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Allameh Seyyed Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei (1892—November 15, 1981) () was one of the most prominent Thinkers of contemporary Shia Islam. He is famous for, Tafsir, the Qur'anic Exegesis.


Born in Tabriz, Azarbaijan, in northwestern Iran, he studied at Najaf, under masters such as Mirza 'Ali Qadi (in gnosis), Mirza Muhammad Husain Na'ini, Shaykh Muhammad Husain Isfahani (in Fiqh and Jurisprudence), Sayyid Abu'l-Qasim Khwansari (in Mathematics), as well as studying the standard texts of Avicenna's Shifa, the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirazi, and the Tamhid al-qawa'id of Ibn Turkah, with Sayyid Husayn Badkuba'i, himself a student of two of the most famous masters of the time Sayyid Abu'l-Hasan Jilwah and Aqa 'Ali Mudarris Zunuzi.

In his later years he would often hold study sessions with Henry Corbin and Seyyed, in which not only the classical texts of divine wisdom and Gnosis were discussed, but also a whole cycle of what Nasr calls comparative gnosis, in which in each session the sacred texts of one of the major religions, containing mystical and gnostic teachings, such as the Tao Te Ching, the Upanishads and the Gospel of John, were discussed and compared with Sufism and Islamic gnostic doctrines in general.

Tabatabaei was a philosopher, a prolific writer, and an inspiring teacher to his students who devoted much of his life to non-political Islamic studies. Many of his students were among the ideological founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely Morteza Motahhari, Muhammad, and Dr. Mohammad Mofatteh. Others like Nasr and Hasanzadeh Amuli remained and continued their studies in the intellectual non-political sphere.

Published works

It was in Najaf where Tabatabaei developed his major contributions in the fields of Tafsir (interpretation), philosophy, and history of the Shi'a faith. In philosophy the most important of his works is Usul-i falsafeh va ravesh-e-realism (The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism), which has been published in five volumes with explanatory notes and the commentary of Morteza Motahhari.


Allameh Tabatabaei in his young ages

His other major philosophical work is a voluminous commentary of Asfār al-'arba'eh, the magnum opus of Mulla Sadra who was the last of the great Persian (Iranian) Muslim thinkers of the medieval age. Apart from these he also wrote extensively on philosophical topics. His humanist approach is underlined by his three books on: the nature of man - before the world, in this world, and after this world. His philosophy is focused upon the sociological treatment of human problems. His two other works, Bidāyat al-hikmah and Nihāyat al-hikmah, are considered among works of high order in Islamic philosophy.

Several treatises on the doctrines and history of the Shi'a remain from him as well. One of these comprises his clarifications and expositions about Shi'a faith in reply to the questions posed by the famous French orientalist Henry Corbin. Another of his books on this topic Shi'ah dar Islam was translated into English by Seyyed under the title Shi'a, with the help of William Chittick as a project of Colgate University. These books are claimed to serve as an excellent conduit by which popular misconceptions about the Shi'a faith may be removed further paving the way for a better ecumenical understanding amongst the various Muslim schools of thought.

Tabatabaei's most prominent work is the Tafsir, which is the outcome of the Allamah's lifelong labor in the sphere of Qur'anic studies. His method, style, and approach are uniquely different from those of all other exegetes of the Qur'an. Mutahari has written that there is not a single issue regarding Islam that has not been addressed in this work and it would take people 60-100 years to understand the true value of this undertaking.

Allamah Tabatabaei was also an accomplished poet. He composed his poetry mainly in Persian, but occasionally in Arabic as well. He was also the author of numerous articles and essays.

His written books number forty-four titles overall; three of which are collections of his articles on various aspects of Islam and the Qur'an.

List of works

  • Tafsir (The Balance). The Allahmah's most important single work, a monumental commentary upon the Qur'an of which nineteen of the projects & twenty volumes have been completed, and fourteen volumes already printed, in the origin Arabic as was in Persian translation.
  • Shi'a ()
  • The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism (Iranian: Usul-i-falsafeh va ravesh-i-ri'alism) in five volumes, with the commentary of Murtada Mutahhari.
  • Glosses al-kifayah (book) (). Glosses upon the new edition of the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirizi Mulla Sadra appearing under the direction of 'Allahma Tabataba'i of which seven volumes have appeared.
  • Dialogues with Professor Corbin (book) (Iranian: Mushabat ba Ustad Kurban) Two volumes based on conversations carried out between 'Allahma Tabataba'i and Henry Corbin of which the first volume was printed as the yearbook of Maktab-i tashayyu’, 1339 (A.H. Solar)
  • Risalah dar hukumat-i islami, (Treatise on Islamic Government).
  • Hashiyah-i kifayah (Glosses upon al-Kifayah).
  • Risalah dar quwwah wafi'(Treatise on Potentiality and Actuality).
  • Risalah dar ithbat-i dha~t (Treatise on the Proof of the Divine Essence).
  • Risalah dar sifat (Treatise on the Divine Attributes).
  • Risalah dar ata (Treatise on the Divine Acts).
  • Risalah dar wasa'il (Treatise on Means).
  • Risalah dar insan qabl al-dunya (Treatise on Man before the World)
  • Risalah dar insan fi al-dunya (Treatise on Man in the World).
  • Risalah dar insan ba'd al-dunya (Treatise on Man after the World).
  • Risalah dar nubuwwat (Treatise on Prophecy).
  • Risalah dar wilayat (Treatise on Initiation).
  • Risalah dar mushtaqqat (Treatise on Derivatives).
  • Risalah dar burhan (Treatise on Demonstration).
  • Risalah dar mughalatah (Treatise on Sophism).
  • Risalah dar tahlil (Treatise on Analysis).
  • Risalah dar tarkib (Treatise on Synthesis).
  • Risalah dar i’tibarat (Treatise on Contingents).
  • Risalah dar nubuwwat wa manamat (Treatise on Prophecy and Dreams)
  • Manza’mah dar rasm-i- khatt-i-nasta’liq (Poem on the Method of Writing the Nasta’liq Style of Calligraphy).
  • Ali wa al-falsafat al-ilahiya (Ali and Metaphysics)
  • Qur'an dar islam (The Qur’an in Islam).
  • Allameh Tabatabaei was also an accomplished poet. He composed his poetry mainly in Persian, but occasionally in Arabic as well.


Allameh Tabatabaei was also a talented poet. He composed his poetry mainly in Persian, but occasionally in Arabic as well.

کیش مهر

همي گويم و گفته ام بارها .... بود کيش من مهر دلدارها

پرستش به مستي است در کيش مهر .... برونند زين جرگه هشيارها

به شادي و آسايش و خواب و خور .... ندارند کاري دل افگارها

به جز اشک چشم و به جز داغ دل .... نباشد به دست گرفتارها

کشيدند در کوي دلدادگان .... ميان دل و کام، ديوارها

چه فرهادها مرده در کوهها .... چه حلاجها رفته بر دارها

چه دارد جهان جز دل و مهر يار .... مگر توده هايي ز پندارها

ولي رادمردان و وارستگان .... نبازند هرگز به مردارها

مهين مهر ورزان که آزاده اند .... بريزند از دام جان تارها

به خون خود آغشته و رفته اند .... چه گلهاي رنگين به جوبارها

بهاران که شاباش ريزد سپهر .... به دامان گلشن ز رگبارها

کشد رخت،سبزه به هامون و دشت .... زند بارگه ،گل به گلزارها

نگارش دهد گلبن جويبار .... در آيينه ي آب، رخسارها

رود شاخ گل در بر نيلفر .... برقصد به صد ناز گلنارها

درد پرده ي غنچه را باد بام .... هزار آورد نغز گفتارها

به آواي ناي و به آهنگ چنگ .... خروشد ز سرو و سمن، تارها

به ياد خم ابروي گل رخان .... بکش جام در بزم مي خوارها

گره را ز راز جهان باز کن .... که آسان کند باده، دشوارها

جز افسون و افسانه نبود جهان .... که بستند چشم خشايارها

به اندوه آينده خود را مباز .... که آينده خوابي است چون پارها

فريب جهان مخور زينهار .... که در پاي اين گل بود خارها

پياپي بکش جام و سرگرم باش .... بهل گر بگيرند بيکارها

See also

  • Iran
  • Islamic scholars
  • Islamization of knowledge
  • Islamic philosophy
  • Ayatollah al-Shirazi
  • Seyyed
  • List of Marjas
  • Allameh



External links

Some of his works