The Elements of Islamic Metaphysics (Bidayat al-Hikmah)
By Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i
Translated by ‘Ali Quli Qara’i
The Elements of Islamic Metaphysics, an English translation of Sayyid Tabataba’i’s Bidayat al-Hikmah, is a succinct manual that represents a new approach to the teaching of Islamic philosophy. It provides a useful overview of twentieth-century philosophy in Iran, and traces the development of philosophical thought in the context of a religious tradition whose intellectual character was determined to a large extent by the contents of the Qur’anic revelation and the prophetic teachings. At the same time, it demonstrates how philosophical thought is by nature independent of religious doctrine and differs from theology, which depends on revelation and tradition.
The translation is accompanied by a glossary of philosophical terms and explanatory notes. This second edition has been carefully revised for clarity. The terminology has been updated and new annotations have been added.
Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i (1892-1981) was born in Tabriz, Iran. He authored the renowned twenty-volume Qur’anic commentary al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran as well as several groundbreaking works on Islamic philosophy and mysticism. Additionally, he wrote numerous books on the Shi’a heritage and doctrine to bring about a better understanding of Shi’ism throughout the world. His writings have been translated into English and numerous other languages.