Mir Damad (Persian: ميرداماد) (d. 1631 or 1632), known also as Mir Mohammad Baqer Esterabadi, or Asterabadi, was an Iranian philosopher in the Neoplatonizing Islamic Peripatetic traditions of Avicenna and Suhrawardi, a scholar of the traditional Islamic sciences, and foremost figure (together with his student Mulla Sadra), of the cultural renaissance of Iran undertaken under the Safavid dynasty. As such he was the central founder of the School of Isfahan, noted by his students and admirers as the Third Teacher (mu'alim al-thalith) after Aristotle and al-Farabi.
His major contribution to Islamic philosophy was his novel formulation regarding gradations of time and the emanations of the separate categories of time as descending divine hypostases. He resolved the controversy of the createdness or uncreatedness of the world in time by proposing the notion of huduth-e-dahri (atemporal origination) as an explanation grounded in Avicennan and Suhrawardian categories, whilst transcending them. In brief, excepting God, he argued all things, including the earth and all heavenly bodies, share in both eternal and temporal origination. He influenced the revival of al-falsafa al-yamani (Philosophy of Yemen), a philosophy based on revelation and sayings of prophets rather than the rationalism of the Greeks, and he is widely recognized as the founder of the School of Isfahan, which embraced a theosophical outlook known as hikmat-i ilahi (divine wisdom).
Mir Damad’s many treatises on Islamic philosophy include Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith, a treasure on creation and divine knowledge), the Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling), wherein he lays out his concept of atemporal origination, Kitab al-Jadhawat and Sirat al-Mustaqim. He also wrote poetry under the pseudonym of Ishraq (Illumination). He also wrote a couple of books on mathematics, but with secondary importance.
Mir Damad's philosophical prose is often accounted as being among the most dense and obstrusely difficult of styles to understand, deliberately employing as well as coining convoluted philosophical terminology and neologisms that require systematic unpacking and detailed commentary. He was called Mir Damad (Groom of the King) because he married Shah Abbas's daughter and hence his fame was based on that event.
Mir Damad was also the architect of the Masjide Shah (Shah Mosque) in Isfahan which employed highly advance mathematical calculations which required the knowledge of the speed of sound at that time. The geometry of the dome is as such that all sound dissipated from the base will echo in hundreds of carefully calculated and masterly executed interior corners of the dome which will ultimately collide in the center of the dome. The geometrical analysis of the dome is of absolute sophistication and the design of the dome is a magnificent piece of art and furthermore the construction of such dome in the 17th century to a precision where all sound waves must travel and collide in an imaginary point above.
Among his 134 works known:
- Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith)
- Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling)
- Kitab al-Jadhawat (Book of Spiritual Attractions)
- Sirat al-Mustaqim (The Straight Path)
- S.H. Nasr (2006), Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of Prophecy, State University of New York Press, p. 214: "Some 134 works of Mir Damad have been identified ..."
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- Ian Richard Netton (2013). Encyclopedia of Islamic Civilization and Religion. Routledge, Oxon, UK. ISBN 1135179670.
- Encyclopædia Iranica: Mir Damad.
- Webster Encyclopedia of Religion.