Similarities and Disparities of Imam Khomeini and Molla Sadra
Sadr e din Shirazi and Imam Khomeini were both two of the most prominent philosophers of the supreme philosophy, but, one of them was the founder of this school and another was the follower, teacher, and powerful analyst of the mentioned school. These two people share many features in common such as having a good hand in mysticism and revelation while having mastery over demonstration.
Not only both of them have dominance on “Kalam” theology and Quran, but also they were acquainted with comment and “Fegh-h” as well. Despite all of these common features they share in the field of thought and theory, especially their both mastery over different theologies, their field of action containing whole the supreme philosophy whether at the time of foundation or at the present time, was a way different from one another. We can see this difference, in particular, in referring and wide using of “Fegh-h” and its theology, sitting on the throne of Shiite reference and issuing Fatwa, fighting the kingdom of Shah, and finally, founding a newborn government.
Then, the first prominent difference between the two philosophers is continuance of the philosophy and companionship from one hand, and sympathy with Fegh-h and being Faghih from the other hand. Imam Khomeini, who was known as “Haj Agha Roohollah” those days, cut his connection with philosophy formally after four decades of his life, while, Molla Sadra spent whole his life learning, writing, and teaching philosophy. The last time Roohollah taught philosophy, especially Molla Sadra’s “Asfar e Arbae,” was late 20s Solar Hegira. After that and since the beginning of the 30s, he taught and wrote philosophic and mystic works no more. It seems that he had not left any written work in the field of philosophy before then, except some works in Morals and Mysticism in which he had discussed about some philosophic subjects as well. Many of Roohollah’s students do not remember that he might have taught philosophy since they became his students in 30s. his main effort was made in teaching Fegh-h and the general principles in seminaries. It made him be known as a brilliant and well-known teacher in Fegh-h among theologians as he had been famous in Morals and Mysticism before then. His basic Fegh-h written works were published during this period without any reference to philosophy and mysticism. On the contrary, Molla Sadra Shirazi spent his life teaching, learning, and writing in the field of philosophy as well as having a hand in other scientific fields. Teaching philosophy in Shiraz, his home town, was one of the richest periods of time which occurred in Shiraz. Molla Sadra, while having mastery over Fegh-h theology, stayed loyal to teaching, learning, and writing philosophy and left many important works as well as training many prominent students.
What Imam Khomeini followed since early years of the 30s were founding a basis which could make him be known as a powerful Faghih and found his theory of General Reference in 40s. This way, after the year 1340, Imam Khomeini, contrary to Molla Sadra, stood in the place of a general reference being followed by a great deal of Shiite people inside and outside of Iran. During the same years, many students who had learned Fegh-h from him gathered Imam Khomeini. Now, if Molla Sadra wanted to enter the field of Fegh-h reference in his age, it was not possible for him to do so considering his time circumstances. Of course, the reference of imitation is one of foundations being appeared through the recent years. In Molla Sadra’s age, high-ranked positions of government were submitted to theologians by the kingdom and the King himself. As far as we remember, Molla Sadra had not a good relationship with “Safavi” kingdom. Although he is said to be the son of Shiraz governor and supported by the time Shiraz governor who was one of his close friends, his view regarding kingdom and king did not change and he did not pay attention to Shah. An interesting point is that he was not used to present any of his works to the king and did not praise them at all while it had been common to do so among all theologians living at the same age. Anyway, the foundation of reference was founded after changes occurred in Molla Sadra’s time as well as in the recent age and Imam Khomeini gained this position as a Faghih and analyst of the Supreme Philosophy.
And finally, the most important differentiating point in these two philosophers of the supreme philosophy is overthrowing Pahlavi kingdom by Imam Khomeini and his direct presence at the top of leadership and the political power. It is something that even if Molla Sadra wished to do, he couldn’t do that because it had been something impossible. Maybe it was because of that his age conditions were not suitable for making such changes, movements, and risings as Imam Khomeini did at the beginning of the revolution. Then, Molla Sadra’s age conditions had had impressed him so that he did not have any idea about sounding such a government. However, we may be able to consider Imam Khomeini’s presence at the top of the government impressed by the basis of the supreme philosophy. Then, although the difference point between these two philosophers is founding a new political system and overthrowing the latter one, we should not forget that Molla Sadara founded intentionally or unintentionally the basis of a philosophy which could end the life of a kingdom in practice by one of his Supreme Philosophy followers four centuries later. Such a thing may not be penetrated in Molla Sadra’s mind then.
Of course, Molla Sadra had many quarrels with superficial-minded theologians in his own time and he has independent essays regarding them as well, but he never raised the kingdom directly and overtly, and so, he could found a special philosophical system which would be called later as the Supreme Philosophy. It, finally, overthrew the system of kingdom in Iran.
Anyway, one of disparity points between Imam Khomeini and Molla Sadara is the kind of encountering them with their own governments and kings in their ages. However, Imam Khomeini opposed overtly the kingdom of Shah and was sent to exile when he became disappointed of correcting Pahlavi regime; we never see in historical passages that Molla Sadra had started fighting against his time government overtly. Of course, Molla sadra goes to exile considering the conditions of his time and several objections of his contemporary people. It happens while there is no praise of flattery about his time governors can be found in his works in spite of many of his contemporary theologians and philosophers. Such a thing may be a sign of his theoretical and practical objection to governors. This way, it will be clear that how a great change was made in these two philosophers’ methods of practice according to change of time conditions and how a different system was created through this change and when Imam Khomeini’s formal connection was cut with philosophy. Although Molla Sadra and Imam Khomeini shared many aspects in common in commenting Quran and revelatory, moral, oratory, logical, mystical, and even Fegh-h instruction, referring of Imam Khomeini to practice left many effects and changes in the political life of Iran.