The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Iranian Philosophers. The pantheon dataset contains 1,089 Philosophers, 17 of which were born in Iran. This makes Iran the birth place of the 14th most number of Philosophers behind Russia and Egypt.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Iranian Philosophers of all time. This list of famous Iranian Philosophers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Iranian Philosophers.

Photo of Al-Ghazali

1. Al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111)

With an HPI of 85.22, Al-Ghazali is the most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 108 different languages on wikipedia.

Al-Ghazali (UK: , US: ; full name أَبُو حَامِدٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلطُّوسِيُّ ٱلْغَزَالِيُّ or ٱلْغَزَّالِيُّ, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad aṭ-Ṭūsiyy al-Ġaz(z)ālīy; Latinized Algazelus or Algazel; c. 1058 – 19 December 1111) was a Persian philosopher who was one of the most prominent and influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, logicians and mystics, of Sunni Islam.Most Muslims consider him to be a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith who, according to the prophetic hadith, appears once every century to restore the faith of the ummah ("the Islamic Community"). His works were so highly acclaimed by his contemporaries that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title "Proof of Islam" (Hujjat al-Islām).Al-Ghazali believed that the Islamic spiritual tradition had become moribund and that the spiritual sciences taught by the first generation of Muslims had been forgotten. This belief lead him to write his magnum opus entitled Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm ad-dīn ("The Revival of the Religious Sciences"). Among his other works, the Tahāfut al-Falāsifa ("Incoherence of the Philosophers") is a significant landmark in the history of philosophy, as it advances the critique of Aristotelian science developed later in 14th-century Europe.

Photo of Al-Tabari

2. Al-Tabari (839 - 923)

With an HPI of 78.52, Al-Tabari is the 2nd most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.

Al-Tabari (; Persian: محمد بن جریر طبری‎, Arabic: أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري‎) (839–923 CE; 224–310 AH) was an influential polymath, scholar, historian and commentator on the Qur'an from Amol, Tabaristan (modern Mazandaran Province of Iran), who composed all his works in Arabic. Today, he is best known for his expertise in Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir) and Historiography but he has been described as "an impressively prolific polymath. He wrote on such subjects as world history, poetry, lexicography, grammar, ethics, mathematics, and medicine."His most influential and best known works are his Qur'anic commentary known in Arabic as Tafsir al-Tabari and his historical chronicle History of the Prophets and Kings (Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk), often referred to Tarikh al-Tabari. Al-Tabari followed the Shafi'i madhhab for nearly a decade before he developed his own interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence. His understanding of fiqh was both sophisticated and remarkably fluid and, as such, he continued to develop his ideas and thoughts on juristic matters right to the end of his life.Al-Tabari's school of thought (madhhab) flourished among Sunni ulama for two centuries after his death before it eventually became extinct. It was usually designated by the name Jariri.

Photo of Bayazid Bastami

3. Bayazid Bastami (804 - 874)

With an HPI of 75.39, Bayazid Bastami is the 3rd most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Abū Yazīd Ṭayfūr b. ʿĪsā b. Surūshān al-Bisṭāmī (al-Basṭāmī) (d. 261/874–5 or 234/848–9), commonly known in the Iranian world as Bāyazīd Bisṭāmī (Persian: بایزید بسطامی‎), was a Persian Sufi from north-central Iran. Known to future Sufis as Sultān-ul-Ārifīn ("King of the Gnostics"), Bisṭāmī is considered to be one of the expositors of the state of fanā, the notion of dying in mystical union with Allah. Bastami was famous for "the boldness of his expression of the mystic’s complete absorption into the mysticism." Many "ecstatic utterances" (شطحات shatˤħāt) have been attributed to Bisṭāmī, which lead to him being known as the "drunken" or "ecstatic" (Arabic: سُكْر‎, sukr) school of Islamic mysticism. Such utterance may be argued as, Bisṭāmī died with mystical union and the deity is speaking through his tongue. Bisṭāmī also claimed to have ascended through the seven heavens in his dream. His journey, known as the Mi'raj of Bisṭāmī, is clearly patterned on the Mi'raj of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Bisṭāmī is characterized in three different ways: a free thinking radical, a pious Sufi who is deeply concerned with following the sha'ria and engaging in "devotions beyond the obligatory," and a pious individual who is presented as having a dream similar to the Mi'raj of Muhammed. The Mi'raj of Bisṭāmī seems as if Bisṭāmī is going through a self journey; as he ascends through each heaven, Bisṭāmī is gaining knowledge in how he communicates with the angels (e.g. languages and gestures) and the number of angels he encounters increases. His grandfather Surūshān was born a Zoroastrian, an indication that Bastami had Persian heritage, despite the fact that his transmitted sayings are in Arabic. Very little is known about the life of Bastami, whose importance lies in his biographical tradition, since he left no written works. The early biographical reports portray him as a wanderer but also as the leader of teaching circles. The early biographers describe him as a mystic who dismissed excessive asceticism; but who was also scrupulous about ritual purity, to the point of washing his tongue before chanting God's names. He also appreciated the work of the great jurists. A measure that shows how influential his image remains in posterity is the fact that he is named in the lineage (silsila) of one of the largest Sufi brotherhoods today, the Naqshbandi order.

Photo of Mazdak

4. Mazdak (450 - 529)

With an HPI of 72.83, Mazdak is the 4th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Mazdak (Persian: مزدک‎, Middle Persian: 𐭬𐭦𐭣𐭪, also Mazdak the Younger; died c. 524 or 528) was a Zoroastrian mobad (priest), Iranian reformer, prophet and religious reformer who gained influence during the reign of the Sasanian emperor Kavadh I. He claimed to be a prophet of Ahura Mazda and instituted social welfare programs.

Photo of Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi

5. Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi (1155 - 1191)

With an HPI of 71.87, Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi is the 5th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

"Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardī (Persian: شهاب‌الدین سهروردی‎, also known as Sohrevardi) (1154–1191) was a Persian philosopher and founder of the Iranian school of Illuminationism, an important school in Islamic philosophy. The "light" in his "Philosophy of Illumination" is a divine and metaphysical source of knowledge. He is referred to by the honorific title Shaikh al-ʿIshraq "Master of Illumination" and Shaikh al-Maqtul "the Murdered Master", in reference to his execution for heresy. Mulla Sadra, the Persian sage of the Safavid era described Suhrawardi as the "Reviver of the Traces of the Pahlavi (Iranian) Sages", and Suhrawardi, in his magnum opus "The Philosophy of Illumination", thought of himself as a reviver or resuscitator of the ancient tradition of Persian wisdom.

Photo of Haji Bektash Veli

6. Haji Bektash Veli (1209 - 1271)

With an HPI of 71.21, Haji Bektash Veli is the 6th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Haji Bektash Veli or Haji Bektash Wali (Persian: حاجی بکتاش ولی‎, romanized: Ḥājī Baktāš Walī ، Ottoman Turkish: حاجی بکتاش ولی‎, romanized: Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, Albanian: Haxhi Bektash Veliu) (1209 – 1271) was a Muslim mystic, saint, Sayyid, humanist, and philosopher from Khorasan who lived and taught in Anatolia. He is revered among Alevis for an Islamic understanding that is esoteric (spiritual), rational, progressive, and humanistic. Alevi and Bektashi Muslims believe the path of Haji Bektash is the path of ʿAli ibn Abu Talib, since Ali was the source of Bektash's teachings. His original name was "Sayyid Muhammad ibn Sayyid Ibrāhim Ātā". He was one of the figures who flourished in the Sultanate of Rum and had an important influence on the Turkish nomads of Asia Minor. He is also referred to as the Sultan of Hearts and the Derwish of the Derwishes. Haji Bektash Veli was a descendant of Musa Kazim, the Seventh Imam of the Athnā‘ashariyyah Shi'a Muslim sect.

Photo of Miskawayh

7. Miskawayh (932 - 1030)

With an HPI of 71.06, Miskawayh is the 7th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Ibn Miskawayh (Persian: مُسْکُـوْيَه‎ Muskūyah, 932–1030), full name Abū ʿAlī Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yaʿqūb ibn Miskawayh was a Persian chancery official of the Buyid era, and philosopher and historian from Parandak, Iran. As a Neoplatonist, his influence on Islamic philosophy is primarily in the area of ethics. He was the author of the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics entitled the Refinement of Character (تهذيب الأخلاق Tahdhīb al-Akhlāq), focusing on practical ethics, conduct, and refinement of character. He separated personal ethics from the public realm, and contrasted the liberating nature of reason with the deception and temptation of nature. Miskawayh was a prominent figure in the intellectual and cultural life of his time.

Photo of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi

8. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149 - 1209)

With an HPI of 70.56, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi is the 8th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī or Fakhruddin Razi (Persian: فخر الدين رازي‎) (26 January 1150 - 29 March 1210) often known by the sobriquet Sultan of the theologians, was a Persian polymath, Islamic scholar and a pioneer of inductive logic. He wrote various works in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, astronomy, cosmology, literature, theology, ontology, philosophy, history and jurisprudence. He was one of the earliest proponents and skeptics that came up with the concept of Multiverse, and compared it with the astronomical teachings of Quran. A rejector of the geocentric model and the Aristotelian notions of a single universe revolving around a single world, Al-Razi argued about the existence of the outer space beyond the known world.Al-Razi was born in Rey, Iran, and died in Herat, Afghanistan. He left a very rich corpus of philosophical and theological works that reveals influence from the works of Avicenna, Abu'l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī and al-Ghazali. Two of his works titled Mabāhith al-mashriqiyya fī ‘ilm al-ilāhiyyāt wa-'l-tabi‘iyyāt (Eastern Studies in Metaphysics and Physics) and al-Matālib al-‘Aliya (The Higher Issues) are usually regarded as his most important philosophical works.

Photo of Mulla Sadra

9. Mulla Sadra (1571 - 1636)

With an HPI of 70.42, Mulla Sadra is the 9th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, also called Mullā Ṣadrā (Persian: ملا صدرا‎; Arabic: صدر المتألهین‎) (c. 1571/2 – c. 1635/40 CE / 980 - 1050 AH), was a Persian Twelver Shi'i Islamic mystic, philosopher, theologian, and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.Though not its founder, he is considered the master of the Illuminationist (or, Ishraghi or Ishraqi) school of Philosophy, a seminal figure who synthesized the many tracts of the Islamic Golden Age philosophies into what he called the Transcendent Theosophy or al-hikmah al-muta’āliyah. Mulla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy, although his existentialism should not be too readily compared to Western existentialism. His was a question of existentialist cosmology as it pertained to God, and thus differs considerably from the individual, moral, and/or social, questions at the heart of Russian, French, German, or American Existentialism. Mulla Sadra's philosophy ambitiously synthesized Avicennism, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi's Illuminationist philosophy, Ibn Arabi's Sufi metaphysics, and the theology of the Sunni Ash'ari school of Kalam into the framework of Twelver Shi'asm. His main work is The Transcendent Philosophy of the Four Journeys of the Intellect, or simply Four Journeys.

Photo of Ibn al-Rawandi

10. Ibn al-Rawandi (827 - 911)

With an HPI of 67.60, Ibn al-Rawandi is the 10th most famous Iranian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Ishaq al-Rawandi (Arabic: أبو الحسن أحمد بن يحيى بن إسحاق الراوندي‎), commonly known as Ibn al-Rawandi (Arabic: ابن الراوندي‎;‎ 827–911 CE), was an early Persian scholar and theologian. In his early days, he was a Mu'tazilite scholar, but then rejected the Mu'tazilite doctrine. Afterwards, he became a Shia scholar; there is some debate about whether he stayed a Shia until his death or became a skeptic, though most sources confirm his eventual rejection of all religion and becoming an atheist. Although none of his works have survived, his opinions had been preserved through his critics and the surviving books that answered him. His book with the most preserved fragments (through an Ismaili book refuting Al-Rawandi's ideology) is the Kitab al-Zumurrud (The Book of the Emerald).

Pantheon has 17 people classified as philosophers born between 450 and 1974. Of these 17, 2 (11.76%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living philosophers include Hossein Nasr and Abdolkarim Soroush. The most famous deceased philosophers include Al-Ghazali, Al-Tabari, and Bayazid Bastami. As of October 2020, 1 new philosophers have been added to Pantheon including Shihab al-Din 'Umar al-Suhrawardi.

Living Philosophers

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Deceased Philosophers

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Newly Added Philosophers (2020)

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