The Ikhwân al-Safâ’ or “Brethren of Purity”, as their name is commonly translated, are the authors of one of the most complete Medieval. The Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity) were the anonymous adepts of a tenth- century esoteric fraternity of lettered urbanites that was principally based in Basra . The philosophy of the group of Arab philosophers of the fourth or fifth century ah ( tenth or eleventh century ad) known as the Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity).

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It manifests itself in the sun through which it animates the whole sublunary material world. On the other hand, the Ikhwan present a Qur’anic God who is a guide and a help, and who is invoked at the end of many of the epistles as one who will grant success in correct action and show his people the path of righteousness.

First, the Ikhwan acknowledged the existence of “sciences and wisdoms,” some divinely inspired, which had been produced by past faith communities, individuals, and learned societies. Their highest form being mirjan coral. Know, O brother, that the scholars have said that all things are of two types, substances and accidents, and that all substances are of one kind and self-existent, while accidents are of nine kinds, present in the substances, and they are attributes of them.

Not all Pythagorean doctrines were followed, however. The epistles or “rasa’il” generally increase in abstractness, finally dealing with the Brethren’s somewhat pantheistic philosophy, in which each soul is an emanation, a fragment of a universal soul with which it will reunite at death; [25] in turn, the universal soul will reunite with Ikwan on Doomsday.


When such comparisons are not possible, the ancient excerpta usually correspond to the extant original texts. Epistle 50 discusses the various kinds of ‘administration’ physical, spiritual, personal, familiar, etc. It is discussed in terms of the relationship between soul and body in Epistles 27 e 28, life and death in Epistle 29, and pleasures in Epistle Epistle 15 echoes the themes addressed in the Physics.


Some suggest that besides Ismailismthe Brethren of Purity also contains elements of SufismMu’tazilismNusairismRosicrucianismetc. That can perhaps be explained by the influence of the Hellenistic curricula scientiarum courses of study designed for philosophers. Their writings have also attracted the attention of Muslim and other scholars in modern times, and their approach and commitment to education as the most constructive vehicle for change appears to have stood the test of time.

Chapter Ikhwan al-Safa | A History of Muslim Philosophy Volume 1, Book 3 |

What they do lay claim to is system and completeness. They say that the material cause of plants is the four elements of fire, air, water and earth, and that their final cause is to provide food for animals: Compare the similar division of the Encyclopedia into four sections and the Jabirite symbolism of 4.

Their content has been transmitted and developed by subsequent thinkers of various persuasions. Though some members of the Ikhwan are known, it is not easy to work out exactly who, or how many, were part of this group of writers. From the further intermixture of sulphur and mercury, in different proportions, are formed all the mineral bodies: The story is used as a gnostic parable of the soul’s pre-existence and return from its terrestrial sojourn “.

Ikhwân al-Safâ’

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Even the headings of the four sections of the encyclopedia are misleading.

It is considered to be a new idea introduced by Islamic scientists, from whom it passed into the Latin world.

It is an anecdote of a “prince who strays from his palace during his wedding feast and, drunk, spends the night in a cemetery, confusing a corpse with his bride. Indeed, the tracts speak in two voices on this Isma’ili bent. The extant corpus 5.

It suggests that the text of the philosophical deliberations was given a final touching by the Imam, and the approved text was delivered to Abu Gafir to be forwarded possibly to the Ikhwan in Basra secretly.


This absolute body, or second matter, is the substance of which our world, as such, is made These were divided into four broad areas:.

The building of this foundation of learning drew upon the following major sources:. Beyond what initially appears to be an encyclopedic work, there is a far-ranging and comprehensive program ihwan intellectual and educational reform. Their unabashed xs [24] is fairly unusual in this period of Arabic thought, characterised by fierce theological disputes; they refused to condemn rival schools of thought or religions, instead insisting that they be examined fairly and open-mindedly for what truth they may contain:.

They believe that neither the pupil may benefit from the tutor, nor the tutor may benefit from the pupil, unless there is a kind of intimacy between them. It is either soothing or exciting, gratifying or grieving. With the death of the body occurs the first or lesser resurrection of the soul.

For example, the Ikhwan held in one place that substance was something which aas self-existent and capable of receiving attributes. Together, they leave themselves and the ensnaring net to a nearby ratwho is gracious enough to gnaw the birds free of the net; impressed by the rat’s altruistic deed, a crow becomes the rat’s ae. In spite of the commixtion of Aristotelian and Neoplatonic ideas — e. A group of wise men, however may do ijhwan a king.

We know from the epistles themselves that the authors urged their brothers to meet specially at set times, in closed ikhwna. Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the head of all the prophets and the last of them. They also deal with doctrinal questions linked to religion.

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