Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai or Seyed Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai was one of the most prominent thinkers of philosophy and contemporary Shia Islam. He is famous for Tafsir al-Mizan, a twenty-volume work of Quranic exegesis, which he worked on from 1954 until 1972. He is commonly known as Allameh Tabatabai and the Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran is named after him.
He received his earlier education in his native Tabriz city, mastering the elements of Arabic and the religious sciences. and at about the age of twenty set out for the great Shiite university of Najaf to continue more advanced studies. he studied at Najaf, under masters such as Mirza Ali Qadhi (in gnosis), Mirza Muhammad Husain Na’ini, Sheykh Muhammad Hossein Qaravi Esfahani (in Fiqh and Jurisprudence), Sayyid Abu’l-Qasim Khwansari (in Mathematics), as well as studying the standard texts of Avicenna’s Shifa, the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirazi, and the Tamhid al-qawa’id of Ibn Turkah. Along with Sayyid Husayn Badkuba’i, he was a student of two of the most famous masters of the time, Sayyid Abu’l-Hasan Jilwah and Aqa Ali Mudarris Zunuzi.
Tabatabai, was a philosopher, a prolific writer, and an inspiring teacher to his students who devoted much of his life to Islamic studies. Many of his students were among the ideological founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely Murtaza Motahhari, Muhammad Beheshti, and Martyr Mofatteh.
Allameh Tabatabai was also an accomplished poet. He composed his poetry mainly in Persian, but occasionally in Arabic as well. He was also the author of numerous articles and essays.