Subscribe · Contact us; Quick links The Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity) were the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). Rasa’il-e-Ikhwan-us Safa (Epistles of Brethren of Purity) have been considered an encyclopaedic work of 3rd or 4th century of Islam. This work consists of The name Ikhwan al‑Safa was assumed by a group of libres penseum who cultivated .. The Ikhwan al‑Safa supplied us with data which enable us to construct.

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But as the epistle notes, the greatest power results from conforming to the nature, that is to say the will of the celestial spirit and doing ritual at an astrologically appropriate time. So, the ancients are defended from the charge of eternalism cf.

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

This is a good example of how they adapted Pythagorean theories to their fundamental belief in a hierarchical world. International conference in honour of Paolo Lucentini, Naples 6—7 november Instrumenta Patristica et medievalia, 58Brepols: The encyclopedia can thus be considered a compendium of foreign sciences, deserving attention even by those who are only interested to ascertain dafa extent of what the Arabs knew of ancient doctrines at that time.

The Platonic references are religiously rather than philosophically oriented.

The version of Plotinus’ Enneads possessed by Muslims was modified with changes and paraphrases; it was wrongly attributed to Aristotle and called Theologia of Aristotlesince Plotinus Flutinus remained mostly unknown to the Muslims by name.

Arithmetic and Geometry ed. In the final turn of events, the gazelle repays the tortoise by serving as a decoy and distracting the hunter while the rat and the others free the tortoise.

Rather than a magician centered world peopled with spirits that the magician can command, the celestial spirits play a key and exalted role in the Cosmos itself. Among the other philosophical schools and doctrines quoted in the encyclopedia ikbwan important role is played by hermetism the religion of the philosophical elite in Ancient Egypt, founded by Hermes Trismegistusas in Epistle 3 On astronomy and, more broadly, in Epistle 52 Marquet The magician is focused on will, here rendered as volition.


If any body, they argue, is in its specially assigned place in the spheres, it does not exert weight. From the further intermixture of sulphur and mercury, in different proportions, are formed all the mineral bodies: God is the most beloved as the everlasting cause of all beings.

Knowing Adam’s reality and frailty, Iblis could convince him that eating from the forbidden tree would disclose to him the names and grades of the archangels who were exempted from prostrating before him, would give him knowledge of the hereafter, and would render him immortal. Epistle 1 deals with arithmetic, Epistle 2 with geometry, Epistle 3 with astronomy and Epistle 5 with music.

Their inattention caused the fall of the souls into ikhwaj physical earth. Their content has been transmitted and developed by subsequent thinkers of various persuasions.

Sciences should be the main topic in the first and the second sections and, partially, in the third, and theology in the rest of the corpus. Edited and Introduced by M. In fact, they sought, with the aid of Islam and Greek philosophy, to work out a spiritual doctrine which would take the place of the ikwhan religions and which would, at the same time, suit everyone and insult nobody. No anthropomorphic attribute or action should be ascribed to Him.

The movement of the planets was explained by the rotation of the outer sphere clockwise: Epistle 48 discusses propaganda.

Ikhwan al-Safa’

Weight, they say, is nothing but the mutual attraction and mutual repulsion in the face of resistance. Further, they espoused the view of the Ionians, and Thales d. The solid parts of its interior are also of different densities. It receives its energy from the intellect.

Pythagoras was said to have heard the sound of the moving spheres and planets. A man of standing should be a kind of a ruler in his community. Epistle 50 discusses the various kinds of ‘administration’ physical, spiritual, personal, familiar, etc.


The plants came into existence before the animals; sea animals before the animals on land; the less developed before the more developed; and all animals were in existence ages before man.

Brethren of Purity

The story concerns a Barbary dove and its companions who get entangled in kihwan net of a hunter seeking birds. Further, it has no bottom, in the common meaning of the word; its bottom is its centre.

He is the governor of all governors; in him has God united the elements of kingship and prophethood, so that his followers may enjoy the worldly as well as the spiritual glories. The most convincing hypothesis seems to be that which links the name to ikhean content and goals of the encyclopedia — the salvation of soul through attainment of knowledge and purification of heart Diwald16— And they have prescribed a norm of rituals Finally comes the sphere of the fixed stars.

Ikhwân al-Safâ’ (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

And they represented that temple with the image by which it [the planet] was configurated when it was in one of its dignities, together with images from amongst the predominant stars and the images that are in the same degree. Hinrich, But the astrologer can also err and rely solely on elections.

If God is like the one, the Active Intellect is compared to number 2, the Universal Soul to number 3 and Nature or Matter to number 4 ijhwan. But of course this important role is played not by the physical bodies of the planets and stars but by the archangelic celestial spirits.

McGregorthen Epistle 5: Abu Sulayman al-Busti known as al-Muqaddasi’Ali b. We are concerned with the soul assigned to a man which is the least unlucky of all the falling souls. Thus religion should not be underestimated in order to attain the best comprehension of its various contents and real aims.

Epistle 17 deals with De generatione and corruptione.