اِخوان الصّفا و خُلّان الوَفا جمعیت سری فلسفی و عرفانی است که در سده ۴ق در بصره و بغداد توسط ایرانیان تشکیل شد و دائرةالمعارف رسائل اخوان الصفا و خلان الوفا را نوشتند. اساس مسلک و مرام آنان این بود که بین شریعت اسلامی و فلسفه یونانی هیچگونه تضاد و تعارض وجود ندارد و شخص میتواند شریعت اسلامی و حکمت یونانی را بهطور متحد چراغ راه خویش سازد. هدف این گروه ترویج صلح و صفا بین مردم و رفع اختلاف فکری و مذهبی از طریق گسترش حکومت عقل و تلفیق بین فلسفه و مذهب و ایجاد یک گونه آرمانشهر بودهاست.
آنها شروع به نوشتن مقالاتی بدون گوشزد نام نویسنده نمودند و خود را اِخوان الصّفا و خُلّان الوَفا نامیدند. آنها گرچه در پژوهش به روش یونانیان مانند اقلیدس و نیکوماخوس بودند، ولی پژوهشها و نظریات آنها در زمینهٔ حل مسئلههای مربوط به صوت از یونانیان پیشتر رفت. به گفتهٔ شفیعی کدکنی عقاید آنها توفیقی در کشف نظام موسیقایی جهان داشتهاست. در رساله پنجم، بخش ریاضی، در باب موسیقی سخن رفتهاست.
جماعت اخوانالصفا با یکدیگر بسیار دوستانه و برادرانه زندگی میکردند و میکوشیدند از هر نوع هواپرستی و فریب و نفاق برکنار باشند.
آنان خود به کیمیگری و علوم خفیه روی آوردند٬ در حالی که در رسائل خویش٬ نخست٬ مطالعهٔ علوم طبیعی را میآموختند. این امر در گیاهشناسی٬ آنان را به بررسی شکل و ساختمان گیاهان و چگونگی رشد آنها سوق داد. سپس آنان به بحث در کنایات عددی اندامهای گوناگون گیاهان و جایگاهشان در نظام کیهانی پرداختند و مطالعاتشان در رشد و ریختشناسی گیاهان به حال علم سودمند افتاد.
ملیت و مذهب اخوان[ویرایش]
اخوان الصفا احتمالاً ایرانی نسب، و به گمان قوی، شیعی مذهب بودهاند. شاهد نکته نخست آن است که آنان گاه به برابر نهادِ فارسی واژهها اشاره میکنند و گاه برای بیان مقصود خود، اساساً جز واژه ای عجمی نمییابند. در برخی نسخههای رسائل، اشعاری فارسی نیز آمدهاست که به احتمال ـ همچون اشعار عربی ـ از افزودههای ناسخان است.
باور برخی تاریخنگاران بر این است که اعضای اخوانالصفا ایرانی بودند. هرچند این انجمن به صورت سری طی حیات میکرد، لکن نام چند تن از جمعیت آن، از طریق آثار ابوحیان توحیدی و دیگران شناخته شدهاست:
جماعت اخوانالصفا بر ظهور حلقههای فتوت و به طبع آن فتوتنامهها مؤثر بودند. اخوان علاوه بر سیر و سلوک فکری دارای سیر و سلوک عملی نیز بودند و بر همین اساس نظامی از تعلیم و تربیت استاد-شاگردی و دستگاهی منظم با سطوح مختلف نوآموزان و مرشدان ساخته بودند. به همین دلیل میتوان اخوان را از مهمترین عوامل تأثیرگذار در ظهور حلقههای اتصال میان حکمت و صناعت و فن و فتوت در تاریخ تمدن اسلامی دانست. مراتب ارشاد و تعلیم نوآموزان جمعیت اخوان بیانگر این نکته است.
اخوان بر برابری و برادری اعتقاد داشتند. اینان شیعیانی بودند در اطراف بغداد که از روش مخفیکاری و فرستادن داعیان به اطراف همانند قرمطیان و اسماعیلیان استفاده میکردند. جمعیت سرّی آنها از اوایل قرن چهارم به وجود آمد. اخوان الصفا را جمعیتی آرمانی به شیوه فیثاغورثی نیز گفتهاند که اعتقاد به تطبیق علوم پایه با دین داشتهاند.
یکی از عقاید جمعیت که در رسائل اخوانالصفا آمدهاست، این بود که به همان معنا که پیامبرانی چون آدم و نوح و ابراهیم و موسی منشأ هدایت و مصدر راهنماییی مردم بودهاند، اشوزردشت پیغمبر ایرانی و افلاطون فیلسوف یونانی میتوانند مردم را به طریق حقیقت و راه نجات هدایت نمایند. در نظر جماعت اخوانالصفا، خدای پیغمبران بنی اسرائیل همان خدایی است که اشوزردشت آن را اهورامزدا میخواند. اهورامزدای زردشت نیز همان مبدئی است که افلاطون یونانی تحت عنوان خیر اعلی از آن سخن میگوید.
اخوان الصفا ۵۴ عدد رسالۀ عربی برجای گذاشتهاند: ۱۴ رساله در ریاضی، ۱۷ رساله در طبیعی، ۱۰ رساله در علوم نفسانی، ۱۱ رساله در نوامیس و اخلاق، یک رساله به عنوان مقدمه و یک رساله به عنوان چکیده مندرجات.
رسائل اخوان الصفا و خلان الوفا دائرةالمعارفی بزرگ شامل ۵۲ رساله نوشتهٔ اخوان الصفا است. مؤلفان اثر، هویت خود را عمداً پنهان نگه داشتهاند و تاریخ دقیق پدیدآمدن اثر نیز نامعلوم است (احتمالاً حدود نیمهٔ دوم سدهٔ ۱۰ام مطابق قرن ۴ و ه). رسائل شامل چهار بخش عمده است و هر بخش چندین رساله و هر رساله چندین فصل است. اثر پیرامون موضوعات مختلف از دین و هندسه و موسیقی و جغرافیا و علم حساب تا اخلاق و جادو شکل گرفتهاست، که همگی با یک هدف اساسی نوشته شدهاند که مکرراً توسط نویسندگان اثر تأکید شدهاست، که علمآموزی ریاضتی است برای نفس که آن را برای زندگی در عالم پس از مرگ آماده میکند. خلاصهٔ مهمی از کل اثر در یکی از رسالهها و تحت عنوان الرسالة الجامعة آمدهاست.
پیوند به بیرون[ویرایش]
The Brethren of Purity (Arabic: إخوان الصفا, romanized: Ikhwān Al-Ṣafā; also The Brethren of Sincerity) were a secret society of Muslim philosophers in Basra, Iraq, in the 8th or 10th century CE.
The structure of this mysterious organization and the identities of its members have never been clear. Their esoteric teachings and philosophy are expounded in an epistolary style in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (Rasa'il Ikhwan al-safa'), a giant compendium of 52 epistles that would greatly influence later encyclopedias. A good deal of Muslim and Western scholarship has been spent on just pinning down the identities of the Brethren and the century in which they were active.
The Arabic phrase Ikhwān aṣ-Ṣafāʾ (short for, among many possible transcriptions, Ikhwān aṣ-Ṣafāʾ wa Khullān al-Wafā wa Ahl al-Ḥamd wa abnāʾ al-Majd, meaning "Brethren of Purity, Loyal Friends, People worthy of praise and Sons of Glory") can be translated as either the "Brethren of Purity" or the "Brethren of Sincerity"; various scholars such as Ian Netton prefer "of Purity" because of the group's ascetic impulses towards purity and salvation.
A suggestion made by Ignác Goldziher, and later written about by Philip Khuri Hitti in his History of the Arabs, is that the name is taken from a story in Kalilah waDimnah, in which a group of animals, by acting as faithful friends (ikhwan al-safa), escape the snares of the hunter. The story concerns a Barbary dove and its companions who get entangled in the net of a hunter seeking birds. Together, they leave themselves and the ensnaring net to a nearby rat, who is gracious enough to gnaw the birds free of the net; impressed by the rat's altruistic deed, a crow becomes the rat's friend. Soon a tortoise and gazelle also join the company of animals. After some time, the gazelle is trapped by another net; with the aid of the others and the good rat, the gazelle is soon freed, but the tortoise fails to leave swiftly enough and is himself captured by the hunter. In the final turn of events, the gazelle repays the tortoise by serving as a decoy and distracting the hunter while the rat and the others free the tortoise. After this, the animals are designated as the "Ikwhan al-Safa".
This story is mentioned as an exemplum when the Brethren speak of mutual aid in one risala (epistle), a crucial part of their system of ethics that has been summarized thus:
The Brethren regularly met on a fixed schedule. The meetings apparently took place on three evenings of each month: once near the beginning, in which speeches were given, another towards the middle, apparently concerning astronomy and astrology, and the third between the end of the month and the 25th of that month; during the third one, they recited hymns with philosophical content. During their meetings and possibly also during the three feasts they held, on the dates of the sun's entry into the Zodiac signs "Ram, Cancer, and Balance" (which double as the Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumnal Equinox), beyond the usual lectures and discussions, they would engage in some manner of liturgy reminiscent of the Harranians.
Hierarchy was a major theme in their Encyclopedia, and unsurprisingly, the Brethren loosely divided themselves up into four ranks by age; the age guidelines would not have been firm, as for example, such an exemplar of the fourth rank as Jesus would have been too young if the age guidelines were absolute and fixed. Compare the similar division of the Encyclopedia into four sections and the Jabirite symbolism of 4. The ranks were:
There have been a number of theories as to the authors of the Brethren. Though some members of the Ikhwan are known, it is not easy to work out exactly who, or how many, were part of this group of writers. The members referred to themselves as "sleepers in the cave" (Rasail 4th, p. 18); a hidden intellectual presence. In one passage they give as their reason for hiding their secrets from the people, not as fear of earthly violence, but as desire to protect their God-given gifts from the world (Rasail 4th, p. 166). Yet they were well aware that their esoteric teachings might provoke unrest, and the various calamities suffered by the successors of the Prophet may have seemed good reason to remain hidden.
Ismaili theories on the Brethren
Among the Isma'ili groups and missionaries who favored the Encyclopedia, authorship was sometimes ascribed to one or another "Hidden Imam"; this theory is recounted in al-Qifti's biographical compendium of philosophers and doctors, the "Chronicle of the Learned" (Akhbār al-Hukamā or Tabaqāt-al-Hukamā).
Some modern scholars have argued for an Ismaili origin to the writings. Ian Richard Netton writes in "Muslim Neoplatonists" (London, 1982, p. 80) that: "The Ikhwan's concepts of exegesis of both Quran and Islamic tradition were tinged with the esoterism of the Ismailis." Whilst according to Yves Marquet, "It seems indisputable that the Epistles represent the state of Ismaili doctrine at the time of their compositions" (vide, "Encyclopaedia of Islam", 1960, p. 1071) Bernard Lewis in "The Origins of Ismailism" (London, 1940, p. 44) was more cautious than Fyzee, ranking the Epistles among books which, though "closely related to Ismailism" may not actually have been Ismaili, despite their batini inspiration. Ibn Qifti (d.646/1248), reporting in the 7th/13th century in "Tarikh-i Hukama" (p. 82) that, "Opinions differed about the authors of the Epistles. Some people attributed to an Alid Imam, proffering various names, whereas other put forward as author some early Mutazilite theologians."
Among the Syrian Ismailis, the earliest reference of the Epistles and its relation with the Ismailis is given in "Kitab Fusul wa'l Akhbar" by Nurudin bin Ahmad (d. 233/849). Another important work, "al-Usul wa'l-Ahakam" by Abul Ma'ali Hatim bin Imran bin Zuhra (d. 498/1104), writes that, "These dais, and other dais with them, collaborated in composing long Epistles, fifty-two in number, on various branches of learning." It implies the Epistles being the product of the joint efforts of the Ismaili dais.
Among the Yamenite traces, the earliest reference of the Epistles is found in the fragments of "Sirat Ibn Hawshab" by Jaafar bin Mansur al-Yamen (الداعي جعفر بن منصور اليمن), who lived between 270/883 and 360/970, and writes, "He (Imam Taqi Muhammad) went through many a difficulty and fear and the destruction of his family, whose description cannot be lengthier, until he issued (ansa'a) the Epistles and was contacted by a man called Abu Gafir from among his dais. He charged him with the mission as was necessary and asked him to keep his identity concealed." This source not only asserts the connection of the Epistles with the Ismailis, but also indicates that the Imam himself was not the sole author (sahibor mu'allif), but only the issuer or presenter (al-munsi). It suggests that the text of the philosophical deliberations was given a final touching by the Imam, and the approved text was delivered to Abu Gafir to be forwarded possibly to the Ikhwan in Basra secretly. Since the orthodox circles and the ruling power had portrayed a wrong image of Ismailism, the names of the compilers were concealed. The prominent members of the secret association seem to be however, Abul Hasan al-Tirmizi, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Abdullah bin Hamdan, Abdullah bin Maymun, Sa'id bin Hussain etc. The other Yamenite source connecting the Epistles with the Ismailis was the writing of Sayyadna Ibrahim bin al-Hussain al-Hamidi (d. 557/1162), who wrote "Kanz ul-Walad." After him, there followed "al-Anwar ul-Latifa" by Sayyadna Muhammad bin Tahir (d. 584/1188), "Tanbih al-Ghafilin" by Sayyadna Hatim bin Ibrahim Al Hamidi (d. 596/1199), "Damigh al-Batil wa hatf ul-Munaazil" by Sayyadna Ali bin Muhammad bin al-Walid al-Anf (d. 612/1215), "Risalat al-Waheeda" by Sayyadna Hussain bin Ali al-Anf (d. 667/1268) and "Uyun'ul-Akhbar" by Sayyadna Idris bin Hasan Imaduddin (d. 872/1468) etc.
According to "Ikhwan as-Safa" (Rasail 21st., p. 166), "Know, that among us there are kings, princes, khalifs, sultans, chiefs, ministers, administrators, tax agents, treasurers, officers, chamberlains, notables, nobles, servants of kings and their military supporters. Among us too there are merchants, artisans, agriculturists and stock breeders. There are builders, landowners, the worthy and wealthy, gentlefolk and possessors of all many virtues. We also have persons of culture, of science, of piety and of virtue. We have orators, poets, eloquent persons, theologians, grammarians, tellers of tales and purveyors of lore, narrators of traditions, readers, scholars, jurists, judges, magistrates and ecstatics. Among us too there are philosophers, sages, geometers, astronomers, naturalists, physicians, diviners, soothsayers, casters of spells and enchantments, interpreters of dreams, alchemists, astrologers, and many other sorts, too many to mention."
Al-Qifti, however, denigrates this account and instead turns to a comment he discovered, written by Abū Hayyān al-Tawhīdī (d. 1023) in his Kitāb al-Imtā' wa'l-Mu'ānasa (written between 983 and 985), a collection of 37 séances at the court of Ibn Sa'dān, vizier of the Buyid ruler Samsam al-Dawla. Apparently, al-Tawhīdī was close to Zaid ibn Rifa'a, praising his intellect, ability and deep knowledge – indeed, he had dedicated his Kitāb as-Sadiq wa 'l-Sadaqa to Zaid – but he was disappointed that Zaid was not orthodox or consistent in his beliefs, and that he was, as Stern puts it:
For many years, this was the only account of the authors' identities, but al-Tawhīdī's comments were second-hand evidence and so unsatisfactory; further, the account is incomplete, as Abu Hayyan mentions that there were others besides these 4.
This situation lasted until al-Tawhīdī's Kitāb al-Imtā' wa'l-Mu'ānasa was published in 1942. This publication substantially supported al-Qifti's work, although al-Qifti apparently toned down the description and prominence of al-Tawhīdī's charges that the Brethren were Batiniyya, an esoteric Ismaili sect and thus heretics, possibly so as to not tar his friend Zaid with the same brush.
Stern derives a further result from the published text of the Kitāb al-Imtā wa 'l-Mu'anasa, pointing out that a story al-Tawhīdī ascribes to a personal meeting with Qadi Abu'l-Hasan 'Alī b. Hārūn az-Zanjāni, the founder of the group, appears in almost identical form in one of the epistles. While neat, Stern's view of things has been challenged by Tibawi, who points out some assumptions and errors Stern has made, such as the relationship between the story in al-Tawhīdī's work and the Epistles; Tibawi points out the possibility that the story was instead taken from a third, independent and prior source.
Al-Tawhīdī's testimony has also been described as thus:
The last contemporary source comes from the surviving portions of the Kitāb Siwan al-Hikma (c. 950) by Abu Sulaiman al-Mantiqi (al-Tawhīdī's teacher; 912-985), which was a sort of compendium of biographies; al-Mantiqi is primarily interested in the Brethren's literary techniques of using parables and stories, and so he says only this little before proceeding to give some extracts of the Encyclopedia:
al-Maqdisī was previously listed in the Basra group of al-Tawhīdī; here Stern and Hamdani differ, with Stern quoting Mantiqi as crediting Maqdisi with 52 epistles, but Hamdani says "By the time of al-Manṭiqī, the Rasā'īl were almost complete (he mentions 51 tracts)."
The second near-contemporary record is another comment by Shahrazūrī as recorded in the Tawārikh al-Hukamā or alternatively, the Tawárykh al-Hokamá; specifically, it is from the Nuzhat al-arwah, which is contained in the Tawārikh, which states:
Hamdani disputes the general abovegoing identifications, pointing out that accounts differ in multiple details, such as whether Zayd was an author or not, whether there was a principal author, and who was in the group or not. He lays particular stress on quotes from the Encyclopedia dating between 954 and 960 in the anonymous (Pseudo-Majriti) work Ghāyat al-Hakīm; al-Maqdisi and al-Zanjani are known to have been active in 983, He finds it implausible they would have written or edited "so large an encyclopedia at least twenty-five to thirty years earlier, that is, around 343/954 to 348/960, when they would have been very young." He explains the al-Tawhidi narrative as being motivated by contemporary politics and issues of hereticism relating to the Qarmatians, and points out that there is proof that Abu Hayyan has fabricated other messages and information.
Amusingly, Aloys Sprenger mentions this in a footnote:
The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity
The Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity) consist of fifty-two treatises in mathematics, natural sciences, psychology (psychical sciences) and theology. The first part, which is on mathematics, groups fourteen epistles that include treatises in arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, geography, and music, along with tracts in elementary logic, inclusive of: the Isagoge, the Categories, De Interpretatione, the Prior Analytics and the Posterior Analytics. The second part, which is on natural sciences, gathers seventeen epistles on matter and form, generation and corruption, metallurgy, meteorology, a study of the essence of nature, the classes of plants and animals, including a fable. The third part, which is on psychology, comprises ten epistles on the psychical and intellective sciences, dealing with the nature of the intellect and the intelligible, the symbolism of temporal cycles, the mystical essence of love, resurrection, causes and effects, definitions and descriptions. The fourth part deals with theology in eleven epistles, investigating the varieties of religious sects, the virtue of the companionship of the Brethren of Purity, the properties of genuine belief, the nature of the Divine Law, the species of politics, and the essence of magic.
They define a perfect man in their Rasa'il as "of East Persian derivation, of Arabic faith, of Iraqi, that is Babylonian, in education, Hebrew in astuteness, a disciple of Christ in conduct, as pious as a Syrian monk, a Greek in natural sciences, an Indian in the interpretation of mysteries and, above all a Sufi or a mystic in his whole spiritual outlook". There are debates on using this description and other materials of Rasa'il that could help with determination of the identity, affiliation (with Ismaili, Sufism, ...), and other characteristics of Ikhwan al-Safa.
The Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ are available in print through a variety of Arabic editions, starting from the version established in Calcutta in 1812, then followed by the edition of Bombay of 1887–1889), then by the edition of Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli in 1928 in Cairo, and the Beirut Sadir edition by Butrus Bustani in 1957 and the version set by ‘Arif Tamir in Beirut in 1995. All these editions are not critical and we do not yet have a complete English translation of the whole Rasa’il encyclopedia.
The first complete Arabic critical edition and fully annotated English translation of the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ is being prepared for publication by a team of editors, translators and scholars as part of a book series that is published by Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London; a project currently coordinated by the series General Editor Nader El-Bizri. This series is initiated by an introductory volume of studies edited by Nader El-Bizri, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2008, and followed in 2009 by the voluminous Arabic critical edition and annotated English translation with commentaries of The Case of the Animals Versus Man Before the King of the Jinn (Epistle 22; eds. trans. L. Goodman & R. McGregor), then Epistle 5: On Music (ed. trans. O. Wright, 2010), Epistles 10-15: On Logic (ed. trans. C. Baffioni, 2010), Epistle 52a: On Magic (eds. trans. G. de Callatay & B. Halflants, 2011), Epistles 1-2: Arithmetic and Geometry (ed. trans. N. El-Bizri, 2012), the voluminous Epistles 15-21: Natural Sciences (ed. trans. C. Baffioni, 2013), Epistle 4: Geography (ed. trans. I Sanchez and J. Montogomery, 2014), Epistle 5: "On Astronomia" (ed. trans. J. F. Ragep and T. Mamura, 2015), Epistles 32-36: "Sciences of the Soul and Intellect" (ed. trans. I. Poonawala, G. de Callatay, P. Walker, D. Simonowitz, 2015). This OUP series received a large number of academic reviews in journals, including three review-essays that were published in the Times Literary Supplement.