Jun 23, 2024 14:45 UTC
  • Iranian documentary

Pars Today- The Iranian documentary, "Orientalist" by "Masood Taheri" will be screened in Tokyo.

The film, "Orientalist" with the English title of "The Seeker of Orient", is the story of life and times of the famous French thinker and philosopher of the 20th century, Henry Corbin. According to Pars Today, this documentary, made by Masood Taheri is going to have its first screening abroad on June 29 at Meiji Institute of Philosophy in Tokyo. Ehsan Shariati and Bahman Zakipoor are two Iranian professors in Japan who will attend the ceremony at Izomi Campus of Meiji University. 

The 110-minute documentary film, "Orientalist" was made in 2009 and was unveiled in February the same year. But, a few days after unveiling, it faced with the Corona virus epidemic which caused all cinemas and theaters to close. Now, after 5 years, a scientific ceremony will be held at Meiji Institute of Philosophy under the title, "Islam, Corbin and Heidegger". Ehsan Shariati, who had attended the first screening of the film in Iran's National Library, is going to deliver a speech in the ceremony. 

Orientalist has been filmed in Iran, France, the US, Turkey and Switzerland. 

Professors such as Herman Lindau, Christian Jambet, Pierre Lorie, Mohammad Ali Amir Moezzi, Ian Richard, Karim Mojtahedi, Gholamhossein Ebrahimi Dinani, Enshallah Rahmati, Bahman Zakipoor, Hassan Seyyed Arab and Alireza Saati will attend this ceremony. 

Who was Henry Corbin? 

Henry Corbin was a French philosopher, Iranolog and experts of Shia school of thought. He has been called the most outstanding Western philosopher specialized in Iranian spiritual wisdom and philosophy of Shia. 

Corbin had a great impact in the West in introducing Shia school of Islam and he was the one who drew the attention of orientalist studies from Sunni Islam to Shia Islam. His book, "Iranian Islam" has been known as his most important and detailed book. The book is about the development of philosophical and spiritual thoughts in Iran with a focus on clarification of the special role of Iranians in presenting a Shia and inward commentary of Islam.

Henry Corbin started his studies with European and Christian philosophies. But, upon acquaintance with Illuminist philosophy was interested in the Islamic philosophy, particularly Shia philosophy in Iran. Corbin taught in Tehran University for 20 years, part of which he even lived in Iran to broaden his studies on the field. During the period, he became familiar with Muslim thinkers, especially the great exegete of the noble Qur'an, Allameh Mohammad Hossein Tabatabaei. 

Henry Corbin on the right, Allameh Tabatabaei on the left


Corbin conducted several interviews with Allameh Tabatabaei in 1959-1960 on the ideology, teachings and history of Shia school of thought. He believed that thinkers and orientalists used to attain information on Islam mainly through Sunni scholars and sources; hence, the reality of Shiism had not been introduced to the West as it deserved. 

This French thinker said, "Contrary to what the orientalists maintain, in my opinion, true and genuine Shiism stands upright and has the specifications of a true school of thought, unlike what has been introduced to the West. What I have achieved after scientific research, is that one should look at the spiritual realities of Islam through Shia window which deal with this religion realistically. Thus, I have tried to introduce this sect to the West as its reality deserves." 

Allameh Tabatabaei in his second meeting with Corbin wrote, "In this meeting, Corbin stated that Shia sect is the only sect which has preserved the relation of divine guidance between God and people forever and constantly keeps Wilayah alive and lasting."

Corbin said, "When I was in Europe, I presented a lecture in Geneva on Imam Mahdi, the 12th Imam of Shias. This issue was quite novel for the European thinkers who had attended the session!"

He added, "I believe that all religions pursue a reality, but Shiism is the only sect which has perpetuated this reality and made it continuous while maintaining that this feature remains among the human world."


Key phrases: Who was Henry Corbin? Who was Allameh Tabatabaei? orientalist, Iranian films