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The book “Strengthening the faith” (Taqvim al – Iman) is a philosophical work written in Arabic, including the principles of philosophy.
It is composed by the prominent philosopher “Mirdamad” in the 17th century.
The book presents the new philosophical discussions of the author
the views which have not been before presented in his other works
the philosophical views such as : “ the unity of action” , “the particular reason on the worlds formation” (origin), “Essence and accident”.
“Strengthening the faith” was considered as a textbook, and the author himself taught it to his students.
Mir Damad (d. 1631 or 1632), known also as Mir Mohammad Baqer Esterabadi, or Asterabadi, was an Iranian philosopher in the Neoplatonizing Islamic Peripatetic traditions of Avicenna and Suhrawardi, a scholar of the traditional Islamic sciences, and foremost figure (together with his student Mulla Sadra), of the cultural renaissance of Iran undertaken under the Safavid dynasty. As such he was the central founder of the School of Isfahan, noted by his students and admirers as the Third Teacher (mu'alim al-thalith) after Aristotle and al-Farabi.
His major contribution to Islamic philosophy was his novel formulation regarding gradations of time and the emanations of the separate categories of time as descending divine hypostases. He resolved the controversy of the createdness or uncreatedness of the world in time by proposing the notion of huduth-e-dahri (atemporal origination) as an explanation grounded in Avicennan and Suhrawardian categories, whilst transcending them. In brief, excepting God, he argued all things, including the earth and all heavenly bodies, share in both eternal and temporal origination. He influenced the revival of al-falsafa al-yamani (Philosophy of Yemen), a philosophy based on revelation and sayings of prophets rather than the rationalism of the Greeks, and he is widely recognized as the founder of the School of Isfahan, which embraced a theosophical outlook known as hikmat-i ilahi (divine wisdom).
Mir Damad’s many treatises on Islamic philosophy include Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith, a treasure on creation and divine knowledge), the Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling), wherein he lays out his concept of atemporal origination, Kitab al-Jadhawat and Sirat al-Mustaqim. He also wrote poetry under the pseudonym of Ishraq (Illumination). He also wrote a couple of books on mathematics, but with secondary importance.
Among his many other students besides Mulla Sadra were Seyyed Ahmad-ibn-Reyn-al-A’bedin Alavi, Mohammad ibn Alireza ibn Agajanii, Qutb-al-Din Mohammad Ashkevari and Mulla Shams Gilani.
Mir Damad's philosophical prose is often accounted as being among the most dense and obtusely difficult of styles to understand, deliberately employing as well as coining convoluted philosophical terminology and neologisms that require systematic unpacking and detailed commentary. He was called Mir Damad (Groom of the King) because he married Shah Abbas's daughter and hence his fame was based on that event.
Among his 134 works known:
• Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith)
• Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling)
• Kitab al-Jadhawat (Book of Spiritual Attractions)
• Sirat al-Mustaqim (The Straight Path)
The book structure
The book is composed in chapters, which each chapter includes some philosophical subjects:
The 1st chapter includes:
Definition of divine science (philosophy), the subject and issues of philosophy, existent is divided into necessary –existence and possible –existence, “possible” is divided into essence and accident,
The 2nd chapter:
The partial and general reasoning, the reasoning of potency and action, the order reasoning, etc.
The 3rd chapter:
The attributes of Necessary Being, the quality of accident, etc.
The 4th chapter:
Necessary Being, the quality of accidents on Necessary Being
The anteriority of Necessary Being, the formation and precedence of the universe, etc.
The 5th chapter:
The last chapter includes epistemic discussions and also the authors viewpoints on science, and particularly about divine science (philosophy)
This chapter presents the following subjects.
1- Definition and division of science
2- The “active” in “acquisition” knowledge” presence knowledge”
3- The order of sciences and concepts
4- The Revelation of various concepts to human
5- The present and the passive science, etc.
Many commentaries have been written on this great work:
1- “Discovering the realities” ( kashf al- Haqayeq) , it is the most important and the most extensive commentary written by Mirdamads student “ Mir sayyed Ahmad Alavi”
2- “ Arah al- Ayqon” ( the empyrean of certitude) written by “ Mir Abdul Hasib” ( great grandchild of Mirdamad)
3- A commentary written by his student “Mullah Shamsa Gilani”.
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