The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla Sadra


Discusses philosopher Mull? ?adr??s commentary on the opening chapter of the Qur??n.

This book investigates the convergence of philosophy, scriptural exegesis, and mysticism in the thought of the celebrated Islamic philosopher Mulla Sadra (d. 1050/1640). Through a careful presentation of the theoretical and practical dimensions of Sadra?s Quranic hermeneutics, Mohammed Rustom highlights the manner in which Sadra offers a penetrating metaphysical commentary upon the Fatiha, the ...

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The Triumph of Mercy

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Discusses philosopher Mullā Ṣadrā’s commentary on the opening chapter of the Qur’ān.

This book investigates the convergence of philosophy, scriptural exegesis, and mysticism in the thought of the celebrated Islamic philosopher Mulla Sadra (d. 1050/1640). Through a careful presentation of the theoretical and practical dimensions of Sadra’s Quranic hermeneutics, Mohammed Rustom highlights the manner in which Sadra offers a penetrating metaphysical commentary upon the Fatiha, the chapter of the Quran that occupies central importance in Muslim daily life. Engaging such medieval intellectual giants as Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606/1210) and Ibn Arabi (d. 638/1240) on the one hand, and the wider disciplines of philosophy, theology, Sufism, and Quranic exegesis on the other, Sadra’s commentary upon the Fatiha provides him with the opportunity to modify and recast many of his philosophical positions within a scripture-based framework. He thereby reveals himself to be a profound religious thinker who, among other things, argues for the salvation of all human beings in the afterlife.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…the book enjoys both academic rigor and an accessible narrative … The Triumph of Mercy is both a contribution to Mullā Ṣadrā scholarship and a worthwhile addition to exegetical literature.” — Iranian Studies

“…Rustom’s masterful study … is an original and valuable asset to both academics and lay readers who have some background and interest in Islamic philosophy, Sufism and qur’anic exegesis … [the] work is a valuable addition to the fields of philosophy and Islamic studies, and will be a source of inspiration and discussion for years to come.” — Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

“…this book is an excellent introduction to Mullā Ṣadrā’s mystic thought as it appears in his commentary of al-Fātiḥah. Above all, the author explains clearly Mullā Ṣadrā’s concept of being in relation to scripture … this book is a fine philological work.” — Journal of Shiʽa Islamic Studies

“…Rustom’s study will both generate and provide the ground for increased scholarly attention to Ṣadrā’s religious writings.” — Journal of Islamic Studies

“…Rustom reminds us how Ṣadrā ‘is able to successfully recast his sophisticated ontology of the fundamentality of being into a theological and scripture-based framework’ (p. 118), thereby recommending his work to anyone seeking articulate access to Islamic theology.” — Modern Theology

“Informed, informative, and a superb example of seminal scholarship, The Triumph of Mercy is a highly recommended and core addition to academic library Islamic Studies and Philosophy Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.” — Midwest Book Review

“By focusing on Ṣadrā’s commentary on the Qur’ān’s opening chapter, Rustom shows how the great Iranian thinker created an original Qur’ānic hermeneutics as well as a new ontology of the Qur’ān. Rustom’s book is a groundbreaking and richly detailed study of the way that Ṣadrā both appropriated and transcended the Islamic traditions of theology, mysticism, philosophy, and scriptural exegesis.” — Robert Wisnovsky, author of Avicenna’s Metaphysics in Context

“Mohammed Rustom has opened the door to a remarkable philosophical exegesis of the Qur’ān in this pathbreaking study of the outstanding Iranian thinker of the seventeenth century, Mullā Ṣadrā. In the process, he clarifies the profound connections between philosophy, Sufism, and Islamic theology in Ṣadrā’s work. This absorbing study will be welcomed by anyone interested in the fundamental question of how reason interacts with revelation.” — Carl W. Ernst, author of How to Read the Qur’ān: A New Guide, with Select Translations

“This first book-length survey of Mullā Ṣadrā’s Qur’ānic commentaries is a major contribution to the study of this seventeenth-century Muslim philosopher and to the field of philosophical exegesis in Islam. Mohammed Rustom presents Ṣadrā’s vision for the unity of the ‘intellectual’ and ‘transmitted’ sciences and gives us a complete picture of a first-rate thinker contemplating upon the Qur’ān. He does an excellent job of contextualizing Ṣadrā’s Qur’ānic hermeneutics within the framework of his ‘Transcendent Wisdom’ and shows how scriptural reasoning complements philosophical vision. Based on an in-depth reading and translation of Ṣadrā’s key texts on Qur’ānic exegesis, the book examines a much-neglected aspect of Ṣadrā’s thought and introduces the reader to the rich philosophical tapestry of the Islamic intellectual tradition.” — Ibrahim Kalin, author of Knowledge in Later Islamic Philosophy: Mullā Ṣadrā on Existence, Intellect, and Intuition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781438443409
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Pages: 255
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mohammed Rustom is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University. He is the coeditor (with Atif Khalil and Kazuyo Murata) of In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought by William C. Chittick, also published by SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents

Transliterations and Abbreviations


1. Qur'ānic Hermeneutics

Lord of the Heart
Etiquette and Understanding
Concept and Reality
The Command’s Decent
The Soul’s Ascent

2. Formal Considerations

Texts and Sources
Structure and Content

3. Metaphysics

The Essence
Names and their Loci

4. Cosmology

The Act of Praise
The Muhammadan Reality

5. Theology

From Outer to Inner
Idols of Belief
The Religion of the Perfect Man

6. Soteriology I

The Nature of Things
The Essential and the Accidental

7. Soteriology II

Paths to Mercy
Divine Hands and Feet
Intellectual and Scriptural Fidelity
Revealing and Concealing
Chastisement’s Sweetness


Appendix 1: Some Key Texts from the Mafātīḥ al-Ghayb
Appendix 2: Key Texts from the Tafsīr Sūrat al-Fātiḥa
Appendix 3: Passages from the Futūḥāt Reworked into the Tafsīr Sūrat al-Fātiḥa



Index of Qur'ānic Passages
Index of Ḥadīths and Sayings
Index of Names and Terms

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