TEHRAN (FNA)- A large number of prominent Iranian and foreign scholars convened in a conference here in Tehran on Sunday to commemorate Iran's highly revered Shiite philosopher and theologian Mulla Sadra, discuss his notions and ideas and study his works.

The conference was held in Tehran's Talash hall and Head of Sadra Islamic Philosophy Research Institute Ayatollah Seyed Mohammad Khamenei addressed the audience.

Sadr al-Din Muhammad Shirazi (Mulla Sadra; Persian: ملا صدرا or Sadrol Mote'allehin; Persian: صدرالمتالهين) was a Persian Shiite Islamic philosopher, theologian and scholar who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century.

Born in Shiraz, Iran to a notable Shirazi family of court officials in 1571 or 1572, Mulla Sadra moved first to Qazvin in 1591 and then to Isfahan 1597 to pursue his inquiry into philosophy, theology, Hadith, and hermeneutics. Those cities were successive capitals of the Safavid dynasty and center of Twelver seminaries at that time. His renowned teachers were Mir Damad and Baha' ad-Din al-`Ameli.

Mulla Sadra completed his education at Isfahan, which was the leading cultural and intellectual center of his day. He was trained under the supervision of Mir Damad.

Expounding his theory of nature, Mulla Sadra argued that the entire universe - except God and his knowledge - was originated both eternally and temporally. Nature, he asserted, is the substance of all things and is the cause for all movement. Thus, nature is permanent and furnishes the continuing link between the eternal and the originated. Much of his philosophy was also existentialist in nature.

Toward the end of his life in 1612, Mulla Sadra was asked to abandon his retirement by the powerful governor of Fars, Allahwirdi Khan and invited back to Shiraz to teach and run a new school devoted to the intellectual sciences. He died in Basra on a pilgrimage to Mecca and was buried in present-day Iraq. He is buried in the city of Najaf.

Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.

The foremost representative of the Illuminationist, or (Ishraqi) school of philosopher-mystics, he is commonly regarded by Iranians as the greatest philosopher their country has ever produced. His school of philosophy is called Transcendent Theosophy or al-hikmah al-muta'liyah.

Mulla Sadra's original philosophy blended and transformed Avicennism, Suhrawardi's Illuminationist philosophy, Ibn Arabi's Sufi metaphysics, and the theology of the Ash'ari school and Twelvers in a more ambitious and resourceful way than the former Islamic philosophers.

Mulla Sadra's meta philosophy was based on existence as the sole constituent of reality, and rejected any role for quiddities or essences in the external world. Existence was for him at once a single unity and an internally articulated dynamic process, the unique source of both unity and diversity. From this fundamental starting point, Mulla Sadra was able to find original solutions to many of the logical, metaphysical and theological difficulties which he had inherited from his predecessors. His major philosophical work is the Asfar (The Four Journeys), which runs to nine volumes in the present printed edition and is a complete presentation of his philosophical ideas.

1. The primacy of existence
2. The systematic ambiguity of existence
3. Substantial motion
4. Epistemology
5. Methodology

Some works

Some his well-known published books include the following:

1. al-Hikmat al-muta'aliyah fil-asfar al-arba'ah(الحكمة المتعالية في الأسفار الأربعة), 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. (1705 A.D.); its completion took almost 25 years, until some years after 1040 A.H. (1730 A.D.)

2. al-Tafsir (تفسير القرآن الكريم ) (A commentary upon the holy Qur'an)

3. Sharh al-hidayah (شرح الهداية), a commentary on a book called Hidayah, which had been written on the basis of Peripatetic philosophy.

4. al-Mabda' wal-ma'ad (المبدأ و المعاد), 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-waridat al-qalbiyyah (الواردات القلبية), 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.

6. al-Shawahid al-rububiyyah (الشواهد الربوبية), a philosophical book, written in the Illuminationist style, and represents Mulla Sadra's ideas during the early periods of his philosophical thoughts.

7. al-Hashriyyah (الحشرية), a treatise on resurrection and people's presence in the Hereafter, it deals with man's being rewarded in paradise and punished in hell.

8. Diwan She'r (Collection of Poems) (ديوان شعر), a number of scholarly and mystic poems in Persian.

9. Letters (نامه‌ها), except for a few letters exchanged between Mulla Sadra and his master, Mir Damad, none of his letters has survived. These letters have been presented at the beginning of the 3-volume.

10. al-Mizaj (المزاج), a treatise on the reality of man's temperament and its relation to the body and soul