the Mulla Sadra’s philosophy of Ontology and Epistemology

  • Gulnaz Shaheen Assistant Professor, Government Graduate College for Women Gulburg, Lahore
  • Neelam Bano Assistant Professor, Superior University, Raiwind Road Lahore, Pakistan
  • Sarfraz Zaman Assistant Professor, Superior University, Raiwind Road Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords: Gradation of Being, Being, Existence, Essence, Epistemology, Ontology, Al-Idrāk


This study aims to explore the philosophy of Ṣadrādin Shirazi known as Mullā Ṣadrā. He promoted ontology, founded a new epistemology, and explored the primacy of Being. He gave important philosophical doctrines and an understanding of Muslim philosophy and thought development. The study aims to explore his departure from the tradition of the primacy of essence to the primacy of Being; the dynamic characteristics of Being, and his views on characteristics of transcendent knowledge. The study uses the content analysis methodology to critically analyze Ṣadrā’s philosophy of primacy of Being and its impact on the development of Islamic philosophy.  The study concluded that Ṣadrā strongly argues against Illuminationist Philosopher, al-Suhrawardy for taking existence as merely a logical notion and secondary intelligible. For him, Existence is his sole reality, and he firmly rejects any role of essence in the external reality. He played an important role to resolve the metaphysical and logical difficulties of the philosophy of his time.


Muhammad Kamal, Mulla Ṣadrā’s transcendent philosophy (Routledge, 2016), 1.


Mulla Ṣadrā, Muhammad b. Ibrahim (Sadr al-Din) Shirazi, Al-Masha‘ir, translated by Parviz Morewedge (New York, 1992), 43.

Sayeh Meisami, Knowledge and Power in the Philosophies of Ḥamīd al-Dīn Kirmānī and Mullā Ṣadrā Shīrāzī (Springer, 2018), 2.

See Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sadr al-Din Shirazi and his Transcendent Theosophy (Teheran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1997), 57.

Cooper, John. “Mulla Ṣadrā (Sadr al-Din Muhammad al-Shirazi) (1571/2–1640)”, (1998). doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H027-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,Ṣadrā-sadr-al-din-muhammad-al-shirazi-1571-2-1640/v-1.

See S. H. Rizvi, Mullā Ṣadrā Shīrāzī: His Life and Works and the Sources for Safavid Philosophy (Oxford University Press 2007)

John, Mulla Ṣadrā,1.

Muhammad Kamal, “Rethinking Being: From Suhravardi to Mulla Ṣadrā”, Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies (2009), Vol. 2 Issue 4, 423-436.

Aminrazavi, Mehdi, Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination, (2013 [1997]), New York: Routledge.

Mulla Ṣadrā, Al-Masha‘ir, 6-7.

Fazalur Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 11.

Nasr, Sadr al-Din Shirazi and his Transcendent Theosophy, 79-80.

Hossein Nasr, “Mulla Ṣadrā: His Teachings,” in History of Islamic Philosophy, eds. Hussain Nasr and Oliver Leaman London: Routledge, 1996, 1146.

Fazalur Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 31.

Ibid., 27.

Fazlur Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 4; see also Henri Bergson in Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey (eds), Key Writings (New York, 2002), 215–217.

Mulla Ṣadrā, Al-Masha‘ir, 43.

Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 28.

Ibid., 29


Mulla Ṣadrā, Al-Masha‘ir, 9.


Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 32.


Mulla Ṣadrā, Al-Masha‘ir, 43.

Sadra, Asfar, I,2.

Ahmed, Ejaz, and Ali Raza Tahir. "Mulla Sadra’s Notion of Existence: A Comparative Review." Al-Hikmat: A Journal of Philosophy Volume 38 (2018) pp. 11-27; Muhammad Abdul Haq, “Metaphysics of Mulla Ṣadrā”, Studia Islamica, Vol. X, No. 1, March 1971, 9.

Mulla Ṣadrā, Al-Asfar, vol. IV, 270.


Rahman et al., The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 34.

Alparslan, Being and Existence in Sadra and Heidegger: A Comparative Ontology,70-71.

Mowlaie, Simin, Mohsen Garavin, and Mehdi Najafi Afra. "Mulla Sadra's Evaluation of Suhrawardi's Eschatology." Journal of Philosophical Investigations 14, no. 32 (2020): 148-168.

Alparslan, Being and Existence in Sadra and Heidegger, 36.

Rahman, The Philosophy of Mulla Ṣadrā, 37.

Muhammad Kamal, Mulla Ṣadrā’a Transcendent Philosophy, 92.

Ibid., 92.

See William Chittick, “On the Teleology of Perception”, in Transcendent Philosophy, an international journal of comparative philosophy and Mysticism, London, 2009), vol. 1, no. 1, 2. See also Khamenei, Mulla Sadra’s Transcendent Philosophy (Teheran, 2004), 91.

Ṣadrā, Al-Asfar, vol. 3, 361.

Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind, 798.

Ṣadrā, Al-Asfar, vol. 1, 364.

Meisami, Knowledge and power in the philosophies of Ḥamīd al-Dīn Kirmānī and Mullā Ṣadrā Shīrāzī (Springer, 2018), 130.


Shīrāzī, al-Ḥikmat al-mutaʿāliya fi asfār al-ʿaqliyya al-arbaʿa, III: 297.

Ṣadrā, Al-Asfar, vol. 1,360-362.

Masouleh, Abbas Kharabi. "Analysis of Knowledge: The Epistemic Theories Given Avicenna and Mulla Sadra." International Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 6, no. 4 (2020): 171-176.


Agha, Shiraz Husain. "Multiplicity in unity: The mystical unity of existence in Mulla Sadra's al-Shawahid al-Rububiyyah." Kom: časopis za religijske nauke 10, no. 1 (2021): 1-25.

How to Cite
Gulnaz Shaheen, Neelam Bano, and Sarfraz Zaman. 2023. “the Mulla Sadra’s Philosophy of Ontology and Epistemology”. Al-Az̤vā 38 (59). Pakistan, 13-26.̤vā.v38i59.634.