Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Books I picked up in Iran

Apart from these political thought volumes which I gratefully received, I went ahead and bought some things which looked interesting or necessary.

In the necessary group were:

Asrār al-āyāt – the new SIPRIn edition which looks like an improvement on the old standard edition – as I am systematically acquiring the new corpus it seemed important – and they’ll all look nice in the same green covers on the shelf (!)

Maḥmūd Shihābī’s al-Naẓrat al-daqīqa fī qāʿidat basīṭ al-ḥaqīqa – published by the Anjuman-i ḥikmat (where I had an interesting meeting with some students and Sayyid Muḥammad Yūsuf-i Sānī especially on the nature of ḥikmat in MS and whether there was a critical culture of the study of Islamic philosophy in Iran today). Shihābī was one of the founders of the Anjuman and a professor at Tehran University, well known for his edition of Ibn Sīnā’s al-Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt with the commentaries of Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Taḥtānī. It was originally published back in 1976 and comprises an Arabic study on this critical principle of monism expounded by MS. The work was a response to a Shaykhī friend of his who basing himself on the critique of Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsāʾī and of the Kirmānī leader of the time Mīrzā Abū-l-Qāsim Khān Ibrāhīmī, wanted to understand MS’s position. So the text is a defence of the Ṣadrian position and of Sabzavārī’s explanation in response to the Shaykhī critique. Its reissue is interesting not because the Shaykhīs are important in contemporary Iran but because of the attack on philosophy and mysticism led by the maktab-i tafkīk and their allies focuses upon the issue of the simple reality encompassing all things as heresy. Given my recent interests in the tafkīkīs and in the Shaykhīs it seemed sensible to get this.

In the interesting group were:

ʿAbd al-Sattār Lāhūrī’s Majālis Jahāngīrī, a little known text edited by ʿĀrif Nawshāhī and Muʿīn Niẓāmī based on a unicum and published in Mīrāth-i maktūb’s series of studies and texts from the Indian subcontinent. This Mughal period was pivotal to the reception of philosophy and the intellectual traditions from Iran into India so I am hoping to find material useful to my background project on an intellectual history of Islamic thought in India in the Mughal period.

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