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The Ikhwân al-Safâ’ or “Brethren of Purity”, as their name is commonly translated, are the authors of one of the most complete Medieval. The Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity) were the anonymous adepts of a tenth- century esoteric fraternity of lettered urbanites that was principally based in Basra . The philosophy of the group of Arab philosophers of the fourth or fifth century ah ( tenth or eleventh century ad) known as the Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity).

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On the practical side, children are more apt to master the arts, sciences, and crafts of their parents than those of strangers. It is noteworthy that for the Ikhwan, and in contrast to the view of Plotinus, matter becomes a full part of the emanationist hierarchy and is regarded in a positive light. In these squares are inserted the numbers 1 to 9 in a manner that any row, horizontal, perpendicular, or diagonal, must give the uniform sum of Most scholars agree, however, that they lived in Basra in the fourth or fifth century ah tenth or eleventh century ad ; beyond that there has been much diverse speculation.

The material cause of plants is the four elements fire, air, water, and earth and their final cause is to provide food for animals.

If aerial moisture mixes with earth, it becomes mercury, a masculine element; if oily moisture ikhean with earth, it changes into sulphur, a feminine element. The Encyclopedia is divided into fifty-two epistles rasa’il of varying lengths, which make up four books.

The influence of intellect ceases at this stage of Nature. The Ikhwan hold that substance is self-existent and capable of receiving attributes.

Shari’ah or namusfrom the Greek word: In the second section, the Epistles 15—22 follow the Hellenistic arrangement of Aristotle’s works on physics. La philosophie des Ihwan al-Safa’.

Bombay —89, 4 vols. The early Greek thinkers conceived of the universe as one living being in which the phenomena and powers are correlated and governed hierarchically by a single general law.


Recent studies on aspects of this work by Baffioni b, Short Description of the Work The Encyclopedia is divided into fifty-two epistles rasa’il of varying lengths, which make up four books. The subject matter of the Rasa’il is vast and ranges from mathematics, music, logic, astronomy, the physical and natural sciences, as well as exploring the nature of the soul and investigating associated matters in ethics, revelation, and spirituality. Ancient knowledge is the basis on which the patrimony of faith is built: People are governed easier and better if they have been accustomed to a certain way of government.

Chapter 15: Ikhwan al-Safa

From the Universal Soul proceeds another substance which is below the Soul and which is called Original Matter. With the death of the body the real life of the soul begins. This story is mentioned as an exemplum when the Brethren speak of mutual aid in one risala epistlea crucial part of their system of ethics that has been summarized thus:. Iohwan, God’s power, as noted above, seems to be ‘shared’ in some way when it is exercised ilhwan the Universal Soul.

Baffioni,Epistle 4: Democritus of Abdera d. He has no partner and no peer.

Platonic references in the encyclopedia are also scarce. A king is indispensable, though he may be a tyrant, if the State is to lead a secure and prosperous life. By and by, some of these individual souls began to forget much about their origin and office.

By and large their work was read by ikhqan influenced many later Muslim thinkers.

List of rasa’il in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity. Note, if space is the outer surface of the world and time is the reckoning of the rotations of the spheres, space and time would be unthinkable prior to the spheres themselves.

Qur’an, vii, 11; xxxviii; 76 cf. The universe is not eternal but created by God through emanation. We have orators, poets, eloquent persons, theologians, grammarians, tellers of tales and purveyors of lore, narrators of traditions, readers, scholars, jurists, judges, magistrates and ecstatics.


Brethren of Purity – Wikipedia

From the further intermixture of sulphur and mercury, in different proportions, are formed all the mineral bodies: The earth is not solid or massive, but it is full of cavities. George Allen and Unwin, If any body, they argue, is in its specially assigned place in the spheres, it does not exert weight.

Various moral behaviours are considered, with the support of a long series of anecdotes about prophets and wise men. In the Ikhwan doctrine there are similarities between that and the theory of evolution. Mirror Sites View this site from another server: Retrieved from ” https: Thou didst create me from fire and him from clay. This sin caused them to get farther and farther though not in the sense of space and time from God. The way in which the treatises follow one another is often inconsistent.

Tibawithat the epistles are akin to the minutes taken during the deliberations of a learned society, meeting on many occasions over a period of years. Alhazen’s problem Safq geometric patterns. Greek sources for Epistle 37 on love also vary. In one passage they give as their reason for hiding their secrets from the people, not as fear of earthly violence, but as desire to protect their God-given gifts from the world Rasail aw, p.

A Journal of Tradition and Modernity. It receives its energy from the Intellect. The Neoplatonic dimensions of the thought of the Ikhwan have profound implications for their view of God. Certainly, the study of ancient sciences is not viewed, as by “orthodox theologians”, as a vehicle of heresy and ikhwxn atheism.