Muṣannifak, Ḥall al-rumūz wa-kashf al-kunūz : Part 2: Sharḥ Risālat al-abrāǧ. Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary
Abstract: The Risālat al-abrāǧ (‘Epistle of the Towers’) is one of the least studied works by the 12th century philosopher and mystic Shihāb al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-Suhrawardī, founder of the Ishrāqī or Illuminationist school of philosophy. The epistle, much in the vein of Suhrawardī’s other short allegorical narratives, depicts the journey of the individual soul through the microcosm of the human body and the dangers along the road to ultimate deliverance. In contrast to nearly all of Suhrawardī’s allegories, the epistle is written in Arabic instead of Persian.The only known commentary on this epistle constitutes the last third of a larger work on Sufism, Ḥall al-rumūz wa-kashf al-kunūz (‘The Deciphering of Symbols and Unveiling of Treasures’), written in Edirne in 1462 by the Iranian scholar and Sufi ʿAlī b. Maǧd al-Dīn al-Shāhrūdī al-Basṭāmī, better known as Muṣannifak (d. 1470/71). What sets this commentary apart from almost every other sharḥ on Suhrawardī’s works is the fact that the commentator was in no way an adherent of the Ishrāqī philosophy. Instead, the task to write the commentary was a commission from the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who had read the epistle and wanted an explication of the text. In his work, and especially in the very lengthy first part of the book, containing a general introduction to Sufism, Muṣannifak takes the opportunity to polemicise not only against Suhrawardī, but against philosophers in general, and not least against the wuǧūdiyya. Muṣannifak’s own standpoint comes close to the orthodox Sufism of al-Ghazālī.This dissertation contains a critical edition of the second part of the Ḥall al-rumūz, consisting of the commentary proper on Suhrawardī’s epistle. The edition is based on two Istanbul manuscripts (out of a total of thirteen examined MSS), one being the author’s own draft copy and the other a fair copy carried out by another scribe, but supervised and corrected by the author. An introductory chapter discusses the problems associated with Suhrawardī’s text (authorship, title, previous editions). This is followed by a biographical outline of Muṣannifak and a comprehensive list of his (mainly unpublished) works. The third chapter presents the main structure of the Ḥall al-rumūz, focusing on the first part, which is not included in the edition. Separate chapters deal with the manuscripts and editorial principles. Comments on the text and indices conclude the edition.
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