā's Peripatetic thought that, however, belittles his “Oriental philosophy.” It opposes the views presented by Henry Corbin in his Avicenna and the Visionary Recital (translated by Willard R. Trask, Irving, Tex., 1980), and Seyyed Hossein Nasr's An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines (Rev. ed., Albany, N.Y., 1993).
  • Haʿiri Yazdi, Mehdi. The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy: Knowledge by Presence. Albany, N.Y., 1992. In-depth analysis of the subject of knowledge by presence in Islamic philosophy from Suhrawardī to the twentieth century, with many comparisons to Western thought, the whole treatment being from the perspective of traditional Islamic philosophy.
  • Izutsu, Toshihiko. The Concept and Reality of Existence. Tokyo, 1971. Philosophical analysis of the structure of ontology in later Islamic philosophy as developed by Sabzavārī on the basis of the teachings of Mullā Ṣadrā.
  • Jambet, Christian. The Act of Being: The Philosophy of Revelation in Mullā Ṣadrā. Translated by Jeff Fort. New York, 2006. This major study of Mullā Sadrā follows to a large extent Henry Corbin's interpretations and deals with some of the most profound issues of Mullā Sadrā's ontology and eschatology.
  • Leaman, Oliver. An Introduction to Medieval Islamic Philosophy. 2d ed.Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 2002. A philosophical treatment of some of the most important themes of Islamic philosophy.
  • Mahdi, Muhsin. Ibn Khaldun's Philosophy of History: A Study in the Philosophic Foundation of the Science of Culture. Chicago, 1964. Thorough and critical study of Ibn Khaldūn's philosophy of history and its significance for Islamic thought.
  • Marmura, Michael E., ed.Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani. Albany, N.Y., 1984. Contains a number of seminal essays in specific aspects of the philosophy of Ibn Sīnā and Ibn Rushd, as well as the first essay in English on Afḍal al-Dīn Kāshānī.
  • Morewedge, Parviz, ed.Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought. Albany, N.Y., 1992. Contains several in-depth studies of the relation of Neoplatonism to al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā, Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, and the Ismāʿīlī philosophers, as well as certain Ṣūfī figures.
  • Mullā Ṣadrā. The Wisdom of the Throne: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mullā Ṣadrā. Translated by James Winston Morris. Princeton, N.J., 1981. Careful translation of one of Mullā Ṣadrā's major works, with a long introduction on his school of thought and copious notes.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. The Islamic Intellectual Tradition in Persia. Edited by Mehdi Amin Razavi. Richmond, U.K., 1996. Deals with the interaction of Islamic thought and Persian culture and discusses major figures of Islamic philosophy in the Persian world, from Fārābī to Sabzavārī.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Life and Thought. Albany, N.Y., 1981. Contains chapters on Islamic Hermeticism as well as later Islamic philosophy in Persia, particularly Mullā Ṣadrā and his school.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of Prophecy. Albany, N.Y., 2006. A treatment of some of the major themes of Islamic philosophy, the development of this philosophy to the present day, and its contemporary significance.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Three Muslim Sages: Avicenna, Suhrawardī, Ibn ʿArabī. Delmar, N.Y., 1976. Introduction to the Islamic intellectual tradition through the study of Ibn Sīnā, Suhrawardī, and Ibn al-ʿArabī.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, ed.Ismaʿili Contributions to Islamic Culture. Tehran, Iran, 1977. Contains essays on many different aspects of Ismāʿīlī philosophy and thought by such scholars as Henry Corbin, Wilferd Madelung, Pio Filippani-Ronconi, Alessandro Bausani, Aziz Esmail, and Azim Nanji.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Mehdi Aminrazavi, eds.Anthology of Philosophy in Persia. 5 vols. London, I. B. Taurus, 2008–. A five-volume work including selections of writings of Persian philosophers, mostly from the Islamic period, including such figures as Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā, Suhrawardī, and Mullā Ṣadrā. This is the first extensive anthology of Islamic philosophy in the English language that covers all regions of the Muslim world.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Oliver Leaman, eds.A History of Islamic Philosophy. 2 vols. London and New York, 1996. Detailed study of Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present and in relation to the Islamic revelation, the heritage of antiquity, and other related disciplines such as science and mysticism.
  • Netton, Ian Richard. Allāh Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Cosmology. London and New York, 1989. Analyzes the relation between the Qurʿānic doctrine of Allāh and how the problem of God and the emanation of the intellects is perceived by Islamic philosophers, from al-Kindī to Suhrawardī and Ibn al-ʿArabī. Author uses current semiotic theories of Western philosophy.
  • Netton, Ian Richard. Al-Fārābī and His School. London and New York, 1992. Deals with al-Fārābī and his contemporaries and especially the epistemological substrate of al-Fārābī's philosophy.
  • Pourjavady, N. and Z. Vesel, eds.Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī. Tehran, Iran, 2000. A collection of essays in English, French, and Persian dealing with different aspects of al-Ṭūsī's philosophical and scientific thought.
  • Sharif, M. M., ed.A History of Muslim Philosophy: With Short Accounts of Other Disciplines and the Modern Renaissance in Muslim Lands. 2 vols. Wiesbaden, Germany, 1963–1966. Treats the whole of Islamic thought from its beginnings to the modern period, with greater emphasis on early Islamic philosophy and Islamic thought in the Indian Subcontinent. The quality of the essays is rather uneven.
  • Urvoy, Dominique. Ibn Rushd (Averroës). Translated by Olivia Stewart. London and New York, 1991. Thorough analysis of the various aspects of the philosophy of Ibn Rushd and its later significance.
  • Walbridge, John, The Leaven of the Ancients: Suhrawardī and the Heritage of the Greeks. Albany, N.Y., 2000. A view of the ishrāqī (Illuminationist) philosophical tradition from the Western scholarly point of view and in relation to Greek philosophy.
  • Ziai, Hossein. Knowledge and Illumination: A Study of Suhrawardī'sHikmat al-Ishrāq. Atlanta, 1990. Analysis of the philosophy of Suhrawardī, emphasizing mostly his logic and epistemology.
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