The Practice of  Philosophy in Baba Afdal and Mulla Sadra

William Chittick

 Afdal al-Din Kashani, known as Baba Afdal (d.ca.610/1213-14) was one of the few Muslim  philosophers to write mainly in Persian rather than Arabic. His collected Persian works include six longish treatises, four translations of works by Greek philosophers from Arabic into Persian, many short essays, seven letters to disciples, and a good number of quatrains and other poems. He wrote in Persian because he was not writing for specialists but mainly for his own students, whom he was guiding in the path of achieving the theoretical and practical perfection of the soul. Much more than most philosophers, Baba Afdalís writings focus on the purpose of engaging in the pursuit of philosohy, which is achieving self-knowledge. He considered himself to stand squarely in the Greek tradition, and the only philosophers he mentions by name are Aristotle and Hermes. He was not well-known in the later tradition, mainly because his works were in Persian and did not always follow the normal conventions of philosophical terminology. Mulla Sadra translated his Jawidan nama into Arabic under the title Iksir al arifin making a good number of modifications and additions. The paper investigates Baba Afdalís philosophical perspective and Mulla Sadraís appropriation of his views.

 

 
 

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