The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy


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This little book is the first-fruit of that literary and philosophical training which I have been receiving from you for the last ten years, and as an expression of gratitude I beg to dedicate it to your name. You have always judged me liberally; I hope you will judge these pages in the same spirit. The most remarkable feature of the character of the Persian people is their love of Metaphysical speculation.

Yet the inquirer who approaches the extant literature of Persia expecting to find any comprehensive systems of thought, like those of Kapila or Kant, will have to turn back disappointed, though deeply impressed by the wonderful intellectual subtlety displayed therein.

It seems to me that the Persian mind is rather impatient of detail, and consequently destitute of that organising faculty which gradually works out a system of ideas, by interpreting the fundamental principles with reference to the ordinary facts of observation. The subtle Brahman sees the inner unity of things; so does the Persian. But while the former endeavours to discover it in all the aspects of human experience, and illustrates its hidden presence in the concrete in various [Pg viii] ways, the latter appears to be satisfied with a bare universality, and does not attempt to verify the richness of its inner content.

The butterfly imagination of the Persian flies, half-inebriated as it were, from flower to flower, and seems to be incapable of reviewing the garden as a whole. For this reason his deepest thoughts and emotions find expression mostly in disconnected verses Gh azal which reveal all the subtlety of his artistic soul. In fact the Persian is only half-conscious of Metaphysics as a system of thought; his Brahman brother, on the other hand, is fully alive to the need of presenting his theory in the form of a thoroughly reasoned out system.

And the result of this mental difference between the two nations is clear. The results, however, of the intellectual activity of the different branches of the great Aryan family are strikingly similar. But the history of Persian thought presents a phenomenon peculiar to itself. In Persia, due perhaps to semitic influences, philosophical speculation has indissolubly associated itself with religion, and thinkers in new lines of thought have almost always been founders of new religious movements.

After the Arab conquest, however, we see pure Philosophy severed from religion by the Neo-Platonic Aristotelians of Islam, but the severance was only a transient phenomenon. Greek philosophy, [Pg x] though an exotic plant in the soil of Persia, eventually became an integral part of Persian thought; and later thinkers, critics as well as advocates of Greek wisdom, talked in the philosophical language of Aristotle and Plato, and were mostly influenced by religious presuppositions.

It is necessary to bear this fact in mind in order to gain a thorough understanding of post-Islamic Persian thought. The object of this investigation is, as will appear, to prepare a ground-work for a future history of Persian Metaphysics. Original thought cannot be expected in a review, the object of which is purely historical; yet I venture to claim some consideration for the following two points:—.

This, as far as I know, has not yet been done. Owing to my ignorance of Zend, my knowledge of Zoroaster is merely second-hand.


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As regards the second part of my work, I have been able to look up the original Persian and Arabic manuscripts as well as many printed works connected with my investigation. I give below the names of Arabic and Persian manuscripts from which I have drawn most of the material utilized here. The method of transliteration adopted is the one recognised by the Royal Asiatic Society. To Zoroaster—the ancient sage of Iran—must always be assigned the first place in the intellectual history of Iranian Aryans who, wearied of constant roaming, settled down to an agricultural life at a time when the Vedic Hymns were still being composed in the plains of Central Asia.

This new mode of life and the consequent stability of the institution of property among the settlers, made them hated by other Aryan tribes who had not yet shaken off their original nomadic habits, and occasionally plundered their more civilised kinsmen. Thus grew up the conflict between the two [Pg 2] modes of life which found its earliest expression in the denunciation of the deities of each other—the Devas and the Ahuras.

It was really the beginning of a long individualising process which gradually severed the Iranian branch from other Aryan tribes, and finally manifested itself in the religious system of Zoroaster [] —the great prophet of Iran who lived and taught in the age of Solon and Thales. In the dim light of modern oriental research we see ancient Iranians divided between two camps—partisans of the powers of good, and partisans of the powers of evil—when the great sage joins their furious contest, and with his moral enthusiasm stamps out once for all the worship of demons as well as the intolerable ritual of the Magian priesthood.

It is, however, beside our purpose to trace the origin and growth of Zoroaster's religious system.

Ibn Rushd the muslim philosopher who paved the way to the European renaissance

Our object, in so far as the present investigation is concerned, is to glance at the metaphysical side of his revelation. We, therefore, [Pg 3] wish to fix our attention on the sacred trinity of philosophy—God, Man and Nature. Geiger, in his "Civilisation of Eastern Iranians in Ancient Times", points out that Zoroaster inherited two fundamental principles from his Aryan ancestry.

It is the observation of law and conflict in the vast panorama of being that constitutes the philosophical foundation of his system. The problem before him was to reconcile the existence of evil with the eternal goodness of God. His predecessors worshipped a plurality of good spirits all of which he reduced to a unity and called it Ahuramazda.

On the other hand he reduced all the powers of evil to a similar unity and called it Druj-Ahriman. Thus by a process of unification he arrived at two fundamental principles which, as Haug shows, he looked upon not as two independent activities, but as two parts or rather aspects of the same Primary Being. Haug, therefore, holds that the Prophet of ancient Iran was theologically a monotheist and philosophically a [Pg 4] dualist. There is, therefore, an inherent weakness in his attempt to reconcile theological monotheism with philosophical dualism, and the result was a schism among the prophet's followers.

The Zendiks [] whom Dr.

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Haug calls heretics, but who were, I believe, decidedly more consistent than their opponents, maintained the independence of the two original spirits from each other, while the Magi upheld their unity. The upholders of unity endeavoured, in various ways, to meet the Zendiks; but the [Pg 5] very fact that they tried different phrases and expressions to express the unity of the "Primal Twins", indicates dissatisfaction with their own philosophical explanations, and the strength of their opponent's position.

Whether the philosophical dualism of Zoroaster can be reconciled with his monotheism or not, it is unquestionable that, from a metaphysical standpoint, he has made a profound [Pg 6] suggestion in regard to the ultimate nature of reality. The idea seems to have influenced ancient Greek Philosophy [] as well as early Christian Gnostic speculation, and through the latter, some aspects of modern western thought. He seems to have perceived, what the mystic shoemaker of Germany perceived long after him, that the diversity of nature could not be explained without postulating a principle of negativity or self-differentiation in the very nature of God.

His immediate successors did not, however, quite realise the deep significance of their master's suggestions; but we shall see, as we advance, how Zoroaster's idea finds a more spiritualised expression in some of the aspects of later Persian thought. Turning now to his Cosmology, his dualism leads him to bifurcate, as it were, the whole universe into two departments of being—reality i. The original conflict of the two spirits is manifested in the opposing forces of nature, which, therefore, presents a continual struggle between the powers of Good and the powers of Evil.

But it should be remembered that nothing intervenes between the original spirits and their respective creations. Things are good and bad because they proceed from good or bad creative agencies, in their own nature they are quite indifferent. Zoroaster's conception of creation is fundamentally different from that of Plato and Schopenhauer to whom spheres of empirical reality reflect non-temporal or temporal ideas which, so to speak, mediate between Reality and Appearance.

There are, according to Zoroaster, only two categories of existence, and the history of the universe is nothing more than a progressive conflict between [Pg 9] the forces falling respectively under these categories. We are, like other things, partakers of this struggle, and it is our duty to range ourselves on the side of Light which will eventually prevail and completely vanquish the spirit of Darkness.

The metaphysics of the Iranian Prophet, like that of Plato, passes on into Ethics, and it is in the peculiarity of the Ethical aspect of his thought that the influence of his social environments is most apparent. Zoroaster's view of the destiny of the soul is very simple. The soul, according to him, is a creation, not a part of God as the votaries of Mithra [] afterwards maintained. It had a beginning in time, but can attain to everlasting life by fighting against Evil in the earthly scene of its activity.

It is free to choose between the only two courses of action—good [Pg 10] and evil; and besides the power of choice the spirit of Light has endowed it with the following faculties:—. Conscience []. The last three [] faculties are united together after death, and form an indissoluble whole. The virtuous soul, leaving its home of flesh, is borne up into higher regions, and has to [Pg 11] pass through the following planes of existence:—. The Place of Eternal Glory []. We have seen Zoroaster's solution of the problem of diversity, and the theological or rather philosophical controversy which split up the Zoroastrian Church.

The Paganising gnostic, as Erdmann calls him, teaches that the variety of things springs from the mixture of two eternal Principles—Light and Darkness—which are separate from and independent of each other. In darkness—the feminine Principle in Nature—were hidden the elements of evil which, in course of time, [Pg 15] concentrated and resulted in the composition, so to speak, of the hideous looking Devil—the principle of activity. This first born child of the fiery womb of darkness, attacked the domain of the King of Light who, in order to ward off his malicious onslaught, created the Primal man.

A serious conflict ensued between the two creatures, and resulted in the complete vanquishment of the Primal Man. The evil one, then, succeeded in mixing together the five elements of darkness with the five elements of light. Thereupon the ruler of the domain of light ordered some of his angels to construct the Universe out of these mixed elements with a view to free the atoms of light from their imprisonment. But the reason why darkness was the first to attack light, is that the latter, being in its essence good, could not proceed to start the process of admixture which was essentially harmful to itself.

To him redemption is a physical process, [Pg 16] and all procreation, because it protracts the imprisonment of light, is contrary to the aim and object of the Universe. The imprisoned atoms of light are continually set free from darkness which is thrown down in the unfathomable ditch round the Universe. Taking a thoroughly materialistic view of the question, he ascribes the phenomenal universe to the mixture of two independent, eternal principles, one of which darkness is not only a part of the universe—stuff, but also the source wherein activity resides, as it were, slumbering, and starts up into being [Pg 17] when the favourable moment arrives.

Its philosophical value may be [Pg 18] insignificant; but one thing is certain, i. Turning now to the remarkable socialist of ancient Persia— Mazdak. But he differs from his predecessor [Pg 19] in holding that the fact of their mixture as well as their final separation, are quite accidental, and not at all the result of choice. Mazdak's God is endowed with sensation, and has four principal energies in his eternal presence—power of discrimination, memory, understanding and bliss.

These four energies have four personal manifestations who, assisted by four other persons, superintend the course of the Universe. Variety in things and men is due to the various combinations of the original principles.

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All men, said Mazdak, are equal; and the notion of individual property was introduced by the hostile demons whose object is to turn God's Universe into a scene of endless misery. It is chiefly this aspect of Mazdak's teaching that was most shocking to the Zoroastrian conscience, and finally brought about the destruction of his enormous following, even though the master was supposed to have miraculously made the [Pg 20] sacred Fire talk, and bear witness to the truth of his mission.

Nations as well as individuals, in their intellectual history, begin with the objective. Although the moral fervour of Zoroaster gave a spiritual tone to his theory of the origin of things, yet the net result of this period of Persian speculation is nothing more than a materialistic dualism. The principle of Unity as a philosophical ground of all that exists, is but dimly perceived at this stage of intellectual evolution in Persia. The controversy among the followers of Zoroaster indicates that the movement towards a monistic conception of the Universe had begun; but we [Pg 21] have unfortunately no evidence to make a positive statement concerning the pantheistic tendencies of Pre-Islamic Persian thought.

We know that in the 6 th century A. This great monarch, moreover, had several works translated for him from Sanskrit and Greek, but we have no historical evidence to show how far these events actually influenced the course of Persian thought. But since the publication of Professor Jackson's admirable Life of Zoroaster, the Iranian Prophet has, I believe, finally got out of the ordeal of modern criticism.

Cureton, London, , pp.


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  • II, p. On the other hand he connects himself with his country's mythology, not indeed without a change of exegesis when he places Apollo and Dionysus beside Zeus, i. The ultimate fire, as the two aspects of his nature". History of Philosophy Vol. Bradley arrives at a conclusion similar to that of Zoroaster. Discussing the ethical significance of Bradley's Philosophy, Prof. Sorley says:—"Mr. Bradley, like Green, has faith in an eternal reality which might be called spiritual, inasmuch as it is not material; like Green he looks upon man's moral activity as an appearance—what Green calls a reproduction—of this eternal reality.

    But under this general agreement there lies a world of difference. He refuses by the use of the term self-conscious, to liken his Absolute to the personality of man, and he brings out the consequence which in Green is more or less concealed, that the evil equally with the good in man and in the world are appearances of the Absolute". Recent tendencies in Ethics, pp. To Zoroaster all forms of existence proceeding from the creative agency of the spirit of darkness are unreal; because, considering the final triumph of the spirit of Light, they have a temporary existence only.

    The partisans of Mithra worshipped the sun whom they looked upon as the great advocate of Light. They held the human soul to be a part of God, and maintained that the observance of a mysterious cult could bring about the souls' union with God. Haug Essays p. They, however, are not to be understood as models according to which things are fashioned. Plato's ideas, moreover, are eternal, non-temporal and non-spatial. The doctrine that everything created by the spirit of Light is protected by a subordinate spirit has only an outward resemblance with the view that every spirit is fashioned according to a perfect supersensible model.

    Perhaps Dr. They enumerate the following five Planes; but their definition of the character of each plane is slightly different:—. Petersburg Series IV, 15 April , pp. Sachau, London, , p. First we have the Manichaean which insinuated its way in the darkness, but was widely extended even among the clergy".

    Harnack's History of Christian Dogma, Vol. Ephraim Syrus mentioned by Prof. Bevan in his Introduction to the Hymn of the Soul tell us that he was a disciple of Bardesanes, the Syrian gnostic. But the Chinese reduced these two principles to a higher unity:—Tai Keih. But all things seek their own self-preservation. But self-preservation is what all things seek. But a principle of evil would seek its own self-preservation. See Z. LVII, p. With the Arab conquest of Persia, a new era begins in the history of Persian thought.

    In the west the sober Hellenic intellect interpreted another Semitic religion—Christianity; [Pg 23] and the results of interpretation in both cases are strikingly similar. In each case the aim of the interpreting intellect is to soften the extreme rigidity of an absolute law imposed on the individual from without; in one word it is an endeavour to internalise the external. This process of transformation began with the study of Greek thought which, though combined with other causes, hindered the growth of native speculation, yet marked a transition from the purely objective attitude of Pre-Islamic Persian Philosophy to the subjective attitude of later thinkers.

    It is, I believe, largely due to the influence of foreign thought that the old monistic tendency when it reasserted itself about the end of the 8 th century, assumed a much more spiritual aspect; and, in its later development, revivified and spiritualised the old Iranian dualism of Light and Darkness. The fact, therefore, that Greek thought roused into fresh life the subtle Persian intellect, and largely contributed to, and was finally assimilated by the general course of intellectual evolution in Persia, justifies us in briefly running over, even though at the risk of repetition, [Pg 24] the systems of the Persian Neo-Platonists who, as such, deserve very little attention in a history of purely Persian thought.

    The Syrians took up the latest Greek speculation i. Neo-Platonism and transmitted to the Moslem what they believed to be the real philosophy of Aristotle. It is surprising that Mohammedan Philosophers, Arabs as well as Persians, continued wrangling over what they believed to be the real teaching of Aristotle and Plato, and it never occurred to them that for a thorough comprehension of their Philosophies, the knowledge of Greek language was absolutely necessary. So great was their ignorance that an epitomised translation of the Enneads of Plotinus was accepted as "Theology of Aristotle".

    It took them centuries to arrive at a clear conception of the two great masters of Greek thought; and it is doubtful whether they ever completely understood them. It would, however, be unjust to accuse them of servile imitation. The history of their speculation is one continuous attempt to wade through a hopeless mass of absurdities that careless translators of Greek Philosophy had introduced. They had largely to rethink the Philosophies of Aristotle and Plato.

    Their commentaries constitute, so to speak, an effort at discovery, not exposition. The very circumstances which left them no time to think out independent systems of thought, point to a subtle mind, unfortunately cabined and cribbed by a heap of obstructing nonsense that patient industry had gradually to eliminate, and thus to winnow out truth from falsehood. With these preliminary remarks we proceed to consider Persian students of Greek Philosophy individually. Here Ibn Maskawaih follows Aristotle, and reproduces his argument based on the fact of physical motion.

    All bodies have the inseparable property of motion which covers all forms of change, and does not proceed from the nature of bodies themselves. Motion, therefore, demands an external source or prime mover. The supposition that motion may constitute the very essence of bodies, is contradicted by experience. Man, for instance, has the power of free movement; but, on the supposition, different parts of his body must continue to move even after they are severed from one another.

    The series of moving causes, therefore, must stop at a cause which, itself immovable, moves everything else. The immobility of the Primal cause is essential; for the supposition of motion in the Primal cause would necessitate infinite regress, which is absurd. The immovable mover is one. A multiplicity of original movers must imply something common in their nature, so that they might be brought under the same category.

    It must [Pg 28] also imply some point of difference in order to distinguish them from each other. But this partial identity and difference necessitate composition in their respective essences; and composition, being a form of motion, cannot, as we have shown, exist in the first cause of motion. The prime mover again is eternal and immaterial. Since transition from non-existence to existence is a form of motion; and since matter is always subject to some kind of motion, it follows that a thing which is not eternal, or is, in any way, associated with matter, must be in motion.

    All human knowledge begins from sensations which are gradually transformed into perceptions. The earlier stages of intellection are completely conditioned by the presence of external reality. But the progress of knowledge means to be able to think without being conditioned by matter. Thought begins with matter, but its object is to gradually free itself from the primary condition of its own possibility.

    A higher stage, therefore, is reached [Pg 29] in imagination—the power to reproduce and retain in the mind the copy or image of a thing without reference to the external objectivity of the thing itself. In the formation of concepts thought reaches a still higher stage in point of freedom from materiality; though the concept, in so far as it is the result of comparison and assimilation of percepts, cannot be regarded as having completely freed itself from the gross cause of sensations.

    But the fact that conception is based on perception, should not lead us to ignore the great difference between the nature of the concept and the percept. The individual percept is undergoing constant change which affects the character of the knowledge founded on mere perception. The knowledge of individuals, therefore, lacks the element of permanence. The universal concept , on the other hand, is not affected by the law of change.

    Individuals change; the universal remains intact. It is the essence of matter to submit to the law of change: the freer a thing is from matter, the less liable it is to change. God, therefore, being absolutely free from matter, is absolutely [Pg 30] changeless; and it is His complete freedom from materiality that makes our conception of Him difficult or impossible. The object of all philosophical training is to develop the power of "ideation" or contemplation on pure concepts, in order that constant practice might make possible the conception of the absolutely immaterial. In this connection it is necessary, for the sake of clearness, to divide Ibn Maskawaih's investigations into two parts:—.

    Materialists, he says, hold the eternity of matter, and attribute form to the creative activity of God. It is, however, admitted that when matter passes from one form into another form, the previous form becomes absolutely non-existent. For if it does not become absolutely non-existent, it must either pass off into some other body, or continue to exist in the same body. The first alternative is contradicted by every day experience. If we transform a ball of wax into [Pg 31] a solid square, the original rotundity of the ball does not pass off into some other body. The second alternative is also impossible; for it would necessitate the conclusion that two contradictory forms e.

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    It, therefore, follows that the original form passes into absolute non-existence, when the new form comes into being. This argument proves conclusively that attributes i. In order to understand that the substance is also non-eternal like the attribute, we should grasp the truth of the following propositions:—. The analysis of matter results in a number of different elements, the diversity of which is reduced to one simple element. From these two propositions, Ibn Maskawaih concludes that the substance had a beginning in time. Matter like form must have begun to exist; since the eternity of matter necessitates the eternity of form which, as we have seen, cannot be regarded as eternal.

    What is the cause of this immense diversity which meets us on all sides? How could the many be created by one? When, says the Philosopher, one cause produces a number of different effects, their multiplicity may depend on any of the following reasons:—. The cause may have various powers. Man, for instance, being a combination of various elements and powers, may be the cause of various actions. None of these propositions can be true of the nature of the ultimate cause—God. That he possesses various powers, distinct from one another, is manifestly absurd; since his nature does not admit of composition.

    If he is supposed to have employed different means to produce diversity, who is the creator of these means? If these means are due to the creative agency of some cause other than the ultimate cause, there would be a plurality of ultimate causes. The third proposition is also inadmissible as a conception of the creative act. The many cannot flow from the causal action of one agent. It, therefore, follows that we have only one way out of the difficulty—that the ultimate cause created only one thing which led to the creation of another. Ibn Maskawaih here enumerates the usual Neo-Platonic emanations gradually growing grosser and grosser until we reach the primordial elements, which combine and recombine to evolve higher and higher forms of life.

    A higher stage of evolution is reached in the vegetable kingdom. The first to appear is spontaneous grass; then plants and various kinds of trees, some of which touch the border-land of animal kingdom, in so far as they manifest certain animal characteristics. Intermediary [Pg 34] between the vegetable kingdom and the animal kingdom there is a certain form of life which is neither animal nor vegetable, but shares the characteristics of both e. The first step beyond this intermediary stage of life, is the development of the power of movement, and the sense of touch in tiny worms which crawl upon the earth.

    The sense of touch, owing to the process of differentiation, develops other forms of sense, until we reach the plane of higher animals in which intelligence begins to manifest itself in an ascending scale. Humanity is touched in the ape which undergoes further development, and gradually develops erect stature and power of understanding similar to man.

    Here animality ends and humanity begins". In order to understand whether the soul has an independent existence, we should examine the nature of human knowledge. It is the essential property of matter that it cannot assume two different forms simultaneously. To transform a silver spoon into a silver glass, [Pg 35] it is necessary that the spoon-form as such, should cease to exist. This property is common to all bodies, and a body that lacks it cannot be regarded as a body. Now when we examine the nature of perception, we see that there is a principle in man which, in so far as it is able to know more than one thing at a time, can assume, so to say, many different forms simultaneously.

    This principle cannot be matter, since it lacks the fundamental property of matter. The essence of the soul consists in the power of perceiving a number of objects at one and the same moment of time. But it may be objected that the soul-principle may be either material in its essence, or a function of matter.

    There are, however, reasons to show that the soul cannot be a function of matter. A thing which assumes different forms and states, cannot itself be one of those forms and states. A body which receives different colors should be, in its own nature, colorless. The soul, in its perception of external objects, assumes, as it were, various forms and states; it, therefore, cannot be regarded as one of those forms. Ibn Maskawaih seems to give no [Pg 36] countenance to the contemporary Faculty-Psychology; to him different mental states are various transformations of the soul itself.

    The attributes are constantly changing; there must be beyond the sphere of change, some permanent substratum which is the foundation of personal identity.

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    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia, by Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal—A Project Gutenberg eBook.

    Having shown that the soul cannot be regarded as a function of matter, Ibn Maskawaih proceeds to prove that it is essentially immaterial. Some of his arguments may be noticed:—. The senses, after they have perceived a strong stimulus, cannot, for a certain amount of time, perceive a weaker stimulus.

    It is, however, quite different with the mental act of cognition. When we reflect on an abstruse subject, we endeavour to completely shut our eyes to the objects around us, which we regard as so many hindrances in the way of spiritual activity. If the soul is material in its essence, it need not, in order to secure unimpeded activity, escape from the world of matter. The perception of a strong stimulus [Pg 37] weakens and sometimes injures the sense. The intellect, on the other hand, grows in strength with the knowledge of ideas and general notions.

    The soul can conceive certain propositions which have no connection with the sense-data. The senses, for instance, cannot perceive that two contradictories cannot exist together. There is a certain power in us which rules over physical organs, corrects sense-errors, and unifies all knowledge. This unifying principle which reflects over the material brought before it through the sense-channel, and, weighing the evidence of each sense, decides the character of rival statements, must itself stand above the sphere of matter.

    The combined force of these considerations, says Ibn Maskawaih, conclusively establishes the truth of the proposition—that the soul is essentially immaterial. The immateriality of the soul signifies its immortality; since mortality is a characteristic of the material. Among the early Persian Philosophers, Avicenna alone attempted to construct his own system of thought.

    His work, called "Eastern Philosophy" is still extant; and there has also come down to us a fragment [] in which the Philosopher has expressed his views on the universal operation of the force of love in nature. It is something like the contour of a system, and it is quite probable that ideas expressed therein were afterwards fully worked out. Avicenna defines "Love" as the appreciation of Beauty; and from the standpoint of this definition he explains that there are three categories of being:—. Things that stand between the two poles [Pg 39] of perfection.

    But the third category has no real existence; since there are things that have already attained the acme of perfection, and there are others still progressing towards perfection. This striving for the ideal is love's movement towards beauty which, according to Avicenna, is identical with perfection.

    Beneath the visible evolution of forms is the force of love which actualises all striving, movement, progress. Things are so constituted that they hate non-existence, and love the joy of individuality in various forms. The indeterminate matter, dead in itself, assumes, or more properly, is made to assume by the inner force of love, various forms, and rises higher and higher in the scale of beauty. The operation of this ultimate force, in the physical plane, can be thus indicated:—. Inanimate objects are combinations of form, matter and quality.

    Owing to the working of this mysterious power, quality sticks to its subject or substance; and form embraces indeterminate matter which, impelled by the mighty force of love, rises from form to form. The tendency of the force of love is to [Pg 40] centralise itself. In the vegetable kingdom it attains a higher degree of unity or centralisation; though the soul still lacks that unity of action which it attains afterwards.

    The processes of the vegetative soul are:—. These processes, however, are nothing more than so many manifestations of love. Assimilation indicates attraction and transformation of what is external into what is internal. Growth is love of achieving more and more harmony of parts; and reproduction means perpetuation of the kind, which is only another phase of love.

    In the animal kingdom, the various operations of the force of love are still more unified. It does preserve the vegetable instinct of acting in different directions; but there is also the development of temperament which is a step towards more unified activity. In man this tendency towards unification manifests itself in self-consciousness. The same force of "natural or constitutional love", is working in the life of beings higher than man. All things are [Pg 41] moving towards the first Beloved—the Eternal Beauty.

    The worth of a thing is decided by its nearness to or distance from, this ultimate principle. As a physician, however, Avicenna is especially interested in the nature of the Soul. Following the formation of the All-India Muslim League in , Iqbal was elected to the executive committee of its British chapter in Together with two other politicians, Syed Hassan Bilgrami and Syed Ameer Ali, Iqbal sat on the subcommittee which drafted the constitution of the League.

    Upon his return to India in , Iqbal took up assistant professorship at the Government College in Lahore, but for financial reasons he relinquished it within a year to practice law. During this period, Iqbal's personal life was in turmoil. He divorced Karim Bibi in , but provided financial support to her and their children for the rest of his life. While maintaining his legal practice, Iqbal began concentrating on spiritual and religious subjects, and publishing poetry and literary works.

    He became active in the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam, a congress of Muslim intellectuals, writers and poets as well as politicians, and in became the general secretary of the organization. Iqbal's thoughts in his work primarily focused on the spiritual direction and development of human society, centered around experiences from his travel and stay in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was profoundly influenced by Western philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche , Henri Bergson and Goethe , and soon became a strong critic of Western society's separation of religion from state and what he perceived as its obsession with materialist pursuits.

    He was especially influenced by Alfred North Whitehead, whom he frequently cited, adapting his process thought to interpret Islam in dynamic terms and to describe Muslims as always progressing towards 'ever-fresh illuminations from an Infinite Reality' that 'every moment appears in new glory' Muslims, said Iqbal, are destined to become 'co-workers with God' provided that they 'take the initiative' within the eternal "process of progressive change" The poetry and philosophy of Mawlana Rumi bore the deepest influence on Iqbal's mind.

    Deeply grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal would begin intensely concentrating on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, and embrace Rumi as "his guide. Iqbal denounced political divisions within and among Muslim nations, frequently alluding to the global Muslim community, or the Ummah.

    Iqbal's poetic works are written mostly in Persian rather than Urdu. In , he published his first collection of poetry, the Asrar-i-Khudi Secrets of the Self in Persian. The poems delve into concepts of ego and emphasize the spirit and self from a religious, spiritual perspective.

    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia: A Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy

    Many critics have called this Iqbal's finest poetic work. For him the aim of life is self-realization and self-knowledge. He charts the stages through which the "Self" has to pass before finally arriving at its point of perfection, enabling the knower of the "Self" to become the viceregent of Allah. In his Rumuz-i Bekhudi Hints of Selflessness , Iqbal seeks to prove that the Islamic way of life is the best code of conduct for a nation's viability.

    While not refuting his earlier belief that a person must keep his individual characteristics intact, he nonetheless adds that once this is achieved he should sacrifice his personal ambitions for the needs of the nation. Man cannot realize the "Self" apart from society. Also in Persian and published in , this group of poems has as its main themes the ideal community , Islamic ethical and social principles, and the relationship between the individual and society.

    Although he is true throughout to Islam, Iqbal recognizes also the positive analogous aspects of other religions. The Rumuz-i-Bekhudi complements the emphasis on the self in the Asrar-i-Khudi and the two collections are often put in the same volume under the title Asrar-i-Rumuz Hinting Secrets , addressed to the world's Muslims. Iqbal sees the individual and his community as reflections of each other. The individual needs to be strengthened before he can be integrated into the community, whose development in turn depends on the preservation of the communal ego.

    It is through contact with others that an ego learns to accept the limitations of its own freedom and the meaning of love. Muslim communities must ensure order in life and must therefore preserve their communal tradition. It is in this context that Iqbal sees the vital role of women, who as mothers are directly responsible for inculcating values in their children.

    Goethe bemoaned that the West had become too materialistic in outlook and expected that the East would provide a message of hope that would resuscitate spiritual values. Iqbal styles his work as a reminder to the West of the importance of morality, religion and civilization by underlining the need for cultivating feeling, ardor and dynamism. He believed that an individual could never aspire to higher dimensions unless he learns of the nature of spirituality.

    In , he was officially invited to Afghanistan to join the meetings regarding the establishment of Kabul University. In Gulshan-i Raz-i Jadid , Iqbal first poses questions, then answers them with the help of ancient and modern insight, showing how it effects and concerns the world of action.

    Bandagi Nama denounces slavery by attempting to explain the spirit behind the fine arts of enslaved societies. Here, as in his other books, Iqbal insists on remembering the past, doing well in the present and preparing for the future, emphasizing love, enthusiasm and energy to fulfill the ideal life.

    Iqbal depicts himself as Zinda Rud "A stream full of life" guided by Rumi , "the master," through various heavens and spheres, and has the honor of approaching divinity and coming in contact with divine illuminations. In a passage re-living a historical period, Iqbal condemns the Muslim traitors who were instrumental in the defeat and death of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal and Tipu Sultan of Mysore respectively by betraying them for the benefit of the British colonists , thus relegating their country into the shackles of slavery.

    At the end, by addressing his son Javid, he speaks to the young people as a whole, providing guidance to the "new generation. Iqbal's first work published in Urdu, the Bang-i-Dara The Call of the Marching Bell of , was a collection of poetry written by him in three distinct phases of his life. The second set of poems, which date from between and when Iqbal studied in Europe, dwell upon the nature of European society, which he emphasized had lost spiritual and religious values.

    This inspired Iqbal to write poems on the historical and cultural heritage of Islamic culture and Muslim people, not from an Indian but a global perspective. Iqbal urges the global community of Muslims, addressed as the Ummah to define personal, social and political existence by the values and teachings of Islam. Iqbal preferred to work mainly in Persian for a predominant period of his career, but after , his works were mainly in Urdu. The works of this period were often specifically directed at the Muslim masses of India, with an even stronger emphasis on Islam, and Muslim spiritual and political reawakening.

    Published in , the Bal-i Jibril Wings of Gabriel is considered by many critics as the finest of Iqbal's Urdu poetry. It was inspired by his visit to Spain , where he visited the monuments and legacy of the kingdom of the Moors. It consists of ghazals, poems, quatrains, epigrams and carries a strong sense religious passion. Iqbal again deploys Rumi as a character.

    The texts provides an exposition of the mysteries of Islamic laws and Sufi perceptions. Iqbal laments the dissention and disunity among the Indian Muslims as well as Muslim nations. Musafir is an account of one of Iqbal's journeys to Afghanistan, in which the Pashtun people are counseled to learn the "secret of Islam" and to "build up the self" within themselves. The first part contains quatrains in Persian, and the second part contains some poems and epigrams in Urdu. Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Development of Metaphysics in Persia , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Development of Metaphysics in Persia. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 22, Waseem Naser rated it it was amazing.

    What do I think? I'm thinking how in the world did Iqbal make such a dry subject like Persian metaphysics so engaging and rich. If only we have more Iqbals It was approx. The book is a doctoral thesis that describes the religions and philosophy of Persia present Iran from the days of Mani and the Zoroaster religion, to dual and single universe natures, to Greek and subsequently Muslim schools of thought. Much of the thinking of Persia reflects other areas and overlaps other religions including Buddhism and Hinduism.

    There are even elements of the mystic It was approx. There are even elements of the mystical Sufi religion and it's various forms and philosophers discussed. So, while a short read, it is rather thorough in it's chronological discussion of the thinking of the Persian empire. It took nearly five years, but honestly the time and duration taken to fully read this masterpiece was worth it. It isn't Kant, or Plato or any of the great Western philosophies, but it is still a good place to learn about Zoroastrianism and Persia both in the context of what it was, and what it had become as Ireland.

    Even the references which are included in the book make it worthwhile. Gives a definitive understanding of Iqbal as a philosopher in the day when we literally didn't have so much It took nearly five years, but honestly the time and duration taken to fully read this masterpiece was worth it. Gives a definitive understanding of Iqbal as a philosopher in the day when we literally didn't have so much information in the palm of our hands. Moslem Delshad rated it it was ok Dec 15, Azam Lashkari rated it really liked it Mar 29, Mohammad Pharhangian rated it really liked it Feb 22,

    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy
    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy
    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy
    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy
    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy
    The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy The Development of Metaphysics in Persia a Contribution to the History of Muslim Philosophy

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