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The Heart of Islamic Philosophy: The Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Afdal al-Din Kashani

I set out to write this book with two goals in mind- first, to introduce the major themes of Islamic philosophy to those unfamiliar with them, and second, to Afdal al-Din Kashani to the list of Muslim philosophers who can be read in English translation.  I consider it appropriate to combine these two goals under one cover because Afdal al-Din wrote with exceptional simplicity, clarity, and directness.

Afdal al‐Din Kashani, better known as Baba Afdal, died in the village of Maraq near Kashan in central Iran in the year 1210. Little is known of his life or his teachers, only that he taught in Maraq and had many students. His Persian philosophical prose is the most beautiful in the language. He mentions Aristotle and Hermes among previous philosophers, but only alludes to his Muslim predecessors. His views, like those of the Ikhwan al‐Safa’ and many others, are strongly tinged with Neoplatonism. He explains with rare clarity that the goal of philosophy is to actualize intelligence and to achieve human perfection. His positions on ontology, epistemology, ethics, politics, cosmology, and psychology are both original and traditional. In three chapters, the book introduces Baba Afdal and his writings, describes the world view of Islamic philosophy, and analyzes significant terms of the philosophical vocabulary. In the main body of the book, more than half of Baba Afdal’s Persian writings are translated into English.

About the Author

William C. Chittick is a professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Among his publications are The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (1983), The Psalms of Islam (1988), The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-`Arabî’s Cosmology (1998), Sufism: A Short Introduction (2000), and The Heart of Islamic Philosophy: The Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Afdal al-Dîn Kâshânî (2001). He is also the author of The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi: Illustrated Edition which was published by World Wisdom in 2005.

Professor Chittick is one the world’s leading translators and interpreters of the mystical poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi. He is also recognized for his translation and interpretation of the writings of the great Sufi theorist and poet, Ibn Arabi.

Table of Contents

Islamic Philosophy

1 A Persian Philosopher

2 The Worldview of Islamic Philosophy

3 Basic Philosophical Notions

The Writings of Bābā Afḍl

4 Background Texts

5 Writings on Practice

6 Writings on Theory

Bibliographic Information

Title: The Heart of Islamic Philosophy: The Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Afdal al-Din Kashani

Author(s): William C. Chittick

Publisher:  Oxford University Press

 Language: English

Length: 384 pages

ISBN: 9780195139136

Pub. Date:  October 11, 2001

The Heart of Islamic Philosophy

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