As Wikipedia describes, Paul Tillich is "a German American Christian existentialist philosopher and theologian who is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century."

I really like Tillich's works and would like to find an Islamic scholar with a comparable perspective in terms of taking an existential approach. I would also prefer if this person were widely regarded as an eminent scholar and I would like something written within the last 200-300 years. Something with a modern writing style. I don't want to have to decipher it.

Who might fit this criteria?

closed as primarily opinion-based by goldPseudo Nov 20 '15 at 2:05

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  • No. Both appear to be from very long ago. Isn't there anything more recent? I have received several references that are remarkably old, now adding yours to that list. Is there some particular reason why so many top scholars are from more than 400 years ago? – user13606 Jul 28 '15 at 3:42
  • 2
    @servant how is any of Ghazali, Abu-Hanifa or Imran Hossein an existentialist? – user549 Jul 28 '15 at 22:56
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not productive. – Rehan Ullah Aug 11 '15 at 16:28
  • As written, this looks like it's just going to attract personal opinions rather than any sort of comprehensive answer. This is essentially the same sort of book-recommendations questions that generally don't work well under the Stack Exchange model (see: meta.islam.stackexchange.com/q/261/22) – goldPseudo Nov 20 '15 at 2:06

I think the Persian Shia metaphysician, Mulla Sadra (16th century) is the kind of thinker you're looking for. Mulla Sadra is arguably the most prominent Muslim theologian and philosopher ever for he succeeded in infusing various distinct philosophical traditions (Peripatetic, Neoplatonic, Sufism and Shia esoteric wisdom) to found the school of Transcendent Philosophy (or Theosophy) at the heart of which is the theory of primacy of existence over quiddity.

Based on this core theory all phenomenon are explained in terms of various manifestations of the supreme reality of existence. His other major contribution was the theory of Substantial Motion. Based on these two ingenious innovations he also succeeded in solving many perennial questions of philosophy and theology most notably the religious doctrine of Resurrection and in general different stages of human natural, mental and spiritual becoming.

For studying him, you may want to first have a look at the Wikipedia and Stanford entries for Mulla Sadra, and then access the following two papers that focus on two primary aspects of his philosophy:

The Sadra Foundation is also an Iranian institute dedicated to study and promotion of this last but widely unknown genius of Islamic and world philosophy. The website hosts many scholarly papers. But a little bad news is that some of the site links are faulty and you may not be able to locate some categories.

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