The third lecture in the Shi‘i Studies Lecture Series at the IIS was delivered by Dr Sajjad Rizvi, Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies and Director of the Centre of Islamic Philosophy of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at University of Exeter.
In his talk entitled Debating Shi‘i Philosophy in Qum, Dr Rizvi argued that the study of the philosophy of Mulla Sadra (d. 1640 CE) and of philosophical mysticism in the Shi‘i seminary at Qum have seen a recent revival and dominance. Sadra’s philosophy has been contested by traditionalist ‘ulama who consider both philosophy and mysticism as a challenge to the true teachings of the Shi‘i Imams. Dr Rizvi then examined one such critique of philosophy from the school known as the maktab-i tafkik (the School of Epistemological Distinction), founded in Mashhad by scholars trained in the seminary in Najaf. They insist that the true teachings of the Imams are the guides for understanding religious realities and as such should not be mixed with ‘foreign’ knowledge.
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