Monday, September 25, 2017

The Summary of Belief (Tajrīd al-iʿtiqād) and Later Theology in Islam III

Some time ago I wrote a couple of posts on the Tajrīd al-iʿtiqād. The first one is here. The second one which is more of a summary of the text of al-Ṭūsī is here. There are a number of unsatisfactory editions of the Tajrīd out there: this is probably the most popular. The Jalālī edition given here is not bad. The edition embedded in the SOAS PhD of Hassan Mahmud Abdel-Latif from 1977 (available through ethos at the British Library) is probably the best out there but not exactly widely available. No translation has yet to appear but I hear that two are in the process of appearing, one from the Shīʿah Institute. There is also a small little book by ʿAlī Ṣadrāyī Khūʾī on the Tajrīd cycle of texts and authors - really a bibliography, which also appeared in the 2002 Mīrās-i maktūb publication of Dawānī's treatises edited by Sayyid Aḥmad Tūysirkānī.

This is a follow up post on a particular strand of the commentary tradition which was very rich from the 16th century. As I noted in my first post, this stemmed from the ḥāshiya of the Shirazi philosopher Shams al-Dīn al-Khafrī (d. 1535) who was also known for his works in astronomy (studied by George Saliba), as well as his other treatises on metaphysics that often invoke the monism of Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240) and that had a significant impact on Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1636) among others. 

In Khafrī's text itself, the rehearsal of Avicenna's argument is rather brief. Here is the rehearsal:

Most of the space is taken up in the second chapter on the attributes with three: God's power which directly relates to his creative agency and here the issue of the incipience of the cosmos (ḥudūth) is discussed and he tries to reconcile what are two different positions of Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī in the first and the third section of the Tajrīd, one affirming the eternality of the cosmos and the other the theological (and scriptural) doctrine of its creation in time. Khafrī like most Avicennian philosophers opts for an eternal creation and puts the incipience of the cosmos down to Avicennian radical contingency (which is after all one of the key results of the argument for God as the necessary existence). 

A quick perusal of both Aqā Buzurg's monumental al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-Shīʿa and the Dinā union catalogue for Iran under the auspices of Muṣtafā Dirāyatī throws up many further glosses on the Ḥāshiya of Khafrī. Roughly in chronological order:

1) Mullā Shamsā Gīlānī (d. 1064/1654), a prominent student of Mīr Dāmād and his faithful defender. There are more than 50 copies of this text extant in Iran. A good copy is MS Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Islāmī Tehran 5352 (I am giving references to Majlis MSS because these can all be easily downloaded from their website His focus is on the divine attribute of power. 

2) Sayyid Ḥusayn b. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn known as Khalīfa Sulṭān or Sulṭān al-ʿulamāʾ (d. 1066/1654), son in law of Shāh ʿAbbās and a major figure of the Safavid court. He had studied with Mīr Dāmād. There are more than 50 copies of this text extant and early codices include MS Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Islāmī Tehran 89 dated 1056/1646. Khalīfa Sulṭān is a rather neglected figure despite being a prolific glossator of kalām and ḥikma texts. 

3) Mīrzā Ibrāhīm (d. 1070/1669), son of Mullā Ṣadrā was another prolific theologian. His gloss is extensively cited by Jamāl al-Dīn Khwānsārī critically. 

4) ʿAbd al-Razzāq Lāhījī (d. 1072/1661), the famous student of Mullā Ṣadrā and his son-in-law and also author of Shawāriq al-ilhām, a highly scholarly Avicennian commentary on the first two sections of the Tajrīd. This text is abundantly available with over 100 copies extant in Iran alone. 

5) ʿAbd al-Ghaffār Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā Gīlānī, a student of Mīr Dāmād and a prolific glossator as we see on kalām and ḥikma as well. A faithful student who defended a number of Mīr Dāmād's positions including the famous theory of the incipience of the cosmos at the ontological level of perpetuity (ḥudūth dahrī), he was thus criticised by Jamāl Khwānsārī who rejected this notion (as we see in the published section of his ḥāshiya in the same collection of Dawānī's treatises edited by Tūysirkānī). 

6) Muḥammad Bāqir Sabzawārī (d. 1090/1679) another prominent court theologian and philosopher. He was Ḥusayn Khwānsārī's brother-in-law. 

7) Muḥammad Maʿṣūm Qazwīnī (d. 1091/1681) about whom little is known. There is a unicum - MS Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Islāmī Tehran 5478. 

8) Muḥammad Ḥasan Shīrwānī (d. 1098/1687), a prominent teacher in Isfahan and student of Ḥusayn Khwānsārī, his views again were criticised by Jamāl Khwānsārī. There are around 16 copies of this text extant in Iran.

9) Ḥusayn b. Ibrāhīm Tunikābunī (d. c. 1105/1693), another student of Mullā Ṣadrā who also wrote treatises on monism, on modulation of existence and so forth. There are 18 copies extant in Iran - I have consulted MS Marʿashī 10353 (fol. 49r-90r dated 1183/1769) via a microfilm. 

10) Jamāl al-Dīn Khwānsārī (d. 1121/1709), a major figure of the late Safavid period and in fact for the later glosses, his take on Khafrī is the most important one. There are well over 100 copies of this text extant in Iran and a relatively early one is MS Majlis-i Shūrā-yi Islāmī Tehran 1729. The Khwānsārī text has been published:

This is not an exhaustive list of the glosses - there are more and like with other commentary traditions works by figures who have not survived the scrutiny of the memorials of ʿulama. One way of looking at these texts is to see the continuation of the internal Shirazi debate between the Dashtakīs and Dawānī - which later becomes an attempt to separate out, if possible, a strand of Mīr Dāmād (and his students) and Dawānī, who is later broadly represented by Khwānsārī. 

In many ways, by tracing this particular textual tradition, we can see what happens to the Avicennian tradition, especially since formal marginalia on books 7 and 8 in the Metaphysics of al-Shifāʾ (where the proof for the necessary existence comes) were few and far between and often the commentaries on al-Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt did not go into much detail on that section of namaṭ IV which deals with that version of the argument.