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‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī (also spelled Kāshānī)

‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī[1] was a principal expositor of the thought of the influential Sufi thinker, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240), and one of the main defenders of the doctrine of “oneness of being” (waḥdat al-wujūd).[2] His agnomen indicates that he was most likely from the city of Qāshān in Iran. Four versions of his name appear in texts, depending on the vocalisation of the city: al-Qāshī, al-Qāsānī, al-Kāshī, and al-Kāshānī.[3] However, Ḥājī Khalīfa (d. 1067/ 1657) also refers to him as ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Samarqandī.[4]                     

There is much controversy about al-Qāshānī’s full name. The following are the leading candidates: 

 

1. ʿAbd al-Razzāq ibn Abuʾl-Ghanāʾim ibn Aḥmad Abuʾl-Faḍāʾil ibn Muḥammad al-Qāshānī

2. Kamāl al-Dīn Abuʾl-Faḍl ʿAbd al-Razzāq ibn Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāshānī

3. Kamāl al-Dīn Abuʾl-Faḍl ibn Aḥmad, among others.[5]

The majority opinion is that the following name is the most correct:

Kamāl al-Dīn Abuʾl-Faḍl ʿAbd al-Razzāq ibn Jamāl al-Dīn Abuʾl-Ghanāʾim al-Qāshānī.[6]

Birth

Al-Qāshānī was born during the Ilkhanid period.[7] While the exact date of his birth is unknown, it is believed to be between 650 AH/1252 CE and 660 AH/1262 CE, with his age at the time of his death being approximately 85 years.[8] 

 

Education

Al-Qāshānī memorised the Qurʾan at a young age.[9] He was encouraged to study further by his mentor, ʿAbd al-Ṣamad al-Naṭanzī (d. 699/1300?) who was a member of the Suhrawardiyya order. Al-Qāshānī began with the foundational sciences of Arabic language, physics (ṭabʿiyyāt) and logic (manṭiq) before graduating to metaphysics and, finally, Sufism, as he recounts in is letters to al-Simnānī.[10] It has been suggested that al-Qāshānī was between 25 and 35 years of age when he completed formal study and turned to Sufism.[11] His oeuvre also displays an interest in medicine.[12] Al-Qāshānī seems to have achieved considerable fame either in his lifetime or shortly thereafter, with Sayyid Haydar Āmūlī (d. 787/1385) comparing him to Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 312/925?), Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, and Ibn Sīnā (d. 429/1037) in terms of importance.[13]

 

Residence  

 

Most of al-Qāshānī’s teachers lived in Shiraz so it be estimated that he studied in the city from 680 AH/ 1281 CE to 699 AH/ 1300 CE. Due to the death of his principal teacher, al-Naṭanzī, however, he left Shiraz and spent seven months alone in the desert.[14] He is then believed to have moved to Baghdad in the early years of the 8th/14th century.[15] The final years of his life were spent working in Rabʿ-i-Rashīdī in Tabriz, under the patronage of Rashīd al-Dīn (d. 718/1318), and then his son, Ghiyāth al-Dīn (d. 736/1336).[16]

Political life

 

Al-Qāshānī held a number of important governmental posts in his life, and was one of the four royal escorts to Sultan Muḥammad Khudābanda Öljeytü (d.716/1316) on military campaigns.[17]

Personal life  

It is believed that al-Qāshānī married and had at least one son, although details remain elusive. His son was called Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī (d. 764/1363) and lived in Shiraz.[18]

 

School of thought/ Sufi order  

Both Sunni and Shi’ite scholars claim he belonged to their school of thought and provide inconclusive evidence for their assertion. Since al-Qāshānī’s students also belonged to both groups (Dāwūd al-Qayṣarī (d. 751/1350) was Sunni while Qāḍī Saʿīd al-Qūnawī (d. unknown) was Shi’ite[19]) no concrete determination can be made on this basis.  

 

Similarly, al-Qāshānī’s Sufi order is unknown. His principal teacher, al-Naṭanzī, was a prominent member of the Suhrawardiyya but it is unclear whether al-Qāshānī followed him.

 

Approach

Although previously thought to be mainly a systemiser of Ibn ‘Arabī’s Sufi outlook, recent scholarship has shown al-Qāshānī to be an original thinker in his own right.[20] Al-Qāshānī never overtly breaks ranks with Ibn ‘Arabī and claims to merely explain the ideas of his master, yet a closer analysis of his works, particularly his commentary of Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, and his commentary of the Qur’an, Ta’wīlāt al-Qur’ān (which is still erroneously attributed to Ibn ‘Arabī), reveals considerable originality.

Al-Qāshānī’s language also differs markedly from that of his Andalusian master. He is far more precise and careful in his use of philosophical terms, and takes great pains to explain them as he goes along. This “thoroughgoing pedagogical concern and didactic procedure” is discernible in much of his corpus,[21] and illuminates that al-Qāshānī’s principal audience is Sufi neophytes, as opposed to the Sufi elite for whom Ibn ‘Arabī writes.

 

It is also evident from al-Qāshānī’s works that his approach is more philosophical than that of Ibn ‘Arabī, and here he is clearly influenced by Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī (d. 673/1274), the adopted son and foremost disciple of Ibn ‘Arabī.[22] But while Avicennan philosophy plays a more greater role in his explanations of the Andalusian master’s thought, he seems to employ the measure not simply to elucidate, but also to defend Ibn ‘Arabī’s thought against detractors, and broaden its appeal.      

 

Notable works

Arabic:

Al-Iṣṭilāḥāt al-ṣūfiyya; Ḥaqāʾiq al-taʾwīl fī daqāʾiq al-tanzīl; Tāʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān;

Tuḥfat al-ikhwān fī khaṣāʾiṣ al-fityān;

Rashḥ al-zulāl fī sharḥ al-alfāẓ al-mutadāwila bayn arbāb al-adhwāq waʾl-aḥwāl;

Sharḥ Fusūṣ al-ḥikam;

Sharḥ Manāzil al-sāʾirīn; Al-Qaḍāʾ waʾl-qadar;

Laṭāʾif al-aʿlām fī ishārāt ahl al-ilhām.

Persian:

Iṣṭilāḥāt-i ṣūfiyān; Tuḥfat-i ikhvān; Taʿlīqa bih Sharḥ-i Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam; Mabdaʾ va maʿād; Nāmah bih ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla Simnānī.[23]  

 

Death

There are six opinions about the date of al-Qāshānī’s death: 720 AH/ 1320 CE?, 727 AH/ 1327 CE?, 730 AH/ 1330 CE?, 735 AH/ 1335 CE?, 736 AH/ 1336 CE? and 887 AH/ 1482 CE.[24] The first three dates are incorrect as there are manuscripts, written by al-Qāshānī himself, dated 735/1335?.[25]  The final date (887 AH/1482 CE?) is an outrageous mistake by Hājī Khalīfa.[26] This means there are two possibilities: 735 AH/ 1335 CE? and 736 AH/ 1336 CE?. Of the two, the latter is the most likely as Dr. ʿAbd al-Khāliq Maḥmūd, after painstaking research, has concluded that the exact date of al-Qāshānī’s death was 3rd Muḥarram, 736 (23rd August 1335).[27]

Ismail Lala

2021

 

 

References

Alkiş, Abdurrahim. “Aburrezāk Kāşānī ve ‘Şehru fusūs’l-hikem’ Adli Eserinin Tahkīk ve Tahlīli.” PhD diss., Marmara University, 2008.

Ergül, Necmettin. “Kāşānī ve Hakāiku’t-te’vīl fī dekāik’t-tenzīl Adli Eserinin.” PhD diss., Harran University, 2002.

 

Al-Jāmī, Nūr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. Nafaḥāt al-uns min ḥaḍarāt al-quds. n.p.: n.p., n.d.

 

Chittick, William C. “The School of Ibn ʿArabī.” In History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Oliver Leaman, 510-27. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.

 

Lala, Ismail. Knowing God: Ibn Arabī and ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī’s Metaphysics of the Divine. Leiden: Brill, 2019.

 

Lory, Pierre. Les commentaires ésotériques du Coran d’aprèsʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī. Paris: Les Deux Oceans, 1980.

 

Morris, James. “Ibn ʿArabī and his Interpreters,” part II-B. In Journal of the American Oriental Society 107 (1987): 101-19. www.ibnarabisociety.org.uk/articlespdf/hi_interpreters3.pdf (accessed 16 December 2014).

 

Al-Qāshānī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq. Rashḥ al-zulāl fī sharḥ al-alfāẓ al-mutadāwila bayna arbāb al-adhwāq waʾl-aḥwāl, edited by

Saʿīd ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ. Cairo: Al-Maktaba al-Azhariyya liʾl-Turāth, 1995.

 

Al-Qāshānī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq. Majmuʿāt-i-rasā’il va muṣannafāt ʿAbd al-Razzāq Kāshānī, edited by Majīd Hādīzāda. Tehran: Mīrās-i Maktūb, 2000.

 

Al-Qāshānī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq. “Ḥaqāʾiq al-taʾwīl fī daqāʾiq al-tanzīl, 866.” Süleymaniye Collection. Collection Number: 00113. Süleymaniye Library, Istanbul.

 

Al-Qāsimī, ʿAlī. “ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī wa-isʾhāmih fī taṭwīr al-muʿjamiyya al-ʿArabiyya.” Majallat majmaʿ al-lugha al-ʿArabiyya 77, no. 4 (n.d.): 715-38.

 

Uludağ, Süleyman. “ʿAbd al-Razzāq al- Kāşānī.” İslâm Ansiklopedisi. Ankara: Milli Egetim, 2002.

Footnotes

F

[1] For a detailed biography in English, of which this entry is a summary, see Ismail Lala, Knowing God: Ibn ‘Arabī and ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī’s Metaphysics of the Divine. 

[2] Al-Qāshānī’s correspondence with ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla al-Simnānī (d. 736/1336) makes this clear. Nūr al-DīnʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī provides a detailed account of this correspondence. See Nūr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī, Nafaḥāt al-uns min ḥaḍarāt al-quds, 306-312. 

[3] Majīd Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt-i-rasāʾil va muṣannafāt ʿAbd al-Razzāq Kāshānī, 26-27.

[4] Ibid., 27.

[5] Alkiş, “Aburrezāk Kāşānī,” 34-35.

[6] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 28.

[7] Pierre Lory, Les commentaires ésotériques du Coran d’aprèsʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī, 20.

[8] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 28.

[9] ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī, “Ḥaqā’iq al-ta’wīl fī daqā’iq al-tanzīl, 866,” 4-5.

[10] Nūr al-DīnʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī provides a detailed account of this correspondence. See Nūr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī, Nafaḥāt al-uns min ḥaḍarāt al-quds, 306-312.  

[11] Ibid., 42.

[12] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 39.

[13] Ibid., 40-41.

[14] Ibid., 77.

[15] Ibid., 86; Alkiş, “Aburrezāk Kāşānī,” 46; Ergül, “Kāşānī,” 36. 

[16] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 90-92; Alkiş, “Aburrezāk Kāşānī,” 54; Ergül, “Kāşānī,” 27. 

[17] Ergül, “Kāşānī,” 26.

[18] Ibid., 97-98.

[19] Uludağ, “ʿAbd al-Razzāq,” 25:5.

[20] See Lala, Knowing God.

[21] James Morris, “Ibn Arabī and His Interpreters,” part II-B, 4. 

[22] William Chittick, “The School of Ibn ʿArabī,” 518.

[23] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 129-30.

[24] Alkiş, “Aburrezāk Kāşānī,” 77; Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 125-26.

[25] ʿAlī al-Qāsimī, “ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī,” 718.

[26] Hādīzāda, Majmuʿāt, 126.

[27] Al-Qāshānī, Rashḥ al-zulāl, 13.

Author Citation Information:

<Lala, Ismail, “Qashani,” ODIP: The Online Dictionary of Intercultural Philosophy (2012), Thorsten Botz-Bornstein (ed.), URL = <www.Odiphilosophy.com/kashani>.