The Heart of Islamic Philosophy
This book introduces the work of an important medieval Islamic philosopher who is little known outside the Persian world. Afdal al Din Kashani was a contemporary of a number of important Muslim thinkers, including Averroes and Ibn al-'Arabi. Among philosophers who wrote in Persian, he is set apart by the remarkable beauty and clarity of his prose. Kashani made a considered choice to write in Persian at a time when Arabic was the language of choice for philosophy. Avoiding Arabic technical terms, he did not, in fact, write for advanced students of philosophy but,, rather for beginners who might not have a good grasp of Arabic.
Kashani's writings offer especially clear and insightful expositions of various philosophical positions. This makes him an invaluable resource for those who would like to learn the basic principle and arguments of this philosophical tradition but do not have a strong background in philosophy and Islamic studies. As William Chittick notes, Kashani held the position that philosophy awakens people from forgetfulness and incites then to reach for the perfection of existence. Because ignorance of self is the cause of the soul's misery in the next life, he sought to make philosophy as accessible as possible to everyone. This is the first book in English to present the main themes of the Islamic philosophical tradition in the words of a Muslim philosopher. Written in an accessible style, this volume will interest students and scholars of Islamic philosophy at all levels.