An Introduction to Mulla Sadra's al-Masha'ir
Today, Henry Corbin is a very well-known figure to all scientific and academic centers, particularly, to all the people dealing with common philosophies in Islamic Sunnah. Without exception, many references to his name and thoughts, whether in agreement or disagreement, can be found in all the books published in the field of Islamic Philosophy.
One of the important accomplishments of Henry Corbin in the domain of research on Islamic philosophy is the Introduction that he has written to Mulla Sadra's al-Masha'ir. This Introduction consists of several parts, each dealing with the life, works, and ideas of Mulla Sadra in relation to specific problems. Each part includes some footnotes and useful explanations indicating the mastery of the French researcher and translator over the discussed subjects, as well as his personal standpoint regarding certain issues.
In the texts that he has generally written about Iranian Islamic philosophers, Corbin has addressed Westerners to a great extent. In doing so, he has not only tried to reveal the historical importance of philosophers in the philosophical and, particularly, spiritual development of Christian Western people in the 12th and 13th centuries, but also (and more importantly) demonstrated the basic point that, if this religious and spiritual tradition has disappeared in the West or purely marginalized, it has remained alive and active in different forms for distinguished Eastern thinkers. In fact, it has become a part of Shi'i beliefs and tuned into one of the intellectual and cultural fundamental principles of the religious life of these people.
Professor Corbin's Introduction to al-Masha'ir includes the following: Mulla Sadra's life and character, an outline of his biography, a bibliography, al-Masha'ir (1. title of the book, 2. outline of the book, 3. interpreters, 4. Persian translation with the interpretation of the text, 5. the outline of the present edition), and a brief philosophical glance at: 1. the meaning of the word "existence", 2. "being in existence" as presence, and 3. prophetic philosophy.
This book also includes the Persian translation of al-Masha'ir, which has been done by Badi' al-Mulk Mirza Imad al-Dawlah.