Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Introduction

Seyyed Hossein Nasr  is one of the most important and foremost scholars of Islamic, religious and comparative studies in the world today. He is currently University Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University, Washington D.C. USA. Author of over fifty books and five hundred articles which have been translated into many major Islamic, European and Asian languages, Professor Nasr is a well-known and highly respected intellectual figure both in the West and the Islamic world. An eloquent speaker with a charismatic presence, Nasr is a much sought-after speaker at academic conferences and seminars, university and public lectures and also radio and television programs in his area of expertise. Possessor of an impressive academic and intellectual record, his career as a teacher and scholar spans over five decades.

Born in 1923 in Tehran, Iran and brought up I that city before coming to America, Professor Nasr began his illustrious teaching career in 1955 when he was still a young and promising, doctoral student at Harvard University. Over the years, he has taught and trained an innumerable number of students who have come from the different parts of the world, and many of whom have themselves become important and prominent scholars in their fields of study.

He has trained different generation of students over the years from 1955 and especially since 1958 when he became a professor at Tehran University and then, in America since the Iranian revolution in 1979, specifically at Temple University in Philadelphia from 1979 to 1984 and at The George Washington University since 1984 to the present day. The range of subjects and areas of study with which Professor Nasr has been involved and engaged in his academic career and intellectual life are immense. As demonstrated by his numerous writings, lecturers and speeches, Professor Nasr speaks and writes with great authority on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from philosophy to religion to spirituality, to music and art and architecture, to science and literature, to civilization dialogues and the natural environment.

For Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the quest for knowledge, specifically knowledge which enables man to understand the true nature of things and which furthermore, “liberates and delivers him from the fetters and limitations of earthly existence,” has been and continues to be the central concern and determinant of his life.

Biography

Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born on April 7, 1933 (19 Farvadin 1312 A.H. solar) in Tehran into a family of distinguished scholars and physicians. His father, Seyyed Valiallah, a man of great learning and piety was a physician to the Iranian royal family, as was his father before him. The title Nasr al-atibba’, from which the name “Nasr” meaning “victory” derives was conferred on Professor Nasr’s grandfather by the King of Persia. Nasr also comes from a family of Sufis. One of his ancestors was Mulla Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Pushtmashhadi, who was a famous a saint of Kashan whose mausoleum which is located next to the tom \b of the Safavid king Shah Abbas, is still visited by pilgrims to this day. From his mother’s side, Nasr descends from a famous family of ‘ulama, his mother having been the granddaughter of the famous Qajar religious leader Shaykh Fadlallah Nuri.

As a young boy, Nasr attended one of the schools next to his home in Tehran. His early formal education included the usual Persian curriculum at school with an extra concentration in Islamic and Persian subjects at home, as well as tutorial in French. However, for Nasr, it was the long hours of discussion with his father, mostly on Philosophical and theological issues, complemented by both reading and reaction to the discourses carried on by those who came to his father’s house, may educated in Europe as well as the traditional intellectual elite, that constituted an essential aspect of his early education and which in many ways set the pattern and tone of his intellectual development. This was the situation for the first twelve years of Nasr’s life, rooted in a deeply Persian cultural setting combined with the presence of Western (primarily) French culture and thought.

Sadr’s arrival in America at the young age of twelve marked the beginning of a new period in his life which was totally different and therefore, discontinuous from his early life in Iran. He attended the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey and in 1950 graduated as the valedictorian of his class and also winner of the Wycliffe Award which was the school’s highest honor given to the most outstanding all-round student. It was during the five years at Peddie that Nasr acquired his knowledge of the English language, as well as studying the sciences, American history, Western culture and Christianity.

Nasr chose to go to M.I.T. for college. He was offered a scholar and was the first Iranian student to be admitted as an undergraduate at M.I.T. He began his studies at M.IT. in the Physics Department with some of the most gifted students in the country and also with outstanding professor of physics. His decision to study physics was motivated by the desire to gain knowledge of the nature of things t least at the level of physical reality. However, at the end of his freshman year, although he was the top student in his class, he began to feel oppressed by the overbearingly scientific atmosphere with its implicit positivism. Furthermore, he discovered that may of the metaphysical questions with which he had been concerned were not being asked, much less answered. Thus, he began to have serious doubts as to whether physics would lead him to an understanding of the nature of the physical reality. His doubt was confirmed when a leading British philosopher of the day, Bertrand Russel, in a small group discussion with the students following a lecture he had given at M.I.T. stated that physics does not concern itself with the nature of physical reality per se, but with mathematical structures related to pointer readings.

The shock of discovering the real nature of the subject he had chosen to study, together with the overbearingly constricting atmosphere at the Department. Although the crisis did not destroy his faith in God, it shook certain fundamental elements in his worldview, such as his understanding of the meaning of life, the significance of knowledge and the means t find the Truth. He was prepared to leave the field of physic at M.I.T. and depart from America tin quest of the Truth. However, the strong discipline inculcated to him, by his father, prevented him from abandoning his studies altogether. He remained at M.I.T.  but his heart was no longer with physics.

Having realized in his second year that a study of the physical sciences would neither lead him to an understanding of the nature of physical reality nor deal with some of the metaphysical questions with which he was concerned, Nasr decided to look at other fields of study for his answers. He started to read extensively and t take many courses in the humanities, especially those taught by Professor Giorgio Di Santillana, the famous Italian philosopher and historian of science.

It was also Di Santillana who first introduced him to the works of one of the most important traditionalist writers of the 20th century, Rene Guenon whose writings played a decisive role in laying the intellectual foundation of Nasr’s traditionalist perspective. Nasr also had the great fortune of having access to the library of the late Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, the outstanding Singhalese metaphysician and historian of art. The library had an incredible collection of works on traditional philosophy and art from all over the world. It was in this library that Nasr first discovered the works of the other traditionalist writers such as Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Marco Pallis and Martin Lings and of course Coomaraswamy himself, figures who were to have tremendous and enduring intellectual and spiritual influence on Nasr.

According to Nasr, it was the discovery of traditional metaphysics and the philosophia perennis through the works of these figures that settled the intellectual and spiritual crisis that he had experienced and he gained an intellectual certitude that has never left him since. From then on, he was certain that there was such a thing as the Truth and that it could be attained through faith, virtue and knowledge by means f the intellect which is guided and illuminated by divine revelation. His childhood love for the attainment of knowledge returned to him but on a higher and deeper plane. The traditional writings of Schuon with their singular emphasis on the need for the practice of a spiritual discipline as well as theoretical knowledge, were especially instrumental in determining the course of Nasr’s intellectual and spiritual life from that time onward.

Upon his graduation from M.I.T., Nasr enrolled himself in the graduate program in geology and geophysics at Harvard University while also studying Islamic philosophy and the history of science. After obtaining his Master’s degree in geology and geophysics in 1956, he went n t pursue formally his Ph.D. degree in the history of science and learning at Harvard.  Nasr wanted to study other types of sciences of nature apart from the modern Western one and also to understand why modern science had developed as it had. He planned to write his dissertation under the supervision of George Sarton, a great authority on Islamic science. However, Sarton passed away before Nasr could begin his dissertation work and since there was not another specialist in Islamic science at Harvard then, he wrote his dissertation on the Islamic \conception of nature under the direction of three famous professors: Bernard Cohen, Sir Hamilton Gibb and Harry Wolfson.

It was also at Harvard that Nasr resumed his study of classical Arabic which he had abandoned since coming to America. He struggled to master philosophical Arabic receiving assistance from Wolfson and Gibb. However, e of philosophical Arabic was only attained after the studied Islamic philosophy with the traditional masters of Iran after his return to his homeland in 1958.

During his Harvard years, Nasr also traveled to Europe, especially to France, Switzerland, Britain, Italy and Spain, widening his intellectual horizon and establishing important and fruitful contacts. It was during these travels to Europe that Nasr met with the foremost living traditionalist writers and exponents of the philosophia perennis, Frithjof Schuon and Titus Burkhardt, who made a great impact and decisive contribution to his intellectual and spiritual life. He also traveled to Morocco in North Africa, which had great spiritual significance for Nasr who embraced Sufism in the form taught and practiced by the great Sufi saint of the Maghrib, the Shadhuli Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi. Thus, the years at Harvard witnessed the crystallization of the major intellectual and spiritual elements of Nasr’s mature worldview, elements which have sine dominated and determined the course and pattern of his scholarship and academic career as well as his personal and inner life.

At the age of twenty-five, Nasr graduated with a Ph.D. degree from Harvard and on the way to completing his first book, Science and Civilization in Islam. His doctoral dissertation entitled “Conceptions of Nature in Islamic Thought” was published in 1964 by the Harvard University Press as An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines.  Although he was offered a position as assistant professor at M.I.T. and also a position at Harvard, Nasr decided to return permanently to Iran.

Back in Iran, Nasr was offered a position as an associate professor of philosophy and the history of science at the Faculty of Letters of Tehran University which he accepted. A few months after his return, Nasr married a young Iranian woman from a respected family whose members were close friends of his own family. The result of this marriage were a son and a daughter, Sayyed Vali Reza and Laili. The son has now become a well-known scholar and is dean of John Hopkins School of International Relations and the daughter an art historian who is now at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Five years after joining Tehran university at the age of thirty, Nasr became the youngest person to have become a full professor at the University. He used his position and influence to bring major changes to strengthen and expand the Philosophy program at Tehran University which like many of its other programs, was very much dominated by and limited to French intellectual influence. Nasr initiated the important move of teaching Islamic philosophy on the basis of its history and from its own perspective and to encourage his Iranian students to study other philosophies and intellectual traditions from the point of view of their own tradition and not vice-versa.  He maintained that one cannot hope to understand and appreciate one’s own intellectual tradition from the viewpoint of another, just as one cannot see oneself in the mirror through the eyes of another person. He also created greater awareness and interest in the study of Oriental philosophies among the students and faculty members.

Since Tehran University was the only university in Iran to offer a doctorate in philosophy, theses changes introduced by Nasr were to have far reaching influence throughout Iranian institutions of higher learning. Many universities in Iran integrated their changes into their philosophical programs and until today Nasr’s perspective of Western thought and philosophy remains widely influential. Not only his writings, but also the students he has trained and who have become scholars and university professors of philosophy have enabled this perspective to have enduring influence in Iran and also to some extent in other Islamic countries especially Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Apart from the philosophy program, Nasr was also involved in Tehran University’s doctoral program in Persian language and literature for those whose mother tongue was not Persian. He strengthened the intellectual and philosophical components of this program and had many outstanding students from outside of Iran who received training there, not only in the Persian language, but also to the rich treasury of philosophical and Sufi literature written in Persian. Many of the students trained in this program have since become important scholars in this field such as the American scholar, William Chittick and the Japanese scholar, Sachiko Murata along with many well-known scholars from Pakistan and India.

Furthermore, from 1968 to 1972, Nasr was made Dean of the Faculty and for some time, Academic Vice Chancellor of Tehran University. Through these positions, he was able to introduce many important changes which all aimed at strengthening the university programs in the Islamic humanities generally and in philosophy, especially. In 1972, he was appointed President of Aryamehr University by the Shah of Iran. Aryamehr University, which was a royal university, was then the leading scientific and technical university in Iran and the Shah, as the patron, wanted Professor Nasr to develop the university on the model of M.I.T. but with firm roots in Iranian culture. Consequently, a strong humanities program in Islamic thought and culture, with particular emphasis upon an Islamic philosophy of science, was established at Aryamehr University by Nasr. His pioneering effort led Aryamehr University (now called Sharif) to create one of the first graduate programs in the Islamic world in the philosophy of science based upon the Islamic philosophy of science. In 1973, the Queen of Iran commissioned Professor Nasr to establish a center for the study and propagation of philosophy under her patronage. Hence, the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy was founded and very soon it became one of the most important and vital centers of philosophical activity in the Islamic world, housing the best library of philosophy in Iran and attracting some off the most distinguished scholars in the field, both from the East and the West, such as Henry Corbin and Toshihiko Izutsu. The Academy also organized important seminars and lectures series given by philosophers, offered fellowships for short and long-term research work in Islamic philosophy and comparative philosophy and undertook a major publication program of works in this field in Persian, Arabic, English and French and created the journal Jawidan Khirad Sophia Perennis.

Another very important dimension to Nasr’s intellectual activities after his return to Iran in 1958 was his program in re-educating himself in Islamic philosophy by learning it at the feet of the masters and through the traditional method of oral transmission. He studied hikmah for twenty years under some of the greatest teachers in Iran at the time, “reading” traditional texts of Islamic philosophy and gnosis, three days a week at the Sepahsalar madrasah in Tehran and also in private homes in Tehran, Qom and Qawin. Among his venerable teachers was Sayyid Muhammad Kazim; Assar, an ‘alim who was an authority on Islamic Law, as well as philosophy, and a very close friend of Professor Nasr’s father. These masters also included the great luminary and master of gnosis, ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, the author of the major Quranic commentary al-Mizan and Sayyid Abdul Hasan Qazwini, a celebrated authority on Islamic Law and the intellectual sciences who also knew traditional mathematics, astronomy and philosophy extremely well. Nasr read and studied several of the major texts of Islamic philosophy and Sufism with these masters such as al-Asfar al-arba’ah of Mulla Sadra and the Sharh-i- manzumah of Sabziwari and benefited greatly from the invaluable insights and commentaries provided by them orally. In this way, Nasr underwent the best educational training both from the modern West and traditional East, a rare combination which put him in a very special position to speak and write with authority on the numerous issues involved in the encounter between East and West, and tradition and modernity, as demonstrated very clearly by his writings and lectures.

During the years Professor Nasr was in Iran, he wrote extensively in both Persian and English and occasionally in French and Arabic. His doctoral dissertation was rewritten by him in Persian and it won the royal book award. Nasr also brought out the critical edition of several important philosophical texts such as the complete Persian works of Suhrawardi and of Mulla Sadra and the Arabic text of Ibn Sina and Al-Biruni’s exchange of questions and answers. Nasr’s keen interest in the philosophy of one of the greatest later Islamic philosophers, Mulla Sadra resulted in the publication of the Mulla Sadra’s works as well as those of other traditional masters of later Islamic philosophy. Nasr was also the firsts person to introduce the thought of Mulla Sadra into the English-speaking world through many lectures and essays as well as his work The Transcendent Philosophy of Sadr al-Din Shirazi.

With the assistance of William Chittick, Nasr prepared An Annotated Bibliography of Islamic Science in three volumes, with Persian and English annotations. He also wrote Three Muslim Sages and completed and published Science and Civilization in Islam which he had started while still a student at Harvard.   Both of these books were translated into several languages very quickly and were reprinted in Iran many times and have been used for the past five decades as textbooks for courses in Islamic Philosophy and science in Iranian universities and elsewhere. Three Muslim Sages, which presents the Islamic intellectual tradition from within, grew out of three lectures which Nasr gave in 1962 as the first visiting professor at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. This work was translated into both Russian and Chinese only a couple years ago. Ideals and Realities of Islam, which is one of Nasr’s most widely read books on the Islamic religion and unveils the basic meaning of Islam, revealing some of its most universal and profound dimensions, was based on the text of the first six of fifteen lectures which he delivered at the American University in Beirut as the first Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Studies in 1964-65.

In 1966 Nasr was invited to deliver the Rockefeller Lectures at the University of Chicago and to speak on some aspects of the relation between religion, philosophy and the environmental crisis. Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man, which deals with the historical, philosophical and spiritual roots of the question and the first work to predict the coming of the environmental crisis was written as the text for the textures delivered on that occasion. Nasr also brought out Islam and the Plight of Modern Man, Sufi Essays and The Transcendent Theosophy of Sadr al-Din Shirazi in the following years. Both Islam and the Plight of Modern Man and Sufi Essays have proved to be very popular and have been translated into many European and Islamic languages and reprinted several times since their first appearance. These works were followed by Islamic Science, An Illustrated Study written on the occasion of the Festival of the World of Iran held in London in 1977 which he also helped to organize.

In 1964-65, Nasr spent an academic year at the American University of Beirut as the first Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Studies. Besides Ideals and Realities of Islam, he also brought out Islamic Studies, which is a collection of articles discussing several fundamental aspects of the Islamic tradition. This work was later expanded and published under the title, Islamic Life and Thought. During this period in Lebanon Nasr also met and had intellectual discourse with several important Catholic and Muslim thinkers and scholars. He also had the opportunity to meet with the woman Sufi saint Sayhyidah Fatimah al Yashrutiyyah, daughter of the founder of the Yashrutiyyah Order, a branch of the Shadhiliyyah Sufi order.

Although Nasr lived in Iran, he maintained strong contacts with America and Europe and many of the major universities in those countries as well as with several Islamic countries. He taught at Harvard in 1962 and 1965 and conducted short seminars at Princeton University and the University of Utah. He also had close associations with several important American scholars of religion such as Huston Smith, professor of philosophy and comparative religion, W.C. Smith also professor of world religions, Jacob Needleman, philosopher and editor of the well-known work, Sword of Gnosis which includes some of the Nasr’s essays, and a number of major Catholic, Protestant and Jewish scholars, philosophers and theologians such as Jacques Maritian, Paul Tillich, Louis Massignin and Abraham Heschel. Most of all he taught many courses with Henry Corbin at Tehran University and participated in many projects with him. Nasr also helped with the planning and expansion of Islamic and Iranian studies in several American universities such as Harvard, Princeton, the University of Utah and the University of Southern California. In 1977, he delivered the Kevorkian Lectures on Islamic Art at New York University on the meaning and philosophy of Islamic Art and the Iqbal Lecture in Lahore in addition to numerous other major lectures given in both East and West over a period of decades.

In 1979 at the time off the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Nasr moved with his family to the United States where he would rebuild his life again and secure a university position to support himself and his family. He was a professor of religion from 1979-1984 before becoming University Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University, a position that he still holds. By 1980, Nasr began to write again. He started to work intensively on the research and text of the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh to which he received an invitation shortly before the Iranian Revolution took place. Nasr had the honor of being the first non-Westerner to be invited to deliver the most famous lecture series in the fields of natural theology and philosophy of religion in the West. Thus, Knowledge and the Sacred, one of Nasr’s most important philosophical works, one which has had a great impact on scholars and students of religious studies, cam e to be prepared amidst the strain of trying times and the strenuous commute between Boston and Philadelphia. However, Nasr discloses that the actual writing of the text of Knowledge and the Sacred came as a “gift from heaven”. He was able to write the texts of the lectures with great facility and speed and within a period of less than three months, they were completed. Nasr says that it was as though, he was writing from a text he had previously memorized.

In 1982, Nasr was invited to collaborate on a major project to bring out the Encyclopedia of World Spirituality together with Ewert Cousins, chief editor and professor of medieval philosophy at Fordham University and many other leading philosophers and scholars of religion. Nasr accepted to edit the two volumes on Islamic Spirituality, which came out in 1989 and 1991.  Both volumes have become invaluable reference material in English for those interested in this subject. In 1983, Nasr delivered the Wiegand Lecture on the philosophy of religion at the University of Toronto in Canada. He also helped in the establishment of the section on Hermeticism and perennial phil0sophy at the American Academy of Religion.

Nasr was soon recognized in American academic circles as a traditionalist and a major expositor and advocate of the perennialist perspective. Much of his intellectual activities and writing since being in exile in America, are related to this function and also to the fields of comparative religion, metaphysics and cosmology, philosophy and religious dialogue. He has participated in many debates and discussions with eminent Christian and Jewish theologians and philosophers such as Hans Kung, John Hick and Rabbi Izmar Schorch. In 1986, Nasr edited The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schauon and in 1990, he was selected as a patron of the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian Muslim Relations of the Sally Oaks College in Birmingham. In addition, he has played an active role in the creation and activities of the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. He has also attended many conferences on this subject including the famous 1993 Parliament of World Religions.

Nasr has continued to travel to Europe and such Islamic countries as Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia often, giving lectures and being involved with various intellectual activities. He has given lectures at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of London and a few other British universities. He is also a fellow of the Temenos Academy and has lectured there. In 1994, he was invited to deliver the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham and a major work entitled Religion and the Order of Nature was written by Nasr for this occasion. Later he delivered the Dudley Lecture at Harvard University.

Nasr also has continued to travel extensively to Spain, especially southern Spain which still has an Islamic presence and which reminds him very much of his home country, Iran. It was also during some of his journeys to Spain that Nasr was inspired to begin to write poetry. He has brought out a collection of forty of his English poems on spiritual themes, under the title Poems of the Way, and a second volume entitled The Pilgrimage of Life and the Wisdom of Rumi.

Although Professor Nasr continues to have a very busy teaching and lecturing schedule, he has still managed to allocate much of his time and energy to writing. 1987 saw the publication of two of his books, Islamic Art and Spirituality and Traditional Islam in the Modern World, which came out later in an extended version as Islam in the Modern World. Islamic Art and Spirituality which deals with the metaphysical and symbolic significance of Islamic art, poetry and music is Nasr’s first book on this subject. Traditional Islam in the Modern World discusses several important dimensions of the Islamic tradition and its religion to the West. Nasr also write a book specifically for young Muslims entitled, A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World which addresses some of the major problems and challenges which the modern world presents to them.

More recently, Nasr, together with the British scholar of Islamic and Jewish philosophy Oliver Leaman, edited a two-volume work, History of Islamic Philosophy which consists of articles written by important scholars in this field, discussing the different aspects and schools of Islamic philosophy and its development in the different parts of the Islamic world. Nasr’s continued interest in traditional science is made evident by his work on this subject, The Need for a Sacred Science.  Also, together with one of his former students, Mehdi Aminrazavi, Nasr has brought out a major five-volume work, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia. Aminrazavi also edited earlier, The Islamic Intellectual Tradition in Persia, which consists of a collection of Nasr’s essays on Islamic philosophy in Persia written during the last forty years.

Nasr spent a decade as chief editor of The Study Quran that was completed in 2015. During this period, he also brought out the English translation of The Kitab al-masha’ir (“The Book of Metaphysical Penetrations”) by Mulla Sadra. During the past few years he has also brought out three works in Persian complementing his earlier books written in that language when he was in Iran. His works, especially in English have gained an ever-wider audience globally and been translated into over twenty languages from Albanian and Bosnian to Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese not to speak of Bhasa Malay and Indonesian, Arabic and Kurdish. Over twenty of his books have been translated into Turkish and his thought and writings have a strong presence in many Islamic countries especially, Albania, Bosnia, Turkey, Pakistan, where most of his works in English have been reprinted and also many translated into Urdu, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Another aspect of Nasr’s intellectual and cultural efforts can be seen in his involvement in the activities of the Foundation for Traditional Studies. The Foundation, which is devoted to the dissemination of traditional thought, was established in 1984 under the direction of a board presided by Nasr. The Foundation has published several books including the Festschrift of Frithjof Schuon entitled, Religion of the Heart, edited by Nasr and William Studdart and In Quest of the Sacred: The Modern World in the Light of Tradition which Nasr co-edited with the executive director of the Foundation, Katherine O’Brien. In Quest of the Sacred is a collection of essays presented by some of the major traditionalist writers in an important conference held in Peru, organized by the Foundation and the Peruvian Instituto de Estudios Tradicionales. The Foundation has also published the journal, Sophia which carries essays on traditional thought written by the leading authorities in this field.

At eighty-four, Seyyed Hossein Nasr still leads an active intellectual life with a busy schedule of teaching at the university and lecturing at many institutions in America as well as around the world, writing scholarly works, being involved in several intellectual projects simultaneously and meeting individuals who are interested in traditional thought. At the same time, he leads a spiritual life spent in prayer, meditation and contemplation and also in providing spiritual counsel for those who seek his advice and guidance. Exiled from his homeland, Seyyed Hossein Nasr has found his home in the inviolable and sacred Center which is neither in the East nor the West.

PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS

(Only some of the books published in English are listed here to illustrate the breadth and depth of Professor Nasr’s writings. Where it is appropriate, we have quoted the translations from English into other languages.)

Professor Nasr has written a large number of books in Farsi and other languages as well. In addition, his lectures and articles, written over a span of fifty years, run into hundreds).

  1. An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines, Preface by H.A.R. Gibb, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964.
  2. Islam Kozmoloji Ogretilerine Giris, Trans. Nazife Sisman, Istanbul, Insan Yayinlari, 1985.
  3. Pengenalan Doktrin Kosomologi Islam, Trans. Baharuddin Ahmed, Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1992.
  4. Three Muslim Sages, Preface by R.H.L. Slater, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1964.
  5. Tiga Pemikir Islam: Ibnu Sina, Suhrawardi dan Ibnu Arabi, Trans. Ahmad Mujahid, Bandung: Risalah Bandung, 1986.
  6. Tin Jon Muslim Monishi, Trans. Mohiudin, Dacca: Bengali Central Board for Development, 1970.
  7. Uc Musluman Bilge, Trans. Ali Onal, Istanbul; Insan Tayinlarai, 1985.
  8. Tri Muslumansks Mudraca, Trans. Becir Dzaka, Sarajevo: El-Kalam, 1991.
  9. L’Histoire de la Philosophie Islamique, Collaboration with H. Corbin and O. Yahya, Vol. 1, Paris, Gallimard (Collection Idrees), 1964.
  10. L’Histoire de la Philosophie Islamique, Collaboration with H. Corbin and O. Yahya, Vol. 1, Paris, Gallimard (Collection Idrees), 1964.
  11. Storia della filosofia Islamica, Collaboration with H. Corbini and O. Yahya, Trans. Vanna Calasso, Milan: Adelphi Edizioni, 1973.
  12. History of Islamic Philosophy, Trans. Liadain Sherrard, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1993.
  13. Ideals and Realities of Islam, London: Allen and Unwin, 1966, 1975.
  14. Islam, perspectives et realites, Trans. H. Cres: Preface by T. Burckhardt, Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1975.
  15. Islamic Studies: Essays on Law and Society, the Sciences, Philosophy and Sufism, Beirut: Kibrarie du Liban, 1967.
  16. Science and Civilization in Islam, Preface by G. de Santillana, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968, New York.
  17. The Encounter of Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man, London: Allen and Unwin, 1968.
  18. Historical Atlas of Iran, edited with others and with Introduction in English, French, and Persian, Tehran: Tehran University Press, 1973.
  19. Sufi Essays, London, Allen and Unwin, 1972.
  20. Al-Asilah wa’l-ajwibah (“Questions and Answers, Al-Biruni and Ibn-Sina”), Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization 1925.
  21. Al-Biruni: An Annotated Bibliography, Tehran: High Council of Culture and the Arts, 1973.
  22. Jalal al-Din Rumi: Supreme Persian Poet and Sage, Tehran: High Council of Culture and the Arts, 1974.
  23. Shi’ite Islam, by Allamah Tabataba’i, Trans. From the Persian and edited with introduction and notes, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975.
  24. Persia, Bridge of Turquoise, With R. Beny, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975.
  25. An Annotated Bibliography of Islamic Science, With W. Chittick, Vol. 1, Tehran, Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1975.
  26. Islam and the Plight of Modern Man, London: Longmans, 1976.
  27. Islamic Science, an Illustrated Study, London: World of Islam Festival Trust, 1976.
  28. Western Science and Asian Cultures, New Delhi: Indian Council of Cultural Relations, 1976.
  29. Ismaili Contributions to Islamic Culture, Ed. S.H. Nasr, Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1977.
  30. Sadr al-Din Shirazi and His Transcendent Theosophy, Tehran and London: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1978.
  31. Understanding Islam, by Frithjof Schuon, Trans. Into Arabic, 1980.
  32. Islamic Life and Thought, London: Allen and Unwin, 1981, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981, Lahore: Suhail Academy, 1985.
  33. Knowledge and the Sacred, New York: Crossroad, 1981, Kuala Lumper: Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1987.
  34. Philosophy, Literature and Fine Arts, S.H. Nasr, Islamic Education Series, Kent: Holder and Stoughton, 1982.
  35. Bati Felsefeleri ve Islam. Trans. Selahattin Ayaz, Istanbul: Bir Yayincilik, 1985.
  36. The Essential Writings of Frizhjof Schuon, Ed. S. H. Nasr. Warwicki: Amity House, 1986.
  37. Islamic Art and Spirituality, London: Golgonooza Press, 1987, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987.
  38. Traditional Islam in the Modern World, London and New York: KPI, 1987.
  39. Islamic Spirituality Foundations, Ed. S.H. Nasr, Vol. 19 of World Spirituality; An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest, New York; Crossroad, 1987.
  40. Muhammad: Man of Allah, London: Muhammadi Trust, 1982.
  41. Shi’ism: Doctrines, Thought and Spirituality, Ed. S.H. Nasr with H. Dabashi and S.V.R. Nasr, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988
  42. Expectation of the Millenium: Shi’ism in History, Ed. S.H. Nasr with H. Dabashi and S.V.R. Nasr, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.
  43. Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations, Ed. S.H. Nasr, Vol. 20 of World Spirituality: An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest, New York: Crossroad, 1991.
  44. Religion and Religions: The Challenge of Living in a Multi-religious World. The Reiy H. Witherspoon Lectures in Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, April 8, 1985.
  45. Religion of the Heart: Essays Presented to Frithjof Schuon on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. S.H. Nasr with W. Stoddart, Washington D.C.: Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1991.
  46. The Need for a Sacred Science, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.
  47. The Quest of the Sacred: The Modern World in the Light of the Tradition, S.H. Nasr with Katherine O’Brien, Oakton, 1993.
  48. A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World, Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1993.
  49. Islam and the Challenge of the 21st Century (edited from tape of lecture given in Kuala Lumpur in 1993), Ed. H. Rahman and E. Yeahman, Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dam Pustaka, 1993.
  50. The History of Islamic Philosophy, 2 Vols. Ed. S.H. Nasr with O. Leaman, London: Routledge, 1994, 1996.
  51. The Islamic Intellectual Tradition in Persia, Ed. M. Aminrazavi, London: Curzon Press, 1994.
  52. Makaleler (Turkish translation of several articles and reviews), Trans. Sahabettin Talcin, Istanbul, Insan Yayinlari, 1995.
  53. Soylesiler, (Conversations), Istanbul: Insan Yayinlari, 1996.
  54. Religion and the Order of Nature, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  55. Islami Tracional Dhe Problemi I Shkences Moderne, Selim Syleimani, Drita e Jetes, 1996.
  56. Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant, Photos by Ali Nomachi, New York: Aperture, 1997.
  57. Islamic Christian Dialogue: Problems and Obstacles to be Pondered and Overcome, Washington, D.C.: Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, 1996.
  58. The Philosophy of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Eds. E. Hahn, R.E. Auxier, and L.W. Stone, 28 of the Library of Living Philosophers, Chicago: Open Court 2001.
  59. Poems of the Way, Oakton, Va.: Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1999.
  60. The Spiritual and Religious Dimension of the Environmental Crisis, London: Tremenos Academy, 1999,
  61. The Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, with Mehdi Aminrazavi, 1, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  62. A Journey Through Persian History and Culture, Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 2000.
  63. Ismaili Thought in the Classical Age: An Anthology of Philosophy n Persia, Vol. 2, With M. Aminrazavi and M.R. Jozi, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  64. The Philosophy of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Eds. E. Hahn, R.E. Auxier, and L.W. Stone, Vol. 28 of the Library of Living Philosophers, Chicago: Open Court, 2001.
  65. The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity, San Francisco: Harper, 2002.
  66. Islam-Religion, History, and Civilization, San Francisco: Harper, 2002; Lahore, Suhayl Academy, 2005.
  67. Sufism and the Integration of the Inner and Outer Life of Man (The Lm Singhvi Interfaith Lecture for the Year 1999), London: The Temenos Academy, 2004.
  68. The Essential Sophia, With Kathleen O’Brien, Bloomington: World Wisdom Books, 2006.
  69. Vid det Klara morgonljuset (In the Clear Morning Light: An Anthology), Trans. With introduction by Ashk Dahlen, Stockholm: Propins, 2007,
  70. Islamic Philosophy from its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of Prophecy, Albany, SUNY, 2006: Lahore: Suhayl Academy
  71. The Essential Seyyed Hossain Nasr, Ed. William Chitticik, Bloomington, World Wisdom Books, 2007.
  72. The Pilgrimage of Life and the Wisdom of Rumi-Poems and Translations, Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 2007.
  73. Islam, Science, Muslims, and Technology, with Muzaffer Iqbal, Kuala Lumpur, Islamic Book Trust; Sherwood Park: Al-Qalam Publishing, 2007.
  74. The Garden of Truth – The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition, San Francisco: Harper One, 2007,
  75. We and You – Let us Meet in God’s Love (monograph) 1st Catholic-Muslim Forum Conference, Vatican City, 2008.
  76. Hajj, Photos by Reem al-Faisal, text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Reading (UK), Garnet Publishing, 2009.
  77. Philosophical Theology in the Middle Ages and Beyond from Mu’tazila and Ash’ari to Shi’i text – An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Vol. 3, With M. Aminrazavi and M.E. Jozi, London, 2010.
  78. In Search of the Sacred – A conversation with Seyyed Hossein Nasr on His lIfe and Thought, With Ramin Jahanbegloo, New York: Praeger, 2010.
  79. Muslims and Christians in the New Millennium, Forward by Osman Bakar, Kuala Lumur, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Sciences, 2011.
  80. From the School of Illumination to Philosophical Mysticism – An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, 4, With Mehdi Aminrazavi, London: I.B. Tauris and the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013.
  81. The Study Quran, Edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Harper Collins, 2015.

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