Entangled Religions 13.5 (2022) er.ceres.rub.de

Avicenna’s Šifāʾ from Safavid Iran to the Mughal Empire: On Ms. Rampur Raza Library 3476

Amos Bertolacci IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy

Gholamreza Dadkhah Harvard University, USA

The paper aims at providing a comprehensive description of the manuscript Rampur, Rampur Raza Library 3476 (ḥikma 112), which contains three of the four main parts of Avicenna’s philosophical magnum opus, the Kitāb al-Šifāʾ (the Book of the Cure or: of the Healing). This manuscript documents important developments in the history of Arabic-Islamic philosophy. First, it attests a precise intellectual genealogy within the influential Daštakī family from Shiraz, several exponents of which can be identified as successive owners of this manuscript at the turn of the ninth/fifteenth and tenth/sixteenth centuries, among whom one should mention Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī (d. 903/1498), the founder of the so-called “Šīrāzī school” of philosophy; Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī (d. 948/1542), son of the preceding and author of the first extant commentary on the Ilāhiyyāt (Science of Divine Things, or Metaphysics) of the Šifāʾ in Arabic presently known; and Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī (d. 997/1589), a student and possibly also a relative of Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī, one of the main advocates and promoters of rationalism in India. Second, copied in 718/1318, the manuscript at hand highlights a crucial phase of the transmission of Avicenna’s Šifāʾ, at the pivotal juncture between the most ancient phase of dissemination of the work (fifth to seventh/eleventh to thirteenth centuries) and the later period of its manuscript production (ninth to fourteenth/fifteenth to twentieth centuries). Third, it offers a concrete and insightful specimen of the intellectual exchanges between the Safavid (1502–1736) and the Mughal (1530–1707) empires in the seminal and formative phase of cultural life in Iran and India in the tenth/sixteenth century, in an itinerary that from Shiraz, the place of origin of the Daštakī family, goes eastward in the direction of the Mughal court of Akbar I (r. 963–1014/1556–1605) until it reaches the Raza Library of Rampur at some point.

Avicenna, Kitāb al-Šifāʾ, Safavid Iran, Arabic-Islamic philosophy, Daštakī family, Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, India, Rampur Raza Library



Manuscript Rampur Raza Library 3476 contains a copy of Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Šifāʾ, which deserves attention in the history of Arabic-Islamic philosophy for at least three reasons.1 First, it documents a precise intellectual genealogy within the influential Daštakī family from Shiraz, three generations of which arguably owned this manuscript, at the turn of the ninth/fifteenth and tenth/sixteenth centuries. Although the nisba Daštakī is absent in the ownership statements that can be read in the manuscript, the names mentioned in some of them clearly and coherently hint at members of this family as consecutive owners of the present codex. The correspondence of the names found in the manuscript with those of the Daštakī family members is attested by historical sources.2 Second, copied in 718/1318, the manuscript in question highlights a crucial phase of the transmission of Avicenna’s philosophical magnum opus, the Kitāb al-Šifāʾ (the Book of the Cure or: of the Healing), of which it represents a valuable testimonium, at the pivotal juncture between the most ancient phase of dissemination of the work (fifth to seventh/eleventh to thirteenth centuries) and the later period of its manuscript production (ninth to fourteenth/fifteenth to twentieth centuries). Third, it offers a concrete and insightful specimen of the intellectual exchanges between the Safavid (1502–1736) and the Mughal (1530–1707) empires at the outset of their historical life span, in the seminal and formative phase of cultural life in Iran and India in the tenth/sixteenth century, in an itinerary that from Shiraz, the place of origin of the Daštakī family, goes eastward in the direction of the Mughal court of Akbar I (reg. 963–1014/1556–1605), until it reaches the Raza Library of Rampur at some point.3 These three reasons of interest in the manuscript can be seen as three concentric stories, in which the reiterated father-to-son handling of a precious codex within an inner family circuit goes hand in hand with the fate of one of the most impactful summa of philosophy ever written in the history of falsafa, and the personal heritage transactions among the Daštakīs, as well as the specific dissemination routes of the Šifāʾ, enter into the shaping an epoch-making event of cultural transfer in a larger geographical setting and with a wider geopolitical impact.


The manuscript Rampur Raza Library 3476 is well known to scholars of Avicenna and of Islamic philosophy in general. Its importance was recently stressed, among others, by Reza Pourjavady, Sajjad Rizvi, Asad Ahmed, and Sonja Brentjes, after the pioneering mentions by Carl Brockelmann in the supplementary volumes of his Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur [sic], and by Georges Anawati, in his Essai de bibliographie avicennienne (Pourjavady 2011, 23; Rizvi 2011, 11; Ahmed 2012, 202; Brentjes 2018, 134–35; Brockelmann 1937–1942, I–III:1:815; Anawati 1950, 74).4 A comprehensive description of its transmission history, however, is still lacking, despite the relevance of its possessors. It is hardly necessary to recall the significance of the first attested owner of the manuscript, Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī (d. 903/1498), the founder of the so-called “Šīrāz school” of philosophy and one of the most influential intellectual figures of his time.5 Equally well-known is that Ġeyāṯ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī (d. 948/1542), son of the preceding, eponym of the famous Madrasa-ye Manṣūriyya founded by his father, and owner of the manuscript after this latter, was the author of the first extant commentary on the Ilāhiyyāt (Science of Divine Things, or Metaphysics) of the Šifāʾ in Arabic presently known.6 A third owner of the manuscript, Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī (d. 997/1589)7, a student and possibly also a relative of Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī, is credited with being one of the main advocates and promoters of rationalism in India, once he became a member of the court of the Mughal ruler Akbar I. In so far as this codex was arguably among the philosophical works that he brought with him from Iran to India, he can be regarded as one of the fathers of Indian Avicennism (Rizvi 2011, 9–11; Ahmed 2012, 202 (n. 9); Niewöhner-Eberhard 2009, 36, 48 (n. 213), 87). But the list of owners of the present manuscript is not limited to these prime exponents of Safavid and Mughal falsafa: They also include other less known figures, who are nonetheless, despite their scarce notoriousness, significant examples of cultural life at the turn between the eleventh/seventeenth and the twelfth/eighteenth centuries. Some of them confirm, for example, the close interaction of philosophy and medicine in the transmission of Avicenna’s work (see Bertolacci 2019): In 1100/1689, a certain Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad bequeathed this manuscript to his descendants together with other works, among which a commentary on Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine. The inclusion of women in the circuit of knowledge is also attested: The inheritors of this manuscript from Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad were not only his son, Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī, but also his daughter Fāṭema.


Therefore, a more comprehensive codicological description of our manuscript, in which the already known data can be precisely documented and new information may be provided, is recommendable. The present contribution strives towards this aim. Section I proposes an overview of the main features of this manuscript, its copyist, and its owners in the Daštakī family as well as later possessors. Section II pinpoints its significance for the transmission history of Avicenna’s Šifāʾ, with particular regard to its final metaphysical section (Ilāhiyyāt). The data presented here are the outcome of the research on the manuscripts of Avicenna’s Šifāʾ conducted within the ERC funded project “Philosophy on the Border of Civilizations and Intellectual Endeavours” (henceforth: PhiBor), where a selection of its most relevant passages are visualized.8 On account of its importance, as documented in the following pages, the manuscript analyzed here has been selected in this project for the new critical edition of the Ilāhiyyāt of the Šifāʾ proposed there (siglum R), together with other fifteen manuscripts, the work of a second-generation disciple of Avicenna (Abū l-ʿAbbās al-Lawkarī’s Bayān al-ḥaqq bi-ḍamān al-ṣidq, Clarification of the Truth with the Guarantee of the Veracity) in which the Ilāhiyyāt is abundantly quoted (fifth to sixth/eleventh to twelfth century), and the Latin medieval translation (sixth/twelfth century).

Description and History of the Manuscript


The Ms. India, Rampur, Rampur Raza Library 3476 A (ḥikma 112) is described in at least two catalogues of the library in which it is housed: Moḥammad Aǧmal Khān, Fehrest-e Kotob-e ʿArabīya-ye maujūda-ye kotobḫāna-ye reyāsat-e Rāmpūr, vol. I, Rampur (1902), p. 397 (where it is labelled ḥikma 112)9, and in Imtiyāz ʿAlī ʿAršī, Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in Raza Library Rampur, vol. IV: Sufism, Holy Scriptures, Logic & Philosophy, Printed for Raza Library Trust, Rampur, U.P. India (1971), pp. 440–441 (where it is recorded as nr. 3476 al-ḥikma al-ʿāmma). As to its content, we face a huge manuscript of 431 folios (in fact, of 862 pages, since it is a paginated, rather than foliated, codex) comprising the logic, natural philosophy, and metaphysics of the Šifāʾ, according to a very common format of three parts (rather than four) of transmission of Avicenna’s philosophical magnum opus.10 A table of contents precedes each of the three parts.11 In the part on natural philosophy, Avicenna’s medical treatise al-Adwiya al-qalbiyya (Cardiac Remedies), often incorporated into the Šifāʾ, occurs in a very peculiar position, namely at the end of the entire natural philosophy, rather than at the end of Book of the Soul, Treatise IV, where it is usually found in the manuscripts of the Šifāʾ which contain it (see Alpina 2017). The history of this manuscript is a unique and intriguing specimen of intertwined family links and scholarly connections. Ten distinct steps of its transmission can be distinguished on the basis of the colophon and the ownership statements present in it.

Table 1:  
Step 1 Early Rabīʿ I, 718/10–15 May, 1318 Copied by Maḥmūd ebn ʿAlī ebn Moḥammad ebn ʿAlī Wandgalī, possibly not in Wandgal (Kashan, Iran) but elsewhere
Step 2 845/1441 Collated
Step 3 Before 903/1498 Studied by Ṣadr Moḥammad (i.e., Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī, d. 903/1498)
Step 4 Before 948/1543 Possessed by Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī (i.e., Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī, d. 948), son of Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī
Step 5 Before 962/1555 Owned by Moḥammad ebn Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī (i.e., Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad II, d. 962/1555), son of Ġeyās al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī
Step 6 Before 997/1589 Presumably owned by Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī (d. 997/1589), a student of Ġeyās al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī
Step 7 In the late tenth or early eleventh century Allegedly owned by an unknown student/ relative of Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī
Step 8 Before 1100/1689 Possessed by a certain Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad until 1100/1689
Step 9 1100/1689 Given by Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad to his son Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī and his daughter Fāṭema in 1100/1689
Step 10 ? Lodged at some point in Rampur


Step 1). The copying of the logic part of the manuscript was completed, from an erroneous exemplar (nusḫa saqīma), in the early Rabīʿ I, 718/10–15 of May 1318, by a not particularly well-known Maḥmūd ebn ʿAlī ebn Moḥammad ebn ʿAlī Wandgalī.12 The date of copying of 718/1318 can be taken as representative of the copying of the entire manuscript, which is copied by the same hand, presumably in a continuous span of time. This being the case, our manuscript is, as known at present, the only dated manuscript of the Ilāhiyyāt of the Šifāʾ that was copied in the eighth/fourteenth century. The place of copying is not specified in the colophon of logic or elsewhere in the manuscript. Nonetheless, the copyist remarks in the colophon of logic that Wandgal, from which his attributive Wandgalī is derived, is a village near Qāsān (nowadays Kashan), Iran.13 This leads us to assume that the immediate readers of the codex were not familiar with the place of origin of the copyist, and that, therefore, the manuscript might have been copied not in Wandgal and Kashan, but elsewhere.


Colophon of Logic, p. 486 (ll. 5–14):


فرغ من تسوید هذه المجلّدة الداعي لصاحبها أینما کان محمود بن عليّ بن محمّد | ابن عليّ الوندکلي وهي قریة من إحدی قری قاسان حماها الله من طوارق | الحدثان في أوائل ربیع الأوّل من شهور سنة ثمان عشر وسبعمائة | وقد کتب من نسخة سقیمة کثیرة التصحیفات قلیلة التصحیحات | والکاتب في أیدي الزمان أسیر و في قید الهوان کسیر | ومع ذلك لا یقدر علی إدراك معانیها وإبدال ألفاظها وقد | استمسك بالعروة الوثقی أعني ألطاف المولی أن یبلّ (؟) عليّ | ذیل الإغماض وإلّا فاقض ما أنت قاض فإنّه قد بلغت نفسي | بأقصی غایة جهدها ولا یکلّف الله نفساً إلّا وسعها | وصلّی الله علی خیر الأخیار محمّد وصحبه الأبرار.


The one who prays for its owner, wherever he may be, Maḥmūd ebn ʿAlī ebn Moḥammad ebn ʿAlī al-Wandgalī, which is one of the villages of Qāsān, may God protect it from the calamities of misfortune, terminated the copying of this volume at the beginning of the month Rabīʿ al-awwal of the year 718. It was copied from a faulty manuscript, full of misspellings, with few corrections. And the copyist is prisoner in the hands of time, and defeated in the chain of disgrace; still, he is not able to grasp its meanings and replace its words, while he held the trustworthy bond, that is, the benevolences of the master to close his eyes to my [faults]; if not, then judge what you <prefer to> judge, for my soul reached the utmost degree of its exertion, and God charges no soul except <what is in> its capacity. God bless the best of the best <men> Moḥammad and his pious companions.14


Step 2). The three parts of the manuscript were collated almost a century and a half later (845/1441). The sequence of the collation, however, does not correspond to the order of the parts of the Šifāʾ in the manuscript: The collation of the part on natural philosophy (i.e., the second part) was completed in Muḥarram 845, a few months before the completion of the collation of the part on logic (i.e., the first part) on the 2nd of Ǧumādà II, 845. The date of collation of the part on metaphysics (i.e., the third part) is unreadable due to damage: One may speculate that it was done during the four months separating the collations of the other two parts.


Collation note, Natural philosophy, p. 771 (on the left, below the explicit):


تمّ مقابلة هذا القسم الطبیعي وبعد لا تصحّح | وأرجو أن أطالعه مراراً فصحّح في *** | الکتاب واللباب (؟) في محرّم | سنة ٨٤٥


The collation of this part on natural philosophy is completed, and yet <the text of this part> is not corrected. I hope I will study it several times, so that it will be corrected in *** the writing and the gist. <This happened> in <the month> Muḥarram of the year 845.


Collation note, Logic, p. 486 (below the colophon):


قد تمّ مقابلة القسم (کذا) المنطق وإن کان مع نسخة سقیمة أیضاً | خصوصاً من المغالطة إلی الآخر لکنّي أظنّ أنّه في المطالعة | یصیر صحیحاً في ٢ جمادى الآخر سنة ٨٤٥ الهجریة


The collation of the part of logic is completed, although <it was done> again with a faulty copy, especially from the <section on> fallacy to the end. I think, however, that once it is studied it will become correct. <That happened> on the 2nd of Ǧumādà II of the year 845 from the Migration.


Collation note, Metaphysics, p. 861 (bottom of page, under the explicit; covered by a tape and only partially readable):


تمّ مقابلة ***


The collation is completed ***


The reason why the collation of the part on natural philosophy preceded that of the part on logic (and presumably that of the part on metaphysics as well), if, as it seems, all three collations were made by the same person, remains obscure.15


Step 3). The manuscript was studied (kāna fī muṭālaʿa) by a certain Ṣadr Moḥammad, who can be safely identified as Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī, as indicated by the extolling praise of his intellectual merits in the following ownership statement on p. 495, written by the hand of his grandson, Moḥammad ebn Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī, known as Ṣadr the Second, i.e., Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad II Daštakī Šīrāzī (see also Step 5, below). The most relevant passages are marked in red.


Ownership statement, p. 495 (ll. 8–16):


هو| إنّ هذا الکتاب کان في مطالعة جدّي وسیّدي وإسنادي صدر الحکماء بدر العلماء شمس السماء | قمر الخضراء النیّر الأعظم ومنوّر العالم صدر الحقیقة محمّد الماضي علیه من الله السلام ثمّ انتقل منه إلی ولده | العلّامة وهو أبي وسيّدي وأستادي فخر آبائي وأجدادي إمام الحکمة غیاث النفوس | کاشف الغمّة صاحب الهمّة الإمام الجامع الغالب علی الشیخ الرئیس والحکیم العظیم الفائق علی | أرسطاطالیس أکمل أهل النظر أستاد البشر العقل الحادي عشر أعني الحضرة العلیّة البهیّة | والسدّة السنیّة الجلیّة الفیلسوفیة غیاث الأنام المنصور کاسمه ناصر الشریعة والإسلام | ثمّ انتقل منه إلی ابنه وتلمیذه بل أقلّ عبد من عبیده الباسط ذراعیه بالوصید | محمّد بن علي (؟) منصور بن محمّد الحسیني المشتهر بصدر الثاني شرح الله صدره ورفع قدره.


He. This book was studied by my grandfather, my master and my support, the highest among the wise ones, the full moon of the scholars, the sun of the heaven, the moon of the green [sky], the great star which illuminates the world, the head of truth, the late Moḥammad, may peace be from God upon him. Then it came from him into the possession of his most learned son, who was my father, my lord, and my master, the pride of my grandparents and ancestors, the leader of wisdom, the aider of mankind, the one who removes the grief, and possesses ambition, the universal leader who overshadowed the chief master and the great philosopher [i.e. Avicenna], and surpassed Aristotle, the most perfect among the people of speculation, the master of mankind, the eleventh intellect, namely the high and glorious presence, and the supreme and splendid court, the philosopher, the aider of mankind, the one who was aided as his name indicates, the helper of religion and Islam. Then it came from him into the possession of his son and his pupil, rather of the most humble among his servants, the one who stretched his forelegs at the doorstep, Moḥammad ebn ʿAlī (?) Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī known as Ṣadr II, may God cause him joy and lift his rank.


Step 4). The manuscript then came into the possession of Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī (i.e., Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī), son of the aforementioned Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad I (see Step 3). The following ownership statement was written by the hand of Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr himself.


Ownership statement, p. 495 (ll. 1-7):


هو | انتقل هذا الکتاب المشتمل علی زبد هي نتائج الأنظار المحتوي علی نخب هي أبکار الأفکار | هو بحر فیه درر الدقائق وکنز أودع فیه نقود الحقائق ألفاظه معادن جواهر المطالب | الشریفة وحروفه أکمام (أکامیم؟) أزاهیر النکات اللطیفة ففي کلّ لفظ منه روض من المنی | وفي کلّ سطر منه عقد من الدرر *** | *** إلی أحوج الخلائق إلی فضل الله الغنيّ منصور بن محمّد الحسیني | ختم له بالحسنی.


He. This book – which contains the quintessences resulting from speculations, embraces selections which are unprecedented thoughts, a sea where pearl-like points exist, a treasure where money-like truths can be found, whose words are mines of demanded and noble jewels, whose letters are calyxes of the flowers of subtle points, so that there are gardens of desires in each of its words, and necklace of pearls in each line of it16 *** *** – came to the one who needs the favor of God, the Rich, more than any other creature <Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn> Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī <Daštakī Šīrāzī>, may God provide him with a good end.


Ownership statement, again by the hand of Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī, p. 777 (ll. 1-3):


من متملّکات الفقیر إلی الله الغنيّ | منصور بن محمّد الحسیني | متّع الله به.


<This is> among the properties of the poor, who needs God, the Rich, Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī, may God grant him enjoyment throughout his life.


Step 5). The manuscript was later owned by Moḥammad ebn Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī, i.e., Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad II (d. 962/1555), son of Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī and grandson of Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad I, as indicated in the abovementioned ownership statement on p. 495 (Step 3), as well as in the following one on p. 777 (ll. 3-5):


ثمّ انتقل منه انتقالاً صحیحاً شرعیاً إلی ابنه وتلمیذه بل أقلّ عبد من عبیده | الباسط ذراعیه بالوصید الفقیر الغنيّ المستغني من الدنیا الدنيّ والعقبی السنيّ | محمّد بن منصور بن محمّد الحسیني المشتهر بصدر الثاني متّعه الله به آمین.


Then it came rightly and legally from him into the possession of his son and his pupil, or better of the lowest among his servants, the one who stretches his arms at the threshold [see Qurʾān 50: 18], the poor <in need of> the Rich, the One who can dispense from the earthly world and the lofty outcome, Moḥammad ebn Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī known as Ṣadr al-Ṯānī, may God grant him enjoyment through it. Amen


Ṣadr al-Dīn II’s ownership of the manuscript is also attested by his stamp on the bottom of the same p. 495.


Step 6). A possible further owner, Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, a student of Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī and member of the court of the Mughal ruler Akbar I the Great,17 wrote the table of contents and presumably first brought the manuscript to India18, where at some point it was lodged in the Mughal royal library and later transferred to Rampur.


Note in Persian, p. 1 (upper-left side of the page):


فهرست این کتاب شریف ندیر | عدیم النظیر بخط شاه فتح الله است قدّس سرّه | و باقی حالش معلوم است که در | مطالعه سلف علما بود و تصحیح و اشارات | و رموزی که ظاهر میشود شاهد است.


The table of contents of this noble, unique, and unparalleled book is by the hand of Šāh Fatḥ Allāh <Šīrāzī>, may his soul be sanctified, and the other issues are clear, i.e., it was studied by preceding scholars, a fact that is witnessed by <their> apparent corrections, indications, and subtle points.


This note, which ascribes to Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī the composition of the index of the manuscript, is written by someone (possibly a student or a relative of Šāh Fatḥollāh) who was familiar enough to him to recognize his hand in the index of content, or to be informed that the hand in question was his own. This information on the hand was apparently taken as trustworthy by subsequent annotators (see the following note, at point c). The present note is written in a hand different from the hands of the other notes, including the one which follows.


Note in Persian, p. 9 (center-left side of the page):


هو | این کتاب جلیل القدر را که از عرایس و نفایس روزگار است | و در مطالعه عالیه حضرت سیّد الحکماء و صدر العلماء امیر صدر الدین شیرازی بوده | وظهر ورق اول علم طبیعی و علم الهی بخط شریف غیاث *** | امیر غیاث الدین منصور و خلف الصدق ایشان میر صدر الدین ثانی علیه الرحمة | و الرضوان توشیح و تزیین یافته و فهرست علم منطق و طبیعی و الهی آن بخط عالی | علامه دهر شاه فتح الله شیرازی است رحمة الله علیه حضرت والد | أدام الله سبحانه عزّه و شأنه بتاریخ نهم جمادی الأولی سنه ٣٣ جلوس الهی | مطابق سنه ١١٠٠ هجری بافقر احقر آرزومند مغفرت و نیازمند شفاعت کمترین | فرزندان باخلاص مخدومی (؟) محرّر این سطور هبه فرمودند حرّره ابن حاجی محمد | المخاطب بمیرخان محمد هادی الحسینی شرح الله صدورهما و یسّر لهما أمورهما | *** ربّ العالمین سیّد المرسلین و آله و صحبه علیه و علیهم | الصلوات و التحیّات.


He. This is a noble book which is regarded among the most precious objects of <this> time. The book was studied by the majesty, master of the philosophers and chief of the scholars Amīr Ṣadr al-Dīn Šīrāzī. And the back of the first page of the science of physics and of metaphysics is endorsed and adorned by the hand of Amīr Ġiyāṯ al-Dīn Manṣūr <Daštakī Šīrāzī> and his true successor Mīr Ṣadr al-Dīn Ṯānī, may <God> grant peace upon him and be satisfied with him. And the table of contents of its logic, physics, and metaphysics is by the noble hand of the most learned of this time Šāh Fatḥ Allāh Šīrāzī, peace be upon him. My father, may God, the Glorious, prolong his honor and position, gifted it to the poor and humble who wishes <God’s> forgiveness and needs <His> intercession, the most humble among <his> children by showing honesty, the writer of these lines, on 9th Ǧumādà al-ūlà of the year 33 of the Divine accession19 corresponding to year 1100 of the Migration. It was written by the son of Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad called Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Hādī Ḥosainī, may God expand their breasts and make their affairs easy for them *** Lord of the worlds, lord of the messengers, his family and his companions, peace and salutation upon him and upon them.


This second note indicates that: a) the manuscript was studied (and owned) by Amīr Ṣadr al-Dīn [Daštakī] Šīrāzī (see also Step 5); b) the front side (recto) of the first pages of the physics (p. 495) and the metaphysics (p. 777) is adorned (tazyīn), namely contains ownership statements, by the hand of Amīr Ġeyās al-Dīn Manṣūr [Daštakī Šīrāzī] and his true successor (ḫalafo l-ṣedq) Mīr Ṣadr al-Dīn [i.e. Ṣadr II] (see also Steps 3 and 4); c) the tables of contents of the physics and of the metaphysics were written by the noble hand (ḫaṭṭ-e šarīf) of the most learned of our time (ʿallāma-ye dahr), Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī (see previous note); d) the manuscript was donated by Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad to his son, who wrote the note (see also Steps 8 and 9) on 9th Ǧomādà I of the year 33 (of the ǧolūs-e elāhī, “divine accession,” i.e., of the reign of Akbar I the Great) corresponding to 1100H; e) the writer of the note was the son of Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad, Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī (see also Step 9). 


Step 7). The manuscript was possibly owned by a student or a relative of Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, the person who wrote the Persian note on p. 1 (see the first note of Step 6 above), when Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī had already passed away, because of the formula “quddisa sirruhū” (may his soul be sanctified) which follows his name in the note.


Step 8). As indicated in the note above (Step 6, note on p. 9), the manuscript was in the possession of Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad until 1100/1689. Possibly a physician himself, he looks to have been interested in philosophy and medicine, since he possessed books in these two fields (see Step 9, the note in Persian on p. 1).


Step 9). The manuscript was given by Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad to his son, Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī20 (see Step 6, the note on p. 9), and to his daughter, Fāṭema, together with seven other books, among which a commentary on Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine by Ḥakīm ʿAlī, in 1100/1689.21


Note in Persian, p. 1 (lower part of the page):


مخفی و مستور نماند که این کتاب شریف با کتب مفصّله ذیل الکتاب که عدد آنها مجموع با کتاب شفاء مزبور هشت جلد است سوی قرآن که با قرآن نه مجلد *** | میانه حضرت سیادت و افادت پناه حقایق و معارف آگاه عمدة اجلّة السادات و النخب العظام نوراً للسیادة و الفضیلة و العزّ و الدین محمّدا حسینا | الشهیر بمیرزا خان مشترک است و میانه سیادت و عفت دستگاه عمدة المخدّرات فاطمه خانم همشیرۀ مشار إلیه، للذکر ضعف الأنثی سوی کلام الله مجید | که مختصّ مشار إلیه است بعنوان حبوه شرعیه و مسمّاة مزبوره را در قرآن حقی نیست و قیمت این کتاب شریف منیع بیست و هشت تومان است | کتاب شرح قانون حکیم علی جلد؛ کتاب رموز الأوراد (؟) جلد؛ کتاب ترویح الأرواح جلد؛ کتاب تلخیص الأمّ جلد؛ کتاب متوسطات جلد؛ کتاب *** جلد؛ کتاب مختصر مخروطات جلد؛ کتاب شفاء مذکور | و قیمت سایر کتب بنوعی است که در ضمن هر کتابی قلمی شده که مجموع آن مبلغ هفده تومان و شش *** هزار دینار رایج (؟) است و چون قرآن حبوه است هدیه نشده | و حسب الإرث والد ماجد ایشان منتقل شده بمشار إلیهما و سایر ورثه را در کتب مزبوره حقی نیست.


This note can be paraphrased as follows:


It should be clarified that this honorable book, together with the books which are mentioned below in detail and whose number, including the previously mentioned Šifāʾ, is eight, excluding the Qurʾān, with which the number [of the books] will be nine, goes into the possession of Moḥammadā Ḥosainā, known as Mīrzā Ḫān, and his sister Fāṭema. The Qurʾān is only for the former as a legal ḥabwa (a gift for the eldest immediate son) and the latter has no right in it. The price of this honorable book is 28 tomans. The commentary on the Qānūn by Ḥakīm ʿAlī, the Rumūz al-awrād [?], the Tarwīḥ al-arwāḥ, the Talḫīṣ al-Umm, the Mutawassiṭāt, the book of ***, the Muḫtaṣar Maḫrūṭāt, and the aforementioned Šifāʾ. The price of each book is indicated under its name, and the total sum is 17 tomans and 6000 current dinars [?]. Since the Qurʾān is a ḥabwa, it has not been gifted [to Fāṭema]. These books are possessed by the two mentioned persons as goods inherited from their father, and the other heirs have no right to possess them.


Note, p. 495 (bottom of page, followed by Mīr Ḫān’s stamp; the same note is visible on page 777 followed again by his stamp):


هو | ثمّ انتقل بالهبة الشرعیة من جناب الوالد الماجد أدام الله سبحانه | عزّه وشأنه إلی الأحوج إلی غفران ربّه الغنيّ وشفاعة حبیبه المولی (؟) | ابن حاجّي محمّد المخاطب بمیر خان محمّد هادي الحسیني عفی عنهما | وتلك الهبة في تاسع جمادی *** خمسة من المائة الأولی | من الألف الثاني من الهجرة المصطفیة علی صاحبها | وعترته وصحبته الصلوة والسلام والتحیة.


He. Then <this book> passed by means of a legal donation from the honorable father, may God, the Glorious, prolong his honor, his rank and his condition, to the one who needs very much the forgiveness of his Lord, the Rich, and the intercession of his beloved master, ebn Ḥāǧǧī Moḥammad, called Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Hādī Ḥosainī, may <God> forgive them. And that donation occurred on the 9th of Ǧumādà *** of <the year> 1100 from the Migration of the chosen <Prophet>, may <His> prayer, <His> peace and <His> salutation be upon the one who did <this Migration> and upon his tribe and companions.


Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī was well-known to the curator of the 1971 catalogue of the Rampur Raza Library, who reports “Mīr M. Ḥādī (d. 1114/1703)” among the owners of the manuscripts, specifying his date of death. On the bottom of pages 495 and 777, his stamps include the name of Šāh-e ʿĀlamgīr (Aurangzeb), who reigned over a major part of the Indian subcontinent from 1068/1658 to 1118/1707. This inclusion attests Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī’s close relationship with the court. He likely lived on the Indian subcontinent and was a member of the school of Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, since he describes Šāh Fatḥollāh as “the most learned of [our] time” (ʿallāma-ye dahr) and computes time by means of the chronological system (ǧolūs-e elāhī) current in the Mughal era (see Step 6, note on p. 9 and footnote 20), instead of the heǧrī system which was widely used all over the Islamic lands. This hypothesis finds some support in the tenth-to-eleventh-century manuscript of the Ilāhiyyāt, Baku, National Academy of Sciences, M-102, which was first in the possession of Mīrzā Ǧān Šīrāzī (f. 2r), a rival and colleague of Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, and subsequently came into the possession of a Moḥammad Hādī l-Ḥosaynī ebn Mīr-Ḫān, whose name closely resembles that of our Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī (see footnote 21). Should this identification be tenable, it would imply that Ḥosainī (and presumably his father) were connected, in one way or another, with the intellectual tradition cultivated by Mīrzā Ǧān Šīrāzī and Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī in the tenth/sixteenth and eleventh/seventeenth centuries in India.


Step 10). The manuscript was lodged in Rampur at some point.

Ms. Rampur 3476 from a Chronological Perspective


The number of extant manuscripts of the Šifāʾ presently known greatly surpasses the figures provided in the available bibliographies of Avicenna’s works. Taking the metaphysical part (Ilāhiyyāt) of this summa as case in point, we observe that this fourth and last portion of Avicenna’s work is preserved in more than 280 codices known to date, whereas Avicennian bibliographies of the twentieth century do not arrive at eighty units. The overall count of the codices increases if we also take into consideration the manuscripts of the Persian translations of the Ilāhiyyāt in which the Arabic original text is incorporated, and the Arabic manuscripts that are attested by other codices as their immediate or remote exemplars but cannot be presently retrieved.22


The manuscripts of the Ilāhiyyāt—which often also contain some other parts of this summa, as in the case of the manuscript at hand, or even the work in its entirety—were copied uninterruptedly throughout ten centuries, since the fifth/eleventh century, a few decades after Avicenna’s death, until the fourteenth/twentieth century, less than one hundred years ago.23 The geographical dissemination of the depositories embraces libraries in Europe and the United States and a wide array of centers in the Near East and Central Asia, from Morocco to Malaysia. The largest repository of manuscripts is Iran, both in terms of manuscripts preserved (more than 150 extant codices) and of cities and libraries involved, followed by Turkey (more than forty manuscripts) and India (more than twenty codices).


In a chronological perspective, three striking features of the activity of copying of the Šifāʾ in general, and of the Ilāhiyyāt in particular, can be singled out. First, some ancient exemplars enjoyed wide circulation and were copied in distinct later manuscripts, now preserved in Iraq, Iran, or India, so as to function as “editions” of the work. We can detect at least three ancient exemplars of the Šifāʾ of this kind copied respectively in 468-9/1076-7, probably in Nishapur (three later known copies), in 503/1109-10 in Baghdad (seven later copies amenable to it), and in 509/1115, once again in Baghdad (one later known copy). From the temporal distance between these three “editions,” we can observe a sort of intensification of the copying of the Šifāʾ over time, since the Baghdad editions of 503 and 509 are much closer temporally to one another than they are to edition 468-9.


The second remarkable trait of the chronology of manuscripts of the Ilāhiyyāt is the substantial continuity of the activity of copying over time. The only significant decrease in the number of attested copies of the Ilāhiyyāt can be observed from the first decades of the eighth/fourteenth century (after 718/1318-9, date of copying of the present manuscript) until the second half of the ninth/fifteenth century (865/1461), determining for more than a century a real collapse in the activity of copying, with no extant dated manuscript presently known produced in this period. This decrement marks a significant hiatus between the older stage of transmission of the work (fifth to seventh/eleventh to thirteenth centuries) and its later stage (ninth to fourteenth/fifteenth to twentieth centuries). If a similar decrease of the manuscript diffusion in this same period should also affect the other parts of the Šifāʾ—as the chronological data that begin to be gathered about the manuscripts of these parts of Avicenna’s work seem to suggest24—we would likely face a repercussion on cultural life of the political and economic decline of the Ilkhanid Mongol power in the area at the time, which apparently had a long-lasting disruptive impact on the circulation even of prime philosophical works like the Šifāʾ for more than a century, until the Timurid cultural revival at the turn between the eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries. Alternatively, this sudden decrease of copies of Avicenna’s work may be explained as a belated effect of the fall of the capital Baghdad—the main center where ancient copies of the work were produced, as we have seen—under the Mongols in 656/1258, if the new political dominion determined an interruption of cultural activities in the main city of the Muslim empire, as one may incline to suppose.


The third noteworthy aspect of the activity of copying regarding the Ilāhiyyāt is its exponential increase in the eleventh/seventeenth century, at the heyday of the Safavid era. Whereas the number of known copies produced in previous centuries amounts to at most a couple of tens per century (in the ninth/fifteenth century, for example) and does not exceed the seventy units cumulatively reached (including the non-extant attested exemplars), by the eleventh/seventeenth century we witness the production of more than one hundred manuscripts of the Ilāhiyyāt in one single century. Even if we cannot exclude that copies of the Šifāʾ antedating the eleventh/seventeenth century might have been lost without leaving any trace, the Safavid period remains the apogee of the copying process of the Ilāhiyyāt, which gradually decreases in the following centuries. This fact is, on the one hand, a confirmation of what we presently know about the so-called “Safavid renaissance” (Pourjavady and Schmidtke 2015). On the other hand, it is significant with respect to the diffusion and impact of Avicenna’s philosophy: After the “golden age” of the reception of Avicenna argued in previous scholarship from the fifth/eleventh until the middle of the eighth/fourteenth century, and the later “golden ages” in which the reception of Avicenna is substantiated in a regional perspective by subsequent studies, the eleventh/seventeenth century in Safavid Iran emerges as a real “platinum age” of the production of copies of the Ilāhiyyāt and, arguably, of the other parts of the Šifāʾ as well. The same applies to the Persian translations of the Ilāhiyyāt, which start being produced in this period, and to the commentaries on the work, which only begin gaining literary independence since the Safavid period: At this time the glosses on the Ilāhiyyāt—a type of exegetical practice that existed long before—began to circulate as independent works with their own titles, and the commentary activity in this and the following centuries involved an unprecedented number of exegetes.


The manuscript under consideration instantiates these three general features in a remarkable way, showing how the survival and circulation of valuable exemplars helped assure the Ilāhiyyāt and other parts of the Šifāʾ an uninterrupted and long-lasting transmission in connection with the Safavid renaissance in Iran. First, written at the beginning of the eighth/fourteenth (718/1318–9), the manuscript at hand closes what we have determined above as the older stage of transmission of the work (fifth to seventh/eleventh to thirteenth centuries), and opens the thriving stage of its dissemination under the Safavids, having been copied shortly after the death of Qoṭb al-Dīn Šīrāzī (634–710/1236–1311), one of the last scholars who shared a “dismissive attitude towards Ebn Sīnā and the Peripatetics” in pre-Safavid times (Pourjavady and Schmidtke 2015, 252).


Second, on account of its historical importance, it comes as no surprise that our manuscript was copied afterwards. In fact, it turns out to remain at the origin of a later codex preserved in the Raza Library of Rampur (Ms. Rampur, Rampur Raza Library 3478 ع), which is one of the latest manuscripts of the Ilāhiyyāt presently known, having been copied in 1267/1850–51: Like its exemplar, it contains the logic, natural philosophy, and metaphysics of the Šifāʾ. Also, a manuscript preserved in Iran might be related with it: Ms. Khoy, Ketābḫāna-ye Madrasa-ye Namāzī 247, copied in 986/1578, whose patron (ʿAbdolḫāleq ebn Moḥammad Maḥmūd Gīlānī) reportedly was a student of the same Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī who wrote the various indexes of contents in our Rampur manuscript, as well as of Mīrzā Ǧān.25 Historical sources inform us that ʿAbdolḫāleq studied the Khoy manuscript with Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī and collated it and corrected it before 988/1580—that is to say, in all likelihood before Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī moved to the court of Akbar I in India around 991 H. On the basis of these provisional data, we should expect to see the descendants of Ms. Rampur 3476 disclosed by future philological research and historical evidence to increase in number.


Finally, our manuscript testifies in different ways to the Safavid renaissance. On the one hand, it documents ownership by a handful of the most famous initiators of the cultural efflorescence regarding philosophy within the Iranian intelligentsia of the time. On the other hand, it attests to the energy and attractiveness of this intellectual movement by showing how, through its impulse, relevant textual material seminally spread from Iran to the Indian sub-continent. The manuscript at hand preserves remarkable signs of a continuous scholarly consideration of the Šifāʾ by a series of distinguished intellectuals. The leg of its ownership history that we can presently identify spans, in fact, from 903/1498, the date of death of its first attested owner Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī, until 1105/1694, date in which its last known owner Mīr/Mīrzā Ḫān Moḥammad Hādī Ḥosainī turns out to have got possession of it; in this way, it covers two full centuries of one of the most important and impactful phases of post-Avicennian philosophy in Iran and India. Within this time framework, three of the most important exponents of intellectual life in the region during the ninth/fifteenth and tenth/sixteenth centuries are involved (Ṣadr al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī Šīrāzī, his son Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī, and this latter student Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī). Although their access to the Šifāʾ was not limited to this manuscript (the glosses on the Ilāhiyyāt contained in our manuscript, for instance, are scanty and do not correspond to what we presently know of the commentary by Ġeyāṯ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī on this part of the Šifāʾ), their shared ownership of the present codex of Avicenna’s masterpiece in philosophy represent a historical phenomenon of utmost interest.


Other examples of manuscripts which document family and scholarly ties of historical importance have recently been brought to the scholarly attention.26 The codex analyzed in the present contribution deserves to be placed in this prestigious category of historical documents.


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Witkam, Jan Just. 1995. “The Human Element Between text and Reader. The Ijāza in Arabic Manuscripts.” In The Codicology of Islamic Manuscripts, edited by Yasin Dutton, 123–36. The Proceedings of the Second Conference of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, 4-5 December 1993. London: Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation.

  1. The authors are grateful to members of the PhiBor project (Stefano Di Pietrantonio, Silvia Di Vincenzo, Daniele Marotta, Ivana Panzeca), to Reza Pourjavady, Kianoosh Rezania, Mohammad Hossein Hakim, and two anonymous referees for the precious help received. In the present paper, both Persian and Arabic are transliterated according to the DMG system. The spelling of proper names differs depending on the context.↩︎

  2. See, e.g., Afandī al-Iṣbahānī ([1401] 1980–1981, 67) and al-Mūsawī al-Ḫwānsārī al-Iṣbahānī ([1391] 2012, 4:372, 394, 7:176).↩︎

  3. Conventionally, the Safavid and the Mughal empires are temporally located between 1501 and 1736, and between 1526 and 1857 respectively, with an intermission in the latter between 1540 and 1555.↩︎

  4. See also Bertolacci (2008, 69 (nr. 88)), with info on the manuscript derived from Anawati’s Essai de bibliographie avicennienne. This manuscript is neither recorded in Mahdavī’s Fehrest-e nosḫahā-ye moṣannafāt-e Ebn-e Sīnā nor in H. Daiber’s “New Manuscript Findings from Indian Libraries.”↩︎

  5. Niewöhner-Eberhard (2009); Pourjavady (2011, 24–25); Pourjavady-Schmidtke (2015, 254); Aminrazavi (2015, 48–58).↩︎

  6. See Ġeyās al-Dīn Manṣūr ebn Moḥammad Ḥosainī Daštakī Šīrāzī, Šifāʾ al-qulūb (glosses on Ilāhiyyāt I.1-6). This work is integrally available in at least three editions: 1) Šifāʾ al-qulūb, ed. Amir Ahari, in Ganǧīna-ye Bahārestān (A Collection of 18 Treatises in Logic, Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism), Vol. I, cur. ʿAlī Auǧabī, Tehran 1379 Š/2000, 184276 (based on mss. Tehran, Dānešgāh 6921/9 and Tehran, Maǧles, 611/9); 2) Šifāʾ al-qulūb, in Moṣannafāt Ġeyās al-Dīn Manṣūr Ḥosainī Daštakī Šīrāzī, ed. ʿA. Nūrānī, Tehran 1386 Š/2007, vol. II, pp. 375–487 (cf. vol. I, p. 110) (based on mss. Tehran, Dānešgāh 6921/9, Tehran, Maǧles, 611/9, and a manuscript of the private collection Rawḍāti in Isfahan); 3) Šifāʾ al-qulūb, in Šifāʾ al-qulūb wa-Taǧawhur al-aǧsām, ed. ʻAlī Auǧabī, Ketābḫāna, Mūze va Markaz-e Asnād-e Maǧles-e Šūrā-ye Eslāmī, Tehran 1390 Š/2012, pp. 1–132 (based on Mss. Tehran, Dānešgāh 6921/9 and Tehran, Maǧles, 611/9). Commentaries on the Ilāhiyyāt by previous authors are attested (see the bibliographical information in the section “Commentaries” at https://www.avicennaproject.eu/\#/downloads/indirect, last accessed: March 27, 2022).↩︎

  7. A shortly later date of death (998/1590) is given by Asad Q. Ahmed and Reza Pourjavady (Ahmed and Pourjavady 2016, 608), where relevant information on the author can be found (see 993/1585-86 in Pourjavady 2011, 52 [n. 33]).↩︎

  8. See www.avicennaproject.eu (last accessed: March 27, 2022). The images of all the passages discussed in section I are available at https://www.avicennaproject.eu/\#/manuscripts/list/154 (last accessed: March 27, 2022).↩︎

  9. This catalogue is the basis for the references to our manuscript in Brockelmann’s Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur, Anawati’s Essai de bibliographie avicennienne, and Ahmed’s “The Shifāʾ in India I”. Brockelmann places under Logic what appears to be a cumulative reference to all the Rampur manuscripts known to him as “I, 397/8”, i.e. vol. I, 397–8 of the catalogue. Anawati condenses information on the page and volume of the catalogue at stake and on the century (VIII) of the manuscript’s date of copying in the formula “397/1 (8)”; and Ahmed refers to this manuscript as 397/8, Ḥikma 112.↩︎

  10. Whereas Brockelmann connects this manuscript solely with the Logic of the Šifāʾ (see previous footnote), the lack of any annotation about content in Anawati’s Essai de bibliographie avicennienne cit. qualifies it—in accordance with the conventions of Anawati’s bibliography—as a manuscript of the entire work. Also, a passage of the description of this manuscript in the Catalogue of 1971, p. 44 (“This copy deals with Logic, Physics, Mathematics & Metaphysics”) conveys the wrong impression that the manuscript also contains mathematics. On the different types of partition of the Šifāʾ in manuscripts, see Bertolacci (2017–2018, 280–87).↩︎

  11. The second table of contents (p. 488), the one preceding the natural philosophy, portrays this latter, in the initial rubric, as a second part (ǧumla) of the Šifāʾ regarding wisdom (ḥikma) in thirteen sections (funūn). In the right top margin of the first page of the natural philosophy (p. 496), a note qualifies this latter as the first part (ǧumla) of the Šifāʾ regarding wisdom (ḥikma) in thirteen sections. Strictly speaking, neither description applies to the natural philosophy: Whereas the reference to wisdom (ḥikma) rather fits metaphysics, the count of thirteen sections (funūn) is compatible with one of the attested formats of copy of three parts of the Šifāʾ, in which natural philosophy (eight sections), mathematics (four sections), and metaphysics (one section) are comprised, to the exclusion of logic (nine sections).↩︎

  12. al-Qāsānī in the Catalogue of 1971.↩︎

  13. There are two villages near the present Kashan which could be identical with the ancient Wandgal: Wan and Wandāde. See Farhang-e ǧoġrāfiyāyī-e Īrān ([1329] 1950), 322.↩︎

  14. Here and in what follows, translations are by the authors unless indicated otherwise.↩︎

  15. Both for the natural philosophy and for the logic, the collator looks to rely on a faulty further copy of the text. This is expressly stated in the collation note regarding the logic, and it also turns out to be the most likely interpretation of the collation note regarding the natural philosophy. In this latter, the sentence wa-baʿdu lā tuṣaḥḥaḥ (according to the most obvious vocalization) means, in all likelihood, “and yet [the text (nusḫa) of this part] is not corrected,” i.e. “not thoroughly edited through collation,” so as to be in need of further study for its complete emendation; the alternative meaning “and afterwards the text is not going to be corrected” looks less plausible, also being in contrast with the collation of the metaphysics, if this latter occurred later.↩︎

  16. The end of lin. 5 and the beginning of lin. 6 are deleted, and the words beneath the deletion stripe are barely readable.↩︎

  17. For the info on Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, see Kākāyī (n.d., 29–30); Qasemi (2011).↩︎

  18. Reportedly Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī brought some of the works of Ǧalāl al-Dīn Davānī (d. 908/1502), Ġeyās̱ al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī, and Mīrzā Jān Bāġnavī (d. 994/1587) to India and popularized them in the local circles of learning. See al-Ḥusaynī (al-Ḥusaynī [1420] 1999, 4:4:393); Kākāyī (n.d., 29); Pourjavady (2011, 23 (144)). So it is likely that Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī brought this manuscript to India together with these other works.↩︎

  19. By ǧolūs-e elāhī (“divine accession”), he means Akbar Šāh’s accession in 992/1584, after which the Mughal era was fixed to begin. This era, also known as Taʾrīḫ-e elāhī (“Divine Era”), was introduced by the Mughal Emperor Akbar I the Great in 992/1584. The first year of this era was the year of Akbar’s accession, 963/1555-6, and it was a solar year beginning with Naurūz (the day of vernal equinox, about 20 March). The names of the months were the same as those of the ancient Persian calendar. The number of days in a month varied from 29 to 32. The calculations were made and rules for the era drawn up by Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī (Athar n.d.)↩︎

  20. This Mīr Ḫān Moḥammad Ḥādī Ḥosainī possibly corresponds to Moḥammad Hādī l-Ḥosainī ebn Mīr-Ḫān, owner of another manuscript of the Ilāhiyyāt, Azerbaijan, Baku, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Manuscripts, M-102 (AH), as indicated in one of the ownership statements in f. 2r (see https://www.avicennaproject.eu/\#/manuscripts/list/245, last accessed: March 27, 2022).↩︎

  21. The author of this commentary is in all likelihood identical with Ḥakīm ʿAlī Gīlānī (d. 1018/1609), an Iranian student of Šāh Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī and a physician at the Mughal court. Like Gīlānī himself, his son, Ḥakīm Ṣāleḥ Šīrāzī, and grandson, Moḥsen Šīrāzī, served as royal physicians in India. See Kākāyī (n.d., 30).↩︎

  22. See Bertolacci (2017–2018). See also the section “Manuscripts” in https://www.avicennaproject.eu/\#/manuscripts/list (last accessed: March 27, 2022).↩︎

  23. The most ancient extant dated manuscript of the Ilāhiyyāt presently known (Najaf, Maktabat al-Imām Amīr al-Muʾminīn, 3070) goes back to 496/1102–3, a decade after the most ancient known extant manuscript of the Šifāʾ (London, British Museum, Or. 11190, copied in 485/1092–1093 and containing part of the Mathematics); the most recent one (Qom, ʿAllāma Saiyed Moḥammad Ḥosain Ṭabāṭabāʾī Collection, no number) dates to 1345/1927.↩︎

  24. See the section “All Šifāʾ Manuscripts” in https://www.avicennaproject.eu/\#/downloads/mss (last accessed: March 27, 2022).↩︎

  25. Maʿṣūm (1938), 215. Interestingly, an ʿAbdolḫāleq Ǧīlānī is also recorded as the copyist of another witness of the Šifāʾ, which does not preserve the Ilāhiyyāt, namely MS Qom, Markaz-e Eḥyāʾ-e Mīrās̱-e Eslāmī 314, which might therefore be an additional manuscript related to the same intellectual milieu. On Ms. Khoy, Ketābḫāna-ye Madrasa-ye Namāzī 247, see the section “Manuscripts. Introduction” (“II.3. The Ilāhiyyāt in Mughal India”) at https://www.avicennaproject.eu/#/manuscripts/intro (last accessed: March 27, 2022), and Di Vincenzo (2021, lxxix).↩︎

  26. See, e.g., what Witkam noted with regard to the codex of the Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyya of Cairo, which is “the authoritative manuscript” of the Maqāmāt of al-Ḥarīrī (Witkam 1995, 132). The authors of the present article plan to analyze another fundamental witness of the transmission of Avicenna’s Šifāʾ, Ms. Kabul, Aršīf-i Millī Afġānistān, Afghan National Archive, 2295 (ex Private Library of King Zaher Shah 4926) in a forthcoming publication.↩︎