Level 4: Philosophy 3: The Categories of Being and Causation

Time limit: 365 days
10 credits

£400 Enrol

Full course description

As a registered charity, we charge course fees to cover our running costs. However, we aim to make our education accessible to as many people as possible and are therefore able to offer a 65% fee waiver. To make use of this fee waiver, please use the code AMI65 when purchasing your courses.

Students in need of further financial assistance should contact the education team at to enquire about the possibility of further fee waivers. 


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the philosophical foundations of the Ṣadrian school of philosophy. This school was developed by the famous Ṣafavid scholar Mullā Ṣadrā al-Shīrāzī and flourished under his intellectual heirs. In order to situate this trend of philosophy in the history of Islamic philosophy more broadly, reference shall often be made to the contributions of other philosophical schools and scholars such as Ibn Sīnā and Suhrawardī in order to assess their influence upon those adhering to the Ṣadrian school. This course uses the Bidāyat al-ḥikma of ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī as a textbook which has become the standard work for teaching philosophy in the seminary. This third part of this course focuses on two main themes: firstly, the ten categories of Being and, secondly, the metaphysics of causation. The first part will look at the ten categories of being with further attention being paid to the divisions of substances, relationship between form and prime matter as well as accidents belonging to substances. The second part will be devoted to exploring the topic of causation, the types and divisions of causes and their relationship to the Necessary Being.


Lesson 1      6. On the Ten Categories (fī al-maqūlāt al-ʿashar)

6.1 Definitions of substance and accident and the number of the categories (taʿrīf al-jawhar wa al-ʿaraḍ - ʿadad al-maqūlāt)

Lesson 2      6.2 The classification of substance (fī aqsām al-jawhar)

Lesson 3      6.3 On the body (fī al-jism)

Lesson 4      6.3 On the body (fī al-jism) (continued)

Lesson 5      6.4 On Prime Matter and Bodily Form (fī ithbāt al-mādda al-ūlā wa al-ṣūra al-jismiyya)

6.5 On specific forms (fī ithbāt al-ṣūra al-nawʿiyya)

Lesson 6      6.5 On specific forms (fī ithbāt al-ṣūra al-nawʿiyya) (continued)

6.6 On the inseparability of matter and form (fī talāzum al-mādda wa al-ṣuūra)

6.7 On the mutual need between matter and form (fī anna kullan min al-mādda wa al-ṣūra muḥtāja ilā al-ukhrā)

Lesson 7      6.8 On the soul and intellect (fī anna al-nafs wa al-ʿaql mawjūdān)

6.9 On quantity, its kinds and properties (fī al-kamm wa inqisāmātihi wa khawwāṣihi)

Lesson 8      6.9 On quantity, its kinds and properties (fī al-kamm wa inqisāmātihi wa khawwāṣihi) (continued)

6.10 On quality (fī al-kayf)

Lesson 9      6.11 On the relative categories (fī al-maqūlāt al-nisbiyya)

Lesson 10    7. On Cause and the Effect

7.1 Causality inheres in existence (fī ithbāt al-ʿilliyya wa al-maʿlūmiyya wa annahumā fī al-wujūd)

Lesson 11    7.2 Kinds of causes (fī inqisāmāt al-ʿilla)

7.3 Mutual necessity between cause and effect (fī wujūb wujūd al-maʿlūl ʿind wujūd al-ʿilla al-tāmma wa wujūb wujūd al-ʿilla ʿind wujūd al-maʿlūl)

Lesson 12    7.4 On the rule of one (qāʿidat al-wāḥid)

Lesson 13    7.6 On the efficient cause and its kinds (fī al-ʿilla al-fāʿiliyya wa aqsāmihā)

Lesson 14    7.6 On the efficient cause and its kinds (fī al-ʿilla al-fāʿiliyya wa aqsāmihā) (continued)

7.7 The final cause (fī al-ʿilla al-ghāʾiyya)

Lesson 15    7.8 On the universality of the final cause (fī ithbāt al-ghāya fī mā yaʿudd laʿban aw jazāfan aw bātlian)

Lesson 16    7.9 On the refutation of the chance (fī nafī al-qawl bi-l-itiifāq)



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

19 hours


Assessment Method

Written Exam (100%)


Course Instructor

Dr Wahid Amin

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.