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L’auteur des Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ selon les sources ismaéliennes ṭayyibites

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L’identité des auteurs des Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ et leur affiliation à l’ismaélisme demeurent un sujet controversé dans la recherche moderne. Les ismaéliens de tradition ṭayyibite attribuent les Épîtres, y compris la Risāla al-Jāmiʿa, à « la personne éminente » (al-shakhṣ al-fāḍil), qui ne serait autre que « Aḥmad », un des mystérieux imams cachés entre le 7e imam Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl et le premier calife fatimide ʿAbd Allāh al-Mahdī. Aḥmad aurait entrepris la composition des Épîtres, censées contenir la « vraie » philosophie telle qu’elle fut enseignée par les imams, pour contrecarrer le projet du calife abbasside al-Maʾmūn. Celui-ci est accusé de vouloir ruiner l’islam en faisant traduire en arabe des ouvrages écrits par des auteurs païens hostiles aux prophètes et aux imams. Les Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ feraient ainsi contrepoids au mouvement de traduction gréco-arabe patronné par les Abbassides à Bagdad. Dans ma contribution, j’essaie de retracer la genèse de cette théorie en examinant les sources ismaéliennes, ṭayyibites en particulier.The identity of the authors of the Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ and their relation with the Ismaʿili movement still are highly controversial issues. The Ṭayyibī Ismaʿilis ascribe the Rasāʾil, along with the Risāla al-Jāmiʿa, to « the eminent person » (al-shakhṣ al-fāḍil), often identified with « Aḥmad », one of the mysterious hidden imams between the seventh imam Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl and the first Fatimid caliph ʿAbd Allāh al-Mahdī. This Aḥmad is supposed to have composed the Epistles, containing the « true » philosophy as it was taught by the imams, in order to neutralize the impious project of the Abbasid caliph al-Maʾmūn, suspected to have commissioned Arabic translations of pagan Greek books, with the sole aim of undermining Islam. The Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ are thus presented as a counterpart to the Greco-Arabic translation movement patronized by the Abbasids in Bagdad. In the present paper I examine the formation of this theory, based on Ismaʿili sources belonging mainly to the Ṭayyibī tradition.

Affiliations: 1: CNRS Paris desmet@vjf.cnrs.fr

10.1163/24682470-12340005
/content/journals/10.1163/24682470-12340005
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/content/journals/10.1163/24682470-12340005
2017-03-29
2018-10-21

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