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The Heart of Islamic PhilosophyThe Quest for Self-Knowledge in the Teachings of Afdal al-Din Kashani$
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William C. Chittick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139136

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195139135.001.0001

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A Persian Philosopher

A Persian Philosopher

(p.3) 1 A Persian Philosopher
The Heart of Islamic Philosophy

William C. Chittick (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The majority of Muslim philosophers were Persian speakers, but they wrote their works in Arabic so that all Muslim scholars would be able to benefit. Kâshânâ (Bâbâ Afdal) was an exception to this general rule because he wrote mainly in Persian for his own students, who were not well trained in the Islamic sciences. He considered philosophy a spiritual discipline whose goal was to transform the soul, actualize the intelligence that lies at the root of the cosmos, and achieve perfect virtue. His careful attention to the Persian language produced not only remarkably beautiful prose but also deep insights into the concrete meanings of Arabic technical terms that had become too abstract to convey their original meanings. He wrote six books, translated five treatises from Arabic into Persian, abridged the introduction of Ghazâlî's Kîmiyâ‐yi sa`âdat, addressed six letters to disciples, composed 30 essays, and authored a good deal of poetry, mostly quatrains.

Keywords:   Bâbâ Afdal, Ghazâlî, Islamic, Kâshânâ, Persian, philosophy, spiritual discipline, way of life

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