||Al-Kirmani, Hamid al-Din.
Uspokoyeniye razuma (Rahat al-`aql). Vvedeniye, perevod, kommentarii
A.V.Smirnova (Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani.
Rahat al-`aql "Peace of mind". Introduction, translation and commentary
by A.Smirnov). Moscow: Ladomir, 1995,
This is the first translation into a European language of the major
Isma`ili philosophical text. Rahat al-`aql "Peace of mind" was written
by Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (10-11th century), the most prominent
Isma`ili thinker of his time. Translation is accompanied by short study,
commentary and dictionary of philosophical terms.
For the Russian translation of Rahat al-`aql, please refer to
the Russian page.
A review was published in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental &
African Studies, Vol.62, Num.2, 1999, p.334-335
Rahat al-‘aql (‘Peace of
the mind’) was written by Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (10-11th century A.D.),
the most prominent Isma‘ili thinker of his time. Not much is known about
the life of that author, whom Mustafa Ghalib, the publisher of the Arabic
text of Rahat al-‘aql, called Shaykh al-falasifa al-isma‘iliyya ‘The Shaykh
of Isma‘ili philosophers’. It is due mostly to the spirit of secrecy, that
has certainly remained one of the most characteristic features of the Isma‘ili
community for many centuries. Yet we know that it was al-Kirmani who was
summoned in 1017 A.D. to Cairo to deal a blow to the heresy of al-Darazi,
who was claiming that imam al-Hakim was an embodiment of God. Al-Kirmani
was a high-ranked Isma‘ili da‘i (homilist, missionary), hujjat al-‘Iraqayn
(the hujja of Iraq and Persia). He wrote a number of treatises that deal
with the important issues of Isma‘ili doctrine. Yet Rahat al-‘aql is unparalleled
in the way it presents the Isma‘ili philosophy in its full scope.
The book consists
of seven chapters. The first introduces the reader to the importance of
learning the Isma‘ili wisdom and warns him against all other ideologies
and systems of thought. The second treats the uncognizable Divine essence
and describes the way to construct a meaningful proposition about God that
does not imply His ‘being’ (wujud) but refers to the ‘fixedness’
(thubut) of His ‘He-ness’ (huwiyya). The third and the forth
chapters deal with the concept of the created First Intellect, its attributes,
emanation, first matter and form. The fifth presents the doctrine of the
first mover, ten celestial spheres, celestial bodies and their influence
on the terrestrial life. The sixth treats the theory of four elements and
their qualities, as well as the three classes of being that emerge out
of their intermixture. The seventh chapter is the most voluminous, taking
up to half of the book. It elaborates the Isma‘ili philosophy of history,
the doctrine of the seven hypercycles, and soteriology.
Though much in al-Kirmani’s
philosophical teachings can be traced back to Aristotelian, Neoplatonic,
and Pythagorean influence, they cannot be reduced to these evident borrowings.
Al-Kirmani is a highly systematic thinker, and all these elements are fused
into an integral system resulting out of rather original synthesis of Greek
philosophical doctrines and Islamic theoretical reasoning about God’s essence,
the role of the human being in history, and the ways of salvation. In al-Kirmani’s
philosophy, it is the mankind that accomplishes, through its collective
history with its strife and quest for ethical perfection, the creation of the universe:
the souls of the just and righteous make up at the end of time a unified
perfect form, which is absolutely similar to the most perfect and most
happy First Intellect, thus creating ‘the second extreme’ of the universe,
of which the First Intellect is ‘the first extreme’.