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Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī
تخطيط لاسم الإمام الرازي.png
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Born 26 January 1150
Ray, Seljuk Empire
Died 29 March 1210 (aged 61)
Herat, Khwarazmian Empire
Senior posting
Title Shaykh al-Islam,
al-Fakhr al-Razi,
Sultan al-Mutakallimin (Sultan of the Theologians),
and Imam or Shaykh al-Mushakkikin (the Imam or Teacher of the Skeptics).
Religious career
Works Al-Tafsir al-Kabir (Mafatih al-Ghayb), Asas al-Taqdis
Influenced Athir al-Din al-Abhari, Nizam al-Din al-Nisapuri, Burhan al-Din al-Nasafi, Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi, Taj al-Din al-Subki, Al-Safadi, Ibn Abi Usaybi'a, Al-Suyuti, Sa'id Foudah

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.


Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Umar ibn al-Husayn at-Taymi al-Bakri at-Tabaristani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi Tabaristani (Arabic: أبو عبدالله محمد بن عمر بن الحسن بن الحسين بن علي التيمي البكري فخرالدین الرازی طبرستانی ) was born (544 AH) to a family of Arab immigrants from the tribe of Quraysh who migrated to Rey in Amol of Tabaristan (modern-day Mazandaran Province, Iran). He first studied with his father, Ḍiyāʾ al-Dīn al-Makkī, himself a scholar of some repute whose magnum opus in kalam has recently been rediscovered in part, and later at Merv and Maragheh, where he was one of the pupils of Majd al-Din al-Jili, who in turn had been a disciple of al-Ghazali. He was a leading proponent of the Ash'ari school of theology.

His commentary on the Quran was the most-varied and many-sided of all extant works of the kind, comprising most of the material of importance that had previously appeared. He devoted himself to a wide range of studies and is said to have expended a large fortune on experiments in alchemy. He taught at Rey (Central Iran) and Ghazni (eastern Afghanistan), and became head of the university founded by Mohammed ibn Tukush at Herat (western Afghanistan).

In his later years, he also showed interest in mysticism, though this never formed a significant part of his thought.

Hypothetical concept of multiple universes

Al-Razi, in dealing with his conception of physics and the physical world in his Matalib al-‘Aliya, criticizes the idea of the geocentric model within the universe and "explores the notion of the existence of a multiverse in the context of his commentary" on the Quranic verse, "All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds." He raises the question of whether the term "worlds" in this verse refers to "multiple worlds within this single universe or cosmos, or to many other universes or a multiverse beyond this known universe."

Al-Razi states:

It is established by evidence that there exists beyond the world a void without a terminal limit (khala' la nihayata laha), and it is established as well by evidence that God Most High has power over all contingent beings (al-mumkinat ). Therefore He the Most High has the power (qadir ) to create millions of worlds (alfa alfi 'awalim) beyond this world such that each one of those worlds be bigger and more massive than this world as well as having the like of what this world has of the throne (al-arsh), the chair (al-kursiyy), the heavens (al-samawat ) and the earth (al-ard ), and the sun (al-shams) and the moon (al-qamar ). The arguments of the philosophers (dala'il al-falasifah) for establishing that the world is one are weak, flimsy arguments founded upon feeble premises.

Al-Razi rejected the Aristotelian and Avicennian notions of a single universe revolving around a single world. He describes their main arguments against the existence of multiple worlds or universes, pointing out their weaknesses and refuting them. This rejection arose from his affirmation of atomism, as advocated by the Ash'ari school of Islamic theology, which entails the existence of vacant space in which the atoms move, combine and separate . He discussed more on the issue of the void – the empty spaces between stars and constellations in the universe, that contain few or no stars – in greater detail in volume 5 of the Matalib. He argued that there exists an infinite outer space beyond the known world, and that God has the power to fill the vacuum with an infinite number of universes.,

List of works

Al-Razi had written over a hundred works on a wide variety of subjects. His major works include:

  • Tafsir al-Kabir (The Great Commentary) (also known as Mafatih al-Ghayb)
  • Asas al-Taqdis (The Foundation of Declaring Allah's Transcendence) Refutation of Ibn Khuzayma, the Karramites, and the Anthropomorphists
  • ‘Aja’ib al-Qur’an (The Mysteries of the Qur'an)
  • Al-Bayan wa al-Burhan fi al-Radd ‘ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Tughyan
  • Al-Mahsul fi ‘Ilm al-Usul
  • Al-Muwakif fi ‘Ilm al-Kalam
  • ‘Ilm al-Akhlaq (Science of Ethics)
  • Kitab al-Firasa (Book on Firasa)
  • Kitab al-Mantiq al-Kabir (Major Book on Logic)
  • Kitab al-nafs wa’l-ruh wa sharh quwa-huma (Book on the Soul and the Spirit and their Faculties)
  • Mabahith al-mashriqiyya fi ‘ilm al-ilahiyyat wa-’l-tabi‘iyyat (Eastern Studies in Metaphysics and Physics)
  • Al-Matālib al-‘Āliyyah min al- 'ilm al-ilahī (The Higher Issues) – his last work. Al-Razi wrote al-Matālib during his writing of al-Tafsir and he died before completing both works.
  • Muḥaṣṣal Afkār al-Mutaqaddimīn wal-Muta'akhkhirīn (The Harvest/Compendium of the Thought of the Ancients and Moderns)
  • Nihayat al ‘Uqul fi Dirayat al-Usul
  • Risala al-Huduth
  • Sharh al-Isharat (Commentary on al-Isharat wa-al-Tanbihat of Ibn Sina)
  • Sharh Asma' Allah al-Husna (Commentary on Asma' Allah al-Husna)
  • Sharh Kulliyyat al-Qanun fi al-Tibb (Commentary on Canon of Medicine)
  • Sharh Nisf al-Wajiz li'l-Ghazali (Commentary on Nisf al-Wajiz of Al-Ghazali )
  • Sharh Uyun al-Hikmah (Commentary on Uyun al-Hikmah)
  • Kitāb al-Arba'īn Fī Uṣūl al-Dīn'
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