World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Abu al-Abbas Iranshahri

Iranian scholar
Abu al-Abbas Iranshahri
Photo taken from medieval manuscript which depicts an epicyclic planetary model.
Born 9th century
Ethnicity Persian
Main interest(s) Mathematics, Astronomy, medicine, science and philosophy
Notable work(s) Hasti, Ketab-e jalil, Ketab-e athir,

Abu al-Abbas Iranshahri (Persian: حکیم ایرانشهری‎) was a 9th-century Persian[1] philosopher, mathematician, natural scientist, historian of religion, astronomer and author.[2] According to traditional sources, he is the first figure in the wider Muslim world to be associated with philosophy after the advent of Islam.[3]


  • Life 1
  • Works 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • External sources 6


He was born in Nishapur (modern Khorasan in Iran), the city also known as Iranshahr, hence his title Iranshahri.[2] According to Nasir Khusraw, Iranshahri taught Rhazes and Biruni ancient Iranian philosophy.


He authored[2] several books and treatises in Arabic and in Persian. All the books written, some of which are mentioned in passing by Biruni and Nasir Khusraw, have been lost.

He wrote three books; Jalil, Athir, and Masael u'ttabi'a, about philosophy and wisdom. Abulma'ali states that Iranshahri brought a new religion with a Persian book and named his miracle Hasti (existence). According to Biruni, he was knowledgeable about Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Hinduism, and Shamanism.


According to Abu'l Ma'ali, the author of bayan al-Adyan, Iranshahri considered himself a Prophet and wrote a book in Persian which he claimed have received a divine revelation by the angel called Hasti (Existence).[2] He believed in the unity of all religions and considered existing differences among them the results of special interests (ḡarażµ) of their followers.[2] According Biruni, Iranshahri had said that God took covenant from light and darkness on the days of Nowruz and Mehragan, which may reflect Zurvanite influence.[2] According to Nasir Khusraw, Iranshahri had expressed philosophical concepts in religious terms in such books as Ketab-e jalil and Ketab-e athir, and had led people to the true religion and the understanding of monotheism.[2]

He maintained that God was always a creator, and there was not a time when he was non-creative (u-rā ṣonʿ nabud) before He turned into being creative. According to him, it is requisite that He always be creator, then it is necessary for that in which His creation appeared to be eternal (qadim). His creation makes its appearance (padid-āyanda ast) in Matter (hayulā), and therefore, Matter, a sign of the apparent power of God, is eternal; and since Matter, which is eternal, requires the existence of Space (makān), it follows that Space should be eternal too.[2] His ideas on time is was that time, world, and duration (zamān dahr wa moddat) are names whose meanings are derived from the same substance (jawhar).[2] He also philosophized that Time, a substance in motion and restless (jawhar-e ravanda wa biqarār), is the sign of God’s knowledge, in the same way that Space is the sign of His power; motion is the sign of His action, and the being (jesm) is the sign of His ability, and every one of these signs is infinite and eternal.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Henry Corbin, "The voyage and the messenger: Iran and philosophy", North Atlantic Books, 1998. pg 72.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Daryoush Kargar and EIr, "IRĀNŠAHRI" in Encyclopaedia Iranica. Accessed via online in Nov, 2010 at: [1]
  3. ^ Seyyed Hossain Nasr, "Philosophy and Cosomology," in Frye, ed., The Cambridge History of Iran, pp 421. Quote: "the first person mentioned in traditional sources as having devoted himself to philosophy in the Islamic period is Abu'l-Abbas Iranshahri, who flourished in the 3rd/9th century.."

External sources

  • An article on him in Persian on Great Encyclopaedia of Islam (published in Iran)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.