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


  • Amos Bertolacci
  • Gholamreza Dadkhah
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46586/er.13.2022.9638
Keywords: Avicenna, Kitāb al-Šifāʾ, Safavid Iran, Arabic-Islamic philosophy, Daštakī family, Fatḥollāh Šīrāzī, India, Rampur Raza Library


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.


How to Cite
Bertolacci, A., & Dadkhah, G. (2022). Avicenna’s Šifāʾ from Safavid Iran to the Mughal Empire: On Ms. Rampur Raza Library 3476. Entangled Religions, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.46586/er.13.2022.9638