Doubts on Avicenna

A Study and Edition of Sharaf al-Dīn al-Masʿūdī’s Commentary on the Ishārāt


In Doubts on Avicenna, Ayman Shihadeh brings to light an important new source, which marks a key moment of transition in twelfth-century Arabic philosophy. Sharaf al-Dīn al-Masʿūdī’s al-Mabāḥith wa-l-Shukūk ʿalā l-Ishārāt ( Investigations and Objections on the Pointers) offers major insight into the dialectic between the two traditions of Avicennan philosophy and rational theology, particularly Ashʿarism, which by the end of the century culminates in the systematic philosophical theology of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī. Inaugurating the long and distinguished commentarial tradition on Avicenna’s Ishārāt ( Pointers), al-Masʿūdī’s Shukūk uniquely consists of aporias on selected passages, as opposed to exegesis. This monograph provides an overview and the first critical edition of the text, and in-depth case studies of metaphysical aporias and their Avicennan background.
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Biographical Note

Ayman Shihadeh, DPhil, Oxford, is based at SOAS, University of London. He has published widely on the history of medieval Arabic philosophy and rational Islamic theology, and is the Section Editor for Philosophy and Theology at the Encyclopaedia of Islam (BRILL).

Review Quotes

"Shihadeh’s book combines an important historical and philological contribution with rich philosophical analysis. Even readers who think they can afford to skip knowing about the relatively obscure al-Masʿūdī should consult it, if they have any interest in Avicenna’s philosophy or its reception."
Peter Adamson in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Volume 79 - Issue 2 - June 2016.


All interested in the history of medieval Arabic philosophy and rational theology ( kalām), especially metaphysics, natural philosophy, Avicenna, the Avicennan tradition, al-Ghazālī, Abū l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī and Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī.


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