Ayatollah Allamah Ḥasan Ḥasanzāda Āmolī, a philosopher, mystic, theologian, mujtahid, astronomer, and a teacher of religious and Islamic seminary disciplines, passed away at the age 93.
Life and Education
Hasan Hasanzada Amoli was born in a village around “Larijan” of Amol in early 1929. He learned reading and writing at the age of 6 in Maktabkhana, (traditional school) and in 1944 he started to study in the Islamic seminary. He studied Arabic literature and other preliminary courses in Amol with Muhammad Gharawi, ‘Aziz Allah Tabarsi, Ahmad I’timadi, ‘Abd Allah Ishraqi, Abu l-Qasim Raja’i, Mirza Abu l-Qasim Fursi, and others. At the same time, he taught some preliminary textbooks of the seminary as well.
Migration to Tehran
Upon finishing the preliminary courses, Ayatollah Hasanzada was encouraged by Ayatollah Gharawi to wear the clerical clothing. At the age of 22, he went to Tehran to continue his studies in 1950. One of his teachers in Tehran was Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Lawasani. Hasanzada studied parts of Sharh al-lum’a and Qawanin al-usul with him.
Hasanzada attended ‘Allama Sha’rani’s lectures for many years, studying a great number of books with him, including al-Makasib and parts of Jawahir al-kalam in jurisprudence, al-Rasa’il and Kifayat al-usulin principle of jurisprudence, commentary of Khaja Nasir al-Tusi on Ibn Sina’s Isharat, al-Asfar al-arba’a and a part of Ibn Sina’s al-Shifa’ in philosophy, Farsi hey’at (by Qushchi), sharh chaghmini (by Qadi Zadah Rumi) Euclid’s Principles as revised by Khwaja Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, commentary of Allama Khafri on Khaja Nasir’s al-Tadhkira fi ‘ilm al-hey’a, Zij (by Bahaduri), Euclid’s Majistiyy as revised by Nasir al-Tusi in astronomy and hey’at, Qanuncha (by Chaghmini) and the general issues of Ibn Sina’s al-Qanun in medicine, in medicine, two-volume collection of Jami’ al-ruwat (by al-Ardabili) and A treatise in diraya (by al-Sha’rani) in rijal and diraya, Majma’ al-bayan (an exegesis of the Qur’an) and Sharh shatibiyya (relating to the recitation of the Quran).
Hasanzada Amoli received a permission of ijtihad and a permission for the transmission of hadiths from ‘Allama Sha’rani. Following Sha’rani’s advice, he attended the lectures of Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Rafi’i Qazwini, including al-Asfar al-‘Arba’a of Mulla Sadra, lectures on ‘Allama Fanari’s commentaries on Misbah al-uns and his advanced lectures in jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence.
Hasanzada attended the lectures of Mahdi Ilahi Qumsha’i on Mulla Hadi Sabzawari’s al-Manzuma, the psychological part of al-Asfar and almost half of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi’s commentaries on Ibn Sina’s al-Isharat. He also attended Qumsha’i’s lectures on the exegesis of the Qur’an. Their relationship became so close that Ilahi Qumsha’i wrote a preface to Hasanzada’s collection of poems.
Hasanzada also attended Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Amoli’s advanced lectures of jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence in Tehran. He also attended the lectures of Muhammad Hasan Fadil Tuni. And he studied parts of Ibn Sina’s al-Shifa with Mirza Ahmad Ashtiyani.
Migration to Qom
Hasanzada Amoli moved from Tehran to Qom in 1963. He attended the lectures of ‘Allama Tabataba’i and his brother for 17 years. He studied parts of Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-anwar and Tamhid al-qawa’id with ‘Allama Tabataba’i. he also attended the philosophical and mystical lectures of Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Ilahi. Hasanzada speaks highly of these lectures, attributing part of his moral influence to them. He also studied with Sayyid Mahdi Qadi Tabataba’i, the son of Sayyid ‘Ali Qadi Tabataba’i, who was an expert in Occluded Sciences, philosophy, and mysticism.
After his residence in Qom, Hasanzada taught four rounds of Sharh al-manzuma, four rounds of al-Isharat wa l-tanbihat, one round of al-Asfar al-arba’a, and four rounds of Qaysari’s Sharh al-fusus. He also taught Sharh al-tamhid and Misbah al-uns. Moreover, he taught mathematics, astronomy, timing, and qibla for about 17 years, which resulted in his book, Durus ma’rifat al-waqt wa l-qibla.
Thoughts and Work
Hasanzada wrote many works regarding jurisprudence, philosophy, ethics, mysticism, religious wisdom, theology, mathematics, astronomy, Arabic and Persian literatures, natural sciences, ancient medicine, and Occluded Sciences. However, most of his works are centered on the Qur’an, philosophy, and mysticism.
Ayatollah Hasanzada Amoli has a unified view of the Islamic philosophical tradition. Sayyid Yadullah Yazdanpanah, a student of Hasanzada, believes that his teacher thought of Islamic philosophy and mysticism as being in the same direction; that is, he tries to reconcile the religion, philosophy, and mysticism. Hasanzada believes that Mulla Sadra managed to lead the Islamic philosophy to a good ending. According to Yazdanpanah, Hasanzada is mostly focused on, and influenced by, Mulla Sadra and Ibn ‘Arabi. Hasanzada rejects the claim that the Islamic philosophy is Greek in character. He holds that the views of pre-Islamic philosophers were superficial and were later deepened and, in his words, “cooked” by Muslim philosophers.
Ayatollah Hasanzada Amoli wrote many philosophical works, the following books are among his philosophical works:
- Al-Usul al-Hikmiyya
- Risala-i Ja’l
- Risala-i Ru’ya
- Risala-i Nafs al-‘amr
- Risala-i Nahj al-wilaya
- Risala fi al-Taḍadd
- Tarjuma wa ta’liq-i al-jam’ bayn al-ra’yayn
- Tashih wa ta’liq-i Shafa
- Tashih wa ta’liq-i Isharat
- Taqdim wa tashih wa ta’liq-i aghaz wa anjam kalami
The Qur’an as the Origin of Knowledge
Ayatollah Hasanzada Amoli takes the Qur’an to be the origin of divine sciences. He takes Nahj al-balagha, al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, Usul al-kafi, Bihar al-anwar and other collections of hadiths to be originated from the Qur’an; they are lower degrees of the Qur’an, so to speak. The words of Infallible Imams (a) go back to the Qur’an.
For Hasanzada Amoli, religion is knowledge of God, which is very wide-ranging, including knowledge of God’s names, knowledge of God’s actions, knowledge of God’s rulings, and knowledge of God’s Book. These kinds of knowledge are what mysticism truly is. For him, genuine mysticism, which is human-making, consists in having a connection with the Qur’an. Infallible Imams (a) are, for him, the teachers of the human beings and divine messengers who explain human-making instructions, that is the Qur’an, to people.
Here are some of Ayatollah Hasanzada’s works concerning mysticism:
- Ilahi Name
- Risala-i Liqa Allah
- Risala-i Innah ul-Haq
- Sharh-i fusus al-hikam
- Irfan wa hikmat muta’aliya
- Tashih-i Risala mukatibat
- Risala-i Mafatih al-makhazin
- Risala ie dar seyer-o suluk
Hasanzada was interested in poetry and literature since his childhood. Thus he wrote some works regarding the literature:
- Tashih Kalila wa dimna
- Tashih gulistan-i sa’di
- Masadir ash’ar mansub be Amir al-mu’minin (a)
- Taqdim wa tashih wa ta’liq Nisab al-sibyan
- Diwan-i Ash’ar
- Dah Risala-ye Farsi
- Hizar-o yek nokte
- Ilahi Name
Editing and Commentaries
Ayatollah Hasanzada Amoli taught in the Islamic Seminary of Qom for over 40 years, and while teaching he edited and wrote commentaries on the relevant books:
- Tashih Nahj al-balagha
- Tashih tafsir khulasat al-manhaj
- Tashih kitab Shifa
- Tashih Asfar al-arba’a
- Tashih kitab kashf al-murad
- Tashih wa hashiya bar tamhid al-qawa’id sa’in al-din
- Sharh bar fusul qeysari
Hasan Ramadani, a student of Ayatollah Hasanzada, says about his teacher’s political approach that his political and social positions might not be obvious, that is, he might not obviously engage in political affairs. However, he has a good relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei. During Ayatollah Khamenei’s travel to Amol in 1998, Hasanzada dedicated his book, Insan dar ‘urf-i ‘irfan (the human from the standpoint of mysticism), to him with writing a preface. In 2012 when Ayatollah Hasanzada was in a bad health condition, Ayatollah Khamenei visited him in a hospital in Tehran.
Hasanzada Amoli told Hasan Ramadani that before the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran—before Imam Khomeini’s exile from Iran—he went from Tehran to Qom to visit Imam Khomeini and pledge his allegiance to him after he heard him recommend that political and social issues be explained for people.