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The Tehran School

The Esfahān school continued actively even after the collapse of the Safavid Dynasty and through the Afshārid and Zandiyeh rules and until the reign of Fath ‘Ali Shah of the Qajar dynasty. Even some recent scholars like Jalāl al-Din Homā’i (d. 1980) were from the students of the Esfahān school. At the time of Āqā Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, Tehran became the political center of Iran as a result of which it gradually turned into the academic center of Iran. Following the establishment of the Marvi School by Hāji Mohammad Hosein Khan Marvi (d. 1233 AH/1818 AD), and upon his request, Mollā ‘Ali Nuri was invited to Tehran by Fath ‘Ali Shah to teach rational sciences in that school. However, since Mollā ‘Ali Nuri had a large number of students in Esfahān who took a keen interest in his teaching, he declined this invitation and instead sent his student Mollā Abdollāh Zanuzi (d. 1257 AH/1841 AD) to teach in the Marvi School of Tehran; and it was in this way that the foundation of the Philosophical school of Tehran was laid. Mollā Abdollāh trained a number of students including his own son ‘Ali Modarres Zanuzi (d. 1307 AH/1890 AD) who furthered the Tehran school. The other scholars who emerged from the Tehran school included Mohammad Rezā Qomsheh’i (d. 1306 AH/1889 AD) and Mirzā Abu al-Hasan Jelveh (d. 1314 AH/ 1896 AD), both of whom taught in the educational schools of Tehran. Similarly, mention can also be made of such great personalities as Mirzā Tāher Tonekāboni, Mirzā Mahdi Āshtiyāni, Mirzā Mohammad ‘Ali Shāhābādi, Kāzem Assār and Ziyā’ al-Din Dorri as some of the scholars who contributed richly to the evolution of the Tehran school. During this period, theology continued to be taught, both, as a part of the Transcendental Philosophy and as an independent discipline. However, during this period no outstanding work had been produced in the area of theology. Nevertheless, owing to its distinctive interpretations on the subject of “Imamate”, the Sheikhiyeh School emerged from within the Shiite theological school. It was with a deep adherence to the teachings of the Infallible Imams of the Ithnā Ashari faith that Sheikh Ahmad Ehsābi arrived at certain conclusions on the subject of Imamate and founded the Sheikhi or Sheikhiyeh School. In his commentaries on the book, “Hekmah al-Arshiyah”, Sheikh Ahmad Ehsābi also critically evaluated the views of Mollā Sadrā and strongly criticized them and wrote that “the views of philosophers are not commensurate with Islam but Mollā Sadrā’s claim is more audacious than all other philosophers because he claims that his words are the words of the Holy Prophet (s) and members of his household (‘a). The Sheikhiyeh school spread throughout the Kermān province, and later on, this province came to grow as the religious center of the followers of the Sheikhiyeh school.

The other important schools that functioned alongside the Tehran school included the Sabzevār School or the school of Hāj Mollā Hādi Sabzevari (d. 1290 AH/1873 AS), the Mashhad school, and the Qom school which was founded as a result of the efforts of Allāmeh Mohammad Hosein Tabātabā’i. All through this period and in all the above-mentioned schools, theology continued to be taught, both, as part of the Transcendental Philosophy and as an independent discipline; even though no special book was written in the field of theology; and even today the main text books of theology for the students of these schools continue to be the “Sharh-e Tajrid” of Allāmeh Helli and the “Sharh-e Bāb-e Hādi Ashar” of Fāzel Meqdād.


* source: Dadbeh , Asghar " Iran Entry " The Great Islamic Encyclopedia . Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 , pp.618- 620


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