Human Nature, Historicism, and Modernity in Persian Islamic Thought

Adapted from an essay written by Akhilesh Pillalamarri in 2013. 

*Due to the nature of this topic and the wording of quotes, there are multiple references to “man,” and “mankind,” by which the author of this paper means “humans,” and “humankind” in an inclusive sense.

Conceptions of human nature and the role of humankind upon the earth are important ideas to consider for any individual or civilization, especially in contemporary times, as the nature of humanity is not merely a theoretical or abstract issue. A theory or idea of the nature of man, by proposing certain ends or describing certain attributes or impulses, is linked to the personal, political, social, and economic worldviews of individuals and society as these tend to follow logically from certain premises regarding human nature. The question of human nature is also closely linked to the question of historicism, whether or not the basic principles and attributes of culture, religion, and man’s purpose are related to a specific context.

These debates also take place in Islamic thought, including Persian Islamic thought and can be seen in the writings of two contemporary Iranian thinkers who are part of a greater Persian tradition: Abdolkarim Soroush and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Although both Soroush and Nasr are both influenced by poetic, mystic and esoteric readings of religion, they diverge greatly in their views towards human nature, tradition and modernity, and historicism, with Soroush embracing a historicist approach towards understanding Islam and religion and Nasr strongly defending ideas of eternity. While Soroush approaches these questions from an evolutionary understanding of history, the more traditionalist view of Nasr does not acknowledge that humanity’s purpose can be achieved through a linear, forward moving path. For Soroush, the world is constantly changing and evolving, animated, so to say, by a living God but for Nasr the world has at its core a permanent, unchanging, eternal reality.[1] [2]

The idea that conceptions of human nature manifest themselves in active ideologies and interpretations is not unique to the present century or to Islamic movements. Ever since the nature of man began to be actively discussed in the modern Western world, theories been connected with some vision or movement. Historian and anthropologist Dr. Azar Gat writes in regards to human nature that in European thought that “the two antithetical classical answers to this question have been advanced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries…by Thomas Hobbes and Jean Jacques Rousseau.”[3]

For Hobbes, the human state of nature was one of endemic war, murderous feuds for gain, safety, and reputation, a war of every man against every man, which made life ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ People were rescued and elevated from this condition only by the creation of the state, the coercive power of which enforced at least internal peace. By contrast…according to Rousseau…aboriginal humans lived sparsely and generally harmoniously in nature, peacefully exploiting her generous resources. Only with the coming of agriculture, demographic growth, private property, division of class, and state coercion, claimed Rousseau, did war, and all the other ills of civilization, spring up.[4]

How then are these views of human nature related to human affairs? For example, a Roussesauite image is often linked to a conception of man that justifies liberal, democratic, or communitarian governance based on the belief that human beings are ultimately good and will move in a desired moral direction, while the Hobbesian ideal is often used to advocate for a stronger, more centralized government on the basis of the idea that order is the result of coercion. Thus, views of human nature often influence ideologies about the nature and role of government, of power, the purposes of war, and the ends of society. Just as this has been true in the Western world, likewise in Islamic thought, there are different views on human nature and its implications for the world.

A contemporary Islamic view on the nature and purpose of humanity can be found in the thought of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Iranian philosopher. Nasr’s philosophy is antithetical and in reaction towards trends towards modernity; this applies to both Islamic modernist movements that seek to do away with Islamic traditions by returning to the ways of the companions of the Prophet, and Western modernity in general. Nasr is part of a movement of traditionalists who subscribes to the doctrine of Perennial Philosophy, which holds that there is a common, eternal, unchanging core in every religious tradition and that the purpose of life and religion lies in returning to this truth.[5] Not all Perennial Philosophers are Muslims, though they share a commitment towards traditionalism, and generally hold that traditionalism of any sort is better than modernity. This position is not too different than the views of Islamic thinkers with a traditionalist bent such as Maryam Jameelah, though Perennial Philosophers tend to accept that the truth can be reflected accurately in a variety of religious traditions, not just Islam.

Nasr himself holds that there is a single truth, and this truth is “of a divine origin and perpetuated throughout a major cycle of human history through both transmission and renewal of the message by means of revelation.”[6] This truth can be expressed in a variety of traditions, including Christianity and Hinduism.[7] However, it is more evident in the Islamic tradition than in other traditions because of Islam’s complete focus and emphasis on the doctrine of unity (al- tawḥīd), which is solely proclaimed as reality without the indirect formulae and wording of other religious traditions.[8] Mankind, in such a view, by changing or by having any doctrine that does not place the divine at its heart is by definition deviating or falling away from the original and only real tradition -the tradition of unity in both a spiritual and earthly sense- whenever it accepts or propagates any ideas of progression, linearity, or evolution. The philosopher and poet Muhammad Iqbal gets to the heart of this idea by imagining the following dialogue between God and Man, in which God accuses Man of taking the original essence of God’s wisdom and creation and creating derivatives from it that obscure the original and true form of things, similar to the way in which people have often forgotten tawḥīd and accepted derivative concepts:

جهان را ز یک آب و گل آفریدم
تو ایران و تاتار و زنگ آفریدی
من از خال پولاد ناب آفریدم
تو شمشیر و تیر و تفنگآفریدی
تبر آفریدی نهال چمن را
قفس ساختی طایر نغمه زن را

I created this world from the same water and earth
You created Iran, Tartaria and Nubia
I forged from dust, iron’s pristine ore
You fashioned the sword, arrow and gun
To fell the garden tree, you made the axe
You fashioned the cage to imprison the singing bird[9]

The implications of human nature and humanity’s purpose derive from these assumptions about the eternity and antiquity of the message. Unlike movements such as the Salafis, Nasr does not believe that this truth can be pegged solely to one time, the time of Muhammad and his companions, which is a historical moment. Man must constantly seek to reflect an unchanging truth rather than be a historical creature; as such, man is beyond the bounds of time, being “one who is made for the Eternal and the Immutable.”[10] The Eternal is the Sacred.[11] In this light, Islam, the Prophet, and the Companions of the Prophet are more than just historical phenomenon that appeared in history to propagate a specific set of rules at a specific time, historical creatures. Rather, they are archetypes, reflections of the eternal divinity.[12]

This is in clear contrast to the views of another Iranian thinker, Abdolkarim Soroush regarding the place of the Prophet of Islam in history- and by extension, the place of all people in history. In Soroush’s view, people are products of their circumstances, and they reflect this in their actions and spiritualties. The paradigm of this model is the Prophet of Islam himself since Prophet’s life and revelation in the Qur’an reflects events specifically rooted in history, such as addressing the accusations leveled against the Prophet’s wife, ‘Aisha.[13] Further accentuating his historicist argument, Soroush argues that people can constantly change for the better and are on a path that progresses towards perfection. Soroush derives this view from an interpretation of a verse in the Qur’an (5:4) which says “Today I have perfected your religion for you.”[14] Soroush argues that the above ayah of the Qur’an “speaks of a minimum, not a maximum; that is to say, the people have been provided with a necessary minimum of guidance, whereas the feasible maximum will come about through the gradual perfection and historical expansion that Islam subsequently undergoes.”[15] In response to this vein of thought, Nasr, in a sharply different vein of argumentation, maintains that “it is the very centrality and totality of the human state which makes any ‘linear’ and ‘horizontal’ evolution of man impossible. One cannot reach a more central point in a circle than the center itself.”[16]

The alternative for man is to become what Nasr describes as the Promethean man, which is the modern conception of man.[17] The Promethean man is an “earthly creature who has rebelled against Heaven and tried to misappropriate the role of the Divinity for himself.”[18] As previously noted, according to Nasr, to be such a man is to deny one’s own human nature, which is of a divine origin, because “man…[is a] bridge between Heaven and Earth.”[19] It is the purpose of man, being a divine being, to transmit knowledge in both directions, bringing knowledge of eternity and reality from the source downwards to the people, thereby uplifting man towards the divine.

Promethean man, on the contrary, is a creature of this world. He feels at home on earth, earth not considered as the virgin nature which is itself an echo of paradise, but as the artificial world created by Promethean man himself in order to make it possible for him to forget God and his own inner reality. Such a man envisages life as a big marketplace in which he is free to roam around and choose objects at will. Having lost the sense of the sacred, he is drowned in transience and impermanence and becomes a slave of his lower nature, surrender to which he considers to be freedom. He follows passively the downward flow of the cycle of human history in which he takes pride by claiming that in doing so he has created his own destiny. But still being man, he has nostalgia for the Sacred and the Eternal and thus turns to a thousand and one ways to satisfy this need, ways ranging from psychological novels to drug induced mysticism. He also becomes stifled by the prison of his own creation…He seeks for solutions everywhere, even in teachings by which…man have lived over the ages. But these sources are not able to help him for he approaches even these truths as Promethean man.[20]

The profound implications of this conception of man, is according to Nasr, the fact that “man cannot live as a purely earthly creature totally at home in this world…”[21] Contrary to other thinkers such as Soroush who emphasize the connection between the mundane life of Muhammad and humans today by connecting their humanity, Nasr argues the opposite and urges people to connect to the Divine element within the Prophet and themselves instead. Man, no matter the strength of his religiosity and belief in God cannot simply be stable, happy or fulfilled in any system that leads to man being alienated from his true nature, and the first step towards such a system is the incorporation and acceptance of processes that lead to this happening. However, contrary to this, Soroush argues that “human beings can remain spiritual and religious while enjoying the benefits of rational administration of their affairs. Those who consider modern science blasphemous or try to break its majesty…have no appreciation of the truths that have been uncovered by science. They are naïve.”[22]

Quite opposite to this position, Nasr takes a dimmer view of science and rational processes. To him, everything about modernization is linked to everything else within a modern framework, including religion. Man can either fulfill his nature or be drawn away from it because of the external systematic conditions that exist in the world. According to Nasr, “the seventeenth-century scientific revolution not only mechanized the conception of the world but also of man, creating a world in which man found himself as an alien…this idea of man can be only characterized as ignorance or avidyā (अविद्या), characteristic of the Dark Age, parading as science.”[23] This is not so much that Nasr necessarily denies scientific discoveries, but he deems them irrelevant to the condition of man. Nasr argues that

The evolutionary view of man as an animal, which even from the biological point of view is open to question, can tell us little as to the real nature of man; no more than can the theories of many anthropologists who discuss anthropology without even knowing who man, the anthrōpos, is and without realizing the complete states of universal existence which man carries with him here and now. Once it was asked of ʿAlī, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet: What existed before Adam? He answered Adam, and to the question what existed before that Adam he again answered Adam, adding that were he to be asked this question to the end of time he would repeat Adam. This saying means that irrespective of when he appeared in the time-space matrix of this world, the metaphysical reality of man, of the Universal Man, has always been. It could not become but is, because it transcends time and becoming.[24]

However, in the view of Soroush, man can indeed fulfill his nature in the modern, rational world; indeed, he may even be more able to do so, because “the modern world condemns ignorant and vulgar religiosity to extinction.”[25] For Soroush, the inversion of traditional values offers a pathway towards their ultimate fulfillment, and thus the spiritual fulfillment of man and the achievement of his purpose. Soroush acknowledges that “the modern world is the ethical inverse of the old world…The scale of vice and virtue is now held upside down as former vices are valued as necessary fuel for the furnace of the world. This appreciation is in direct contraction to Rumi’s view that the wealthy are the carriers of the dung that is to be burned at the bathhouse of the world.”[26] And yet, “this transformation in values removed the fetters from the hands and feet of humanity and prepared it to enter into the fields of development” since the rationalization of life leads to socioeconomic progress.[27] Soroush goes on to note the positive spiritual and psychological impact of such developments, even while continuing to acknowledge that there is also “disdain for traditional values.”[28] In the view of Soroush,

The distress of acquiring one’s daily bread…would hardly allow for engagement in arts and the pursuit of worldly knowledge and mystical gnosis. But once mankind is liberated from the arduous…tasks of the mundane world, it can take wing and fly in the sphere of higher concerns….Such values as justice, freedom, wisdom, and so on are invariant, but humans, still in the clutches of physical want, have no chance to aspire to them. The God of those struggling for subsistence is the God of the oppressed, not that of the mystics.[29]

This view of God is linked to the democratization and expansion of man’s capacity to understand and experience the wisdom and power of God. Soroush refers to this phenomenon as the expansion of the Prophetic experience, wherein all people can come to share what was previously limited to a small number of men, the Prophets. The Prophet of Islam is to be seen as a mundane human being, so that the majority of people can relate to him.[30] To be fulfilled as a human in this sense, is not solely about spiritual growth or by seeking to attain mystical heights; rather, it is about imbuing the spirit of the Prophet’s actions, thus becoming like the Prophet.[31] Therefore, taking on all sorts of social and political experiences also enhances religion provided that these further the essence of Islam, such as promoting justice and the like.[32] This view of man has interesting implications. Again, none other than Iqbal expresses these ideas more succinctly in a poem featuring a dialogue in which Man speaks to God:

تو شب آفریدی چراغ آفریدم
سفال آفریدی ایاغ آفریدم
بیابان و کهسار و راغ آفریدی
خیابان و گلزار و باغ آفریدم
من آنم که از سنگ آئینه سازم
من آنم که از زهر نوشینه سازم

You created night, I the lamp
You created clay, and I the cup
You-desert, mountain peak and valley
I-flower bed, park and orchard
It is I who grind a mirror out of stone
And brew elixir from poison[33]

Man in this sense emerges as the co-creator of God, an active participant in improving the world.[34]  Modern humankind is now an active agent in the world, whereas “traditional humankind perceived itself as a guest in a ready-made house, in which the occupant had no opportunity or right to change anything.”[35] According to Soroush, this means “society, morality, and politics have all become the handiwork of man.”[36] In an age of engineering and design, it becomes possible for people to design their own systems of governance that will suit them best in a modern era, instead of resorting to preexisting institutions, such as monarchy, described by Soroush as a “ready horse.”[37] Instead, modernity allowed people to turn their backs on thousands of years of tradition, which had provided a safety net and construct something different in a new world.[38]

Understood in the sense of modern Islamic history in general and Iranian history in particular, this view radically reshapes traditional understandings of the role of man in politics and governance, both on an Islamic and secular plane. Shi’i Islam in Iran prior to the twentieth century had acquired a domesticated reputation, being apolitical and interested in esoteric matters.[39] However, Shi’i Islam was radically transformed and rebranded by activist leaders such as Ali Shariati and Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini’s doctrine of the Guardianship of the Jurists (velayat-e-faqeh) was a radical break from the more passive clerical legacy of pre-revolutionary Iran, and encouraged clerics to play an active role in shaping the world.[40] Khomeini himself often spoke out in favor of an activist and evolutionary approach to history, noting that had Islam remained mystical and separate from the world, it would have probably gone down the path of secularization seen in the West.[41]

While the God of Soroush is an active God who spurs men to be active in daily affairs, the God of Nasr is the God of the mystics. Man, in Nasr’s view, is hierarchically ever more divine until one reaches the level of great prophets and seers. According to Nasr, “the Universal Man is…only realized by the prophets and great seers, since only they are human in the full sense of the word….”[42] More or less shying away from the more exoteric aspects of Islam in which concepts such as brotherhood are emphasized, Nasr compares man’s spiritual levels of attainment to the pyramid like structure of the Hindu varnas (castes).[43]

While Soroush interprets Muhammad as a mortal whose experience, when expanded, can encompass a large number of people, Nasr’s view of the Prophet and derivate view on human nature is much more exclusive. According to Nasr, the Islamic conception of the true nature of man is summarized by the concept of al-Insān al-Kāmil (اَلإِنْسَانِ الكَامِلْ), the universal or perfect man.[44] Muhammad is described as the Universal Man: “Muhammad is the Universal Man par excellence and also the quintessence of all creation, of all that is positive in cosmic manifestation. The Universal Man contains all degrees of existence within himself and is the archetype of both the cosmos and man.”[45] This view of the Prophet is essentially an ahistorical view of an exemplar or archetype to be followed in any time and any place by those aspiring to a higher spiritual plane rather than being a full flesh and blood historical political model. To look at the Prophet is to look at a model in which one can view a microcosm of the cosmos.[46] Man, when he follows the example of a Universal man or embarks on the path to become as close to one as possible, is the opposite of Nasr’s Promethean man. This man is the Pontifical man, a spiritual man, who lives in a world containing a center guided by tradition.[47] For a person on such a path- that is for a person following his true nature- the external world of politics, society, economics, and the like are merely a distraction, for a person’s goals are to be inwardly directed.[48] Progression and evolution for such a person is not a historical experience; it does not mean improving society or guiding it towards ever shifting goalposts. Rather, for man, “higher possibilities of existence do not lie in some future time ahead of man but here and now above him, yet within his reach.”[49] These possibilities are spiritual and mystical.

In fact, instead of being an active participant in the world, as Soroush suggest, Nasr argues that by attempting to modify and improve upon nature, man does not improve his own life on earth, but rather makes it worse because he improves the conditions whereby his ability to achieve “asceticism, spiritual discipline, and self-negation” are severely compromised.[50] Man is not to be an active catalyst for change but has a specific role as the Khalifah or deputy of God on earth to serve as a caretaker of an order that he is not the creator of.[51] In fact, since man was designed to fulfill this role, it comes naturally to him, while attempting to play as co-creator of the world with God comes unnaturally to his nature. This is impossible, according to Nasr, because man is himself of transcendent origin, and so cannot undermine the divine view of the world without undermining himself.[52]

The implications of such a conception of man are clear. Man is clearly bound to a tradition that ought to be transmitted without modification from generation to generation, if he wants happiness and meaning in life; for if he rebels, he must “pay the price of separation from all that he is and all that he should wish to be.” [53] Referring to the changes in Europe that led to its desacralization and subsequent humanization of man’s nature, Nasr writes that

Instead of man being seen as the image of God, the image was now reversed and God came to be regarded as the image of man and the projection of his own consciousness. Promethean man not only sought to steal fire from Heaven but even to kill the gods, little aware that man cannot destroy the image of the Divinity without destroy destroying himself.[54]

As Nasr points out, it is almost impossible to compromise between a system based on tradition and one based on modernity. This is because both are all encompassing systems. Nasr, speaking of the modern world, argues that “it is a total world view,” with a complete set of premises different than traditional sets of premises.[55] Likewise, “in a civilization characterized as traditional, nothing lies outside the realm of tradition. There is no domain of reality which has a right to existence outside the traditional principles and their applications.”[56]

Nasr’s view of human nature has implications that are thus both apolitical and strongly traditional. Man can either follow his nature and remain generally aloof or not follow his nature and get involved in changing the world. It has much in common with the traditional quietism of the clergy during the Safavid Dynasty, accepting the powers that be while focusing on an all-encompassing traditional existence.[57] At the same time, however, the traditional order, being ubiquitous must also reflect the sacred and hierarchical cosmological nature of reality in the earthly order and this view points towards a natural, monarchical form of government. The ideal is that of a monarch standing over society like a father or a shepherd overseeing matters in a ritualistic fashion that reflects the cosmological order that enables spiritual growth. While monarchy is obviously a political system, the point of politics in the traditional viewpoint is not primarily to dole out justice or improve economic conditions but to structure society in a way so that it could grow spiritually. The law or Sharia of Nasr would be derived from Islamic principles in Islamic societies, but would not be the type of codified modern Sharia written into legislation by governments and enforced by modern states- stilted and characterized by the homogenizing tendencies of modernity; rather, it would be natural and organic.

In the grand scheme of things, however, despite the lurch of the world towards modernity, Nasr holds a cyclical view of  history and a belief that ultimately a system that does not hold to sacred principles will collapse on its own in the long run. Thus, while the issues that concern Nasr can be held back for a time by embracing a traditional view of man and the world whenever one can, ultimately, the Promethean world he describes is to be shorted lived in any case.[58] Man’s alienation from himself will lead to the collapse of his civilization or the modernity of his civilization at any rate and lead to a revival of the Pontifical man, who at any rate, has been stably around for millennia.[59] The goal of a true, authentic, fully human being then, is to “slay the modern world,” though by returning to traditional principles internally rather than through socio-political activism.[60]

The ultimate difference between the views of Soroush and Nasr regarding the nature of man can be seen grasped through the Islamic concepts of tanzih and tashbih. Tanzih declares the incomparability of God and emphasizes the difference between God and his creatures.[61] God’s creatures are not near to him and being apart from him, experience him through the world, in a historical sense, through his actions in the world. Soroush’s view on human nature and the role of humans resembles this view. On the other hand, tashbih emphasizes the similarities between man and God, allowing man to plunge into the sea of the divine and experience God directly.[62] Such a person, experiencing God directly, is less inclined to search for divine order in the mundane world and embrace mysticism, a viewpoint more similar to the ideas of Nasr.

In conclusion, this paper has endeavored to show that there are different streams of Iranian Islamic thought on the nature of humanity and its role in the world, and two differing conceptions of man are evident in the thought of Nasr and Soroush. The differing interpretations of human nature, both of which happen to be from two Muslim thinkers who are still alive also demonstrate how these different views on the role of man within the world, including how man ought to conduct himself socially and politically, and question of historicism lead to different ideas about the ends of life and what attitude people should take towards the modern world. While Soroush propounds a vigorous view of people active in improving their circumstances and being proactive in the pursuit of positive values such as justice, freedom, and so on, Nasr, influenced by a long tradition of mysticism and perhaps a longing for a bygone world holds that people ought to accept an unchanging divine order and focus on spiritual pursuits instead of trying to modify externalities, because the true ends of man are immovable, divine, and eternal.


Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008.

Axworthy, Michael. A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind. New York: Basic, 2008.

Esposito, John L., and John O. Voll. Makers of Contemporary Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Gat, Azar. War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006.

Iqbal, Muhammad, and Mustansir Mir. Tulip in the Desert. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2000.

Murata, Sachiko, and William C. Chittick. The Vision of Islam. New York: Paragon House, 1994.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Knowledge and the Sacred. Albany: SUNY, 1989.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and William C. Chittick. The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Chapter 6: The Nature of Man. Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2007.

Soroush, Abdolkarim, Mahmoud Sadri, and Ahmad Sadri. Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

Soroush, Abdolkarim. The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience.


[1] Soroush, Abdolkarim, Mahmoud Sadri, and Ahmad Sadri, (Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam. New York: Oxford UP, 2000), 189.

[2] Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, (Knowledge and the Sacred. Albany: SUNY, 1989), 222.

[3] Gat, Azar, (War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006), 5.

[4] Gat, 5.

[5] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 70.

[6] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred 71.

[7] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred,  71.

[8] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 71.

[9] Iqbal, Muhammad, and Mustansir Mir, (Tulip in the Desert. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2000), 20.

[10] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 221.

[11]Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 222.

[12] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 65.

[13] Soroush, Abdolkarim, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 15.

[14] Soroush, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 18.

[15] Soroush, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 18.

[16] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 69.

[17] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 160.

[18] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 161.

[19] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 160.

[20] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 161-162.

[21] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 167.

[22] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 61.

[23] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 164.

[24] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 69.

[25] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 61.

[26] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 43.

[27] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 43-44.

[28] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 44.

[29] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 44.

[30] Soroush, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 1.

[31] Soroush, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 6.

[32] Soroush, The Expansion of the Prophetic Experience, 19.

[33] Iqbal, 20.

[34] Iqbal, 20.

[35] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 55.

[36] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 59.

[37] Soroush, Reason, Freedom, Democracy in Islam, 59.

[38] Abrahamian, Ervand., (A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008), 147.

[39] Abrahamian, 145.

[40] Abrahamian, 146.

[41] Axworthy, Michael, (A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind. New York: Basic, 2008), 271.

[42] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 166.

[43] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 165.

[44] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 65.

[45] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 65.

[46] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 65.

[47] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 160.

[48] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 65.

[49] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 69.

[50] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 66.

[51] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 67.

[52] Nasr, The Nature of Man, 70.

[53] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 161.

[54] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 165.

[55] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 84.

[56] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 80.

[57] Axworthy, 140.

[58] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 181.

[59] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred , 181.

[60] Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, 85.

[61] Murata, Sachiko, and William C. Chittick, (The Vision of Islam. New York: Paragon House, 1994), 70.

[62] Murata, 71.

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