Mīrzā Muḥammad ʿAlī Shāhʾābādī (1874--1949 CE - ميرزا محمد علي شاهآبادي) was a great Muslim scientist in the inclusive sense of the word ‘science’. That is, he was an investigator into the multi-dimensional realities (الحقائق)
- that lie behind the world of appearances (الدنيا);
- and that lie behind the one-dimensional representations of those realities in the form of dogmas and official beliefs.
This constitutes a scientific as opposed to a faith-based or fideistic endeavor, because the aim of such an inquiry is not faith per se but rather direct experiential knowledge that provides the basis for propositional knowledge. 1 In Arabic this kind of scientist is often called an ʿārif (literally cognizant).
Mīrzā Shāhʾābādī's most famous work is his Rashaḥātu ãl-Biḥār (Dew Drops from the Oceans), in which he conducts a Qurʾānic and scientific investigation of
- the relationship between the Qurʾān and the Intimate Family (ʿItraḧ) of the Prophet of Islam;
- the concept and reality of the return (rajʿaḧ) of certain people to this life after death; and
- the concept and reality of primordial nature (fiṭraḧ) off Man, one of the most important yet often overlooked matters in Islamic cosmology and anthropology.
We have largely finished our critical edition of the first two parts of the Rashaḥāt. Once the Oriental TEX project is further along we hope to release this, accompanied by a critical study of some of the scientific ideas of this great Islamic scholar.
(Below is a sample from an early draft of the critical edition. It is nowhere near final, and contains a number of typos).
It is our intention to continually update and expand this page over the coming weeks and months with information about the life and times of Mīrzā Shāhʾābādī, as well updates on our study of his work.
Note that the word ‘science’ comes from the Latin ‘scientia’ meaning “knowledge”. ↩