Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ

  • Gregg DeYoung
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3934-5_9258-2

The 48 treatises composed by the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ (Brethren of Purity) constitute an encyclopedia of the sciences which has had a long and influential career in Islamic civilization. The collection was prepared by a group of scholars who preferred anonymity. This anonymity has generated considerable debate among historians over their identity. Current scholarship places the date of composition in the last half of the fourth AH/AD tenth century and the place of composition in Basra. This collection of treatises continues to play an important role in the intellectual milieu of modern Islam, especially among groups influenced by Shīʿite and Ismāʿīlī ideas.

The treatises contain a strong gnostic element, an emphasis on esoteric knowledge that exists within the exoteric or phenomenal features of everyday life but is accessible only to the initiated. This interest in esoteric or inner knowledge does not imply that they were uninterested in the physical world. It is necessary to have a...

Keywords

Interior Angle Human Cooperation Islamic Civilization Exterior Angle Phenomenal Feature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Baffioni, C. (2014). On the natural sciences: An Arabic critical edition and English translation of Epistles 15–21 (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity), (Ed. & Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bausani, A. (1977). Scientific elements in Ismāʿīlī thought: The epistles of the Brethren of purity. In S. H. Nasr (Ed.), Ismāʿīlī contributions to Islamic culture (pp. 121–140). Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  3. Brentjes, S. (1981). Die erste Risāla der Rasāʾil Iḫwān aṣ-Ṣafāʾ über elemetare Zahlentheorie – ihr mathematischer Gehalt und ihre Beziehungen zu spätantiken arithmetischen Schriften. Janus, 71, 181–274.Google Scholar
  4. Brentjes, S. (2014). Review of edition and translation of Epistles 1 & 2 by Nader el-Bizri. ISIS, 105, 211–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Callataÿ, G. (2003). The classification of the sciences according to the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’. Louvain-la-Neuve: Université Catholique de Louvain, Institute Orientaliste, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, 2003. Accessed April 17, 2014, from http://www.iis.ac.uk/SiteAssets/pdf/rasail_ikhwan.pdf
  6. De Callataÿ, G. (1996). Les revolutions et les cycles: Epitres des Freres de la Purete, XXXVI (Ed. & Trans.). Paris: Al-Bouraq.Google Scholar
  7. De Young, G. (2002). Euclidean geometry in two medieval encyclopaedia. Al-Masāq, 14, 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diwald, S. (1975). Arabische Philosophie und Wissenschaft in der Enzyklopädie Kitāb Iḫwān aṣ-Ṣafā ʾ (Vol. 3). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Google Scholar
  9. El-Bizri, N. (2012). Epistles of the Brethren of purity: On arithmetic and geometry. An Arabic critical edition and English translation of Epistles 1 & 2 (Ed. & Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Goldstein, B. (1964). A treatise on number theory from a tenth century Arabic source. Centaurus, 10, 129–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Marquet, Y. (1975). La philosophie des Iḫwan as-Safā’ Paris S.É.H.A., 1999.Google Scholar
  12. Marquet, Y. (1985). Les épîtres des Ikhwan as-Safa,’ oeuvre ismaïlienne. Studia Islamica, 61, 57–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nasr, S. H. (1964). An introduction to Islamic cosmological doctrines. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Netten, I. (1982). Muslim neo-platonists: An introduction to the thought of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al-Safa’). London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  15. Wright, O. (2011). On music: An Arabic critical edition and English translation of Epistle 5 (Ed. & Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University in CairoCairoEgypt