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Level 4: Philosophy 2: Quiddity and its Properties

Time limit: 365 days
10 credits

£400 Enrol

Full course description

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This is the second course in a series of courses devoted to advanced Sadrian philosophy. Students will continue with a close reading of Bidāyat al-ḥikma by Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabāʾī. The course focuses on two main themes: (1) the three modes of existence and (2) the philosophical study of the concept of quiddity (māhiyya). In the first part of this module students are introduced to the concept of modality and its relation to the essence-existence distinction, and how, by a focus on the notion of composition, it is possible to show that essence and existence must be identical in the Necessary Being. Several lessons will be devoted to the concepts of necessity and possibility, and their various characteristics. Students will then look at the concept of quiddity, its considerations, the concepts of what is essential and accidental to a quiddity, and the means by which a quiddity is individuated in extramental existence.


Lesson Breakdown

Lesson 1      4. The Three Modes (fī al-mawād al-thalāth)

4.1 The threefold modes and their definitions (fī taʿrīf al-mawād al-thalāth wa inḥiṣārihā fīhā)

4.2 The subdivisions of each of the modes (fī inqisām kull min al-mawād ilā mā bi-l-dhāt wa mā bi-l-ghayr wa mā bi-l-qiyās)

Lesson 2      4.3 The quiddity of the Necessary Being is its Ipseity (wājib al-wujūd māhiyyatuhu inniyyatuhu)

Lesson 3      4.4 The Necessary Being is necessary in all respects (wājib al-wujūd bi-l-dhāt wājib al-wujūd min jamīʿ al-jihāt)

4.5 A thing does not exist unless it becomes necessary and the falsity of the assertion concerning predominance (fī anna al-shayʾ mā lam yajib lam yūjad wa buṭlān al-qawl bi-l-awlawiyya)

Lesson 4      4.6 The meanings of imkān (fī maʿānī al-imkān)

Lesson 5      4.7 Contingency is essential to quiddity (fī anna al-imkān iʿtibār ʿaqlī wa annahu lāzim li-l-māhiyya)

4.8 The contingent’s need for a cause and the cause of its need for the cause (fī ḥajjat al-mumkin ilā al-ʿilla wa mā hiyya ʿilla iḥtājuhu ilayhā)

Lesson 6      4.9 The contingent needs a cause in continuance as well as in origination (al-mumkin muḥtāj ilā ʿillatihi baqāʾ kamā annahu muḥtāj ilayhā ḥudūthan)

Lesson 7      5. Quiddity and its properties (fī al-māhiyya wa aḥkāmuhā)

5.1 Quiddity qua itself it nothing but itself (al-māhiyya min ḥayth hiyya laysat illā hiyya)

Lesson 8      5.2 Different aspects of consideration of quiddity (fī iʿtibārāt al-māhiyya wa mā yulḥaq bihā min al-masāʾil)

Lesson 9      5.3 The meaning of ‘essential’ and ‘accidental’ (fī maʿnā al-dhātī wa al-ʿaraḍī)

Lesson 10    5.4 Genus, differentia, and species (fī al-jins, wa al-faṣl wa al-nawʿ wa baʿḍ mā yulḥaq bi-dhālik)

Lesson 11    5.5 Some properties of differentia (fī baʿḍ aḥkām al-faṣl)

Lesson 12    5.6 Some properties of species (fī al-nawʿ wa baʿḍ ahkāmihi)

Lesson 13    5.6 Some properties of species (fī al-nawʿ wa baʿḍ ahkāmihi) (continued)

5.7 The universal and the particular and their modes of existence (fī al-kullī wa al-juzʾī wa naḥw wujūdihimā)

Lesson 14    5.8 Distinction and individuation (fī tamayyuz al-māhiyyāt wa tashakhuṣihā)



Please note that level four courses are only available to those who have completed all courses in levels one, two, and three. This is because the topics covered in level four require the historical and conceptual foundations which are built in the previous levels.


Hours of Study

18 hours


Assessment Method

Oral exam 100%


Course Instructors

Dr Wahid Amin (Lecturer)

Dr Wahid Amin completed a BSc in Physics from Imperial College London and a PGCE from the Institute of Education, University College London. He then began his studies at the Al-Mahdi Institute and simultaneously completed a BA in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham, graduating from both in 2008. He went on to read for an MSt in the Study of Religions at the University of Oxford. His DPhil, also from Oxford, studied the metaphysics of necessary existence in the thought of the Persian polymath Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274). He joined AMI in 2015 as a Lecturer in Islamic Philosophy where he teaches courses on Islamic philosophy, theology, logic, and mysticism. He is also the Head of Publications at AMI Press and an Associate Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham. As an intellectual historian of Islam, his primary research interests revolve around post-classical Islamic philosophy and theology. He also maintains an interest in contemporary Islamic philosophy, the intersection between Islamic philosophy and political theory, and modern Shīʿī legal theory.