Mulla Sadra & Bodily Created-ness Of The Soul
Abbas Ali Shameli


In this paper I would like to evaluate the real philosophical value of Mull Sadra's doctrine about the created-ness of the soul. This inquiry requires the researcher to investigate the soundness of Mull Sadra's novel psychological findings. "Substantial motion" (al-harakah al-jawharyyah) and the "gradation of existence" (al-tashkik fi maratib al-wujud) are the two main philosophical principles formulated and implied by our philosopher regarding the elaboration of his theory on the soul's developmental process.

Unlike other Muslim philosophers Mulla Sadra attempted to prove that human soul comes into existence and develops within the corporeal realm and then switches into immateriality. He is therefore faced with the challenging question of link and unity of material and immaterial substances.

How Does He Deal With His Theory?!

Turning to the issue of the soul's createdness, Mulla Sadra first of all tries to establish a new doctrine that is completely different from that of Ibn Si‏na.1 Unlike Ibn Sina who considered the soul to be an incorporeal being as it enters into relation with the body, Mulla Sadra emphasizes that the soul at that point is nothing but an associated form which has no other essence except the fact that it relates to the body.2

So, this relation is not something additional to its essence but is its very essence. However, it does not mean that the soul is an accident (‘aradh) belonging to the category of relation (idhafah), but rather that it is not an incorporeal intellect when it enters into relation with the body. If it were an accident, it would be in need of its matter, while as a form it produces its own matter in order to be actualized and to acquire new perfections through substantial motion.3

If it is asserted that the soul connects with the body as an incorporeal thing, it must be asked how two completely different things can be related in order so as to produce an entity as unique as human?4 Moreover, the same problem concerning the relation of the soul as a separate being to a particular body arises as when we assumed corporeality of the soul. In order to account for the relation of a soul to this body but not to another, Ibn Sina maintained that, although souls are independent in their essence, they cannot be transformed from one body to another because each soul is devoted to a particular body.

There is, of course, a reason for this specific relation that we do not know.5 Ibn Sina clearly states that souls are incorporeal, simple intellects that are created when bodies come into existence.6 The first line of his Qas‏idah also reflects his and the Platonic view of a realm in which souls exist independently, and subsequently becoming related to bodies.7 It is difficult to summarize Ibn Sina ideas on the eternity or the createdness of the soul, because of their variety. Following Platonic doctrine, he sometime states: "Soul is a spiritual substance which stands by itself (qa'imun bidhatihi)."8

Similarly he says: "Soul's substance does not need to be related to the body and whenever it is it becomes weak".9 Elsewhere, opposite to this, he adheres to Aristotle's position and maintains: "Human soul is not something incorporeal standing by itself, but is created when the body comes into existence.10 But he departs from Aristotle when he states that when the matter appropriate for use is created, one of the active intellects creates a particular soul.11 Uniting Plato and Aristotle's theories on this point, he declares: "Soul is both a substance and a form. It is substance in its essence but form in accordance with its relation to the body".12

As these passages show, Ibn Sina always distinguished between the soul's essence and its position as a form which utilizes the body.

Mulla Sadra, however, insists that what is eternal is not the soul, because even in its essence the soul is nothing other than a corporeal form created in the body. According to Mulla Sadra the error of those who believe in the eternity of the soul is the supposition that the soul, as an independent being, exists before the body and then enters into relation with the body. This relation, according to them, is an accident for the soul, after it has existed independently. But the soul, according to him, is something essentially related to the body and will vanish as a related being when the body is destroyed. The soul is first a natural form (surah tabi‘iyyah) and afterwards becomes an intellectual being.13 Accordingly, the soul (nafs) qua the soul is nothing other than a related being unless it becomes an incorporeal, independent being like the intellect to which, however, the term soul can no longer be applied.

Emphasizing the corporeal origination of the soul, Mulla Sadra points out that if we believe that the soul was an indivisible being in essence before its attachment to the body, problems arise. First, we should note that a simple being cannot be created, since it does not have receptive matter. Secondly, if the soul is an incorporeal being in essence, how does it become related to the body and influenced by it. It is impossible for an immaterial being in this sense to be affected by a material being. Moreover, no one can find a way for a simple being to become many when it is related to the bodies.14 According to this doctrine the soul will be the same quiddity from its initial early creation to the end of its development through use of the body. Its essence is unchangeable throughout this process of development.15

In al-Shawahid and al-Mabda’ Sadra offers another reason for the necessity of bodily createdness of the soul. He points out that if the soul were immaterial, then it could not bear any external accident (‘aridh gharib) [like entering the corporeal world]. Because it is clear that acquiring any accident requires preparedness (isti‘dad) and potentiality (quwwah), which are the characteristics of a purely potential thing in need of a form to be actualized. This must, in fact, be a bodily matter (al-hayula al-jirmaniyyah), which is associated with the soul even though we had supposed that the soul was immaterial and separated from any matter. Therefore, pre-existence of the soul [as an immaterial being] necessitates its association with the body [as its matter]. And this is what logically called "reductio ad absurdum or indirect proof" [khulf (i.e., reaching an opposite conclusion to our assumption)].16

In elaboration, Mulla Sadra declares that createdness is always equivalent to being physical. This is because any kind of change or movement requires potentiality, which is the very characteristic of corporeal matter. Therefore, the immaterial createdness of the soul can never be asserted. He who advocates the createdness of the soul should also advocate its corporeality.17

Despite his emphasis on the corporeality of the soul in its early existence, Mulla Sadra maintains that the human soul at the point of creation (huduth) is the highest being of sensible world (‘alam al-mahsusat), but the lowest of the spiritual world (‘alam al-ruhaniyyah).18 It means that even though the soul at this level is a material form, it is the most appropriate being to become immaterial. Being double natured, the human soul brought Mulla Sadra to the conclusion that in the assertion both that the human soul is merely material and that it is absolutely immaterial, its true identity is overlooked.19

In explanation of the first step of the soul-body relationship, Mulla Sadra says that in so far as the soul is originally a corporeal form for the appropriate body, the body is its material cause (‘illah maddiyyah) or receptive cause (‘illah qabiliyyah) for its existence with the body not for its essence in itself. It means that the soul will not be created until an appropriate body has previously been created. This relation continues until the soul becomes independent. In sum, the efficient cause (‘illah fa‘iliyyah) of the soul is the active intellect, but only when there is an appropriate body.20

Philosophical Foundation Of Bodily Created-ness Of The Soul

In his effort to establish his transcendent "theosophy" and systematizing a new philosophical foundation, Mulla Sadra was influenced by different schools of thought. He probably adopted the hylomorphisim of the Peripatetics, the gradation of being and the divine archetypes from the Illuminationists (Ishraqiin). Moreover, being attracted by Ibn al-‘Arab‏'s school of thought, he derived new principles, such as the continual becoming of the substance of the world, and the oneness of being (wahdat al-wujud). In the systematized form in which they appear in the works of Mulla Sadra, these principles find little or no parallel in any previous school of philosophy.21

As previously mentioned, Mulla Sadra based his theory of the corporeal createdness of the soul and its development on two main principles. These are substantial motion (al-harakah al-jawhar‏yyah) and ambiguous hierarchy of existence (al-tashkik fi maratib al-wujud). He believes that the soul is a single reality but which is not fixed in any particular level of existence. It moves through substantial motion and appears at various levels.22 These levels are indeed different modes of its single existence.23 As Nasr quotes from Mulla Sadra, the soul firstly appears as the body and then changes from within without being any effusion from the heavenly souls or the active intellect.24

One should be careful in understanding the exact meaning of Mulla Sadra's idea concerning substantial development of the soul. In al-Asfar, there are passages that indicate his preference for the idea of effusion. For instance, when he wants to explain the soul's development, he starts with this statement:

A series of consecutive, substantial perfections (kamalat muta‘aqibah jawhariyyah) was effused from the active source (al-mabda' al-fa‘‘al). This series starts from mineral form, then vegetative form, animal substance and so on. In this way, substantial development occurs in the existence of substantial forms (waqa‘a al-ishtidad fi al-wujud al-suri al-jawhari) until the complete transcendence from matter takes place.25

In combination, his two ideas of substantial motion and the idea of effusion are not contradictory. It is reasonable to say that effusion occurs when matter undergoes substantial motion to the point of acquiring a particular level of potentiality. In other words, substantial motion is an essential condition for acquiring new forms. This doctrine seems inconsistent with the other idea that emphasizes only the necessity of effusion without considering the substantial motion. Nasr himself quotes another passage from Mulla Sadra's Iks‏ir al-‘arifin which indicates the necessity of emanation of the soul through its developmental processes. According to this passage the soul develops through the course of becoming but the trend and its various levels of development are marked by the active intellects who distinguish one species from another.26

There remains another question pertaining to Mulla Sadra's advocacy of the development of form. One may legitimately ask, if man is composed of form and matter, why does substantial motion occur only in forms and not in matters. More precisely, if form cannot be separated from matter, why does matter not follow form in becoming immaterial? It is also worth mentioning that matter in its second level, which is not called primary matter (al-hayula al-'ula), has its own actuality and is not a mere potentiality.

In his discussion of Mulla Sadra's doctrine concerning substantial motion, Tabataba’i‏27 states in an interesting passage, that according to his theosophy, the whole of existence can be divided into two main categories, namely, actual and potential beings. These two types of beings are equivalent to flowing (sayyal) and stable (thabit) beings. Corporeal existents are affected by the principle of movement or, better to say, have the potential to move. Incorporeal beings, on the other hand, are stable because they lack any potentiality for change. Like a very wide stream, the corporeal world- including all its elements, both accidents and substances -moves in order to acquire new modes of entity. This process of change is so dominant that each part at each moment is different from what it was in the previous moment. The philosophical basis of continuous development, is given by Mulla Sadra as follows:

Individuals of all material species are limited in four limitations, length (tul), width (‘ardh), depth (‘umq), and time (zaman). Based on time divisions, all corporeal beings are distributed, (mutafarriq) plural (mutakaththir), and divided (munqasim) through various points. Their uniqueness, nonetheless, is held by immaterial souls or by the lords of species (arbab-i anwa‘).

Tabataba’i adds that according to Mulla Sadra, universal change always occurs between potentiality and actuality or, in other words, from materiality toward immateriality. Various parts of the corporeal world continuously move through this general movement from deficiency and imperfection toward perfection and immateriality. Metaphorically speaking, one may say that this world is similar to the productive line of a manufacture that continuously makes immaterial beings out of material ones by putting them through substantial motion. When a stream of material beings acquires immateriality and departs from the material world, a new stream enters the process and starts to move through a new course of substantial motion. Human souls, like other corporeal beings, undergo this. They begin as material bodies, but then change into immaterial beings after passing different stages of existence by way of substantial motion.28

Emphasizing the idea of substantial motion and its effective role in explaining the process of the soul's development, Mulla Sadra states that philosophers always wondered how to conceive of describing the various states of the soul's existence: its generation, its survival, its immateriality. They could not because they had not arrived at such a principle. Consequently, some were forced to deny the soul's immateriality and the others to try to refute its survival; another group believed in metempsychosis (tanasukh al-arwah).29

Mulla Sadra gives us a clearer picture of the path and the different levels that the human soul passes through, one after another. According to his ‘Arshiyyah the soul is firstly a corporeal faculty (quwwah jismaniyyah), then a natural form (surah tabi`iiyyah), then a sensible soul (nafsun hassasah) with its different levels (firstly animal soul and then human soul). It then acquires the faculties of thinking (mufakkirah) and memory (dhakirah), and then becomes a rational soul (natiqah) possessing theoretical and practical reason, and eventually becomes active intellect. This final level can rarely be found among human being.30

Applying the principle of the gradation of being to the development of the soul, Mulla Sadra states that the human soul does not have a definite position as entity. Its existence is not fixed in any given grade. Although the other natural, spiritual and intellectual beings have individually their own specific position in the existence, the human soul can move through different realms ordered in such a way that some are prior and some posterior. Because of this flowing (unstable) existence, it has been very difficult for philosophers to know the very existence of the soul. All accounts given by philosophers of the entity of the soul consist merely of various characteristics belonging to the soul, while the soul is associated with the body. Even motion and perception are not unique to human soul, but can be found in animals too.31

In his al-Asfar (at the end of sixth chapter of al-bab al-sabi' from al-safar al-rabi‘), Mulla Sadra gives a statement of what he means by difference in levels of existence (ikhtilafu maratib al-wujud):

Know that existence has various realms (nasha`مt) each coming after the other in such a way that they have priority in relation to each other. In spite of their differences, they are deeply connected to each other. The last gradation of each level is the beginning of the next one.32

Declaring this idea in more specific terms that indicate the gradations of soul's existence, Mulla Sadra says that while the human embryo is growing in the womb, the soul is in the level of vegetative soul. This gradation is achieved after nature leaves behind the level of the solid faculties (al-quwa al-jamadiyyah). Accordingly, the substance of the human sperm is in this position an actual plant, but is a potential animal until it achieves the abilities of sensation and motion. Since it has the potentiality to become an animal, this plant differs from other species of plant. At birth, it is actually an animal and potentially human, and, finally, at the age of adolescence it is actually human and potentially either an angel or a follower disciple of the Devil.33

Despite Mulla Sadra's attempts in the preceding passage to give an explanation of various gradations of soul's development, his idea concerning the exact time within which the soul enters a new level of existence is disputable. For instance, one might assert that the human soul is an actual animal not at birth but even when the human embryo is in the womb. This is because new physiological data has shown that the human infants are capable of sensation and motion while passing their prenatal period. It has been reported that by the end of the fourth month, mothers usually experience movement of the fetus.34 If one argues that since these kinds of movement are not voluntary, they cannot be considered as animal characteristics, we may state that voluntary movements occur not at the birth, but after the maturity of the central nervous system. Hetherington says:

At around five months reflexes such as sucking, swallowing, and hiccoughing usually appear. In addition, a Babinski reflex of a fanning of the toes in response to stroking of the foot occurs.35

These reflexes indicate that fetus has partly reached the level of sensation. If the fetus is still unable of perceiving stimuli, how does it response to them?

It is very important to keep in mind that, although Mulla Sadra maintains that existence has different gradations, every gradation covers a number of beings that are fixed in that gradation. Interestingly, he mentions that it is only the soul that moves through different gradations one after another. One can conclude that the soul's motion through up and down gradations yields the pattern of two downward and upward arcs (al-qaws al-nuzuli and al-qaws al-su‘udi) of the soul's development. The above-mentioned doctrine is offered in Sadra's al-Asfar as following:

Immaterial intellects are spiritual both in essence and action. Corporeal natures (al-taba'i‘ al-jasadiyyah), on the contrary, are material in terms of those two dimensions. Accordingly, each substance from a given gradation has a specific status in existence. The human soul by contrast develops through various modes of existence.36

One might argue that unlike the immaterial intellects, corporeal natures, like the soul, undergo substantial motion and develop within their own realm. But then, how can we assert that transformation from one stage to the other is the characteristic of souls only? The response to this objection is that, although corporeal natures are not stable in one specific point and undergo their own substantial motion, this movement occurs in the realm of nature. So, they are never transformed from a state of materiality into one of immateriality. Because the soul is not limited in this way it leaves its body and allows it to collapse when it reaches the end of corporeal world even if the body underwent its own development.

Another important point regarding the gradations of the human soul is that, despite Mulla Sadra's emphasis on different levels of soul's existence, he says that these gradations are different levels of a single being that continually takes on new forms.37 In an attempt to elaborate Mulla Sadra's doctrine regarding the uniqueness of the soul Fazlur Rahman says:

The truth is that, in accordance with the principle of substantive change or transformation, which is also expressed by the doctrine of the systematic ambiguity (tashk‏ik) of the existence, the soul first emerges as vegetative, then as perceptive and locomotive at the animal level, then as potential intellect, and finally as pure intellect when the term soul is no longer applicable to it. The soul has its being at all these levels and at each of these levels it is the same in a sense and yet different in a sense because the same being can pass through different levels of development.38

The reason for the uniqueness of the soul, despite its variability as an entity is the unique self-understanding or self-conception that all individuals have. In spite of all the substantial changes that occur to both bodies and souls, one readily understands that he remains the same person as he was in his childhood. If these gradations were reflections of different beings, we would certainly experience this plurality.39

One may, however, assert that this unique self-conception is related to the fact that self-conception is typical of the soul when it exists at the grade of human being. For, it is difficult to prove that there is any self-conception for the human soul when it occupies the level of animal or vegetative soul, or any previous level.

Closing Remarks

The issue of the soul-body problem started with the question of whether the soul and the body are two different existents with two different natures or are the same. Considering them two different existents, one may ask how they relate with another? Even Aristotelian theory of form-matter, has to explain the problem of the relation between two types of existence.

Although in both Islamic and Western traditions there is a marked tendency toward dualism, no one could successfully explain the nature of the soul-body relationship. Extreme forms of materialism or idealism were two kinds of reaction against this. In Islamic tradition the Peripatetic school of thought has always come under harsh attack when it tries to illustrate the material/immaterial relationship.

Utilizing his new findings in philosophy, Mulla Sadra argued that there is a new way to explain the soul-body relationship. He firstly asserted that beside external, accidental, and observable motions that occur in the corporeal world, there is another form of motion that is internal, substantial and unseen. The latter, he found constituted the very basis of the former. According to Mulla Sadra, substantial motion is an alternative doctrine to the generation/ corruption theory (al-kawn wa al-fasad) offered in Peripatetic tradition to explain the emergence and evolution of corporeal species. Based on the theory of substantial motion, the matter gradually and continuously moves toward perfection and immateriality. So, there is no boundary separating a distinctive border between the materiality and immatereality. Each being leaves, through a continuous course of substantial change, the stage of imperfection to the level of perfection and transcendence. Hence, the course of change in the material world is continuous and perfectional rather than in form of generation/ corruption.

It is interesting to notice that along with the principle of substantial motion, Mulla Sadra emphasizes the principle of the ambiguous hierarchy of existence (al-tashkik fi maratib al-wujud). According to this metaphysical foundation, existence is a reality characterized by stages (dhu maratib). So, all changes in the corporeal world are from a level of imperfection to a higher one. But these levels are ascending stages of the same and unique being. Accordingly, Mulla Sadra maintains that substantial motion moves a being from one level to a higher one, but all theses stages are various levels of a moving existent. As far as the developmental process of the soul is concerned, various levels of existence can be observed throughout the developmental process. Corporeality, spirituality and intellectuality are three main stages of the soul's development. Nevertheless, since the substantial motion is continuous, these supposed levels do not disturb the "singleness" of the soul. Mulla Sadra declares that these levels are, indeed, manifestations of various levels of one moving existence that travels from the realm of imperfection to the stage of perfection and abstraction (tajrid).

By considering Mulla Sadra's theory on the soul's development, both in its practical and theoretical dimensions, we may gain a better understanding of his doctrine of substantial motion leading to an existential development. As our philosopher proposes, the intellectual development of the human soul must be interpreted only based on the idea of the union of the intelligence and the intelligible (ittihad-i aqil bi ma`qul). According to this idea, when the soul receives an intelligible, it indeed unites with its intelligible and strengthens its existence. So, whenever the soul has a new intelligible, it develops its existence by uniting with its intelligible. Mulla Sadra provides a four-level theory both for the practical and for the theoretical intellects, within which the soul strengthens its existence from a low level to a higher one.

The key idea in Mulla Sadra's interpretation of the union of the intelligence and the intelligible is the union of the soul and its perfection, be it practical or intellectual. This union removes any duality between the soul and what it acquires and reinforces the idea of existential development. The human soul, like other corporeal beings is a by-product of substantial motion. A corporeal matter that has the potentiality of acquiring perfection will change to a higher and stronger existent through substantial motion. Therefore, it is the matter itself that changes into immateriality and there is no duality in between. Accordingly, both the Platonic and Aristotelian points of view cannot adequately explain the soul-body relationship.

The Platonic standpoint has the problem of explaining the relation between an eternal and a generated being and Aristotelians ignored the substantial changes by limiting themselves to external changes. Based on the principle of substantial motion, Mulla Sadra declares that the relation between the soul and the body is, indeed, a connection between two levels of one being. When the matter moves through substantial motion, it travels from a low level of existence to a higher stage. Going forward, matter gradually leaves behind material characteristics and possess immaterial ones. So, materiality and immateriality are two degrees rather than two kinds of existence. Metaphorically, Mulla Sadra compares the relation between the soul and the body to the relation between the fruit and the tree, but other philosophers believed that this relation is similar to what exists between a horse and its rider or a bird and its cage.

Not only the soul but also all corporeal beings move through substantial motion.40 According to the theory of substantial motion, whenever the matter is at its material level, it has only corporeal characteristics. So, one cannot claim that the soul is the output of the combination of material elements. The correlation between various material elements can only create an interaction between their different characteristics. But the soul is the manifestation (tajall‏i) of a higher level of existence of a matter that moved through substantial motion. This theory is also based on another metaphysical foundation, the principiality of existence (asalat al-wujud).

Since, according to Mulla Sadra, there is no principle but existence, when a corporeal being moves through substantial motion, the only outcome of substantial change is the strengthening and perfection in existence. So, the soul at its initial stage of generation is a material form belonging to a moving being, but it will be an immaterial existent at a higher level of existence. However, we must remember that being a corporeal form at its early existence does not mean that the soul is a characteristic of matter. The soul, according to Mulla Sadra, is a generated, corporeal and substantial perfection of a moving matter that has the capacity of becoming an immaterial existent.41

Mulla Sadra believes that what is presently soul, thought or intellect, was one day a piece of bread then a drop of blood, then fertilized egg then a fetus and so on before changing into the soul.42 He attributes his doctrine to a verse in the Qur’an that says the soul is the outcome of a long continuous process of bodily change.43

Selected Bibliography

Fazlur Rahman. The Philosophy of Mulla Sadra (Sadr al-Din Sh‏irazi). Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975.

Hasanzadah `Amuli, Hasan. 'Uyun Masa'il al-Nafs wa Sarh al-‘Uyun fi Sharh al-‘Uyun. Tehran: Intisharat-i Amir Kabir., 1371s./1992.

Ibn Sina. al-Ta'l‏iqat. Ed. ‘Abd al-Rahman Badawi. Tehran: Maktab al-I‘lam al-Islami. 1984.

Ibn Sina. Ahwal al-Nafs. Ed Fu'ad al-Ahwani. Cairo: n.p., 1952.

-------- Al-Isharat wa al-Tanbihat. Commented by Nas‏r al-Din al-Tusi. Ed. Sulayman Dunya. Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, 1957.

--------, Al-Najat. Vol. 2. Ed. 'Abd al-Rahman 'Umayarah. Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1992.

--------, Al-Shifa'. al-Ilahiyyat. Vol. 4. Qum: Intisharat-i Kitabkhanah'-i Ayat Allah al-Najafi al-Mar'ashi, 1983.

--------, Kitab al-Nafs. min Ajza' Kitab al-Shifa. Ed. Fazlur Rahman. London: Oxford University, 1959.

Amad Amin, "'Ainiyyah Ibn Sina", Majallh al-Thiqafah, 691 (March, 1952), p. 27.

J. Qanawati, Mu'allafat Ibn Sina", (Cairo: Dar al-Ma’arif, 1950), pp. 151 & 163.

Khulayf, Fath Allah. Ibn Sina wa Madhabuhu fi al-Nafs. Beirut: n.p., 1974.

Mavis E., Hetherington & Parke D., Ross, Child psychology: a contemporary viewpoint, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986) p. 107.

Michot, J. R. La destinée de L’homme selon Avicenne .Lovanii: Aedibus Peeters, 1986.

Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 9, al-juz' al-thani min al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-thalith, al-fasl al-thalith ‘ashar, p. 147.

--------, Al-Mabda' wa al-Ma‘ad (The Begining and the End). Ed. Sayyid Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani. Tehran: Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1976.

--------, Asrar al-Ayat (The Mysteries of the Qur'anic verses). Trans. & ed. Khwajavi Muhammad. Tehran: Cultural Studies and Research Institute, 1984.

--------, Mafatih al-Ghayb. Commented by Mulla 'Ali Nuri. Tehran: Mu'assasah'-i Mutala'ah va Tahqiqat-i Farhangi, 1363s./1984.

Mulla Sadra (Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi). al-‘Arshiyyah. Trans. and ed. Ghulam Husayn Ahani. Isfahan: Kitabfurushi-i Shahr‏yar, 1341s./1969.

Mulla Sadra (Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi). Al-Asfar al-Arba‘ah. Vol. 8. Qum: Kitabfurushi-i Mustafawi,‏ 1378/1958.

Mutahhari, Murtadha. Maqalat-i Falsafi. Vol. 1 & 3, Tehran: Intisharat-i Hikmat, 1366s./1987.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Life and Thought. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. "Sadr a-Din Shirazi (Mulla Sadra)". A History of Muslim Philosophy. Ed. M. M. Sharif. Vol. 2. (1966) : 932-61.

Osman, Ergin. Ibn Sina Bibliografyasi. Istanbul: Osman Yalçin Matbaasi, 1956.

Tabataba’i, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn. "Sadr al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Shirazi Mujaddid-i Falsafah'-i Islami ‏..." [in Persian]. Yadnamah'-i Mulla Sadra. Tehran: Tehran University, 1340s./1961.

  • 1. In another paper entitled as “The Soul-Body Problem In The Philosophical Psychology Of Mulla Sadra (1571-1640) And Ibn Sina (980-103” (, I have explained the similarities and differences between Mulla Sadra and Ibn Sina's thoughts & arguments in philosophical psychology particularly about soul-body problem.
  • 2. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-awwal, chapter 1, pp. 11-13.
  • 3. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-awwal, chapter 1, pp. 11-13.
  • 4. Hasanzdah Amuli,’Uyun Masa'il al-Nafs, p. 227.
  • 5. Ibn Sina, al-Ta’liqat, edited by Abd al-Rahman Badawi, (Tehran: Maktab al-I`lam al-Islami, 1984), p. 65.
  • 6. Ibn Sina, al-Shifa', al-Ilahiyyat, (Qum: Intisharat-i Kitbkhnah'-i Ayat Allah al-Mar’ashi al-Najafi, 1983), vol. 4, p. 408.
  • 7. هبطت اليك من المحلّ الأرفع ورقاء ذات تعــــزّز و تمنّـــــع
    It shows that Ibn Sina believed that soul pre-existed in an exalted realm and then came down to relate to the body. See Khulayf, Ibn Sina Wa Madhabuhu fi al-Nafs, p. 137-40. The main problem, however, is that some scholars like Ahmad Amin and Ahmad Fu'ad al-'Ahwani stated that this Qasidah cannot be attributed to Ibn Sina.

    Not only the literal style of the Qasidah but also the idea of eternity of the soul which is taken from the first line of this Qasidah controdicts what Ibn Sina basically believes in. See Amad Amin, "'Ainiyyah Ibn Sina", Majallh al-Thiqafah, 691 (March, 1952), p. 27. See also Ahwal al-Nafs, Risalah Fi al-Nafs Wa Baqa'iha Wa Ma'adiha, edited by Ahmad Fu'ad al-Ahwani, (Cairo, 1952), p. 34.

  • 8. Ibn Sina, al-Isharat, vol. 2, op. cit., al-namat al-thalith, pp. 321-332.
  • 9. Ibn Sina, "Risalah Fi Ma’rifah al-Nasf al-Natiqah," Ibn Sina wa al-Nafs al-bashriyyah, al-Bayr Nasri, op. cit., p. 33. Although J. Qanawati in his Mu'allafat Ibn Sina considered this Risalah as one of Ibn Sina's writings, there are some serious doubts regarding its attribution to Ibn Sina. Osman Ergin quoted scholars who attributed this Risalah to Nu’man al-Din Khwarazmi or al-Qutb al-Shirazi or Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi. J. Michot also opts for a post-Avicennan origin rather than attribute the Risalah to Ibn Sina. See J. Qanawati, Mu'allafat Ibn Sina", (Cairo: Dar al-Ma’arif, 1950), pp. 151 & 163. Osman Ergin, IBNI SINA (Istanbul, 1956), p. 80. J. R. Michot, La destine de Lhomme selon Avicenne (Lovanii: Aedibus Peeters, 1986), p. XXIX.
  • 10. Ibn Sina, Kitab al-Nafs, edited by Fazlur Rahman, op. cit., pp. 223-24.
  • 11. Ibn Sina, al-Najah, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 36.
  • 12. Ibn Sina, Kitab al-Nafs, ed. by Fazlur Rahman, op. cit., pp. 6-7.
  • 13. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi', chapter three, p. 376.
  • 14. It must be mentioned that these reasons are similar to those of Ibn Sina’s that he offered to refute the doctrine of pre-existence of the soul. However, Mulla Sadra departs from Ibn Sina in establishing his theory regarding the corporeal createdness (al-huduth al- jismani) of the soul.
  • 15. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, p. 344. According to Mulla Sadra, the soul travels through substantial motion and acquires new levels of existence and, when it reaches the point of separation from the body, it can be in another specy than that of a human being.
  • 16. Mulla Sadra, al-Shawahid, op. cit., p. 221. & al-Mabda' wa al-Ma'ad, op. cit., p. 310.
  • 17. Mulla Sadra, Maftih al-Ghayb, op. cit., p. 536.
  • 18. Mulla Sadra, ‘Arshiyyah, op. cit., p. 242.
  • 19. Mulla Sadra, al-Shawahid, op. cit., p. 196.
  • 20. Mulla Sadra, al-Mabda' wa al-Ma’ad, op. cit., pp. 313-16. It must be mentioned that during his explanation of the soul-body relationship, Mulla Sadra considers the soul as a corporeal form when it is related to the body. But in respect of its substance, the soul is undoubtedly incorporeal. Similarly, the body is the corporeal or receptive cause of the soul in so far as the latter is related to the body. Its essence, however, is beyond any relationship to the corporeal world. See Mulla Sadra, al-Mabda' wa al-Ma’ad, op. cit., pp. 314-15.
  • 21. Nasr, "Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi (Mulla Sadra)," A History of Muslim philosophy, op. cit., p. 940.
  • 22. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi', chapter three, p. 343.
  • 23. Needless to say that Mulla Sadra sometimes refers to the levels of the soul's existence as different kinds of existence. In his al-Mabda' wa al-Ma'ad he distinguishes between related mode of the soul's existence and its separate existence. Theses modes of existence are various appearances of a single moving being that passes through different realms. See Mulla Sadra, al-Mabda' wa al-Ma'ad, op. cit., p. 315. And al-Asfar, vol. 8, al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi', chapter 5, pp. 343, 346, 378.
  • 24. Ibid., pp. 953-54. In page 954 at footnote no. 57 Nasr says: "The view of Mulla Sadra regarding the growth and perfection of the soul resembles the alchemical view in which the power to reach perfection is considered to lie within matter itself and not outside it."
  • 25. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 9, al-juz' al-thani min al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-thalith, al-fasl al-thalith ‘ashar, p. 147.
  • 26. Nasr, Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi (Mulla Sadra), op. cit., p. 995. He quotes from Mulla Sadra, Rasa'il, pp. 306-07.
  • 27. Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i (1902-1983/1321-1406) was one of the principal Shi`ite philosophers of this century who introduced Mulla Sadra's school of philosophy to the present generation. Beside his writings in philosophy, he is the author of al-Mizan, one of the most reflective interpretations of the holy Qur’an.
  • 28. Tabataba'i, " Sadr al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Shirazi Mujaddid-i Falsafah'-i Islami...," Yadnamah'-i Mulla Sadra, op. cit., pp. 22-23. Tabataba'i paraphrases from al-Asfar, al-safar al-awwal, chapter 33, bahthun wa tahsil.
  • 29. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi`, chapter three, p. 346.
  • 30. Mulla Sadra, ‘Arshiyyah, op. cit., p. 235. See also Morris, The Wisdom of the Throne, op. cit., p. 132.
  • 31. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi`, chapter three, p. 343.
  • 32. Ibid., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi`, chapter 7, p. 396.
  • 33. Ibid., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-thalith, chapter 10, p. 136-37. See also al-Shawahid, al-Mashhad al-thalith, pp. 228-29.
  • 34. Mavis E., Hetherington & Parke D., Ross, Child psychology: a contemporary viewpoint, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986) p. 107.
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. Mulla Sadra al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-sabi', chapter three, pp. 347-48.
  • 37. Mulla Sadra, al-Shawahid, op. cit., pp. 134.
  • 38. Fazlur Rahman, The philosophy of Mull adr, op. cit., p. 205.
  • 39. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, op. cit., vol. 9, al-juz' al-thani min al-safar al-rabi', al-asl al-sabi`, pp. 190-91.
  • 40. Mulla Sadra, `Arshiyyah, op. cit., p. 242.
  • 41. Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-awwal, chapters 1 & 2.
  • 42. Mulla Sadra, Asrar al-Ayat (The Mysteries of the Qur'anic verses ed. & tr. by M. Khwajawi, (Tehran: Cultural Studies and Research Institute, 1984), pp. 240-43 & 251. See also Mutahhari, Maqalat-i Falsafi, (Tehran: Intisharat-i Hikmat, 1366 A.H.), vol. 1, p. 170.
  • 43. Mulla Sadra, Asrar al-Ayat, op. cit., pp. 242-43, 251. According to Q. 23:15 which says:
    «و لقد خلقنا الإنسان من سلاله من طين،‌ثمّ جعلناه في قرار مكين، ثمّ خلقنا النطفه علقه،‌فخلقنا العلقه مضغه، فخلقنا المضغه عظاما، فكسونا العظام لحما، ثمّ أنشأناه خلقا آخر فتبارك الله أحسن الخالقين»
    Mulla Sadra concludes, When the Qur'n says; "then, we caused him to grow into another creation", it means the same thing which was created of an extract of clay (a corporeal being) and was moving through a continuous process of evolution, changed into an immaterial existent. Consequently, there is not any opposition between material and immaterial aspect of human existence. See Mulla Sadra, al-Asfar, vol. 9, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-tasi`, chapter one, & al-Asfar, vol. 8, op. cit., al-safar al-rabi', al-bab al-thalith, chapter 13. pp. 147-48. See also Hasanzadah Amuli, 'Uyunu Masa'il al-Nafs, pp. 257-58 & Ittihad-i `Aqil bi Ma`qul, (Tehran: Intisharat-i Hikmat, 1984), p. 34.