Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Abu Hatim Razi on "Those Upon Whom Thou Hast Bestowed Favors"

Abu Hatim Ahmad ibn Hamdan Razi (d. 934) was a renowned Dai and physician who wrote a major treatise on the nature of a prophet's knowledge of the world in A'lam al-nubuwwah, translated by Everett K. Rowson as "Science of Prophecy." From what he writes it would appear that Razi had a particular appreciation for the favor of knowledge and wisdom that were revealed to the prophets:

"But as for the true ancient sages who composed these valid works on astronomy, medicine, geometry, and other natural sciences, they were the sages among the people of their eras, the leaders of their ages, and God's proofs to His creatures in their times, whom God supported with revelation coming from Him and whom He taught this wisdom. Thus each of them contributed a particular kind of wisdom. One contributed the science of medicine, while other contributed other mathematical and natural sciences. They presented them to the people, who took them from them, since God wanted to make His creatures aware of the wisdom in these principles, to manifest the ranks of these prophets in their times, and to display God's proofs to His creatures by means of their tongues. So, for example, it has been handed down that the principles of astronomy come from the prophet Idris. Some people have interpreted God's words in the story of Idris that 'We raised him to a high place' as meaning that God raised him up to the mountain which is at the navel of the world, and sent him an angel to teach him the things connected with the celestial sphere, its terms and zodiacal signs, the planets and the periods of their orbits, and other aspects of the science of astronomy.

Furthermore, they say that the Hermes mentioned by the philosophers is Idris, his name among the philosophers being Hermes but in the Qur'an Idris - both these names resemble those names like Galenos, Aristoteles, and so forth, which end in 's' - and in the other revealed books Enoch. This, then, is an indication that such men used to have these names as aliases. The same pattern can be seen, among the names of prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, in Elias as well as Idris. Among those prophets and sages mentioned by the People of the Book there are Simon, the disciple of the Messiah, who was called Petros; his brother, one of the twelve, whose name was Andreios; among the twelve apostles, Philippos; Marcos, one of the four; and Malghus, the apostle who obeyed among them. Among the prophets they mention are Saraqsis, Agabos, Lucios, Paulus, and Philadelphius. So there are many such names among the prophets and sages, which resemble the names of the ancient philosophers, who composed the books of medicine, astronomy and geometry, using such names as aliases. " (2008, pp. 149-150)

~Excerpted from "Ismaili Thought in the Classical Age", edited by S.H. Nasr & M. Aminrazavi

No comments: