The author, Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, was born in 1934 in Yazd, where he completed primary studies in the Islamic sciences, and began reading the major classic texts in Islamic law and jurisprudence. In order to pursue advanced studies, he went to Najaf, but due to financial difficulties, he returned to Iran after one year and continued his studies in Qom.
There, from 1952 to 1960, he participated in the classes taught by Imam Khomeini, while at the same time he studied the interpretation of the Qur’an, Ibn Sina’s Shifa and Mulla Sadra’s Asfar with ‘Alamah Tabataba’i. He also spent approximately fifteen years as the student of Ayatullah Bahjat in fiqh.
After his formal studies with Imam Khomeini were put to an end by the latter’s exile, he spent some years engaged in discussions about the social significance of Islam, including discussions about jihad, judicature and Islamic government.
Around 1964 he cooperated with Shahid Dr. Biheshti, Shahid Bahonar and Hujjatulislam Hashemi Rafsanjani in resistance to the regime of the Pahlavi shah, and wrote two works, one called Bi‘that (The Prophetic Mission) and the other Intiqam (Revenge), the second of which he did the work of publishing himself.
He also participated in the founding of a political organization of the clergy in Qom, that was primarily led by Ayatullah Rabani Shirazi, and that included among its members Ayatullah Khamene’i, Hujjatulislam Rafsanjani and Shahid Qudus. The founding documents of this organization were obtained by the regime and those whose names appeared on it were to be prosecuted, and so they went into hiding, including Ayatullah Misbah.
When the atmosphere cooled down, he was able to return to Qom to continue his scholarly activities. After that, he worked in the administration of Madrassah Haqani along with Ayatullah Jannati, Shahid Bihishti and Shahid Qudus, and for about ten years he taught philosophy and Qur’anic studies there.
Then, shortly before and following the Islamic Revolution, with the support and encouragement of Imam Khomein he participated in the founding of several schools and institutes, among the most important of which was the Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute, the Baqir al-‘Ulum Foundation and the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute which he currently directs and where he is teaching the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirazi.
He was recently elected (1996) to a five year term as representative of Khuzistan province to the the Majlis-e Khubrigan (Counsel of Experts). Among the works authored by Prof. Misbah, the following are some of the most important:
• Chikideh-ye Chand Bahth-e Falsafi (A Summary of Some Philosophical Discussions), Qom: Dar Rah-e Haqq, 1357/1978). This is a summary of discussions held in London through the course of a series of conferences, along with the comments of Iranian students residing in the U.S., on the concept of philosophy and the course of its history, rational knowledge and its value, cause and effect, the fixed and the fluid and actuality and ability.
• Pasdari az Sangarha-ye Iydi’uluzhik (A Sentry from the Ideological Trenches), Qom: Dar Rah-e Haqq, 1361/1982). This book is a compilation of shorter pieces written by the author, plus an article by Dr. Ahmad Ahmadi concerning idealism and realism. The topics discussed by Prof. Misbah include: worldview, knowledge, cause and effect, motion, dialectic and the materialist worldview.
• Iydi’uluzhi Tatbiqi (Comparative Ideology), Qom: Dar Rah-e Haqq, 1361/1982. This book consists of forty lessons delivered by the author following the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and later transcribed and edited. Topics discussed include the concept of ideology, the relation between world- view and ideology, types of world view, metaphysical concepts, epistemological concepts, the reality of the external world, sophism and skepticism, realism and idealism, types of knowledge, types of intelligibles, the fundamentality of reason in imagination, the philosophies of Descartes , Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant, empiricism in Marx ist theory and the scopes of the types of knowledge.
• Durus Falsafah (Philosophy Lessons), Tehran: Mu’assisah Mutali‘at va Tahqiqat Farhangi, 1363/1984). This is an abridged version of the same lectures from which Amuzish-e Falsafah was compiled.
• Ta‘liqah ‘ala Nahayat al-Hikmah (A Commentary on Nahayat al-Hikmah), Qom: Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute, A. H. 1405/1985. This book, written in Arabic, is perhaps the author’s most penetrating philosophical work. In it he presents a subtle analysis and sharp critique of the major philosophical work of his teacher, ‘Allamah Tabataba’i’s advanced lessons in Islamic philosophy.
• Durus-e Falsafeh-ye Akhlaq (Lessons in Philosophical Ethics), Tehran: Itila‘at, 1367/1988. The eighteen lessons of this book were delivered at the Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute, transcribed and edited. They include discussions of the place of ethics in philosophy, characteristics of ethical concepts, rational good and evil, value concepts, ethical schools of thought, relativism and the relation between ethics and religion.
• Usul-e ‘Aqa’id (Principles of Doctrine) 2 vols. Qom: Markaz-e Mudiriyyat Hawzah ‘Ilmiyyah, 1368/1989. This book was commissioned by the administration of the seminaries of Qom as a text for its students. The first volume is devoted to discussions of divine unity and divine justice. The second volume contains discussions of the missions of the prophets and Imams (‘a).
• Mu‘arif-e Qur’an (The Teachings of the Qur’an), Qom: Dar Rah-e Haqq, 1368/1989). This work is divided into three parts: theology, cosmology and anthropology.
• Jam‘ah va Tarikh az Didgah-e Qur’an (Society and History from the Perspective of the Qur’an), Qom: Sazman Tablighat Islami, 1368/1989. This books consists of a series of lectures originally presented at the Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute and transcribed from tapes by Aqa-ye Malikiyan. Various issues related to the philosophy of the social sciences are raised, such as the relation of the individual to society and the question of which has priority, the Islamic Revolution and leadership in Islam.
• Hukumat Islami va Vilayat-e Faqiyyah (Islamic Government and the Guardianship of the Jurist), Qom: Sazman Tablighat Islami, 1369/1990. This is a compilation of lectures delivered at the Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute on the need for Islamic government, the need for law in society, characteristics of legislature, the cause of differences in divine laws in Islamic societies, conflicts in judgments and standards of importance, the need for a legislative assembly in the Islamic system, the apparatus of government in the Islamic system, freedoms, prerequisites and responsibilities of the Islamic ruler, the guardianship of the jurist.
• Amuzesh-e ‘Aqa’id (Instructions in Doctrine) 3 vols. Qom: Sazman Tablighat Islami, 1370/1991. This work was prepared by Prof. Misbah with the assistance of a group of the scholars at Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute for students of an intermediate level of study. Each volume consists of twenty lessons, among which are discussions of such topics as the nature of theology, religious studies, proofs of the Necessary Existent, the Attributes of God, a criticism of materialism, divine unity, free will and determinism, the need for the prophets and Imams and their inerrancy, the Qur’an, Imam Mahdi, the immateriality of the spirit, the resurrection, the afterlife, faith and infidelity and intercession.
• Akhlaq dar Qur’an (Ethics in the Qur’an), Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1372/1993. This work is a transcription of lectures delivered at the Dar Rah-e Haqq Institute edited by Aqa-ye Iskandari. This work not only elucidates the principles of ethics to be derived from the Qur’an, but it compares the perspective on ethics to be found among Muslim writers with those of other schools of thought, and it defends a philosophical approach to ethics within Islamic tradition.
• Tarjomeh va Sharh-e Burhan-e Shifa (Translation and Commentary on the “Demonstration” of the Shifa), Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1373/1994. This is a translation and commentary of the first part of Ibn Sina ’s chapter on logic in his Shifa, transcribed from lectures and edited by Muhsin Gharaviyan.
• Rahiyyan-e Ku-ye Dust (Paths to the Mountain of the Friend), Qom: The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, 1374/1995. This is a collection of twenty lectures on Islamic morals, covering such topics as reliance on God, divine love, the need for attention in prayer, the afterlife and how to love God, presented in the form of a commentary on reports pertaining to what was revealed to the Prophet of Islam (S) during his mi‘raj (ascension).
• Rah-e Tusheh (Provisions for the Road), Qom: The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, 1375/1996. This is a collection of twenty lectures on Islamic morals presented in the form of a commentary on a famous hadith in which the advice of the Prophet of Islam (S) to Abu Dhar is reported.
• Sharh-e Asfar al-Arba‘ah, Vol. I (Commentary on the Four Journeys), Qom: The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, 1375/1996. This is the first volume of transcriptions of lectures on Mulla Sadra’s masterpiece.