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The Religious Approach To Natural Sciences: The Case Of Mineralogy in the Ikhwān Al-Ṣafāʾ and in Ḥamīd Al-dīn Al-Kirmānī

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Chapter Summary

Minerals appealed deeply and variously to Muslim thinkers and scientists, both in themselves and in their relationship with the celestial world. It was, of course, the same continuity that guaranteed salvation as attained through wisdom and scientific knowledge - and hence gave rise to encyclopaedias of science. The Pure Brethren (Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ) of Basra, the authors of the most famous of these encyclopaedias, the last edition of which is placed in the second half of the tenth century, devote a whole treatise to minerals, namely Epistle 19 (On the Origin of Minerals), the fifth in the second section on natural sciences. Ḥamīd Al-Dīn Al-Kirmānī also speaks of minerals in various places in his Rāḥat al-ʿaql, though the main treatment of the subject is contained in the third and fourth pathways of the seventh rampart. The Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ also take the opportunity to support their religious convictions through mineralogy.

Keywords: Ḥamīd Al-Dīn Al-Kirmānī; Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ; mineralogy; natural sciences; religious approach



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