In the Islamic world, the idea of the “philosopher-king” became a relevant theme particularly from the tenth century onwards. Al-Fārābī, the political philosopher of Islam par excellence, discussed the perfect city ruled by the philosopher-king along the lines of Plato. Although al-Fārābī’s political thinking is susceptible to various interpretations, it contains a key idea that was most particularly significant for his readers: that human beings must seek perfection and the utmost happiness in theoretical life, but that utmost perfection and felicity are only possible within the virtuous city ruled by the philosopher-king. In al-Andalus, al-Muʾtaman ibn Hūd, king of Saragossa (r. 474/1081-478/1085) seems to follow these ideals. Al-Muʾtaman was a philosopher and a mathematician when he ascended the throne. Given that the scholars of his time and of the generations that followed criticised him for his religious beliefs and philosophical opinions, it may well be that he attempted to rule as a philosopher-king. This article presents, on the one hand, a study of the personal and intellectual biographies of al-Muʾtaman, and on the other, an analysis of the relationship between the rational sciences and the society that generated a king of his calibre, focusing above all on its intrinsic complexity and its roots (the intellectual legacy of Umayyad Cordova). In this way, the article provides insights into the relationship between knowledge and power and, more particularly, into the legitimising role of secular knowledge inside religiously oriented societies.
The Shūdhiyya is a Sufi strand that flourished in the south-east region of al-Andalus, particularly in the area of Murcia, in the late 6th/12th century until the second half of the 7th/13th century. It thus extended from the second half of the Almohad period to the early Naṣrid period. The Shūdhiyya is named after the enigmatic figure, al-Shūdhī (fl. 6th/12th c.), a Sufi saint linked to Tlemcen. Nevertheless, the two main figures of the Shūdhiyya were the theologians and Sufis, Ibn al-Marʾa (d. 611/1214) and Ibn Aḥlā (d. 645/1247). Faced with the advance of Christian forces in the region of Murcia, Shūdhīs relocated to the nascent kingdom of Granada and to the central Islamicate world where, as followers of Ibn Sabʿīn (d. 669/1270), they were known as the Sabʿīniyya. The Shūdhiyya flourished in al-Andalus at roughly the same time that Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) lived in al-Andalus. And, like Ibn ʿArabī, the Shūdhiyya ultimately came to be known for espousing the unity of existence although in a more radical, absolute way. Even though intellectual Sufism in al-Andalus is mostly associated with Ibn ʿArabī, his actual influence on his contemporaries in al-Andalus was rather scarce as he emigrated in his thirties to the East where he wrote his main works. However, in the field of intellectual Sufism, the Shūdhiyya was far more influential in al-Andalus than Ibn ʿArabī. Nevertheless, since the main representatives of the Andalusī Shūdhiyya did not relocate to the East, their works were not widely disseminated across the eastern and central Islamicate world and, consequently, except for Ibn al-Marʾa, most of their works are not known to be extant. Thus, the main witnesses are biographical and polemical literature. Despite the historical and intellectual relevance of the Shūdhiyya for the social, political and intellectual history of al-Andalus, only Massignon has devoted some attention to this Sufi strand. In this article the available sources on the Shūdhiyya in al-Andalus are surveyed and contextualized.
Hassan Hanafi, (1935-2021), graduated in 1956 from Cairo University and in October of the same year he started his doctoral studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. This was the beginning of his lifelong project on ‘Heritage and Renewal’ aiming at renewing Islam by means of reworking its legacy. This article analyses the milestones of his project, represented by an prolific intellectual production, and organized in a triangular form. The base of the triangle is the science of Koranic exegesis, and the two sides are the analysis of the Ancient Muslim heritage and that of the Western impact.
De ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad al-Jurjānī (740-816 /1340-1413) on connaît davantage sa maîtrise des subtilités des débats en matière de théologie argumentative que son approche du soufisme qui fait l’objet du présent article, à l’appui d’une documentation inédite fournie par quelques-uns de ses traités persans et complétée par son fameux livre des définitions Kitāb al-Taʿrīfāt ainsi sa glose sur Tasdīd al-Qawāʿid de Shams al-Dīn al-Iṣfahānī. Le but est d’éclairer l’attachement de l’auteur à la connaissance mystique et sa vénération pour les maîtres soufis, sur fond d’apologie de la théorie de l’unicité de l’Être (waḥdat al-wujūd) d’Ibn ‘Arabī et de son école, à une époque où la mystique spéculative akbarienne s’apprête à entrer en résonance avec la gnose philosophique iranienne, à la suite du déclin du kalām ashʿarite.