To know a culture, is to know its written tradition. Before the coming of the printing press, books were transmitted in manuscript form. When texts started to get printed rather than copied, earlier works that until then had only existed in manuscript, came to be printed too. Until the early nineteenth century, a fair copy of a handwritten text would be all that was needed to turn an older work into a printed book. Today, all this has changed and most ancient texts are now published on the basis of a commonly accepted methodology. In the Islamic world, where we have thousands of works in manuscript that still await a proper edition, these modern methods are not always accessible to local scholars and uncritical editions still abound. This Persian guide to the publication of manuscripts is meant to change that situation. As such, it is an important statement on the advances in scholarship in Iran.
Abu ʼl-Makārim Ḥasanī
Edited by Jūyā Jahānbakhsh
The Qurʾān is a complex text, and it has been regarded as such since the very beginning. Qurʾān interpretation ( tafsīr) was already practiced by the Prophet’s nephew ʿAbdallāh b. al-ʿAbbās, who used folklore and poetry to interpret his uncle’s revelations. With the passing of time, Qurʾānic exegesis developed from a mere branch of tradition ( ḥadīth) into a full-fledged, independent discipline. The earliest Qurʾān commentary in Persian was a translation of Abū Jaʿfar al-Ṭabarī’s (d. 311/923) Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān, made in 345/956. The oldest surviving Twelver-Shīʿī commentary to have been composed in Persian is Abu ʼl-Futūḥ al-Rāzī’s (d. 552-56/1157-61) Rawḍ al-jinān wa-rūḥ al-janān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Second oldest are two commentaries by Abu ʼl-Makārim Ḥasanī (7th/13th cent.), one of them being his Daqāʾiq al-taʾwīl wa-ḥaqāʾiq al-tanzīl, whose extant part is now published in this volume. A commentary on selected verses only, its unique characteristics and broader context are explained in the editor’s introduction.
Edited by Jūyā Jahānbakhsh and Samīrā Pūstīn-Dūz
In early Islamic philosophy, poetry was regarded as a means to transmit the eternal truths of philosophy to the masses and to move them to virtuous conduct by the use of poetical syllogisms. We find this theory for the first time in the works of Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī (d. 339/950). In another application, poetry was used as a didactic tool in the philosophical curriculum, like Avicenna’s (d. 428/1037) Urjūza fi ʼl-manṭiq or, much later, Mullā Hādī Sabzavārī’s (d. 1289/1873) Manẓūma on logic and philosophy. Finally, there are the many poems which, while philosophical in spirit, were not written to be learned by heart by others but rather from personal motives. Here we can mention some of the Persian poetry ascribed to Avicenna or the philosophical poetry of Nāṣir Khusraw (d. 481/1088). The poems in this collection by Mīr Dāmād (d. 1040/1631), a prominent member of the Isfahan School in philosophy, belong to this latter category.