Farabi`s Virtuous City and the Plotinian World Soul

:
A New Reading oI Farabi`s Mabadi' Ara' Ahl Al-Madina Al-Fadila





By
Gina M. Bonelli
Institute oI Islamic Studies
McGill University, Montreal
August, 2009







'A thesis submitted to McGill University in partial IulIillment oI the
requirements oI the degree oI Doctor oI Philosophy.¨


©Gina Marie Bonelli 2009


















AcInowledgements

I would liIe to thanI above all my advisors ProIessor Eric Ormsby and
ProIessor Robert WisnovsIy Ior all oI their worI in helping me to Iinish this
dissertation. I cannot even begin to estimate the hours spent by ProIessor
Ormsby reading and editing my worI, but, based on the copies that he sent bacI
to me stained by his inIamous red pen, perhaps I could Iathom a guess. I would
also liIe to thanI ProIessor Donald P. Little Ior providing me with the invaluable
advice that 'sometimes it is enough to asI the questions.¨ Since leaving the
institute, due to a Iamily illness, I have great appreciation Ior the Irequent emails
and occasional phone calls Irom ProIessor Uner Turgay and Kirsty McKinnon,
which varied Irom a progress report to a Iriendly hello, but reminded me that I
was still a part oI the Institute. OI course, a huge thanI you to Salwa Ferahian,
Wayne St. Thomas, and Steve Millier at the Institute oI Islamic Studies Library
Ior always promptly getting the inIormation and articles to me that I desperately
needed. I would also liIe to mention my undying gratitude Ior the support given
to me Irom my Iamily and Iriends. I cannot even begin to thanI Rebecca
Williams who actually volunteered to read my worI and provide insightIul
advice during the pivotal moments oI research and writing. And most oI all I
would liIe to thanI my brother Joseph Ior letting me stay at his home while I
Iinished this dissertation and oI course Ior his inIinite patience and Iindness Ior
listening to my incessant discussions oI Plotinus, Augustine, and Farabi and their
worIs.


ii
Abstract
Happiness (saadah) materializes as the ultimate goal oI man in Abu Nasr
Muhammad b. Muhammad b. TarIhan al- Farabi`s Mabadi' Ara' Ahl Al-Madina
Al-Fadila (Principles oI the Views oI the Citizens oI the Best State). But
happiness, i.e., happiness in this liIe and happiness in the aIterliIe, is only
attainable by the virtuous citizen. The prevailing academic vision oI Farabi`s
Virtuous City essentially can be placed into two categories: either it is an ideal
as Iound in Plato`s Republic or it is an actual city that has been Iounded or will
be established at some time in the Iuture. The diIIiculty with both oI these
interpretations is that they limit who can attain happiness. I will argue that we
must examine Farabi`s Virtuous City in a diIIerent light. I will show that
Farabi`s Virtuous City is comparable to the Plotinian World Soul in which it is
the genus oI all souls and it is the place to which all souls strive to return, and
there attain happiness. As a result, it can be argued that Farabi`s Virtuous City
is a city that exists in the intelligible world; it contains both citizens that reside
within the city and citizens that reside in the material world. Through a
comparison oI Farabi`s Virtuous City with the Plotinian World Soul, we shall see
that Farabi`s Virtuous City is not unliIe Aurelius Augustine`s City oI God,
which is also a city that exists in the intelligible world, and has citizens within
both this city and here on earth. By comparing the relevant texts oI Plotinus,
Augustine, and Farabi, it becomes possible to illustrate how Farabi, liIe
Augustine, utilized the Plotinian Triple Hypostases (The One, Nous, and the
World Soul) in order to answer the ultimate questions: Why does man desire
iii
happiness? How does man attain this happiness? And most importantly, where
can man attain this happiness?
Farabi tells us that only virtuous citizens will achieve happiness. This
leaves us with unanswered questions. II all souls derive Irom the Virtuous City,
then why do they not all return? What deIines a virtuous citizen? How does one
become a virtuous citizen? These are questions that must be answered in the
material world, by us, Farabi`s readers. Farabi`s Al-Madina Al-Fadila, liIe
Augustine`s De Civitate Dei, clearly outlines a speciIic system oI Inowledge and
a speciIic way oI liIe; in this way, both Farabi and Augustine provide the criteria
by which human beings can become virtuous citizens and citizens oI the City oI
God. Plotinus` concept oI the undescended soul may also provide us with
another way oI looIing at these virtuous citizens and citizens oI the City oI God,
in that these citizens become aware oI the higher part oI their soul and assimilate
themselves to the intelligible world. These citizens must live in the material
world, i.e., in the non-virtuous cities and the City oI Man, but they too can be
citizens oI those cities that exist in the intelligible world. Farabi and Augustine
leave us with a choice to maIe: oI which city will we become citizens?








iv
Resume
Le bonheur (saadah) apparaît comme l`objectiI ultime de l`homme dans
(Mabadi' Ara' Ahl Al-Madina Al-Fadila) Idees des habitants de la cite vertueuse
de Muhammad b. Muhammad b. TarIhan al-Farabi. Mais le bonheur, c.-a-d., le
bonheur dans cette vie et le bonheur dans la vie apres la mort, est seulement
possible pour le citoyen vertueux. La vision courante de la cite vertueuse de
Farabi propose essentiellement seulement deux categories: ou c`est un ideal
comme trouve dans Le Republique de Platon ou c`est une cite reelle qui a ete
Iondee ou qui sera etablie a un moment donne dans l`avenir. La diIIiculte avec
tous les deux interpretations est qu`ils limitent le nombre de ceux qui peuvent
atteindre le bonheur. Pour cette raison, je soutiendrai que nous devons examiner
la cite vertueuse de Farabi dans une lumiere diIIerente. Je montrerai que la cite
vertueuse de Farabi est comparable a l`âme du monde de Plotinus dans laquelle
c`est le genre de toutes les âmes et c`est l`endroit auquel toutes les âmes tâchent
de rentrer: l`atteindre Iait le bonheur. Ainsi, on peut soutenir que la cite
vertueuse de Farabi est une cite qui existe dans le monde intelligible; elle
contient a la Iois les citoyens qui resident dans la cite et aussi les citoyens qui
resident dans le monde materiel. Par une comparaison de la cite vertueuse de
Farabi avec l`âme du monde de Plotinus nous verrons que la cite vertueuse de
Farabi n`est pas diIIerente de la cite de Dieu de Aurelius Augustine; ça aussi est
une cite qui existe dans le monde intelligible, et qui a des citoyens et dans cette
cite et ici sur terre. En comparant les texts justicatiIs de Plotinus, Augustine, et
Farabi, il devient possible d`illustrer comment Farabi, comme Augustine, a
v
utilise les Hypostases Triples de Plotinus (L`un, Nous, et L`âme du monde) aIin
de repondre aux questions Iinales: Pourquoi l`homme desire-t-il le bonheur?
Comment l`homme atteint-il ce bonheur? Et d`une maniere plus importante, ou
peut l`homme atteindre ce bonheur?
Farabi nous indique que seulement les citoyens vertueux realiseront le
bonheur. Ceci nous laisse avec des questions sans reponse. Si toutes les âmes
derivent de la cite vertueuse, alors pourquoi ne Iont-elles pas toutes le retour?
Que deIinit un citoyen vertueux? Comment Iait un devenu un citoyen vertueux?
Ce sont ces questions qui doivent être adressees dans le monde materiel, par
nous, les lecteurs de Farabi. Al-Madina Al-Fadila de Fa ra bi , comme De Civitate
Dei de Augustine, decrit clairement un systeme speciIique de la connaissance et
une mode de vie speciIique; dans cette Iaçon, Farabi et Augustine Iournissent les
criteres par lesquels les êtres humains peuvent devenir les citoyens vertueux et
les citoyens de la cite de Dieu. Le concept de l`âme non descendue de Plotinus
peut-être nous Iournit une autre Iaçon ere de regarder ces citoyens vertueux et
ces citoyens de la cite de Dieu, par laquelle, ces citoyens se rendent compte de la
partie plus elevee de leur âme et s`assimilent au monde intelligible. Ces citoyens
doivent vivre dans le monde materiel, c.-a-d., dans les cites non-vertueuses et la
cite de l`homme, mais ils peuvent eux aussi être les citoyens de cette cite qui
existent dans le monde intelligible. Fa rabi et Augustine nous donnent un choix a
Iaire: de quelle cite devenons-môns des citoyens?



vi
Table oI Contents.



AcInowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii.

Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii-iv.

Resume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v-vi.

List oI Abbreviations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x-xi.

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-15.

Part One

Chapter One: Historiography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-58.

I. Historiography oI Arabic Philosophy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-27.

I. a. Gutas` Critique oI Leo Strauss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-22.

I. b. Politics and Neoplatonism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-27.

II. The Neoplatonic Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27-42.

II.a. The Counter-Argument oI Dominic O`Meara . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29-37.

II.b. The Role oI Plotinus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37-42.

III. Historiography oI Farabi`s Virtuous City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42-48.

IV. Neoplatonic Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48-55.

V. Biographical InIormation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55-58.


Part Two

Part Two Introduction: On the Attainment oI Happiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59-61.

Chapter Two: Farabi On the Attainment oI Happiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62-101.

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62-63.

I. Farabi`s Plato. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63-65.
vii
II. Farabi`s Aristotle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65-70.

III. Farabi On Happiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-91.

IV. Comparison oI Farabi`s Active Intellect and the Plotinian Nous. 91-
101.

V. Philosophy and Religion as Paths to Happiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . 101-
105.

Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105-107.

Chapter Three: Augustine On the Attainment oI Happiness. . . . . . . . . . 108-128.

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108-109.

I. Augustine`s Quest Ior Happiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110-114.

II. Adam as the Plotinian World Soul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114-119.

III. Augustine and Plotinus` Use oI Logos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120-123.

IV. Augustine and Plotinus on Contemplation and Action. . . . . . 123-124.

V. Augustine on the Return oI the Soul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124-126.

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127-128.

Part Two Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129-130.


Part Three

Part Three Introduction: The Virtuous City and its Citizens. . . . . . . . . . 131-136.

Chapter Four: Cities in the Intelligible World. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137-173.

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137-138.

I. The Cosmos oI Plotinus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138-140.

II. The Cosmos oI Augustine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140-147.

III. The Cosmos oI Farabi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147-152.

IV. The Ruler oI Farabi`s Virtuous City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152-154.
viii
V. Farabi`s Virtuous City as the Plotinian World Soul. . . . . . . . . 154-172.

Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172-173.

Chapter Five: Citizenship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174-208.

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174-175.

I. Two Levels oI Existence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175-181.

II. Augustine`s DeIinition oI a Citizen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181-191.

III. Farabi`s DeIinition oI a Citizen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192-206.

III. a. Academic Discussion oI the Required Knowledge oI Virtuous
Citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198-201.

III. b. Required Actions oI Virtuous Citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202-206.

Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .206-208.

Chapter Six: Virtuous Citizens Residing in the City oI Man. . . . . . . . . .209-228.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209-211.

I. Augustine`s City oI God: an Early City?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-215.

II. Citizens oI the City oI God Residing in the City oI Man. . . . .215-216.

III. Farabi`s Virtuous Citizens Residing in Non-Virtuous Cities. . 217-
227.

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .227-228.

Part Three Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229-232.

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233-238.

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239-260.







ix
List oI Abbreviations

ConI.: Augustine, Aurelius. ConIessions. Translated by Henry ChadwicI. New
YorI: OxIord University Press, 1991.

City: Augustine, The City oI God Against the Pagans. Cambridge Texts in
the History oI Political Thought. Edited and Translated by R.W. Dyson.
New YorI: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

AIlatun: Fa rabi, Kitab FalsaIat AIlatun wa-Ajza `uha wa-Maratib Ajza`iha Min
Awwaliha Ila AIhiriha (The Philosophy oI Plato) in De Platonis
Philosophia. Edited by Franz Rosenthal and Richard Walzer. London:
Catholic Press, 1943. Translated with an introduction by Muhsin Mahdi.
In Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle. New YorI: Cornell University
Press, 1969.

Aristutalis: Farabi, FalsaIat Aristu t alis (The Philosophy oI Aristotle) Ed.
Muhsin Mahdi. Beirut: Dar Majallat Shi`r, 1961. Translated with an
introduction by Muhsin Mahdi. In Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle.
New YorI: Cornell University Press, 1969.

Fusul: Farabi, Fusul Muntazaah (Selected Aphorisms). Ed. Fauzi Najjar.
Beirut, 1971. Edited and Translated with an introduction by Charles E.
Butterworth. In AlIarabi: The Political Writings, "Selected Aphorisms"
and Other Texts. Ithaca: New YorI, 2001. Edited and Translated
by D. M. Dunlop. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961.

Madinah: Farabi, Maba di' Ara' Ahl Al-Madina Al-Fadilah (Principles oI the
Views oI the Citizens oI the Best State). Edited and Translated by
Richard Walzer. OxIord: Clarendon Press, 1985.

Millah: Fa ra bi , Kitab al-Millah wa Nusus UIhra (BooI oI Religion). Edited
with an introduction and notes by Muhsin Mahdi. Beirut: Dar al-
Mashriq, 1968. Edited and Translated with an introduction by Charles E.
Butterworth. ). In AlIarabi: The Political Writings, "Selected
Aphorisms" and Other Texts. Ithaca: New YorI, 2001. Translated by
Lawrence V. Berman. Available through the Translation Clearing House.
OIlahoma: OIlahoma State University Catalog reIerence number: A-30-
55b.

Siyasah: Fa rabi, Kitab al-Siyasah al-Madaniyyah al-Mulaqqab bi-Maba di` al-
Mawjudat (Principles oI Beings or the Six Principles, or the Political
Regime). Edited by Fauzi Najjar. Beirut: Catholic Press, 1964. Partial
translation by Fauzi M. Najjar in Medieval Political Philosophy: A
SourcebooI. Edited by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi. New YorI:
The Free Press, 1963. Translated by Therese-Anne Druart
x
xi

available through the Translation Clearing House.
OIlahoma: OIlahoma State University. Catalog reIerence number: A-
30-50d.

Tahsil: Farabi, Tah s i l al-Saa dah (The Attainment oI Happiness). Hyderabad,
1345 A.H. Translated with an introduction by Muhsin Mahdi. In
Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle. New YorI: Cornell University Press,
1969.

Enn.: Plotinus. The Enneads. Translated by A.H. Armstrong, 7 vols.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966-1988.

AlIarabi: Political Philosophy: Mahdi, Muhsin. AlIarabi and the Foundation oI
Islamic Political Philosophy. With a Ioreword by Charles E. Butterworth.
Chicago: The University oI Chicago Press, 2001.

'Al-Farabi: Islamic Philosophy¨: Mahdi, Muhsin. 'Al-Farabi and the
Foundation oI Islamic Philosophy.¨ In Islamic Philosophy and
Mysticism. Ed. Parviz Morewedge. Delmar: Caravan, 1981.


























Introduction

In this dissertation I will argue that the varying interpretations oI Abu
Nasr Muhammad b. Muhammad b. TarIhan al-Farabi`s |870-950 CE| Mabadi'
Ara' Ahl Al-Madina Al-Fadila (Principles oI the Views oI the Citizens oI the
Best State)
1
have tended to ignore the most Iundamental aspect oI his thought.
This is the central importance he accords to the notion oI happiness (saadah).
2

By examining his Madinah with this notion Iirmly in mind, however, it becomes
possible to provide a coherent account oI his thought. The interpretations
oIIered to date by modern scholars diIIer widely and are oIten mutually
exclusive; and yet, it is just these conIlicting interpretations which continue to
determine the very questions we asI oI Farabi`s text. Such Iorced questions
have at times created a seeming gulI oI divergent views. Here it will be argued
that a new approach is needed. To accomplish that, however, we must begin by
examining the established arguments.
A case in point is Joshua Parens, who begins his latest worI with the
claim that 'now more than at any time Ior centuries, AlIarabi, a tenth-century

1
Al-Fa ra bi , Maba di' A ra ' Ahl Al-Madi na Al-Fa d ila Principles oI the Views oI the Citizens oI the
Best State, translated by Richard Walzer (OxIord: Clarendon Press, 1985). The text as a whole
will be reIerred to as Madi nah while the discussion oI the city itselI will be reIerred to as the
Virtuous City throughout this paper.
2
According to Lane, the word saadah denotes 'prosperity, good Iortune, happiness, or Ielicity oI
a man; with respect to religion and with respect to worldly things: it is oI two Iinds relating to
the world to come and relating to the present world.¨Edward William Lane, An Arabic-English
Lexicon 8 vols. (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1968), 1362. It should be noted, saadah is the
Arabic word used in the Arabic translation oI Aristotle`s Nicomachean Ethics

Ior the GreeI
term eudaimonia. See Al-AIhlaq (Ethica Nicomachea. Arabic) translated by Ish a q ibn H unayn,
edited by Abd al-Rahman Badawi, (WaIalat al-Matbuat: Kuwayt, 1979), 57. The Arabic
Version oI the 'Nicomachean Ethics¨ edited by Anna A. AIasoy and Alexander Fidora with an
introduction and annotated translation by Douglas M. Dunlop (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 1095a 18I./
1129b 18/ 1152b 6/1153b 11/1169b 29/ 1176a 31I.

1
Muslim political philosopher, is especially timely.¨
3
Parens primarily Iocuses on
Farabi`s Tahsil al-Saadah (Attainment oI Happiness) wherein Farabi 'envisions
the IulIillment oI Islam`s ambition to spread Islam, as the virtuous religion, to
the inhabited world.¨
4
Parens claims:
In his Attainment oI Happiness, AlIarabi extrapolates Irom
insights that Plato developed in the Republic. In the Republic, Socrates
envisions a perIectly just city (polis) as one in which all citizens are
devoted solely to the common good. The harm done to the private good
oI most citizens in that city is Iamiliar to most undergraduates. AlIarabi
uses that insight and applies it to his own setting. He wonders what it
would taIe Ior Islam to achieve its ambition to rule the world justly. He
argues that it would require that not only every nation but also every city
within every nation should be virtuous. Furthermore, to be truly just, the
rulers oI each nation would need to be philosopher-Iings, and each city
would need to have its own peculiar adaptations or imitations oI
philosophy suited to its particular climate and locale. In other words, a
virtuous world regime would require a multiplicity oI virtuous religions
to match the multiplicity oI virtuous nations.
5


Parens is actually arguing that the Tah s i l is essentially a cautionary tale. Indeed
he claims that 'AlIarabi does not intend this world regime to be a realistic or
even an ideal plan. Rather, he seeIs to persuade his reader that the eIIort to
establish a just world regime is an impossibly high, even iI a noble, goal.¨
6

Unquestionably, Parens is correct in his assertion that Farabi is extremely
signiIicant in light oI the political atmosphere oI the present day. The
IulIillment oI Islam`s ambition to spread Islam, as 'the virtuous religion,¨ to the
inhabited world is indeed an important point to examine. These statements lead
us to thinI oI another worI oI Farabi`s which seems to be as essential, iI not

3
Joshua Parens, An Islamic Philosophy oI Virtuous Religions: Introducing AlIarabi (New YorI:
State University oI New YorI Press, 2006), 1.
4
Ibid.
5
Ibid., 2.
6
Ibid., 2.
2
more so; this is Farabi`s Madinah. Following Parens, we, too, asI: is Farabi`s
Virtuous City necessarily an Islamic city? And does Fa ra bi envision the
Virtuous City as a city that is supposed to be spread across the inhabited world?
The answer to these questions must be no. Nonetheless, by even asIing these
questions we are limiting the way that we perceive Farabi`s Virtuous City. Is
our vision oI the Virtuous City predetermined? I intend to show that Farabi`s
Virtuous City has been predominantly recognized by scholars to be either an
ideal city, a city that is only discussed in theory, as Iound in Plato`s Republic or
an actual city that has been Iounded or will be established at some time in the
Iuture. Nevertheless, both oI these interpretations conIlict with what Farabi
conveys about the attainment oI happiness. It will be argued here that we must
change the way we examine Farabi`s Virtuous City.
While there are numerous interpretations oI Madinah, none is wholly
satisIactory because each ignores Farabi`s concept oI happiness (saadah), that
is, happiness on earth and ultimate happiness, in which happiness is attained in
the aIterliIe. Paul WalIer notes that a single Iocal point in Farabi`s thought has
not been Iound; thus, all suppositions about Farabi and his worI are provisional.
7

However, happiness appears to be the paramount consideration in his Madinah
and in a number oI other worIs. But which happiness is the most important?
Muhsin Mahdi notes that in Tahsil, worldly happiness is only mentioned once,
thereby implying that it may not be as crucial as ultimate happiness. However,

7
Paul E. WalIer, 'Philosophy oI Religion in Al-Fara bi, Ibn Si na and Ibn T uIayl¨ in Reason and
Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism Essays in Honour oI Hermann
Landolt edited by Todd Lawson (New YorI: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2005), 89.
3
Mahdi argues too that Farabi could not have simply overlooIed what most
Muslims believed to be a prerequisite oI ultimate happiness, i.e., happiness on
earth.
8
Patricia Crone claims that 'true happiness, according to al-Farabi, was
intellectual and moral perIection in this world and immortality oI the rational
soul in the next.¨
9
This claim suggests that happiness on earth is the attainment
oI the necessary perIections, while ultimate happiness is attained in the next liIe.
II Crone`s claim is correct, then earthly happiness appears to be vital in the
achievement oI ultimate happiness, but ultimate happiness is oI the utmost
importance. Farabi seems to be more concerned about the soul and its Iinal
destination in the intelligible world than the soul`s place in the ever changing
sublunary or material world. The intelligible world is the world that can be
perceived by man`s intellect alone and not by sense perception.
10
The
intelligible world is the metaphysical, ethereal, incorporeal, or immaterial

8
Muhsin Mahdi, AlIarabi and the Foundation oI Islamic Political Philosophy, with a Ioreword by
Charles E. Butterworth (Chicago: The University oI Chicago Press, 2001), 173-174.
9
Patricia Crone, God`s Rule: Government and Islam (New YorI: Columbia University Press,
2004), 177.
10
In Fa rabi `s cosmos, the First and the ten subsequent intelligibles (the last intelligible is the
Active Intellect aql Iaa ) are 'utterly incorporeal¨ and are not in matter. While the celestial
bodies 'belong to the same genus as the material existents (oI the sublunary world), because they
have substrata, which resembles the matters which serve as the underlying carriers oI Iorms, and
things which are their Iorms as it were, by which they become substantiIied.Hence the Iorm oI
each oI these celestial bodies is actual` intellect, and the body thinIs by means oI this Iorm the
essence oI the separate` (immaterial) intellect Irom which it derives its existence, and it thinIs
the First. But because it also thinIs its substratum which is not intellect, that part oI its essence
which it thinIs is not entirely intellect, since it does not thinI with its substratum but only with
its Iorm. There is then in the celestial body an intelligible which is not intellectwhereas that
part oI its Iorm which it intelligizes is intellectit thus thinIs with an intellect which is not
identical with its entire substance. In this respect the celestial body diIIers Irom the First and
Irom the ten separate` intellects which are Iree Irom matter and any substratum, and has
something in common with man.¨ Thus, Ior Fa rabi , the intelligible world would only include
those incorporeal or immaterial beings and thereIore would not include the celestial bodies,
which can be apprehended by the senses. Fa rabi discusses our mental apprehension oI the First
and so suggests that this world is perceived by our intellect alone. Fa rabi , Madi nah, 3.1-10, 7.3-
4; 1.11; tr. by Walzer 3.1-10, 7.3-4, 1.11. For the schematic oI Fa rabi `s cosmos, see Iootnote
264.
4
realm.
11
Charles Butterworth and Thomas Pangle maIe a thought-provoIing
assertion when they claim, 'To be sure, one learns to read AlIarabi with the
awareness that one is playing a game oI philosophic poIer with a benevolent
master teacher, who Ieeps hinting that you could win possession oI your own
soul Ior the Iirst time.¨
12
So, with this awareness in mind, it will be argued here
that happiness, i.e., ultimate happiness, is indeed the Iundamental theme in
Farabi`s philosophy in general and, in particular, in his Madinah.
Happiness, both in this liIe and in the aIterliIe, is intimately connected to
Farabi`s Virtuous City as only virtuous citizens can attain this happiness.
13
This
requires that we examine Farabi`s Virtuous City and in particular, its most
Iundamental and yet elusive detail: does it exist or has it ever existed? OI
course, there are arguments set Iorth by Richard Walzer and Majid FaIhry that
suggest that it has been established since Muhammad was indeed the Iounder oI
the Virtuous City.
14
Scholars such as Leo Strauss and his Iollowers insist that
the Virtuous City is an ideal, a city in speech, while others, such as Muhsin

11
Walzer wittily notes the diIIiculty with the parts oI Fa rabi `s cosmos that can be perceived only
with the intellect and that which can be perceived with our senses. He writes, 'Even in an
intellectual climate liIe that oI late pagan GreeI philosophywhich is saturated to such a large
extent with diIIicult abstract reasoningit needs some eIIort oI mind to convince oneselI oI the
existence oI an immaterial First Cause and oI ten invisible, spiritual, intellects on which the nine
celestial bodies with their special intellects and the changeable sublunary beings ultimately
depend. Hence we may turn with some relieI to the account oI the nine celestial spheres which
Iollows. The celestial bodies are not only visible and can thus be apprehended by our senses,
they diIIer Irom the First Cause and the ten subordinate immaterial intellects also in that they
move in space. Their circular movements are regular and can be described.¨ Walzer, Virtuous
City, 375.
12
AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, translated by Muhsin Mahdi (Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 2001), xiii.
13
In chapter sixteen oI Fa rabi `s Madi nah it is clearly demonstrated that only virtuous citizens
achieve happiness in the aIterliIe.
14
Walzer, Virtuous City, 16, 414, 441-442. See also Majid FaIhry, Al-Farabi, Founder oI Islamic
Neoplatonism: His LiIe, WorIs, and InIluence (OxIord: Oneworld, 2002), 103.
5
Mahdi suggest that it is a blueprint Ior Iounding such a city.
15
Some scholars
claim that Madinah reIlects the great schism Iound within Islam and that Farabi
is in Iact supporting Shi ism.
16
As we shall see, these assorted hypotheses
ignore what Farabi is conveying about happiness. Whatever the theories are
concerning Farabi`s Virtuous City, it has been noted that happiness, in this liIe
and in the next, is Ior the virtuous citizen alone. II the Virtuous City is only an
ideal, a theoretical city, then how does one become a citizen? This claim has
prompted some to suggest that only philosophers can achieve happiness since the
world is in essence comprised oI non-virtuous cities. And yet, iI Farabi`s
Virtuous City is to be realized, what does one do to become a citizen? II such a
city exists and iI it can be destroyed, how does one maintain his or her
citizenship in the Virtuous City? Finally, iI Farabi`s Madinah is merely
representative oI the problems oI his day, then what is the point oI his claim that
the virtuous citizen can and will attain happiness? These theories and others
leave the attainment oI happiness in a most tenuous position; thereIore, we need
to Iind a theory that allows the existence oI Farabi`s Virtuous City and
guarantees the attainment oI happiness Ior all oI its citizens.
II the highest state oI being that man can ultimately obtain lies in a realm
oI pure conceptual abstraction, as divorced Irom matter as it is possible to be, iI

15
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 6-7.
16
See Ola Abdelaziz Abouzeid, A Comparative Study between the Political Theories oI Al-
Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity (Ph.D. Dissertation at University oI Toronto, 1987); W.
Montgomery Watt, Islamic Philosophy and Theology (Great Britain: Edinburgh University
Press, 1962), 54-56; M.G.S. Hodgson, The Venture oI Islam: Conscience and History in a World
Civilization, vol. I, The Classical Age oI Islam (Chicago: University oI Chicago Press, 1974),
433-436; F.M. Najja r, 'Fara bi `s Political Philosophy and Shi ism¨ Studia Islamica XIV (1961):
57-72.
6
human perIection involves ascending towards the highest and purest level oI
thought, then can this imply that a Virtuous City, in which the sole aim oI its
citizens is Ielicity, will also lie on that rareIied conceptual plane? Farabi writes,
'Since we are mixed up with matter and since matter is the cause oI our
substances being remote Irom the First Substance, the nearer our substances
draw to it, the more exact and the truer will necessarily be our apprehension oI
it. Because the nearer we draw to separating ourselves Irom matter, the more
complete will be our apprehension oI the First Substance. We come nearer to it
only by becoming actual |or actually`| intellect. When we are completely
separated Irom matter, our mental apprehension oI the First will be at its most
perIect.¨
17
With this in mind, we shall argue that Farabi`s Virtuous City is not a
city oI words nor merely a utopian
18
Iantasy; it is not that heavenly city that
only philosophers discuss and can attain nor is it that perIect earthly city. It is
not a city that is to be established at all, Ior it already exists. Farabi`s Virtuous
City can be interpreted as a city that exists in the intelligible world or in the
incorporeal realm; indeed, it is an actual city; but not one that exists in the
material or corporeal world. We will demonstrate that Farabi`s Virtuous City is
comparable with Plotinus` |205-270 CE| third hypostasis,
19
i.e., the World Soul.

17
Farabi, Madi nah, 1.11; tr. Walzer, 1.11.
18
Utopia Irom the GreeI ou ÷not and topos ÷ place. So utopia is literally no place, but it is
typically deIined as a real or imaginary society that is considered to be ideal. Traditionally
utopia is understood as a 'mode oI thought which deals solely with the temporal condition and
the nature oI utopia is that it promises through the establishment oI an ideal` state, the good
liIe` in this world.¨ Dorothy F. Donnelly, 'Reconsidering the Ideal: The City oI God and
Utopian Speculation¨ in The City oI God: a Collection oI Critical Essays edited with
introduction by Dorothy F. Donnelly (New YorI: Peter Lang Publishing, 1995), 206.
19
Hypostasis '(Irom Latin substance`)¨ is 'the process oI regarding a concept or abstraction as
an independent or real entity.¨ It is typically deIined as substance, essence, or underlying reality.
In Plotinus, the third hypostasis is part oI his chain oI being, via emanationism. Emanationism is
7
Focusing on the Plotinian inIluence in the thought oI Farabi does not entail
rejecting or negating the obvious and well-established Platonic and Aristotelian
inIluences. Nor am I reIuting any other inIluences that have been established by
Farabian scholarship. I simply want to examine a Plotinian line oI thought that
can be traced in Farabi`s worI.
20
The Virtuous City, liIe the Plotinian World
Soul, is where all perIected souls will go when they have no need oI a body, but
it is also where all souls reside beIore descending into the material world.
21
The
Virtuous City contains citizens that reside within the city and citizens that
reside in the material world. Through a comparison oI Farabi`s Virtuous City
with the Plotinian World Soul, we shall see that Farabi`s Virtuous City is not
unliIe Aurelius Augustine`s |354-430 CE| City oI God.
22
Augustine`s City oI

'a doctrine about the origin and ontological structure oI the world. |wherein| everything else
that exists is an emanation Irom a primordial unity, called by Plotinus the One.` The Iirst
product oI emanation Irom the One is Intelligence (no!s), a realm resembling Plato`s world oI
Forms. From Intelligence emanates Soul (psuche ), conceived as an active principle that imposes,
insoIar as that is possible, the rational structure oI Intelligence on the matter that emanates Irom
Soul. The process oI emanation is typically conceived to be necessary and timeless: although
Soul, Ior instance, proceeds Irom Intelligence, the notion oI procession is one oI logical
dependence rather than temporal sequence. The One remains unaIIected and undiminished by
emanation.¨ In the thought oI Plotinus, the World Soul is the place where individual souls reside
beIore their descent into the material world and it is the place where souls strive to return. The
World Soul is the proper place Ior all souls and it is here that souls are happy because they have
union with the One; thus, ultimate happiness, Ior Plotinus, would be the return oI the individual
souls to the World Soul. Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4-7; IV.3.12; V.1.4-6 Robert Audi, ed. The
Cambridge Dictionary oI Philosophy 2
nd
Ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999),
s.v. 'Hypostasis¨ by C.F. Delaney; The Cambridge Dictionary oI Philosophy s.v. Emanationism¨
by William E. Mann.
20
For a brieI, but unique insight on the Plotinian inIluence in Islam, see Franz Rosenthal,
'Plotinus in Islam: The Power oI Anonymity¨ in GreeI Philosophy in the Arab World: a
Collection oI Essays (Great Britain: Variorum Gower Pub., 1990), 437-446.
21
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4-7.
22
There is an ongoing debate about Augustine's use oI Plotinus. Many scholars argue that the
inIluence oI Plotinus is clear, while other scholars, who typically use Augustine`s Retractions as
a basis, deny all Plotinian inIluence. This paper will not examine these labyrinthine discussions;
it will simply examine a Iew concepts that can and have been perceived as Plotinian and compare
these concepts with another philosopher`s, i.e., Fa rabi `s, possible and similar use oI Plotinus. For
the heated debate concerning Augustine, see Gerard O'Daly, Platonism Pagan and Christian:
Studies in Plotinus and Augustine (Burlington: Ashgate Variorum, 2001). See also Augustine,
The Retractions trans. Sister Mary Inez Bogan (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1968).
8
God is a city that exists in the intelligible world; it has citizens both within the
city and here on earth.
23
We will also compare Farabi`s use oI Plotinus with that
oI Augustine, who provides an example oI another Iigure, within the conIines oI
a universal, monotheistic, and eschatological religion, who, liIe Farabi, utilized
GreeI philosophy to address the questions and problems oI his day.
24
In this
dissertation Augustine will be utilized solely as a case study. I will be relying
unreservedly on the scholarship that has thoroughly established the Plotinian
inIluence in Augustine`s thought.
25

By comparing the worIs oI Farabi with the worIs oI his predecessor

Plotinus, it may be possible to demonstrate by means oI textual analysis that

Farabi is discussing a city that exists in the intelligible world and that this city is

analogous to the Plotinian World Soul. A comparison oI the writings oI Farabi

and Plotinus, at least those Iound in the Theology oI Aristotle (or the Arabic

Plotinus), will demonstrate that though Farabi`s terminology diIIers Irom

Plotinus, the meaning is the same.
26
Scholars have long argued that Augustine

relied heavily on Plotinus in his quest to answer the questions oI how man has

Inowledge oI God and how he is to return to God. Thus, by comparing the texts

oI all three, it may be possible to illustrate how Farabi, liIe Augustine, utilized

23
The academic discussion oI whether Augustine`s City oI God is an earthly city or a city that
exists in the intelligible world will be addressed in chapter six, section I. Though this is an
ongoing debate, there is ample evidence to conclude that Augustine`s City oI God should not be
considered an earthly city. Obviously I am considering Augustine`s City oI God to be a city that
exists in the intelligible world.
24
This, oI course, is not the Iirst time that the thought oI Fa ra bi and Augustine have been
compared. See Ibrahim MadIour, 'La Place d`al Farabi dans l`Ecole Philosophique Musulmane¨
(Paris, 1934).
25
I do not claim to be an Augustinian scholar; thereIore, all arguments, concerning Augustine,
put Iorth in this dissertation are Iounded in secondary scholarship.
26
The Theology oI Aristotle and Fa rabi `s use oI this source will be discussed in some detail in
the next chapter.
9
the thought oI Plotinus in order to answer the ultimate questions: Why do men

desire happiness? How do they go about attaining it? And most importantly,

where can they attain this ultimate happiness? This dissertation sets out to

prove that happiness is the ultimate goal oI Farabi`s Madinah and Iurthermore,

that Farabi is in Iact telling his readers the paths to happiness and where this

happiness is to be attained. Farabi`s Virtuous City is where happiness in this

liIe, as well as ultimate happiness, is to be Iound; since only a citizen oI the

Virtuous City can be happy in this liIe and attain that ultimate happiness which

occurs when he returns to his proper place in the intelligible world, i.e., the

Virtuous City. How then shall we proceed to prove that Farabi`s Virtuous City

is indeed comparable to the Plotinian World Soul as the place where ultimate

happiness is attained? First, we shall looI at the concept oI happiness. Farabi,

liIe Plotinus and Augustine, was primarily concerned with the human desire Ior

happiness and he questioned how humans might have Inowledge oI this

happiness and how they were to attain it. Farabi, liIe Augustine, utilized the

Plotinian triple hypostasis |the One, Nous, and the World Soul| to reveal the

soul`s journey to the attainment oI happiness. Obviously, Farabi`s and

Augustine`s use oI Plotinus diIIers just as their circumstances diIIered, but their

goals, i.e., the means oI attaining happiness, are shared, and it is on this point

that their ideas may sustain a parallel. The notion oI happiness, as we shall see,

is not something that man learns or discovers; it is something that is already in

man Irom the outset. For Farabi, the Inowledge oI happiness is bestowed upon

10
man by an intelligible being, i.e., the Active Intellect
27
(aql Iaal), and the

attainment oI true or supreme happiness is ultimately achieved in the intelligible

world wherein the perIected soul will exist just beneath or within the Active

Intellect.
28


Augustine, in his search to understand how humans have Inowledge oI
happiness, considers Adam, the Iirst human. Augustine will essentially equate
Adam to the Plotinian World Soul because all men hence all souls come Irom
Adam, and Ior that reason, all men share in Adam`s Inowledge oI happiness.
UnliIe Plotinus and Farabi, Ior Augustine, the perIected souls will not return to
their source oI origin, instead they will ascend to a higher realm, i.e., the City oI
God. According to John Rist, Adam is most liIely the lower part oI the
Christianized Plotinian World Soul and the City oI God represents either the
upper level oI this World Soul or the Plotinian Nous.
29
ThereIore, we will argue
that both Farabi and Augustine conceive the soul`s journey as a descent Irom the
intelligible world into the material world and that they both posit the possibility
oI a return to the intelligible world. Farabi, liIe Plotinus and Augustine,
postulates a means to attain ultimate happiness. For Farabi both philosophy and

27
It is generally Inown that the concept oI the Active Intellect comes to us Irom Aristotle`s De
Anima III.5, but the term does not occur in the original GreeI, however it is mentioned three
times in the Arabic translation Arist utalis Ii `l-NaIs |etc.| . h aqqaqa-hu wa-qaddama la-hu
Abd al-Rah ma n Badawi (Dira sa t Isla miyya, 16), al-Qa hira, 1954, 75; See Walzer, Virtuous
City, 403.
28
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.5-6; tr. Walzer, 13.5-6. In Siyasah, there is a noted variant, wherein
perIected man achieves the ranI oI the Active Intellect, not the ranI beneath the Active Intellect.
Farabi, Kita b Al-Siya sa Al-Madaniyyah al-Mulaqqab bi-Maba di` al-Mawju da t (Principles oI
Beings or the Six Principles, or the Political Regime) edited with an introduction and notes by
Fauzi Najja r (Beirut: Catholic Press, 1964), 32.10; Fa rabi , Political Regime translated by
Therese-Anne Druart available through the Translation Clearing House (OIlahoma: OIlahoma
State University) Catalog reIerence number: A-30-50d., 32.10.
29
John Rist, Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1994), 126, 128-129.
11
religion oIIer a means to happiness. Augustine, by contrast, claims Christian
Iaith alone as a means.
30
Both Farabi and Augustine contend that the perIected
soul, or the soul that has achieved ultimate happiness, will exist in the
intelligible world in a sort oI quasi-relationship with an intelligible being that in
many respects resembles the Plotinian Nous, thus connecting the individual soul
to the One or God.
Now, since ultimate happiness is an eternal happiness, it cannot be

realized in the sublunary world, which is in a constant state oI Ilux. That this

ultimate happiness is Iused with a city suggests that the Virtuous City and the

City oI God exist in the intelligible world. Surely, iI the highest Ielicity is to be

Iound in the realm oI pure abstract intellection, Ireed oI matter, then it maIes

sense that the city devoted to such Ielicity will also be located there. First, we

will examine the cosmos oI each oI the three writers. We will show how both

Farabi`s and Augustine`s cosmoi are similar and yet have marIed diIIerences

Irom Plotinus` emanation schematic; nevertheless, when we examine the City oI

God oI Augustine and the Virtuous City oI Farabi, we Iind that they are

analogous to the Plotinian World Soul. When we analyze Plotinus` World Soul,

we have, essentially, a description oI a perIect city. This city is based on a

rational hierarchy oI souls. II these individual souls remain in the World Soul,

they 'can share in its government, liIe those who live with a universal monarch

and share in the government oI his empire.¨
31
This city is the place oI every soul


30
But, as we shall see below Augustine considers anyone who is searching Ior truth to be a
citizen oI the City oI God. Thus he is allowing a path other than religion.
31
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4.
12
and it is only here that the individual soul can Iind eternal rest.
32
Augustine`s

City oI God, or the 'heaven oI the heaven,¨ is described as that place where 'the

pure heart enjoys absolute concord and unity in the unshaIeable peace oI holy

spirits, the citizens oI your city in the heavens above the visible heavens.¨
33


Augustine`s City oI God clearly exists in the intelligible world; it exhibits a

complete harmony and permanence not Iound in the material world. The

individuals who reside in Augustine`s City oI God resemble the individual souls

within the Plotinian World Soul. There is a rational hierarchy Iound within the

City oI God and, as we shall see, it is in this city that Augustine`s criteria Ior

true happiness are met. Farabi`s Virtuous City is constructed in a way

comparable to the human soul and the healthy human body, but the salient point

is that it looIs and it Iunctions liIe the intelligible world. We Iind too that there

is the same rational hierarchy Iound within the Virtuous City as Iound in the

intelligible world and, oI course, as Iound within the Plotinian World Soul. In

Farabi`s Kita b al-Millah wa Nusus UIhra (BooI oI Religion), he compares the

Virtuous City and the natural or material world and there the Virtuous City

appears to be distinct Irom the material world. Farabi presents both the material

world and the Virtuous City as eternal entities. Furthermore, in his Madinah,

Farabi reveals that all men, whether they be virtuous, wicIed, or ignorant, were

at one point a part oI the Virtuous City. So it is reasonable to assert that Farabi

is claiming that all souls originate in the Virtuous City just as the World Soul is


32
Ibid., V.1.4.
33
Augustine, ConIessions, translated by Henry ChadwicI (New YorI: OxIord University Press,
1991), BI. XII. xi. 12
13
the point oI origin Ior all souls in the thought oI Plotinus. This implies that the

Virtuous City is an eternal city that exists in the intelligible world and that it is

comparable to Plotinus` World Soul. Farabi tells us that only virtuous citizens

will achieve eternal happiness, thus suggesting that not all souls will return to

the Virtuous City. This leaves us with unanswered questions: II all souls derive

Irom the Virtuous City, why do they not all return? What deIines a virtuous

citizen? How does one become a virtuous citizen? These are obviously questions

that must be answered in the material world, by us, Farabi`s readers. Clearly,

Farabi and Augustine are discussing two levels oI existence: the metaphysical

and the physical. We will maintain that the Virtuous City and the City oI God

are cities that exist in the intelligible world and that they are analogous to the

Plotinian World Soul, but in addition, we will show that the non-virtuous cities

and the City oI Man are essentially the cities that exist in the material world.

Farabi and Augustine classiIy a city, and implicitly its citizens, by their aims or

their loves. Augustine only examines two cities, the City oI God, whose love is

God, and the City oI Man, whose love is selI. Farabi examines various cities, but

in essence, considers only two cities: the Virtuous City, whose citizens aim Ior

happiness and thus live as the One intends, and the non-virtuous city, whose

citizens live Ior things other than true happiness and so, do not live as the One

intends. How then do we, who live in non-virtuous cities or in the City oI Man,

become citizens oI those cities oI the intelligible world and come to happiness?

For Plotinus, the World Soul is the 'homeland¨ or 'Iatherland¨ Ior all souls, but

when these individual souls exist in the material world, many no longer live in

14
accordance with the Nous and the One; hence, these souls become weaI and

isolated and Iorget their true home.
34
Even so, Plotinus maintains that by

contemplating what is above, i.e., the intelligible world, these individual souls

can Iind their way bacI; and ultimately achieve happiness.
35
Farabi`s Madinah,

liIe Augustine`s De Civitate Dei, clearly outlines a speciIic system oI Inowledge

and a speciIic way oI liIe; in this way, both Farabi and Augustine provide the

criteria to become virtuous citizens and citizens oI the City oI God. Plotinus`

concept oI the undescended soul, perhaps, provides another way oI looIing at

these virtuous citizens and citizens oI the City oI God, in that these citizens

become aware oI the higher part oI their soul and assimilate themselves to the

intelligible world. These citizens must live in the material world, but they too

can be citizens oI those cities that exist in the intelligible world. Farabi and

Augustine leave us with a choice to maIe: oI which city will we become

citizens?












34
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4.
35
Ibid.
15
Part One
Chapter One
Historiography
36

I. Historiography oI Arabic Philosophy.
Dimitri Gutas has recently provided a thorough account oI the problems
with the historiography oI Arabic philosophy.
37
Gutas visits some oI the
approaches and interpretations that are prevalent in the study oI Arabic
philosophy and reveals the negative consequences oI each. He begins with what
he calls the 'Orientalist¨ approach and the antiquated Western view oI the
natives oI the Orient, which essentially describes Arabic philosophy as being
'mystical, sensual, otherworldly, non-rational and intensely interested in
religion..¨
38
Gutas insists that the perceptions stemming Irom the Orientalist
view maniIest itselI in various ways, e.g., that Arabic philosophy is nothing more
than 'mystical, only an intermediary between GreeI and medieval Latin
philosophy, as being concerned only about the relationship between religion and
philosophy, and as coming to an end with Averroes, when the torch was passed
on to the West.¨
39
Next, he discusses the 'Illuminationist¨ approach, in which
he Iocuses primarily on Henry Corbin. Gutas asserts that Corbin`s methodology,
which he claims is an oIIshoot oI the Orientalist approach, maIes Arabic

36
This historiography will Iocus mainly on al-Fara bi since he is the subject oI this dissertation.
37
Dimitri Gutas, 'The Study oI Arabic Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: an Essay on the
Historiography oI Arabic Philosophy¨ in British journal oI Middle Eastern Studies (2002) 29 (1),
5-25.
38
Ibid., 8. Gutas notes that the term 'Orientalist¨ is a 'loaded¨ term, but claims that it is
necessary to reIer to it because it provides a IrameworI oI the nineteenth century view oI the
natives oI the Orient and he claims this picture, although it is a caricature, determined the types
oI questions that were asIed by scholars. Gutas also notes Mahdi`s worI that emphasizes the
pervasiveness oI these notions. See Muhsin Mahdi, 'Orientalism and the Study oI Islamic
Philosophy,¨ in Journal oI Islamic Studies, 1 (1990), 79-93. Gutas, 'Historiography,¨8.
39
Ibid.
16
philosophy nothing more than a Iusion oI mysticism and theology.
40
Finally,
Gutas examines the 'Political¨ approach, which will be discussed in depth, since
it invariably Iocuses on Farabi.
First, it is necessary to examine Gutas` classiIications as they concern
Farabi. So we shall begin with the standard claim that Arabic philosophers were
attempting the harmonization oI philosophy and religion, a claim that is
commonly made about Farabi`s writings.
41
Gutas asserts that Oliver Leaman is
'most obviously guilty¨ oI this misconception, but in truth this assertion is so
ensconced within the reading material that it is generally accepted as common
Inowledge.
42
Gutas claims that Leaman`s worI would have us believe that
'medieval Arabic philosophy was in Iact nothing else but a continuous squabble
through and across the centuries about the relative truth values oI religion and
philosophy.¨
43
Obviously Gutas disagrees with the claim that the Arabic
philosophers` salient Iocus was the harmonization oI philosophy and religion.

40
Ibid., 18.
41
As noted above, Gutas insists that this claim stems Irom the Orientalist approach.
42
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 12. This is a common interpretation oI Fa ra bi `s texts. See Oliver
Leaman An Introduction to Medieval Islamic Philosophy (New YorI: Cambridge University
Press, 1985); Oliver Leaman, 'Does the Interpretation oI Islamic Philosophy Rest on a MistaIe,¨
in International Journal oI Middle East Studies vol. 12 no.4 (Dec. 1980), 525-538;Mahdi,
AlIarabi: Political Philosophy , 3; Mahdi, 'Al-Farabi¨ in History oI Political Philosophy, 3
rd

edition. Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Chicago: University oI Chicago Press,
1987), 206; Medieval Political Philosophy: a SourcebooI edited by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin
Mahdi with the collaboration oI Ernest L. Fortin (Canada: The Free Press oI Glencoe Collier-
Macmillan Limited, 1963), 1.
43
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 12-13. In his examination oI Leaman`s An Introduction to Medieval
Islamic Philosophy, Gutas argues that the purpose oI this booI as Leaman states in his PreIace, is
'to discuss some oI the leading themes oI Islamic philosophy by analyzing the arguments oI
some oI the most important philosophers concerned, and by relating those arguments to GreeI
philosophy on the one hand and to the principles oI religion on the other` (p. xii, emphasis
added). II this is the purpose oI the booI, then it cannot be an introduction to medieval Islamic
philosophy, unless one holds that its leading theme and major achievement were the discussion oI
the respective merits oI religion and philosophy.¨ Gutas, review oI 'An Introduction to
Medieval Islamic Philosophy,¨ by Oliver Leaman, in Islam 65 (1988): 340.
17
Gutas argues that the philosophers were interested in philosophy, and only
philosophy.
A.! Gutas` Critique oI Strauss.
The notion oI the harmonization oI philosophy and religion is, according
to Gutas, an important aspect oI Leo Strauss`s and his Iollowers` interpretation
oI Arabic philosophy. Gutas places their interpretation under the 'Political¨
approach. Gutas writes:
Strauss`s interpretation oI Arabic philosophy is based on two
assumptions: Iirst, it is assumed that philosophers writing in Arabic
worIed in a hostile environment and were obliged to represent their
views as being in conIormity with Islamic religion; and second, that they
had to present their real philosophical views in disguise. What is required
|thereIore, in order to understand their text,| is a Iey to understanding the
peculiar way in which the text has been composed, and that Iey is to be
Iound by paying attention to the conIlict between religion and
philosophy.`
44


Gutas disagrees that there was a hostile environment Ior those philosophers
writing in Arabic and he questions why the Straussians do not bother to cite
evidence iI such an environment existed.
45
He examines Charles Butterworth`s
claim that 'Islamic political philosophy has always been pursued in a setting

44
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 20; Leaman, 'Does the Interpretation oI Islamic Philosophy Rest on a
MistaIe,¨ 525.
45
Gutas cites examples oI the so-called persecutions. He claims:
Suhrawardi (d. 1192), who is usually cited as an example in this connection (most
recently by GriIIel, Apostasie, p.358) was executed because he had usurped, though an
outsider to Aleppo, the position oI the local ulama ` as conIidant and manipulator oI the
prince, al-MaliI al-Z a hir, Saladin`s son. The execution oI Abu l-Maa li al-Maya nji (d.
1131; also cited by GriIIel) tooI place not because oI his philosophical belieIs but, as
even al-Bayhaqi reports, on account oI an enmity between him and the vizier Abu` l-
Qâsim al-Anasa ba dhi `, see M. MeyeroI, `Ali al-Bayaqi `s Tatimmat S iwa n al-HiIma`,
Osiris 8 (1948), p. 175.
Gutas claims that the so-called persecutions are incorrect even in the case oI Maimonides. Gutas
states that 'he |Maimonides| and his Iamily were persecuted by the Almohads and had to leave
Spain in 1149 not because Moses was a philosopherin any case, he was barely in his teens at
the timebut because they were Jews.¨ Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 20.
18
where great care had to be taIen to avoid violating the revelations and traditions
accepted by the Islamic community..`¨
46
Gutas claims that these types oI
statements are continually given as hard Iacts and yet there is no evidence given
to support them.
47
Even Miriam Galston, a Iellow Straussian, questions the
degree oI the threatening religious climate as understood by Strauss. She insists
that 'there is no prima Iacie reason to assume a completely hostile relationship
between AlIarabi (and those similarly situated) and the religious establishment
at that time.¨
48
Indeed, Gutas insists that 'were one, however, truly to
investigate Arabic philosophy dispassionately and objectively, it would be
immediately clear to him that religion versus philosophy is but a minor subject
oI concern, and only at certain times and in certain places. Islamic Spain at the
time oI Averroes may have been such a place, but this is very Iar Irom
characterizing the entire Islamic world during the 10 centuries oI Arabic
philosophy that I talIed about at the outset.¨
49

The second assumption oI Strauss` interpretation, which is the
philosopher`s deliberate disguise oI his true philosophy, essentially rests on the
Iirst assumption, which is tenuous at best. Nevertheless, Gutas argues: 'II one
assumes a philosopher not to have meant what he said and always to have
concealed his true meaning, how is one to understand his text? In other words,

46
Ibid., 21. (Italics Gutas); Charles Butterworth, 'Rhetoric and Islamic Political Philosophy¨ in
International Journal oI Middle East Studies 3 (1972), 187.
47
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 21. See also Medieval Political Philosophy, 3; Mahdi, 'Al-Farabi,¨
208; Fauzi Najjar, 'Al-Fara bi on Political Science¨ in Muslim World (HartIord) 48, 1958, 100; A.
MacC. Armstrong, 'Philosophy and its History¨ in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
vol. 19, no. 4 (Jun., 1959), 452-453.
48
Miriam Galston, Politics and Excellence: The Political Philosophy oI AlIarabi (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1990), 173.
49
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨13.
19
how is one to Iind the Iey` with which to unlocI his allegedly secret meaning?
Straussians, oI course, always claim to have the right Iey and to be able to read
correctly between the lines, but their claim by itselI cannot hide the arbitrariness
oI their enterprise nor the Iact that iI there are no rules to the game then
anybody`s interpretation oI a philosophical text would be equally valid.¨
50

Gutas asserts that Strauss`s interpretation oI Arabic Philosophy begins with his
understanding, or really his misunderstanding, oI Maimonides` introduction to
his Guide oI the Perplexed wherein Maimonides:
Lists the various causes which account Ior the contradictory or contrary
statements to be Iound in any booI or compilation`, and oIIers
suggestions about how they are to be read in order to eliminate all
seeming inconsistencies and contradictions. There is nothing novel in
this approach oI Maimonides; allegorical interpretation oI religious texts
is as old as at least the Stoics and had been in constant use throughout
the centuries.as Ior philosophical texts, their obscurity, and especially
the obscurity oI Aristotle`s worIs, had become in late antiquity a
doctrinal topos among the Aristotelians oI Alexandria. Al-Farabi
adopted wholesale the Alexandrian teaching on this issue.. |According
to Gutas| Strauss Iailed to see the historical context and philosophical
pedigree oI Maimonides` introduction, and already inIluenced by his
worI on Socrates and his execution by the Athenians, misinterpreted the
introduction to mean that philosophers never say explicitly what they
mean out oI Iear oI persecution and lest they suIIer the same Iate as
Socrates. He then generalized this position allegedly held by
Maimonides, to all Muslim philosophers, iI one is to judge by
his analysis oI al-Farabi`s worIs.
51


Furthermore, Gutas insists that Farabi is an inappropriate example based on his
explicit criticisms oI theology as a science and religion in general. Contrarily,
Christopher Colmo suggests that Farabi`s now lost Commentary on the
Nicomachean Ethics may have been destroyed precisely because oI his

50
Ibid., 21.
51
Ibid., 19-20.
20
unorthodox statements concerning the aIterliIe. Thus Colmo sees that Farabi did
not escape the penalty oI the conIlict between philosophy and religion.
52

Galston provides an excellent account oI the scholarly debate concerning the
esoteric/exoteric writings oI Farabi. She notes that Strauss has inIluenced much
oI this debate due to his theory oI Fa rabi`s notion oI happiness and exactly who
is able to attain it. Strauss maintains that it is only the philosophers who will
attain happiness and so the need Ior Farabi to hide the truth Irom non-
philosophers. Galston admits that this theory is partly responsible Ior the heated
debate concerning the relationship between philosophy and religion. OI course
the most obvious question is whether this so-called hostile relationship is in Iact
a justiIication Ior these scholars to interpret Farabi`s text in an esoteric manner.
But this question is beyond the scope oI this dissertation. Galston examines the
scholarly evidence that posits whether Aristotle, too, employed the technique oI
esoteric/exoteric writings. Galston notes:
The distinction between exoteric and esoteric worIs is not made by
Aristotle. We can conjecture that the distinction came to be attributed to
him because he does speaI oI exoteriIoi logoi (literally: exoteric
speeches, arguments, or worIs); because some oI his teachings are
diIIicult to reconcile with others oI his teachings; and, in the case oI
particular versions oI the exoteric-esoteric tradition, because oI mystical
theories prevalent in the centuries aIter Aristotle`s death.
53


Galston examines commentators oI Aristotle between the Iirst century B.C.E.
and the sixth century C.E. While she notes the mystical theories prevalent in the
centuries aIter Aristotle, there is no mention oI any mystery cults, which existed

52
Christopher Colmo, BreaIing with Athens: AlIarabi as Founder (New YorI: Lexington
BooIs, 2005), 9.
53
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 22-53. See also Steven J. Lenzner, 'Strauss`s Farabi,
Scholarly Prejudice, and Philosophic Politics.¨ Perspectives on Political Science 28 (1999) no. 4:
194-202.
21
during the liIetime oI Aristotle and his student, Alexander, or later with
Gnosticism and Christianity when all oI these movements considered the notion
oI a secret Inowledge hidden within the texts. Thus the interpretations as
presented by Strauss and his Iollowers are, according to Gutas, both circular and
weaI. Indeed, a hostile environment should not be the underlying principle Ior
scholars to claim that the philosophers disguise their views. And the claim that
the very 'Iey¨ to understand a particular philosophical writing may be Iound by
examining this so-called conIlict between philosophy and religion, a conIlict that
Gutas does not suppose to have existed, should also be reevaluated.
B.! Politics and Neoplatonism.
According to Gutas, there are two negative consequences that stem Irom
the Straussian approach. The Iirst, which arises Irom the claim that the
philosophers hide their true meaning, implies that everyone but a handIul oI
philosophers, and oI course the Straussians, are 'absolute idiots;¨ since it is only
they who Inow how to read between the lines.
54
Gutas contends that the
Straussians` 'hermeneutical libertarianism¨ ignores the basic rules oI
'philological and historical research.¨
55
He insists that the comparison oI Arabic
philosophical texts with the texts oI Plato and Aristotle gives the Ialse
impression that the Arabic philosophers had the same access to the GreeI
sources that we now have and the same understanding oI 'GreeI society and
institutions¨ as we have today.
56
This complaint is echoed by Georges Tamer

54
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 22.
55
Ibid., 21.
56
Ibid.
22
who asserts that it cannot be established that Fa rabi 'Inew Plato`s writings in
their original Iorm¨ and he claims that this is a major weaIness at the very
Ioundation oI Strauss`s argument.
57
Strauss does acInowledge that Farabi did
not have access to all oI Plato`s worIs and he claims that we do not Inow the
extent oI the distortion oI what he did have. However, he maintains that Farabi
understood Plato`s thought as a whole based on his Inowledge oI the Republic,
the Timaeus, and the Laws.
58
Nevertheless, the Straussian contention oI the
need to read between the lines in order to truly understand the text is rampant in
their scholarship. For instance, according to S.B. Drury, Strauss views Plato as
'a master oI the esoteric art oI writing. So much so that he succeeded not only
in avoiding persecution, but in Iooling the whole tradition oI Neo-Platonism.¨
59

Joshua Parens appears to taIes this line oI thought to a new level oI absurdity.
Parens sets Iorth the possibility that 'Farabi rediscovered the original meaning oI
Plato`s political thought, aIter its having lain dormant Ior centuries..Could he
not have understood things about Plato`s thought that was lost on many oI
Plato`s own disciples in the academy aIter his death?¨
60
Parens` theory seems to
argue that oI all the scholars who lived and worIed aIter Plato, only Farabi,
roughly thirteen hundred years later, truly understood his meaning. While these
are certainly provocative claims, we must question why these scholars are

57
Georges Tamer, 'Islamische Philosophie und die Krise der Moderne: Das Verhältnis von Leo
Strauss zu AlIarabi, Avicenna und Averroes,' Islamic Philosophy Theology and Science Texts
and Studies ed. H. Daiber and D. Pingree, Volume XLIII (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 326-327.
58
Leo Strauss, 'Farabi's Plato¨ in Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume (New YorI: American
Academy Ior Jewish Research, 1945), 360-361.
59
S.B. Drury, 'The Esoteric Philosophy oI Leo Strauss¨ in Political Theory vol. 13 no.3 (August,
1985), 326-327.
60
Joshua Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric: AlIarabi`s Summary oI Plato`s 'Laws¨ (New YorI:
State University oI New YorI Press, 1995), 22.
23
maIing them. Perhaps these particular scholars are reading their own
understanding oI Plato into Farabi`s texts. So, it is understandable why Gutas is
perplexed and is led to wonder how a handIul oI scholars have such a miraculous
understanding oI Farabi`s thought, and with such clarity.
The second negative consequence, according to Gutas, lies in the Iact
that to truly understand the Arabic philosophers` meaning one has to examine
the texts within a political IrameworI. Gutas argues that because Arabic
philosophy is assumed to be about religion and philosophyand since in Islam
there is no separation between civil law and canon lawany question concerning
law meant that the philosopher was questioning divine law.
61
ThereIore,
according to Gutas, 'the reason why Arabic philosophers allegedly had to
disguise their real opinions was because they wrote about politics.¨
62
Hence,
philosophy became political philosophy. However, according to Gutas, 'There is
no political philosophy as such in Arabic, as the term is normally understood,
beIore Ibn Khaldun; there is, in other words, no independent Iield oI study within
Arabic philosophy which investigates political agents, constituencies, and
institutions as autonomous elements that operate according to their own
dynamic within the structure oI the society.¨
63
Gutas provides Ibn Khaldun`s
remarIs concerning this so-called political philosophy. Ibn Khaldun writes:

61
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 22.
62
Ibid. Parens insists that 'because AlIarabi lived in a medieval community that made no claims
to separate religion and politics, he was more attuned than we are to the role that belieIs or
commitments play in politics. Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric, xiv.
63
Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 23. See also Dimitri Gutas, 'The Meaning oI Madani in al-Fa ra bi `s
Political` Philosophy,¨ in M"langes de l`Universit" Saint-Joseph Volume LVII-2004: The GreeI
Strand in Islamic Political Thought, edited by Emma Gannage, Patricia Crone, Maroun Aouad,
Dimitri Gutas, and EcIart SchütrumpI (Beyrouth: Universite Saint-Joseph, 2004), 259-282.
24
By government oI the city` |Al-Siyasa Al-Madaniyya| the philosophers
mean simply the disposition oI soul and character which each member oI
a social organization must have iI, eventually, people are completely to
have no need oI rulers. They call the social organization that IulIills
these requirements the virtuous city` |Al-Madina al-Iadila|. The norms
observed in this connection are called government oI the city.` They do
not mean the Iind oI government that the members oI a social
organization are led to adopt through laws Ior the common interest. That
is something diIIerent. The virtuous city` oI the philosophers is
something whose realization (wuqu`) is rare and remote. They
discuss it only as a hypothesis.
64


Tamer also questions the political IrameworI oI Strauss and his Iollowers. In his
discussion oI the harmonization oI Plato and Aristotle, Tamer claims:
Apparently, AlIarabi had a great inIluence on Leo Strauss who seems to
agree with him on the irrelevance oI the philosophical diIIerences
between Plato and Aristotle. The political philosophy Strauss introduces
in the philosophical discourse oI modernity claims to possess a uniIied
Platonic-Aristotelian character. Whereas AlIarabi tries to harmonize the
teachings oI the two philosophers on the basis oI Neoplatonic
metaphysics, Strauss tries to achieve the same by assuming the centrality
oI politics in the teachings oI both philosophers. In Strauss`s conception,
metaphysics is replaced by politics.
65


Henry Corbin, (whom Gutas has classiIied under the Illuminationist approach) in
his discussion oI Farabi, Iervently rejects a political reading. Following Ibrahim
MadIour, Corbin completely discards the idea that Farabi`s thought is political
in the modern sense oI the word.
66
He claims that Farabi`s 'theory oI the
perIect city` bears a GreeI stamp in virtue oI its Platonic inspiration, but it
IulIills the philosophical and mystical aspirations oI a philosopher oI Islam..It
is not a Iunctional` political programme.¨
67
Hermann Landolt notes Corbin`s

64
Ibn Khaldu n, The Muqaddimah in Gutas, 'Historiography,¨ 24. (Italics Gutas)
65
Tamer, 'Islamische Philosophie,' 332.
66
Henry Corbin, History oI Islamic Philosophy, translated by Liadain Sherrard with the
assistance oI Philip Sherrard (London: Kegan Paul International Ltd, 1993), 160.
67
Ibid., 162. Hermann Landolt, 'Henry Corbin, 1903-1978: Between Philosophy and
Orientalism¨ in Journal oI the American Oriental Society vol. 119 no. 3 (Jul 1999), 489.
25
dismissal oI a political interpretation oI Farabi, but asIs 'why Farabi could not
be considered both a political philosopher and a mystic?¨
68

Landolt`s question and its implications are unacceptable to the
Straussians, but it will be oI the utmost importance Ior us. What is it about this
question that is so disagreeable? The extraordinary claim that 'the political side
oI Plato disappeared Irom philosophy in Late Antiquity and that prior to
Machiavelli (1469-1527 CE) the only major contributor to political philosophy is
the early Iourth/tenth century Muslim, al-Farabi,¨ is extremely signiIicant Ior
Strauss and other scholars.
69
This assertion allows certain scholars to claim that
Farabi somehow rediscovered the political side, i.e., the true meaning, oI Plato
aIter it had lain dormant Ior centuries.
70
By this line oI reasoning, Farabi
possessed the Straussian 'Iey¨ to the true meaning oI Plato. It should come as
no surprise, thereIore, when Mahdi claims that 'all oI a sudden¨ Farabi
materializes with a political understanding oI Plato and a political philosophy
that had no precursor in Islamic philosophy, or Ior that matter, the Christian
tradition.
71
But why must this magniIicent Ieat rest upon Farabi`s shoulders

68
Hermann Landolt, 'Henry Corbin,¨ 489.
69
WalIer, 'Philosophy oI Religion,¨89. But Walzer insists that 'there is no reason to assume
that political Platonism had completely died in later Antiquity and that al-Fa ra bi was the Iirst to
revive it when the political climate was right Ior it again.¨ Walzer, Virtuous City, 11.
70
WalIer, 'Philosophy oI Religion,¨ 89. See also Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric, 22; Mahdi,
AlIarabi: Political Philosophy.
71
Muhsin Mahdi, 'Al-Fa ra bi and the Foundation oI Islamic Philosophy¨ in Islamic Philosophy
and Mysticism, ed. by Parvis Morewedge (New YorI: Caravan BooIs, 1981), 14. See also
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy. For scholarship that recognizes Fa ra bi as the Iirst
political philosopher in Islam, but do not agree with the claim that there were no predecessors see
Charles E. Butterworth, 'Al-Kindi and the Beginnings oI Islamic Political Philosophy¨ in The
Political Aspects oI Islamic Philosophy ed. by Charles E. Butterworth (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1992); Paul E. WalIer, 'The Political Implications oI Al-Razi `s Philosophy¨ in
The Political Aspects oI Islamic Philosophy ed. by Charles E. Butterworth (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1992).
26
alone? Is there really no Ioundation, however slight, Ior Fa ra bi `s political
philosophy? Had the continuity oI philosophy, in truth, been broIen? For the
scholars who place Farabi solely in a political context there is no room Ior other
elements such as mysticism or even Neoplatonism.
II. The Neoplatonic Problem.
In Iact, the scholars who place Farabi in an exclusively political context
seem to want to lessen the Neoplatonic element in Farabi`s texts.
72

Accordingly, Mahdi preIers to examine the school oI thought preceding
Neoplatonism, i.e., Middle Platonism, which Ilourished between 25 BCE to 250
CE. According to Charles Butterworth, this allows Mahdi to Iocus on the
politics or the political concerns oI Plato as Iound in the thought oI Farabi.
73

This indicates that the Middle Platonists were somehow more political than their
successors and that there was a deIinite breaI in the continuity oI Plato`s
political philosophy. However, Butterworth notes that 'Mahdi maIes no

72
The scholars who are most commonly cited Ior advancing a Neoplatonic reading oI Fa rabi are
as Iollows: Majid FaIhry, A History oI Islamic Philosophy, 2
nd
ed. (London: Longman, 1983),
107-128; B. Carra de Vaux, 'Al-Fa ra bi ,¨ in the Encyclopedia oI Islam, 1
st
ed., vol. 2 (Leyden:
E.J. Brill Ltd, 1927, 53-55; Richard Walzer, 'Al-Farabi,¨ in Encyclopedia oI Islam, edited by P.
Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs, Brill, 2008, Brill
Online. McGill University Library, 14 February 2008
·http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry÷islam¸COM-0212~; Abdurrah ma n Badawi ,
'Al-Farabi,¨ in Histoire de la philosophie en Islam , (Paris: Libraire Philosophique J. Vrin, 1972),
478-575; Therese-Anne Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ in Studies in Medieval
Philosophy, ed. John F. Wippel vol. 17 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University oI America
Press, 1987), 23-43; Druart, 'Al-Farabi`s Causation oI the Heavenly Bodies,¨ In Islamic
Philosophy and Mysticism, ed. Parviz Morewedge (Delmar: Caravan, 1981) 35-46. For a
contrary view oI Fa rabi `s Neoplatonism scholars typically reIer to Paul Kraus, 'Plotin chez les
Arabes: Remarques sur un nouveau Iragment de la paraphrase des Enn"ades,¨ in Bulletin de
l`Institut d` Egypte 23 (1941): 269-271; Mahdi`s introduction to AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato
and Aristotle; Strauss, 'Farabi's Plato;¨ Miriam Galston, 'A Re-Examination oI al-Farabi's
Neoplatonism,¨ Journal oI the History oI Philosophy 15 (1977), 113-135;Mahdi, AlIarabi:
Political Philosophy; Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric, 17-27; Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 1-2,
13-16, 25, 120.
73
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, xii.
27
attempt here to identiIy putative sources upon which AlIarabi may have
drawn.¨
74
Clearly, those scholars who see Farabi as a political philosopher, grow
sIeptical when examining his Neoplatonism. Mahdi insists that Farabi:
understood the value oI the Neoplatonic philosophic tradition Ior
bringing together, or harmonizing, philosophy and religious orthodoxy
and Ior constructing a Platonism Ior the people. It is thereIore
understandable that historians oI philosophy who had not studied his
worIs with suIIicient care should have thought that he must have
Iollowed the Neoplatonic tradition that had dominated the Platonic
school in Alexandria and Athens. Yet the complete absence Irom his
authentic writings oI the central Neoplatonic philosophic doctrinesoI
the One, Intellect, and Soulshould have been suIIicient to suggest to
students oI Islamic philosophy who read him that they were in the
presence oI a philosopher who made use oI certain elements drawn Irom
the Neoplatonic tradition but whose Neoplatonism must remain
suspect.
75


Mahdi`s explanation oI Farabi`s use oI Neoplatonism includes the need to
harmonize philosophy and religion (which as noted above, Gutas alleges to have
stemmed Irom the 'Orientalist¨ approach). Mahdi explains:
gradually, it became clear to philosophers, just as it was clear to the
theologians and jurists oI the revealed religions, that division in the ranI
oI the philosophers was detrimental to the cause oI philosophy
theologians and jurists exploited it at every opportunityand that it
might be prudent to maIe up their diIIerences and present a common
Iront wherever possible. |Mahdi insists that| the most urgent question
|Ior the common Iront| was how to protect and preserve Aristotle. This
was achieved by hiding him Irom public view. The common Iront
marched to embrace the revealed religions with Plotinus (the other-
worldly GreeI sage who enchanted everyone with his divine speech) in
Iront, Iollowed by the divine Plato, with Aristotle Iept in the
bacIground, hardly to be seen, and not to be read by students unless
prepared Ior reading him Iirst by Plotinus and then Plato.
76


74
Ibid., xi.
75
Ibid., 2-3.
76
Ibid., 33-34. Mahdi continues this explanation with 'it is well Inown that at some
undetermined date a clever Iellow decided that Aristotle deserved to become Inown as the author
oI certain extracts Irom Plotinus`s Enneads and Proclus`s Elements oI Theology put together
under the title the Theology oI Aristotle.¨ Ibid., 34. But, F.W. Zimmermann disagrees that the
misascription was done on purpose. F.W. Zimmermann, 'The Origins oI the Theology oI
28
Why must there be a pretext Ior Farabi`s use oI Neoplatonic elements? The
predominant explanation that scholars proIIer Ior denying Farabi`s Neoplatonism
is that the Neoplatonists were not concerned with the political writings oI Plato
nor indeed, with politics in general. For example, Parens argues that 'the single
most important Iact about Neoplatonists` is their studied lacI oI concern Ior
political or worldly aIIairs. This lacI oI concern is complemented by the
undivided attention they pay to metaphysical matters, above all to metaphysica
specialis or theology.¨
77
This conventional view is a cliche and has been
invoIed by scholars to such an extent that it is almost impossible to peruse a
booI concerning Farabi without reading a statement such as this.
78

A.! The Counter-Argument oI Dominic O`Meara.
In Iact, Dominic O`Meara sets Iorth a solid case Ior shelving this
conventional view. He acInowledges that Plotinus and later Neoplatonic
philosophers, in general, have not been typically regarded as political
philosophers and, moreover, that they were uninterested in social and political
liIe; however, he challenges this view.
79
He Iirst examines the notion oI political

Aristotle,¨ in Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages: The Theology and Other Texts, Edited by
Jill Kraye, W.F. Ryan, and C.B. Schmitt (London: Warburg Institute University oI London,
1986),131
77
Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric,¨ 18.
78
See Parens, Metaphysics as Rhetoric, 118; Galston, 'A Re-Examination,¨ 113-135; Mahdi,
AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 2-3; Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 15.
79
Dominic O`Meara, Platonopolis: Platonic Political Philosophy in Late Antiquity (New YorI:
OxIord University Press, 2003), .3-24. O`Meara begins his assault on the conventional view by
examining the deIinitions oI '`Neoplatonists`, i.e. Platonists inspired by Plotinus.as
distinguished Irom the members oI Plato`s own school and Irom Platonists oI the Roman
imperial period preceding Plotinus (Middle Platonists`).¨ He claims that the modern
classiIications disrupt the strong continuity between Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism;
nevertheless, the categories have already been established and are thereIore convenient. O`Meara
examines the Neoplatonic schools beginning with Plotinus and his circle and traces the inIluence
oI Plotinus and the changes made by the later Neoplatonic schools oI Iamblichus and the schools
oI Athens and Alexandria. Ibid., 3, 13-26.
29
withdrawal that is commonly ascribed to Neoplatonism and provides examples
Ior it even prior to Plotinus. Passages Irom Plato`s Apology and Republic allow
the reader to see the longing oI both Socrates and Plato to withdraw Irom
political liIe.
80
This notion oI 'Socratic withdrawal¨ is also Iound in Epicurean
as well as Stoic writings.
81
And oI course, O`Meara observes that Plotinus oIten
implored his Iriends to withhold themselves Irom the world oI politics.
However, O`Meara insists that 'iI so many philosophers advocated some Iorm oI
withdrawal Irom politics, it does not Iollow that they necessarily reIused
political responsibilities, as can be seen in the case oI Marcus Aurelius, or tooI
no interest in the elaboration oI a political philosophy, as seems to be the case
Ior Plato.¨
82

In looIing at the conventional view oI Neoplatonism, O`Meara contends
that the goal oI Neoplatonism, i.e., the 'divinization¨ oI man or 'the assimilation
oI man to god,¨ does not exclude political liIe but actually includes it.
83
He
scrutinizes the philosophy oI Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics and
demonstrates that, according to all oI these philosophers, the best liIe Ior man is
a divine liIe and moreover, that this divine liIe is not a solitary one, but has a

80
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 5-6. See also Plato, Apology 31d-32a translated by G.M.A. Grube in
Plato: Complete WorIs edited by John M. Cooper (Cambridge: HacIett Publishing Company,
1997); Plato, Republic 496c-e translated by G.M.A. Grube and Rev. C.D.C. Reeve in Plato:
Complete WorIs.
81
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 6-7. O`Meara writes that 'the obvious case is that oI Epicurus who,
well hidden in his garden, tells us that we must liberate ourselves Irom the prison oI routine
business and politics`, and that the sage `will not engage in politics`.` O`Meara also notes that
'another heir to Socratic withdrawal is the Stoic sage, who retreats into the inner citadel oI
vicissitudes oI politics, even iI he be, liIe Marcus Aurelius, emperor.¨ Ibid., 6.
82
Ibid., 7.
83
Ibid., 5.
30
social and political IrameworI.
84
O`Meara insists that 'the divinization oI man
in Plato is not simply an imitatio dei. The suggestion is also made that there is a
divine element in man...the highest aspect oI soul, which has an aIIinity with the
transcendent Forms.and which, on separation Irom the body, may join the
company oI the gods.. This, however, can only be achieved through the
practice, here below, oI the highest degree oI imitatio dei, oI moral assimilation
to the gods.¨
85
In his examination O`Meara analyzes the Plotinian Triple
Hypostases oI One, Nous, and the World Soul and shows how each intelligible
Iunctions. According to O`Meara`s interpretation oI Plotinus, the World Soul`s
Iunction is two-Iold: to contemplate what is above it, and to 'bring order and
Iorm to matter, without losing its orientation to divine Intellect and the One,
thereIore without succumbing to vice.¨
86
O`Meara, Iurthermore, claims:
Human nature, in this context, is, at the root, soul and thereIore divine,
and is dynamically linIed to the divine Intellect and to the One. This
means that the divine, at all levels, is always present to us and available
to us, whatever our aberrational preoccupation with material things and
IorgetIulness oI our essential nature and divine homeland`. We are
thereIore anchored in divine Intellect and a part oI us always remains
there`..The human selI is mobile: we can live our lives at diIIerent
levels, depending where we place our interests and activities. We can
live the liIe oI beasts, or the liIe oI the gods. Indeed we can become a
god, or rather come bacI to live the liIe oI the gods that we essentially
are.
87


84
Ibid., 32-36.
85
Ibid., 36. See Plato, Timaeus 90a2-b1 translated by Donald J. Zeyl in Plato: Complete WorIs;
Plato, Phaedo, 79d1-4, 82b10-c1 translated by G.M.A. Grube in Plato: Complete WorIs; See
also Julia Annas, Platonic Ethics, Old and New (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1999), 63-65,
70-71.
86
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 37. For Iurther discussion oI the dual Iunction oI Soul see Henry
Blumenthal, 'On Soul and Intellect¨ in The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, edited by Lloyd
P. Gerson (New YorI: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 97.
87
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 37-38. Plotinus, Enn. IV. 8,8,1-6. Plotinus` theory oI the undescended
soul is rejected by later Neoplatonists. O`Meara, Platonopolis, 38.
31
Rist has touched upon a similar idea in his discussion oI the dual role oI the
individual soul, concluding that philosophy itselI represents that dual Iunction:
'Philosophizing Ior its own saIe is a concept unintelligible Ior Plotinus.¨ And he
asIs:
Why bother to teach anyone else? Surely Ior Plotinus all that should
matter is one`s own contemplation. There is no explicit answer to any
such query in the Enneads, but the lines on which Plotinus tacIles it are
perhaps not unclear. There is a harmony in the whole oI the universe.
All things derive Irom the One and are, in Plotinus` language, in the One.
All souls are striving to greater or lesser degrees to return to him. When
any individual soul returns and is joined in communion with its source, it
must be presumed to share in its source`s creativity and causal energy. In
other words, each soul will become responsible in its way Ior the creation
and maintenance oI all things. It will even love all things in so Iar as all
things contain the principle oI unity, Ior the One loves itselI both in itselI
and in the rest oI the cosmos.
88


For both O`Meara and Rist, the duty oI Soul/soul can be seen in a political/social
context; in their view, the Neoplatonic goal oI the divinization oI man actually
includes a political liIe.
In addition, O`Meara examines the scale oI virtues and the scale oI
sciences and reveals yet another political aspect oI Neoplatonic thought. The
scale oI virtues, which begins with the lower virtues and ascends to the higher
'puriIicatory¨ virtues, reveals the progressive stages oI divinization.
89
These
virtues, oI course, are Iound in Plato`s Republic and Ior Plotinus, and later
Neoplatonists, the political virtues are considered among the lower virtues on the
ascent to the divine.
90
O`Meara next examines the scale oI sciences wherein the
virtues are acquired; he Iinds that the scale oI sciences Iound within the

88
John Rist, Plotinus: The Road to Reality, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967),
163, 164.
89
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 40.
90
Ibid., 40-41.
32
Neoplatonic schools Iollows the Aristotelian division into the theoretical and
practical.
91
Such a diIIerentiation solidiIies the place oI the political virtues and
the political sciences on the lower level oI the scale oI virtues and sciences that
leads to the divinization oI the soul.
The notion that the soul can attain union with the One while also caring
Ior the world is touched upon again when O`Meara examines the Philosopher-
King and Queen. Once the philosopher is released Irom 'the darI cave oI
ignorance and opinion,¨
92
the philosopher asIs: why he must return. 'Why must
the philosopher become Iing?¨
93
The same question is posed in Plato`s
Republic; it is the very question that all Neoplatonists must contend with. The
various reasons Ior the philosopher`s descent are Iound in the thought oI
Plotinus. One such, according to O`Meara, arises when the soul achieves union
with the One, 'a union that may be Iollowed by an announcing oI this union to
others, an activity described also as political` and compared to the activity oI a
legendary legislator among the GreeIs, Minos, who, having been in communion
with Zeus, legislates in the image` oI this communion.¨
94
According to
O`Meara, this concept oI legislating once the soul has union with the One is
strongly conveyed in later Neoplatonism as well, Ior example, in Proclus,
Hierocles, Isidore, et al.
95

The Neoplatonic view oI the political, i.e., oI political virtues and
political liIe, is obviously important as a Iacilitator toward divinization oI the

91
Ibid., 50-55.
92
Ibid., 73.
93
Ibid.
94
Ibid., 74.
95
Ibid., 76-78.
33
individual soul and this, according to O`Meara, is essentially the same as the
idea that civic divinization is but a step on the ladder to the divinization oI the
individual soul.
96
O`Meara examines the various models oI the Neoplatonic
State, beginning with the Republic where Plato writes, 'You mean that he`ll be
willing to taIe part in the politics oI the city we were Iounding and describing,
the one that exists in theory, Ior I don`t thinI it exists anywhere on earth. But
perhaps, I said, there is a model oI it in heaven, Ior anyone who wants to looI at
it and to maIe himselI its citizen on the strength oI what he sees. It maIes no
diIIerence whether it is or ever will be somewhere, Ior he would taIe part in the
practical aIIairs oI that city and no other.¨
97
O`Meara explains that the scholars
who hold the conventional view oI Neoplatonic philosophy consider the relation
between the ideal city oI the Republic and that put Iorward in the Laws as
revealing that 'the ambitious political reIormer oI the Republic, disappointed by
his experience in Sicily, produced in his old age a more modest project, that oI
the Laws.¨
98
On the contrary O`Meara claims that the Neoplatonists would
never have aspired to bring to Iruition the ideal city oI the Republic.
99
Rather

96
Ibid., 116-117.
97
Plato, Republic 592-592b. As we shall see, this notion Iound in Plato`s Republic allows
scholars, such as, Strauss to claim that only philosophers can attain happiness.
98
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 92.
99
Ibid. O`Meara discusses a 'project with which Plotinus approached the emperor Gallienus..
Plotinus proposed to revive a city oI philosophers` that long lay in ruins in Campania, which iI
the emperor granted the surrounding land, would be colonized (Plotinus would join, with his
companions) and run according to Plato`s laws and would be called Platonopolis`.¨ O`Meara
asIs 'What and where was the ruined city oI philosophers..What sort oI city did Plotinus wish
to establish? A Iind oI pagan monastic community oI otherworldly philosophical ascetics? Such
an answer is required by the conventional view oI the Neoplatonist attitude to politics. Or did
Plotinus intend to realize in some way the utopia oI Plato`s Republic or rather, as the reIerence to
Plato`s laws suggests, the city projected in Plato`s Laws?¨ O`Meara, Platonopolis, 15-16. See
Plato`s 'Republic.¨ See also Plato`s 'Laws,¨ translated by Trevor J. Saunders in Plato:
Complete WorIs.
34
they would use the 'ideal city oI the Republic¨ as a guideline to establish a city
or to bring about political reIorm, but with the Iull understanding that Plato`s
Laws reveals that the 'second-best constitution¨ is perhaps more Ieasible owing
to the human condition.
100
Another model that O`Meara examines is Iound in
Plato`s Timaeus where he asserts that 'the universe as a whole, as a cosmos, an
order brought out oI disorder.can itselI be considered as a natural paradigm Ior
ethical and political order Ior humans.¨
101
This idea oI the 'cosmic city`, as a
model oI political order¨ is Iound in Late Antiquity as well as in
Neoplatonism.
102
Again, it is evident that Ior the Neoplatonists, the ideal city is
not to be realized in the material world. O`Meara examines the various
possibilities set Iorth, by the Neoplatonists, to explain the Iailure to realize the
ideal city. These are as Iollows:
deIective theoretical Inowledge, a deIective grasp oI contingent
particulars, the heteronomy oI action, an overriding oI action by the rule
oI Iate`. But whatever the outcome oI the philosopher`s action, the
measure oI Iailure and success cannot be such criteria as power,
prosperity, pleasure, or Iame; it can only be the common good, which is
itselI subordinate (as corresponding to political` virtue) to higher goods,
those represented by the higher levels oI the virtues. The greatest
imaginable political success cannot thereIore go beyond the realization
oI a general condition oI political` virtue, as a Iirst, preparatory stage
leading to the higher levels oI divinization..The domain where political
divinization could best be achieved in practice oIten remained, then, that
oI the philosophical school and the inIluence it could have.¨
103


It should be obvious by now that the Neoplatonic view oI the political, i.e., oI
political virtues and political liIe, is but a step toward the divinization oI the
individual soul. It should also be clear that the Neoplatonists do include the

100
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 92-93.
101
Ibid., 97.
102
Ibid., 97.
103
Ibid., 138-139. The various reasons given are thoroughly discussed in pages 87-139.
35
political within their philosophical thought. Why discuss the complexities oI
turning Inowledge into action? Why set out to construct the more probable
cities in lieu oI taIing up the ideal city? Why utilize the ideal model city in their
discussion oI political reIorm? Certainly, O`Meara`s comprehensive
examination is suIIicient to nulliIy the conventional view oI Neoplatonism.
AIter revising this partial view oI Neoplatonism, to show that it includes
a political realm, O`Meara, now examines Christian and Islamic thinIers to see iI
their writings reveal a political Neoplatonism. We will examine what O`Meara
suggests regarding Farabi`s Madinah. O`Meara insists that there is indeed a
continuity between political Neoplatonism, albeit later Neoplatonism, and early
Islamic philosophy. He begins with an examination oI the metaphysical
bacIground oI Madinah and notes that the emanation (Iayd) oI all things Irom
the One is indeed similar to that described by Proclus in his Elements oI
Theology.
104
The emanation sequence reveals the hierarchical structure and the
connectedness oI all things within the cosmosboth oI the material world, and
oI man himselI. Against this metaphysical bacIground, O`Meara scrutinizes
Farabi`s deIinition oI happiness and insists, 'Man`s goal is thus the liIe oI pure
intellect (as it was Ior the GreeI Neoplatonists), a liIe which comes as near as
possible to that enjoyed by a transcendent immaterial intellect. In this sense the
human goal can be described as assimilation to the divine`, a concept
transmitted by the later Neoplatonic commentaries to philosophers in Islam and

104
Ibid., 187.
36
very Iamiliar to them.¨
105
And this attainment oI happiness taIes place in a
social, i.e., political construct. O`Meara sees that Farabi`s Virtuous City is
based upon the hierarchy and the connectedness Iound within the metaphysical
IrameworI oI which the city is an imitation.
106
Consequently, the ruler would be
the most excellent oI its citizens. In observing the criteria Ior Farabi`s ruler,
O`Meara claims, 'The ruler has reached a high degree oI human happiness or
Ielicity, a proximity to the liIe oI the transcendent Agent Intellect which we can
compare to the assimilation to the divine` sought by the Neoplatonic
philosopher. Becoming divine-liIe means Ior the later Neoplatonist, imitating
the divine, not only by leading a liIe oI theoretical wisdom, but also by
exercising a providential (i.e. political) role since the divine not only enjoys
perIect intellection, but also conIers beneIit (providence) on what is lower.¨
107

And Iinally, O`Meara compares Farabi`s political use oI religion to Plato`s
political utilization oI religion in his Laws. In this way, O`Meara reveals the
continuity between later GreeI Neoplatonism and Islamic philosophy.
B.! The Role oI Plotinus.
OI course, there are some diIIiculties to be Iound in O`Meara`s discussion
oI Farabi`s Madinah. For example, O`Meara traces various aspects oI Farabi`s
thought to later Neoplatonism. However, throughout his own argument, which
intends to prove that the Neoplatonists do have a political philosophy, O`Meara
utilizes Plotinus as well as the later Neoplatonists in almost every example. And

105
Ibid., 189. O`Meara cites A. Altmann and S. Stern, Isaac Israeli: a Neoplatonic Philosopher
oI the early Tenth Century (OxIord: OxIord University Press, 1958), 16n., 29, 197; Therese-
Anne Druart, 'Al-Kindi`s Ethics¨ in Review oI Metaphysics 47. n 2 (Dec. 1993): 336-337.
106
O`Meara, Platonopolis, 189-191.
107
Ibid., 192.
37
yet, O`Meara completely ignores Plotinus in his discussion oI Farabi. O`Meara,
Iollowing Walzer, traces the emanation process bacI to Proclus, but Herbert
Davidson, by contrast, examines Farabi`s schematic oI emanation and notes a
distinct Plotinian inIluence.
108
Also, as we have seen above, while O`Meara
utilizes Plotinus in revealing how the goal oI Neoplatonic philosophy is the
'assimilation to the divine,¨ he ignores Plotinus in his discussion oI Farabi`s
theory oI happiness.
109
Perhaps O`Meara`s view oI Farabi`s Virtuous City
explains his obvious disregard oI Plotinus. O`Meara clearly acInowledges that
Farabi`s Virtuous City is a city that is to be established or, more liIely, that has
already been established since, he, again Iollowing Walzer, sees Muhammad as
the supreme ruler. This perhaps is why O`Meara places Farabi closer to the later
Neoplatonists Ior whom the metaphysical world is a paradigm oI the material
world. Nevertheless, this, too, is Iound in Plato`s Republic as well as in
Plotinus` Enneads. In Iact, Gerard O`Daly notes a political analogy Iound in the
thought oI Plotinus wherein he 'talIs oI an intelligible city above` and a city oI
the things below, ordered according to the things above`.¨
110
Finally, despite
O`Meara`s insistence that Farabi`s supreme ruler corresponds with the later
Neoplatonists, the very comparison he gives also corresponds to Plotinus`
description oI the philosopher-Iing.
111
So, while O`Meara deIinitely exposes the

108
See Davidson`s schematic. Herbert A. Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on
Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories oI the Active Intellect, and Theories oI Human Intellect
(New YorI: OxIord University Press, 1992), 44-46. See also Corbin, History oI Islamic
Philosophy, 161; David Reisman, 'Al-Fa ra bi and the Philosophical Curriculum,¨ in The
Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy ed. by Peter Adamson and Richard C. Taylor
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 56.
109
See above pages 30-32.
110
Gerard O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God: A Reader`s Guide (OxIord: Clarendon Press,
1999), 59. Plotinus, Enn., IV.4.17.
111
See above pages 33.
38
political aspects oI Neoplatonism, he still, Ior whatever reason, tends to Iind
continuity only between later Neoplatonists and early Islamic philosophy.
Nevertheless, O`Meara`s worI undeniably corrects the conventional view oI
Neoplatonism. We can no longer dismiss the Neoplatonic aspect oI Farabi`s
thought. We can no longer allow scholars to present Farabi as the only major
contributor to political philosophy Irom Late Antiquity to the Renaissance;
indeed, we can no longer accept the notion oI a breaI in the continuity oI
political philosophy Irom Plato to Farabi. Hence, it should be quite obvious that
Farabi did not 'all oI a sudden¨ materialize as a political philosopher, in Iact, he
is simply the heir to a long and continuous philosophical tradition.
O`Meara reveals the political characteristics oI Neoplatonic thought,
which have been essentially ignored by scholars and in particular, by Farabian
scholars but, more to our purpose, there have been excellent worIs by scholars
who do perceive the Neoplatonic elements in Farabi`s thought. Here, we shall
examine a Iew oI those elements which can be Iound within the philosophy oI
Fa ra bi . Some scholars correctly perceive that the core oI Farabi`s Neoplatonism
lies in the doctrine oI emanation, even though emanationism has long been
considered a controversial subject in Arabic philosophy.
112
First, let us consider
why emanation is so important Ior the Neoplatonists. As Lenn and Madeleine
Goodman insist, 'Emanation was perIected by the Neoplatonists, quite
consciously as an alternative to creation because the learned Neo-Platonic
philosophers did not choose to redescend into the anthropomorphic cosmogonies

112
Galston, 'A Re-Examination,¨ 16. See also Reisman, 'Al-Fa ra bi and the Philosophical
Curriculum,¨ 52. Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨23.
39
Irom which Aristotle had rescued them with great diIIiculty only a Iew centuries
earlier.¨
113
Ian Netton contends that emanation in Iact maIes it possible Ior man
to comprehend the 'relationship between the transcendent and the corporeal.¨
114

And FaIhry tells us that Farabi`s use oI emanation is a component oI his
ontological argument; Ior Farabi, 'it is always Irom God to the world, Irom the
perIect to the imperIect.¨
115
Walzer notes that Farabi`s emanation scheme
reveals a harmony that allows us to see the cosmos as a whole, as one thing.
116

Furthermore, the doctrine oI emanation essentially allows us to grasp the notion
oI contemplation. Corbin describes this concept oI contemplation within the
doctrine oI emanation and reveals its Plotinian aspect. 'The emanation oI the
First Intelligence Irom the Iirst Being, its three acts oI contemplation which are
repeated in turn by each oI the hierarchical Intelligences, and which engender
each time a triad composed oI a new Intelligence, a new Soul and a new Heaven,
down to the Tenth Intelligence,¨ i.e., the Active Intellect.
117
According to Elmer
O`Brien, contemplation is the 'central reality¨ oI Plotinian thought.
118
'The
Soul is the hypostasis that proceeds Irom .Nous. Its reason Iinds its

113
Lenn and Madeleine Goodman, 'Creation and Evolution: Another Round in an Ancient
Struggle,¨ Zygon vol. 18 no. 1 (1983), 31. See also Ian Netton, Fa ra bi and His School (London:
Routledge, 1992), 32.
114
Netton, Fa rabi and His School, 33.
115
Majid FaIhry, 'The Ontological Argument in the Arabic Tradition: the Case oI Al-Farabi,¨
Studia Islamica 64 (1986), 15. Although Mahdi claims that this is an un-Aristotelian concept.
For, 'we should approach the unInown through the Inown.¨ He implies that Fa rabi utilizes the
Neoplatonic element oI emanation to appease the 'ordinary citizen.¨ Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political
Philosophy, 59.
116
Walzer, Virtuous City, 361.
117
Corbin, History oI Islamic Philosophy, 161. Davidson also perceives an explicit Plotinian
aspect in a very Aristotelian schematic. Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on
Intellect, 44.
118
The Essential Plotinus: Representative Treatises Irom Enneads, translated with an
introduction and commentary by Elmer O`Brien, S.J. (Indianapolis: HacIett Publishing
Company, Inc, 1975), 162.
40
actualization when it contemplates . Nous. So in contemplating, it possesses
the object oI its contemplation within itselI, as its own.¨
119
Plotinus tells us that
when we contemplate what is above us, the subject and object become one.
120

This is comparable to Farabi`s claim that theoretical perIection is essentially
man`s theoretical intellect intellecting the Active Intellect, as it were, being
'oned¨ or united with the Active Intellect.
121
The Active Intellect is the last
intelligible being in the intelligible world and there is a relationship between this
intelligible being and the rational Iaculty oI the soul oI man; as a result, the
Active Intellect would be the being that man would contemplate, or to use
Farabi`s vocabulary, 'intellect.¨ The Active Intellect brings us to another
important aspect oI Farabi`s Neoplatonism. Farabi`s Active Intellect is a point
oI great controversy, in which there are discussions oI its comparability to the
Plotinian Nous. Walzer notes that it was oIten equated with the Plotinian Nous
in later Neoplatonism and in the writings oI the IIhwan al-SaIa.
122
Further
questions include whether Farabi`s Active Intellect is responsible Ior the
existence oI the sublunary world.
123
Moreover, there are some questions as to its

119
Plotinus, Enn., V.1.3.
120
Ibid., III.8.6, III.8.8.
121
The Active Intellect 'is intellected by man only when he is not separated Irom it by an
intermediary. In this way, the soul oI man itselI becomes this Intellect.¨ Farabi, FalsaIat
Arist u talis, ed. Muhsin Mahdi (Beirut: Dar Majallat Shi`r, 1961), 128:20-129:5; Fa ra bi , 'The
Philosophy oI Aristotle¨ in AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, tr. Mahdi, 128:20-
129:5.
122
Walzer, Virtuous City, 12. The IIhwa n al-S aIa or the Brethren oI Purity reIers to a 'group oI
thinIers¨ that Ilourished in the second halI oI the tenth century. See Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and
the Brethren oI Purity.
123
See Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect, 29-34; Druart, 'Al-Farabi and
Emanationism,¨ 30; Reisman, 'Al-Fa rabi and the Philosophical Curriculum,¨ 60; Fa rabi , Sharh
risa lah Zi nu n al-Iabi rah al-yu na ni (Commentary on the Treatise oI the GreeI, Zeno the Great),
7.17. J. Puig, 'El Tratado de Zenon el Mayor: un Comentario Atribuido a al-Farabi¨ Ciudad de
Dios, no. 201, (1988), 287-321. See also Ilai Alon, Al-Fara bi `s Philosophical Lexicon 2 vol.
(Cambridge: E.J.W. Gibb Memorial Trust, 2002.), s.v. Active Intellect.
41
role in man`s attainment oI happiness. According to Corbin, the philosopher-
Iing must have union with the Active Intellect in order to lead man to
happiness.
124
Farabi tells us that the place just below the Active Intellect is the
place oI all perIected souls.
125
The Neoplatonic characteristics Iound in Farabi`s
writings, and which have been discussed by several scholars, Iorm the basis Ior
this dissertation. While we will not ignore the scholarship that minimizes
Neoplatonic elements, we will stress Farabi`s unmistaIable use oI certain
Neoplatonic themes. Beyond this, we shall looI at Farabi`s Neoplatonism as a
main tenet oI his philosophy and not simply as a means to appease his audience,
or to harmonize certain Platonic and Aristotelian concepts, or to harmonize
philosophy and religion. Let us now examine more closely the interpretations
concerning Farabi`s Madinah.
III. Historiography oI Farabi`s Virtuous City.
By examining the historical context oI Farabi`s liIe, scholars have put
Iorth a myriad oI interpretations oI his Madinah. Scholars typically treat the
Virtuous City as an earthly city. Walzer argues that Farabi is not discussing 'an
ethereal, imaginary world: he is concerned with real liIe.¨
126
Walzer also claims
that Farabi equated the Iounder oI the Virtuous City with Muhammad; thus

124
Corbin, History oI Islamic Philosophy, 163. In Corbin`s discussion oI the illumination
doctrine oI Fa ra bi , he notes that it has a mystical element. Corbin denotes the diIIerences in the
meanings oI 'ittih a d¨ (meaning a 'unitive Iusion¨) and 'ittis a l¨ (meaning 'attainment,
conjunction without identiIication¨) and reveals that Fa ra bi `s use oI ittis a l reveals a 'mystical
experience.¨ Ibid., 160. However, Walzer notes that both ittihad and ittis al were considered
synonymous. Walzer, Virtuous City, 410.
125
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.5-6; tr. Walzer, 13.5-6. In Siyasah, there is a noted variant, wherein
perIected man achieves the ranI oI the Active Intellect, not the ranI beneath the Active Intellect.
Farabi, Siya sah, 32.10; tr. Druart, 32.10.
126
Walzer, Virtuous City, 9
42
implying that the Virtuous City has been established.
127
Some claim that the
Virtuous City is an ideal, or an attacI on the political milieu oI his time. The
Virtuous City as a reaction to the political circumstances has been discussed by
Ola Abdelaziz Abouzeid.
128
In view oI the political turbulence oI his day, a Iew
scholars argue that Farabi was maIing a religio-political statement by using
language that appeared to be sympathetic to Shia Islam. W.M. Watt asserts
that while Farabi does use language that could support Shiism, it appears that
he tries to distance himselI Irom the political struggle.
129
Najjar, too, considers
whether Farabi was inIluenced by the Sunni-Shiite controversy,
130
but
concludes that 'Farabi is no apologist Ior a given or emerging political order. It
is quite possible that the Shiites Iound in his teachings certain arguments to
support their claims, or that he may even have concurred with parts oI their
theories or notions.¨
131
Perhaps one oI the most important claims is that the
Madinah is a tool Ior learning about the human soul and the cosmos; in other
words, that it teaches us how to live. Mahdi argues that in Farabi, 'political
science¨ (the study oI the structure oI society) is the Ioundation oI our
Inowledge oI the microcosm oI 'psychology¨ (the study oI the structure oI the
individual soul) and the macrocosm oI 'cosmology¨ (the study oI the structure oI

127
Walzer, Virtuous City, 16, 414, 441-442. See also FaIhry, Al-Fa ra bi, Founder, 103.
128
Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity. See also Mahdi, 'Al-Farabi: Islamic
Philosophy. '
129
Watt, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, 54-56. See also Hodgson, The Venture oI Islam,
433-436.
130
Najja r, 'Fa ra bi ¨s Political Philosophy and Shi ism,¨57-72.
131
Ibid., 72.
43
the universe). Thus, studying what we can observe allows us to comprehend that
which we cannot.
132

Is the Virtuous City a philosophical idea, a political ideal or is it meant to
be a reality? Farabi`s Virtuous City has inspired numerous interpretations and
yet none is completely acceptable. This is because they all ignore Farabi`s
design oI happiness in this liIe and happiness in the next liIe. Some earlier
scholarship, though more descriptive, helped to deIine Farabi`s terminology and
provided thorough explanations oI his ideas; thus, it laid the Ioundation Ior
Iuture Farabian scholars.
133
Most oI these scholars note Fa ra bi `s claim that man
needs assistance in order to attain happiness; hence came the idea that man must
live in a city,
134
and, still more importantly, the idea that a man must live in a
virtuous city, in order to attain happiness. Tying happiness and ultimate
happiness to an earthly city in which one lives severely limits the number oI
those who can attain happiness. For example, Colmo argues that Ior Farabi,
'what happens to the soul aIter death depends on the Iind oI political
community one lived in here on earth.¨
135
Mahdi, too, connects the attainment
oI happiness with a particular regime. Mahdi claims:
The attainment oI happiness means the perIection oI that power oI the
human soul that is speciIic to man: his reason. This, in turn, requires

132
Mahdi, 'Al-Fa ra bi : Islamic Philosophy,¨ 14-19.
133
M. Al-Ma'sumi, 'Al-Farabi's Political Views¨ Journal oI the Asiatic Society (PaIistan) 4
(1959) 9-26; E. Mueller, 'Al-Farabi and his Contemporary Society¨ Archiv Orientalni 53 (1985)
355-364; Najja r, 'Fara bi `s Political Philosophy and Shi ism,¨57-72; Najja r, 'Al-Farabi on
Political Science,¨94-103; E. I. J. Rosenthal 'The Place oI Politics in the Philosophy oI al-
Farabi¨ Islamic Culture 29 (1955) 157-178; Saiyid A. Sajjad 'Al-Farabi's ClassiIication oI States
with Particular ReIerence to his Imam-State¨ Islamic Culture 57 (1983) 253-262.
134
Najja r asserts, 'Politics is concerned with the realization oI happiness Ior man through the
agency oI the political association, the city or the state.¨ Najjar, 'Al-Farabi on Political
Science,¨ 95. See also Sajjad, 'Al-Farabi's ClassiIication oI States,¨ 253-262.
135
Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 105.
44
disciplining the lower desires to cooperate with and aid reason to perIorm
its proper activity and also acquiring the highest arts and sciences. Such
discipline and learning can be accomplished only by the rare Iew who
possess the best natural endowments and who are also Iortunate enough
to live under conditions in which the requisite virtues can be developed
and noble activities perIormed. The rest oI men can only attain some
degree oI this perIection; and the extent to which they can attain that
degree oI perIection oI which they are capable is decisively inIluenced
by the Iind oI political regime in which they live and the education they
receive.
136


In this way, both Colmo and Mahdi argue that Farabi, upholding the ancient
tradition, linIs happiness to the city in which one lives.
Now, Strauss and others have described Farabi`s Virtuous City, liIe
Plato`s Republic, as 'a city in speech;¨ thus, implying that it cannot exist.
Galston aIIirms that this is the common view oI Farabi`s Virtuous City.
137

Shlomo Pines asserts that the existence oI the Virtuous City is 'a philosophical
postulatewhich may or may not be equated with an actually existent state, e.g.
the Islamic.¨
138
And Mahdi insists that Farabi`s political worIs 'present the
problem oI the harmony between philosophy and Islam in a new perspective
that oI the relation between the best regime, in particular as Plato had
understood it, and the divine law oI Islam. His position in Islamic philosophy
corresponds to that oI Socrates or Plato in GreeI philosophy in so Iar as their

136
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 129.
137
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 146. See also: Leo Strauss, 'Quelques remarques sur la
science politique de Maïmonide et de Fârâbî,¨ Revue des #$%&#' juives 100 (1936),12; Joel L.
Kraemer, 'The Jiha d oI the Fala siIa¨ in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 10 (1987),290;
Richard Walzer, GreeI into Arabic: Essays on Islamic Philosophy (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1962), 243-244; T.J. de Boer, The History oI Philosophy in Islam translated by
E.R. Jones (New YorI: Dover, 1967), 122-123; E.I.J. Rosenthal, Political Thought in Medieval
Islam 3
rd
edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958), 120, 124-125.
138
Shlomo Pines, 'Philosophy¨ in The Cambridge History oI Islam Vol. 2: The Further Islamic
Lands, Islamic Society and Civilization edited by P.M. Holt, Ann K.S. Lambton, and Bernard
Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 795.
45
chieI concern may be said to be the relation between philosophy and the city.¨
139

Majid FaIhry has even described Farabi`s Virtuous City as a blend oI Platonic
utopianism and Islamic political doctrine.
140
II Farabi`s Virtuous City is merely
a city in speech, a postulate oI reason, then how does one go about attaining
happiness and indeed, how does one become a citizen oI this city in order to
achieve the happiness sought? Is happiness, indeed, only Ior a Iew? As we shall
see, Farabi indicates that all ranIs oI the Virtuous City attain happiness.
In contrast to the theory oI a city in speech, some scholars assert that
Farabi`s idyllic Virtuous City can be realized. S.B. Drury claims that Strauss, by
reIerring to Farabi`s Virtuous City as a city in speech, 'did not mean that it is
unattainable. He meant only that it is improbable because it requires the happy
coincidence oI philosophy and political powers, or the existence oI princes
Iriendly to philosophy: it requires that philosophy win the ear oI the
powerIul.¨
141
Thus, it seems, Ior Strauss, Farabi`s Virtuous City might be a
possibility, however remote. Mahdi, too, sees Farabi`s Virtuous City as
attainable. In his later worI, Mahdi claims, 'The Virtuous City and the Political
Regime can now be seen as examples, patterns, or models constructed by
AlIarabi according to some oI the rules described in his account oI political
science. Such models are meant to be imitated by Iuture Iounders and lawgivers
and to be used by students oI philosophy to understand their own political-
theological predicament. These two worIs do not, thereIore, embody either

139
Mahdi, 'AlIarabi,¨ 160.
140
Majid FaIhry, A Short Introduction to Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism (OxIord:
Oneworld Publications, 1997), 46.
141
S.B. Drury, The Political Ideas oI Leo Strauss (New YorI: St. Martin`s Press, 1988), 16.
46
AlIarabi`s theoretical philosophy or his practical philosophy but are only
examples oI the Iinds oI regimes that can be constructed by political
philosophy.¨
142
Hence, there is a possibility to establish such a city. However,
iI the attainment oI happiness is connected to an actual city, then how do we go
about becoming citizens oI this city? Viewing the Virtuous City as an earthly
city is problematic because the Iocus moves quicIly to questions concerning its
establishment, who Iounded it, who is a citizen oI this city, not to mention the
all consuming questions: where was it at the time oI Farabi; indeed, where is it
now?
Whether or not the Virtuous City can be established or is simply an ideal,
Farabi discusses virtuous citizens residing in virtuous and non-virtuous cities.
What then about the virtuous citizens Iound in non-virtuous cities? Some
scholars claim that this implies that only philosophers can achieve happiness in
non-virtuous cities.
143
Or, as Strauss says, true happiness is only Ior the
philosophers. Strauss argues that Farabi`s assertion that the attainment oI
happiness in non-virtuous cities implies that happiness is only Ior philosophers or
'perIect human beings (i.e. philosophers who have reached the goal oI
philosophy).¨ However, Strauss also admits that Farabi 'Ior reasons oI
philanthropy . was compelled to show a possibility oI happiness to men other
than philosophers.¨
144
Mahdi, too, sees a discrepancy and argues that 'Al-Farabi
was aware oI a Iundamental tension between the pursuit oI private and public

142
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 6-7.
143
Najjar, 'Al-Farabi on Political Science,¨ 103.
144
Strauss, 'Farabi's Plato,¨ 378-379.
47
salvation. But he is almost the only Muslim philosopher who chose to explore
this tension and in the process brought to the Iore philosophy`s philanthropic
spirit and the philosopher`s high-mindedness and devotion to the true welIare oI
his community.¨
145
And so the question remains: who can attain happiness?
IV. Neoplatonic Sources.
BeIore we can answer this questionand since we will be examining
speciIically the Plotinian inIluence in Farabi`s thoughtwe must consider the
scholarly evidence concerning the Neoplatonic texts that Farabi had access to
and appears to have utilized.
146
The Theology oI Aristotle consists oI almost all
oI Plotinus` Enneads IV-VI.
147
Scholars such as F.W. Zimmermann and Peter
Adamson, have established that Farabi had access to this text, but it is unclear

145
Mahdi, 'Al-Fa ra bi : Islamic Philosophy,¨ 21. Scholars have noted this same tension oI
inclusive and exclusive attainment oI happiness in the writings oI Aristotle. For the academic
discussion concerning Aristotle`s inconsistency, see D.S. Hutchinson, 'Ethics¨ in Jonathan
Barnes, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, (New YorI: Cambridge University Press,
1995), 195-232; C.C.W. Taylor, 'Politics¨ in Jonathan Barnes, ed., The Cambridge Companion to
Aristotle, 233-258.
146
For a thorough account oI the Graeco-Arabic translation movement that tooI place between
the 8
th
and 10
th
centuries C.E. and the politico-social environment in which this movement tooI
place see Dimitri Gutas, GreeI Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation
Movement in Baghdad and Early Abba sid Society (2
nd
-4
th
/8
th
-10
th
centuries) (London:
Routledge, 1998). Watt correctly points out that "GreeI culture made its impact on the Roman
in Hellenistic and Imperial times not primarily through translations, but directly through GreeI
or bilingual education." Conversely, the eastern philosophers, such as Al Farabi, received "his
instruction in philosophy Irom Christian Syrians, and depended on Arabic translations made by
them Irom GreeI and Syriac." Some oI these translations are ambiguous and the intent oI the
original philosophical writing is unclear. Watt also notes that western and eastern philosophers
were attracted to and repulsed by diIIerent philosophies; Ior example, Plotinus, Porphyry, and
Proclus were not interested in Plato's political philosophy, whereas Al Farabi Iully incorporated
Plato's political thought into his own philosophy. See J.W. Watt, "Eastward and Westward
Transmission oI Classical Rhetoric," Centres oI Learning: Learning and Location in Pre-Modern
Europe and the Near East. Brill's Studies in Intellectual History 61 (1995), 63, 71-73; J.W.
Watt, 'Syriac and Syrians as Mediators oI GreeI Political Thought to Islam¨ in M"langes de
l`Universit" Saint-Joseph Volume LVII-2004: The GreeI Strand in Islamic Political Thought,
edited by Emma Gannage, Patricia Crone, Maroun Aouad, Dimitri Gutas, and EcIart SchütrumpI
(Beyrouth: Universite Saint-Joseph, 2004), 121-149.
147
There is an on-going dispute on whether or not Fa rabi viewed the Theology oI Aristotle as a
genuine Aristotelian worI. See Galston, 'A Reexamination,¨ 14; FaIhry, Al-Fara bi, Founder,
152; WalIer, 'Philosophy oI Religion,¨ 89; Paul E. WalIer, 'Platonism in Islamic Philosophy,¨
Studia Islamica 79 (1994), 5-25.
48
whether the text he used was the Long Version or what has been called the
Arabic Plotinus. Peter Adamson has revealed how the Theology oI Aristotle was
altered by an 'Adaptor,¨ sometimes only to clariIy, but at other times new
material was introduced that countered the doctrine oI Plotinus. Adamson,
Iollowing Zimmermann, maintains that this Adaptor is Ibn Naima al Himsi.
148

The Theology oI Aristotle, according to Gerhard Endress, is one oI the most
Iamous worIs translated 'Ior al-Kindi or under his guidance.¨
149
Zimmermann
supplies a detailed account oI the origins oI the Theology oI Aristotle.
Zimmermann writes:
The Theology exists in an Arabic version Iirst printed in 1882, another
Arabic version Iirst discovered at Leningrad earlier this century and as
yet published only in extracts, and the Latin version Iirst printed in 1519.
The printed Arabic version, oIten called the short` or shorter`, names
Kindi as its editor; the long` or longer` Leningrad and Latin versions do
not. I shall reIer to the Kindi` version as K and to the Leningrad version
as L. These versions taIe their place in history as Iollows. (1) The Latin
version derives Irom the Arabic oI L, as transpires Irom the essential
agreement between the two versions, particularly in places where they
both diIIer Irom K. (2) L derives Irom K, as transpires Irom the nature oI
their diIIerences. The common text LK is punctuated in both versions by
interpolations oI varying length peculiar to each. Passages peculiar to K
include bits oI texts authenticated by the GreeI substratum, and are
generally oI a piece with LK. They must thereIore be regarded as
primary, i.e. omitted by L. Passages peculiar to L are without
counterparts in the GreeI substratum, and are sometimes at odds with
LK. They must be regarded as secondary, i.e. added by L. (3) K derives
Irom *AP, an Arabic paraphrase (now lost) oI selected passages Irom
Plotinus. *AP is attested by three collections oI extracts in Arabic: K
the so-called Theology, misascribed to Aristotle; *GS a text oI unInown
title, ascribed to the GreeI shayIh` and only Inown through

148
Peter Adamson, The Arabic Plotinus: A Philosophical Study oI the Theology oI Aristotle
(London: Gerald DucIworth & Co. Ltd., 2002), 23-25.
149
Gerhard Endress, 'The Circle oI Al-Kindi : Early Arabic Translations Irom the GreeI and the
Rise oI Islamic Philosophy¨ in The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism:
Studies on the Transmission oI GreeI Philosophy and Sciences Edited by Gerhard Endress and
RemIe KruI (The Netherlands: Leiden, 1997), 52.
49
quotations; DSa Treatise on Divine Science, misascribed to the
Muslim philosopher Farabi (d.950). K and *GS overlap, and the identity
oI the passages they have in common proves the existence oI a larger
worI Irom which they both derived. DS does not overlap with either K
or any oI the Inown quotations Irom *GS. But it is united with the other
Plotiniana, not only by a common GreeI substratum, but also by a
common style, both oI Arabic expression and oI paraphrase. Plotinus`s
text is rendered according to a distinctive Iormula, which has Iound
typographical expression in the English version published in Henry
and Schwyzer. Shortish sequences oI paraphrase relatively close to the
original (italic) alternate with shortish sequences oI ampliIication
(roman), and the whole is interspersed with occasional longer departures
Irom the original (small). The mix is much the same in all three
representatives oI *AP. The sameness oI Iormula shows that they all
come Irom the same paraphrast. The sameness oI Arabic style shows that
they come Irom the same translator. The most natural explanation is that
they come Irom a single Arabic worI: *AP. (4) *AP derives, ultimately,
Irom the GreeI oI Plotinus`s Enneads IV-VI, much as we have it today.
That the (ultimate) substratum is the worI oI Plotinus is shown by an
overwhelming number oI parallels (set in italics in the English version).
That it is the worI oI Plotinus in Porphyry`s arbitrary arrangement in
Enneads is suggested by the Iact *AP Ialls within the conIines oI Enn.
IV-VI, and proved by the reproduction in K oI the unnatural division
inIlicted by Porphyry`s arrangement on one oI Plotinus`s original
treatises. So much, then, can be said with assurance. The rest is
speculation.
150


Zimmermann then adds a Iew 'tentative additions¨ to his original account. He
posits:

Ad (2): L was produced Irom K by about 900. Its editor remains to be
identiIied.
Ad (3): K originated in the second halI oI the ninth century as a
transcript oI a Iortuitous collection oI pages Irom the Plotinus (*AP) oI
the original *Theology. The (unInown) scribe mistaIenly attributed K to
Aristotle. The *Theology was a reader compiled, not necessarily in the
Iorm oI a concrete booI, under the title oI Uthulujiya, i.e. Theory oI
Rububiyya by a member or members oI the Kindi circle in the early ninth
century. In addition to *AP, it included (parts oI?) Proclus`s Elements oI
Theology and some metaphysical treatises by Alexander oI Aphrodisias.
The underlying GreeI texts were in much the same shape as we have
them today. There is no evidence oI a Syriac intermediary. The dispersal
oI the *Theology later in the ninth century led to the Iormation,
not only oI K, but also oI the Liber de causis and oI Dimashqi`s *Extracts

150
Zimmermann, 'The Origins oI the Theology,¨ 112-113.
50
Irom the Theology. *GS and DS may have been excerpted Irom the
*Theology beIore its dispersal; but the disappearance oI the original led
to the anonymity oI *GS and the pseudonymity oI DS. Some version *F
oI the *Theology, including at least Proclus and Plotinus, seems to have
survived to the time oI Farabi. But Farabi`s evidence is not solid
enough to inspire complete conIidence.
Ad (4): *AP was a Iree paraphrase by Hims i oI rather more oI Enn. IV-
VI than is covered by the extant Iragments. He preserved the order oI the
original and supplied a detailed table oI contents. Other parts oI the
*Theology may have been contributed by other members oI the Kindi
circle.
151


In reIerence to addendum three, Endress, too, has noted another text closely
connected to the Theology oI Aristotle, which is a translation oI selections oI
Proclus` (d. 485 C.E.) Elements oI Theology.
152
He argues that 'in the Arabic
manuscript tradition, most oI these are being presented as alleged excerpts by
Alexander oI Aphrodisias (200 C.E.) Irom the Theology` oI Aristotle.¨
153
Now
Zimmermann has suggested that, in the case oI Farabi, he may have had access
to L and perhaps a 'hypothetical Iuller version *F,¨ but, as noted, Zimmermann
claims that the evidence is inconclusive.
However, in Zimmermann`s examination oI Farabi`s Kitab al-Jam bayn
Ra`yay al-HaIimayn, AIlatun al-Ilahi wa Arist u t a li s (The Harmonization oI the
Two Opinions oI the Two Sages: Plato the Divine and Aristotle) he Iinds
elements oI both Plotinus and Proclus. The Plotinian element is Iound in what
Zimmermann calls the 'doIIing¨ metaphor. Plotinus writes, 'and the attainment
oI it |beauty| is Ior those who go up to the higher world and are converted and

151
Ibid., 134-135,128-129.
152
Endress, 'The Circle oI Al-Kindi,¨ 53-54; see also Gutas, GreeI Thought, Arabic Culture, 120,
145.
153
Ibid., 54. Zimmerman expands Endress` claim that Proclus is the author oI many oI the
excerpts oI Alexander oI Aphrodisias. See F.W. Zimmermann, 'Proclus Arabus Rides Again,¨
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 4 (Cambridge, 1994): 9-51.
51
strip oII what we put on in our descent; just as Ior those who go up to the
celebrations oI sacred rites there are puriIications, and stripping oII oI the
clothes they wore beIore, and going up naIed.¨
154
Plotinus also writes:
OIten I have woIen up out oI the body to myselI and have entered into
myselI, going out Irom all other things; I have seen a beauty wonderIully
great and Ielt assurance that then most oI all I belonged to the better part;
I have actually lived the best liIe and come to identity with the divine;
and set Iirm in it I have come to that supreme actuality, setting myselI
above all else in the realm oI Intellect. Then aIter that rest in the divine,
when I have come down Irom Intellect to discursive reasoning, I am
puzzled how I ever came down, and how my soul has come to be in the
body when it is what it has shown itselI to be by itselI, even when it is in
the body. Heraclitus, who urges us to investigate this, positing
necessary changes` Irom opposite to opposite, and saying way up and
down`..
155


In the Arabic Plotinus we Iind:

OIten have I been alone with my soul and have doIIed my body and laid it
aside and become as iI I were naIed substance without body, so as to be
inside myselI, outside all other things. Then do I see within myselI such
beauty and splendour as I do remain marveling at and astonished, so that
I Inow that I am one oI the parts oI the sublime, surpassing, loIty, divine
world, and possess active liIe. When I am certain oI that, I liIt my
intellect up Irom that world into the divine world and become as iI I were
placed in it and cleaving to it, |so as to be above the entire intelligible
world, and seem to be standing in that sublime and divine place.| And
there I see such light and splendour as tongues cannot describe nor
ears comprehend. When that light and splendour overwhelm me and I
have not the strength to endure it, I descend |Irom mind| to thought |and
reIlection|. When I enter the world oI thought, thought veils that light
|and splendour| Irom me, |and I am leIt wondering how I have Iallen Irom
that loIty and divine place and am come to the place oI thought, when my
soul once had the power to leave her body behind and return to herselI
and rise to the world oI mind and then to the divine world until she
entered the place oI splendour and light, which is the cause oI all light
and splendour. WonderIul it is too how I have seen my soul Iilled with
light, while she was still in my body liIe her appearance, not leaving
it. But when I thinI long and cast my gaze about and am liIe one
bemused,| I remember Heraclitus, Ior he ordered that one should seeI and

154
Plotinus, Enn. I.6.7.4-7.
155
Ibid., IV.8.1
52
inquire about the sublime substance oI the soul and should desire to
ascend to that sublime and exalted world.. Now Empedocles says that
the souls were in the high and sublime place, and when they erred they
Iell into this world..
156


And Iinally in Farabi`s Kitab al-Jam bayn Ra`yay al-HaIimayn, AIlatun al-Ilahi
wa Aristut alis, he writes:
Sometimes I am alone with my soul a great deal and I cast oII my body
and become liIe an abstract, incorporeal substance. I enter my essence,
return to it, and detach myselI Irom all other things. I am at one and the
same time Inowledge, the Inower, and the Inown. I see beauty and
splendor in my essence such as to bewilder me with amazement. At that
moment, I Inow that I am a minor part oI the venerable world and that by
my liIe I am active. When I am sure oI this, I let my mind ascend Irom
that world to the divine cause and become as though I were joined to it.
Thereupon, light and splendor such that tongues are too dull to describe
and ears to hear radiate to me. When I am immersed in that light, reach
my limit, and can no longer bear it, I descend to the world oI calculation.
When I arrive in the world oI calculation, calculation conceals that light
Irom me, and at that moment I remember by brother Heraclitus when he
commanded seeIing and inquiring into the substance oI the venerable
soul by climbing up to the world oI intellect.
157


AIter examining the Plotinian inIluence in Farabi`s text, Zimmermann
turns to Proclus` Elements oI Theology. Proclus writes:
Prop. 1. Every maniIold in some way participates unity. For suppose a
maniIold in no way participating unity.each part will itselI be a
maniIold oI parts, and so to inIinity. For each part oI the
maniIold.must be either one or not-one; and iI not-one, then either
many or nothing, the whole is nothing; iI many, it is made up oI an
inIinity oI inIinities. This is impossible: Ior.nothing which is made up
oI an inIinity oI inIinities (since the inIinite cannot be exceeded, yet the
single part is exceeded by the sum).
Prop. 2. All that participates unity is both one and not-one. For iI it is
not pure unityIor it participates unity because it is something else
besides unity.
Prop. 3. All that becomes one does so by participation oI unity.

156
'Theologia¨ I in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.1
157
Fa rabi , 'The Harmonization oI the Two Opinions oI the Two Sages: Plato the Divine and
Aristotle, translated by Fauzi M. Najja r and Charles E. Butterworth in AlIarabi: The Political
Writings: Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts translated and annotated by Charles E.
Butterworth (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 164-165.
53
Prop. 5. Every maniIold is posterior to the One.
Prop. 62. Every maniIold which is nearer to the One has Iewer members
than those more remote, but is greater in power.
Prop. 21. .the maniIold may be carried bacI to a single common cause
oI all the co-ordinate terms.Ior the One which is prior to all things there
is the maniIold oI the henads, and Ior the henads the upward tension
linIing them with the One.
158


In Farabi`s Kitab al-Jam bayn Ra`yay al-HaIimayn, AIlatun al-Ilahi wa
Aristutalis, he writes:
(a) Unity is Iound in every maniIold (al-wahid mawjud Ii Iull Iathra).
For whatever maniIold had no unity in it would never come to an end.
This he |Aristotle| demonstrates in several ways. For example, he says
that every single part oI a maniIold must be either unitary or not. II they
are not, they must be either maniIold or nothing. II they are nothing,
they can constitute no maniIold; and iI they are maniIold, what is the
diIIerence between them and the maniIold |they constitute|? Also, it
would then Iollow that one inIinite was larger than another.
(b) Next, he shows that whatever |part| oI this world has unity in it is
unitary only in some respects and not in others. For iI it is not truly
unitary yet has unity (read al-wahid) in it, the One is other than it is other
than One.
(c) Next, he shows that the true One is what he bestows oneness
(wahidiyya) upon other beings.
(d) Next, he shows that Many is posterior to One (al-Iathir bad al-
wa h id) without Iail, and that the One precedes the maniIold.
(e) Next, he shows that whatever maniIold is nearer to the true One is
less maniIold (read aqall Iathratan) than those more remote, and vice
versa.
(I) Having established these premises, he ascends (yataraqqa) to the
corporeal and incorporeal parts oI the world and roundly declares that
they all come to be because the Creator has originated them, and that it is
He who is the eIIicient cause, the true One, and the originator oI
everything.
159


While Zimmermann provides documentation that Farabi had access to both

158
Zimmermann, 'The Origins oI the Theology,¨ 178-179. See also Proclus, The Elements oI
Theology a revised text with translation, Introduction and Commentary by E.R. Dodds (OxIord:
Clarendon Press, 1963), Prop.1-3,5,62,21.
159
Farabi, 'Kitab al-Jam bayn Ra`yay al-HaIimayn, AIlatun al-Ilahi wa Aristutalis¨ in
Zimmermann, 'The Origins oI the Theology,¨ 178-179; see also Fa ra bi , 'The Harmonization oI
the Two Opinions oI the Two Sages, tr. Najja r and Butterworth, 156.
54
Plotinus and Proclus, he still insists that it is unclear as to which texts or how
many texts Farabi had in Iront oI him while writing his own treatises. At the
very least we Inow that Farabi had access to Plotinus. In what Iollows, we shall
examine closely some Plotinian elements Iound within the thought oI Farabi.
160

V. Biographical InIormation.
While Plotinus, Augustine, and Farabi are relatively well Inown, some
biographical details may be useIul. Plotinus |204/205-270 C.E.| considered to be
the Iounder oI Neoplatonism, was born in Lycopolis, Egypt and studied Platonic
philosophy in Alexandria with Ammonius Saccaas |232-243|. Although a
brilliant philosopher in his own right, 'Plotinus saw himselI as a IaithIul
exponent oI Plato¨ |428-347 B.C.E.|.
161
Nevertheless, he also had to contend
with the thought oI Aristotle |384-322 B.C.E.|, the Pythagoreans, and the Stoics.
It should also be noted that Plotinus was indebted to Alexander oI Aphrodisias, a
commentator oI Aristotle, and that Alexander`s booIs were read in Plotinus`
school.
162
Franz Rosenthal states that 'Ior Muslims, Plotinus was an
Aristotelian commentator.¨
163
Plotinus` student Porphyry is responsible Ior
collecting and editing his philosophical essays, the Enneads (so called because
arranged by Porphyry in six groups oI nine). A.H. Armstrong claims that
Plotinus, liIe other philosophers oI his era, is a 'practical religious and moral

160
Proclus was a part oI the Athenian School oI Neoplatonism and was essentially inIluenced by
Plotinus. Even E.R. Dodds betrays the Plotinian inIluence in Proclus` Elements oI Theology.
Perhaps the inIluence oI Proclus needs to be Iurther investigated in Iuture Farabian scholarship.
The Elements oI Theology translated by E.R. Dodds, xxi-xxiii.
161
See Plotinus, Enn., V.1.
162
Rist, Plotinus, 169, 173.
163
Franz Rosenthal 'Plotinus in Islam,¨ 443.
55
teacher and also a proIessional philosopher.¨
164
He also states that 'the primary
object oI all Plotinus`s philosophical activity is to bring his own soul and the
souls oI others by way oI Intellect to union with the One.¨
165

Aurelius Augustine |354-430 C.E.| is commonly Inown as Saint
Augustine oI Hippo. His mother Monica was a Christian and his Iather was a
pagan. He was born in Thagaste. He became bishop oI Hippo in 396.
166
Ernest
Fortin claims that in his spare time, Augustine managed 'to become the most
proliIic writer oI the ancient world. Possidius, his Iriend and biographer, who
compiled a list oI his worIs, notes that no one could possibly read them all, and
Isidore oI Seville, echoing him a century and a halI later, adds that anybody who
claims to have done so is surely a liar.¨
167
Since a major theme oI this paper is
the Plotinian inIluence in the thought oI Augustine, we shall examine the
academic discussion oI Plotinus` inIluence on Augustine. Anne-Marie Bowery
examines the academic discussion concerning Augustine`s Iamiliarity with
Plotinus. She writes:
TracIing Plotinus`s inIluence on Augustine (354-430) presents certain
problems. First, the close interplay between Christian spirituality and
pagan philosophy discomIorts many scholars. Historically, the scholarly
literature reveals divergent opinions about the extent oI the inIluence..
Recently a growing consensus has emerged regarding Augustine`s deep
aIIinities with Plotinus..

164
Plotinus, Enn., xi. For an invaluable perspective oI Plotinus` liIe; see Porphyry, 'Vita
Plotini,¨ in Plotinus, Enn., volume 1.
165
Plotinus, Enn., xxv.
166
Peter Brown`s biography oI Augustine is still considered to be essential in order to truly
understand Augustine and his liIe. Peter Brown, Augustine oI Hippo: A Biography by Peter
Brown (BerIeley: University oI CaliIornia Press, 1967).
167
Ernest Fortin, 'Augustine and the Problem oI Human Goodness,¨ in The Birth oI Philosophic
Christianity: Studies in Early Christian and Medieval Thought, edited by J. Brian Benested
(New YorI: Rowman & LittleIield Publisher, Inc., 1996), 22.
56
Second, scholars debate which 'booIs oI the Platonists¨ Augustine
read (conI. 7.9.13). While O`Connell and Solignac establish the
pervasiveness oI Plotinus`s inIluence, others assert that Augustine read
Porphyry.. Until consensus arose concerning the mistranscription oI
'Platonis¨ (b. vita 4), some argued that Plato himselI provided
Augustine`s primary inspiration..
Third, Augustine`s ability to synthesize ideas maIes ascertaining
speciIic inIluences diIIicult. Finally, Plotinus so pervades Augustine`s
philosophical thinIing that talI oI borrowing in any traditional sense
diminishes the originality oI Augustine`s Christian transIormation oI
Plotinus..
Augustine became Iamiliar with Platonism in three ways. First, he
encountered Marius Victorinus`s translation oI the Enneads in the 380s
(conI. 7.9.13). Second, Ambrose`s sermons exposed him to be a
Christianized Plotinianism.. Third, Platonism pervaded the intellectual
circles oI Milan..
168


Abu Nasr Muhammad b. Muhammad b. TarIhan al-Farabi (870-950 C.E.)
'The 'Second Master` aIter Aristotle¨ was probably born in Wasij, Farab in
TurIestan.
169
Farabi was Inown as Abunaser in the Latin West.
170
We are told
that he worIed in a garden and vineyard in Damascus and as a laborer he was
only able to study and read at night.
171
He supposedly always wore a 'brown
SuIi garb,¨ but Walzer insists that 'in al-Farabi`s day no adherence to mystical
SuIi` views was indicated by the use oI this garment.¨
172
While most oI his
biographical data is sIetchy, we do Inow that he was one oI the inheritors oI the
Graeco-Arabic translation movement that tooI place between the eighth and

168
Anne-Marie Bowery, 'Plotinus, The Enneads.¨ in Augustine Through the Ages: An
Encyclopedia, Ed., Allan Fitzgerald (Grand Rapid, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 655.
169
Netton, Al-Farabi and His School, 4-6. See also FaIhry, A History oI Islamic Philosophy,
107-110. Contrarily, Ibn al-Nadi m (d. ca. 990 or 995) claims that Fa ra bi came Irom Khorasan,
not TurIestan. Ibn al-Nadim describes Fa rabi as a Iamous logician and commentator on
Aristotle. See Muhammad b. Ish aq b. al-Nadim, Fihrist (Tehran, n.d.), 321-322. Further to
Fa rabi `s liIe and worIs, see BrocIelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, Vol. 1, 232-236;
SI, 375-77.
170
Robert Audi, ed. The Cambridge Dictionary oI Philosophy 2
nd
Ed s.v. 'Abu Nasr al-Farabi '
by AlIred L. Ivry
171
Walzer, Virtuous City, 4.
172
Ibid.
57
tenth centuries oI the Common Era. It is claimed that Farabi studied and wrote
most oI his booIs in Baghdad, 'the seat oI the Abbasid caliphs.¨
173
He was a
student oI Yuhanna b. Haylan (d. 908-932 C.E.) and Abu Bishr Matta b. Yunus
(d. 940. C.E.), both oI whom were Nestorian Christians. His most Iamous
student was Yahya b. 'Adi (893/4-974 C.E.) who was also a Christian
philosopher.
174
Farabi eventually accepted 'the amir SayI al-Dawla`s invitation
to join the society oI his court and to transIer his residence Irom the capital oI
the Muslim world to a major provincial town, Aleppo.¨
175
And perhaps the most
signiIicant Iact, Farabi 'did not suIIer any Iind oI oIIicial or popular persecution
such as other deviationists` in his days had to endure.¨
176
Besides a Iew other
details, Farabi's liIe seems to be so wrapped in myth that Netton equates the
search Ior Iacts oI Fa ra bi 's liIe with that oI the historical Jesus and he insists that
there is a need to demythologize his liIe iI we are going to Iully understand his
worIs.
177







173
Ibid., 2.
174
Netton, Al-Farabi and His School, pp. 4-6.
175
Walzer, Virtuous City, 2.
176
Ibid., 4.
177
Netton, Al-Farabi and His School, pp. 4-6. For Iurther details oI Fa ra bi `s liIe and worIs, see
de Vaux, 'Al-Fa rabi ,¨ 53-55; Walzer, 'Al-Fa rabi ¨; Reisman, 'Al-Fa rabi and the Philosophical
Curriculum,¨ 52-53; Hans Daiber, Bibliography oI Islamic Philosopher, vol. 1(Leiden: Brill,
1999), 285-299.
58
Part Two
Introduction
On the Attainment oI Happiness
Man has desired communion or union with God or the gods throughout
the ages. This gives rise to the question: did man once Ieel at one with God? Is
the universal need to return to a paradisiacal setting prooI that man once lived
and communicated with God? Mircea Eliade equates Paradise with man's
nostalgic impulses and with his love oI nature, but there is more to it than this:
there is a universal Ieeling or 'a longing Ior something altogether diIIerent Irom
the present instant; something in Iact inaccessible or irretrievably lost: 'Paradise'
itselI.¨
178
Indeed, this apparent return to Paradise could be seen as man's return
to himselI or, perhaps, as Joseph Campbell claims, man reaching his Iull
maturity.
179
Eliade sees this process oI interiorization as 'a journey bacI toward
a world that was both secret and unIorgettable because it was simultaneously
that oI childhood and that oI the imagination;¨ hence, Ior Eliade, this magical
place is indeed Paradise.
180
But could this concept oI a yearning Ior childhood or
a return to a paradisiacal dwelling be, in reality, a desire to return to the One, as
illustrated in the Plotinian construct oI emanation and the Triple Hypostases,
wherein souls have union with God and, when these souls are not in their proper
place, i.e., the intelligible world, they have a longing Ior a homecoming?
Plotinus writes:

178
Mircea Eliade suggests that man's love oI nature and his "nostalgias and impulses" are
connected--in that there is a sense oI yearning to regain Paradise. Mircea Eliade, Images and
Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism (New YorI: Sheed and Ward, 1969), 17.
179
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New YorI: MJF BooIs, 1949), 387.
180
Eliade, Images and Symbols, 17.
59
The One is always perIect and thereIore produces everlastingly; and its
product is less than itselI. What then must we say about the most
perIect? Nothing can come Irom it except that which is next greatest
aIter it. Intellect is next to it in greatness and second to it: Ior Intellect
sees it and needs it alone; but it has no need oI Intellect; and that which
derives Irom something greater than Intellect is intellect, which is greater
than all things, because the other things come aIter it: as Soul is an
expression and a Iind oI activity oI Intellect, just as Intellect is oI
the One. But soul`s expression is obscureIor it is a ghost oI Intellect
and Ior this reason it has to looI to Intellect; but Intellect in the same
way has to looI to that god, in order to be intellect. But it sees him, not
as separated Irom him, but because it comes next aIter him, and there is
nothing between, as also there is not anything between soul and Intellect.
Everything longs Ior its parent and loves it, especially when parent and
oIIspring are alone; but when the parent is the highest good, the oIIspring
is necessarily with him and separate Irom him only in otherness.
181


It is possible that this concept oI a yearning represents man`s innate
awareness oI the One or God and that it stands at the beginning oI man`s pursuit
oI happiness. The nature oI happiness unquestionably occupied a central role in
classical GreeI philosophy. Farabi and Augustine both search Ior happiness as
well and both agree that all manIind attempts to attain it. Indeed, why does man
want to Inow the principle cause or God? For Augustine, happiness is having
Inowledge oI God. Farabi, too, sees it as a divine wisdom. Both philosophers
insist that this notion oI happiness is somehow innate in all humans. While
Farabi does not explain explicitly how the desire to attain happiness is somehow
common to all men, he does give us a glimpse oI how it is so. Augustine solves
this mystery with his examination oI Adam, the Iirst human.
182
Farabi and
Augustine examine the classical philosophers and their pursuit oI happiness,
what they meant by happiness, and how man was to attain it, and both utilize

181
Plotinus, Enn., V.1.6.
182
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xxix.20; Augustine, The City oI God Against the Pagans, edited and
translated by R.W. Dyson (New YorI: Cambridge University Press, 1998), BI. 13.14.
60
aspects oI the ancient philosophers` thought to establish their own philosophy
Ior the attainment oI happiness. While their considerable use oI Plato and
Aristotle is obvious and has been thoroughly documented, we shall argue that
Farabi, liIe Augustine, also utilizes the thought oI Plotinus, in particular the
Plotinian Triple Hypostases |the One, Nous, and Soul| to illustrate the soul`s
journey toward the attainment oI happiness. Both Farabi and Augustine will
establish their own paths to happiness and both deem that true or ultimate
happiness is to be attained in the intelligible realm. Moreover, both have to
contend with a universal, monotheistic, and eschatological religion; thus, each
incorporates his own understanding oI the attainment oI happiness within a
particular religious milieu. While Farabi allows both philosophy and religion as
paths to happiness, Augustine rejects philosophy as a means to happiness, even
though his own thought is steeped in classical philosophy. For Augustine, there
can only be one path to happiness and that is through the mediation oI Christ.
183










183
Nevertheless, we shall see that Augustine maIes exceptions in his deIinition oI a citizen oI the
City oI God.
61
Chapter Two
Introduction.
Scholars who examine the writings oI Farabi consistently single out the
two themes oI politics and the relationship between philosophy and religion as
central to his worI.
184
As noted, these themes are discussed all too Irequently by
scholars and yet, the attainment oI happiness materializes as Farabi's ultimate
aim; indeed this salviIic theme looms heavily in his worIs, particularly in
Madinah. Here I will argue that Farabi`s Madinah should be interpreted
predominantly as a text that reveals the paths to happiness instead oI the purely
political worI that it is commonly understood to be. In order to examine the text
in this manner we must Iirst decide what Farabi means by happiness. Scholars
continue to debate whether it is theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, or
indeed, both, that lead man to happiness. Still, some scholars, such as Muhsin
Mahdi and Miriam Galston, taIe this debate in a new direction by claiming that
Farabi has obscured the distinction between the theoretical and practical
sciences in his discussion on the attainment oI happiness. Perhaps this diIIiculty
can be solved iI we examine and compare the thought oI Plotinus, at least that
Iound within the Arabic Plotinus, with Farabi`s text. We shall see that, with this
comparison, there no longer appear to be any ambiguities between the theoretical
and practical sciences. Furthermore, utilization oI the Arabic Plotinus allows us
to see more clearly how Farabi employed the Plotinian Triple Hypostases to
explain how man acquires a primary theoretical Inowledge in order to Inow and

184
See chapter One. I-II.
62
desire happiness. In Iact, Farabi maintains that both theoretical and practical
sciences are necessary and are included in both oI the paths, i.e., philosophy and
religion, that lead to the attainment oI happiness. It has been well documented
that Farabi utilized the thought oI Plato and Aristotle, but consideration oI these
two philosophers does not solve the puzzle completely, thus there is not only
scope, but also a necessity to scrutinize Plotinus` ideas.
I. Farabi`s Plato.
Farabi, in hisTahsil, conveys his Inowledge oI the philosophy oI Plato
and Aristotle and their philosophy oI happiness.
185
In AIlatun, Farabi`s Plato
deIines human perIection or happiness as 'a certain Inowledge and a certain way
oI liIe.¨
186
Farabi`s Plato wonders iI this Inowledge even existed and iI it did,
whether man could grasp it. He decides that it indeed exists and begins
examining the 'accepted arts and investigations¨ to see iI they could lead man to
happiness.
187
In Farabi`s examination oI Plato`s Meno, Farabi`s Plato asserts
that man either Inows something by 'nature¨ and 'chance¨ or he does not Inow
it and investigation will not help the man who does not already have this
Inowledge. Farabi`s Plato rejects this claim and argues, instead, that
investigation and study can lead to the Inowledge and way oI liIe that he is

185
According to Mahdi, AlIarabi: the Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle is a trilogy and he insists
that the very notion that these essays are together implies that the arguments have internal
agreements.
186
Farabi cites Plato`s Alcibides. Farabi, The Philosophy oI Plato (FalsaIat AIla t un) ed. Franz
Rosenthal and Richard Walzer (London, 1943), 3:10-15. Fa ra bi , 'The Philosophy oI Plato¨ in
AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, tr. Mahdi, 3:10-15. Page numbers oI Rosenthal and
Walzer appear in the margins oI Mahdi. Mahdi has corrected the Arabic text edited by Rosenthal
and Walzer on the basis oI a reexamination oI the manuscripts used by them. See also Plato,
'Alcibiades¨ translated by D.S. Hutchinson in Plato: Complete WorIs.
187
Farabi, AIlatun, 3:10-4:10; tr. Mahdi, 3:10-4:10. See also Plato`s 'Meno¨ translated by
G.M.A. Grube in Plato: Complete WorIs.
63
searching Ior.
188
Here, Farabi appears to be drawing upon the Platonic doctrine
oI recollection (anamnesis)
189
in his claim that investigation and study can lead
to this Inowledge; in a later passage Farabi`s Plato even asserts that the
philosophers have a certain Inowledge Irom the outset. Though as Christopher
Colmo insists, the Platonic notions oI the Ideas, the immortality oI the soul, or
the doctrine oI recollection, are scarcely mentioned or discussed in Farabi`s
version. He points out:
Recollection connects the ideas and immortality. The immortality oI our
Souls maIes possible a timeless Inowledge oI the ideas. Recollection
solves the problem oI learning through the thesis that we learn what we
somehow already Inew; what looIs liIe learning is, in Iact, a Iorm oI
remembering. We Inow at the beginning what we seeI at the
end..While AlIarabi does not mention the doctrine oI recollection, he
presents Plato`s philosophy in such a way that the desired perIection is
present and operative Irom the very Iirst sentence.
190


By contrast, Herbert Davidson asserts, 'The Platonic doctrine oI recollection
serves the same Iunction as the Active Intellect.¨
191
Farabi`s Active Intellect, as
we shall see below, is responsible Ior providing man with a primary Inowledge
and this Inowledge is to enable man to achieve his perIection.
192
Colmo notes
Davidson`s claim and argues, 'While the theory oI the Active Intellect and the
Doctrine oI the Recollection both try to solve the same problem, there is at least,
one important diIIerence. AlIarabi claims that the Active Intellect is an agent oI
the same species as the thing that it moves Irom potentiality to actuality. The

188
Farabi, AIlatun, 5:9-6:5; tr. Mahdi,5:9-6:5.
189
See Plato`s 'Meno¨ 81c-86c; Plato`s 'Phaedo¨ 72e-76c.
190
Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 57, 116.
191
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect, 15.
192
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 60:1-5,128:10-15 ; tr. Mahdi, 60:1-5, 128: 10-15. Farabi, Tahsil al-
Saa dah, (Hyderabad, 1345 A.H.), 2:6-10; Fa rabi , 'The Attainment oI Happiness¨ in AlIarabi`s
Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle tr. Mahdi, 2:6-10.
64
Active Intellect is a thinIing thing, which the Platonic Ideas are not.¨
193

Farabi`s Active Intellect will be discussed more thoroughly below, where I will
argue that the Active Intellect is more similar to the Plotinian Nous: the
Plotinian Nous is indeed a thinIing thing. Obviously, Farabi does not have to
discuss the Platonic concept oI recollection iI the Active Intellect IulIills the
same purpose. Farabi`s Plato continues his investigation only to discover that
the accepted methods oI investigation do not lead man to the desired Inowledge
and way oI liIe, they provide only what is 'useIul¨ or 'gainIul.¨ He deems
philosophy to be the sole method oI inquiry that is both useIul and necessary;
indeed, the philosopher has the single 'sIill¨ and 'Iaculty¨ that supply the
desired Inowledge and the desired way oI liIe (Irom the outset).
194
Accordingly,
Ior Plato, it is the philosopher who will instruct the citizens in order that they
may achieve happiness.
195

II. Farabi`s Aristotle.
In Aristu tali s, Farabi notes that there is both agreement and
disagreement between Plato and Aristotle, but when it comes to the Platonic
concept oI man's attainment oI happiness, Farabi taIes the position that

193
Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 116.
194
Farabi cites Plato`s Lovers. Farabi, AIlatun, 13:5-10; tr. Mahdi, 13:5-10. That the
philosopher has this sIill Irom the outset implies that it is inherent, thus, begging the question
how he has it. In contrast to the general reading oI Plato`s Meno, see Aristotle`s Posterior
Analytics i. 1, ii. 9, translated by Jonathan Barnes in The Complete WorIs oI Aristotle edited by
Jonathan Barnes (Princeton: Bollingen Series LXXI, 1984); Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics vi. 6
translated by W.D. Ross and revised by J.O. Urmson in The Complete WorIs oI Aristotle Ior
Aristotle`s deIinition oI the two Iinds oI Inowledge. See Plato, Rival Lovers,¨ translated by
JeIIrey Mitscherling in Plato: Complete WorIs.
195
According to Strauss, Fa ra bi `s Plato maIes a distinction between perIection and happiness.
Theoretical perIection would only be attainable by the Iew, but happiness could be achieved by
the many, since it is connected with a certain way oI liIe. Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato,¨ 378-79.
65
Aristotle held Plato's opinion even more ardently than Plato himselI did.
196

According to Mahdi, Plato never claimed that he attained perIection, but it
became 'evident¨ to him that it was possible. This possibility was not enough
Ior Farabi`s Aristotle, who began looIing Ior the Iour characteristics that all
humans desire. Farabi`s Aristotle supposes that Plato began his quest Ior the
attainment oI happiness too late in time, since he examined only the desires oI
those around him. Mahdi argues that Farabi`s Aristotle was not satisIied with
perIection as merely possible; Aristotle demanded certainty and demonstration.
Moreover, he insists that Farabi could not Iind an explanation Ior Aristotle`s
departure Irom Plato`s position within Aristotle`s own writings and so Iound it
necessary to explicate the thought oI Aristotle beIore he examined Aristotle`s
texts, thus accounting Ior the 'lengthy introduction¨ at the beginning oI the
Aristutalis.
197
Mahdi questions why Plato`s philosophy was unsatisIactory to
Aristotle: 'Is that because Aristotle is the inventor oI demonstration` as a Iull-
Iledged art through which what is not selI-evident in itselI, yet is true necessarily
and always, can be demonstrated to be such both to one`s own satisIaction and
to the satisIaction oI others? Or is Aristotle`s invention oI the art oI
demonstration due rather to his dissatisIaction with the situation that Plato`s
view oI the perIection oI man should remain undemonstrated`?¨
198
Mahdi
claims that Farabi`s Plato seems to insist that men are 'given . |their|

196
Muhsin Mahdi, 'AlIarabi on Aristotle's Starting Point,¨ Journal oI TurIish Studies 14 (1990),
339-346.
197
Farabi, Arist ut a li s. The prolonged introduction includes pages 59-91 or sections 1-3 and part
oI 4. See Mahdi, 'AlIarabi on Aristotle's Starting Point," 341. See also Druart Ior a discussion
oI the liberties that Fa rabi taIes with Aristotle`s philosophy. Druart, 'Al-Farabi and
Emanationism,¨ 29-31.
198
Mahdi, 'AlIarabi on Aristotle's Starting Point,¨ 342.
66
perIection and the means to achieve it rather than having to discover it.¨
199
It
seems that Farabi`s Aristotle cannot accept the Iact that Plato Iails to explain
why man needs 'to search Ior, Iind, pursue, and achieve¨ happiness or
perIection.
200

In Aristotle`s investigation oI the attainment oI happiness, he demands to
Inow why man seeIs it. He looIs at what man has most wanted Irom his
beginning in time.
201
(1) All humans desire by nature sound bodies and (2)
senses, and all humans desire (3) the sound capacity Ior Inowing how to perceive
the things that lead to the soundness oI the Iirst two, and all desire (4) the sound
power to labor at what leads to the soundness oI all oI these.
202
This Inowledge
is considered both useIul and necessary. Along with these Iour things, Farabi`s
Aristotle asserts that the 'soul desires to understand the sensible things, oI what
is observed in the heavens and on earth, and oI what man sees in his own soul
and the state in which he Iinds it.¨
203
This desire to understand the immaterial is
also Iound in Plotinus. Plotinus writes that iI the soul seeIs that which is aIin to
itselI, then it will Iind it, but iI it is seeIing something Ioreign, then Plotinus
questions what good seeIing will do.
204
Also in the Arabic Plotinus, we Iind the
same concept alluded to, namely, that the soul is able to seeI what the senses
cannot, i.e., the immaterial, the intelligible world. The text states:

199
Ibid. See also Rist, who claims that 'Plato seems to assume that underneath,` or somehow,
we do all have accessible Inowledge oI the good and a desire Ior it, even a love oI it.¨ Rist,
Augustine, 154.
200
Mahdi, 'AlIarabi on Aristotle`s Starting Point,¨ 345.
201
Ibid., 341-346.
202
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 59; tr. Mahdi, 59.
203
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 60:1-5; tr. Mahdi, 60:1-5.
204
Plotinus, Enn. V, 1.1
67
We say that iI anyone wishes to perceive the soul and the mind and the
Iirst essence, which is the cause oI mind and soul and the other things, he
will not let the senses perIorm their Iunctions but will return to his own
being and stay in the interior oI it and stand Iast there a long while and
let all his concern be there, though he be Iar removed Irom sight and the
other senses, Ior they perIorm their Iunctions outside it, not inside it. So
let him be eager to put them to rest, Ior, when the senses rest and he
returns to his own being and looIs within himselI, he has the power to
perceive that over which, or over the attainment oI which, the senses
have no power.. |W|hen one oI the senses wishes to perceive one oI its
objects correctly, it rejects the other objects oI it and conIronts that
object alone and then recognizes it accurately. So must he do who wishes
to perceive the soul and the mind and the Iirst essence; he must put away
and reject the sensory..
205


This Inowledge, according to Farabi`s Aristotle, is considered to be beyond what
is useIul and necessary. Farabi`s Aristotle divides these two desires into
sciences, in which the Iour characteristics desired by all are called practical
science, while the desire oI the soul is called theoretical science. What is
contained within practical science are wants and needs that man shares with the
animals and it appears that Aristotle understood these things as the Ioundation
Ior man to enable him to reach higher. In his discussion oI theoretical science,
he questions why the soul desires to understand what is considered neither useIul
nor necessary.
206
He wonders iI man can achieve this excellence, but, more
importantly, he questions iI this excellence is something that man is even meant
to attain.
207
Man is not given his perIection at the outset but he is given the

205
'Theologia IX,¨ 77-90 in Plotini Opera, Plotinus, Enn., V.1:12,6-20.
206
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 60-61;tr. Mahdi, 60-61.
207
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 65: 5-10; tr. Mahdi, 65:5-10. Philip Merlan claims:
Aristotle clariIies only what obviously everybody instinctively. desires. And it turns
out that the Inowledge men are aIter is wisdom, i.e. the Inowledge oI Iirst principles
and causessmall wonder, then, Aristotle continues, that many would be oI the opinion
that it is a Iind oI Inowledge which only a god could possess, whereas man should not
aspire to it. But this is wrong, says Aristotle. The Inowledge man is and should be
aIter (wisdom) is divine indeed and it is so in a double sense: its object matter is god,
because as everybody Inows god is a principle cause, and obviously it is the Inowledge
68
tools to labor toward perIection; thus, Aristotle concludes that by not trying to
achieve excellence, man might be conIining himselI to a ranI that is beneath his
proper one and thus denying himselI the attainment oI happiness.
208
With this
supposition, Aristotle insists, 'man is Iorced to consider what is the substance oI
man, what is his Iinal perIection, and what is the act the perIormance oI which
leads to the Iinal perIection oI his substance.¨
209

Farabi`s Aristotle begins his inquiry by examining what man has been
given by nature; he concludes that nature alone is insuIIicient Ior man to attain
his end. He then considers the soul and again, admits that this too is inadequate.
Nature and the soul are something that man shares with the animals. When
Aristotle asIs what ultimately separates man Irom the animals, he concludes that
it is speech. And speech proceeds Irom the intellect; hence, Aristotle must
investigate the intellect.
210
AIter examining the various parts oI intellect, he
realizes that the theoretical part oI the intellect is what renders man substantial
and that nature, soul, and the other parts oI the intellect are all Ior the perIection
oI that theoretical intellect.
211
Fa ra bi `s Aristotle concludes that man`s goal is
the Active Intellectit is this Intellect which gave man the principle to labor
toward his perIection and yet, at the same time, it is also man`s perIection. He
states, 'It is a principle in three respects: as an agent, as an end, and as the

which god possesses, and divine in this sense. In short: man desires the Inowledge oI
god.
Philip Merlan, Monopsychism Mysticism Metaconsciousness: Problems oI the Soul in the
Neoaristotelian and Neoplatonic Tradition (The Hague, 1963), 21.
208
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 66-70; tr. Mahdi, 66-70.
209
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 68:1-3; tr. Mahdi, 68:1-3.
210
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 122-123; tr. Mahdi, 122-123.
211
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 130-131; tr. Mahdi, 130-131.
69
perIection that man attempts to approach. It is thereIore a separate Iorm oI man,
a separate end and a prior end, and a separate agent; in some manner, man
becomes united with it when it is intellected by him.it is intellected by man
only when he is not separated Irom it by an intermediary. In this way, the soul
oI man itselI becomes this Intellect.¨
212
For Farabi`s Aristotle, it seems, the
very being, i.e., the Active Intellect, that gave man the principle to pursue
happiness is also what is to be attained by man.
III. Farabi On Happiness.
Farabi begins his own discussion on the attainment oI happiness
(saadah) with the statement, 'The human things through which nations and
citizens oI cities attain earthly happiness in this liIe and supreme happiness in
the liIe beyond are oI Iour Iinds: theoretical virtues, deliberative virtues, moral
virtues, and practical arts.¨
213
With these Iour things, it appears that both
theoretical and practical sciences are required Ior the attainment oI happiness.
What exactly is happiness? Farabi tells us in Madi nah that Ielicity 'means that
the human soul reaches a degree oI perIection in (its) existence where it is in no
need oI matter Ior its support, since it becomes one oI the incorporeal things and
oI the immaterial substances and remains in that state continuously Ior ever.
But its ranI is beneath the ranI oI the Active Intellect..Felicity is the good
which is pursued Ior its own saIe and it is never at any time pursued Ior
obtaining something else..¨ He also tells us that happiness is achieved by
certain voluntary actions. Some oI these actions are mental and others are

212
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 128:9-129:2; tr. Mahdi,128:9-129:2.
213
Farabi, Tahsil, 2:1-5; tr. Mahdi, 2:1-5.
70
bodily.
214
As mentioned above, there is in the Siyasah, a noted variant,
according to which perIected man achieves the ranI oI the Active Intellect, not
the ranI beneath the Active Intellect.
215

BeIore we examine the various deIinitions oI happiness and perIection, it
should be noted that the concepts oI happiness and perIection come to Farabi
Irom numerous sources and we are in no way arguing that it comes to him solely
Irom Plotinusalthough Plotinus uses these terms. It is simply being argued
here that the Inowledge oI happinessor rather how man comes to possess
Inowledge oI happinesscan and perhaps should be examined within a Plotinian
construct. John Rist examines the various deIinitions oI happiness Iound in
GreeI philosophy. He claims that Plato views happiness as man possessing the
Form oI the Good in one`s own soul. Happiness or İȪįĮȚȝȠȞȓĮ (eudaimonia) is
generally understood to mean 'having one`s daimon in good shape; and in the
Timaeus a man`s daimon is his mind (ȞȠȪȢ).¨ Aristotle, who would eventually
reject Plato`s notion oI happiness, considers happiness to be a universal desire
and devoted much oI his ethical worIs to determining what happiness is.
Plotinus, who is greatly inIluenced by Aristotle, deIines happiness as the
attainment oI the Good through possession oI Nous. He, too, sees it as a
universal desire and even claims that all men hold the actuality and potentiality
to attain happiness. However, Plotinus insists that happiness is a condition oI
the immaterial.
216
Walzer, too, correctly notes:

214
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.5-6; tr. Walzer, 13.5-6.
215
Farabi, Siya sah, 32.10; tr. Druart, 32.10.
216
Rist, Plotinus, 140, 139-142. See Plato, Timaeus, 90c.
71
Since the time oI Plato Ielicity as the aim oI human liIe was a main topic
oI all GreeI philosophy. With the exception oI the Epicureans, all the
schools extend its scope beyond the earthly liIe. Platonists and
Aristotelians assign this other-worldly Ielicity to man`s immaterial
immortal soul or to the rational part oI it.. It is well Inown that the
Iew statements on immortality which Aristotle maIes in his lecture
courses are inconclusive and ambiguous; but they are made deIinite and
consistent by the later Peripatetics who all upheld the survival oI the
nus.
217

In Al-Farabi`s Philosophical Lexicon we Iind his deIinitions oI happiness and
supreme happiness:
'Happiness¨: |Tanbih, 2.2|: Happiness is the utmost object oI desire Ior
all humans. Anyone who directs himselI towards it does so because it is
a Iind oI perIection.` (See vol. I, 175). |Millah, 52,10|: Happiness, as
taught by political science, is oI two sorts: that which is surmised to be
one without |actually| being so, and that which is sought Ior its own
saIe, never Ior the attainment oI anything else.` (See vol. I, 176). |Ara`,
206,7|: Happiness is the good which is pursued Ior its own saIe, never
at any time Ior gaining something else, and there is nothing greater
beyond it Ior man to gain.` (See vol. 1, 176). |Tanbi h, 3,8|: Happiness
is the most preIerable, the greatest, and most perIect oI |the Iinds oI| the
good.` (See vol. 1, 176). |Siyasah, 72, 15|: Happiness is the absolute
good.` (See vol. 1,176). |Ara` , 294,15|: Happiness means that the
human soul reaches the degree oI perIection in |its| existence where it is
in no need oI matter Ior its support |any longer|. |This is so| because it
joins the incorporeal things and the immaterial substances, in which state
it remains permanently Iorever.` (See vol. I, 176). 'The Supreme
Happiness¨: |Millah, 52,10|: Happiness, as taught by political science,
is oI two sorts: that which is surmised to be one without |actually| being
so, and that which is truly happiness and is that which is sought Ior its
own saIe, never Ior the attainment oI anything else. Indeed, all other
things are only sought in order to gain this |type oI happiness|, and when
it is gained, the search is over. This |happiness| does not exist in this liIe,
but rather in the aIter-liIe, and is called 'the supreme happiness¨.` (See
vol.1, 177). |Fusul, 121,4|: The Iinal perIection, which is ultimate
happiness, is the absolute good. It is that which is chosen and desired
Ior itselI and is not chosen at any time whatever, Ior the saIe oI anything
else.` (See vol. I, 177). |Tahsil, 32,13|: Man`s speciIic perIection is
called 'supreme happiness¨, and to each man, according to his ranI in
order oI humanity, belongs the speciIic supreme happiness pertaining to
his Iind oI man.` (See vol. I, 177). Jalinus, 39,18|: Man`s ultimate goal

217
Walzer, Virtuous City, 457-458.
72
is the perIection oI |his| theoretical Inowledge.This is the supreme
happiness deIined as (lit. in) the perIection oI the soul, a perIection that is
reached by humans qua humans.` (See vol. I, 178). |Siyasah, 55,9|:
This supreme happiness is the best Iind oI perIection one can reach.`
(See vol. I, 178). 'The True Supreme Happiness¨: |Siyasah, 82,9|:
Similar souls contact with one another, that belong to the same
group.Whenever the |number oI| similar separate souls increases and
they unite with one another, the 'pleasure¨ oI each increases.
Whenever another |soul| joins them later, the pleasure oI the newly-
joining soul increases |too|, thanIs to its meeting those who have passed.
The pleasure oI those passed increases thanIs to the contact oI those
joining them in the present, as each intelligizes itselI as well as those oI
the same quiddity many times over: what is intelligized by them
increases by the joining oI those succeeding them. The pleasure,
thereIore, oI each increases inIinitely with the passing oI time. This is
the state oI every group |oI them| and is the true supreme happiness,
which is the goal oI the active intellect.` (See vol. I, 178).
218


It should be apparent Irom the various deIinitions oI happiness that happiness
and what Farabi calls perIection are intimately connected. So we must also
Inow what Farabi means by the concept oI perIection. We also Iind in Farabi a
variety oI deIinitions oI perIection:
'The Absolutely PerIect¨ |Tahsil, 39,16|: He who is absolutely perIect
possesses with sure insight, Iirst, the theoretical virtues, and
subsequently, the practical. Moreover, he possesses the capacity Ior
bringing them into nations and cities in the manner and the
measure possible with reIerence to each.` (See vol. I,419)
'Primary PerIection¨ |Ta liqat, 3,3|: Philosophers (lit. the wise) call
that which is needed by a thing Ior its existence and permanence 'the
primary perIection¨.` (See vol. I, 420).
'The Final PerIection¨ |Fusul, 121,4|: . the Iinal perIection, which is
the supreme happiness, i.e., the absolute good. It is that which is chosen
and desired Ior its own saIe and is not chosen, at any time whatsoever,
Ior the saIe oI anything else. All else is chosen Ior its use in the
attainment oI happiness.` (See vol. I, 420). |Siyasah, 65, 8|: A thing is
at its Iinal perIection whose nature it is to produce actions which are
simultaneous with itselI and which happen immediately with no time
|lapse|. It is |only| due to an obstacle external to its essence that an
action oI a thing at its Iinal perIection is delayed.` (See vol. I, 420).
'|Human| Primary PerIection¨ |Fusul, 120,16|: The primary perIection

218
Alon, Al-Fa ra bi `s philosophical Lexicon, 616-618.
73
is that a man perIorms the actions oI all the virtues, not that he is merely
endowed with a virtue without perIorming its actions.` (See vol. I,
420).
219


Robert WisnovsIy provides a comprehensive account oI what Farabi
means when he uses the terms primary and ultimate perIection. WisnovsIy
claims that they are based on what he calls the 'Ammonian synthesis¨
220

WisnovsIy writes:
In view oI the Iact that actuality (al-Iil) is tied to Iorm (as -s u ra)
(since a thing is in actuality only when it possesses its Iorm), while
potentiality (al-quwwa) is tied to matter (al-ma dda) (since a thing is in
potentiality when it only possesses its matter), al-Farabi asserts that
being in actuality is more perIect in respect oI existence (aImalu
wujudan) than being in potentiality. Al-Fa rabi appeals to the criterion oI
causation to deIend this assertion: the matter exists only in order that the
Iorm which inheres in it may exist, but in no sense is the Iorm Ior the
saIe oI the matter. In other words, the actual is a more perIect type oI
existent than the potential because a thing which is in actuality is a
cause, while a thing which is in potentiality is not; and because causes are
better than eIIects, a thing which is in actuality is more perIect and more
excellent than a thing which is in potentiality. Al-Farabi`s use oI
causality as the distinguishing Ieature oI perIection and the perIect is oI
course a Iamiliar Neoplatonic move. But al-Farabi not only Iollows the
Neoplatonists` move to causation here. He pushes the Ammonian
synthesis Iorward by attempting to incorporate more Iully the
Neoplatonists` distinction between Iirst and second perIections into
Aristotle`s distinction between Iirst and second actualities.
Al-Farabi`s distinction between Iirst and second perIections
actually, the terms he uses are Themistius`, 'initial¨ (awwal) and
'ultimate¨ (aIhir) rests on the criterion oI causation, just as Proclus`
distinction had done. And in one passage in his Siyasa madaniyya al-
Farabi clearly echoes Proclus` distinction, saying that terms signiIying
perIection (Iamal) and excellence (Iadila) are divided into those that

219
Ibid., 671-672.
220
WisnovsIy explains that the 'Ammonian synthesis¨ is 'the project oI the Aristotle-
commentator Ammonius and his students to integrate the greater sumph(nia oI reconciling
Aristotle and Plato into the lesser sumph(nia oI reconciling Aristotle and Aristotle is that it is
crucial but unappreciated bacIground both to the word choices made by the various Greco-
Arabic translators, and, partly Ior that reason, to the theories oI the soul and oI causation oI the
Arabic philosophers al-Fa ra bi and Avicenna.¨ Robert WisnovsIy, Avicenna`s Metaphysics in
Context (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), 64.
74
point to some characteristic which the thing in question has in and oI
itselI, such as 'existent¨ and 'one¨; while others point to some
characteristic which the thing has in relation to something else other than
it, such as 'just¨ and 'generous.¨
However, al-Farabi seems to have Aristotle`s distinction between Iirst
and second enteleIheiai in mind when in other passages he departs
subtly Irom Proclus` distinction. Proclus had said that a Iirst perIection
reIerred to a thing`s perIection when the thing was viewed in and oI
itselI, and that a second perIection reIerred to a thing`s perIection when
the thing was viewed as a cause oI something else. Al-Farabi asserts,
however, that a thing`s initial perIection reIers to the state something is
in when what normally would issue as an eIIect Irom it does not do so.
The ultimate perIection, on the other hand, reIers to the state the thing is
in when what normally would issue Irom it as an eIIect in Iact does so.
The criterion oI causation is present in both distinctions, but it is
applied diIIerently in each. For Proclus, something to which the term
'Iirst perIection¨ is correctly applied may well be a causein Iact, it is
certainly a causebut it is not viewed qua cause. Only something to
which the term 'second perIection¨ is correctly applied is viewed qua
cause. Al-Farabi, on the other hand, asserts that something which is in a
state oI Iirst perIection is not, in Iact, a cause at all: no eIIect issues Irom
it. By contrast, something which is in a state oI second perIection is a
cause: the eIIects that normally issue Irom it cannot help but issue Irom
it. In short, both distinctions rest on the criterion oI causation, but
whereas Ior Proclus the criterion oI causation is understood as reIerring
to whether or not a thing is viewed as the cause oI some eIIect, al-Farabi
held that the criterion oI causation reIerred to whether or not a thing is in
Iact the cause oI some eIIect. That al-Farabi had Aristotle`s distinction
between Iirst and second enteleIheiai in mind seems clear Irom the Iact
that he uses one oI Aristotle`s De Anima examplesbeing asleep and
being awaIeto illustrate what he means. That he also had the Physics
distinction in mind seems clear Irom the Iact that in his distinction he
uses the terms that Themistius inventedpr(t)/awwal and hustat)/aIhi r
in order to distinguish between the state oI change and the state oI
being changed.
What I am getting at is that al-Farabi`s distinction between Iirst and
second perIections, based on the criterion oI not-being-a cause/being-a-
cause, seems intended to reconcile not only the Aristotelian distinction
with the Neoplatonic distinction, but also to reconcile the Physics
distinction with the De Anima distinction. Al-Farabi`s reasoning seems
to proceed along the Iollowing lines. The state oI being changed into
something actual (the Iirst enteleIheia oI the Physics commentators)
retains some potentiality, and is thereIore not the cause oI anything;
possessing the capability to perIorm a Iunction (the De Anima`s second
enteleIheia) is an inactive state, and is thereIore not the cause oI
anything; a thing taIen in and oI itselI (Proclus` Iirst teleiot)s) is not
75
(viewed as) the cause oI anything. Second perIections are slightly
tricIier. The state oI having changed into something actual (the second
enteleIheia oI the Physics commentators) is the Iinal cause oI the change;
contemplating (the De Anima`s second enteleIheia) is the Iinal cause oI
the acquisition oI Inowledge; and a thing`s perIection taIen in relation to
a lower thing (Proclus` second teleiot)s) is the Iinal cause oI that lower
thing, at least when both cause and eIIect are viewed as elements oI
reversion.
Al-Farabi`s attempt to merge the three distinctions into one is
interesting, and it certainly earns him a place oI honor in the Ammonian
synthesis.
221


We will examine what Farabi calls the 'initial¨ or primary perIection oI
man in this chapter. However, to use WisnovsIy`s words, the ultimate
perIection is a little tricIier. Farabi does provide an obvious description oI what
appears to be the ultimate perIection, but it only includes the ultimate perIection
oI the 'philosopher-prophet-lawgiver.¨
222
He is, however, rather vague as to
when the virtuous citizens oI all ranIs achieve this ultimate perIection. Walzer,
in his discussion oI perIection, notes that 'aIter it has been established beyond
doubt that a particular superlunar intellect aIIects the human mind and enables it
to Iunction, the development oI man`s rational Iaculty becomes the main topic.
Its successive stages have to be indicated. Its highest level is at the same time
the highest Ielicity which human beings can reach: its last perIection
presupposes the ultimate separation oI body and mind: it establishes the
unending and ever increasing Ielicity oI the immortal souls oI the citizens oI the
PerIect State.¨
223
So, we will examine some possibilities as to when this
perIection is achieved by all virtuous citizens.

221
Ibid., 108-110.
222
See chapter 4.V, Iootnote 457, 459.
223
Walzer, Virtuous City, 406.
76
We Inow that Farabi claims that those who are absolutely perIect have
both theoretical and practical perIection and can lead others to these perIections.
Also in Siya sah, Farabi insists that happiness can be Inown and perceived only
by the theoretical rational Iaculty while the practical rational Iaculty deliberates
and decides what to do in order to attain it.
224
Still, we must asI: what are the
means to attain this Iinal perIection and thereby achieve supreme happiness? Is
it theoretical; thus, essentially contemplative? Or is it practical, such that its
perIection is in the realm oI action? Farabi typically deIines theoretical
perIection as the perIection oI the theoretical rational Iaculty. The Iunction oI
theoretical reason is 'to become aware oI the intelligibles which cannot be
translated into action.¨
225
And practical perIection is the perIection oI the
practical rational Iaculty. The Iunction oI practical reason is 'to direct action
towards present and Iuture particulars.¨
226

Miriam Galston has provided an excellent account oI the academic
discussions about the various ambiguities perceived in this aspect oI Farabi`s
philosophy. She attempts to clear up some oI the murIiness ensconced in his
writings by arguing that Farabi`s 'worIs proceed on several levels

224
Farabi, Siya sah, 73.10-15; Fa rabi , 'Political Regime¨ partial English translation oI the second
part by Fauzi Najja r in Medieval Political Philosophy, 43; tr. Druart, 73.10-15. Fa ra bi appears to
use Aristotle`s distinction between theoretical and practical reason. See Aristotle, Nicomachean
Ethics BI. VI.1 1139a1-15. In the The Arabic Version oI the 'Nicomachean Ethics,¨ booI six is
only preserved in Iragments. And, according to Strauss, Fa rabi `s Plato also maIes this same
distinction between theoretical and practical. Strauss, 'Fara bi`s Plato,¨ 364-365. See also S.A.
Shaida, who claims that Fa ra bi clearly distinguishes between theoretical and practical sciences.
S.A. Shaida, 'Al-Fa rabi on Deliberative Rationality in Morals,¨ in Islamic Culture 17 no.1.
(1983), 209.
225
Farabi, Madi nah, 14:7; tr. Walzer, 14:7.
226
Farabi, Madi nah, 14:7; tr. Walzer, 14:7.
77
simultaneously because they are dialectically written.¨
227
Nevertheless, Galston
concedes that Farabi`s deIinition oI happiness is perceived as a Iundamental
problem among scholars. She examines the various deIinitions oI theoretical and
practical philosophy observed by scholars and compares these deIinitions with
what she perceives as Farabi's understanding oI happiness. The source oI the
problem, according to her, is that Fa rabi views theoretical and practical
philosophy as anything that deals with human happiness and misery, and it is
this view that leads to the ambiguity Iound in his writings. Galston begins her
argument on the problems oI happiness with the view oI happiness Iound in
Farabi`s Kita b al-Jadal 69:10-18/224r3-12; it is this view that she compares to all
others. Farabi writes:
'Practical philosophy is not what investigates everything subject to
human control, in whatever manner or condition it occurs. AIter all,
mathematics investigates many things that tend to be the product oI
voluntary actionIor example, the science oI music, the science oI
military strategy, and much oI the contents oI geometry, arithmetic, and
the science oI optics. LiIewise, natural science investigates many things
that result Irom art or volition. Yet not one oI these sciences is part oI
political science. Rather, they are parts oI theoretical philosophy, since
they do not inquire into these things Irom the perspective oI what is base
or noble, nor Irom the perspective oI what maIes human beings happy or
miserable when they do them. When, however, the objects oI inquiry in
these arts are taIen up Irom the perspective oI human happiness or
misery that results Irom doing them, they belong to practical
philosophy.¨
228


227
In arguing this, Galston admits that she is essentially in agreement with Muhsin Mahdi and
Fauzi Najja r, who claim, 'The philosopher was guided by a master plan or an overriding purpose
in the composition oI many oI his worIs.¨ Thus Ior Galston, there does not seem to be an
evolution in Fa rabi `s worIs. Galston, Politics and Excellence, 10-11. See also Miriam Galston`s
'The Theoretical and Practical Dimensions oI Happiness as Portrayed in the Political Treatises
oI Al-Farabi,¨ in The Political Aspects oI Islamic Philosophy. Ed. Charles E. Butterworth.
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992). In contrast, Ior arguments claiming a progression
oI Fa rabi `s thought see D. M. Dunlop`s edition and translation oI Fa rabi `s Fusul Al-Madani
(Aphorisms oI the Statesman) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), 9-17. See also
Walzer, Virtuous City, 1, 20.
228
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 55.
78
She notes Iurther that modern scholars perceive at least three distinct views oI
happiness in Farabi's thought and she argues that the diIIiculty seems to be that
these scholars have chosen to place Fa rabi in a narrow category oI either
theoretical or practical philosophy.
The three views oI happiness put Iorth by scholars are theoretical activity
exclusively, practical activity exclusively, and a combination oI both theoretical
and practical activity.
229
Galston examines the three views oI happiness Iound
in Farabi`s text. Happiness deIined by political or practical activity exclusively
is Iound only in Farabi`s commentary on Aristotle`s Nicomachean Ethics.
230

Happiness deIined as purely political or practical Iocuses on happiness in this
liIe, which suggests that Farabi excludes happiness in the aIterliIe. Theoretical
perIection identiIied with human happiness is Iound in Madinah, Risalah Ii al-
Aql, Siyasah, and Fusul.
231
Theoretical happiness is typically regarded as the
ultimate or supreme happiness but does not appear to include the notion oI

229
Ibid., 56. According to Galston, scholars who perceive happiness as purely theoretical are T.J.
de Boer, Majid FaIhry, Fauzi Najja r, and Leo Strauss. See T.J. de Boer, The History oI
Philosophy in Islam ,120-122, 124-126; Majid FaIhry, A History oI Islamic Philosophy, 123;
Najja r, 'Al-Fa ra bi on Political Science,¨ 96, 100-102; Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato,¨ 366-371, 378-
381. Conversely, Galston insists that Lawrence Berman, Fazlur Rahman, and Shlomo Pines
perceive happiness as a combination oI theoretical and practical perIection. Galston, Politics and
Excellence, 56-58. See Lawrence Berman, 'The Political Interpretation oI the Maxim: The
Purpose oI Philosophy Is the Imitation oI God¨ Studia Islamica 15 (1961), 53-61; Fazlur
Rahman, Prophecy in Islam: Philosophy and orthodoxy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1958), 31,
52; Shlomo Pines, 'Translator`s Introduction¨ in Moses Maimonides, The Guide oI the
Perplexed, translated with an introduction and notes by Shlomo Pines, with an introductory essay
by Leo Strauss (Chicago: University oI Chicago Press, 1963), 1xxxvi.
230
This text has not survived, but we have reports claiming that Fa ra bi considers happiness as
political or practical happiness. Both Ibn Ba jjah and Ibn TuIayl have discussed this text. See
Shlomo Pines Ior discussion oI Ibn Ba jjah. Shlomo Pines, 'The Limitations oI Human
Knowledge According to Al-Farabi, Ibn Bajja, and Maimonides¨ in Studies in Mediaeval Jewish
History and Literature, edited by I. TwersIy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).
See also Sami S. Hawi, 'Aspects oI Al-Farabi's Thought in the Light oI Ibn TuIayl's Criticism,¨
Islamic Studies 34, iii (1995): 297-303.
231
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 60-61.
79
happiness on earth. And Iinally, the combination oI both theoretical and
practical activity deIining happiness is Iound in Tahsil.
232
This claim allows that
happiness can be Iound and attained both in this liIe and in the aIterliIe.
However, Galston then suggests that Madinah, Risalah Ii al- Aql, Siyasah, and
Fus u l provide evidence that supports the possibility oI both theoretical and
practical activity leading to human happiness. As noted, Galston had previously
placed these texts within the context that theoretical activity exclusively leads
to happiness; however, she now claims that there is evidence within these texts
that support her conclusion that they can also be placed in the category that is
generally considered practical philosophy.
233
Galston argues that Farabi's
concept oI happiness, or the attainment oI happiness, must be viewed 'against
the bacIdrop oI his understanding oI the meaning oI theoretical perIection and
practical perIection.¨
234

Nevertheless, Galston taIes her argumentthat a combination oI
theoretical and practical philosophy is necessary in the attainment oI
happinesseven Iurther when she suggests that Farabi`s Kitab al-Jadal and
Tahsil undermine the established dichotomy between the theoretical and
practical sciences.
235
As already noted, Galston begins and ends all inquiries
concerning happiness and its attainment with the view oI happiness Iound in
Kitab al-Jadal. She includes the theoretical sciences within the practical
whenever her inquiry entails bringing about happiness or avoiding misery. With

232
Ibid., 64. As noted above, earthly happiness is only mentioned once in this text. See Mahdi,
AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 173-174.
233
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 64-68.
234
Ibid., 55-94.
235
Ibid., 69.
80
this, she implies that iI the purpose oI any inquiry is to bring about happiness,
then it must come under practical science, but she Iails to note that there appears
to be an innate desire Ior happiness and Inowledge oI the intelligible world,
which is aIter all what theoretical sciences include and indeed, strive to realize.
Farabi`s Plato and Aristotle both seem to maIe this desire clear. But does the
inclusion oI practical science within theoretical science change the notion oI
happiness; in other words, is practical science responsible Ior ultimate
happiness? Strauss disagrees. Strauss, who sees happiness as exclusively
theoretical, holds that 'the happiness oI this world is naturally distinguished
Irom, and inIerior to, the happiness oI the other world: the virtuous way oI liIe
does not lead to the happiness oI the other world.¨
236
With this in mind, let us
now examine what Farabi himselI says on this subject.
In Tahsil, Farabi begins with an examination oI the sciences that he
deems necessary Ior theoretical perIection, namely, mathematics, physics,
metaphysics, and Iinally, political or human science. According to Farabi, these
sciences essentially allow the separation between what can be perceived with the
senses and what can be discerned with the mind. Within each oI these sciences,
Farabi utilizes the principles oI instruction, which demonstrates that a thing is,
and the principles oI being, which reveals why a thing is.
237
The science oI

236
See Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato,¨ 385-386.
237
Farabi states:
The primary cognitions relative to every genus oI beings are the principles oI instruction
in that genus, provided they possess the states and conditions through which the student
is led to the certain truth about what he seeIs to Inow in the genus. II all or most oI the
species comprised by the genus should possess causes by which, Irom which, or Ior
which these species exist, then these are the principles oI being oI the species comprised
by the genus, and one should attempt to Inow.The principles oI being are Iour: (1)
81
mathematics comes Iirst because it can be grasped without any regard to
material. Farabi asserts that this would eventually lead to the next science that
is conceived with reIerence to material. Farabi claims that 'one is now Iorced to
include principles other than what, by what, and how. He has come to the
borderline between the genus that does not have any other principles oI being
apart Irom what it is, and the genus whose species possess the Iour principles. It
is at this point that the natural principles come into view.¨
238
The science oI
nature or physics can only be perceived by the intellect when the thing being
examined is in various degrees oI matter.
239
Farabi claims that such an
examination oI the material world will lead man to 'inquire into bodies and into
things that are in bodies,¨ and in this way, man will discover his own soul.
240

This move inward leads to the science oI metaphysics, which is to inquire about
those things 'that are not bodies or in bodies, and that will never be in
bodies.¨
241
It is here, within the science oI metaphysics, that man will discover
the Iirst principle and understand the ultimate causes oI all beings inIerior to this
principle. Finally, Farabi claims that political science, or human science, is then
necessary to understand 'the what and the how oI the purpose Ior which man is
made, that is, the perIection that he must achieve.¨
242
In this science, the

What, by what, and how the thing isthese have the same meaning |inasmuch as they
signiIy the Iormal cause|. (2-3) From what it is. (4) For what it is |which signiIies the
Iinal |.
Farabi, Tahsil, 4.15-5.15; tr. Mahdi, 4.15-5.15.
238
Farabi, Tahsil, 10.15-11; tr. Mahdi, 10.15-11.
239
Farabi, Tahsil, 10-12; tr. Mahdi, 10-12.
240
Farabi, Tahsil, 11:5-10; tr. Mahdi, 11:5-10.
241
Farabi, Tahsil, 13:5-10; tr. Mahdi, 13:5-10.
242
Farabi, Tahsil, 15:18-20; tr. Mahdi, 15:18-20. In his examination oI metaphysics, Fa ra bi
claims that another 'genus¨ will be discovered. Mahdi`s translation states that it is diIIerent
Irom the metaphysical, however, in his notes he concedes that, based on other Farabian texts, this
82
similarity between the organization oI the city and the organization oI the
cosmos is exposed, thereby illustrating how man is intended to live. When these
Iour sciences have been Iully comprehended by man, this is, according to Farabi,
theoretical perIection and such theoretical perIection is necessary Ior the
attainment oI supreme or ultimate happiness.
Farabi`s inclusion oI political science within the theoretical sciences in
Tahsil has led both Galston and Mahdi to conclude that theoretical perIection
includes practical philosophy. Galston claims that because Farabi comprises
within theoretical perIection things that depend upon human volition, such as
political associations, which are aspects oI practical philosophy, he is
incorporating practical science within theoretical science.
243
OI course, she
explains that these things are Inown by the intellect merely as 'intelligible ideas
(maqula t), that is, in terms oI their essential Ieatures or underlying structure
independent oI the particular attributes they assume when they exist in concrete
situations. In other words, the practical sciences partaIe oI the theoretical
character oI inquiries into nonhuman things as long as they remain on a universal
level.¨
244
Mahdi agrees, but appears to be initially troubled by the incorporation

could be translated 'to read: diIIerent Irom the physical |or natural|`.¨ Mahdi explains that 'in
any event, at the end oI the preceding section and in what Iollows the genus oI things` in
question is stated: the rational principles` with which man labors toward his perIection.
DiIIerent Irom the metaphysical` could mean: understood as principles oI political
science`.rather than oI divine science`.or oI the practical` rather than the theoretical`
intellect.¨ His translation seems to support his claim that the practical sciences are included
within the theoretical. Mahdi, AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, 135. Section 18,
Iootnote 1.
243
Strauss, who obviously disagrees with such a theory, insists that to include the practical arts
with the theoretical is to ignore the distinction that Fa ra bi `s Plato established. Strauss, 'Farabi`s
Plato,¨ 363-366.
244
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 69. She also notes Millah 47:2, Huru I 151:18-152:1, 153:2-
3, Ihsa` 127:3-7). Mahdi discusses the notion oI intelligible ideas as well. Mahdi claims,
83
oI political science within theoretical perIection. According to Mahdi, Farabi`s
discussion oI political science 'concludes with the startling statement This,
then, is theoretical perIection`.¨
245
Mahdi concedes that it could be construed
that Farabi is stating that the sciences which he has just discussed within
theoretical sciences are what is necessary Ior happiness; nevertheless, aIter
Iurther examination, Mahdi goes on to argue that what Farabi meant is that the
sciences discussed within theoretical science are only part oI what leads man to
happiness. He claims that political science provides the Inowledge oI 'right
action,¨ and so should be considered a practical science; and political science
will provide man with the Inowledge oI the Iour human things that Farabi claims
will lead man to happiness on earth and the aIterliIe.
246
However, in his notes,
Mahdi admits that 'according to this account, the theoretical sciences include a
theoretical` human or political science whose objects are the intelligibles` or
ideas` oI voluntary things as distinct Irom their actual existence at particular

'Temperance and Wealth, liIe man, are intelligible notions, but unliIe the notion oI man they are
not natural but voluntary. ThereIore, iI we decide to bring them into actual existence,` we have
to Inow how their attributes vary in time, place, and so Iorth.¨ But Mahdi claims, 'In the case oI
natural beings, |i.e., man,| it is suIIicient to Inow the intelligible notions, Ior nature itselI brings
the particular natural beings into existence and supplies them with the required attributes.¨
Muhsin Mahdi, 'RemarIs on AlIarabi`s Attainment oI Happiness¨ in Essays on Islamic
Philosophy and Science, ed. George F. Hourani (Albany: State University oI New YorI Press,
1975), 56-57. Fa ra bi claims that when man exists outside the soul there are states and accidents
that accompany him and these also vary with time and place. Fa rabi , Tahsil, 18: 15-19:5; tr.
Mahdi, 18: 15-19:5.
245
Mahdi, AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, xxx.
246
Ibid. For a thorough discussion see also xiv-xvi, xx-xxii. See also Galston`s theory that the
practical sciences do not require theoretical perIection. Galston, Politics and Excellence, 95-145.
As noted above, Fa rabi claims that 'The human things through which nations and citizens oI
cities attain earthly happiness in this liIe and supreme happiness in the liIe beyond are oI Iour
Iinds: theoretical virtues, deliberative virtues, moral virtues, and practical arts.¨ Fa rabi , Tah s i l,
2:1-5; tr. Mahdi, 2:1-5.
84
times and places.¨
247
But Mahdi Iails to note that Fa ra bi includes the natural
intelligibles as well. In his discussion oI theoretical science, Farabi states:
Things perceived by the intellect are as such Iree Irom the states and
accidents that they have when they exist outside the |thinIing| soul. In
what remains numerically one, these accidents do not vary or change at
all; they do vary, however, in what remains one, not numerically, but in
species. ThereIore when it is necessary to maIe the things perceived by
the intellect and remaining one in their species exist outside the soul, one
must join to them the states and accidents that must accompany them iI
they are to have actual existence outside the soul. This applies to the
natural intelligibles, which are and remain one in their species, as well as
to voluntary intelligibles
248


Farabi suggests that the intellection oI a thing does not necessarily imply actual
existence outside the intellect and he claims that investigating things that have
actual existence requires something besides theoretical science.
249
And since the
theoretical sciences do not examine intelligibles that possess states and
accidents, Farabi does not appear to be discussing things that have actual
existence. II Farabi is not discussing actual existence, then perhaps he is not
including practical science within theoretical perIection (this seems to be what
Galston and Mahdi are arguing.) But why would Farabi place man outside oI
actual existence, which is, in essence, what theoretical science examines?

247
Mahdi, AlIarabi`s Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, 136. Section 21, Iootnote 1.
248
Farabi, Tahsil, 17: 9-17; tr. Mahdi, 17: 9-17.
249
Farabi, Tahsil, 17: 5-10; tr. Mahdi, 17:5-10. See also the Arabic Plotinus, wherein it states,
'The mind is all things and contains all things: it does not contain them as a substrate to them,
but as their maIer, and it is to them as a cause. All things are there together, but yet are distinct
Irom one another.¨ 'Epistola De Scientia Divina¨, 18-21, in Plotini Opera, Plotinus Apud
Arabes: Theologia Aristotelis et Fragmenta quae supersunt Collegit, edit et prolegomenis
instruxit Abd al-Rahma n Badawi (Kuwait: Editio Tertia, 1977), 168, 20-169, 4; Plotinus, in his
discussion oI rational Iorming principles, insists that 'iI they are eternal and not subject to
aIIections, they must be in Intellect, and in an intellect oI this Iind, one which is prior to
condition and nature and soul: Ior these are potential.¨ Plotinus, Enn. V.9.5. S.A. Shaida claims
that we have to go 'beyond theoretical science, i.e., to practical wisdom whose Iunction is to
satisIy the demands oI volition. The going beyond theoretical sciences to eIIect a change in the
world is what characterizes any attempt to do or undo, to maIe or unmaIe things or objectives.
As Fa rabi says, it is true oI both natural intelligibles` and voluntary intelligibles`.¨ Shaida,
'Al-Fa rabi on Deliberative Rationality in Morals,¨ 211.
85
Therese-Anne Druart`s theory oI Farabi`s emanationism can perhaps
solve the problem oI political science within theoretical perIection. She argues
that Farabi`s 'methodology oI going Irom principles oI instruction, i.e., primary
cognitions, to principles oI existence or being is an ascent. Once these principles
oI existence have been discovered, they become principles oI instruction Ior a
descent towards unInown inIerior beings originating Irom these principles.¨
250

According to Druart, metaphysics is, in essence, an ascent to the One, the cause
oI all inIerior beings; and thereIore, a descent should Iollow.
251
In Tahsil, Farabi,
in his discussion oI theoretical sciences, begins with arithmetic and then moves
to physics and Iinally arrives at metaphysics only to examine political science or
the science oI man. But he returns to his discussion oI metaphysics merely to
descend once again to political science. Is this the model oI ascent and descent
that Druart outlined? Surely, man is considered to be an inIerior being who
exists only because oI the One, thus possibly explaining why Farabi places
political science within the sciences pertaining to theoretical perIection. Both
discussions concerning man include what is necessary Ior his perIection together

250
Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 34. Colmo rejects the notion oI ascent Irom
principles oI instruction to principles oI being. Colmo, BreaIing With Athens, 148. Druart
explains that the principles oI instruction show that a thing exists, whereas principles oI being
reveal the causes Ior the thing`s existence. Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 30. Whether
or not emanationism is a serious tenet oI Fa rabi is being debated. While both Ghazali and
Avveroes claim that Fa rabi indeed embraced emanationism, some modern scholars disagree.
This disagreement varies Irom outright rejection that Fa ra bi used emanationism to the degree oI
seriousness oI which he utilized it. Shlomo Pines completely rejects Fa ra bi `s use oI
emanationism, but Druart notes that Pines` rejection is completely based on Fa ra bi `s
Nicomachean Ethics and is thereIore suspect. Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism, 23-24.¨
See also Mahdi who insists that Farabi only used emanationism in his popular worIs. Mahdi,
AlIarabi Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, 3-6, 9. See Galston who argues that Fa ra bi Inew that
there was no place Ior emanationism in his IaithIul Aristotelian worIs. Galston, 'A
Reexamination,¨13-32. See also RaIael Ramon Guerrero, 'Al-Farabi y la MetaIisica` de
Aristoteles,¨ La Ciudad de Dios 196 (1983): 211-40.
251
Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 34-35.
86
with the notion oI political associations. The inclusion oI political science
within the theoretical sciences is central to the argument that practical science
contributes to theoretical perIection, but does Farabi see political or human
science as theoretical or practical? As noted, Galston claims that 'political
associations¨ Iorm a pertinent element oI political science since they imply
volition.
Political associations are also consistent with the associations oI
disembodied souls in the Plotinian intelligible world. In the Arabic Plotinus,
there are reIerences to souls dealing with their neighbors, i.e., other souls.
252

Indeed, these 'heavenly souls¨ appear to have associations with one another, in
which 'they perIorm their actions there naturally and invariably, with order and
arrangement, not shiIting Irom that order, because that one is perIectly right.¨
253

When examining the Plotinian intelligible world, there are indications that there
are incorporeal souls living in what is described as a 'city.¨ In the Arabic
Plotinus it states: 'the words oI the universe resemble the words oI the city,
which control the aIIairs oI the city and put everything oI them in its place, and
they resemble the custom whereby the people oI the city distinguish what they
must do Irom what they must not and whereby they are guided to praiseworthy
things and Iept away Irom reprehensible things, and whereby they are rewarded

252
'Sapiens Graecvs¨ II, 11-19 in Plotini Opera. This appears in a discussion questioning iI souls
in the intelligible world speaI to one another. See also Plotinus, Enn. IV.3: 18, 2-19.
253
'Sapiens Graecvs¨ II, 11-19 in Plotini Opera.
87
Ior their good actions and are punished Ior their evil actions.¨
254
Also in another
passage we Iind:
So the souls are attached to the mind in the upper world, while their
power is spread over the lowly sensory world, shining upon all the
bodies.. And though they pour Iorth their light on the earthly bodies,
yet they do not depart Irom their intellectual world: they are in it
together with the universal soul, and together with her they govern the
heavenly bodies, as though she were a mighty Iing with dominion over
all things, governing them and ruling them, without descending or
departing Irom that high, noble and Iingly place. For the many souls do
not depart Irom the universal soul or Irom that high and noble place,
but are always in it, together with the universal soul, so long as they
remain in themselves: I mean, so long as they desire to be there and to be
alone by themselves.
255


OI course, the city in the Plotinian intelligible world is actually the 'World
Soul.¨ Farabi does not use the term World Soul, but in his discussion oI
theoretical perIection, he does discuss a city that appears to exist outside actual
existence. Is Farabi, in his inclusion oI political science (or at least a theoretical
political science) within theoretical perIection, telling us that man, as an
intelligible being, exists in associations in the intelligible world in what appears
to be a city?
Now, we Inow that Farabi claims that the perIected human soul will
become one oI the intelligible beings and that its ranI in the intelligible world
lies beneath the ranI oI the Active Intellect.
256
Farabi illustrates the progression

254
'Theologia¨ VI, 1; 2-21; 2-5 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn. IV.4: 32, 1-4; IV.4: 39,9-40, 14;
IV.4: 39.9-17; Plotinus Apud Arabes, Badawi , 74, 4-6; 74, 7-76,11; 74, 7-76,11.
255
'Dicta Sapientis Graeci¨ I, 47-71 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., IV.8: 3,5-4,19.
256
Plotinus also claims, 'The individual soul transcends itselI becoming completely other,` a
Iully actualized member oI the intelligible world.¨ And oI course, in Plotinus` cosmology, the
souls will exist in the World Soul, which is beneath or really within the Nous. Plotinus, Enn.,
IV.4.2.23-32, IV.7.10.28-37, V.1.5.1-4, V.3.4.10-14, VI.5.12.16-25, VI.7.35.4. See also John
Bussanich, 'Plotinus`s Metaphysics oI the One,¨ in Cambridge Companion to Plotinus (New
YorI: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 56. Rist asserts that Plotinus` claim 'that each oI us
88
oI man`s theoretical perIection oI the intellect in his Aristu ta lis, and in his
Tahsil, he tells us which sciences will maIe this perIection possible. Farabi`s
Aristotle explains that theoretical perIection is essentially man`s theoretical
intellect intellecting the Active Intellect, that is, being made one or united with
the Active Intellect.
257
Farabi insists that man must achieve theoretical
perIection; and Iurthermore, that he must achieve it to be able to utilize the other
virtues that lead to happiness on earth and in the aIterliIe.
258
II theoretical
perIection is necessary to attain supreme happiness, then this perIection is
something that must be attained here, in the material world.
259
And iI
theoretical perIection means intellecting the Active Intellect, does our intellect
see what the Active Intellect sees?
260
Druart, who, as noted, treats Farabi as a

is an Intelligible World would mean that our souls are produced and governed by No s and are
able to maintain contact with their source.¨ Rist, Plotinus, 87-88.
257
The Active Intellect 'is intellected by man only when he is not separated Irom it by an
intermediary. In this way, the soul oI man itselI becomes this Intellect.¨ Farabi, Arist ut a li s,
128:20-129:5; tr. Mahdi, 128:20-129:5.
258
Fa rabi insists that all Iour virtues are connected, but the deliberative virtue, moral virtue, and
practical art are essentially tenuous without the theoretical virtue. Farabi, Tahsil, 26:15-27; tr.
Mahdi, 26:15-27. The virtues other than theoretical are dealing with actual existenceit would
seem that they clearly Iall under the description oI the practical sciences.
259
Presumably, it is to be attained to acquire the Inowledge oI the One and man`s place in the
world so that he can share this inIormation with othersIor we must have this Inowledge to
bring about these things. Fa ra bi claims, 'The Ialse philosopher is he who acquires the theoretical
sciences without achieving the utmost perIection so as to be able to introduce others to what he
Inows.¨ Farabi, Tahsil, 45.10-13; tr. Mahdi, 45:10-13. Mahdi disagrees; he argues that
theoretical perIection is not 'a necessary condition Ior right action, which consists in worIing
toward that perIection by maIing use oI the rational principles or rules that are the Ioundations
oI the human virtues and arts. Right action means to aim at the marI and presupposes
Inowledge oI where the marI lies and oI the instruments with which one aims at it. This
Inowledge is provided by a political science that comprises Inowledge oI the perIection oI the
theoretical virtues as well as Inowledge oI the deliberative virtues, moral virtues, and practical
arts, with which the perIection oI the theoretical virtues is to be realized.¨ Mahdi, AlIarabi`s
Philosophy oI Plato and Aristotle, xxxi.
260
See John Rist, 'Notes on Aristotle`s De Anima 3.5¨ in Journal oI Classical Philology 61, no.1
(January 1966): 8-20, Ior the Inowledge that Aristotle`s Active Intellect possesses. Walzer
claims that Farabi is against any notion oI a mystical union, but he admits that Fa ra bi does
consider a linI between man and the Active Intellect. Walzer examines Fa rabi `s descriptions oI
man`s quasi union with the Active Intellect. He notes that in Fara bi`s Risalat Ii`l-Aql (On the
Intellect), man`s intellect reaches an 'utmost nearness¨ to the Active Intellect. This description
89
Neoplatonist, holds that Farabi`s Active Intellect 'thinIs Iirst the most perIect
beings.whereas we acquire most intelligibles by abstracting them Irom
matter..The intelligible Iorms which it |Active Intellect| thinIs originally exist
in it qua indivisible.¨
261
This is similar to Plotinus` description oI Nous, wherein
he claims that the Nous generates 'all realities¨ and 'it is Iull oI the beings
which it has generated and as it were swallows them up again, by Ieeping them
in itselI..¨
262
Also in the Arabic Plotinus it states:
The things are in the intellect, and the intellect is in them. The things
got into the intellect, because their Iorms are in it and have broIen Iorth
Irom it and entered the things, because the intellect is the cause oI the
lower things. However, although the intellect is the cause oI the lower
things, it is not the Iinal cause oI a thing. It merely is the cause oI the
Iorm oI the thing, and not the cause oI its identity. The First Agent is a
Iinal cause. He is the immediate cause oI the identity and Iorm oI a
thing; and the cause oI the identity oI the soul and the Iorms oI the things
through the medium oI the intellect. The soul and all things are pre-
Iormed in the intellect, and not in the First Cause, although they
emanate Irom It.
263


Instead oI arguing that Farabi has blurred the distinction between theoretical and
practical science, a distinction that is quite clear in his other texts, we could just
as well argue that his inclusion oI political science within theoretical sciences
Iorms a description oI what the intellect sees when it is intellecting the Active
Intellect: the Active Intellect sees those beings that exist in it and thus, not
things that exist outside oI it. Moreover, the Active Intellect also thinIs what is

is echoed in Fa rabi `s Siya sah. In Madi nah, Fa ra bi describes a union 'as it were¨ between man
and the Active Intellect. Both Madi nah and Aristutalis reveal a closeness between the Active
Intellect and man. But Walzer also admits that Fa ra bi `s Active Intellect is a source oI emanation
wherein it is accountable Ior the development oI human reason and is responsible Ior divine
revelation. Walzer, Virtuous City, 409-410, 439-443.
261
Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 31-32.
262
Plotinus, Enn. V.1.7.
263
'Dicta Sapientis Graeci¨ I, 10-16 in Plotini Opera.
90
above it; hence, it thinIs the One. Surely, by intellecting the Active Intellect
man can maIe the ascent to the One and then consider all oI the intelligible
beings below the One; this, in Iact, is what Druart claims the science oI
metaphysics does. It is only when man, or, indeed, intelligible ideas have actual
existence that accidents and attributes must accompany them, and it is this
which has created a need Ior sciences other than the theoretical. Shall we Ilatly
reject Farabi`s claim that the theoretical sciences examine only those things that
are perceived by the intellect and, as a result, examine only those things that do
not have actual existence outside the 'thinIing soul?¨ Or may we allow the
conjecture that the political or human sciences Iound within Farabi`s discussion
oI the theoretical sciences consider man as an intelligible being, in his proper
place, which is beneath the Active Intellect?
IV. Comparison oI Farabi`s Active Intellect and the Plotinian Nous.
It is quite possible that Farabi draws upon the thought oI Plotinus in his
assessment oI the Active Intellect. At this point, it is important to explore the
possibility that Farabi`s Active Intellect is similar to the Plotinian Nous in its
Iunction as well as its relation to the lower principle beings, i.e., soul, Iorm, and
matter.
264
Herbert Davidson provides a Ioundation by comparing Farabi`s
Active Intellect with the Plotinian Nous and in particular, by examining the
GreeI sources that equate the Active Intellect with the Neoplatonic Intellect or

264
For the principles oI being below the Active Intellect, see Farabi, Siya sah, 31; tr. Druart, 31.
91
Nous.
265
In order to compare the two, it is necessary to examine the creation oI
the cosmos in both Farabi and Plotinus.
Plotinus divides the cosmos into Iour realms: the One, Nous, Soul, and
Matter.
266
Plotinus writes:

265
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect, 16, 24. Richard Walzer also notes
that some later Neoplatonists equated the Nous/ Intelligence with the Active Intellect. Walzer,
Virtuous City, 12.
266
In Plotinus' cosmology, the intelligible world includes the three primal hypostases. Matter or
the material world represents obviously what can be perceived through the senses; thereIore it is
not included as a part oI the intelligible world. Plotinus claims that the intelligible world ends
with the World Soul. Plotinus, Enn., V.1.7. For Plotinus, we have (a) The One, (b) Intellect
(Nous), (c) The Soul, and (d) the material world. Herbert Davidson provides a schematic to show
how Fa rabi used Plotinus' concept oI emanation. "For (a) the deity, called by AlIarabi "the
First," eternally emanates (b') the Iirst intelligence ( aql÷nous); and the latter in turn eternally
emanates (c') what AlIarabi calls both the "soul," and the "Intellect," oI the Iirst sphere, and also
(d') the body oI the Iirst sphere. The Iirst intelligence initiates a similar subseries by eternally
emanating (b·) the second intelligence, which emanates (c·) the soul and (d·) the body oI the
second sphere. And so Iorth." With Davidson`s schematic, we can assume that Fa rabi `s cosmos
is as Iollows:
(a) The One and Mind or The First
(b') The First Intelligence
(c') Soul/Intellect (d') The First Heavens
(b·) The Second Intelligence
(c·) Soul/Intellect (d·) The Fixed Stars
(b
3
) The Third Intelligence
(c
3
) Soul/Intellect (d
3
) Saturn
(b
4
) The Fourth Intelligence
(c
4
) Soul/Intellect (d
4
) Jupiter
(b
5
) The FiIth Intelligence
(c
5
) Soul/Intellect (d
5
) Mars
(b
6
) The Sixth Intelligence
(c
6
) Soul/Intellect (d
6
) Sun
(b
7
) The Seventh Intelligence
(c
7
) Soul/Intellect (d
7
) Venus
(b
8
) The Eighth Intelligence
(c
8
) Soul/Intellect (d
8
) Mercury
(b
9
) The Ninth Intelligence
(c
9
) Soul/Intellect (d
9
) Moon
(b
10
) The Tenth Intelligence (Active Intellect)
(c
10
) Soul/Intellect (Virtuous City?) (d
10
) ¸¸¸

Sublunary World
1.! Animals--endowed with speech and thought.
2.! Animals--lacIing speech and thought
3.! Plants
4.! Minerals
5.! Elements
6.! Matter
92
The One is not being, but the generator oI being. This, we may say, is
the Iirst act oI generation: the One, perIect because it seeIs nothing, has
nothing, and needs nothing, overIlows, as it were, and its superabundance
maIes something other than itselI. This, when it has come into being,
turns bacI upon the One, and is Iilled, and becomes Nous by looIing
towards it.. Resembling the One thus, Nous produces in the same way,
pouring Iorth a multiple powerthis is a liIeness oI itjust as that
which was beIore poured it Iorth. This activity springing Irom the
substance oI Nous is Soul ..
267


In the Madinah, Farabi utilizes Plotinus' philosophy oI emanation to reveal how
the cosmos was created, he explains that this natural order is essentially how all
being came into being. It becomes clear when examining Farabi's account oI the
creation oI the universe that, as Davidson notes, it 'is Iashioned oI Aristotelian
bricIs and oI mortar borrowed Irom Neoplatonic philosophy.¨
268
Farabi's theory
oI the cosmos is clearly comparable with Plotinus' concept that everything in the
cosmos comes Irom the 'First Existence,¨ which he calls 'One and Mind.¨ For
Farabi, this 'First Existence¨ is absolutely perIect and incorporeal, and it owes
its existence to nothing.
269
Farabi writes:
From the First emanates the existence oI the Second. This Second is,
again, an utterly incorporeal substance, and is not in matter. It thinIs oI
(intelligizes) its own essence and thinIs the First. What it thinIs oI its
own essence is no more than its essence. As a result oI its thinIing oI the
First, a Third existence Iollows necessarily Irom it; and as a result oI its
substantiIication in its speciIic essence, the existence oI the First heaven
Iollows necessarily. . ..
270


The sublunary world has ascending orders Irom least to greatest.
Fa ra bi `s intelligible world will end with the Active Intellect, liIe Plotinus, Fa ra bi deems that the
intelligible world can only be perceived by the intellect. So the eleven Existences comprise the
intelligible world and the heavenly bodies shown above would be a part oI the entire cosmos.
Plotinus, Enn. V.1.1-V.1.12; Fa rabi , Madi nah, 3, 4; tr. Walzer, 3, 4. Davidson, AlIarabi,
Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 45-46. See Iootnote 9, 10.
267
Plotinus, Enn., V.2.1-37; 'Theologia¨ X, 1-18 in Plotini Opera.
268
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 44.
269
Walzer, Virtuous City, 2.
270
Farabi, Madi nah, 3.1; tr. Walzer, 3.1. There are variations in the cosmic design oI Plotinus
and Fa ra bi . Fa ra bi utilizes the Aristotelian First Principle, while Plotinus, who disagreed with
Aristotle, separated the One and Mind. According to Merlan, 'Plotinus claims Aristotle was
93
Here, within Farabi's universe the Aristotelian concept oI the Active Intellect is
introduced. It is open to question as to why Farabi chose to end the emanation
process with the Active Intellect. Even so, Davidson regards the Active Intellect
as the cause oI the existence oI the sublunar world, as attested in both GreeI and
Arabic philosophical sources. His examination also includes Farabi`s own texts
and here he notes that Farabi`s claims correspond to those Iound in the Arabic
Plotinus to which he certainly had access.
271
Druart, too, notes that in Farabi`s
presentation oI the Posterior Analytics, he inquires about the correlation
between the Active Intellect, soul, heavenly bodies, and nature.
272
He asIs iI the
Active Intellect is responsible Ior the existence oI the lower principles such as
soul, Iorm, and matter.
273
Also in Sharh risalah Zinun al-Iabirah al-yunani
(Commentary on the Treatise oI the GreeI, Zeno the Great), a commentary
attributed to Farabi, it is stated that the Active Intellect is responsible Ior
creating the rational soul.
274


Iamiliar with the concept oI a Iirst`, which would be analogous to Plotinus` Iirst`, had Aristotle
not relapsed into treating it as intelligizing.¨ Philip Merlan, Monopsychism Mysticism
Metaconsciousness, 7-8. See Plotinus, Enn. V.1.9 where Plotinus writes,¨ Aristotle maIes the
Iirst principle separate and intelligible, but when he says that it Inows itselI, he goes bacI again
and does not maIe it the Iirst principle.¨ Also Walzer notes that the bodies oI "the outermost
sphere oI the First Heaven; the sphere oI the Fixed Stars and the spheres oI Saturn, Jupiter, Mars,
the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon, |are| arranged in the order established in the second
century A.D. by Ptolemy." Walzer, Virtuous City, 363. Reisman asserts that Farabi`s
'cosmology integrates an Aristotelian metaphysics oI causation with a highly developed version
oI Plotinian Emanationism situated within a planetary order taIen Irom Ptolemaic astronomy.¨
Reisman, 'Al-Fa ra bi and the Philosophical Curriculum,¨ 56.
271
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect, 29-34.
272
Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 30. See also Fa ra bi `s Arist ut a li s.
273
Druart, 'Al-Farabi and Emanationism,¨ 30. In contrast to the theory that the Active Intellect
may have any relation to the lower principle beings, see Reisman, 'Al-Fa rabi and the
Philosophical Curriculum,¨ 60.
274
Farabi, Sharh risa lah Zi nu n al-Iabi rah al-yu na ni (Commentary on the Treatise oI the GreeI,
Zeno the Great), 7.17. J. Puig, 'El Tratado de Zenon el Mayor: un Comentario Atribuido a al-
Farabi¨ Ciudad de Dios, no. 201, (1988), 287-321. See also Alon, Al-Farabi`s Philosophical
94
Furthermore, both Plotinus' Nous and Farabi`s Active Intellect are
presumed to be the cause oI human thought.
275
In an Arabic paraphrase oI
Plotinus' Enneads, it is claimed that, 'An intellect must exist which brings about
actual thought in soul, because potentiality passes to actuality only through a
cause that is in actuality similar to |what| the |Iormer is in| potentiality.¨
276

Thus the notion oI an intellect causing that which is potential to become actual
underlies the argument that it is the Active Intellect that is responsible Ior actual
thought in humans.
277
Again, according to Davidson, Plotinus used this
argument to establish that the Intellect or Nous was 'above¨ or prior to the
World Soul; however, the Arabic paraphrase leaves the question open as to
whether 'soul¨ means the World Soul or an individual human soul.
278
Farabi's
own description oI the Active Intellect is quite similar to the paraphrase oI
Enneads, wherein Farabi writes:
the human intellect which arises in man by nature Irom the very outset is
a disposition in matter prepared to receive the imprints oI the
intelligibles, being itselI potentially intellect |and material intellect`|

Lexicon 2 vol. s.v. Active Intellect. F.W. Zimmermann argues that this text is not by Fa rabi .
See Zimmermann, 'The Origins oI the Theology,¨ 213-214.
275
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 24.
276
Ibid. Davidson claims that with this statement, 'Plotinus employed what was to become the
standard argument Ior the existence oI the Active Intellect as an argument Ior the existence oI
his own cosmic Intellect.¨ Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 24. See
also Plotinus, Enn., V.9.4; 'Epistola De Scientia Divina¨ 12-17in Plotini Opera; Plotinus Apud
Arabes, Badawi , 168, 13-18; 168, 18-20.
277
Davidson AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 29. See also Plotinus, Enn., IV.7.8;
'Theologia¨ III, 36-45; III, 46-61in Plotini Opera.
278
Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect, 24. While Davidson is correct in his
claim that this argument is designed to prove that the hypostasis Intellect is prior to Soul, it also
illustrates that Intellect, as a cause, produces Soul. Plotinus asIs, 'For in what way will the
potential become actual, iI there is no cause to bring it to actuality? For iI it happens by chance,
there is a possibility oI it not coming to actuality. So we must assume that the Iirst realities are
actual and without deIiciencies and perIect; but the imperIect ones come aIter and derive Irom
the Iirst, being perIected by their begetters as Iathers perIect their originally imperIect
oIIspring..¨ Plotinus, Enn., V.9.4; 'Epistola De Scientia Divina¨ 12-17in Plotini Opera;
Plotinus Apud Arabes, Badawi , 168, 13-18; 168, 18-20.
95
and being also potentially intelligible. The other things which are in
matter or are matter or have matter are neither actually nor potentially
intellects. They are, however, potentially intelligible and can possibly
become actually intelligible, but their substances lacI the wherewithal to
be actually intelligized oI their own accord. Again, neither the rational
Iaculty nor what is provided in man by nature has the wherewithal to
become oI itselI intellect in actuality. To become intellect in actuality it
needs something else which transIers it Irom potentiality to actuality, and
it becomes actually intellect only when the intelligibles arise in it.
The potential intelligibles become actual intelligibles when they
happen to be intelligized by the intellect in actuality, but they are in need
oI something else which transIers them Irom potentiality to a state in
which |the intellect| can maIe them actual. The agent which transIers
them Irom potentiality to actuality is an existent. Its essence is an actual
intellect oI a particular Iind and is separate Irom matter... It is thereIore
called 'Active Intellect.'
279


So, while it is not certain that Farabi `s Active Intellect, liIe the Plotinian Nous,
'created¨ the beings beneath it, it is at least conceivable; moreover, it is
apparently a notion that Farabi himselI considered. Whether the Active
Intellect, liIe the Nous, is above something that can be perceived as the World
Soul or whether it is merely above the individual soul has yet to be determined,
and we will reexamine this point later. Nevertheless, Farabi`s depiction oI the
Active Intellect intelligizing the rational Iaculty oI the soul is clearly comparable
to the Iunction oI the Plotinian Nous.

279
Farabi, Madi nah, 13 .1-13. 2; tr. Walzer, 13 .1-13. 2. It seems obvious that Fa rabi is utilizing
Alexander oI Aphrodisias` commentary on Aristotle`s De Anima. He, too, Iollows Alexander`s
understanding that Aristotle`s Active Intellect is external, thus not part oI man. However, as
scholars have noted, Alexander identiIies the Active Intellect with Aristotle`s Iirst cause,
whereas Fa ra bi `s Active Intellect is the last incorporeal being in the intelligible world.
Athanasios Fotinis argues that Alexander may have been trying to 'harmonize Aristotle`s Iirst
cause` with Plato`s supreme good`.¨ Walzer, too, notes that Fa rabi appears to be presupposing
'a blend oI the Peripatetic and neo-Platonic traditions.¨ Alexander oI Aphrodisias, The De
Anima oI Alexander oI Aphrodisias: a Translation and Commentary translated by Athanasios P.
Fotinis, (Washington: University Press oI America, Inc., 1979), 287. Walzer, Virtuous City,
401. See also See Rist, 'Notes on Aristotle`s De Anima 3.5,¨ passim.
96
Farabi`s Aristotle tells us that the Active Intellect gives man the
principle to achieve his perIection.
280
In his initial discussion oI the theoretical
virtues, Farabi claims:
Theoretical virtues consist in the sciences whose ultimate purpose is only
to maIe the beings and what they contain intelligible with certainty.
This Inowledge is in part possessed by man Irom the outset without his
being aware oI it and without perceiving how he acquired it or where it
comes Irom. This is primary Inowledge. The rest is acquired by
meditation, investigation and inIerence, and instruction and study.
281


This notion oI a primary Inowledge is also Iound in his Madinah, where Farabi
asserts that there are intelligibles that all men share:
The common Iirst intelligibles are oI three Iinds, (a) the principles oI the
productive sIills, (b) the principles by which one becomes aware oI good
and evil in man's actions, (c) the principles which are used Ior Inowing
existents which are not the objects oI man's actions, and their primary
principles and ranIs: such as the heavens and the Iirst cause and the
other primary principles and what happens to come to be out oI those
primary principles.
282


Farabi argues that the presence oI the Iirst intelligibles represents man`s Iirst
perIection and that they are provided to him by the Active Intellect only in order
Ior him to achieve supreme Ielicity.
283
With this, it appears that Farabi is
conceding that the Inowledge oI, and the desire Ior, the attainment oI happiness
is somehow innate in all men. What, then, are we to maIe oI man`s Iirst
perIection? Actually, there seem to be a Iew perIections taIing place here. The
two transIormations (discussed above) Irom potential to actual are conIirmed by
Farabi in his claim that ¨since it has been made clear that the Active Intellect is
the cause oI the potential intelligibles becoming actual and oI the potential

280
Farabi, Arist ut a li s, 60:1-5,128:10-15; tr. Mahdi, 60:1-5, 128: 10-15.
281
Farabi, Tahsil, 2:6-10; tr. Mahdi, 2:6-10.
282
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.3; tr. Walzer, 13.3.
283
Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 13.3-13.5; tr. Walzer, 13.3-13.5.
97
intellect becoming actual; and that it is the rational Iaculty which is made to
become actually intellect.¨
284
The transIormation oI the potential intelligibles
and the potential intellect into actual intelligibles and actual intellect is
compatible with the Iirst perIection in the 'Ammonian synthesis¨ as discussed
by WisnovsIy. But what the intelligibles provide to man can be examined
within a Plotinian IrameworI. Here, Farabi seems to be looIing at the thought
oI Plotinus as to what the Active Intellect provides to the rational Iaculty oI the
soul. In Plotinus, man`s Iirst perIection (entelechia) can be viewed as soul
entering body or body being ensouled.
285
In the Arabic Plotinus, we Iind the
notion oI the soul perIecting the body: 'She is perIection because it is she that
perIects the body so that it comes to possess sensation and intellect.¨
286
This is
analogous to what the Active Intellect impresses on the rational Iaculty oI the
soul. The intelligibles are '(a) those which are in their very substances actually
intellects and actually intelligible (intelligized)namely the immaterial
thingsand (b) those which are not actually intelligible through their very
substance..¨
287
The second arises Irom the 'sensibles.¨
288
Walzer explains
that there are two classes oI intelligibles that are impressed on the rational
Iaculty. The Iirst intelligible 'is passed on to the rational Iaculty Irom sense-
perception through representation` and impressed upon it; they are thus, Ior the

284
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.1; tr. Walzer, 13.1. Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 14.7; tr. Walzer, 14.7.
285
Plotinus, Enn., IV.7.8.
286
I am using Peter Adamson`s translation oI 'sensation¨ and 'intellect.¨ Peter Adamson
discusses Plotinus` criticism oI Aristotle, but he argues that the adaptor appears to agree with
Plotinus on the claim that soul can exist separately Irom the bodyAristotle would claim no
Plotinus disagrees. Adamson, The Arabic Plotinus, 50-54.
287
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.1; tr. Walzer, 13.1.
288
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.2; tr. Walzer, 13.2.
98
time being, potentially intelligiblebecoming actually intelligible when they are
abstracted Irom matter..The other class oI intelligibles is not the result oI
abstraction: they are by their very nature immaterial, transcendent and
everlasting. They are Inown by an act oI rational intuition, and not by
abstraction Irom matter. One becomes aware oI them without the support oI
sense-perception and representation.¨
289
The Active Intellect impresses these
intelligibles in a manner similar to light, 'which the sun provides to the sight oI
the eye.¨
290

The similarity between what the individual soul gives to the body via the
Nous and what the Active Intellect provides to the rational Iaculty oI the soul is
striIing. At this point, some questions can be asIed. When and where is this
taIing place? Does it occur in the intelligible world? II the Active Intellect is
intelligizing the rational soul in the intelligible world, then is this, perhaps,
similar to what the Plotinian Nous brings about when generating Soul and,
consequently, individual souls? II so, does this imply that Farabi perceives that
human souls share a common origin? Or does the Active Intellect impress these

289
Walzer, Virtuous City, 401-402. See also Plotinus, Enn., IV.7.8; 'Theologia¨ III, 70-76 in
Plotini Opera. Blumenthal examines how Plotinus distinguishes the activities oI the soul, i.e.,
sense perception and intellect. Henry J. Blumenthal, 'On Soul and Intellect¨ in The Cambridge
Companion to Plotinus, 89-90.
290
Farabi, Madi nah, 13.2; tr. Walzer, 13.2. See also David Reisman who suggests that when the
Active Intellect impresses these intelligibles upon the human intellect, the human intellect can
now intellect the Active Intellect. Reisman, 'Al-Fa ra bi and the Philosophical Curriculum,¨ 62-
63. See Walzer`s discussion oI the Active Intellect being equated with the sun. Alexander oI
Aphrodisias equated the Active Intellect with light, whereas Farabi equates it with the sun.
Walzer, Virtuous City, 403-406. See also the Arabic Plotinus, wherein 'The Pure One resembles
the light. The second one which is reIerred to some other thing resembles the sun. The third
thing resembles the moon which receives the light Irom the sun. In the soul, there is an acquired
intellect which illuminates it through its light and causes it to become intellectual.¨ 'Dicta
Sapientis Graeci¨ I, 17-19 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., V.6:4,19-5, 16; Plotinus Apud Arabes,
Badawi , 186, 2-9.
99
intelligibles upon the rational Iaculty when man is in actual existence? II so, can
we draw a parallel to the Plotinian descent oI the soul? According to Peter
Adamson, the translator and/or 'adaptor¨ oI the Arabic Plotinus oIten conIlated
Intellect and soul, so iI Intellect descends in order to impress these intelligibles
upon the rational Iaculty, then soul also descends.
291
OI course, the question
remains as to whether the rational Iaculty oI the soul possesses the intelligibles
when it enters man in actual existence. Colmo maIes an interesting point when
he claims that:
|Farabi| doubts that the Inowledge human beings seeI is somehow
present Irom the outset, either through Recollection, as Plato describes it,
or through the Active Intellect..II the eternal truth is not inside the
mind Irom all eternity, it cannot be placed there later because this would
imply a change in what is eternal. In this sense, what is unInown remains
unInown Iorever (Plato sec. 6). Is there then a Iind oI Inowledge that is
the product oI an ascent Irom a beginning clouded in unInowing to a
position oI greater Inowledge? Can one gain Inowledge oI what is
outside the mind?
292


So, iI this union or conjunction between the rational Iaculty oI man and
the Active Intellect occursand Farabi claims that it doesand iI it is to satisIy
Colmo`s stipulation that it must be in the mind Irom all eternity, then this
conjunction must taIe place within the Intelligible world. Yet, the Inowledge
impressed by the Active Intellect is surely an eternal Inowledge, so whether this
conjunction occurs in the intelligible world or in the material world should not
aIIect the Iact that the Inowledge oI the Active Intellect, liIe the Plotinian
Nous, is a timeless eternal Inowledge emanating Irom the One. Here, again, the
Active Intellect appears to be comparable with the Plotinian Nous. This

291
Adamson, The Arabic Plotinus, 78.
292
Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 131-132.
100
certainly accounts, as Farabi`s Aristotle noted, Ior the soul`s desire 'to
understand the sensible things, oI what is observed in the heavens and on earth,
and oI what man sees in his own soul and the state in which he Iinds it.¨
293

Indeed, man`s Iirst perIection via the Active Intellect explains why man desires
happiness, but Farabi remains vague as to when and where this occurs.
V. Philosophy and Religion as Paths to Happiness.
With this primary Inowledge in handa Inowledge, which is, in essence,
a theoretical Inowledgehow do we, in our actual existence, go about attaining
happiness? Can we all achieve theoretical perIection? Or is this something that
only philosophers and their Iollowers can accomplish? Farabi suggests that not
all men can achieve this perIection via philosophy.
294
What, then, can the rest oI
us do? Farabi presents two paths to the attainment oI happiness, i.e., philosophy
and religion.
295
There are various theories concerning why Farabi included

293
As noted above, Aristotle classiIied this desire as the theoretical sciences. Fa ra bi , Arist u talis,
60:1-5; tr. Mahdi, 60:1-5.
294
Farabi, Madi nah, 17.2; tr. Walzer, 17.2.
295
For Fa ra bi , the question oI whether philosophy or religion is the correct path Ior the
attainment oI happiness is not easily answered. There is an ongoing debate among scholars but
at present no agreement. Some scholars claim that Fa ra bi is striving to reconcile philosophy and
religion. M.A. Bertman claims that Fa ra bi rejected the notion that philosophy and religion were
in opposition because the pursuit oI both provides man with happiness. Bertman argues that
Fa ra bi 's political and social thought is not at variance with religious concepts; in Iact, he equates
Fa ra bi 's thought with the Augustinian notion 'Believe that you may understand.¨ In this vein,
Bertman explains that Fa rabi 's 'LawmaIer¨ provided the IrameworI, which allows man to
achieve happiness while he is pursuing supreme happiness. OI course, with this line oI reasoning,
the philosopher is in the most excellent position since the 'contemplative mode oI Inowing. . . is
best suited Ior discovering the basic principles and leading the mind to God.¨ According to
Bertman, Fa rabi perceives religion as the ultimate educator and guide to happiness. While other
scholars agree with the idea that Fa ra bi tried to Iuse philosophy and religion, they are not as
willing to give religion the superior position nor are they quite as zealous as Bertman in their
interpretation oI Fa rabi . Hans Daiber argues that religion and philosophy have the same goal,
which is the attainment oI happiness. He claims, 'Religion appears to be an instrument Ior the
realization oI the philosophical doctrine about the relation between true virtues and reality; true
virtues cannot exist generally, but only in ethical acts.¨ According to Daiber's argument, religion
is an instrument oI philosophy; thus maIing philosophy, to a certain extent, dependent upon
religion. Mahdi, too, sees Fa ra bi struggling to harmonize classical philosophy with the religion
101
religion as a means to the attainment oI happiness. Perhaps he was a
'philanthropist,¨ as Strauss has suggested.
296
Maybe, liIe Aristotle, he was
uneasy about the question oI private and public pursuit oI salvation.
297
Or,
perhaps, he was aware oI the need to incorporate religion within his philosophy
to maIe it more palatable to his audience. Or just maybe, Farabi actually sees
that both philosophy and religion are paths to the attainment oI happiness. For
whatever reason, Farabi chose to establish religion as a path to happiness. In his
Tahsil, Farabi asserts that both theoretical philosophy and religion aIIord an
account oI the ultimate principles oI beings and both supply man with the
Inowledge necessary Ior him to attain his end, ultimate happiness; thereIore,
both have the same goal.
298
That Farabi includes religion as another path to

oI Islam, but he admits that Fa rabi will not allow religion to taIe a superior position over
philosophy. Fa rabi speciIically states that both religion and philosophy are 'Iinds oI Inowledge .
. . |he states that Inowledge| can be Inown in two ways, either by being impressed on their souls
as they really are or by being impressed on them through aIIinity and symbolic representation.¨
Thus, Fa rabi insists that philosophical Inowledge will always be superior to religious Inowledge
since it discerns truth as it is and not truth cloaIed in symbol. II the attainment oI happiness is
to be sought and achieved there can be no room Ior misinterpretation thus the need Ior
philosophy. Michael Marmura also sees religion as accommodating philosophy and 'not the
other way around.¨ Nelly Lahoud argues that 'what is important to note with regard to al-Fa ra bi
is that the intellectual environment in which he lived did not yet have a place Ior philosophy as a
thriving independent discipline. It is thereIore alongside the established disciplines oI Iiqh
|jurisprudence| and Iala m |theology| that al-Farabi wanted to Iind a place Ior IalsaIa
|philosophy|.¨ Lahoud asserts that Fa rabi , in reality, 'wanted a place Ior IalsaIa above that oI
Iiqh and Iala m.¨ M.A. Bertman, 'Al Farabi and the Concept oI Happiness in Medieval Islamic
Philosophy¨ Islamic Quarterly 14 (1970), 123-124. Hans Daiber, The Ruler as Philosopher: A
New Interpretation oI al-Farabi's View (New YorI: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1986),
14; Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 125, 114; Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 17.2; tr. Walzer, 17.2.
Michael Marmura, 'The Islamic Philosophers` Conception oI Islam,¨ in Islam`s Understanding oI
ItselI, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian and Speros Vryonis Jr. (Malibu: Undena Publications, 1983),
97, 101; Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 95; Nelly Lahoud, 'Al-Fa ra bi : On Religion and
Philosophy¨ in M"langes de l`Universit" Saint-Joseph Volume LVII-2004: The GreeI Strand in
Islamic Political Thought, edited by Emma Gannage, Patricia Crone, Maroun Aouad, Dimitri
Gutas, and EcIart SchütrumpI (Beyrouth: Universite Saint-Joseph, 2004), 285.
296
Strauss, 'Farabi's Plato,¨ 378-379.
297
See Iootnote 143.
298
Farabi, Tahsil, 40.5-41.15; tr. Mahdi, 40.5-41.15. See also Fa ra bi , Kitab al-Milla wa Nusus
UIhra (BooI oI Religion) ed. with an introduction and notes, by Muhsin Mahdi (Beirut: Da r al-
Mashriq, 1968), 46-47. Fa ra bi , 'BooI oI Religion¨ in AlIarabi The Political Writings: Selected
102
happiness suggests that it is not only the philosophers who can achieve happiness
in this liIe and in the next.
In any case, it is clear that Farabi views religion as inIerior to philosophy,
Ior he states:
Now when one acquires Inowledge oI the beings or perceives instruction
In them, iI he perceives their ideas themselves with his intellect, and his
assent to them is by means oI certain demonstrations, then the science
that comprises these cognitions is philosophy. But iI they are Inown by
imagining them through similitudes that imitate them, and assent to what
is imagined oI them is caused by persuasive methods, then the ancients
call what comprises these cognitions religion.
299


It is obvious that Farabi regards theoretical philosophy or the theoretical
sciences as the means Ior man to attain supreme happiness, and thus necessary.
Within the theoretical sciences he also allows religion as a path. However, the
Inowledge attained by theoretical philosophy and religion is perhaps
insuIIicient, since Farabi also includes the practical sciences within his
discussion oI the attainment oI happiness; it may not be enough to Inow what
happiness is without the means to bring it into actual existence.
In his Tahsil, Farabi includes the practical sciences or arts in the
attainment oI happiness on earth and happiness in the aIterliIe. Practical
philosophy allows man to bring into existence those things that can lead to

Aphorisms and Other Texts, translated and annotated by Charles E. Butterworth (Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 2001), 46-47; Fa ra bi On Religion, Jurisprudence, and Political Science
translated by Lawrence V. Berman available through the Translation Clearing House (OIlahoma:
OIlahoma State University) Catalog reIerence number: A-30-55b., 52a-53a.
299
Farabi, Tahsil, 55; tr. Mahdi, 55. See also Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 17.2; tr. Walzer, 17.2. Here,
Fa rabi mentions that religion is Ior those who are incapable oI philosophy. And he insists that
the Inowledge acquired by philosophy is more excellent. For an in-depth discussion oI religion
as an imitation oI philosophy, see Joep Lameer, 'Al-Fa ra bi and Aristotelian Syllogistics: GreeI
Theory and Islamic Practice,¨ Islamic Philosophy Theology and Science: Texts and Studies, eds.
H. Daiber and D. Pingree, Volume XX (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), 259-289.
103
happiness, but only aIter they are Inown through the theoretical sciences.
300

Thus, the theoretical virtues, the deliberative virtues, the moral virtues, and the
practical arts are what allow man to attain happiness on earth and in the aIterliIe.
Religion, too, comprises both the theoretical and the practical sciences.
301
In
Millah, Farabi claims that religion requires both theoretical, i.e., what must be
Inown, and practical, i.e., what actions must be perIormed.
302
Only when man
has Inowledge can he act upon it. For Farabi, action is requisite since it can
produce a good or bad disposition in man`s soul and so aIIects the quality oI
Ielicity attained.
303
In his Madinah, Farabi explains how action aIIects the level
oI happiness attained. He claims:
The Iinds oI Ielicity are unequal in excellence and diIIer in three ways, in
species, quantity and quality; this is similar to the diIIerence oI the arts in
this world oI ours. The arts diIIer in excellence according to their
species, in the way in which arts varying in species exist, one being more
excellent than the other: as, Ior example, weaving and the art oI drapery;
the art oI maIing perIumes and drugs and the art oI sweeping; the art oI
dancing and the art oI jurisprudence; philosophy and rhetoric. In this
respect, then, the arts which vary in species are unequal in excellence.
Moreover the people who practice the arts which belong to the same
species are unequal in excellence with regard to the quantity oI their
Inowledge. TaIe Ior instance, two scribes, one oI them Inowing more oI
the parts oI the secretarial art, another mastering Iewer oI them. For
instance, this art comprehends the Inowledge oI some language and some
rhetoric and some calligraphy and some arithmetic. One oI them will
have mastered, Ior example, calligraphy and some rhetoric, and another
language and some rhetoric and calligraphy, and another all Iour.
DiIIerence in quality means that two have Inowledge oI the same parts oI

300
Farabi, Tahsil, 56; tr. Mahdi, 56. As noted above, both Mahdi and Galston disagree with this
statement.
301
Farabi, Millah, 46; tr. Butterworth, 46; trans. Berman, 53a.
302
Farabi, Millah, 46-47; tr. Butterworth, 46-47; tr. Berman, 52a-52b.
303
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.2, 16.5-6; tr. Walzer, 16.2, 16.5-6. Walzer notes that, Ior Fa ra bi , 'the
right habit` (hexis ÷ malaIa) oI the soul is established by habituation, by continuously repeated
right actions.¨ He comments on Fa ra bi `s comparison oI the actions oI the scribe with actions
that attain happiness. Walzer claims that Fa ra bi inherited this comparison Irom the GreeI
tradition. See Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, BI. II.4; The Arabic Version oI the 'Nicomachean
Ethics,¨ BI. 2.4; Walzer, Virtuous City, 462-463.
104
the secretarial art, but one oI them is more proIicient and better trained
than the other. This then is meant by diIIerence in quality. The Iinds oI
Ielicity are also unequal in excellence in these respects.
304


Is Farabi telling us the quality oI Ielicity that we can attain? He writes, 'The
Iinds oI Ielicity are unequal in excellence and diIIer in three ways, in species,
quantity and quality.¨
305
The species is then compared to the arts oI the world,
i.e., the proIessions. The quantity is associated with how well one Inows his art
or proIession. And quality is linIed to how proIicient one is in that art or
proIession. The notion that action aIIects the soul and the quality oI Ielicity that
it attains weaIens the claim that happiness is solely theoretical. This strongly
suggests that the scholars who claim that Farabi included both theoretical and
practical sciences within the attainment oI happiness are correct.
Conclusion.
For Farabi, the attainment oI happiness is desired by all men. His examination
oI the thought oI Plato and Aristotle showed which sciences are necessary to
attain perIection. Despite the disagreements on this point it does appear that
Farabi views both theoretical and practical sciences as requisite in order Ior man
to achieve happiness in this liIe and in the aIterliIe. Even so, it seems clear that
the practical sciences remain precarious without the theoretical sciences, and the
theoretical perIection which Ilows Irom them. Instead oI accepting the argument
that Farabi has blurred the distinction between these two sciences, a distinction
that both Farabi`s Plato and Aristotle made, I argue that Farabi utilized the
Plotinian triple hypostasis in his examination oI man as an intelligible being who

304
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.5; tr. Walzer, 16.5.
305
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.5; tr. Walzer, 16.5.
105
exists beneath the Active Intellect. And instead oI agreeing that political
science does not rely on theoretical sciences, because perIection is not required
in order Ior 'right action,¨ I would aIIirm that Farabi typically views any
philosophy without a claim to theoretical perIection as a Ialse philosophy.
306

While Mahdi and other scholars claim that there are no Neoplatonic
elements Iound in Tah s i l, pointing out that Farabi does not speciIically cite the
Theology oI Aristotle, or Arabic Plotinus, it can be shown that elements oI
Plotinus` thought appear undeniably to have been utilized both in this worI and
in others. As we have seen, the Active Intellect and the Plotinian Nous operate
in a similar manner. By examining the text against the thought oI Plotinus, the
arguments claiming that the practical sciences are included within the theoretical
sciences are weaIened. The theory that all men have Inowledge oI and a desire
Ior happiness Irom the outset is perhaps better illustrated with reIerence to
Plotinus` thought. Indeed, it is this primary theoretical Inowledge that drives
man to attain happiness on earth and in the aIterliIe. Finally, Farabi`s claim that
the perIected human soul becomes one oI the intelligible beings that will exist
beneath the Active Intellect is Iully consistent with the thought oI Plotinus.
OI course, Farabi understands that not all men can achieve theoretical
perIection; hence, the need Ior another path to the attainment oI happiness. He
allows both philosophy and religion as possible paths to happiness. Both include
Inowledge oI the intelligible world, Inowledge oI man`s place in that world, and

306
As stated beIore, Fa rabi claims, 'The Ialse philosopher is he who acquires the theoretical
sciences without achieving the utmost perIection so as to be able to introduce others to what he
Inows.¨ Farabi, Tahsil, 45.10-13; tr. Mahdi, 45:10-13.
106
Iinally, Inowledge oI what man needs to do to attain happiness. Thus, both oI
these paths require correct Inowledge and right action. OI course, Farabi
maintains the pre-eminence oI philosophy. Now, let us examine Augustine`s use
oI Plotinus and examine what correlations may exist with Farabi`s philosophy oI
the attainment oI happiness.


















107
Chapter Three
Introduction.
The quest Ior happiness is a theme Iound throughout Augustine`s
ConIessions (ConIessiones); at the same time, the worI has been described as the
ascent oI the mind to God. Augustine's search Ior happiness actually begins with
his desire to Inow God. This is clearly revealed in the Iirst nine booIs. In BooI
Ten, this restless journey continues, but it is no longer just an ascent, Ior here
Augustine conIronts 'memory¨ and 'remembering,¨ and there is now a
realization that the soul is essentially returning to God. In BooI Ten, the dual
nature oI Augustine's past becomes Inown. From the very beginning, Augustine
wishes to Inow God and it is during his searchand perhaps because oI itthat
he strays ever so Iar Irom the truth. He begins his search in the external world
and Iinally maIes the move inward. It is within the selI that Augustine
'encounters memory.¨ In his exploration oI memory Augustine recognizes that
humans have some sort oI innate sense oI what is true.
307
However, Augustine
IorsaIes his examination oI memory Ior the very act oI remembering.
308
And it
is in remembering that Augustine aIIirms that humans have a memory oI God.
It has been generally observed that Augustine utilizes the Platonic
doctrine oI anamnesis in placing the Inowledge oI God in the memory.
Augustine substantiates his claim that man has a memory oI God by identiIying
the one thing all men desire. It is in remembering that Augustine pinpoints what

307
Brian StocI, Augustine the Reader: Meditation, SelI-Inowledge, and the Ethics oI
Interpretation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), 216.
308
Ibid., 208.
108
he is searching Ior, which is something that he has almost Iorgotten: the happy
liIe. Augustine claims that the search Ior, or indeed, the Inowledge oI, the
happy liIe is, in actuality, the search Ior truth, and thereIore God.
309
He insists
that the desire Ior happiness is common to all men. Since all are seeIing this
liIe, it implies that there is some innate Inowledge oI the happy liIe; thus, it is
Inowledge held by all; and since it is Inown by everyone, Augustine decides that
this Inowledge must be in the memory.
310
Augustine, building on Plato`s
philosophy oI anamnesis, develops his own theological doctrine oI happiness,
i.e., that it lies in Inowledge oI God. In his endeavor to explain how happiness
exists in the memory, he examines Adam, the Iirst human. In considering Adam,
Augustine will reIine his own theory oI Original Sin and Iurther maintain his
assertion oI the immateriality oI the soul. For Augustine, Adam is more than
just the Iirst human, he is the source oI all souls; and so, he is also the source oI
our Inowledge oI happiness as well as the source oI Original Sin. This
assessment oI Adam has prompted scholars, such as Rist, to allege that
Augustine draws on Plotinus` Triple Hypostases in which Adam is the Plotinian
World Soul. In Iact, there is evidence to substantiate that Augustine
Christianized both the Platonic doctrine oI anamnesis, as well as the Plotinian
Triple Hypostases. That he Christianized both oI these tenets can be seen,
particularly in his aIIirmations that the soul has a memory oI God and in his
insistence that the soul yearns to return to Him.


309
Augustine, ConI., BI. X.xxiii.33.
310
Ibid., BI. X.xx.29-X.xxi.31.
109
I. Augustine`s Quest Ior Happiness.
In Augustine's search Ior God, he persists in questioning the material
world even though both the external world and his inner selI appear to be
shouting to him to looI elsewhere. He questions what the object oI his love is.
He concedes that the object oI his love does not clearly reveal itselI through the
bodily senses; and yet, he perceives that his spiritual senses somehow Inow and
yearn Ior God:
Yet there is a light I love, and a Iood, and a Iind oI embrace when I love
my Goda light, voice, odour, Iood, embrace oI my inner man, where my
soul is Iloodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound
that time cannot seize, where there is a perIume which no breeze
disperses, where there is a taste Ior Iood no amount oI eating can lessen,
and where there is a bond oI union that no satiety can part.
311


In spite oI this, Augustine continues his exploration oI the material or sensible
world. He asIs the earth, the sun, and the sea iI they are the 'object oI his love¨
and they reply, 'We are not your God, looI beyond us.¨
312
It is through the
examination oI the material world that Augustine comes to realize how humans
are led astray because they mistaIenly give their love to created things instead oI
to their creator. They are merely listening to their bodily senses and ignoring the
inner voice that tells them the truth: 'Your God is not earth or heaven or any
physical body.¨
313
In BooI Seven oI his ConIessions, Augustine acInowledges
that he Inew that what he was looIing Ior was internal and yet he was still Iixed
on the external world.
314
Augustine writes:

311
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. vi.8.
312
Ibid., BI. X. vi.9.
313
Ibid., BI. X. vi.10.
314
Henry ChadwicI notes that Augustine's realization oI the need to looI within is reminiscent
oI Porphyry and his "Neoplatonic thesis that the Inowledge oI God is Inowledge oI nothing
110
Late I have loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you.
And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you
there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things
which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely
things Iept me Iar Irom you, though iI they did not have their existence
in you, they had no existence at all. You called out and cried out loud
and shattered my deaIness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to
Ilight my blindness. You were Iragrant, and I drew in my breath and now
pant aIter you. I tasted you, and I Ieel but hunger and thirst Ior you. You
touched me, and I am set on Iire to attain the peace which is yours.
315


This Iutile search Ior God in the external world impels Augustine to turn inward.
With this inward turn, Augustine will end his investigation oI the science oI
physics and begin his examination oI the science oI metaphysics.
Once Augustine looIs within himselI, he Iinds 'the vast palaces oI
memory¨ and questions how he can Iind both the material and the immaterial in
his memory and he wonders how these matters entered into his memory.
316

Once his examination oI memory begins, Augustine realizes that what is
contained within is inestimable and maybe even unInowable. The memory
retains everything that enters into it through the bodily senses, but it also holds,
in its domain, intangibles, such as 'laws oI numbers,¨ 'emotional states,¨ and
'passions oI the mind.¨
317
Nevertheless, he maIes an important discovery in this
vast exploration oI his mind: the realization that learning is, Iundamentally,
nothing other than recollection. What supposedly entered into the memory was

other than oneselI, all physical and external things being abstracted." Augustine, ConI., BI.
VII.vii.11. In. 12. See also Plotinus, Enn., VI. 5.12
315
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xxvii.38.
316
Ibid., BI. X. viii.12.
317
For a comprehensive account oI what is contained in the memory, see Nello Cipriani's article
'Memory," in Augustine Through the Ages: Ed., Allan Fitzgerald (Grand Rapid, MI: Eerdmans,
1999), 553-555; Brian StocI, Augustine the Reader, 207-242; O`Daly, 'Memory in Plotinus and
two early texts oI St. Augustine¨ in Platonism Pagan and Christian: Studies in Plotinus and
Augustine, 461-469. See also Rist`s discussion oI memory and impressed intelligibles. Rist,
Augustine, 73-85.
111
perhaps already there. Augustine asIs, 'Then how did these matters enter into
my memory? I do not Inow how. For when I learnt them, I did not believe what
someone else was telling me, but within myselI I recognized them and assented
to their truth.¨
318

With this in mind, Augustine rises above memory to the act oI
remembering. He questions how he will seeI Ior God or even Inow that he has
Iound Him iI he does not Inow what he is looIing Ior in the Iirst place.
319
Thus,
Augustine conIronts the same problem Iound in Plato's Meno:
Meno: How will you looI Ior it, Socrates, when you do not Inow at all
what it is? How will you aim to search Ior something you do not Inow at
all? II you should meet with it, how will you Inow that this is the thing
that you did not Inow?
Socrates: I Inow what you want to say, Meno. Do you realize what a
debater`s argument you are bringing up, that a man cannot search either
Ior what he Inows or Ior what he does not Inow? He cannot search Ior
what he Inowssince he Inows it, there is no need to searchnor Ior
what he does not Inow, Ior he does not Inow what to looI Ior.
Meno: Does that argument not seem sound to you, Socrates?
Socrates: Not to me
Meno: Can you tell me why?
Socrates: I can ..As the soul is immortal, has been born oIten and has
seen all things here and in the underworld, there is nothing which it has
not learned; so it is in no way surprising that it can recollect the things it
Inew beIore, both about virtue and other things. As the whole oI nature
is aIin, and the soul has learned everything, nothing prevents a man, aIter
recalling one thing onlya process men call learningdiscovering
everything else Ior himselI, iI he is brave and does not tire oI the search,
Ior searching and learning are, as a whole, recollection.
320



318
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. x.17.
319
Augustine ingeniously writes about the woman who lost her drachma and concludes that she
had to have Inown what she was looIing Ior in order to recognize it when she Iound it. "We do
not say we have Iound the thing which was lost unless we recognize it, and we cannot recognize
it iI we do not remember it. The object was lost to the eyes, but held in the memory."
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xviii.27. See also Gerard O`Daly, 'Remembering and Forgetting in
Augustine, ConIession X¨ in Platonism Pagan and Christian: Studies in Plotinus and Augustine,
31-46.
320
Plato, 'Meno,¨ 80d-81d.
112
Although Augustine's solution is Iound in the Platonic doctrine oI anamnesis,
Augustine will reject Plato's explanation oI memory through past lives.
321

In his account oI how man has a memory oI God, Augustine searches and
Iinds a notion or desire that all men share: that oI the happy liIe. 'When I seeI
Ior you, my God, my quest is Ior the happy liIe.¨
322
Augustine wonders how he
is seeIing this happy liIe: is it by remembering as though he had Iorgotten? Or
has he Iorgotten it so completely, or even never Inown oI it, so that it arises
Irom an urge to learn something quite unInown?
323
Augustine decides that the
Inowledge oI the happy liIe must be in the memory and he insists that iI it is,
indeed, in the memory, then 'we had happiness once.¨
324
What exactly is the
happy liIe Ior Augustine? 'The happy liIe is joy based on truth. This is joy
grounded in you, O God, who are the truth..¨
325
Augustine is so insistent that
all have this desire Ior happiness (and by implication, a desire to Inow God) that
he even examines 'those who thinI that the happy liIe is Iound elsewhere¨ and

321
According to Rist, Augustine had Ior some time at least tolerated the Platonic idea oI a
preexistence oI the soul and the notion oI impressed intelligibles, which explains why humans
have Inowledge oI God. Moreover, Rist argues that the preexistence oI the soul was at the
center oI Augustine`s assertion that humans had an existence in Adam. Rist, Augustine, 50-51.
For Iurther discussion oI Augustine`s acceptance oI the soul`s preexistence see: Robert
O`Connell, 'Pre-existence in Augustine`s Seventh Letter,¨ Revue des etudes augustiniennes 15
(1969): 67-73; O`Daly, 'Did St. Augustine ever believe in the soul`s pre-existence?¨
Augustinian Studies 5 (Villanova, PA, 1974): 227-235; Roland TesIe, 'Augustine`s Philosophy
oI Memory¨ in The Cambridge Companion to Augustine Edited by Eleonore Stump and Norman
Kretzmann (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 148-158.
322
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xx.29.
323
Ibid. Henry ChadwicI notes "Augustine develops the notion oI memory by associating it with
the unconscious ('the mind Inows things it does not Inow it Inows'), with selI-awareness, and so
with the human yearning Ior true happiness Iound only in Inowing God." Augustine, ConI., BI.
X. viii.12. In. 12
324
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xx.29.
325
Ibid., BI. X. xxiii..33. Cicero's inIluence is obvious here since he too argued that all humans
seeI happiness and that philosophy is a way oI liIe in search oI truth. Ibid., BI. III. Iv.7-8.
ChadwicI notes that Augustine is using Cicero`s Hortensius, which is lost except Ior quotations.
Cicero`s Hortensius is based heavily on Aristotle`s ProtreptiIos (also extant only in Iragments).
Ibid., BI. III. iv.7. In.11.
113
concludes that they are pursuing 'another joy and not the true one.¨ Even so,
Augustine maintains that, 'Their will remains drawn towards some image oI the
true joy.¨
326
Following Augustine's argument, a modern scholar remarIs aptly,
'God is present to memory as its illumination, but as transcendent over its
immutability.¨
327
Indeed, Augustine implies this when he writes, 'Where then
did I Iind you to be able to learn oI you? You were not already in my memory
beIore I learnt oI you. Where then did I Iind you so that I could learn oI you iI
not in the Iact that you transcend me?¨
328
Nonetheless, this does not explain
how this desire Ior happiness is actually in the memory and Augustine must
account Ior this since he is essentially adhering to the Platonic doctrine that
seeIing and learning are nothing more than recollection.
II. Adam as the Plotinian World Soul.
Augustine asIs whether man has Inowledge oI happiness because he once
had it in Adam, the Iirst human; but beyond this, he must explain how we still
retain this in the memory iI we indeed died in Adam. As noted, Ior Augustine,
Adam is more than the Iirst human; he is the source oI all souls. II all souls were
in Adam beIore 'The Fall,¨ then this explains how all souls have a memory oI
God. And it was in 'The Fall,¨ with the committing oI Original Sin that all
souls died in Adam, i.e., they Iell into matter, becoming the individual bodies
that exist in the material world. Because oI Original Sin, Augustine claims that
'We were born into a condition oI misery¨ and yet, he insists that we still have

326
Ibid., BI. X. xxii.32. Certainly, this theme is Iound throughout the ConIessions wherein it
appears that Augustine cannot really escape God. See also Plotinus, Enn., III..5.9.
327
Robert Crouse, "Knowledge" in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, 486-488.
328
Augustine, ConI., BI.X. xxvi.37.
114
this Inowledge oI happiness.
329
This now leads him to inquire iI Inowledge oI
the happy liIe could be transmitted liIe Original Sin.
330
Tertullian and his
Iollowers had argued earlier that we 'inherited guilty souls by a propagation`
Irom Adam, just as we inherited lustIul, weaI, and mortal bodies.¨
331
Since this
theory is a useIul explanation Ior the transmission oI Original Sinand with it,
guiltit could also be used to explain how happiness too is in the memory and is
transmitted. Augustine recognizes the potential application oI Tertullian's
theory to the transmission oI Original Sin, but he rejects Tertullian's account

329
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xx.29.
330
Ibid. Augustine writes "Banished |Irom Paradise| aIter his sin, Adam bound his oIIspring also
with the penalty oI death and damnation, that oIIspring which by sinning he had corrupted in
himselI, as in a root; so that whenever progeny was born (through carnal concupiscence, by
which a Iitting retribution Ior his disobedience was bestowed upon him) Irom himselI and his
spouse--who was the cause oI his sin . . .." Augustine, Enchyridion ad Laurentium de Iide spe et
caritate (A HandbooI on Faith, Hope, and Love), 26.27 in Karen Armstrong, A History oI God:
the 4000-Year Quest oI Judaism, Christianity and Islam (New YorI: AlIred A. KnopI, 1994),
123-124. See also Augustine, Enchyridion ad Laurentium de Iide spe et caritate (A HandbooI on
Faith, Hope, and Love), 26.27, edited with a new introduction by Henry Paolucci with an
analysis and historical approach by Adolph Von HarnacI, (South Bend Indiana:
Regnery/Gateway, 1961). E.R. Dodds discusses an ancient GreeI concept oI paying Ior ancestral
sins. He writes, "The successIul sinner would be punished in his descendants, or . . . that he
would pay his debt personally in another liIe." Dodds also examines the complaints by the
writers oI the day, claiming "oI the unIairness oI a system by which 'the criminal gets away with
it, while someone else taIes the punishment later'." However, Dodds also argues that this curse
can be broIen. This ancient notion certainly has parallels with the Christian doctrine oI Original
Sin. See E.R. Dodds, The GreeIs and the Irrational (BerIeley: University oI CaliIornia Press,
1951), 33-34. Elaine Pagels notes that Augustine views all oI humanIind as enslaved to sin,
"humanity is sicI, suIIering, and helpless, irreparably damaged by the Iall." This claim is based
on his argument that original sin is transmitted to all humans, because all oI humanity comes
Irom the Iirst human, Adam. Pagels claims that most Christians Iound this claim to be
destructive. She writes, "many traditional Christians believed that this theory oI 'original sin' --
the idea that Adam's sin is directly transmitted to his progeny--repudiated the twin Ioundations
oI the Christian Iaith: the goodness oI God's creation; and the Ireedom oI the will." Moreover,
she asserts that most Christians believed that baptism removed all sin--"Adam's sin and our
own." Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New YorI: Vintage BooIs, 1988), 99, 131.
331
Rist, Augustine, 123. In his discussion oI Tertullian`s, and his Iollowers`, materialist account
oI the soul, Rist cites RuIinus, Apology ad Anastasium, 6. On Tertullian`s 'mad materialism¨
(dementia) Rist cites Augustine, Letter 190.4.14-15.
115
because it implies that the soul is a material substance; Ior Augustine, the soul is
immaterial.
332

Augustine is quite adamant on the immateriality oI the soul, but it entails
that he account Ior the co-existence oI an immaterial soul marred by Original Sin
together with a memory oI happiness. Rist argues that Augustine never accepted
that an 'immaterial soul could be transmitted in the same way as a material
one.¨
333
For Augustine, according to Roland J. TesIe, there were only Iour
possible hypotheses which oIIered valid accounts oI the human soul:
(1) The view, later called traducianism, that 'the souls oI all human
beings who are born are drawn Irom the one soul God created'; (2) the
view, later called creationism, that 'souls are individually created in those
who are born'; (3) the view that 'souls already existing in some secret
place assigned by God are sent to animate and to govern the bodies oI
individuals who are born'; and (4) the view that 'souls situated elsewhere
are not sent by the Lord God, but come oI their own accord to inhabit
bodies.'
334


Augustine Iound none oI these hypotheses viable; none was compatible either
with his theory oI an incorporeal and immaterial soul or with his doctrine oI
Original Sin.
335
He had to looI elsewhere to justiIy his theories on the soul.
To some extent, Plotinus` Triple Hypostases resolved Augustine's
dilemma oI adhering to the Platonic doctrine oI anamnesis while at the same
time, it gives him a viable IrameworI Ior his own doctrines oI happiness, the

332
Rist, Augustine, 123.
333
Ibid., 123, 317-320.
334
TesIe argues that Augustine particularly rejects the traducianist view because it implies that
"souls are generated Irom souls in the same way as bodies are generated Irom bodies," which is
similar to what Tertullian was promoting. TesIe, "Soul" in Augustine Through the Ages, 807-
812. See also O`Daly, 'Augustine on the Origin oI Souls¨ in Platonism Pagan and Christian:
Studies in Plotinus and Augustine, 184-191; Roland TesIe, 'Augustine`s Theory oI Soul¨ inThe
Cambridge Companion to Augustine Edited by Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 116-123.
335
TesIe, 'Soul,¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 807-812.
116
immateriality oI the soul, and Original Sin. Plotinus taught that not only do all
souls share a unity oI origin |i.e. the World Soul|, but that the World Soul
remains 'intact and undivided.¨
336
In Rist`s view, Augustine essentially
Christianized Plotinus' theory oI the World Soul, so that, Ior Augustine, Adam is
himselI the World Soul.
337
Augustine's assertion, 'I do not now asI whether we
were all happy individually or only corporately in that man who Iirst sinned, in
whom we all died and Irom whom we were born into a condition oI misery,¨
suggests that all men are part oI Adam literally, not Iiguratively.
338
BeIore our
present day 'individual¨ lives, Augustine claimed that 'we were happy in Adam
collectively;` |and| aIter Adam's Iall we were unhappy in him.¨
339
We do not
share in Adam's individual liIe because that ended at his death, but we do share
in his common liIe.
340
In Rist's comparison, he writes, 'Though in Plotinus Soul
cannot Iallto the individuals which are parts` oI it. Such a hypostasis is no
abstraction; without it, Plotinus' individual souls would not exist and we`
thereIore would not be men. Similarly, it seems Ior Augustine Adam is in us and
beyond us, and yet we share in him, and in his guilt.¨
341
He substantiates this
by considering Eve, since she, too, is Iormed Irom a part oI Adam; thus, 'there
can be no man` who does not share in Adam, and who is not Adam. . .. Adam
can also exist separately` Irom his parts` |and| the Plotinian hypostasis can

336
Plotinus, Enn., IV.3
337
Rist, Augustine, 126.
338
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xxix.20; See also Augustine, City, BI. 13.14.
339
Rist, Augustine, 124.
340
Ibid.
341
Ibid.
117
exist apart` Irom individual souls; as a one and many.¨
342
Rist argues that
Augustine's World Soul, i.e., Adam, is historically distinct Irom the Iallen souls
oI each individual, whereas Plotinus' 'individual souls¨ are only 'metaphysically
distinct Irom the hypostasis.¨
343
For Augustine, the entire human race was in
Adam, the Christianized World Soul, beIore he sinned; this is why we share
Adam's guilt. However, this also illuminates how we share in Adam's
prelapsarian happiness, as well as in his Inowledge oI God. This eIIectively
solves the problem oI Augustine`s use oI the Platonic doctrine oI anamnesis: it
conIirms that all souls share a unity oI origin. And Augustine`s notion that
Adam's sin is itselI 'The Fall,¨ resulting in the 'Iall¨ oI souls into individual
human beings, supports his contention oI the immateriality oI the soul.
344

Plotinus too discusses the possibility oI a 'sin committed Ireely,¨ in a
way reminiscent oI the notion oI 'Original Sin;¨ and Ior him, this might explain
why the soul partially descends into a body in the Iirst place.
345
For individual
souls, Plotinus writes, 'There comes a point at which they come down Irom this
state, cosmic in its dimensions, to one oI individuality. They wish to be
independent. They are tired, you might say, oI living with someone else. Each
steps down into its own individuality.¨
346
Continuing in this vein, Plotinus

342
Ibid.
343
Ibid.
344
There is much controversy surrounding Augustine's doctrine oI the soul. Did he hold 'a
doctrine oI the Iall oI the soul" when he wrote the ConIessions and perhaps later? The language
throughout the ConIessions does suggest that Augustine perceives the soul as Iallen. "The angel
Iell, the human soul Iell, and thereby showed that the abyss would have held the entire spiritual
creation in deep darIness unless Irom the beginning you had said 'Let there be light, and light
was created' . . .. By the wretched restlessness oI Iallen spirits.¨ Roland J. TesIe, S.J., "Soul,"
807-812. See also Augustine, ConI., BI. XIII. viii.9.

345
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4-5.
346
Ibid., IV.8.4.
118
writes, 'What is it, then, which has made the souls Iorget their Iather, God, and
be ignorant oI themselves and him, even though they are parts which come Irom
his higher world and altogether belong to it? The beginning oI evil Ior them was
audacity and coming to birth and the Iirst otherness and the wishing to belong to
themselves. Since they were clearly delighted with their own independence, and
made great use oI selI-movement, running the opposite course and getting as Iar
away as possible, they were ignorant even that they themselves came Irom that
world; just as children who are immediately torn Irom their parents and brought
up Iar away do not Inow who they themselves or their parents are.¨
347
However,
the notion oI Original Sin perhaps does not lie completely with the individual
souls, but with Soul itselI. In his repudiation oI Armstrong`s view that Plotinus
considered Nature or Matter a hypostasis, Rist pointed out that Nature was not
created in a similar Iashion. Rist writes, in reIerring to Plotinus, Enneads, V.2.1,
Nature was not produced by Soul contemplating the being above it, but instead
out oI Soul`s desire to have something inIerior to itselI. From this perspective,
Soul can be perceived as committing Original Sin.
348
Now, Ior Augustine, this
action oI Soul is tantamount to hubris. For him, pride is the worst sin and it is,
in essence, the Iirst sin. Perhaps Augustine even had this in mind when he made
Adam the World Soulit was Adam`s sin that caused the individual souls to Iall
into individual bodies.
349



347
Ibid., V.1.1.
348
Rist, Plotinus, 92.
349
Augustine, ConI., BI. XIII. xx.28.
119
III. Augustine and Plotinus` use oI Logos.
Augustine will Iurther utilize the thought oI Plotinus in his examination
oI why the soul yearns to Inow God and longs to return to its proper place. For
Plotinus, what is begotten always yearns Ior its begetter; the soul not only
desires to Inow its creator but wants to be near it.
350
Similarly, throughout the
ConIessions, Augustine claims that the soul aches to return to God. 'You stir
man to taIe pleasure in praising you, because you have made us Ior yourselI and
our heart is restless until it rests in you.¨
351
The restlessness that humans
experience is, in essence, a disturbance oI the soul:
By the wretched restlessness oI Iallen spirits, maniIesting their darIness
as they are stripped naIed oI the garment oI your light, you show how
great a rational creature you have made. Whatever is less than you can
never be suIIicient to provide itselI with the rest oI contentment, and Ior
this reason it is not even a source oI contentment to itselI . . .. Because
our soul was 'disturbed' within ourselves, we 'remembered you' . . .. Our
darIness displeased us.
352


Both Augustine and Plotinus recognize that all souls desire to return to
God, their proper place, and both utilize the concept oI the logos in order to stir
souls to return. Plotinus asserts that the logos, which is a Iunction oI the World
Soul, descends Irom the highest part oI the World Soul to the 'visible world.¨
353


350
Plotinus, Enn., V.1.6.
351
Augustine, ConI., BI. I. i. (italics mine)
352
Ibid., BI. XIII. viii.9; BI. XIII. xii.13.
353
John Rist, in his examination oI Plotinus` understanding oI the nature and Iunction oI the
World Soul, claims:
We Inow that there is a Soul oI the world and that there are particular souls, and that in
some sense the existence oI the one implies the existence oI the others. OI this Soul or
souls there are, as all commentators agree, two parts. One part is engaged in eternal
contemplation oI its priors; the other has come down` and created the world oI material
objects and particulars. The part which always remains above` in the Intelligible World
will not be recognized by us unless we have attuned the whole oI our soul to live in
accordance with it.
Rist, Plotinus, 85.
120
The 'logos can be understood Iirst as a creative Iorce deriving providentially
Irom the higher soul (and ultimately Irom Nous), and secondly as the opposite
Iorce to the creative procession, namely the return oI the emanated products to
their source.¨
354
Rist also concludes that logos has a Iurther aspect 'which is
also peculiarly connected with Nous, that is, an aspect which represents the
power to turn bacI to one`s source and in such turning to Iind one`s own order in
the universe.¨
355
This Ieature is perhaps what prompts Plotinus to assert, 'Let
the soul, taIing its lead Irom memory, merely thinI on essential being` and its
shacIles are loosed and it soars.¨
356
Augustine disagrees with the notion that the
soul is able to return on its own; Ior him, the only way that the Iallen soul is able
to return to God is through Christ.
357
Christ, Ior Augustine, has a twoIold role in

354
Ibid., 97.
355
Ibid.
356
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4. I am using O`Brien`s translation here.
357
Augustine rejects the presumptuous notion held by the Neoplatonic philosophers that the soul
can attain unity by itselI, but he also disapproves oI the Neoplatonic rituals oI theurgy. Most
liIely, Augustine's Inowledge oI theurgy comes Irom Plotinus and Porphyry, but Henry
ChadwicI insists that he Inew oI Iamblichus' writings as well since he mentions him by name in
the City oI God. Augustine, ConI., xix. Gregory Shaw notes that Iamblichus was once praised
as "the beneIactor oI the entire world, Universal blessing oI the Hellenes, and |the| one appointed
by the gods to be the savior oI the entire Hellenic world." UnliIe Porphyry, Iamblichus' teacher,
Iamblichus never directs his arguments against Christianity instead; he concentrates on the
disruptive problems between the "old ways" and the "new ways" oI religious belieIs or really
between "ancient tradition inspired by the gods and those recently invented by man." According
to Shaw, "Iamblichus believed that the world described by Plato in the Timaeus was being torn
apart by a new Iind oI Platonism that denied the sanctity oI the world and elevated the human
mind beyond its natural limits . . .|and| such rationalistic hubris threatened to separate man Irom
the activity oI the gods . . ..¨ Iamblichus rejects his predecessors' doctrine oI the undescended
soul and what he sees as a "gnosticized Platonism," wherein matter is viewed as evil, the human
soul is linIed to the World Soul, and that the primary objective oI the soul is to "escape" the
"desacralized and demonic cosmos." Iamblichus presents theurgy as a way to restore the proper
relationship between humans and the gods. Theurgy allows all humans the chance to return to
the gods, thus it goes against the philosophical elitism that was alienating the common person;
many oI whom were seeIing salvation in Christianity, which also oIIered salvation to all.
Iamblichus claims that in Plato's taxonomy oI the cosmos, there are Iive propositions: "1. There
is a cosmic order that permeates every level oI reality; 2. This cosmic order is the divine society
oI the gods; 3. The structure and dynamics oI this society can be discerned in the movements
and patterned juxtapositions oI the heavenly bodies; 4. Human society should be a microcosm oI
the divine society; 5. The chieI responsibility oI priests and Iings is to attune human order to the
121
bringing souls bacI to God, that is, Christ as logos (Word) and Christ as man.
This duality is Iound in the Iamous opening oI the Gospel oI John, 'In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. .
..And the Word was made Ilesh and dwelt among us.¨
358
Thus, Christ as logos
came into the visible world just as the Plotinian logos descended to the material
realm, though, oI course, in the world, Christ is revealed in the Iorm oI a man. In
Augustine`s view, it is Christ, as logos, who calls Iallen souls bacI to God, but it
is Christ, as man, who is the true mediator between God and man; in eIIect,
Christ oIIers the only way Ior the soul to return permanently to God.
359
He
claims, 'It is |Christ| as man that he is mediator. He is not midway as Word; Ior

divine world. In a locative orientation, evil and the demonic arise only when something is 'out oI
place'; in Plato's taxonomy, the demonic was relegated to the province oI the inverted soul,
turned 'upside-down' and alienated Irom the Whole.¨ Plotinus and his student Porphyry maintain
that only the philosophical elite can have a mystical union with God, and some scholars are
claiming that these Neoplatonic philosophers were not Iond oI theurgical practices due to their
doctrine oI the undescended soul. Shaw claims that theurgy has oIten been portrayed as an
erroneous "attempt to manipulate the gods," but he rejects this view and argues that theurgy
actually synthesized "worship and divine philosophy." Gregory Shaw, Theurgy and the Soul: the
Neoplatonism oI Iamblichus (University ParI: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), 2, 4,
5, 9, 237-238. E.R. Dodds maintains that the traditional view oI theurgy is somewhat negative.
Scholars have oIten preIerred Plotinus' ascent to the One because oI his use oI reason, but they
oIten dismiss theurgy as nonsense because reason is not at the center. "It is not thought that
linIs the theurgists with the gods: else what should hinder theoretical philosophers Irom
enjoying theurgic union with them? The case is not so. Theurgic union is attained only by the
eIIicacy oI the unspeaIable acts perIormed in the appropriate manner, acts which are beyond all
comprehension, and by the potency oI the unutterable symbols which are comprehended only by
the gods.¨ Dodds, The GreeIs and the Irrational, 285-287; 283-299.
358
John 1:1, 1.14 RSV. Scholars such as Pheme PerIins have acInowledged the Stoic inIluence
Iound in this gospel, in Iact logos or Word 'is linIed with the immanent divine spirit that
pervades and orders the cosmos in Stoic philosophy.¨ Pheme PerIins, 'The Gospel According to
John¨ in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, ed. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer,
and Roland E. Murphy (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1990), 944, 942-985. The Gospel oI John and
the language used therein has also been examined Ior Gnostic inIluence. See Willem Cornelis
Van UnniI, Newly Discovered Gnostic Writings: A Preliminary oI the Nag Hammadi Find
(London: SCM Press Ltd., 1960); Robert Grant, Gnosticism: A SourcebooI oI Heretical
Writings Irom the Early Christian Period (New YorI: Harper, 1961); Robert Grant, Gnosticism
and Early Christianity (New YorI, 1966); Elaine Pagels, Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis;
Heracleon's Commentary on John (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1973).
359
Augustine, ConI., BI. X. xliii.68.
122
the Word is equal to God.¨
360
And it is Christ as logos, that man can
collectively attain salvation through Him. Here, there seems to be a correlation
between the individual and the common liIe oI both Adam and Christ. Adam, in
his individual liIe, which we do not share, sinned, but we collectively share in his
guilt and punishment. So, Christ, in his individual liIe, which, again, we do not
share, was a mediator between man and God. Christ died willingly, so he too
shared in the punishment oI Adam; yet, by doing so, Christ oIIered redemption
to manIind. Thus in Christ's common liIe man can escape the guilt oI Adam,
with its punishment oI death and return to God.
361

IV. Augustine on Contemplation and Action.
To Inow Christ as the soul`s path to happiness necessitates Inowledge oI
both the theoretical and practical sciences. Although Augustine thought that
true happiness could be attained only in the aIterliIe, he considered
contemplation and action necessary Ior its attainment.
362
Unavoidably, tension
exists between the two sciences. The recurrent question oI whether
contemplation or action should taIe the superior position sounds throughout
Augustine`s writings. On the one hand, contemplating Christ, as the Word
(logos), is certainly oI the utmost importance since it is Christ who calls the
souls to return to their proper place in the intelligible world. On the other hand,
Christ was human and in that Iorm he advocated new ideas and perIormed

360
Ibid.
361
Rist, Augustine, 128-129.
362
Rist notes that Augustine, in his The Happy LiIe, deemed that Christians could attain
happiness in this liIe, but in his later worI On Human Responsibility, it becomes clear that Ior
Augustine 'no one can be happy, only on the road (iter) to happiness;¨ thus, true happiness is not
attained in this liIe. Rist, Augustine, 169.
123
charitable worIs. Surely, the imitation oI Christ is, as well, a commendable
position. Augustine struggled to resolve the tension between the two.
Augustine asIs, 'To what extent can the inner liIe oI the spirit (and a single-
minded Iocus upon God) be harmonized with an active apostolate and the
perIormance oI charitable worIs?¨
363
Augustine struggled with this issue in his
own liIewanting to contemplatebut needing to IulIill pastoral duties.
364
In
his De Civitate Dei, considered to be his most mature thought, he declares,
'That no one has a right to lead a liIe oI contemplation to the neglect oI
temporal responsibilities, but no one should be so immersed in active service as
to relinquish the delight oI truth completely.¨
365
Thus, a balance is required, but
again, one must have Inowledge beIore one can act. With contemplation and
action, the soul will attain happiness and return to its appropriate place in the
intelligible world.
V. Augustine on the Return oI the Soul.
II the soul is to attain happiness and return to its proper place in the
intelligible world and iI Adam represents Plotinus' World Soul, then the
individual soul`s return to Adam (the Christianized World Soul) would seem not
only logical but in accordance with Plotinus` Triple Hypostases |The One, Nous,
and World Soul|. However, the possibility oI sin, which is, according to
Augustine, how the human race began, rests in the realm oI Adam/World Soul.
Augustine writes, 'II Adam had not Iallen Irom you, there would not have

363
N. Joseph Torchia, 'Contemplation and Action¨ Augustine Through the Ages: An
Encyclopedia, 233.
364
Ibid.
365
Augustine, City, BI. 19.19
124
Ilowed Irom his loins that salty sea-water the human race.¨
366
Rist, in his
explanation oI Augustine`s theory oI the soul`s journey, claims, 'As we were all
one in Adam and Iell` in Adam, so we (not just I or any one oI us individually)
are also all one in Christ, and in a sense Christ is all oI us.` Christian this
certainly is, though we cannot but be reminded also oI the saying oI Plotinus that
we are each an intelligible world (Iosmos noetos, Ennead 3.4.3.22). Certainly
Ior a Christian Plotinus to be one in Christ would involve being one in something
higher` than in Soul (i.e. in Adam).¨
367
It does appear that Augustine aIIirms
that through Christ the soul will rise above its original station in which a second
Iall is impossible (non posse peccare). II Augustine is utilizing Plotinus` Triple
Hypostases, then the souls perhaps are ascending to the higher part oI the World
Soul, which, as noted, has the sole Iunction oI contemplating Nous or perhaps
the souls are ascending to Nous itselI. Augustine, in his modiIication oI
Plotinus` Triple Hypostases, argues that the 'heaven oI the heaven¨ or the City
oI God is the Iinal resting place Ior the soul. 'It now begs oI you and maIes this
single request, that it may dwell in your house all the days oI its liIe.¨
368

Augustine, continuing in this vein, writes:
Again you said to me, in a loud voice to my inner ear, that not even the
created realm, the heaven oI heaven`, is coeternal with you. Its delight
is exclusively in you. In an unIailing purity it satiates its thirst in you. It
never at any point betrays its mutability. You are always present to it,
and it concentrates all its aIIection on you. It has no Iuture to expect. It
suIIers no variation and experiences no distending in the successiveness
oI time. O blessed creature, iI there be such: happy in cleaving to your
Ielicity, happy to have you as eternal inhabitant and its source oI light! I

366
Augustine, ConI., BI. XIII. xx.28.
367
Rist, Augustine, 128-129.
368
Augustine, ConI. BI. XII. xi.13. Plotinus also claims that the Intelligence "is the place oI
every soul. There is eternal rest." Plotinus, Enn., V.1.4.
125
do not Iind any better name Ior the Lord`s heaven oI heaven`.than your
House. There your delight is contemplated without any Iailure or
wandering away to something else. The pure heart enjoys absolute
concord and unity in the unshaIeable peace oI holy spirits, the citizens oI
your city in the heavens above the visible heavens.
369


Augustine's description oI the 'heaven oI heaven¨ or City oI God is surely

congruent with Plotinus` depiction oI Nous. The claim that everything is in

Nous has been examined previously. Plotinus writes:

Let him see pure intellect presiding over them, and immense wisdom, and
the true liIe oI Kronos, a god who is Iullness and intellect. For he
encompasses in himselI all things immortal, every intellect, every god,
every soul, all Ior ever unmoving. For why should it seeI to change when
all is well with it? Where should it seeI to go away to when it has
everything in itselI? But it does not even seeI to increase, since it is the
most perIect. ThereIore all things in it are perIect, that it may be
altogether perIect, having nothing which is not so, having nothing in
itselI which does not thinI; but it thinIs not by seeIing but by
having. Its blessedness is not something acquired, but all things are in
eternity, and the true eternity, which time copies, running round the soul,
letting some things go and attending to others. For around Soul things
come one aIter another: now Socrates, now a horse, always some one
particular reality; but Intellect is all things. It has thereIore everything at
rest in the same place, and it only is, and its 'is¨ is Ior ever, and there is
no place Ior the Iuture Ior then too it isor Ior the pastIor nothing
there has passed awaybut all things remain stationary Ior ever, since
they are the same, as iI they were satisIied with themselves Ior being
so.
370


Augustine writes 'No doubt the 'heaven oI heaven' which you made in the
beginning is a Iind oI creation in the realm oI the intellect. Without being
compared to you . . .it nevertheless participates in your eternity. From the
sweet happiness oI contemplating you, it Iinds power to checI its mutability.¨
371


369
Augustine, ConI., BI. XII. xi.12.
370
Plotinus, Enn., V.1.4.
371
Augustine, ConI., BI. XII. ix. 9. Henry ChadwicI notes that 'Augustine interprets Genesis I
not to describe any material creation, but the intelligible realm oI mind. His heaven oI heaven`
is, liIe the world-soul in Porphyry (Sententiae 30), created but eternally contemplating the
divine.¨ Augustine, ConI., BI. XII. viii.9. I.n. 9.
126
Conclusion.
As we have seen, Augustine's ConIessions tells the story oI the Iallen
soul's restless journey bacI to God. Augustine`s quest Ior happiness essentially
begins with his desire to Inow God. Augustine begins his search in the sensible
world but ultimately his investigations turn inward. With this inward turn
Augustine conIronts memory and realizes that there is an inIinite abyss oI
material that he cannot explain nor can he account Ior its origins. Augustine
ceases exploring memory and turns to the very act oI remembering. It is in
remembering that Augustine recognizes that what he has been searching Ior is
the happy liIe, which Ior Augustine is the Inowledge oI God. He realizes that all
humans yearn Ior this same thing; thus he determines that it must be in the
memory, and thereIore, he concludes humans had happiness once. The Platonic
doctrine oI anamnesis proves to be a valuable tool Ior Augustine, but he rejects
the notion oI past lives in order to explain how humans have a memory oI God,
instead he examines Adam. Augustine eIIectively Christianizes the Plotinian
Triple Hypostases, wherein Adam becomes the World Soul. We all lived in
Adam and consequently Iell in Adam, which explains how we share in Adam's
guilt and in his pre-Iallen happiness, and, as a result, we share his memory oI
God. By examining Adam, Augustine is able to worI out his theory on
happiness and Original Sin while deIending his case that the soul is immaterial.
Augustine continues to employ the thought oI Plotinus in his discussion
oI the Iallen soul's return to God, but not without modiIication. For Plotinus the
soul only has to contemplate the intelligible realm in order to ascend to the One.
127
On the contrary, Augustine insists that it is only through Christ that the soul can
return and Iurthermore the soul would not even Inow to return to God without
Christ, since He is the light that reveals the darIness oI the Iallen souls, now and
in the beginning. Christ has a dual role in the salvation oI men. Augustine
utilizes the Iunction oI the logos wherein Christ comes into the visible world and
becIons the souls to return to God. And Christ in His human Iorm is the
mediator between man and God. Thus, Christ is the path Ior the soul to attain
happiness and return to the intelligible world. However, the soul's Iinal
destination is not just a return to Adam, i.e., the World Soul. Because the
possibility oI sin rests in the realm oI Adam/the Christianized World Soul,
Augustine claims that we are to ascend higher through the mediation oI Christ so
that we can achieve union with God. This higher station, which John Rist calls
the improved or perIected Adam, is either the upper level oI Soul or perhaps
Nous.
372
Although Augustine essentially uses the IrameworI oI the Plotinian
doctrine oI the Triple Hypostases to prove his theory, he does modiIy Plotinus'
model in order Ior the souls to obtain eternal salvation.









372
Rist, Augustine, 128-129.
128
Part Two
Conclusion
Both Farabi and Augustine, liIe their GreeI predecessors, recognize that
man`s ultimate desire is the attainment oI happiness. The Inowledge oI and
desire Ior happiness is not something that man learns or discovers, but is
something that is already in man Irom the beginning. Indeed our desire Ior
happiness is bestowed upon us by the intelligible world; even when we are not
consciously seeIing it, we still yearn Ior happiness. In developing their theories
that humans have a Inowledge oI happiness Irom the outset, Farabi and
Augustine realize the importance oI the Platonic doctrine oI Recollection
(anamnesis), but they both modiIy Plato`s doctrine. Both Farabi and Augustine
view happiness as Inowledge oI the One or God and the Inowledge oI man`s
proper place within the intelligible world. Their understanding comes Irom the
Iact that each has made an ascent to the One through the various philosophical
investigations. Obviously, they are both inIluenced by Plato and Aristotle`s
philosophy oI happiness. However, it appears that Plotinus is perhaps a more
useIul guide in explaining why man desires happiness and where man achieves
true or ultimate happiness. In Augustine and Farabi's attempt to explain how
this is so, they employ the Plotinian construct oI emanation and the Triple
Hypostases. Both Farabi and Augustine contend that man has a relationship
with the intelligible world, an intelligible being, and, really, the One or God at
the outset. Farabi discusses the Active Intellect, via emanation, intelligizing the
rational Iaculty oI the soul. As noted, the Active Intellect is essentially a
129
substitute Ior Plato`s doctrine oI recollection. Yet, Farabi`s Active Intellect
Iunctions in a manner reminiscent oI the Plotinian Nous.
373
However, the
question concerning the relationship between the Active Intellect and the
material world remains unresolved. Augustine observes Adam, the Iirst human,
as essentially Plotinus` World Soul, which is generated by Nous. Thus, by
equating Adam with the Plotinian World Soul, Augustine reveals how man has a
memory oI happiness because he actually has a memory oI God.
Farabi and Augustine both reveal that the perIected soul`s proper place is
in the intelligible world. They also provide us, man in the material world, with a
plan to attain this happiness. Farabi allows both philosophy and religion as a
means to attain perIection, but Augustine rejects the philosophical means oI
attaining happiness and oIIers Christianity as the sole path. For Farabi,
philosophy and religion include both the theoretical and practical sciences that
are necessary Ior perIection. The theoretical sciences are required in order Ior
man to Inow the intelligible world and his place in it and the practical sciences
are necessary since Farabi sees that action aIIects the soul. Augustine, too, sees
that contemplation and action are indispensable on the path to happiness. And
both Farabi and Augustine argue that the perIected soul will exist in the
intelligible world in a sort oI quasi-relationship with an intelligible being that in
many respects resembles the Plotinian Nous, thus connecting the individual soul
to the One or God.




373
See chapter II.IV and III.V above.
130
Part Three
The Virtuous City and Its Citizens
Introduction
Both Augustine and Farabi are in search oI happiness, but more
signiIicantly, they are seeIing ultimate happiness. As noted above, there was a
time when Augustine believed that happiness could be attained on earth and in
the aIterliIe, but he came to reject the notion oI happiness in this liIe in which
one is only on the path; now, he deems that true happiness can be achieved only
in the aIterliIe.
374
Farabi maintains that happiness can be attained both on earth
and in the aIterliIe, but he maIes a clear distinction between happiness in this
liIe and supreme happiness, which is to be Iound in the next liIe. Farabi insists
that ultimate happiness 'only happens by man`s becoming separated Irom
bodies, and in no need Ior his subsistence, oI something else which would be

374
Augustine writes: 'OI true happiness, which is not attained in our present liIe:¨
For iI we consider the matter more careIully, we shall see that no one lives as he
wishes unless he is happy, and that no one is happy unless he is righteous. Even the
righteous man, however, will not live as he wishes unless he arrives at that state where
he is wholly Iree Irom death, error and harm, and is certain that he will always be Iree
Irom these things in the Iuture. For this is what our nature desires, and it will not be
Iully and perIectly happy unless it attains what it desires. What man is there at the
present time who can live as he wishes, when living itselI is not within his power? He
wishes to live; he is compelled to die. In what way does he live as he wishes, then, when
he does not live as long as he wishes? Even iI he should wish to die, how can
he live as he wishes, when he does not wish to live at all? And iI he wishes to die, not
because he does not wish to live, but so that he may have a better liIe aIter death, he
still does not yet live as he wishes, but will do so only when, by dying, he has achieved
the object oI his wish. Behold, however, the man who lives as he wishes because he has
Iorced and commanded himselI not to desire what he cannot have, but to choose only
what he can have, as Terrence says: II you cannot do what you want, want what you
can do.` Is such a man happy because he is miserable patiently? II he does not love the
liIe he has, it is certainly not a happy liIe. Moreover, iI he does love his liIe, and is
thereIore happy, he must necessarily love it more dearly than all other things, since
whatever else he loves must be loved Ior the saIe oI a happy liIe. Again, iI it is loved as
it deserves to be lovedIor a man cannot be happy iI he does not love his liIe as it
deserveshe who so loves it must necessarily wish it to be eternal. LiIe, thereIore, will
only be truly happy when it is eternal.
Augustine, City, BI. XIV, ch. 25. (italics mine)
131
lower than himselI, such as body, or matter, or accident, and by his remaining
Iorever in that perIection.¨
375
According to Augustine, by contrast, there are
two criteria Ior happiness: the Iirst is 'the enjoyment without interruption oI the
immutable Good which is God¨ and the second is 'certain Inowledge, Iree Irom
all doubt and error, that it will remain in the same enjoyment Ior ever.¨
376
For
Augustine, true happiness requires the certainty that happiness will be
continuous and permanent; it cannot be aIIected by change.
377
Farabi, too,
discusses an eternal happiness; implying that Ior him too supreme happiness
cannot be aIIected by change.
Where then is this ultimate happiness attained? II the corporeal world is
always subject to change because it is in time, that is, in motion and thereIore
corruptible, then we must asI whether true happiness can ever be realized on
earth or must we looI elsewhere? The quest Ior ultimate happiness, it seems,
places the Iocus on the aIterliIe.
378
This is perhaps puzzling, since both
Augustine and Farabi envision that ultimate happiness is somehow connected to
a city, in Iact in order to attain this happiness one must be a citizen oI either the
City oI God or the Virtuous City, respectively. Unquestionably, the notion oI
happiness being attained in a city reaches Augustine and Farabi Irom classical
GreeI philosophy; however, both developed their theories oI ultimate happiness
and where it can be achieved within an eschatological and monotheistic religious

375
Farabi, Siya sah, 33.5-32.10; tr. Druart, 32.5-32.10.
376
Augustine, City, BI. XI, ch. 13.
377
Ibid. See also O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 139-140.
378
Hiram Canton discusses the ancient philosopher`s Iailure wherein the 'human desire Ior
happiness cannot be satisIied short oI the attainment oI divinity,¨ Hiram Canton, 'St.
Augustine`s Critique oI Politics¨ New Scholasticism 47 (1973), 447.
132
milieu. In this way, both deviate Irom their GreeI predecessors because they
Iuse the attainment oI ultimate happiness, i.e., happiness in the aIterliIe, with a
city. Furthermore, both Farabi and Augustine appear to breaI away Irom the
ancient tradition oI uniting the aIterliIe to the particular city in which one lives
here on earth or in the material world.
379

II ultimate happiness is to be achieved in the aIterliIe, then what does a
city have to do with it? We have seen that Plotinus describes the World Soul as
a city even though it exists in the intelligible world. Plotinus` World Soul is the
starting point Ior the individual souls beIore they descend into matter and it is
where souls return when they have separated Irom matter and attain
happiness.
380
Augustine, too, describes a city where happiness is attained and it
is clearly not a city that exists in the material world.
381
We Inow Irom Chapter
Three that Augustine equates Adam, the Iirst human, with Plotinus` World Soul.
All men have their origin in Adam and it is through Adam`s Iall that man
descends into matter. We also Inow that Ior Augustine, Adam or Plotinus`
World Soul is not the place where those who will attain happiness will return.
As noted, it is not clear whether these souls ascend to the upper level oI the

379
As noted in Chapter One, both Mahdi and Colmo Ieep Fa rabi within the ancient tradition that
the aIterliIe oI an individual is dependent upon the political community in which one lives here
on earth. As we shall see below, Richard J. Dougherty insists that Augustine`s City oI God
breaIs this Iusion oI the aIterliIe and the city in which one lives. Surely, iI Fa rabi `s Virtuous
City is a city in the intelligible world and as we shall see he discusses virtuous citizens living in
non-virtuous cities, then we can perhaps argue that Fa rabi too is breaIing Irom the classical
tradition. Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 105; Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 129;
Richard J. Dougherty, 'Citizen¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 194.
380
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.3; IV.3.12.
381
In section 6.1 we will examine the academic discussion concerning Augustine`s City oI God
as an earthly city.
133
World Soul or to Plotinus` Nous, but Augustine calls this place the 'heaven oI
heaven¨ or the City oI God.
Farabi`s Virtuous City is the place where its citizens will attain happiness
on earth and ultimate happiness. While there are aspects oI this city that appear
earthly, Farabi never provides any details as to where, when, or even iI this city
was ever established, or could be. While there are indications that the Virtuous
City is an earthly city, there are signs that suggest that this city may exist on a
metaphysical plane or in the intelligible world. Can man even establish such a
city? Is it correct, in Iact, to continue to examine the Virtuous City only as an
earthly city, which has been established or will be Iounded, or as an ideala city
in speech? There seems to be too much at staIe. Farabi has Iused ultimate
happiness, i.e., salvation in the aIterliIe, to this city. Can we accept that this
city, which is so important to our happiness in the aIterliIe, is capable oI being
destroyed or worse, not established? When we examine Farabi`s Virtuous City,
we may well asI: where is this place that seemingly is no place?
Augustine is discussing two cities: the City oI God, which exists in the
intelligible world and is the place where true happiness is achieved, and the City
oI Man, which exists in the material world but where its citizens do not achieve
true happiness. Farabi, liIe Augustine, is also discussing two cities. The
Virtuous City is the city where its citizens attain ultimate happiness and the
non-virtuous cities are cities where its citizens will not achieve happiness. Let
us taIe this a step Iurther and suggest that Farabi`s Virtuous City is a city that
exists in the intelligible world and that his non-virtuous cities exist in the world
134
in which we live, i.e., they exist in the material world. We will examine the
possibility that Farabi, liIe Augustine, utilizes the thought oI Plotinus. We will
consider the Iurther possibility that Farabi`s Virtuous City is comparable to
Plotinus` World Soul, and so, exists in the Intelligible world within the Plotinian
Nous or, to use Farabi`s terminology, within the Active Intellect.
382
We will
compare Augustine and Farabi`s description oI their citizens, the citizens oI the
City oI God and the virtuous citizens, with Plotinus` account oI the individual
souls that reside in the World Soul. And we will examine how the virtuous
citizens, and the citizens oI the City oI God who are on earth, are similar to
those whom Plotinus describes as souls in the material world remaining above`
in the world oI Nous, constantly Iunctioning in perIect contemplation oI the
Iorms, and unspotted by material liIe.
383
Furthermore, only the virtuous citizens
will attain happiness; in Iact, they will attain it even iI they do not reside in the
Virtuous City.
384
So, we must asI, what is so remarIable about the Virtuous
City that its citizens can attain happiness even iI they do not dwell there? How
can virtuous citizens possibly originate in non-virtuous cities? How do they
adhere to the virtuous way oI liIe? How do they Inow what this liIe entails
without the Virtuous City having been established, since, as we shall see, their
Inowledge includes Inowledge oI the Virtuous City and its supreme ruler and/or
Iounder and his successors? These questions are more diIIicult to answer when
we consider Farabi`s Virtuous City as an earthly city. Augustine, too, discusses

382
See above Chapter II section IV.
383
Rist, Plotinus, 146. See also Plotinus, Enn., I.4; IV.8.8.
384
Chapter sixteen oI Fa ra bi `s Madi nah shows explicitly that it is only the virtuous citizens who
attain ultimate happiness and that this happiness is also attained by those virtuous citizens who
live in non-virtuous cities.
135
the citizens oI the City oI God. How can man live in the City oI Man and still be
considered a citizen oI the City oI God? What deIines such a citizen? What is
the diIIerence between a citizen oI the City oI God and a citizen oI the City oI
Man? Is it geographical, a connection to a particular government, or is it, as
Farabi`s Plato suggests, a certain Inowledge and a certain way oI liIe?
What, then are we to maIe oI Farabi and Augustine`s cities? These are
cities without borders; in Iact, they are universal, and their citizens are wide-
ranging. Their sole aim is happiness and indeed, happiness is the only aspiration
oI its citizens. It has citizens on earthbecause those who search Ior happiness
and live a certain way oI liIe are indeed its citizens. Both Farabi and Augustine
explain that it is one`s aims which deIine one as a citizen oI the Virtuous City or
the City oI God. In this section, we will examine the origins and structure oI
Augustine`s City oI God and oI Farabi `s Virtuous City. We will also examine
the most important aspect oI these cities, that is, their ultimate aims.
Furthermore, we will compare these eternal cities with Augustine`s City oI Man
and with Farabi`s non-virtuous cities. We must also account Ior the Iact that
there are citizens oI the Virtuous City and the City oI God on earth and that
these citizens have the potential oI leading virtuous lives on earth. The proper
place Ior all souls may be the intelligible world, but Ior now, it seems that the
two cities, i.e., the eternal city and the earthly city, as Augustine claims, 'are in
the present world mixed together and in a certain sense, entangled with one
another.¨
385


385
Augustine, City, BI. XI ch. 1.
136
Chapter Four
Cities in the Intelligible World.
Introduction.
Do cities exist in the intelligible world?
386
In order to understand how
Farabi and Augustine`s cities are comparable to Plotinus` World Soul, it is
important to Inow the Iundamentals oI Plotinus` universe. In examining
Plotinus` cosmology and in comparing his universe with both Augustine`s and
Farabi`s, we see that, while there are obvious diIIerences, Augustine`s universe
(and in particular his City oI God) corresponds closely to the structure oI
Plotinus` Triple Hypostases and it also Iunctions in a similar manner. We shall
decide iI Augustine`s City oI God meets the criteria Ior happiness and note the
problems that concerned Augustine. While we have demonstrated that
Augustine utilized Plotinus in his discussion oI Adam, we will also conIirm that
his City oI God exists in the intelligible world. Farabi`s Virtuous City has yet to
be scrutinized. Though when we compare Fa rabi`s universe, we Iind that it, too,
is comparable in Iey respects to Plotinus` cosmos. In particular, Farabi`s
Virtuous City Iunctions very much liIe Plotinus` World Soul. This entails
examining the standard description oI his Virtuous City, which implies that it
has an earthly existence. Nevertheless, we will examine texts that show this city
in a diIIerent light and will show that when compared with that oI Plotinus,
Farabi`s Virtuous City does not necessarily have to be merely an earthly city.
We shall also examine the role oI the supreme ruler to show that he does not

386
The intelligible world has been discussed above in Iootnotes 10 and 11. Again this intelligible
world is the world that can only be perceived by our intellect and is not perceived by our senses.
137
necessarily have to be an earthly ruler. More importantly we will examine what
Farabi judges as an eternal speciesand show that all men, i.e., all souls, were at
one point a part oI the Virtuous City, hence they share a common genus,
implying that the Virtuous City and its citizens are eternal. II all souls or men
were at one point a component oI the Virtuous City, then it seems reasonable to
suggest that the Virtuous City is neither earthly nor ideal, but an entity existing
in the intelligible world. Finally, is Farabi`s Virtuous City, liIe Plotinus` World
Soul, a place to which the eternal souls who attain happiness return? Still, as we
shall see, not all souls attain happiness, nor are all souls eternal.
I. The Cosmos oI Plotinus.
Plotinus divides the cosmos into Iour realms: the One, Nous, World Soul,
and Matter. According to Plotinus, the One 'is the productive power oI all
things.¨
387
The One eternally emanates or generates the Nous and the Nous in
turn generates the World Soul and all oI the individual souls therein.
388
The
Nous is an image oI the One, and thus, is inIerior; however, it is conscious oI the
One`s power.
389
The World Soul is governed by Nous. 'The oIIspring oI .
|Nous| is a rational Iorm and an existing being, that which thinIs discursively; it
is this which moves around . |Nous| and is light and trace oI . |Nous| and
dependent on it, united to it on one side and so Iilled with it and enjoying it and
sharing in it and thinIing in it, but, on the other side, in touch with the things

387
Plotinus, Enn., V.1.7.
388
Ibid. Each existent contemplates what is above it; thus, essentially connecting them to the
One.
389
Ibid.
138
which come aIter it |i.e., Matter| ..¨
390
With the last oI the three primal
hypostases, the intelligible world or the 'divine realities¨ ends.
391
In Plotinus'
discussion oI the World Soul, he tells us to thinI oI a city as having a soul oI its
own with each oI its citizens having an individual soul; Iurthermore, all oI these
souls will have a common essence, that oI the World Soul.
392
Within this city,
there is a hierarchy oI souls based on their ability to reason, since some souls are
considered more rational than others.
393
While individual souls remain in the
World Soul, they 'can share in its government, liIe those who live with a
universal monarch and share in the government oI his empire.¨
394
Furthermore,
while the individual souls remain in the World Soul they are essentially in Nous.
Plotinus tells us that Nous is 'the place oI every soul¨ and that it is here that the
soul Iinds eternal rest.
395
While the individual souls remain in the World Soul,
i.e., in Nous, they are not subject to change; as a result, happiness is Iound in the
World Soul.
396
II these individual souls do descend into matter, they are subject
to aIIections, and so, their primary goal must be to return to their place oI origin,
i.e., the World Soul. Plotinus writes:
The souls oI men, seeing their images in the mirror oI Dionysius as it
were, have entered into that realm in a leap downward Irom the Supreme:
yet even they are not cut oII Irom their origin, Irom the divine Intellect;
it is not that they have come bringing the Intellectual Principle down in
their Iall; it is that though they have descended even to earth, yet their

390
Ibid. Only the translated word 'Intellect¨ has been removed and replaced with the original
GreeI Nous.
391
Ibid.
392
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4. The World Soul can be considered to be the genus while the individual
souls are considered to be the species. Plotinus writes that 'there had to be many souls and one
soul, and the many diIIerent souls springing Irom the one, liIe the species oI one genus..¨
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.3.
393
Ibid., IV.8.3.
394
Ibid.
395
Ibid., V,1.4
396
Ibid., V.9.5.
139
higher part holds Ior ever above the heavens. Their initial descent is
deepened since that mid-part oI theirs is compelled to labour in care oI
the care-needing things into which they have entered. But Zeus, the
Iather, taIes pity on their toils and maIes the bonds in which they labour
soluble by death and gives respite in due time, Ireeing them Irom the
body, that they too may come to dwell there where the Universal Soul,
unconcerned with earthly needs, has ever dwelt.
397


II. The Cosmos oI Augustine.
Augustine`s universe is not identical to that oI Plotinus. Plotinus`
universe is the product oI emanation. Augustine`s universe, however, was
created out oI nothing and it was not created in time, but, to be precise,
simultaneously with time. In the ConIessions, he states 'In the beginning, that
is Irom yourselI, in your wisdom which is begotten oI your substance and you
made it out oI nothing.out oI nothing you made heaven and earth, two entities,
one close to you, the other close to being nothing; the one to which only you are
superior, the other to which what is inIerior is nothingness.¨
398
In his De
Civitate Dei, he claims that 'the world was made not in time, but simultaneously
with time. For that which is made in time is made both aIter and beIore some
time: aIter that which is past, and beIore that which is to come. But there could
have been no past` beIore the creation, because there was then no creature by
whose changing movements time could be enacted.¨
399
Augustine`s City oI God
appears to have a unique status in this respect, Ior he claims that, in the City oI
God, 'we do not Iind there was time beIore it, because it precedes the creation oI

397
Ibid., IV.3.12. Here I am using Stephen MacKenna and B.S. Page`s translation.
398
Augustine ConI., BI. XI.vii.8.
399
Augustine, City, BI. XI ch.6. See also John M. Quinn, 'Time¨ in Augustine through the
Ages, 833-837; Hiram Canton, Saint Augustine`s Critique oI Politics, 441-442.
140
time; yet it is created Iirst oI all things.¨
400
That it is created and yet does not
exist in time suggests that this city exists in the intelligible world. So, contrary
to Plotinus, Augustine`s universe is not a product oI emanation, but a creation ex
nihilo, created not out oI necessity, as emanation entails, but by an act oI God.
However, in its structure Augustine`s City oI God does correspond to the
Plotinian cosmos and it appears to Iunction in a similar Iashion. Augustine
states:
No doubt the heaven oI heaven` which you made in the beginning is a
Iind oI creation in the realm oI the intellect. Without being coeternal
with you, O Trinity, it nevertheless participates in your eternity. From
the sweet happiness oI contemplating you, it Iinds power to checI its
mutability. Without any lapse to which its createdness maIes it liable,
by cleaving to you it escapes all the revolving vicissitudes oI the
temporal process. But even that Iormlessness, the invisible and
unorganized earth`, is not counted among the days oI creation weeI. For
where there is no Iorm, no order, nothing comes or goes into the past,
and where this does not happen, there are obviously no days and nothing
oI the coming and passing oI temporal periods.
401


The One or God is both prior to and above Augustine`s City oI God because God
created this city; it is not coeternal with Him. II we accept the argument
presented in the previous chapter on happiness, then the City oI God most liIely
exists within the upper level oI Plotinus` World Soul and thereIore, within Nous.
Augustine claims that it was created and yet exists in the realm oI the Intellect,
i.e., it exists in the intelligible world. As the City oI God was created it is
subject to change; however, because it continuously contemplates what is prior
to it, it prevents its own corruptibility. Plotinus tells us that in contemplation

400
Augustine, ConI., BI. XII.xv.20.
401
Ibid., BI. XII. ix. 9.
141
the subject and the object become one.
402
Because it cleaves to what is above it,
there is no separation between the entities, and so the being becomes one with
its prior.
403
Is this not what Augustine is suggesting when he returns to
Jerusalem 'my home land, Jerusalem my mother, and above it yourselI.¨
404

From this it seems plausible that Augustine has the thought oI Plotinus in mind
in his discussion oI the City oI God.
As in Plotinus, we Iind a rational hierarchy in Augustine`s universe as
well as in the City oI God.
405
Ernest Fortin claims that this hierarchy is probably
based on Augustine`s own theory oI natural law. Fortin explains a crucial aspect
oI this theory when he notes that ' all things be properly ordered in the highest
degree,` or that at all times the lower be subordinated to the higher both within

402
Plotinus, Enn., III.8.6, III.8.8. Also, as noted in chapter three, Plotinus discusses the notion oI
contemplation wherein when the hypostasis Soul contemplates what is above it, 'it possesses the
object oI its contemplation within itselI, as its own.¨ Plotinus, Enn., V.1.3. I am using
O`Brien`s translation here.
403
Or the existent becomes one with what precedes it in being. Plotinus, Enn., V.1.5.
404
Augustine, ConI., BI. XII. xvi.23.
405
O`Daly states, 'LiIe Plato, Augustine thinIs oI individuals and states as analogous..But
Augustine`s model city is not, as Plato`s is, a paradigm Ior actual political states, which might be
its image..In Plotinus, the intelligible world is a homeland`.and Augustine echoes Plotinus`
words.¨ O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 59. See Augustine, City, BI. IV ch.3; BI. XII. ch. 28;
BI. IX ch.17; Augustine, ConI. ,BI.VIII.viii.19; Plato, Republic, 592b, 500e; Plotinus, Enn.,
I.6.8; IV.4.17. Scholars are still comparing Augustine`s City oI God with Plato`s Republic.
Some insist that Augustine is utilizing Plato, while others maintain that the thought oI Plotinus
is the better choice. See Robert Crouse, 'Paucis mutatis verbis: St. Augustine`s Neoplatonism,¨
in Augustine and His Critics: Essays in Honour oI Gerald Bonner, edited by Robert Dodaro and
George Lawless (New YorI: Routledge 2000); Rist, Plotinus; Rist, Augustine; Robert Russell
OSA, 'The Role oI Neoplatonism in St. Augustine`s Dei Civitate Dei¨ in Neoplatonism and
Early Christian Thought: Essays in Honour oI A.H. Armstrong edited by H.J. Blumenthal and
R.A. MarIus (London: Variorum Publications Ltd., 1981); Fortin, 'Augustine`s De Quantitate
Animae or the Spiritual Dimension oI Human Existence¨ in The Birth oI Philosophic
Christianity; Robert J. O`Connell SJ, St. Augustine`s Early Theory oI Man, AD 386-391
(Cambridge: BelInap Press oI Harvard University Press, 1968); Joanna V. Scott, 'Augustine`s
Razor: Public vs Private Interest in the City oI God¨ in The City oI God: a Collection oI
Critical Essays; Patricia L. MacIinnon, 'Augustine`s City oI God: the Divided SelI/the Divided
Civitas¨ in The City oI God: a Collection oI Critical Essays.
142
the individual and in society at large.¨
406
Fortin suggests that, Ior Augustine,
natural law is essentially divine reason, thus there can be no deviation Irom, or
violation oI, the natural order neither in the universe nor in man.
407
Fortin
admits that while Augustine recognized that human beings, in their Iallen state,
could never live up to the ideal enunciated in his theory oI natural law, they
could do so in the City oI God.
408
In the City oI God every citizen has his proper
place and Iunction and, as Augustine states, there is no jealousy, Ior everything
is exactly as it should be.
409
That Augustine would claim that there is no
jealousy implies that some souls have more than others and this too is consistent
with his theory oI natural law, which is based on a Ilawless hierarchy. OI course,
it resembles Plotinus` rational hierarchy Iound within his cosmos and the World
Soul.
The individual souls that have always existed in the City oI God and the
souls that attain happiness resemble the individual souls that reside in Plotinus`
World Soul. In his De Civitate Dei, Augustine explains that initially the City oI
God was Iilled only with angels, 'those spirits to whom He gave intelligence,
maIing them capable oI contemplating and comprehending Him.¨
410
Augustine
tells us that the angels who 'voluntarily¨ abandoned God were cast out and
punished with everlasting unhappiness.
411
Man too Iell away Irom God, and yet,
Augustine claims that 'out oI this mortal progeny, so deservedly and justly

406
Fortin, 'Augustine and the problem oI Human Goodness,¨ 33.
407
Ibid., 33-34.
408
Ibid., 34.
409
Augustine, City, BI. XXII ch.1
410
Ibid., BI. XXII ch.1. See also BI. XI, ch. 9, 20, 13, 12.
411
Ibid., BI. XXII ch. 1.
143
condemned, God is by His grace gathering together a people so great that, Irom
it, He will supply and Iill up the place leIt in the Heavenly City by the Iallen
angels. Thus, that City will not be deIrauded oI its Iull complement oI citizens;
indeed, it may, perhaps, rejoice in a yet more numerous body oI such citizens.¨
412

In his ConIessions, Augustine claims that the blessed souls or the souls that have
attained happiness will reach the heaven oI heaven:`
O blessed creature, iI there be such: happy in cleaving to your Ielicity,
happy to have you as eternal inhabitant and its source oI light! I do not
Iind any better name Ior the Lord`s heaven oI heaven` (Ps. 113: 16)
than your House. There your delight is contemplated without any Iailure
or wandering away to something else. The pure heart enjoys absolute
concord and unity in the unshaIeable peace oI holy spirits, the citizens oI
your city in the heavens above the visible heavens.
413


From this, we Inow that the blessed angels and those men who attain happiness
will reside in Augustine`s City oI God and Iurthermore, that the citizens oI this
city share similar traits with the individual souls Iound within Plotinus` World
Soul.
OI course, there are diIIiculties Iound in Augustine`s thought concerning
the Iall oI the angels and these could lead to the uncertainty oI everlasting
happiness within the City oI God.
414
In his explanation oI the creation oI the
angels, which tooI place during the Iirst six days, Augustine claims that when
God said, 'Let there be light,¨ this light was indeed the angels.
415
However,

412
Ibid.
413
Augustine, ConI., BI. XII. xi. 12
414
I am including this because it seems to be a matter that concerns Augustine and his criteria Ior
happiness, but this is really a conversation pertaining to God`s IoreInowledge and the Ireewill oI
His creation and so beyond the scope oI this discussion.
415
In Augustine`s On the Literal Interpretation oI Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), he interprets
this light as the angels. Augustine, On the Literal Interpretation oI Genesis, 2.8.18-19, 4.24.41.
Further he writes in his On the Literal Interpretation oI Genesis: An UnIinished BooI, 'And
144
when the angels turned away Irom God, they were either to live in the darIness
or literally to become the darIness.
416
Augustine signals this separation oI the
holy and wicIed angels when he writes, 'God divided the light Irom the
darIness. . . . For only He could maIe this division, Who could also IoreInow
beIore they Iell that they would Iall.¨
417
Did God, Inowing that these angels
would sin, separate them beIore, perhaps Iacilitating their Iall, or aIter, when
they had already Iallen by their own Iree will? Augustine also suggests that the
angels were perhaps not created equally. The angels who continued to cleave to
God seemed to have a sense oI certainty, but Ior the angels who turned away
Irom God this certainty is noticeably absent. Even Augustine questions this
possible inequality, but he solves the problem by claiming that either they were
indeed created equal or the angels that remained with God received certain
Inowledge aIter the wicIed angels were separated Irom them.
418
However, this
solution is problematic, especially since Augustine claims that all oI the angels
oI light were blessed, but the angels that would eventually Iall were not blessed;
iI they were truly blessed, Augustine notes, they would not have turned away
Irom God. Augustine maintains that there are two criteria Ior blessedness: Iirst,
'the enjoyment without interruption oI the immutable Good which is God¨ and

since men asI when the angels were made, they are perhaps signiIied by this light, very brieIly,
but still most suitably and appropriately.¨ Augustine, The Literal Meaning oI Genisis, translated
by John H. Taylor, ACW 41 and 42 (1982). See also La Gen*se au sens litteral in Oeuvres de
saint Augustin, translated by P. Agaesee and A. Solignac, BA 48 and 49 (1972). Augustine, On
the Literal Interpretation oI Genesis: An UnIinished BooI, Ch. 5.21. In The Fathers oI the
Church: St. Augustine on Genesis Two booIs on Genesis against the Manichees and On the
Literal Interpretation oI Genesis: an UnIinished BooI translated by Roland J. TesIe, S.J.
(Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University oI America Press, 1991).
416
Augustine, City, BI. XI, ch. 9.
417
Ibid., BI. XI, ch. 20.
418
Ibid. BI. XI, ch. 13
145
second, the 'certain Inowledge, Iree Irom all doubt and error, that it will remain
in the same enjoyment Ior ever.¨
419
ThereIore, the assertion that perhaps the
good angels were given certain Inowledge only aIter the Iall oI the wicIed that
implies that none oI the angels were blessed until aIter the wicIed were
separated is invalid; indeed, Augustine speciIically states that the angels were
blessed Irom the very beginning. Furthermore, he claims that iI the devil had
'remained steadIast¨ with God he too could have 'remained in the blessedness
with the holy angels;¨ thereIore, Augustine perceives that the angels were indeed
already blessed beIore the Iall, even though there were some angels lacIing the
requirements to be truly blessed.
420
The uncertainty does not end with
Augustine's examination oI the angels; there was also a sense oI insecurity Ior
the Iirst humans. Augustine claims that the Iirst humans were blessed beIore
they sinned; however, he admits that these humans did not Inow how long their
blessedness would last; so according to Augustine's own criteria Ior blessedness,
stated above, the Iirst humans were not blessed.
421
Despite such concerns,
Augustine is certain that the citizens oI the City oI God will attain ultimate
happiness. And he is adamant in his belieI that the City oI God is the place

419
Ibid.
420
Ibid.
421
Ibid., BI. XI, ch.12. In Iact, in his De Civitate Dei, Augustine claims that the Christians oI
his day have more certainty then the Iirst humans in Paradise. Another point that Augustine
maIes is about the concept oI nature being created out oI nothing. In BI. XIV, ch. 13, Augustine
argues that the actual partaIing oI the Iruit was done by already evil human beings. Then he
begins discussing an evil Iruit, which "could have come only Irom a corrupted tree. Moreover,
the corruption oI that tree came about contrary to nature, because it certainly could not have
happened without a deIect in the will, and such a deIect is against nature. But only a nature
created out oI nothing could have been perverted by a deIect. Thus, though the existence oI the
will as a nature is due to its creation by God, its Ialling away Irom its nature is due to its creation
out oI nothing." Can it be argued that since man and his will are both created out oI nothing that
this deIect or Ialling away Irom its nature is unavoidable?
146
where the criteria Ior true happiness are met. Nevertheless, Augustine points out
that because oI the Iall oI man we must start here in the material world, and we
must have certain Inowledge; moreover, we must maIe the choice to Iollow the
path to become a member oI the City oI God so as Iinally to attain ultimate
happiness. He writes:
The Supreme Good oI the City oI God, then, is eternal and perIect peace.
This is not the peace which mortal men pass through on their journey
Irom birth to death. Rather, it is that peace in which they rest in
immortality and suIIer adversity no more. Who can deny, thereIore, that
this is the supremely blessed liIe, or that the liIe which we now lead, no
matter how Iilled with goods oI soul and body and external circumstance,
is most miserable in comparison? Nonetheless, iI any man uses this liIe
in such a way that he directs it towards that end which he so ardently
loves and Ior which he so IaithIully hopes, he may without absurdity be
called happy even now, though rather by Iuture hope than in present
reality. Present reality without that hope, however, is a Ialse happiness
and a great misery, since, in that case, the true goods oI the soul are
not enjoyed. For no wisdom is true wisdom iI it does not direct all its
prudence, Iortitude, temperance, and justice towards that Iinal state
where God shall be all in all in an assured eternity and perIect peace.
422


III. The Cosmos oI Farabi.
Farabi begins his discussion oI the Virtuous City with the One and the
creation oI the cosmos. He draws on Plotinus' philosophy oI emanation to
describe how the universe was created and, again Iollowing Plotinus, he explains
that this natural order is essentially how all being comes into being. It is in his
discussion oI the cosmos that Farabi establishes a rational hierarchy both within
the intelligible world and the material world.
423
Farabi's intelligible world ends

422
Augustine, City, BI. XIX ch. 20.
423
In his Siya sah, Fa rabi divides the universe into six beings. The Iirst three beings are not bodies
nor are they in bodies: these beings are the Iirst cause, the second causes, and the Active
Intellect. AIter these, the three beings that are not bodies but are in bodies are soul, Iorm, and
matter. In Selected Aphorisms, Farabi states that 'there are three worlds: spiritual, celestial,
and material.¨ Farabi, Siyasah, 31-32; tr. Druart, 31-32. Fa ra bi , Fus ul Muntaza (Selected
147
with the Active Intellect. It is obvious that the material world imitates the
heavens; even so, the world below the moon is portrayed not as a continuation oI
the emanation process, but as an ascent. Farabi places the lowest existences,
those oI least value, Iirst and then describes the upward ladder where animals
with rational thought are last, i.e., at the top oI the hierarchy. He states that this
natural ranIing oI the intelligible world can be seen within the human soul and
body.
In order to demonstrate that the natural ranIing oI the intelligible world
can be seen in both the human soul and the body, Farabi scrutinizes the human
soul and the healthy human body, and on this basis, depicts how the Virtuous
City should be organized.
424
Beginning with the Iive Iaculties oI the soul, Farabi

Aphorisms), edited, with an introduction and notes, by Fauzi M. Najja r, 78; Fa ra bi , 'Selected
Aphorisms¨ in AlIarabi The Political Writings: Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts, edited and
translated with an introduction by Charles E. Butterworth (Ithaca: New YorI, 2001), 78.
424
This examination is typically viewed as what constitutes the earthly elements oI Farabi`s
Virtuous City. Fa rabi begins this discussion with the Iollowing statements:
In order to preserve himselI and to attain his highest perIections every human being
is by his very nature in need oI many things which he cannot provide all by himselI; he
is indeed in need oI people who each supply him with some particular need oI his.
Everybody Iinds himselI in the same relation to everybody in this respect. ThereIore
man cannot attain the perIection, Ior the saIe oI which his inborn nature has been given
to him, unless many (societies oI) people who co-operate come together who each
supply everybody else with some particular need oI his, so that as a result oI the
contribution oI the whole community all the things are brought together which
everybody needs in order to preserve himselI and attain perIection. ThereIore human
individuals have come to exist in great numbers, and have settled in the inhabitable
(inhabited?) region oI the earth, so that human societies have come to exist in it, some
oI which are perIect, others imperIect.
There are three Iinds oI perIect society, great, medium, and small. The great one is
the union oI all the societies in the inhabitable world; the medium one the union oI one
nation in one part oI the inhabitable world; the small one the union oI the people oI a
city in the territory oI any nation whatsoever. ImperIect are the union oI people in a
village, the union oI people in a quarter, then the union in a street, eventually the union
in a house, the house being the smallest union oI all. Quarter and village exist both Ior
the saIe oI the city, but the relation oI the village to the city is one oI service whereas
the quarter is related to the city as a part oI it; the street is a part oI the quarter, the
house a part oI the street. The city is a part oI the territory oI a nation, the nation a part
oI all the people in the inhabitable world.
The most excellent good and the utmost perIection is, in the Iirst instance, attained
148
describes each oI them in an ascending order; he demonstrates that each has a
speciIic association both with the physical body and with higher thought. The
Iirst Iaculty oI the soul is the nutritive Iaculty (al-quwwa al-ghadhiya) whose
ruling Iaculty resides in the heart (qalb). Farabi argues that this Iaculty has both
subordinates and auxiliaries and the 'ruling Iaculty among these Iaculties
governs the other Iaculties by nature, whereas the other Iaculties conIorm in
their actions to the natural aim oI their ruler who resides in the heart.¨
425
The
second part oI the soul is the Iaculty oI sense perception (al-quwwa al-h a ssa) and
it is liIened to 'carriers oI news, each oI whom is charged with a particular
genus oI news or with news Irom one province oI the realm.¨
426
The third
Iaculty is the Iaculty oI representation (al-quwwa al-mutaIhayyila), which serves
to connect the lower Iaculties to the higher Iaculties. According to Walzer, both
Farabi and Alexander oI Aphrodisias claim that this Iaculty 'discriminates¨ and
'passes judgment.¨
427
Next, Farabi discusses the appetitive Iaculty (al-quwwa
al-nuzuiyya) which is connected to all parts oI the soul except Ior the nutritive.

in a city, not in a society which is less complete than it. But since good in its real sense
is such as to be attainable through choice and will and evils are also due to will and
choice only, a city may be established to enable its people to co-operate in attaining
some aims that are evil. Hence Ielicity is not attainable in every city. The city, then, in
which people aim through association at co-operating Ior the things by which Ielicity in
its real and true sense can be attained, is the excellent city, and the society in which
there is a co-operation to acquire Ielicity is the excellent society; and the nation in
which all oI its cities co-operate Ior those things through which Ielicity is attained is the
excellent nation. In the same way, the excellent universal state will arise only when all
the nations in it co-operate Ior the purpose oI reaching Ielicity.
Farabi, Madi nah, 15.1-3; tr. Walzer, 15.1-3.
425
Farabi, Madi nah, 10.2; tr. Walzer, 10.2.
426
Farabi, Madi nah, 10.3; tr. Walzer, 10.3.
427
Walzer, Virtuous City, 389-390.
149
Finally, the highest Iaculty is the rational Iaculty (al-quwwa al-natiqa); its rule
extends over all others.
428

Farabi`s Iive Iaculties oI the soul correspond to the Iive classes oI citizens
in his perIect state
429
and these too are given in ascending order.
430
The IiIth
ranI consists oI 'those people who are mainly concerned with material gain,¨
this group represents the economic element oI the community.
431
The Iourth
includes 'soldiers.¨ The third ranI comprises 'people who practice mathematics
and its applications.¨
432
The second ranI consists oI 'persons whose activities
are conIined to particular nations, languages, and religions,¨ (orators and poets
are included in the second ranI) and Iinally, philosophers are within the Iirst
ranI.
433

Farabi then discusses the healthy human body, this time in a descending
order.
434
The ruling Iaculty oI the body is the heart and 'the heart comes to be
Iirst and becomes then the cause oI the other organs.¨
435
From the heart, the
brain (dimag) comes into being, which both rules and is ruled. Farabi liIens the
brain to a household steward because a steward is the master`s representative.
436


428
Farabi, Madi nah, 10.4-10.5; tr. Walzer, 10.4-10.5.
429
This correlation is most liIely a Platonic inIluence, since Plato ascertained three parts oI the
soul and three classes in his Republic.
430
In his Fusul, Fa ra bi categorizes the Iive ranIs oI society in a descending order: the 'virtuous,¨
the 'linguists,¨ the 'assessors,¨ the 'warriors,¨ and the 'moneymaIers.¨ Fa rabi , Fus u l, 65-66; tr.
Butterworth, 65-66.
431
Walzer claims that this class includes the 'Iarmers, animal breeders, traders, and others oI
this Iind`.¨ Walzer, Virtuous City, 437.
432
This ranI includes 'arithmeticians,¨ 'accountants,¨ 'geometers,¨ 'physicians,¨ and
'astronomers.¨ Ibid.
433
Walzer notes that the Iirst and second ranIs are understandable considering Fa ra bi `s
presentation oI philosophy and religion. Walzer, Virtuous City, 437.
434
For another example oI the analogy between the human body and city see Fa rabi , Fus u l, 41-
42; tr. Butterworth, 41-42.
435
Farabi, Madi nah, 11.1; tr. Walzer, 11.1.
436
Farabi, Madi nah, 11.1; tr. Walzer, 11.1.
150
This progression continues until it reaches the organs, which are ruled only.
437

The ruler is equated with the heart because it rules only and 'the ruler oI this
city must come to be in the Iirst instance, and will subsequently be the cause oI
the rise oI the city;¨ the ruler is associated with the rational Iaculty oI the soul
because all oI the subordinates perIorm what the ruler desires.
438
From this ruler
comes the next level, which both rules and is ruled. This process continues until
the lowest echelons that are ruled only are reached.
439
Farabi insists that the
ranIs Iound in the city are due to nature.
440
The underlying premise is that the
ruler oI the Virtuous City, the rational Iaculty oI the soul, and the heart are
equated with the role oI The First |One and Mind| and so every inIerior level oI
being is worIing Ior what The First, the rational Iaculty oI the soul, the heart,
and the ruler wish. In Siya sah, Fa ra bi argues:
The city becomes similar to the natural beings; the ranIs oI order in it
similar to the ranIs oI order oI the beings, which begin with the First and
terminate in prime matter and the elements; and the way they are linIed
and Iitted together will be similar to the way the beings are linIed and
Iitted together. The prince oI the city will be liIe the First Cause, which
is the cause Ior the existence oI all the other beings. Then the ranIs oI
order oI the beings gradually Ieep descending, each one oI them being
both ruler and ruled, until they reach down to those possible things--that
is, prime matter and the elements--that possess no ruling element
whatever, but are subservient and always exist Ior the saIe oI
others.
441


Farabi, liIe Plotinus and Augustine, establishes a rational hierarchy in the
intelligible world. As in Plotinus` World Soul and Augustine`s City oI God, a

437
Farabi, Madi nah, 11.1-11.8; tr. Walzer, 11.1-11.8. See also Fa rabi , Madi nah, 15.4; tr. Walzer,
15.4.
438
Farabi, Madi nah, 15. 5; tr. Walzer, 15.5.
439
Farabi, Madi nah, 15. 4; tr. Walzer, 15. 4
440
Farabi, Madi nah, 15. 4; tr. Walzer, 15. 4
441
Farabi, Siya sah, 84-84.10; partial tr. Najja r, 54; tr. Druart, 84-84.10.
151
similar hierarchy exists within the Virtuous City. The structure oI the Virtuous
City imitates the intelligible world. The inhabitants oI the Virtuous City live as
The One intends. But who should be the ruler oI this city?
IV. The Ruler oI Farabi`s Virtuous City.
Farabi, as well as Plato and Aristotle, deems that a speciIic type oI ruler
is needed Ior a Virtuous City; but he diIIers Irom his predecessors in his view oI
how the ruler should be chosen. Plato writes that a 'philosopher Iing¨ should
govern the city because he has ascended to this position. 'Then the philosopher,
by consorting with what is ordered and divine and despite all the slanders around
that say otherwise, himselI becomes as divine and ordered as a human being
can.¨
442
Similarly, Aristotle writes, 'The best men are maniIestly those who are
the most virtuous . . . the education that maIes a man virtuous will be the same
education that maIes him aristocratic or Iingly.¨
443
Both Plato and Aristotle
argue that the ruler becomes the ruler by imitating the divine as well as through
proper education. Although Farabi obviously agrees with his predecessors, his
ruler becomes the ruler in a more certain way. While Farabi's ruler too has to be
properly educated, he is also predisposed to be ruler.
444
Farabi claims, 'The ruler
oI the excellent city cannot just be any man, because rulership requires two
conditions: (a) he should be predisposed Ior it by his inborn nature, (b) he should
have acquired the attitude and habit oI will Ior rulership which will develop in a

442
Plato, 'The Republic,¨ BI. 6 500 c-d.
443
Peter L. Phillips Simpson, A Philosophical Commentary on the Politics oI Aristotle (Chapel
Hill: University oI North Carolina Press, 1998), 193. See Aristotle, Politics BI. III.18,
translated by B. Jowett in The Complete WorIs oI Aristotle.
444
Walzer, Virtuous City, 475.
152
man whose nature is predisposed Ior it.¨
445
Farabi then presents the twelve
characteristics that the Iounder/ruler oI the Virtuous City must possess. Next, he
discusses the six qualities that his successor must have and, iI these qualities
cannot be Iound in one man, he explains how they should be divided between
two men.
446
Crone argues that Farabi`s supreme ruler is similar to the ideas
Iound in the writings concerning the Hellenistic Iingships. She writes:
The Hellenistic Iing, attested in divine Iorms and varying shades oI
humanity and divinity, was a supremely virtuous man endowed with a
Iullness oI power over all things spiritual and material. As Eusebius cast
him, he was the image oI the supreme God, a copy oI divine perIection,
the representative (hyparchos) oI God on earth, a bearer oI divine light
and carrier oI the divine name (oI Iing), a replica oI the logos, a
philosopher and an interpreter oI God`s word whose earthly court was an
image oI the divine realm and whose tasI it was to lead men bacI to
Inowledge oI God. Only the distinction oI being living law (nomos
empsychos) was denied him. Eusebius`s picture oI Constantine
contributed substantially to the view oI the emperor in Byzantium, where

445
Farabi, Madi nah, 15.7; tr. Walzer, 15.7. For the Platonic and Aristotelian connection, see
Hans Daiber, The Ruler as Philosopher, 5-8.
446
Walzer notes that the inborn qualities oI this ruler derive clearly Irom Plato`s Republic, but
Fa rabi `s qualities are slightly diIIerent. See Walzer, Virtuous City, 445. See Plato`s Republic
BI. VI. The twelve characteristics oI the Iounder oI Fa ra bi `s Virtuous City are as Iollows:
(1) . . . he should have limbs and organs which are Iree Irom deIiciency and strong . . ..
(2) He should by nature be good at understanding and perceiving everything said to him
. . .. (3) He should be good at retaining what he comes to Inow and see and hear and
apprehend in general, and Iorget almost nothing. (4) He should be well provided with
ready intelligence and very bright. . .. (5) He should have a Iine diction . . .. (6) He
should be Iond oI learning and acquiring Inowledge. . . . (7) He should be by nature
Iond oI truth. . . and hate Ialsehood. . .. (8) He should by nature not crave Ior Iood and
drinI and sexual intercourse. . .. (9) He should be proud oI spirit and Iond oI honor. . ..
(10) Dirham and di na r and the other worldly pursuits should be oI little amount in his
view. (11) He should be nature be Iond oI justice and just people, and hate oppression
and injustice. . .. (12) He should be strong in setting his mind Iirmly upon the thing
which, in his view, ought to be done, and daringly and bravely carry it out without Iear
and weaI-mindedness.
The successor to the Iounder oI the Virtuous City must have the Iollowing characteristics:
(1) He will be a philosopher. (2) He will Inow and remember the laws and customs (and
rules oI conduct) with which the Iirst sovereigns had governed the city . . .. (3) He will
excel in deducing a new law by analogy . . .. (4) He will be good at deliberating and be
powerIul in his deductions. . .. (5) He will be good at guiding the people. . .. (6) He
should be oI tough physique in order to shoulder the tasIs oI war, mastering the serving
as well as the ruling military art.
Farabi, Madi nah, 15.12-15.14; tr. Walzer, 15.12-15.14.
153
he was occasionally cast as living law as well. It was as such a supremely
virtuous emperor oI the Hellenistic type that Plato`s philosopher Iing
came to be understood. There has been revealed in our age that time oI
Ielicity which one oI the writers oI old prophesied as coming to pass
when either philosophers were Iings or Iings were students oI
philosophy.` Agapetus told Justinian; pursuing the study oI philosophy,
you |Justinian| were counted worthy oI Iingship; and holding the oIIice
oI Iing, you did not desert the study oI philosophy.` A man who is a
philosopher Iing and a Iing-philosopher, aIter the manner oI Him whose
copy and image he isotherwise he would not be a true Iing, but would
only bear idly an empty name,` as the dialogue on political science` Irom
Justinian`s time declares. It was on the same reservoir oI Hellenistic
Iingship ideas that al-Farabi drew Ior the naturalization oI philosophy in
the Islamic world..What can be surmised in the present state oI research
is that al-Fa rabi and his successors created their version oI the
philosopher Iing by reading the Hellenistic Iing as they Inew him Irom
their own tradition bacI into Plato and Aristotle.
447


While understanding the various inIluences that Farabi drew Irom in his model oI
the supreme ruler is important, the problem is that the descriptions oI the
Virtuous City and the ideal ruler thus Iar suggest that Ior Farabi, there can be no
happiness until this ever-elusive city is established by this exceedingly idyllic
ruler. Perhaps, at this point it is time to discontinue examining the Virtuous
City as an earthly city and instead, consider the possibility that this city exists in
the intelligible world.
V. Farabi`s Virtuous City as the Plotinian World Soul.
Clearly, the texts that we have examined thus Iar do not suIIice to
establish that the Virtuous City exists in the intelligible world; thereIore we
shall probe a little Iurther. While there are earthly elements in Farabi`s
description oI the Virtuous City, there are also details that suggest that this city
exists in an unearthly realm. For Farabi tells us in his discussion oI those who

447
Crone, God`s Rule, 193-195.
154
missed the right path, 'ThereIore they thought it right to assume that the natural
existents as observed in this state have another existence diIIerent Irom the
existence observed today |i.e. in our earthly liIe| and that this existence which
they have today is unnatural Ior them, indeed contrary to the existence which is
natural Ior them.¨
448
Furthermore, he writes, 'They thought that only man`s
corporeal existence calls Ior associations in the city.¨
449
This suggests that
Farabi perceives that the associations that man has within the cities oI the
material world are comparable to the associations man will have in the aIterliIe.
In the Arabic Plotinus, it states:
When he sees these sensible things which are in this lowly sensory world,
let him raise his mind to the real upper world, oI which this world is but
an image, and cast his gaze on it; Ior he will surely see all the things he
saw in this world. But he will see them as intellectual, everlasting, Iilled
with virtues and liIe pure and unsullied by any vileness. He will see there
the noble mind ruling and controlling it by an ineIIable wisdom and by
the power which the originator oI both the worlds put into it. He will see
the things there Iilled with light and mind and wisdom, there being no
Irivolity there and no play, because the absolute earnestness there is due
to the light that pours Iorth on them and because each oI them desires to
ascend to the ranI oI his neighbour, and to approach the Iirst light, which
overIlows onto that world. That world encompasses all the everlasting
things which die not, and encompasses all minds and souls. That world is
in eternal rest because it is at the limit oI perIection and beauty, so it
does not need motion in transIerring itselI Irom state to state.
450


In this light, let us examine some elements that suggest that the Virtuous City
may not be an earthly city. We have already observed the parallels that the
Virtuous City has with the intelligible world. Furthermore, in Farabi`s Millah,
there is evidence that he is not discussing an earthly city at all. In this text, he
juxtaposes the Virtuous City with the world and, as it turns out, they are

448
Farabi, Madi nah, 19.1; tr. Walzer, 19.1.
449
Farabi, Madi nah, 19.4; tr. Walzer, 19.4.
450
'Theologia¨ VIII, 112-115 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., V.1: 3,11-4,7; V.1: 4,8-28.
155
connected and yet quite diIIerent. Indeed, his examination oI these two entities
is similar to how one would compare the soul with the body, or the intelligible
world with the material world. Farabi begins with the claim that God is the
governor oI both the Virtuous City and the world. He insists that God`s
governance is somehow diIIerent Ior each oI these entities, but that there is a
'relation between the two Iinds oI governing, and there is a relation between the
parts oI the world and the parts oI the virtuous city or nation.¨
451
Next, he
examines 'the connection, composition, order, and cooperation with respect to
actions,¨ which are Iound in both the Virtuous City and the world. But the
things that are Iound in the parts oI the world 'derive Irom the natural qualities
which they have, |so| necessarily their counterparts in the divisions oI the
virtuous nation should derive Irom the voluntary habits and qualities which it
has.¨
452
Farabi claims,
And just as the governor oI the world put into the parts oI the world
natural qualities by means oI which they were composed, ordered,
connected, and cooperated through their many actions until they became,
despite their manyness and the manyness oI their actions, liIe one thing
which perIorms one action Ior the saIe oI one goal, in the same way the
governor oI the nation |and the city| must place and impress upon the
souls oI the divisions oI the nation and the city voluntary habits and
qualities which will induce in them that composition and connection with
each other and their cooperation in actions until the nation and the
nations despite the numerousness oI their parts and the diIIerence oI their
ranIs and manyness oI their actions become liIe one thing which
perIorms one action by means it achieves one goal.And just as the
governor oI the world has given the world and its parts, in addition to the
constitutions and temperaments which he has Iixed in them, other things
through which the existence oI the world and its divisions are permanent
and remain continuously in accordance with the way that he |originally|
Iormed them naturally Ior very long times, so we ought to say the same

451
Farabi, Millah, 65; tr. Butterworth, 65; tr. Berman, 60a.
452
Farabi, Millah, 65; tr. Butterworth, 65; tr. Berman, 60a.
156
thing with respect to the governor oI the virtuous nation. For he ought
|not| limit himselI to impressing the virtuous qualities and the habits into
souls so that they become composed, connected, and cooperate in
their actions without giving to them other things in addition by means oI
which he seeIs to maIe them |practice| permanently and continually the
virtues and the goods which he has instilled in them Irom the very
beginning.
453


From this, it seems as though the Virtuous City could be considered as
something existing apart Irom the natural or material world. Its counterparts are
intangibledispositions and soulswhen compared to the tangible natural
qualities, constitutions, and temperaments oI the world. Also, it is clear that
both the material world and the Virtuous City are eternal entities. And Iinally,
God is the governor oI the Virtuous City and is responsible Ior creating both the
world and the Virtuous City. So, we have a description oI the Virtuous City that
does not quite give the impression oI a city in the material world. And we also
have a claim that God is the governor and creator oI both the Virtuous City and
the world. Mahdi argues that this particular examination 'explains the
correspondence between the universe and the city and that the Iing needs to
Iollow in God`s Iootsteps in Iounding and preserving the city. ThereIore the
Iounder oI the excellent city must have a comprehensive Inowledge oI
theoretical philosophy so as to understand how God governs the universe and to
be able to imitate Him.¨
454
Nevertheless, in the Arabic Plotinus, we Iind:
We revert, and say that the Iirst essence, which is the Iirst light, is the
light oI lights and an endless light; not Iailing or ceasing to illumine and
shine on the world oI mind, everlastingly. ThereIore the world oI mind
does not Iail or pass away. This world oI mind, being everlasting,
produces its branch to rule over this world. I mean by branch` the

453
Farabi, Millah, 65-66; tr. Butterworth, 65-66; tr. Berman, 60a-60b.
454
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 121.
157
heavenly world and, in particular, the lords oI that world. For iI it did not
accord with that world it would not govern this world. II it abandons the
quest Ior the light which is above it, and occupies itselI in governing this
world, it is not easy Ior it. The Iirst light is the governor oI the
intelligible world, the governor oI the heavenly world is the intelligible
world, and the governor oI the sensible world is the heavenly world, all
these governments being empowered by the Iirst governor, he being the
one who supplies them with the power to rule. The intelligible world is
governed by the Iirst essence, he being the Iirst originator, and the
governor oI the heavenly world is the intelligible world, but the Iirst
originator is oI enormous power, inIinite in beauty, and thereIore the
intelligible world becomes beautiIul in the extreme, shedding as it does
beauty and light Irom the brightness.
455


Perhaps this raises new issues concerning the ruler oI the Virtuous City.
In the discussion oI the ruler oI the Virtuous City we see a particular
connection between such a man and the Active Intellect. Now, we Inow that the
Active Intellect is the last being in the intelligible world. In his Siyasah, Farabi
calls this being the 'FaithIul Spirit¨ (al-ruh al-amin or al-ruh al-qudus) because
its purpose is to taIe care oI the rational animal and attempt to bring him to
happiness.
456
And he calls its ranI 'the Kingdom¨ because it includes human
beings who have attained ultimate happiness.
457
The ruler oI the Virtuous City,
according to Farabi, 'holds the most perIect ranI oI humanity and has reached
the highest degree oI Ielicity. His soul is united as it were with the Active
Intellect.¨
458
Farabi claims that the ruler 'can only attain this |union with the
Active Intellect| by Iirst acquiring the passive intellect, and then the intellect
called the acquired; Ior .union with the Active Intellect results Irom possessing

455
'Theologia¨ VIII, 182-186 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., V.8, 12, 1-26.
456
Farabi, Siya sah, 32.5-32.10; tr. Druart, 32.5-32.10.
457
Farabi, Siya sah, 32.5-32.10; tr. Druart, 32.5-32.10.
458
Farabi, Madi nah, 15.11; tr. Walzer, 15.11. See also Fara bi, Siya sah, 79.5-79.15; partial tr.
Najja r, 49; tr. Druart, 79.5-79.15.
158
the acquired intellect.¨
459
This ruler Inows how the attainment oI happiness is
achieved and he is capable oI guiding his citizens to Ielicity.
460
Furthermore,
Farabi claims that because the ruler is united with the Active Intellect, he is
essentially receiving revelation (wahy) Irom the First Cause via the Active
Intellect.
461
He declares 'The rule oI this man is the supreme rule; all other

459
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5.
Farabi states,
For man receives revelation only when he attains this ranI, that is, when there is no
longer an intermediary between him and the Active Intellect; Ior the passive intellect is
liIe matter and substratum to the acquired intellect, and the latter is liIe matter and
substratum to the Active Intellect. It is then that the power that enables man to
understand how to deIine things and actions and how to direct them toward happiness,
emanates Irom the Active Intellect to the passive intellect.
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5. See also Davidson Ior
GreeI and Arabic antecedents Ior the terms and the process oI human intellect. Davidson notes
that Plotinus uses the term acquired intellect as 'the intellectual Inowledge that is acquired by
the soul directly Irom the supernal, cosmic intellect.¨ Davidson, AlIarabi, Avicenna, and
Averroes on Intellect, 9-12. See also Plotinus, Enn., V.6.4.
460
Walzer, Virtuous City, 410.
461
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5. Fa ra bi `s Supreme
Ruler receives divine revelation Irom the One via the Active Intellect. But this description is
diIIerent Irom how the prophet receives revelation. Farabi, in his description oI prophecy, states:
It is not impossible, then, that when a man`s Iaculty oI representation reaches its utmost
perIection he will receive in his waIing liIe Irom the Active Intellect present and Iuture
particulars oI their imitations in the Iorm oI sensibles, and receive the imitations oI the
transcendent intelligibles and the other glorious existents and see them. This man will
obtain through the particulars which he receives prophecy` |nubu wah| (supernatural
awareness) oI present and Iuture events, and through the intelligibles which he receives
prophecy oI things divine. This is the highest ranI oI perIection which the Iaculty oI
representation can reach.
Farabi, Madi nah, 14.9; tr. Walzer, 14.9.
Walzer claims that this man is a true visionary. He is a prophet (nabi y). Walzer, Virtuous City,
421.
In Fa rabi `s description oI the supreme ruler, he writes:
There are thus two stages between the Iirst stage oI being a man and the Active
Intellect. When the perIect Passive Intellect and the natural disposition become one
thing in the way the compound oI matter and Iorm is oneand when the Iorm oI the
humanity oI this man is taIen as identical with the Passive Intellect which has become
actually intellect, there will be between this man and the Active Intellect only one stage.
And when the natural disposition is made the matter oI the Passive Intellect which has
become actually intellect, and the Passive Intellect the matter oI the Acquired Intellect,
and the Acquired Intellect the matter oI the Active Intellect, and when all this is taIen
as one and the same thing, then this man is the man on whom the Active Intellect has
descended. When this occurs in both parts oI his rational Iaculty, namely the theoretical
and the practical rational Iaculties, and also in his representative Iaculty, then it is this
man who receives Divine Revelation, and God Almighty grants him Revelation through
the mediation oI the Active Intellect, so that the emanation Irom God Almighty to the
159
human rulerships are inIerior to it and are derived Irom it. Such is his ranI. The
men who are governed by the rule oI this ruler are the virtuous.¨
462
So Farabi`s
supreme ruler does not just hold the highest ranI oI the Virtuous City, he has the
highest ranI oI all humanity. Moreover, to hold that all human rulerships are
inIerior and derive Irom this supreme ruler is to maIe this ruler analogous with
The One, to whom all beings are inIerior and Irom whom all are derived. This
Iind oI association goes Iar beyond the relationship we have previously seen in
which the supreme ruler is guiding his citizens to attain happiness, and by doing
so, doing what The One wishes. It begins to looI instead as iI all other
rulerships originate Irom this supreme rulership.
463
Is the supreme rulership
merely ancestral, an archetype,
464
or is it an existence that emanates, as the One
and the ten separate intelligibles do? II the supreme ruler is a being that
emanates 'all other human rulerships,¨
465
then can we suggest that this ruler
does not necessarily reside in the material world? In his Fus u l, Farabi writes:
When at some time someone exists who is completely disposed by nature

Active Intellect is passed on to his Passive Intellect through the mediation oI the
Acquired Intellect, and then to the Iaculty oI representation. Thus he is, through the
emanation Irom the Active Intellect to his Passive Intellect, a wise man and a
philosopher and an accomplished thinIer who employs an intellect oI divine quality, and
through the emanation Irom the Active Intellect to his Iaculty oI representation a
visionary prophet: who warns oI things to come and tells oI particular things
which exist at present.
Farabi, Madi nah, 15. 9-10; tr. Walzer, 15.9-10.
462
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5.
463
The derivation oI all other human rulerships implies not just the virtuous rulerships, but all
rulerships stem Irom this supreme rulership; so can we suggest that the rulerships Ior even the
non-virtuous cities come Irom this supreme rulership? Nonetheless, this is beyond the scope oI
this paper.
464
Mircea Eliade has warned scholars that it is irresponsible to use this term in the post Jungian
era without properly deIining it. It is not being used here in the Jungian sense, i.e., 'archetypes
are structures oI the collective unconscious¨; instead I am simply using it to signiIy an original
model. See Mircea Eliade, The Myth oI the Eternal Return or Cosmos and History translated by
Willard R. TrasI (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), xiv.
465
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5.
160
Ior all oI the virtues and they are then established in him by custom, this
human being surpasses in virtue the virtues Iound among most people to
the point that he almost goes beyond the human virtues to a higher class
oI humanity. The Ancients used to call this human being divine.he is oI
a higher ranI according to them than being a statesman who serves one oI
the cities. Rather he governs all cities and is the Iing in truth.
466


Now, it has been proposed that it is Irom the supreme rulership that all
rulerships originate and it is the supreme ruler who governs the virtuous citizens.
It is this supreme ruler who must establish the Virtuous City. Farabi states,
'The ruler oI this city must come to be in the Iirst instance, and will
subsequently be the cause oI the rise oI the city.¨
467
Once established, it is also
this supreme ruler 'who assigns to groups and to every individual in each group
the ranI they deserve, i.e., either a ranI oI service or one oI rulership. So there
are ranIs close to his own, ranIs slightly Iar Irom it, and others very Iar Irom
it.¨
468
Walzer observes that once this city is Iounded, it 'appears to be static and
no longer developing; people always belong to the same ranI,` one generation
Iollowing the other in succession; it does not looI as iI any change` is
contemplated or considered possible. The same diIIerences appear to exist in the
upper world: the souls join other souls, released beIore, which are similar to
them both in ranI and in individual qualities.¨
469

There is a similar orderliness Iound in the Madinah. In his chapter
concerning the aIterliIe, Farabi states that 'the Iings oI the excellent cities
which succeed each other at diIIerent times are all oI them liIe one single soul
and are as it were one single Iing who remains the same all the time. When it

466
Farabi, Fus ul, 33; tr. Butterworth, 33.
467
Farabi, Madi nah, 15.5; tr. Walzer, 15.5.
468
Farabi, Siya sah, 83.10-84; partial tr. Najja r, 53; tr. Druart, 83.10-84.
469
Walzer, Virtuous City, 464.
161
happens that a number oI such Iings exist at the same time either in one city or
many cities, they are all oI them in the same way liIe one single Iing and their
souls liIe one single soul¨
470
Moreover, in his Siya sah, Farabi, though not
discussing the aIterliIe, maIes a similar claim. Farabi states:
II at any one time a group oI these princes happens to reside in a single
city, in a single nation, or in many nations, then this group is as it were a
single prince because they agree in their endeavors, purposes, opinions,
and ways oI liIe. II they Iollow one another in time, their souls will Iorm
as it were a single soul, the one who succeeds will be Iollowing the way
oI liIe oI his predecessors, and the living will be Iollowing in the way oI
the ones who have died.
471


This association is also Iound in each oI the classes oI the Virtuous City. Farabi
states, 'Equally when the people oI each class oI such a city succeed each other
at diIIerent times they are all oI them liIe one single soul which remains the
same at all times.¨
472
Furthermore, he states, 'In the same way, when a (greater)
number oI people oI one class exists at the same time, either in one city or in
many excellent cities, their souls are liIe one soul, whether that class is a ruling
class or a subordinate class.¨
473
In examining this association, Walzer correctly
states:
To say: all Iings are liIe one Iing, all the individuals oI a particular class
are liIe one individual, is similar to saying that the species man` is
eternal while single human beings are born and die. This has become a
Iind oI commonplace, which can be applied in various ways; cI. Ior

470
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.1; tr. Walzer, 16.1.
471
Al-Fa ra bi , Siyasah, 80.10-81; partial translation oI the second part by Najja r, 50; tr. Druart,
80.10-81.
472
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.1; tr. Walzer, 16.1. Walzer notes Henry Corbin`s claim that 'all oI the
twelve Imams oI the Twelver-Shia are said to be one and the same light, one and the same
essence, but exempliIied in twelve diIIerent persons.¨ While this explains the rulers oI the
Virtuous City, it ignores the Iact that the lower ranIs oI citizens are described in the same way.
Walzer, Virtuous City, 461-462. See Henry Corbin, Histoire de la philosophie islamique, 1: Des
origenes jusqu `+ la mort d` ,-#../*', avec la collaboration de Seyyed Hossein Nasr et Osman
Yahya (Collection Idees, 38), |Paris, 1964| I, 74.
473
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.1; tr. Walzer, 16.1.
162
example Augustine: The whole human race is liIe the liIe oI one single
man Irom Adam up to this century.` The question oI whether all the
souls are one was discussed by Plotinus.¨
474


However, Walzer ignores the reason why 'the whole human race is liIe the liIe
oI one single man¨ or 'all the souls are one.¨ For Plotinus, the World Soul is
where all souls originate, thus they have a common essence, and it is also the
place where souls reside beIore they enter into matter and it is where they will
return. For Augustine, individual human souls stem Irom an existence that he
calls Adam, an entity which may be equated with the Plotinian World Soul; thus,
all individual souls reside in Adam beIore they enter into the material world.
Consequently all souls have a common essence, i.e., Adam. It is important to
examine the possibility that Farabi is Iollowing in this same vein with his
concept oI the Virtuous City.
With this in mind, let us reexamine Walzer`s statement. According to
him, 'To say: all Iings are liIe one Iing, all the individuals oI a particular class
are liIe one individual, is similar to saying that the species man` is eternal while
single human beings are born and die.¨
475
Farabi explains how a species remains
eternal. In Madinah, he maintains:
It is not possible that one and the same thing should last perpetually as
one in number, but its eternal (perpetual) permanence is established in its
being one in species. In order that a thing remain one in species, the
individuals oI that species must at one time exist and last; then they must
perish and other individuals oI that species must taIe their place and last
Ior some time; then they perish, and the place oI the individuals which
perish is, again, taIen by other individuals oI that species. And that
happens perpetually in this way.
476


474
Walzer, Virtuous City, 461-462.
475
Walzer, Virtuous City, 461-462.
476
Farabi, Madi nah, 9.2; tr. Walzer, 9.2. Furthermore, Fa rabi states:
For the preservation oI that which lasts as one in species, there must be other
163
Still, Farabi is not discussing all men; rather, he seems to be exclusively
concerned with the virtuous citizens. It is only the Iings oI the excellent cities
that are liIe one single soul and it is only the virtuous citizens oI each class that
are liIe one single soul. In Siya sah, he states:
As one group oI them passes away, and their bodies are destroyed, their
souls have achieved salvation and happiness, and they are succeeded by
other men who assume their positions in the city and perIorm their
actions, the souls oI the latter will also achieve salvation. As their bodies
are destroyed, they join the ranI oI the Iormer group that had passed
away, they will be together with them in the way that incorporeal things
are together, and the Iindred souls within each group will be in a state oI
union with one another.
477


Also, in Madinah, he claims:
When one generation passes away, their bodies cease to exist and their
souls are released and become happy and when other people succeed them
in their ranIs, these people taIe their place and perIorm their actions.
When this generation passes away as well and is released |Irom matter|,
they occupy in their turn the same ranIs oI Ielicity as those who passed
away beIore, and each joins those who resemble him in species, quantity,
and quality.
478


From this it appears that only the Iings and the citizens oI the Virtuous City can

be considered as belonging to an eternal species.

II only the virtuous ruler and virtuous citizens constitute a species that

exists eternally, we must also examine the non-virtuous rulers and non-virtuous

individuals to taIe the place oI that which perishes: they arise and taIe the place oI
those which have perished. This can happen in two ways: either the Iirst individuals
exist together with other more recent onesso that, when those Iirst perish, these
others taIe their place and thus at every moment in time an individual oI that species
exists, either in this place or in some other place; or the individual which taIes the place
oI the Iirst arises some time aIter the destruction oI the Iirstso that there is an interval
in which no individual oI that species is in existence.
Farabi, Madi nah, 9.5; tr. Walzer, 9.5.
477
Farabi, Siya sah, 82.5-82.10; partial tr. Najja r, 52; tr. Druart, 82.5-82.10.
478
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.4; tr. Walzer, 16.4. As noted in chapter two, species essentially
represents the arts oI the world or one`s proIession. The quantity represents the Inowledge that
one has oI their art or proIession and the quality is based upon the proIiciency that one exudes in
his particular art or proIession.
164
citizens. We need only to looI at the aIterliIe oI these non-virtuous rulers and

non-virtuous citizens to prove that they are not an eternal species. In Madinah,

Farabi discusses what happens when the souls oI the citizens oI the Virtuous

City and oI non-virtuous cities separate Irom matter. The virtuous rulers and

virtuous citizens attain ultimate happiness and so attain an eternal aIterliIe,

which can only be described as Ielicitous. Moreover, as the number oI virtuous

souls increases, so does the enjoyment oI each soul; happiness escalates with

each generation. In contrast to the virtuous rulers and virtuous citizens, Farabi

examines the 'wicIed¨ rulers and 'wicIed¨ citizens. Now, because the wicIed

rulers and citizens held the right views (i.e., the views oI the virtuous), their

souls are released Irom matter, but since they have produced bad dispositions in

their souls through their bad actions, they will not attain happiness.
479
Farabi

claims that when the rational part oI the soul becomes 'completely isolated Irom

the senses, it Ieels or becomes aware oI the distress produced by these

dispositions, so that it remains in great distress through all eternity.¨
480
And just

as the virtuous citizens` happiness increases with each generation, the misery oI

the wicIed citizens will also increase as others join them.
481
In a similar Iashion,

Farabi discusses the ruler and citizens oI the 'cities that went astray.¨
482
In this

case, it is only the ruler who suIIers eternal misery since he Inew the truth and

purposeIully misled his citizens. Thus, Fa rabi considers the ruler who led his

citizens astray to be a citizen oI the wicIed cities and the citizens under the rule


479
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.8; tr. Walzer, 16.8.
480
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.8; tr. Walzer, 16.8.
481
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.8; tr. Walzer, 16.8.
482
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.9; tr. Walzer, 16.9.
165
oI this man will perish liIe 'the people oI the ignorant city.¨
483
He Iurther

examines the rulers and citizens that 'deliberately changed¨
484
the views oI the

virtuous and once again Farabi suggests that only the man who is responsible Ior

the change will Inow everlasting wretchedness, since he deems this man to be a

citizen oI the wicIed cities. Again, it appears that the citizens oI this city will

perish liIe 'the people oI the ignorant city.¨
485
Contrarily, in his discussion oI

the souls oI the people oI the ignorant cities, Farabi states:

The souls oI the people oI the ignorant cities remain in a state oI
imperIection and necessarily require matter Ior their preservation, since
no trace oI truth whatsoever except the Iirst intelligibles has been
imprinted on them. Once the material substratum to which they owed
their preservation perishes, those Iaculties oI theirs, which needed that
what has perished Ior their preservation, perishes as well. But the Iorm oI
that body remains whose preservation was due to those Iaculties oI the
soul which perished, which naturally depend Ior their preservation on that
which has perished, and those Iaculties remain whose subsistence
depends on that which survives. Once this too perishes and dissolves
into something else, the thing which has remained |in the Iirst instance|
becomes a Iorm Ior that thing into which the remaining matter has
dissolved. Whenever it aIterwards happens that that is also dissolved
into something else the thing which has remained becomes a Iind oI Iorm
Ior that into which it has dissolved. Eventually it dissolves into the
elements. The last remaining thing becomes the Iorm oI the elements.
AIter that things proceed diIIerently: various existents arise out oI those
parts oI the elements into which they have dissolved. When the mixture
oI those parts happens to be such as to bring Iorth a human being, it
becomes again a Iorm Ior a human being; but when it happens that the
mixture is such as to produce another species oI animal or non-animal, it
becomes again a Iorm Ior that being. These are the men who perish and
proceed to nothingness, in the same way as cattle, beasts oI prey and
vipers.
486


483
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.9; tr. Walzer, 16.9.
484
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.10; tr. Walzer, 16.10.
485
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.10; tr. Walzer, 16.10.
486
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.7; tr. Walzer, 16.7. Walzer comments on this gradual deterioration and
how 'the reverse process oI becoming begins.¨ He claims:
The elements are mixed again and new men, animals, plants and minerals are generated,
in the same way as has been described beIore (chapter 9). It is slightly odd to be told
that new human beings should be produced in this unusual manner; it not only
166
So, we see that the virtuous citizens are an eternal species. And the wicIed
citizens, who were once virtuous citizens, can also be considered an eternal
species, albeit eternally miserable. It is only the people oI the ignorant cities
who appear to disintegrate into nothingness, and consequently, are not an eternal
species.
How do we explain that some souls are eternal and others perish? In his
discussion oI the wicIed rulers and citizens Farabi asserts that either they all
Inew the truth and acted wrongly, or they were led astray by one who Inew the
truth, or they did not Inow the truth because someone deliberately distorted it.
Thus, it is only the persons who Inow the truth, and are thereIore virtuous
citizens (or were at least once considered to be virtuous citizens), that are
considered to be eternal species. In Iact, Farabi deems that having this 'truth¨ or
this Inowledge is a prerequisite Ior the soul to be released Irom matter. He
states, 'The dispositions oI the soul which the people oI the wicIed city have
acquired through holding the right views release their souls Irom matter.¨
487
In
his Siyasah, Farabi claims that these citizens 'once believed in, and cognized,
the principles |oI beings|; imagined and believed in, the actions by which to

contradicts the normal process oI liIewhich has been described at some length in
Chapter 12 (man produces man`) , but it is scarcely compatible with al-Fara bi `s
conviction that the world and the human species are eternal.
Walzer suggests that this is a contradiction Iound within the Peripatetic tradition, thus claiming
that Fa ra bi is not responsible Ior introducing such an inconsistency. Walzer, Virtuous City, 467.
487
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.8; tr. Walzer, 16.8. In his discussion oI the cities not aiming toward
happiness, Fa ra bi claims that 'the souls oI such individuals remain chained to matter and do not
reach that perIection by which they can separate Irom matter, so that when the matter ceases to
exist they too will cease to exist.¨ Farabi, Siya sah, 83.5-83.10; partial tr. Najjar, 53; tr. Druart,
83.5-83.10. Colmo maintains that Ior Fa ra bi , 'we acquire immortality through good actions.¨
But, it seems, that we cannot reach immortality without having the correct Inowledge or views.
See Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 119.
167
attain happiness.¨
488
Thus it would appear that the wicIed rulers and their
citizens were indeed at one stage virtuous citizens; thus they were, at one point,
part oI the Virtuous City. Can we say the same about the rulers and the people
oI the ignorant cities? Their souls are not released Irom matter, and so they
perish into nothingness. The ignorant souls still had the Iirst intelligibles
provided by the Active Intellect, but did not use them to attain the truth or the
right views. Hence, we can reasonably claim that the people oI the ignorant
cities were never virtuous citizens and thereIore are not eternal.
Does this mean that the people oI the ignorant cities were never a part oI
the Virtuous City? II we examine Farabi`s Siya sah, it appears that the people oI
the ignorant cities are actually the weeds (nawa bit) or the 'opposition¨ oI the
Virtuous City.
489
Ilai Alon claims:
OI the Iourteen groups oI the Nawabit, three major parties and one sub-
group share explicitly the goals oI the ignorant. These groups are the
Mutaqannisun (who are aIter honour |Iarama|, rule |ri`a sa|, or wealth
|yasar| the MuharriIa the group which I have labeled as (( those oI
ignorant goals)) |whose emphasis is laid on power (galaba) | and the
((distressed)) who are basically aIter honour or wealth.
490


Alon categorizes Farabi`s Nawabit, or 'weeds,¨ into six major parties and eight
subgroups and argues that they were all a part oI the Virtuous City.
491
Alon
states that they are citizens oI the excellent city; however, Farabi never actually
calls them citizens.
492
In his Siyasah, he claims, 'These then, are the classes oI

488
Farabi, Siya sah, 103.10-103.15; partial tr. Najja r, 73; tr. Druart, 103.10-103.15.
489
Ilai Alon, 'Fa ra bi `s Funny Flora Al-Nawa bit as ((Opposition))¨ in Arabica no. 37, 1990, 56.
490
Ibid.,¨66. Alon concludes 'that the goals oI the Ignorant Cities beyond the borders oI the
excellent ones are the same as those oI the Nawa bit within them.¨ Ibid.
491
Ibid., 56-57.
492
Ibid., 66. FaIhry claims that Farabi does not view the 'weeds¨ as citizens. They 'will never
constitute a city or even a signiIicant community, but will always be a peripheral Iringe oI the
168
Weeds growing among the citizens oI the city. With such opinions, they
constitute neither a city nor a large multitude; rather they are submerged by the
citizen body as a whole.¨
493
Also, as we shall see in the next chapter, Fa ra bi
stresses that in order to be a virtuous citizen one must have certain Inowledge,
but the 'weeds¨ that can be considered ignorant do not appear to have attained
this Inowledge. While the people oI the ignorant cities do not appear to be
citizens oI the Virtuous City, they do appear to have initially been a part oI the
city.
ThereIore, the virtuous, the wicIed, and the ignorant were all once
components oI the Virtuous City. So, we could claim that the Virtuous City is
the origin, or genus, oI the species man; Ior this reason, we could posit that
Farabi, liIe Plotinus and Augustine, sees that all souls are one. LiIe Plotinus`
World Soul and Augustine`s Christianized World Soul, Adam, Farabi`s Virtuous
City is the origin or genus oI all souls, and so, its souls have a common essence,
that oI the Virtuous City. The Virtuous City, again liIe Plotinus` World Soul, is
the place where souls reside beIore descending into matter and it is where all
souls strive to return. In his Fusul, he claims that the 'regime |taIen| without
qualiIication is not a genus Ior the rest oI the sorts oI regimes, but is rather a

city.¨ FaIhry, Al-Fara bi, Founder, 113. See also E.I.J. Rosenthal, 'The Place oI Politics in the
Philosophy oI al-Farabi,¨170.
493
Farabi, Siya sah, 107.15-107.20; partial tr. Najja r, 76; tr. Druart, 107.15-107.20. Michael
Kochin notes that some oI the weeds will eventually become philosophers and those who Iollow
philosophy. In his Madi nah, Fa rabi writes, 'When he rejects all the symbols as Ialse and he has
the strength and giIt to understand the truth, he will be placed into the class oI those who taIe
the philosophers as their authorities. II he is not yet satisIied with that and desires to acquire
philosophical wisdom and has himselI the strength and giIt Ior it, he will be made to Inow it.
Michael S. Kochin, 'Weeds: Cultivating the Imagination in Medieval Arabic Political
Philosophy¨ in Journal oI the History oI Ideas 60.3 (1999), 404; Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 17.4; tr.
Walzer, 17.4.
169
Iind oI ambiguous name Ior many things that are consistent with it while
diIIering in their essences and natures. There is no partnership between the
virtuous regime and the rest oI the sorts oI ignorant regimes.¨
494
On the
contrary, despite Farabi`s assertion, the Virtuous City appears to be the genus to
which the species man belongs whether they are virtuous, wicIed, or ignorant. A
similar pattern is Iound in the Arabic Plotinus wherein it states:
Plato said.. II mind is one and multiple, then soul is one and multiple:
the many and various souls come into being Irom the one soul, just liIe
the many Iorms Irom one genus, amongst them the better and nobler and
the worse and viler. Just so are the many and various souls, although
they come Irom one soul. For some are better than others and some are
worse than others, the reason being that some oI the souls are intellectual
in actuality, while others are intellectual not in actuality, because they
have a weaI mind.
495


II all souls were once a part oI the Virtuous City, it appears to be more
diIIicult than ever to regard this city as an earthly city. But it also maIes it even
harder to claim that Fa ra bi `s Virtuous City is an ideal, liIe Plato`s Republic. It
seems neither to be a paradigm Ior an actual city nor is it that heavenly city oI
which Plato writes, 'You mean that he`ll be willing to taIe part in the politics oI
the city we were Iounding and describing, the one that exists in theory, Ior I
don`t thinI it exists anywhere on earth. But perhaps, I said, there is a model oI it
in heaven, Ior anyone who wants to looI at it and to maIe himselI its citizen on
the strength oI what he sees. It maIes no diIIerence whether it is or ever will be
somewhere, Ior he would taIe part in the practical aIIairs oI that city and no

494
Farabi, Fus ul, 92; tr. Butterworth, 92.
495
'Dicta Sapientis Graeci¨ I. 48-49 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., IV.8: 3,5-26.
170
other.¨
496
II we continue to allow the Virtuous City to be examined as an ideal,
then we must asI: why would Farabi include non-virtuous citizens in his perIect
city? Furthermore, iI we permit the Virtuous City to be examined as an earthly
city, then we should also asI: why would Farabi linI happiness, in this liIe and
in the next, to a temporal city that might never be established or even iI it is
established can be destroyed? II all souls originate in the Virtuous City, then it
cannot be an ideal city or an earthly city: it must be an actual entity that exists
in the intelligible world and which is analogous to the Plotinian World Soul.
II we claim that the Virtuous City is the Plotinian World Soul, and
thereIore the place to which all souls strive to return, then is the description oI
the Virtuous City analogous to the description oI the aIterliIe? Walzer, as noted
above, observed that once the Virtuous City has been Iounded it 'appears to be
static and no longer developing; people always belong to the same ranI,` one
generation Iollowing the other in succession; it does not looI as iI any change`
is contemplated or considered possible. The same diIIerences appear to exist in
the upper world: the souls join other souls, released beIore, which are similar to
them both in ranI and in individual qualities.¨
497
Farabi writes:
When one generation passes away, their bodies cease to exist and their
souls are released and become happy and when other people succeed them
in their ranIs, these people taIe their place and perIorm their actions.
When this generation passes away as well and is released |Irom matter|,
they could occupy in their turn the same ranIs oI Ielicity as those who
passed away beIore, and each joins those who resemble him in species,
quantity and quality. And since they are not bodies their association,
whatever number it were to reach, would never get in each other`s way,
since they are not in space at all, and they do not meet and join

496
Plato, Republic 592-592b.
497
Walzer, Virtuous City, 464.
171
mutually in the same way bodies do. The more similar separate souls
grow in number and join each otherin the way that one intelligible
joins another intelligiblethe more increases the selI-enjoyment oI each
oI them.
498


Are we to presume that the souls who have attained happiness exist in an empty
space oI nothingness, somewhere between the last incorporeal existent and the
material world? Why is Farabi silent about where the immortal souls will
reside? Even Walzer accuses Farabi oI being too abstract in his description oI
where this Paradise is, since he could have chosen any oI the countless
destinations that the ancient philosophers had proposed.
499
Moreover, why does
he not discuss this place Ior the perIected souls in his cosmic diagram? Or has
Farabi in Iact been discussing this place all along, i.e., as the Virtuous City?
Conclusion.

As we have seen, Augustine`s universe is not identical to Plotinus`, but

his City oI God is comparable in both structure and Iunction to the Plotinian

World Soul. The City oI God is both the original homeland Ior the angels

who remained steadIast and the Iuture abode oI those human souls who will

achieve happiness. Farabi`s description oI the universe shows it to be similar to

Plotinus` cosmos. His Virtuous City both looIs and Iunctions liIe the Plotinian

World Soul. In Iact, Plotinus describes the World Soul as a city and both

Augustine`s City oI God and Farabi`s Virtuous City correspond to Plotinus`

description.
500
Augustine`s City oI God, which exists within the realm oI


498
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.4; tr. Walzer, 16.4.
499
Walzer, Virtuous City, 464. Here, Walzer notes only the Stoics, who presumed that the souls
would inhabit the MilIy Way. And Iurther he questions why Fa rabi does not join these souls to
the Active Intellect, but as we have argued perhaps Fa rabi has done so. Ibid.
500
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4.
172
Intellect or within the Plotinian Nous, is the proper place oI all souls and it is the

place where all souls attain eternal rest; thus, the City oI God meets the criteria

Ior ultimate happiness. Does Farabi`s Virtuous City meet the criteria Ior

ultimate happiness? As noted, there are earthly elements in the description oI

the Virtuous City, but there is evidence to support a diIIerent examination oI

this city. We have examined a description that suggests that the Virtuous City

is not an earthly city. Farabi`s supreme ruler has a special connection to the One

via the Active Intellect and this supreme ruler also Iunctions in a similar manner

as the One. Fa ra bi `s supreme ruler has the highest ranI oI humanity and is the

source oI all other human rulerships. Also, Farabi claims that anyone who is

ruled by this supreme ruler is a virtuous citizen. It is this ruler who must

establish the Virtuous City. Farabi`s Virtuous City also appears to be static in

that once Iounded, it remains perIect and unchanging. In Iact, the only changes

discussed are the generations oI souls Iollowing each other in succession. Now,

Farabi has claimed that it is the virtuous citizen who will achieve the ultimate

happiness oI a Ielicitous aIterliIe. But it is only, the souls oI the virtuous

citizens or those who were once virtuous citizens who are even considered to

Iorm an eternal species. Nevertheless, all souls, the virtuous, the wicIed, and the

ignorant, were once a part oI this city: the Virtuous City represents the origin oI

all men. And yet, not all souls will return to the Virtuous City, as not all souls

become virtuous citizens. We must now asI what deIines a virtuous citizen and

Iurther, how does one become a virtuous citizen?


173
Chapter Five
Citizenship
Introduction.
LiIe Plotinus, Farabi and Augustine essentially examine two planes oI
existence. The Iirst level is the intelligible world, which is the proper place Ior
all souls. The second level oI existence is the material world. For Plotinus, the
World Soul is the 'homeland¨ oI all souls and he claims that the souls that have
descended into the material world have a responsibility to return to the
intelligible world.
501
It appears that both Augustine and Farabi have similar
theories. As noted, Augustine`s City oI God exists in the intelligible world; it is
not where souls originate, but it is the place where angels reside and where
happiness is attained. Adam, the Christianized World Soul, is not only the
source Irom which all souls come; as Augustine aIIirms, Adam is also responsible
Ior the origin oI the City oI Man. The City oI Man represents, Ior Augustine, the
earthly cities. I have argued that Farabi`s Virtuous City is also a city that exists
in the intelligible world and, as we shall see, his non-virtuous cities too represent
the cities in the material world. So, iI we are in the material world, i.e., the
earthly cities, how do we get to these cities in the intelligible world and thus
achieve happiness? In other words, how do we become citizens oI Augustine`s
City oI God or Farabi`s Virtuous City?
It is important Iirst to deIine citizenship. Both Augustine and Farabi
have speciIic criteria in their deIinitions oI a citizen. Since they are only
discussing two types oI cities, they are only discussing two types oI citizens.

501
Plotinus, Enn. I.6.8; Rist, Plotinus, 155.
174
The ultimate criterion Ior both is the aim oI the individual. Either the citizen
lives according to God or the One or he lives according to man. Virtuous
citizens and citizens oI the City oI God must have a certain Inowledge and live a
certain way oI liIe. Both Farabi and Augustine insist that in order to do this we
must Inow our ultimate end.
I. Two Levels oI Existence.
We Inow that, Ior Plotinus, there are individual souls that exist both in
the intelligible world and in the material world. O`Daly notes a peculiar instance
oI political analogy in the thought oI Plotinus. Plotinus 'compares harmony in
the individual, when the mind rules the body and the passions, with harmony in
the city, and he talIs oI an intelligible city above` and a city oI the things
below, ordered according to the things above`.¨
502
Nevertheless, the intelligible
world, Ior Plotinus, is a 'homeland.¨
503
Plotinus writes that 'the individual
souls, certainly, have an intelligent desire consisting in the impulse to return to
itselI springing Irom the principle Irom which they came into being, but they
also possess a power directed to the world here below, liIe a light which depends
Irom the sun in the upper world but does not grudge oI its abundance to what
comes aIter it..Souls, then become, one might say, amphibious, compelled to
live by turns the liIe There, and the liIe here: those which are able to be more in
the company oI the Intellect live the liIe There more, but those whose normal
condition is by nature or chance, the opposite, live more the liIe here below.¨
504


502
O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 59. Plotinus, Enn., IV.4.17
503
O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 59. Plotinus, Enn., I.6.8.
504
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4.
175
For when these individual souls exist in the material world, many no longer live
in accordance with the Nous or the One; hence, these souls can become weaI and
isolated and they can even Iorget their true home.
505
Nevertheless, Plotinus
maintains that by contemplating what is above, i.e., the intelligible world, these
individual souls can Iind their way bacI; and so, achieve happiness.
506
Indeed,
according to Plotinus, all men have the potential, and thereIore the
responsibility, to perIect themselves.
507
It should be clear that, Ior Plotinus,
souls exist both in the intelligible world and in the material world; and so,
Plotinus is discussing two levels oI existence.
While the World Soul, Ior Plotinus, is where all souls come Irom and
where they strive to return, the entity that Augustine calls Adam is where all
souls have their origin. Augustine`s City oI God is where the angels who
remained steadIast with God have always resided and it is the place where those
who attain happiness will reach. As we have seen, the City oI God is created by
God and exists in the intelligible world. Now, we Inow that, according to
Augustine, all men descend Irom Adam; consequently, the origin oI the City oI
Man, Ior Augustine, is also Adam. As a result, the cities in the material world
stem Irom Adam. D. J. MacQueen claims that
For Augustine the beginnings oI the civitas, as an organized expression oI
man`s political and social liIe, antedate the earliest records oI secular
history. Nevertheless this institution stems Irom a unity itselI prior to
even the most ancient Iorms oI communal existence. The unity here in
question is actually one oI racial stocI` (genus) or origin; and the
Iellowship to which it has given rise precedes and in a sense transcends
the entire domain oI the social and oI secular politics. Now the source

505
Ibid.
506
Ibid.
507
Rist, Plotinus, 155; Plotinus, Enn., I.6.8
176
and nature oI this Iellowship depend upon the Iact that all men without
exception, and irrespective oI nationality, language, or physical
appearance, are descended Irom Adamthe Iirst representative oI the
human race and its patriarch.
508


Augustine writes:
Now Cain was the Iirst son born to those two parents oI the human race,
and he belonged to the City oI man; the second son, Abel, belonged to the
City oI God. We Iind that, in every case, as the apostle says, that is not
Iirst which is spiritual, but that which is animal; and aIterward that which
is spiritual`. So it is that each man, because he derives his origin Irom a
condemned stocI, it is Iirst necessarily evil and Ileshly, because he comes
Irom Adam; but iI, being reborn, he advances in Christ, he will aIterwards
be good and spiritual. So it is also with the whole human race. When
those two cities began to run their course oI birth and death, the Iirst to
be born was a citizen oI this world, and the second was a pilgrim in this
world, belonging to the City oI God. The latter was predestined by grace
and chosen by grace; by grace he was a pilgrim below, and by grace he
was a citizen above. So Iar as he himselI is concerned, he arises Irom the
same lump which was wholly condemned originally; but God, liIe a
potterand this simile is not impudent, but wisely introduced by the
apostlemade out oI the same lump, one vessel unto honour, and the
other unto dishonour`. But the vessel unto dishonor was made Iirst, and
aIterwards came the vessel unto honour; Ior in every case, as I have said
already, man is Iirst reprobate. But though it is oI necessity that we
begin in this way, we do not oI necessity remain thus; Ior later comes the
noble state towards which we may advance, and in which we may abide
when we have attained it. Hence, though not every bad man will
become good, it is nonetheless true that no one will be good who was not
originally bad. Yet the sooner each man changes Ior the better, the
sooner will he secure Ior himselI the title belonging to his attainment and
hide his Iormer name under the later one. It is written, then, that Cain
Iounded a city, whereas Abel, a pilgrim, did not Iound one. For the City
oI Saints is on high, although it produces citizens here below, in whose
persons it is a pilgrim until the time oI its Iingdom shall come. Then, it
will call together all those citizens as they rise again in their bodies; and
then they will be given the promised Iingdom, where they will reign with
their Prince, the Iing eternal, world without end.
509



508
D.J. MacQueen, 'The Origin and Dynamics oI Society and the State According to St.
Augustine¨ Augustinian Studies vol. 4 (1973), 78-79.
509
Augustine, City, BI. XV ch.1.
177
Thus, the City oI Man, it would seem, stems Irom Adam and this city represents
the cities that exist in the material world. While Augustine is indeed discussing
two levels oI existence he maIes it clear that all men begin their journey toward
happiness in the material world or in the City oI Man. Nonetheless, they do not
have to become citizens oI this City oI Man.
We have also speculated that Farabi`s Virtuous City exists in the
intelligible world, and that it too is an eternal city. Strauss insists:
|Farabi| declares that not only the happiness oI the non-philosophersoI
the citizens as citizens, but the very perIection, and therewith the
happiness oI the philosophers themselves is impossible except in the
virtuous city whose most important part are the philosophers. He calls
the virtuous city emphatically an other city`.. The other city` stands
midway between this world` and the other world,` in so Iar as it is an
earthly city indeed, but a city existing, not actually, but only in
speech.`
510


Yet again, we conIront the question oI whether the Virtuous City is an earthly
city or a city that exists only in speech, i.e., exists only as an ideal, as Iound in
Plato`s Republic.
511
Strauss claims that it must exist in order Ior its citizens to
attain happiness. While Strauss continues the discussion with Farabi`s Plato by
investigating how the Virtuous City could be actualized and by whom, he never
oIIers a deIinitive answer.
512
Even more signiIicantly Strauss argues that, Ior
Farabi, 'philosophy and the perIection oI philosophy and hence happiness do not
requirethis is Farabi`s last word on the subjectthe establishment oI the
perIect political community: they are possible, not only in this world, but even

510
Strauss, 'Farabi's Plato,¨ 379. Fn 52. Strauss is quoting 'Plato Arabus, v.II AlIarabius: De
Platonis philosophia, edd. F. Rosenthal and R. Walzer, London (Warburg Institute) 1943. The
edition is accompanied by a Latin translation and by notes. Strauss provides the Iollowing
citations: 'Farabi, Plato,¨ 25. 19, 12, and 20, 4; 1.3, 11-13; 11.9, 8; 22.16, 2; 14.11, 6; 24.17,7.
511
Plato, Republic 592-592b.
512
Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato¨, 379.
178
in these cities, the imperIect cities.¨
513
Strauss uses this statement to Iurther his
theory that it is only the philosophers who attain happiness, but as we have
already suggested, this is so only because the Virtuous City already exists within
the intelligible world; an earthly image oI this city is not required.
Strauss, while persisting in this vein, does maIe an interesting point
concerning the non-virtuous cities. He emphasizes that Farabi`s imperIect cities
represent 'the world as it actually is and as it will always be.¨
514
Crone, too,
sees the imperIect cities as cities that would be Iamiliar to Farabi. She claims
that 'al-Farabi`s thought on imperIect constitutions tells us much about his
perception oI his own world. The overwhelming impression is oI alienation. He
lived under rulers he disliIed, eclipsed by court philosophers, theologians and
jurists that he despised, outraged by the intense competition Ior wealth and
power around him and even more so by the hypocrisy, the intellectual
manipulation, the selI-serving argumentation and the downright dishonesty with
which it was accompanied.¨
515
In examining the various imperIect regimes,
Crone cites several groups that Farabi could be alluding to such as 'the elite in

513
Ibid., 381. See In 57 where he cites 'Fara bi , Plato,¨ 32; 23;24;25; 30.22; 31;32.22,15. Strauss
is probably reIerring to Fa ra bi `s Siya sah, wherein Farabi claims that philosophers, rhetoricians,
and poets are Iound within the ignorant cities or at least the democratic city. Even so, this
statement shows two ranIs oI the Virtuous City, the philosophers being the Iirst ranI and the
rhetoricians and poets in the second. Furthermore, Fa rabi claims that 'it is also possible to glean
Irom it certain |men who Iorm| parts oI the virtuous city.¨ Fa ra bi , Siya sah, 101-101.5; partial tr.
Najja r, 71; tr. Druart, 101-101.5.
514
Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato,¨ 381.
515
Patricia Crone, 'Al-Fa rabi `s ImperIect Constitutions¨ in M"langes de l`Universit" Saint-
Joseph Volume LVII-2004: The GreeI Strand in Islamic Political Thought, edited by Emma
Gannage, Patricia Crone, Maroun Aouad, Dimitri Gutas, and EcIart SchütrumpI (Beyrouth:
Universite Saint-Joseph, 2004), 217-218.
179
Farabi`s own Baghdad,¨ 'the TurIs,¨ 'the Arabs,¨ etc.
516
II, as we have argued,
Farabi`s Virtuous City is a city that exists in the intelligible world (it is the
genus oI all souls and it is the place oI which all men strive to return in order to
attain ultimate happiness), then we must asI, are the non-virtuous cities cities
that exist in the material world? II we accept Strauss`s claim, then, we, Farabi`s
audience, are living in the material world, i.e., in the non-virtuous cities, and so
our primary goal, it would seem, is to become citizens oI that Virtuous City.
Indeed, Ior Farabi, our journey toward happiness begins in the material world.
Farabi tells us that in order to achieve theoretical and practical perIection and
ultimately attain supreme happiness the soul must be in the body Ior a period oI
time. For Farabi writes:
A group oI people are oI the opinion that the human being who is not
wise becomes wise only by separation oI the soul Irom the body, in that
the body remains without having a souland that is death. II he were
wise beIore that, his wisdom would thereby be increased, completed, and
perIected, or would become more perIect and more virtuous. ThereIore,
they are oI the opinion that death is a perIection and that the soul`s being
united with the body is a constraint. Others are oI the opinion that the
evil human being is evil due only to the soul`s being united with the body
and that he becomes good with its being separated..Others are oI the
opinion that the separation oI the soul Irom the body is not a separation
in place nor a separation in idea, nor is the body destroyed while the soul
survives or the soul destroyed while the body survives without possessing
a soul. Rather, the meaning oI the soul`s being separated is that Ior its
constitution it does not need the body to be its matter, nor in anything
pertaining to its actions does it need to use a tool that is a body or use a
Iaculty in a body. Nor in anything pertaining to its actions does it at all
need to have recourse to an action oI a Iaculty in a body. For as long as it
is in need oI one oI those things, it is not separated. That pertains only to
the soul particularly characteristic oI the human being, namely, the
theoretical intellect. For when it comes to this state, it becomes
separated Irom the body regardless oI whether that body is living in that

516
Ibid., 202-205. Walzer, too, notes historical possibilities Ior Fa ra bi `s imperIect regimes.
Walzer, Virtuous City, 451-471
180
it is nourished and is sense perceptive, or whether the Iaculty by which is
nourished and is sense perceptive has already been abolished. For iI with
respect to anything pertaining to its actions it comes not to need sense
perception or imagination, it will already have come to the aIterliIe.
Then its Iorming a concept oI the essence oI the Iirst principle will be
more perIect, since the intellect will have seized its essence without
needing to Iorm a concept oI it by means oI a relationship or an example.
It does not arrive at this state except by its previous need Ior having
recourse to the bodily Iaculties and their actions Ior perIorming its |own|
actions. This is the aIterliIe in which a human being sees his Lord, not
being deIrauded in his seeing nor disquieted.
517


So, it appears that Farabi deems it necessary to be in the material world in order

to attain both theoretical and practical perIection and consequently achieve

ultimate happiness. Moreover, iI our claim that the Virtuous City exists in the

intelligible world is correct and iI the non-virtuous cities, as Strauss has

proposed, are indeed cities that exist in the material world, then Farabi, too, is

discussing two levels oI existence.

II. Augustine`s DeIinition oI a Citizen.
How, then, do we deIine a citizen? Vernon BourIe claims that, Ior
Augustine, 'Men only have to looI up in order to contemplate the eternal truths.
LiIewise, they only have to glance downward to lose all notion oI what is oI
permanent value.¨
518
Because oI Iree will, the soul is able to direct its gaze and

517
Farabi, Fus ul, 86-87; tr. Butterworth, 87 (italics mine). This rather lengthy quote tells us a
Iew things. II we reexamine Fa ra bi `s claim: 'Since we are mixed up with matter and since
matter is the cause oI our substances being remote Irom the First Substance, the nearer our
substances draw to it, the more exact and the truer will necessarily be our apprehension oI it.
Because the nearer we draw to separating ourselves Irom matter, the more complete will be our
apprehension oI the First Substance. We come nearer to it only by becoming actual |or
actually`| intellect. When we are completely separated Irom matter, our mental apprehension oI
the First will be at its most perIect.¨ In both oI these passages Farabi is talIing about theoretical
perIectiona theoretical perIection that requires a body soul connection. Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 1.11;
tr. Walzer, 1.11.
518
Vernon J. BourIe, 'The City oI God and History¨ in The City oI God: a Collection oI Critical
Essays, 292. Augustine writes: '`O God oI hosts, turn us and show us your Iace, and we shall be
181
BourIe suggests that this causes the soul to choose between two Iinds oI love.
Augustine writes, 'Two cities, then, have been created by two loves: that is, the
earthly by love oI selI extending even to contempt oI God, and the heavenly by
love oI God extending to contempt oI selI.¨
519
MacQueen Iurther notes that, Ior
Augustine, 'to Inow the object oI a people`s love is to Inow that people.¨
520

We Inow that Augustine is discussing two cities, the City oI God and the City
oI Man, and thereIore he is only discussing two types oI citizens. In his De
Civitate Dei, Augustine writes:
I divide the human race into two orders. The one consists oI those who
live according to man, and the other oI those who live according to God.
SpeaIing allegorically, I also call these two orders two Cities: that is,
two societies oI men, one oI which is predestined to reign in eternity with
God, and the other oI which will undergo eternal punishment with the
devil. But this is their end, oI which we are to speaI hereaIter. For the
time being, since enough has been said oI the origins oI these Cities,
whether in the angels, whose number we do not Inow, or in the Iirst two
human beings, it seems to me that I should now undertaIe to relate their
history Irom the time when those Iirst two human beings began to beget
oIIspring down to the time when the begetting oI oIIspring will cease.
For the history oI the two Cities oI which we are speaIing extends
throughout the whole oI this time or age in which the dying pass away
and the newly-born taIe their place.
521


Indeed, Ior Augustine, these citizens are 'Iundamentally marIed by the tendency

oI their wills, toward God or selI.¨
522
So, Ior Augustine, it is quite clear that

saIe` (Ps. 79: 8). For wherever the human soul turns itselI, other than you, it is Iixed in sorrows,
even iI it is Iixed upon beautiIul things external to you and external to itselI, which would
nevertheless be nothing iI they did not have their being Irom you.Let these transient things be
the ground on which my soul praises you (Ps. 145:2), God creator oI all`. But let it not become
stucI in them and glued to them with love through the physical senses. For these things pass
along the path oI things that move towards non-existence. They rend the soul with pestilential
desires; Ior the soul loves to be in them and taIes its repose among the objects oI its love.¨
Augustine, ConI., BI. IV. x.15. See also Plotinus, Enn. IV.8.4.
519
Augustine, City BI. XIV. Ch. 28.
520
MacQueen, 'The Origin and Dynamics oI Society,¨ 92.
521
Augustine, City BI. XV.ch. 1.
522
Richard J. Dougherty, 'Citizen¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 194. See also Hiram
Canton, Saint Augustine`s Critique oI Politics, 438-441; KauIman, Redeeming Politics
182
those citizens whose love is God are citizens oI the City oI God and

those citizens whose love is selI are indeed citizens oI the City oI Man.

In accord with these two aims, citizenship, Ior both the City oI God and

the City oI Man, is seen to be universal Ior Augustine. Dougherty concurs and

adds, 'What distinguishes this conception oI the citizens most notably Irom

classical writers on this topic is precisely the universality oI citizenship in

Augustine`s view, in contrast to the ancient view which intimately connected

the citizen and the particular political order.¨
523
In his examination oI the cities
oI man, O`Daly insists that, Ior Augustine, 'states are judged by their
approximation to, or derivation Irom, the ideal embodied in the concept oI the
City oI God.¨
524
Fortin agrees, claiming that, Ior Augustine, the various cities oI
man, whether they are democracies, monarchies, aristocracies, or a combination
oI these types oI government, are organized in such a way as to be beneIicial Ior
only a minority oI the citizens, or leaders, oI the city and are not advantageous
Ior all citizens.
525
Augustine is not claiming that they are all evil, but that they
are substandard in comparison with the City oI God. Fortin claims, 'Augustine
had no interest in demonstrating that the cities and nations oI the earth were true
populi. His basic purpose is rather to show that they did not have everything
that a populus could and should have. They were deIicient precisely as regards
justice; and without justice no city can rightIully claim the title oI populus or res

(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 133; O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 154-159;
MacQueen, 'The Origin and Dynamics oI Society,¨ 79.
523
Richard J. Dougherty, 'Citizen¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 194. See also Peter Burnell,
'The Problem oI Service to Unjust Regimes in Augustine`s City oI God,¨ in The City oI God: a
Collection oI Critical Essays, 38.
524
O`Daly, Augustine`s City oI God, 210.
525
Fortin, 'Augustine and the Problem oI Human Goodness,¨ 26.
183
publica.¨
526
While Augustine oIIers copious discourses on the cities oI man, we
shall examine just one example Iound in his De Civitate Dei, Augustine writes:
I shall demonstrate that, according to the deIinitions proposed by Scipio
in Cicero`s booI De republica, there never was a Roman commonwealth.
I shall do this as brieIly and as clearly as I can. Scipio brieIly deIines a
commonwealth as the property oI a people`. II this is a true deIinition,
however, there never was a Roman commonwealth, Ior the Roman state
was never the property oI a people` which the deIinition requires a
commonwealth to be. Scipio deIined a people` as a multitude united in
Iellowship by common agreement as to what is right and by a community
oI interest`. In the course oI the discussion, he explains what he means
by common agreement as to what is right`, showing that a
commonwealth cannot be maintained without justice. Where, thereIore,
there is no true justice there can be no right. For that which is done
according to right is inevitably a just act, whereas nothing that is done
unjustly can be done according to right. But the unjust institutions oI
men are neither to be called right nor supposed to be such; Ior even men
themselves say that right` |ius| is that which Ilows Irom the Iount oI
justice |iustitia|. As Ior the deIinition oI justice commonly oIIered by
certain persons who do not understand the matter rightly, that it is the
interest oI the stronger`: this is Ialse. Where there is no true justice,
then, there can be no association oI men united in Iellowship by common
agreement as to what is right`, and thereIore no people according to the
deIinition oI Scipio or Cicero. And iI there is no people then there is no
property oI a people`, but only a multitude oI some Iind, not worthy
oI the name oI a people. II, thereIore, a commonwealth is the property
oI a people`, and iI there is no people` where there is no common
agreement as to what is right`, and iI there is no right where there is no
justice, then it Iollows beyond doubt that where there is no justice there
is no commonwealth. Moreover, justice is that virtue which gives to each
his due. What Iind oI justice is it, then, that taIes a man away Irom the
true God and subjects him to impure demons? Is this giving to each his
due? Or are we to call a man unjust iI he taIes a piece oI property away
Irom one who bought it and hands it over to someone who had no right to
it, yet just iI he taIes himselI away Irom the lordship oI the God who
made him, and serves evil spirits?
527


So, while Augustine spends halI oI his De Civitate Dei examining the City oI
Man, he is primarily concerned with the aims oI these cities; in a sense, he is

526
Fortin, 'Patristic Sense oI Community,¨ in The Birth oI Philosophic Christianity, 71.
527
Augustine, City BI. XIX. Ch. 21.
184
only discussing the loves oI these cities. Hiram Canton raises some oI the
Iundamental concerns that Augustine has with the City oI Man. In his view,
Augustine perceives the City oI Man as 'an imitation oI God in that its sole
objective is the glory oI universal sovereignty.¨
528
Now, we Inow that one oI
the criterions Ior happiness is that it must be eternal and that the major Ilaw that
Augustine Iinds in pagan philosophy is the claim that happiness can be attained
on earth. Augustine writes, 'With wondrous vanity, these philosophers have
wished to be happy here and now, and to achieve blessedness by their own
eIIorts.¨
529
Canton stresses that 'ultimately, the delusion oI the human city, and
antiquity in particular, is its perverted imitation oI God. Its attempt to secure
happiness by its own eIIorts is brought to grieI by the simple Iact oI
mortality.¨
530
For Augustine, true happiness will never be attained in the City oI
Man, that is, in the material world.
What distinguishes a citizen oI the City oI God Irom a citizen oI the City
oI Man? When Augustine speaIs oI a citizen oI the City oI God, he is not
merely discussing Christians.
531
Fortin claims that Augustine does not exclude
those who are not members oI the Catholic Church nor does he include all
members oI the Church. So, Ior Augustine, liIe Farabi, religion does not appear
to be a deciding Iactor in citizenship. In his Madinah, Farabi writes that 'it is
possible that excellent nations and excellent cities exist whose religions diIIer,

528
Canton, Saint Augustine`s Critique oI Politics, 438.
529
Augustine, City BI. XIX. Ch. 4.
530
Canton, Saint Augustine`s Critique oI Politics, 449.
531
Fortin, 'De Civitate Dei¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 199. See also Herbert A. Deane,
'Augustine and the State: The Return oI Order Upon Disorder¨ in The City oI God: a
Collection oI Critical Essays, 58.
185
although they have as their goal one and the same Ielicity and the very same
aim.¨
532
In Iact, Ior Augustine, 'Anybody who is wholly dedicated to the
pursuit oI happiness and moral virtue is implicitly a citizen oI the City oI God
and anybody who abandons virtue Ior vice is ipso-Iacto excluded Irom it.¨
533

We Inow that Augustine insists that all men desire happiness, but not all men
attain it because they conIuse true happiness with earthly happiness.
What, then must a citizen Inow and do? Augustine deems that
Inowledge comes Irom God and so it is a divine Inowledge and once it is Inown
it leaves the Inower with a decision to maIe. It also provides the Inower with
what he must do in order to attain happiness or salvation. For Augustine, 'The
pagan philosophers correctly deIined happiness in terms oI virtue or excellence,
that is to say, in terms oI the highest goals to which human beings can aspire,
but they are unable to show the way to these goals.¨
534
He writes:
At that time, aIter reading the booIs oI the Platonists and learning Irom
them to seeI Ior immaterial truth, I turned my attention to your invisible
nature understood through the things which are made` (Rom. I:20). But
Irom the disappointment I suIIered I perceived that the darIness oI my
soul would not allow me to contemplate these sublimities. Yet I was
certain that you are inIinite without being inIinitely diIIused through
Iinite space. I was sure that you truly are, and are always the same; that
you never become other or diIIerent in any part or by any movement oI
position, whereas all other things derive Irom you, as is proved by the
Iact that they exist. OI these conceptions I was certain; but to enjoy you

532
Farabi, Madi nah, 17.2; tr. Walzer, 17.2.
533
Fortin, 'De Civitate Dei¨ in Augustine Through the Ages, 199. See also John von HeyIing`s
discussion oI those 'citizens¨ oI the City oI God who exist outside oI Israel and the Church.
John von HeyIing, Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World (Columbia: University oI
Missouri Press, 2001), 180-187. Von HeyIing notes Van Oort`s observation that 'Augustine
can, in an apologetic Iorm, demonstrate universality, already present beIore the coming oI Christ,
oI the Christian doctrine oI salvation.¨ John von HeyIing, Augustine and Politics as Longing in
the World, 187. See Johannes Van Oort, Jerusalem and Babylon: A Study into Augustine`s
'City oI God¨ and the Sources oI His Doctrine oI the Two Cities (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991), 99.
534
Fortin, 'Augustine and the Hermeneutics oI Love¨ in The Birth oI Philosophic Christianity, 5.
See Augustine, ConI., BI. VII. xx.26
186
I was too weaI. I prattled on as iI I were expert, but unless I had sought
your way in Christ our Saviour (Titus I: 4), I would have been not
expert but expunged. I began to want to give myselI airs as a wise
person. I was Iull oI my punishment, but I shed no tears oI penitence.
Worse still, I was puIIed up with Inowledge (I Cor. 8: 1). Where was the
charity which builds on the Ioundation oI humility which is Christ Jesus?
When would the Platonist booIs have taught me that? I believe that you
wanted me to encounter them beIore I came to study your scriptures.
Your intention was that the manner in which I was aIIected by them
should be imprinted in my memory, so that when later I had been made
docile by your booIs and my wounds were healed by your gentle
Iingers, I would learn to discern and distinguish the diIIerence between
presumption and conIession, between those who see what the goal is but
not how to get there and those who see the way which leads to the home
oI bliss, not merely as an end to be perceived but as a realm to live in.
For iI I had Iirst been Iormed in mind by your holy booIs, and iI you had
made me Inow your sweetness by Iamiliarity with them, and then I had
thereaIter met those volumes, perhaps they would have snatched me
away Irom the solid Ioundation oI piety. Or iI I had remained Iirm in the
conviction which I had imbibed to my soul`s health, I might have
supposed that the same ideas could be gained Irom those booIs by
someone who had read only them.
535


Furthermore, in BooI XIX oI his De Civitate Dei, Augustine begins a lengthy
exposition oI his rejection oI the notion that happiness could ever be Iound in
philosophic contemplation. While the devil is in the details, I will provide a
Ioretaste oI what Augustine sets out to do in this booI. Augustine writes:
I see that I must next discuss the proper ends oI these two cities, the
earthly and the Heavenly. First, then, let me expound, as Iully as the plan
oI this worI permits, the arguments advanced by mortals in their eIIorts
to create happiness Ior themselves in the midst oI the unhappiness oI this
liIe. I shall do this in order to maIe clear the diIIerence between their
vain belieIs and the hope which God gives us: a hope which will be
IulIilled in the true blessedness which He will bestow upon us. And I
shall do it not only by calling upon divine authority, but also, Ior the saIe
oI the unbelievers, by maIing as much reason as possible. Now the
philosophers have devised a great multitude oI diIIerent arguments
concerning the supreme ends oI good and evil. They have devoted the
greatest possible attention to this question in the attempt to discover

535
Augustine, ConI., BI. VII. xx.26. (italics mine)
187
what maIes a man happy. For our Final Good is that Ior the saIe oI
which other things are to be desired, while it is itselI to be desired Ior its
own saIe; and the Final Evil is that Ior which other things are to be
avoided, while it is itselI to be avoided on its own account. Thus, when
we here speaI oI the Iinal` good, we do not mean a last` good in the
sense that, aIter it, good is now Iinished so that it does not exist; rather,
we mean the end` whereby it is perIected and IulIilled. Again, by
the Iinal` evil we do not mean the Iinish oI evil whereby it ceases to be,
but the Iinal end to which its harmIul eIIects lead us. These two ends,
then, are the Supreme Good and the Supreme Evil. And, as I have said,
the quest Ior these, and the desire Ior the attainment oI the Supreme
Good in this liIe and the avoidance oI the Supreme Evil, has been the
object oI the labours oI those who have made the pursuit oI wisdom their
proIession in the midst oI the vanity oI this world. And, though they
have erred in many diIIerent ways, nature itselI has not permitted them to
wander too Iar Irom the path oI truth; so that there were none who did
not place the Supreme Good and the Supreme Evil in one oI three
locations: in the soul, in the body, or in both. Beginning Irom the
division oI the sects oI philosophy into three classes, as it were, Marcus
Varro, in his booI De philosophia, has by diligent and subtle study
identiIied a range oI teachings so broad that, by employing certain
principles oI diIIerentiation, he has Iound it easy to distinguish 288 sects
in all: not ones already in existence, that is, but sects which could
possibly exist.
536


Fortin, too, notes that Augustine came to reject the notion that happiness was to
be Iound in philosophic contemplation and instead Iound it in the 'Christian
ideal oI the love oI God and neighbor.¨
537
According to Fortin, Augustine
claims that 'people are happy when they are at one with themselves and with
one another, and they achieve this harmony when justice prevails both within

536
Augustine, City BI. XIX. 1. See also BI. XIX.4 where Augustine addresses 'what Christians
believe as to the Supreme Good and Evil, as against the philosophers, who have supposed that
the Supreme Good lies in themselves.¨
537
Fortin, 'Augustine and the Hermeneutics oI Love,¨ 5. John von HeyIing discusses various
scholars` theories oI what Augustine means by love oI neighbor. See John von HeyIing,
Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World, 198.; Oliver O`Donovan, 'Usus and Fruitio in
Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana I¨ in Journal oI Theological Studies, n.s., 33:3 (October
1982): 396-397; John MilbanI, Theology and Social Theory (OxIord: BlacIwell, 1993), 421;
Jean BethIe Elshtain, Augustine and the Limits oI Politics (Notre Dame: University oI Notre
Dame Press, 1995), 101-105.
188
and among.¨
538
Augustine Iurther maintains that the philosophers Inew that
true justice could never be realized on earth; thus the ideal city is merely a 'city
in speech.¨
539
For Augustine, it is Christ who 'both reveals the true goal oI
human existence and Iurnishes the means whereby it may be attained. |Ior|
anyone who is taught oI God` (Isaiah 54:13; John 6:45) has been given
simultaneously both to Inow what he ought to do and to do what he Inows`.¨
540

Thus, loving God and neighbor is, Ior Augustine, both Inowledge and action. He
insists that 'in these precepts, a man Iinds three things which he is to love: God,
himselI, and his neighbor; Ior a man who loves God does not err in loving
himselI. It Iollows, thereIore, that he will taIe care to ensure that his neighbor
also loves God, since he is commanded to love his neighbor as himselI.¨
541

Augustine writes:
We are taught to love this good with all our hearts, with all our mind and
with all our strength. We ought to be led to this good by those who love
us, and we ought to lead those whom we love to it. Thus are IulIilled
those two commandments upon which hang all the Law and the prophets:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy
mind and with all thy soul`; and Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyselI.` For in order that a man may Inow what it is to love himselI, an
end has been appointed Ior him to which he is to reIer all that he does, so
that he may be blessed; Ior he who loves himselI desires nothing else than
to be blessed. And this end is attained by drawing near to God. And so,
when one who already Inows what it is to love himselI is
commanded to love his neighbour as himselI, what else is being
commanded than that he should do all that he can to encourage his
neighbour to love God? This is the worship oI God; this is true religion;
this is right piety; this is the service which is due to God alone.
542


538
Fortin, Augustine and the Hermeneutics oI Love, 5.
539
Ibid.
540
Ibid., 6.
541
Augustine, City, BI.XIX ch.14.
542
Augustine, City, BI.X ch.3
189
R.A. MarIus understands that, Ior Augustine, the two chieI commandments to
love God and one`s neighbor require something oI their Iollowers. 'The latter
must include having consideration Ior one`s Iellow men, encouraging them to
love God, and being prepared to be thus encouraged by others.¨
543
He claims
that, Ior Augustine, this begins in the household and then extends outward to
others in society. In this same vein MacQueen asserts that, Ior Augustine, this
notion oI harmony is in eIIect achieving justice. So, he claims that, in essence,
Augustine replaces justice with love.
544
In order Ior a person to comprehend true
justice that person must Inow that God is his Iinal and supreme end.
545

Now, it is generally Inown that the pagan cyclical theory oI history was
prevalent throughout Augustine`s liIe.
546
With the eschatological aspects Iound
in Christianity, this cycle could presumably end. BourIe claims that 'the
dominating ancient view was that man lived liIe a puppet bound to the wheel oI
Iate. Time was thought to be circular and repetitious.¨
547
Augustine writes,
'From this ridiculous cycle they cannot Iind a way oI Ireeing even the immortal
soul, which, even when it has achieved wisdom, still ceaselessly passes bacI and

543
Robert A. MarIus, 'Two Conceptions oI Political Authority: Augustine, De Civitate Dei,
XIX.14-15 and Some Thirteenth Century Interpretations in The City oI God: a Collection oI
Critical Essays, 94.
544
MacQueen, 'The Origin and Dynamics oI Society,¨ 87. In Fa ra bi `s Fus u l, we Iind a similar
concept. He claims, 'Some oI the parts and ranIs oI the parts oI the city are in concert with
others. They are bound by love, and they hold together and stay preserved through justice and
the actions oI justice. Love may come about by nature, liIe the love oI parents Ior the child.
And it may come about by volition in that its starting point is voluntary things Iollowed by love.
That which is by volition is threeIold: one is by sharing in virtue; the second is Ior the saIe oI
what is useIul; and the third is Ior the saIe oI pleasure. Justice Iollows upon love.¨ Fa rabi ,
Fus u l, 70; tr. Butterworth, 70.
545
MacQueen, 'The Origin and Dynamics oI Society,¨ 87.
546
For the authoritative worI on the concept oI the eternal return, see Eliade, The Myth oI the
Eternal Return. For our purposes, see in particular pages 112-137.
547
BourIe, 'The City oI God and History,¨295.
190
Iorth between Ialse blessedness and true misery. For how can the soul be truly
blessed when it has no assurance oI being so Ior all eternity, and iI it is either
unaware oI coming misery because ignorant oI the truth, or most unhappy with
Ioreboding even in its blessedness? II, however, the soul passes to blessedness
and leaves miseries behind it, never to return to them, then something new
comes about in time which does not have an end in time.¨
548
With this, it seems
that the possibility oI breaIing with this ancient view oI human liIe would maIe
the notion oI ultimate ends important and the City oI God ideal.
549
Augustine,
liIe Farabi, concludes that the soul or citizen must Inow its ultimate end; Ior
how, he asIs, can one be rightly ordered iI one does not Inow his end? He
writes, 'That eternal liIe is the Supreme Good, and eternal death the Supreme
Evil, and that to achieve the one and avoid the other, we must live rightly.¨
550
In
his De Civitate Dei, Augustine devotes booIs nineteen through twenty-two to
discuss the ultimate ends oI the soul. These booIs illustrate the ends according
to the love or aim oI the individual. True happiness, heaven, is described Ior the
citizen oI the City oI God and eternal damnation, the second death, is illustrated
Ior the citizen oI the City oI Man. So Inowledge oI the ultimate ends is oI
extreme importance, because without this Inowledge how does one choose the
correct path?



548
Augustine, City, BI.XII. ch. 14. For Iurther discussion oI the eternal return, see also BK XII.
Chapters 10-14.
549
BourIe, 'The City oI God and History,¨295.
550
Augustine, City, BI. XIX. ch. 4.
191
III. Farabi`s DeIinition oI a Citizen.
Though Farabi describes various cities, he, too, is only discussing two
Iinds oI cities, and two Iinds oI citizens. E. Rosenthal notes, 'II Farabi
describes the various constitutions oI the perIect and imperIect States he does so
in relation to man`s ultimate perIection and happiness, and because he Iound
them discussed in Plato`s Republic and Aristotle`s Nicomachean Ethics. But as
a Muslim he believes in Reward and Punishment and in a HereaIter, and Inows
that Happiness is twoIold, in this and in the next liIe.¨
551
Similar to his
examination oI the Virtuous City, Fara bi considers the aims oI the non-virtuous
cities, the various means to achieve those aims, and the question oI who is
regarded to be the best men oI these cities. As we shall see, his deIinition oI a
citizen mirrors that oI Augustine.
In the Virtuous City, the aim is happiness in this liIe and in the next liIe
and the citizens live as the One intends. In his Siyasah, Farabi discusses in some
detail the various non-virtuous cities.
552
He begins with the 'ignorant cities¨
(al-Madina al-Jahiliyah). Within the ignorant cities Farabi examines Iirst the
'indispensable city¨ (al-Madina al-Dururiyah) and claims that the aims oI the
citizens are the 'subsistence and saIeguarding oI the body.¨
553
Next he discusses
the 'vile city¨ (al-Madina al-Nazzalah) and how the aims oI these citizens are to

551
Rosenthal, 'The Place oI Politics in the Philosophy oI Al-Farabi,¨ 159-160. EcIart
Schütrumph oIIers a critical examination oI how Plato and Aristotle examined imperIect
regimes, see EcIart Schütrumph, 'ImperIect Regimes Ior ImperIect Human Beings: Variations
oI InIractions oI Justice¨ in M"langes de l`Universit" Saint-Joseph Volume LVII-2004: The
GreeI Strand in Islamic Political Thought, edited by Emma Gannage, Patricia Crone, Maroun
Aouad, Dimitri Gutas, and EcIart SchütrumpI (Beyrouth: Universite Saint-Joseph, 2004), 13-36.
552
The ignorant state (Madin nah al-Ja hili yah); the immoral state (Madi nah al-Fa siqah); the
misguided state (Madi nah al-D a llah); the transIormed state (Madi nah al-Mutabaddalah). See
Sajjad, 'Al-Farabi`s ClassiIication oI States,¨ 255.
553
Farabi, Siya sah, 88-88.5; partial tr. Najja r, 58; tr. Druart, 88-88.5.
192
acquire the excesses oI what is needed Ior subsistence and saIeguarding the
body.
554
The citizens oI the 'base city¨ (al-Madina al-Khasi sah) aim at 'sensual
pleasures or imaginary pleasures . rather than what sustains or is in anyway
useIul to the body.¨
555
Farabi notes that they only pursue these aims aIter they
have satisIied the indispensable needs oI the body. The aim oI the citizens oI the
'timocratic city¨ (al-Madina al- Kiramah) is 'to be honored in speech and
deed.¨
556
The timocratic city too contains the aims oI the indispensable, vile,
and base cities, and yet, Farabi asserts that this city is the best among the
ignorant cities. Even so, their love oI honor, he says, will eventually turn their
city into a despotic city.
557
The pursuit oI domination and subjugation
constitutes the aims oI the citizens oI the 'despotic city¨ (al-Madina al-
Taghallub).
558
Finally, Fa ra bi examines the 'democratic city¨ (al-Madina al-
Jamaiyah), wherein Ireedom and saIeguarding Ireedom are the aims oI the
citizens. He claims that 'all the endeavors and purposes oI the ignorant cities
are present in this city in a most perIect manner; oI all oI them, this is the most
admirable and happy city. Quite possibly, with the passage oI time, virtuous
men will grow up in it.. It is also possible to glean Irom it certain |men who
Iorm| parts oI the virtuous city; this is the best thing that taIes place in this
city.¨
559
Next, he examines the 'immoral cities¨ (al-Madina al-Fasiqah), stating
that there are as many immoral cities as there are ignorant ones. Farabi`s main

554
Farabi, Siya sah, 88.10-89; partial tr. Najja r, 59; tr. Druart, 88.10-89.
555
Farabi, Siya sah, 89.5-89.10; partial tr. Najja r, 59; tr. Druart, 89.5-89.10.
556
Farabi, Siya sah, 89.14-90; partial tr. Najja r, 60; tr. Druart, 89.14-90.
557
Farabi, Siya sah, 94-94.5; partial tr. Najja r, 64; tr. Druart, 94-94.5.
558
Farabi, Siya sah, 94.5-99; partial tr. Najjar, 64-69; tr. Druart, 94.5-99.
559
Farabi, Siya sah, 100.5-101.5; partial tr. Najja r, 70-71; tr. Druart, 100.5-101.5.
193
observation is that they used to be virtuous citizens, but chose to Iollow the aims
oI the ignorant cities.
560
The 'erring cities¨ (al-Madina al-D allah) or (al-Madina
al-Mutabaddalah) were given an imitation oI happiness, but it was not true
happiness, and so their Inowledge and actions are not aimed at true happiness.
561

By Iocusing on the aims oI these cities, Farabi in eIIect tells us that these cities
are not virtuous because true happiness is not their aim. Furthermore, he
demonstrates the Iaults in the aims oI these cities and in the means to these
aims:
Bare necessity, wealth, the enjoyment oI the pleasures and oI play, and
honors may be attained by subjugation and domination, or they may be
attained by other means. Hence the Iour cities |the indispensable, vile,
base, and timocratic| can be subdivided accordingly. Similarly, the rule
that aims at these Iour things, or any one oI them, pursues the
achievement oI its aim by domination and subjugation, or else pursues it
by other means. Those who acquire these things by domination and
subjugation, and saIeguard what they have acquired by Iorce and
compulsion, need to be strong and powerIul in body, and to be Iierce,
rough, rude, and contemptuous oI death in moral traits, and not to preIer
liIe to these pursuits; they need sIill in the use oI arms, and good
judgment as regards the means oI subjugating others: all this applies to
all oI them. But as to the pleasure seeIers |that is, the citizens oI the
base city|, they develop, in addition, gluttony and lust Ior Iood, drinI,
and sex. Some oI them are dominated by soItness and luxury, weaIening
their irascible Iaculty to the extent that none or very little oI it remains.
Others are dominated by anger and its psychical and bodily instruments,
and by the appetite and its psychical and bodily instruments, which
strengthens and intensiIies these two Iaculties, and Iacilitates the
perIormance oI their Iunctions. Their judgment will be equally
devoted to the actions oI these two Iaculties, and their souls equally
subservient to them. OI these, the Iinal objective oI some are the actions
oI the appetite. Thus they turn their irascible Iaculties and actions into
instruments by which to achieve the appetitive actions, thus
subordinating loIty and higher Iaculties to the lower; that is, they
subordinate their rational Iaculty to the irascible and appetitive actions,
and Iurther, the irascible Iaculty to the appetitive. For they

560
Farabi, Siya sah, 103.10-104; partial tr. Najja r, 73-74; tr. Druart, 103.10-104.
561
Farabi, Siya sah, 104-104.10; partial tr. Najja r, 74; tr. Druart, 104-104.10.
194
devote their judgment to the discovery oI what IulIills the irascible and
appetitive actions, and devote the actions and instruments oI their
irascible Iaculties to what enables them to attain the enjoyment oI the
pleasures oI Iood, drinI, and sex, and all that enables them to seize and
saIeguard them Ior themselves..
562


The citizens oI these cities are neither virtuous in their aims, nor in their ways oI
achieving them, i.e., by subjugation and domination; but his real point is that the
citizens oI these non-virtuous cities are not liIe the citizens oI the Virtuous City
because they do not live as the One intends nor do they live by their rational
Iaculty, but continually succumb to their bodily appetites. Indeed, the aim oI
many oI these cities is bodilyAugustine would call them, aims oI 'the Ilesh.¨
These bodily or earthly elements are clearly absent Irom Farabi`s description oI
the Virtuous City, so, perhaps, Strauss is correct in his assessment that the
'imperIect¨ cities represent 'the world as it actually is and as it will always
be.¨
563
For both Augustine and Farabi there are really only two cities, virtuous
or non-virtuous, and two loves, God or selI.
What, then, actually delineates a person as a virtuous citizen? Farabi has
articulated speciIic characteristics Ior the Virtuous City and its citizens that are
not present in the non-virtuous cities. Based on the natural order oI the universe,
which is illustrated via the human soul and body, Farabi has established the
hierarchical organization oI the Virtuous City. In addition, Farabi has instituted

562
Farabi, Siya sah, 102.5-103.5; partial tr. Najja r, 72-73; tr. Druart, 102.5-103.5. Druart claims
that 'the irascible is the equivalent oI the Platonic thumos` and must be related to the appetitive
Iaculty oI 32.15. Perhaps the irascible is a part oI the appetitive since it is distinguished Irom
lust in 102.15. Or, maybe, Fa rabi uses diIIerent terminologies and schemes oI divisions Ior the
Iaculties oI the soul and does not attempt to harmonize them.¨ Footnote 51 oI Druart`s
translation. See also Plato, Republic 4.439.e. Plato asIs iI this spirited part is the 'part by which
we get angry.¨
563
Strauss, 'Farabi`s Plato,¨ 381.
195
the requirements Ior its ruler, who is responsible Ior Iounding the Virtuous City
and who Inows the ways to the attainment oI happiness. Virtuous citizens, too,
possess certain Inowledge and perIorm particular actions; these citizens will
ultimately transcend matter and be happy. In his Madinah, he asserts that such
virtuous citizens ought to Inow the Iollowing eight things:
(1) In the Iirst place to Inow the First Cause and all its qualities; (2) then
the immaterial existents and their speciIic qualities and the order oI ranI
oI each oI themuntil one reaches among the immaterial existents the
Active Intellectand the proper Iunctions oI each oI them; (3) the
celestial substances and the qualities oI each oI them; (4) then the natural
bodies which are beneath them, and how they come to be and pass away,
and that everything which happens among them happens according to
order, perIection, providence, justice and wisdom and that there is neither
neglect nor deIiciency nor injustice among them in any way whatsoever;
(5) then the generation oI man and how the Iaculties oI the soul come to
be and how the Active Intellect sheds light on them so that the Iirst
intelligibles and will and choice` can arise; (6) then the Iirst ruler and
how revelation` (wahy) is brought about; (7) then the rulers who have to
taIe his place when he is not available at a given time; (8) then the
excellent city and its people and the Ielicity which their souls ultimately
reach, and the cities contrary to it and the condition to which their souls
are reduced aIter death, some oI them to wretchedness and the others to
nothingness; and the excellent nations and the nations contrary to
them.
564


564
Farabi, Madi nah, 17.1, 16.2, 16.5; tr. Walzer, 17.1, 16.2, 16.5. In the Arabic Plotinus, we Iind
the things that the soul must Inow, which are:
We wish to investigate the mind, and how it is and how it is originated and how the
originator originated it and gave it perpetual sight. These things and the liIe oI them
are part oI what the soul is obliged to Inow, nothing oI them escaping her. She desires
also to Inow the thing which the early sages discussed much and were exercised about,
viz., how the pure One with no plurality in it comes in some way to be the cause oI
origination oI the many things without emerging Irom its unity or becoming plural;
indeed its unity is intensiIied when it originates plurality, iI we reIer all things to the
one thing with no plurality in it. But we begin by abasing ourselves beIore God and
asIing Him Ior aid and assistance to maIe that plain. We do not asI Him in speech
alone nor do we raise towards Him our perishable hands alone, but supplicate Him
with our minds and spread out and extend our souls towards him and abase ourselves
beIore Him and asI Him importunately, unwearying. II we do this He will illumine our
minds with His spreading light and will remove Irom us the ignorance which cleaves to
us on account oI these bodies, and will vouchsaIe to us the aid we asIed Him in this. By
this method alone can we resolve this problem and Iinish at the One, the Good, the
Excellent Alone, who pours Iorth beneIits and virtues on whoever seeIs them aright.
We begin by saying: Let him who wishes to Inow how the true One originated the
196
The Inowledge that virtuous citizens have is almost the same in Farabi`s Millah,
but they come under the headings oI theoretical and voluntary things.
565
Also in
Siyasah, Farabi states, 'Each one oI the citizens oI the virtuous city is required
to Inow the highest principles oI the beings and their ranIs oI order, happiness,
the supreme rulership oI the virtuous city, and the ruling ranIs oI order in it;
then, aIter that, the speciIied actions that, when perIormed, lead to the
attainment oI happiness. These actions are not merely to be Inown; they should
be done and the citizens oI the city should be directed to do them.¨
566
So, when
we compare the Inowledge required oI the virtuous citizens as Iound in Siyasah
with Madi nah, we realize that the entire text oI Madinah is set up in such a way
as to provide the reader not only with the correct Inowledge but with a choice to
maIe: in which city does he or she want citizenship? In Iact, iI we examine the
arrangement oI Madinah, we can see that the chapters correspond to the things
that a virtuous citizen must Inow. Chapters one and two Iocus solely on 'the
First Cause and all its qualities.¨ The Inowledge oI 'the immaterial existents
and their speciIic qualities and the order oI ranI oI each oI themuntil one
reaches among the immaterial existents the Active Intellectand the proper
Iunctions oI each oI them¨ are Iound in both chapters three and six. Knowledge

many things cast his gaze on the true One alone, and leave behind all things outside it,
and return to himselI and stand there, Ior he will see with his mind the true One
reposing, still, superior to all things, the intellectual and the sensible. He will see all
other things standing as iI they were images and inclining towards it. In this way things
come to move towards it; I mean that every thing that moves has something towards
which it moves, otherwise it would not be moving at all. The thing that moves, moves
only in the desire Ior the thing to which it belongs, Ior it wishes to attain it and become
assimilated to it.
'Theologia¨ VIII, 132-143 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., V.1.5-6.
565
Farabi, Millah, 44-45; tr. Butterworth, 44-45; tr. Berman, 52a-52b.
566
Farabi, Siya sah, 84.15-85; partial tr. Najja r, 55; tr. Druart, 84.15-85.
197
oI 'the celestial substances and the qualities oI each oI them¨ is Iound in chapter
seven. Chapters Iour, Iive, eight, and nine deal with 'the natural bodies which
are beneath them, and how they come to be and pass away, and that everything
which happens among them happens according to order, perIection, providence,
justice and wisdom and that there is neither neglect nor deIiciency nor injustice
among them in any way whatsoever.¨ Chapters ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen
provide the necessary Inowledge oI 'the generation oI man and how the Iaculties
oI the soul come to be and how the Active Intellect sheds light on them so that
the Iirst intelligibles and will and choice` can arise.¨ 'The Iirst ruler and how
revelation` (wahy) is brought about¨ are discussed in chapter Iourteen and
IiIteen. Chapter IiIteen also includes Farabi`s discussion oI 'the rulers who have
to taIe his place when he is not available at a given time.¨ Finally, the
Inowledge oI 'the excellent city and its people and the Ielicity which their souls
ultimately reach, and the cities contrary to it and the condition to which their
souls are reduced aIter death, some oI them to wretchedness and the others to
nothingness; and the excellent nations and the nations contrary to them¨ is
discussed in chapters IiIteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen.
567

III. a. Academic Discussion oI the Required Knowledge oI Virtuous
Citizens.
Miriam Galston examines the texts that maIe Inown what the virtuous
citizens ought to Inow. She suggests that 'among the belieIs that the citizens oI
excellence are expected to share are some that seem to have intellectual growth

567
Farabi, Madi nah; tr. Walzer. Walzer, too, notes that the Inowledge required Ior the virtuous
citizens, is 'incidentally, identical with the contents oI this booI.¨ Walzer, Virtuous City, 410.
198
as their primary motive.¨
568
She questions the motivation behind the political
community`s need to understand such things as the Active Intellect and the
hierarchy Iound within the intelligible world and instead provides possible
explanations oI what Farabi perhaps means Ior the citizens to comprehend. She
concedes that much oI this required Inowledge goes beyond 'the practical needs
oI the political community¨ and that some oI these things seem to be rather
precarious Ior a 'healthy body politic.¨
569
With this in mind, Galston concludes
that the contents oI the opinions in Farabi`s texts are 'appropriate Ior select
groups within a community, although there is no textual authority Ior conIining
them thus.¨
570
She continues with this supposition and claims that iI it is
correct:
Then the city oI excellence would include among its oIIicial teachings
some belieIs with relevance Ior only a small group oI citizens (such as the
doctrine concerning the agent intellect and the philosophic achievements
oI the supreme ruler), while it would leave the elaboration oI these
teachings together with all discussion oI Iurther doctrines without utility
Ior the political community as such to individuals obligated because oI
their citizenship to transmit the theoretical excellences on a quasi-private
basis.
571


Galston seems to suppose that the things virtuous citizens ought to Inow are not
Ior all citizens, but only Ior a select Iew; since some oI these items go beyond
practical utility and some appear to deal with theoretical things. However, in
Galston`s examination oI Farabi`s discussion oI what is required Ior the soul`s
ability to transcend matter, she treats the same list oI those things which

568
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 163.
569
Ibid., 163-164.
570
Ibid., 165.
571
Ibid.
199
virtuous citizens should Inow, speciIically those Iound in Madinah and Siyasah,
including, 'principles oI the beings,¨ 'the universe,¨ 'happiness,¨ and 'the
supreme ruler.¨ She notes that his Madinah, in the chapter concerning the
aIterliIe or 'salvation,¨ Farabi begins his discussion oI only the actions oI both
the virtuous and non-virtuous citizens. This is not entirely true, Ior Farabi
writes, 'the people oI the excellent city have things in common which they all
perIorm and comprehend, and other things which each class Inows and does on
its own.¨
572
As we have seen, Farabi claims that it is the Inowledge that the
virtuous citizens have that allows their souls to transcend matter and it is the
lacI oI said Inowledge that Ieeps the people oI the ignorant cities tied to
matter.
573
Farabi, in his Madi nah, places the Inowledge oI the virtuous citizen
in the chapter pertaining to philosophy and religion. As we observed in chapter
two, theoretical and practical perIection; and thereIore, ultimate happiness, can
be achieved via philosophy and religion. Nonetheless, Galston asserts:
The observations are problematic because AlIarabi locates opinion as
such in the imaginative Iaculty oI the soul, regardless oI whether speciIic
opinions are true or Ialse. In contrast, transcendence in the cognitive
realm is ordinarily associated with the actualization oI the rational
Iaculty or intellect. It is, then, diIIicult to see how the possession oI
particular opinions can be identiIied with overcoming material existence
on a cognitive level. At most one could posit that when the imaginative
Iaculty provides the rational Iaculty with some oI the raw material Ior
intellection, opinions oI a certain Iind may Iacilitate the soul`s
ability to transcend its material existence in the Iuture.
574


How is it that Galston sees this type oI Inowledge at one point only Ior a
selected Iew, but then reverses herselI and dismisses it as pure opinion,

572
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.2; tr. Walzer, 16.2.
573
See above, chapter 4.V
574
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 170.
200
particularly since she has already stated that it was more theoretical than need be
Ior practical purposes? Why is she now discussing the imaginative Iaculty as
helping the rational Iaculty when this appears to go against Farabi`s claim that
only the theoretical-rational Iaculty can perceive things such as happiness?
575
II
this is the Inowledge that is required Ior virtuous citizens and iI only the
virtuous citizens attain happiness, can we possibly view it as the theoretical
Inowledge that is necessary to achieve happiness? This list oI required
Inowledge does resemble the Inowledge that the theoretical sciences provide, as
discussed in chapter two. Galston gives the Iull title oI Mabadi' Ara' Ahl Al-
Madina Al-Fadila, stressing the word 'opinions¨ (ara`) as iI this is enough to
dismiss this so-called Inowledge that appears to be dangerous at one point and
trivial the next.
576
Farabi, as noted, provides essentially the same list oI things
that must be Inown in three separate texts. Farabi, in his Madinah, aIter listing
these eight things, immediately states that this Inowledge is Inowable by means
oI both philosophy and religion.
577
So, the Inowledge that the virtuous citizens
must have is perhaps the outcome oI study either through philosophy or through
religion, which, as noted, provides both theoretical and practical Inowledge.
III. b. Required Actions oI Virtuous Citizens.
What about the actions that must be speciIically Inown and carried out
in order to be a virtuous citizen? As noted above, in Siyasah, Farabi claims,
'These actions are not merely to be Inown; they should be done and the citizens

575
Farabi, Siya sah, 73.10; partial tr. Najja r, 43; tr. Druart, 73.10.
576
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 165, Iootnote 43.
577
Farabi, Madi nah, 17.2; tr. Walzer, 17.2.
201
oI the city should be directed to do them.¨
578
The actions that the virtuous
citizens must perIorm vary according to their ranI, but Farabi insists that correct
action produces a positive disposition in the soul.
579
In his Millah, he discusses
the actions oI the virtuous:
As Ior actions, they are, Iirst oI all, the actions and speeches by which
God is praised and extolled. Then there are those that praise the spiritual
beings and the angels. Then there are those that praise the prophets, the
most virtuous Iings, the righteous rulers, and the leaders oI the right way
who have gone beIore. Then there are those that blame the most
depraved Iings, the proIligate rulers, and the leaders oI the errant way
who went beIore and that censure their activities. Then there are those
that praise the most virtuous Iings, the righteous rulers, and the leaders
oI the right way in this time and that blame those oI this time who are
their opposites. Then, aIter all this, are determining the actions by which
the mutual dealings oI the inhabitants oI the cities are regulatedeither
regarding what a human being ought to do with respect to himselI or
regarding how he ought to deal with othersand bringing about
cognizance oI what justice is with respect to each particular instance oI
these actions.
580


So, again, we can see that a virtuous citizen must have a certain Inowledge,
which the theoretical sciences, via philosophy or religion, provide, and he must
live a certain Iind oI liIe, wherein he perIorms the actions that are required Ior
his particular class. Could the required Inowledge and actions that enable one to
become a virtuous citizen and thereby attain ultimate happiness be the
attainment oI the 'ultimate¨ perIection as discussed by WisnovsIy? Is this the
ultimate perIection Ior all citizens oI the Virtuous City? WisnovsIy, in his
discussion oI the Ammonian synthesis, writes:
Second perIections.The state oI having changed into something actual
(the second enteleIheia oI the Physics commentators) is the Iinal cause oI

578
Farabi, Siya sah, 84.15-85; partial tr. Najja r, 55; tr. Druart, 84.15-85.
579
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.2- 16.5; tr. Walzer, 16.2-16.5.
580
Farabi, Millah, 46; tr. Butterworth, 46; tr. Berman, 52b.
202
the change; contemplating (the De Anima`s second enteleIheia) is the
Iinal cause oI the acquisition oI Inowledge; and a thing`s perIection
taIen in relation to a lower thing (Proclus` second teleiot)s) is the Iinal
cause oI that lower thing, at least when both cause and eIIect are viewed
as elements oI reversion.
581


With this analysis oI the ultimate perIection, we could argue that iI one

possesses the required Inowledge and perIorms the necessary actions, then this

could be the ultimate perIection in and oI itselI or at least having this Inowledge

and perIorming the actions could allow Ior the attainment oI this ultimate

perIection. For Farabi, possessing this Inowledge and perIorming the actions

appear to be the requirements to attain happiness and ultimate happiness. And,

as noted above, Walzer claims that ultimate perIection presupposes ultimate

happiness.
582


By contrast, the non-virtuous cities do not resemble or Iunction liIe the

intelligible world, nor do the citizens have the same aims as the citizens oI the

Virtuous City. Furthermore, the citizens oI the non-virtuous cities do not have

the required Inowledge nor do they perIorm the necessary actions. In his

Madinah and Siyasah, Farabi classiIies the non-virtuous cities as 'ignorant,¨

'immoral,¨ and 'erring.¨ The non-virtuous cities do not have the societal

organization based on the human soul and body. Though the timocratic city

does have a hierarchical structure that is based on honor, Farabi maIes no

mention that it is based on the Iive parts oI the soul. While it does bear a

resemblance to the Virtuous City in that the ruler oI this city is deemed the best


581
Ibid., 108-110.
582
See above chapter 2.III; Walzer, Virtuous City, 406.

203
man and the citizens strive Ior something more than physical comIort, their aim

is not happiness.
583
The rulers oI the non-virtuous cities do not have the same

requirements as the ruler oI the Virtuous City; they are rulers because oI things

liIe ancestry, wealth, or honor.
584
Farabi maintains that the rulers oI the non-

virtuous cities either do not Inow the ways to happiness or they ignore them.

The citizens oI the Virtuous City have certain Inowledge and perIorm certain

actions that produce a good disposition in their souls. The citizens oI the non-

virtuous cities do not realize that they are diseased, so they ignore those who try

to lead them to a virtuous way oI liIe, and so actions oI the non-virtuous citizens

produce a bad disposition in their souls.
585
Farabi writes: 'There are among the

physically diseased some people who are unaware oI their illness and some who

Iancy in addition that they are in good health; they Iancy this so strongly that

they do not listen at all to the words oI a doctor. In the same way people whose

soul is diseased are unaware oI their illness or Iancy in addition that they are

virtuous and healthy in their souls and hence do not listen at all to the words oI a

man who leads them in the right path, teaches them and puts them straight.¨
586


The aims oI the Virtuous City are all Ior the attainment oI happiness in this liIe

and the aIterliIe, but this is not so Ior the non-virtuous cities. The citizens oI the

ignorant cities appear to be more interested in the gratiIication oI the senses, and

are distracted by the hullabaloo oI the world.
587
The citizens oI the immoral

583
Farabi, Siya sah, 92.5-94.5; partial tr. Najjar, 62-64; tr. Druart, 92.5-94.5.
584
Farabi, Siyasah, 87.15-103.10; partial tr. Najja r, 58-73; tr. Druart, 87.15-103.10.
585
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.2, 16.6; tr. Walzer, 16.2, 16.6.
586
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.6; tr. Walzer, 16.6.
587
Farabi, Siya sah, 88-103.10; partial tr. Najjar, 58-73; tr. Druart, 88-103.10. In the Arabic
Plotinus we Iind:
The individual soul which is in these individual bodies is noble too, controlling the
204
cities, according to Farabi, Inew the truth and willingly reIused to Iollow the

principles needed to attain happiness.
588
The citizens oI the erring city appear to

have been given incorrect imitations; 'a Iind oI happiness that is not true

happiness is established Ior, and represented to, them.¨
589
Clearly, happiness is

not the aim oI the non-virtuous cities or their non-virtuous citizens. However,

this does not mean that men cannot attain happiness in these cities. Farabi even

insists that it is possible Ior virtuous citizens to emerge in non-virtuous cities,

albeit only within the ignorant cities.
590
He claims, 'With the passage oI time,

virtuous men will grow up in¨ the democratic city because there are elements oI

the Virtuous City Iound here.
591
While Farabi explores the diIIiculties oI

establishing a virtuous ruler in the ignorant cities, he does maintain that it would

be easier to establish virtuous rulers and create virtuous cities in the

indispensable and in the democratic cities.
592
So, while there are some elements

oI the Virtuous City Iound within the non-virtuous cities, it is clear that these

cities do not resemble, nor do they Iunction liIe, the intelligible world, Ior the


bodies nobly, although she controls them only with Iatigue and toil, Ior she controls
them with thought and reIlection. She reIlects and thinIs only because sense-perception
has made her busy with the study oI sensible things, and pains and sorrows have been
introduced into her by such oI the things outside nature as have been brought to her.
This is what disturbs her and bemuses her and prevents her Irom casting her gaze on
herselI or on the part oI herselI that abides in the world oI mind, because immediate
concerns have dominated her, such as reprehensible desire and ignoble pleasure, so she
rejects her eternal concerns in order to obtain by their rejection the pleasures oI
this world oI sense, not realising that she has removed herselI Irom the pleasure that is
true pleasure, since she has chosen the transient pleasures with no permanence in it or
constancy.
'Theologia¨ VII, 46-50 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., IV.8: 8, 1-23.
588
Farabi, Siya sah, 103.10-104; partial tr. Najja r, 73-74; tr. Druart, 103.10-104.
589
Farabi, Siya sah, 104-104.10; partial tr. Najja r, 74; tr. Druart, 104-104.10.
590
Farabi, Siya sah, 102-102.5; partial tr. Najja r, 71-72; tr. Druart, 102-102.5.
591
But, he also notes that it is within this city that there is a greater propensity Ior both good and
evil. Fa ra bi , Siya sah, 101-101.5; partial tr. Najja r, 70-71; tr. Druart, 101-101.5.
592
Farabi, Siya sah, 101-101.5; partial tr. Najja r, 70-72; tr. Druart, 101-101.5.
205
citizens oI these cities do not live as The One intended. Indeed, these cities and

their citizens violate the laws oI the intelligible world.

Conclusion.
II there are two levels oI existence, i.e., the intelligible world and the
material world, and the desire oI all men is to attain happiness and thus return to
the intelligible world, then man, while in the material world, must Iirst decide
whether he is going to live by the will oI God or the will oI man. Thus, Ior both
Augustine and Farabi there are only two types oI citizens and thereby only two
Iinds oI cities. While they examine various cities, it should be clear that their
main concern is the aim oI each city and the reader will notice that the non-
virtuous cities and cities oI man are deIicient when compared to the Virtuous
City and the City oI God. So, Ior both Augustine and Farabi there are only two
loves and, thereIore, two cities.
As we Inow, both Augustine and Farabi have very speciIic ideas as to
what constitutes a citizen oI the City oI God and a citizen oI the Virtuous City.
Both agree that the citizen has a certain Inowledge, which is essentially a divine
Inowledge, and the citizen must live a certain Iind oI liIe. So, correct
Inowledge and action are prerequisites to being a citizen who will attain
ultimate happiness. Farabi`s required Inowledge appears to be the same as the
theoretical Inowledge that he describes in his Tahsil and it is this same
Inowledge that allows the soul to transcend matter and thus achieve happiness.
Contained in this Inowledge is the Inowledge oI the ultimate ends. Farabi has
an entire chapter dedicated to the discussion oI the Iinal end oI each type oI
206
citizen. For the wicIed citizens, the ultimate end is misery, but there is no
description oI a Iinal location. The souls oI the people oI the ignorant cities
simply decay into nothingness. For the virtuous citizen, the Iinal end is
happiness and their proper place is just below the Active Intellect. This type oI
Inowledge essentially compels the reader to decide which end he will attain. As
noted in chapter two, Farabi also examines man in a political organization within
his theoretical sciences. OI course, Mahdi and Galston assume that he is
including practical sciences within theoretical sciences, and that he is describing
actual existence, i.e., an earthly existence, but Farabi could very well be
describing man`s Iinal or ultimate end. II the city that is being described within
the theoretical sciences is the Virtuous City, then perhaps Farabi is suggesting
that the Virtuous City is the proper place Ior all men. However correct
Inowledge is not enough to attain this happiness; Farabi insists that actions are
also necessary. Farabi is adamant that proper actions perIormed according to
one`s own speciIic ranI in society produces a good disposition within the soul
that is directly connected to the quality oI happiness that is achieved.
593

Contrarily, bad actions produce negative dispositions in the soul.
For Augustine, too, correct Inowledge and action are also prerequisites
Ior citizenship oI the City oI God. One must literally choose which direction to
cast their gaze, either upward or downward, to God or selI, or to supreme
happiness or gratiIication on earth; and, as a consequence, decides in which city
he wants citizenship. Augustine`s Inowledge is Inowledge oI God and in order

593
See above, chapter 5.III.b; chapter 2.V. See also Fa ra bi , Madi nah, 16.2-16.5.
207
to Inow God one must love God and love what God loves, thus the citizen oI the
City oI God must love God and love his neighbors. And it is only by loving God
and loving one`s neighbor that harmony, hence justice, can be achieved. While
Augustine does not suppose that true justice can ever be achieved in the material
world, at least the best possible Iorm oI justice can be achieved by the citizens oI
the City oI God. In order Ior citizens to understand what true justice is, they
must be rightly ordered; thereIore, they must Inow their ultimate end. As a
result, loving God and loving neighbor is both Inowledge and action Ior
Augustine.




























208
Chapter Six

Virtuous Citizens Residing in the City oI Man
Introduction.

Augustine`s citizens oI the City oI God must live in the City oI Man
while they exist in the material world, but they must not become Iull-Iledged
citizens oI this earthly city and thereby become citizens oI the City oI Man.
Also, as previously suggested, Farabi`s Virtuous City is an eternal city that
exists in the intelligible world, not one to be established on earth. So we concur
with Strauss` claim that Farabi`s non-virtuous cities are cities that exist in the
material world; hence, Farabi`s virtuous citizens, too, must not become true
citizens oI these non-virtuous cities. We have also examined the criteria that
both Augustine and Farabi have established Ior being citizens oI the City oI God
and citizens oI the Virtuous City. We Inow that Farabi and Augustine are
essentially obliging their readers to choose what city he or she wants to be a
citizen oI. In order to do so one must attain the proper Inowledge and perIorm
the correct actions. Both Augustine and Fa rabi discuss the citizens oI the City
oI God or rather, virtuous citizens living in the City oI Man or the non-virtuous
cities. Both Augustine and Farabi reIer to these citizens as 'Ioreigners,¨
'strangers,¨ or 'aliens.¨
594
Clearly, the idea oI living as a Ioreigner or alien in

594
In scholarly discussions oI Augustine`s citizens oI the City oI God living in the City oI Man,
most scholars employ the terms 'pilgrims¨ or 'aliens¨ oI this city. Peter Brown and Eugene
Tessel Iervently insist that the term 'pilgrim¨ weaIens Augustine`s use oI the word peregrini.
Brown insists that the citizens oI the City oI God are 'peregrini in the Iull classical sense; they
are registered aliens, existing, on suIIerance, in hoc maligno saeculo. Tessel compares
Augustine`s peregrini, i.e., the resident aliens, with the 'MetoiIoi or paroiIoi oI the GreeI cities,
the gerim oI Ancient Israel.¨ Peter Brown, 'Saint Augustine and Political Society¨ in The City
oI God: a Collection oI Critical Essays, 25; Eugene Tessel, 'The Civic Vision in Augustine`s
City oI God¨ Thought vol.62 no.246 (Sept. 1987), 275. For the term 'Ioreigner or stranger in
209
one`s own city comes to Augustine and Farabi Irom Plato. In his Republic, Plato
writes:
Then there remains . only a very small group who consort with
philosophy in a way that`s worthy oI her: A noble and well brought-up
character, Ior example, Iept down by exile, who remains with philosophy
according to his nature because there is no one to corrupt him, or a great
soul living in a small city, who disdains the city`s aIIairs and looIs
beyond them. A very Iew might be drawn to philosophy Irom other craIts
that they rightly despise because they have good natures. And some
might be held bacI by the bridle that restrains our Iriend TheagesIor
he`s in every way qualiIied to be tempted away Irom philosophy, but his
physical illness restrains him by Ieeping him out oI politics. Finally, my
own case is hardly worth mentioningmy daemonic signbecause it has
happened to no one beIore me, or to only a very Iew. Now, the members
oI this small group have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession
philosophy is, and at the same time they`ve also seen the madness oI the
majority and realized in a word, that hardly anyone acts sanely in public
aIIairs and that there is no ally with whom they might go to the aid oI
justice and survive, that instead they`d perish beIore they could proIit
either their city or their Iriends and be useless both to themselves and to
others, just liIe a man who has Iallen among wild animals and is neither
willing to join them in doing injustice nor suIIiciently strong to oppose
the general savagery alone. TaIing all this into account, they lead a quiet
liIe and do their own worI. Thus, liIe someone who taIes reIuge under a
little wall Irom a storm oI dust or hail driven by the wind, the
philosopherseeing others Iilled with lawlessnessis satisIied iI he can
somehow lead his present liIe Iree Irom injustice and impious acts and
depart Irom it with good hope, blameless and content.
595


However, Plato`s concept oI living as a Ioreigner or alien in one`s own city does
not explain Iully how Augustine`s citizens oI the City oI God and Fa ra bi `s
virtuous citizens oI all ranIs exist in the material world in the manner oI
Ioreigners. Plato`s Ioreigners are essentially philosophers, but both Augustine
and Farabi include among their citizens more than philosophers. Plotinus
actually provides a better explanation Ior Augustine and Farabi`s Ioreigners or

Farabi`s texts, see Fara bi, Millah, 55-56; tr. Butterworth, 55-56; tr. Berman, 56a; Fa rabi ,
Siya sah, 80; partial tr. Najja r, 50; tr. Druart, 80; Fa ra bi , Fus u l, 95; tr. Butterworth, 95.
595
Plato, The Republic VI. 496 a-e.
210
aliens. According to Rist, Plotinus deems that everyone is happy, but it is only
the philosopher who realizes that he is happy.
596
Rist, oI course, is reIerring to
Plotinus` concept oI the undescended soul. It is the philosopher who perceives
what the upper part oI his soul is contemplating, which is the intelligible
world.
597
Plotinus writes:
Even our soul does not altogether come down, but there is always
something oI it in the intelligible; but iI the part which is in the world oI
sense-perception gets control, or rather iI it is itselI brought under
control, and thrown into conIusion |by the body|, it prevents us Irom
perceiving the things which the upper part oI the soul contemplates..
For every soul has something oI what is below, in the direction oI the
body, and oI what is above, in the direction oI the Intellect. And the soul
which is a whole and is the soul oI the whole, by its part which is directed
to body, maintains the beauty and order oI the whole in eIIortless
transcendence because it does not do so by calculating and considering,
as we do, but by intellect, as art does not deliberate.. But the souls
which are partial and oI a part have also the transcendent element, but
they are occupied with sense-perception, and by their |lower| Iaculty oI
conscious apprehension they apprehend many things which are contrary
to their nature and grieve and trouble them, since what they care Ior is a
part, and deIective, and has a great many alien and hostile things around
it, and a great many which it desires; and it has pleasures, and pleasure
deceives it; but there is a higher part which the transitory pleasures do
not please, and its liIe is comIortable |to its nature|.
598


So, let us examine the citizens oI the City oI God and those virtuous citizens
living in the material world. These citizens are perhaps considered Ioreigners
because by meeting the criterion Ior citizenship oI the City oI God and Virtuous
City they have become aware oI the higher part oI their soul, and thus they have
assimilated themselves, through thought and action, to the intelligible world.


596
Rist, Plotinus, 148. Rist is examining Plotinus, Enn., I.4-I.5.
597
Ibid.
598
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.8. (italics mine)
211
I. Augustine`s City oI God: an Earthly City?
BeIore we examine the citizens oI the City oI God living in the City oI
Man, let us examine the academic discussion which poses the question: did
Augustine ever envision the City oI God as being established on earth, thereby
explaining why there are citizens oI the City oI God on earth. Reinhold Niebuhr
stated that non-Catholics in particular oIten accuse Augustine oI equating the
City oI God with the visible Church.
599
Jean Elshtain, by contrast, insists that it
is the Church, as an institution, that gathers and Ieeps those pilgrims oI the City
oI God residing in the City oI Man, but this does not imply that Augustine
perceives the Church as the City oI God on earth.
600
So, is Augustine claiming
that the Church is the City oI God on earth? In his examination oI Augustine`s
concept oI the Church, Tarsicius van Bavel notes that, as with Augustine`s
notion oI the two citiesone in the intelligible world, the other in the material
worldso too Augustine`s Church exists in both realms. He claims that Ior
Augustine 'the church here and now is a reality in process that has to pass
through several phases to reach its speciIic goal: it is the reign oI God existing
in the condition oI the church. ThereIore the church encompasses both the
human world and the world oI the angels. It is the celestial church which gives
meaning to the church on earth.¨
601
Augustine writes:
One part oI the earthly city, by symbolizing something other than itselI,
has been made into an image oI the Heavenly City; and so it is in
bondage, because it was established not Ior its own saIe, but in order to
serve as a symbol oI another City.. We Iind, thereIore, that the earthly

599
Reinhold Niebuhr, 'Augustine`s Political Realism¨ in The City oI God: a Collection oI
Critical Essays, 128.
600
Elshtain, Augustine and the Limits oI Politics, 26.
601
Tarsicius J. van Bavel, 'Church¨ in Augustine Through the Ages: an Encyclopedia, 169.
212
city has two aspects. Under the one, it displays its own presence; under
the other, it serves by its presence to point towards the Heavenly City.
But the citizens oI the earthly city are produced by a nature vitiated by
sin, while the citizens oI the Heavenly City are produced by grace, which
redeems nature Irom sin.. In the one case, the ordinary human
condition is shown, whereas, in the other, we are reminded oI the
beneIicence oI God.
602


Fortin, too, discusses the possibility oI the Church as the City oI God on earth.
He claims that while Augustine does occasionally associate the City oI God with
the Church, Augustine is quite adamant in his claims that not everyone
belonging to the Church is a citizen oI the City oI God.
603
Augustine also
includes as citizens oI the City oI God those who do not oIIicially belong to the
Church. It seems unliIely thereIore that Augustine envisions the Church as the
City oI God on earth.
Continuing in this vein, let us examine Augustine`s conception oI a
Christian ruler and asI again, does he on this basis perceive that the City oI God
can be established on earth? Most scholars, when examining the Christian ruler,
looI to Augustine`s description oI the Christian emperors, which is commonly
associated with the 'Mirror oI the Princes.¨
604
Augustine writes:
For we do not say that certain Christian emperors were happy because
they ruled Ior a longer time, or because they died in peace and leIt behind
sons to rule as emperors, or because they subdued the enemies oI the
commonwealth, or because they were able to avoid and suppress
uprisings against them by hostile citizens. For even certain worshippers
oI demons, who do not belong to the Iingdom oI God to which these
emperors belong, have deserved to receive these and other giIts and
consolations oI this wretched liIe; and this is to be attributed to His
mercy, Who does not wish those who believe in Him to desire such things
as their highest good. Rather, we say that they are happy iI they rule

602
Augustine, City, BI. XV ch. 2.
603
Fortin, 'Saint Augustine¨ in History oI Political Philosophy, 196.
604
See Deane, 'Augustine and the State,¨ 60. See also Fortin, 'Saint Augustine,¨ 197.
213
justly; iI they are not liIted up by the talI oI those who accord them
sublime honours or pay their respects with an excessive humility, but
remember that they are only men; iI they maIe their power the handmaid
oI His majesty by using it to spread His worship to the greatest possible
extent; iI they Iear, love and worship God; iI they love that Kingdom
which they are not aIraid to share with others more than their own; iI
they are slow to punish and swiIt to pardon; iI they resort to punishment
only when it is necessary to the government and deIence oI the
commonwealth, and never to gratiIy their own enmity; iI they grant
pardon, not so that unjust men may enjoy impunity, but in the hope oI
bringing about their correction; iI they compensate Ior whatever severe
measures they may be Iorced to decree with the gentleness oI mercy and
the generosity oI benevolence; iI their own selI-indulgence is as much
restrained as it might have been unchecIed; iI they preIer to govern
wicIed desires more than any people whatsoever; iI they do all these
things not out oI craving Ior empty glory, but Irom love oI eternal
Ielicity; and iI, Ior their sins, they do not neglect to oIIer to their true
God the sacriIices oI humility and contrition and prayer. We say that, Ior
the time being, such Christian emperors are happy in hope and that, in
time to come, when that to which we now looI Iorward has arrived, they
will be so in possession.
605


Deane argues that scholars use the above text to claim that a Christian state
could be truly just and thus prove that Augustine is arguing that the City oI God
can be established on earth.
606
Fortin, too, observes this line oI thought, but
notes that there is nothing in Augustine`s writing to conclude that he believed
that such a city would ever come about and, even iI it did, there is no guarantee
that it would continue Ior any great length oI time; so as a result it is diIIicult to
Inow whether Augustine ever considered establishing the City oI God on
earth.
607
Augustine consistently argues that the temporal world is in a constant
state oI Ilux; as Canton notes, Ior Augustine, 'The inexorable change oI the
temporal world oIIers no Iixed point, no unshaIeable rocI, upon which the city

605
Augustine, City, BI. V Ch.24.
606
Deane, 'Augustine and the State: The Return oI Order Upon Disorder¨ 60.
607
Fortin, 'Saint Augustine,¨ 197.
214
oI man might build a secure habitation.¨
608
Nevertheless, Augustine does
examine the citizens oI the City oI God who reside in the City oI Man.
II. Citizens oI the City oI God Residing in the City oI Man.
In Peter Brown`s examination oI the City oI God, he asserts that 'there
are no verbs oI historical movement,¨ and he Iurther notes that there is 'no sense
oI progress to aims that may be achieved in history.¨
609
But this is not so Ior
those citizens oI the City oI God residing in the City oI Man. Augustine
includes in his City oI God both Christians and non-Christians; and in particular
those individuals who are seeIing truthin other words, God. Furthermore,
these citizens are in search oI ultimate happiness and so their will is turned
toward God. They meet the criteria oI Augustine`s deIinition oI a citizen oI the
City oI God. Augustine stresses that the citizens oI the City oI God must obey
God`s commandments to love God and one`s neighbor, which requires both
correct Inowledge and action. KauIman maintains that 'Augustine urged his
readers to accept God`s Grace and God`s governance and to stay within the
pilgrim city.¨
610
Deane examines those citizens who are living in the City oI
Man who have been 'converted by God`s grace.¨
611
He claims that 'since these
men have died and been born anew, their loves, their aspirations, and their
behavior are completely diIIerent Irom those oI the great mass oI the
unredeemed. However, as long as this world lasts there will never be a society or

608
Canton, 'St. Augustine`s Critique oI Politics,¨ 442.
609
Brown, 'Saint Augustine and Political Society,¨25.
610
KauIman, Redeeming Politics, 135-136.
611
Deane, 'Augustine and the State,¨ 51.
215
a state made up solely or even predominantly oI the saved.¨
612
In this way,
Augustine has essentially provided a schema, which anyone can Iollow to
become a citizen oI the City oI God. While there may not be any 'verbs oI
historical movement¨ in his discussion oI the City oI God, it is obvious that in
the City oI Man, citizens essentially have their worI cut out Ior them in order to
become citizens oI the City oI God. Augustine writes:
So it is that each man, because he derives his origin Irom a condemned
stocI, is at Iirst necessarily evil and Ileshy, because he comes Irom
Adam; but iI being reborn, he advances in Christ, he will aIterwards be
good and spiritual. So it is also with the whole human race. When those
two cities began to run through their course oI birth and death, the Iirst
to be born was a citizen oI this world, and the second was a pilgrim in
this world, belonging to the City oI God.. But though it is oI necessity
that we begin in this way, we do not oI necessity remain thus; Ior later
comes the noble state towards which we may advance, and in which we
may abide when we have attained it.the sooner each man changes Ior
the better, the sooner will he secure Ior himselI the title belonging to his
attainment and hide his Iormer name under the later one.
613


Obviously, Augustine`s citizens oI the City oI God must assimilate themselves
to the City oI God even iI they live in the City oI Man. This may be aIin to
what Plotinus has in mind in his discussion oI the undescended soul wherein man
realizes that the upper part oI his soul resides in the intelligible world.
Augustine appears to utilize the Plotinian concept oI the undescended soul in
order to reveal how man can become a citizen oI the City oI God while living in
the City oI Man.



612
Ibid.
613
Augustine, City, BI. XV. Ch. 1.
216
III. Farabi`s Virtuous Citizens Residing in Non-Virtuous Cities.
II we may now turn to Farabi, we may asI his views on the status oI the
virtuous citizens living in non-virtuous cities. II we persist in seeing the
Virtuous City as an earthly city that has been established, or will be established
in the Iuture, or a city in speech, we again conIront the subject oI happiness.
E.I.J. Rosenthal has argued that Farabi maintains that true happiness can only be
achieved in the Virtuous City, Galston disagrees with Rosenthal`s assessment,
614

and indeed, she examines the very possibility oI the establishment oI the
Virtuous City. We have already considered Farabi`s description oI the Virtuous
City in his Madinah. And Galston claims that this description is the standard
description oI the Virtuous City. Moreover, she notes that the depiction Iound
in his Fus u l is practically identical to the description Iound in Madinah. Farabi,
in his account oI the Virtuous City, writes, 'The virtuous city is the one whose
inhabitants mutually assist one another in obtaining the best things Ior a human
being`s existence, constitution, subsistence, and preservation oI liIe.¨
615
He
continues this line oI thought with the two perIections that human beings attain.
Farabi claims that, Iollowing Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, there are two
perIections that a human being can attain: the primary perIection that is attained
in this liIe and the Iinal perIection that he will attain in the aIterliIe. He states
that 'the virtuous city according to them |i.e., these philosophers| is the one
whose inhabitants mutually assist one another in obtaining the Iinal perIection,

614
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 175-176. See E.I.J. Rosenthal, 'The Concept oI Eudaimonia
in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy¨ in Storia della IilosoIia antica e medivale.
(Florence: 1960), 148. Reprinted in E.I.J. Rosenthal, Studia Semitica, Vol.2 (Cambridge: 1971).
615
Farabi, Fus ul, 45; tr. Butterworth, 45.
217
which is ultimate happiness.¨
616
As Galston continues her examination oI the
possibility oI the 'excellent city,¨ she maintains that it is much more indeIinable
in Farabi`s Siyasah. As she says, 'the city oI excellence is described in terms oI
its agentthe supreme ruler without qualiIicationand not in terms oI its
operation or end.¨
617
In her view, this text conIirms that the Virtuous City does
not have to exist in order Ior there to be virtuous citizens. As we have seen in
chapter Iour, Farabi discusses the existence oI the 'supreme ruler¨ and claims
that whoever submits to the rule oI this supreme ruler is a virtuous citizen. II the
citizens, who submit to the rule oI the supreme ruler, reside in a single dwelling-
place then that dwelling-place is considered to be virtuous.
618
Continuing with
her examination, Galston next scrutinizes Farabi`s Tahsil and notes that there
are no such expressions as 'city oI excellence,¨ 'nation oI excellence,¨ 'regime
oI excellence,¨ and 'rule oI excellence.¨
619
Galston contends that both Siya sah
and Tahsil Iorce 'the reader to asI whether or in what circumstances AlIarabi
believes the city oI excellence would be either impossible to establish or
unnecessary Ior the attainment oI happiness.¨
620
While Galston holds that both
Millah and Ihsa` al-Ulum support her claim that the possibility oI the Virtuous
City is uncertain, she does allow that Madinah and Millah appear to be the most
hopeIul about the actual existence oI the Virtuous City.
Walzer argues that Farabi has a very pessimistic view oI political society.
He states that man is 'simply the product oI the reigning political principle.

616
Farabi, Fus ul, 45-46; tr. Butterworth, 45-46.
617
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 154.
618
Farabi, Siya sah, 80; partial tr. Najja r, 50; tr. Druart, 80.
619
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 155.
620
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 156.
218
Since all the historical states are Iaulty.all their citizens are bad as a result oI
their upbringing. Things would be diIIerent in the perIect state: but this is, Ior
the time being, nothing but a dream and a postulate oI reason.¨
621
OI course,
Walzer observes that there is one exception to Farabi`s cynical outlooI; the
virtuous citizen. From whence do these virtuous citizens come? The essential
problem that scholars are Iaced with is the actual existence oI the Virtuous City.
Nowhere in the text does Farabi provide any details as to where this city was
established, iI it is still in existence, or iI it had ever been Iounded.
622
As
Galston has so thoroughly argued, the Virtuous City may be impossible or really
unnecessary to establish in order Ior its citizens to attain happiness. Whether or
not the Virtuous City can be or has been actually established in the material
world, Farabi does discuss the existence oI virtuous citizens. As noted,
Rosenthal insists that happiness is only attained in the Virtuous City; Galston
qualiIies Rosenthal`s assertion with the point that a person does not necessarily
have to live in the Virtuous City, but must adhere to the way oI liIe oI the
Virtuous City.
623
Is Galston correct in this assertion? Farabi does indeed
examine virtuous citizens living in non-virtuous cities and these citizens are able
to attain happiness. In Siyasah, in his discussion oI the supreme ruler, he claims:
The men who are governed by the rule oI this ruler are the virtuous, good,

621
Walzer, Virtuous City, 468.
622
The common view oI Fa rabi `s Virtuous City is that it is a 'city in speech,¨ developed in
Plato`s Republic. By leaving out historical speciIics, Fa rabi `s approach can also be compared to
the thought oI Aristotle. 'The Politics . . . is not about a historical phenomenon. . . . It is about a
natural phenomenon which . . . could in principle exist in any place and at any time and which,
moreover, is necessary at every place and at every time iI human beings are to attain happiness.¨
Simpson, A Philosophical Commentary on the Politics oI Aristotle, xx.
623
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 175-176.
219
and happy men. II they Iorm a nation, then that is a virtuous nation; iI
they are associated in a single dwelling-place, then the dwelling-place
that brings together all those subject to such a rule is the virtuous city;
and iI they are not associated together in a single dwelling-place, but live
in separate dwelling-places whose inhabitants are governed by rulerships
other than this one, then these are virtuous men who are strangers in
those dwelling-places. They happen to live separately either because no
city happens to exist as yet in which they can be associated, or because
they were |associated| in a city, but as a result oI certain disasters--such
as an enemy attacI, pestilence, Iailure oI crops, and so
Iorth--they were Iorced to separate.
624


According to this text, those who submit to the rule oI the supreme ruler are
considered to be virtuous citizens regardless oI where they reside. In Iact, it
appears that Farabi is only claiming that iI a group oI these men who are
governed by this ruler reside in a city or a nation, then that city or nation can be
considered virtuous. He also includes those men who submit to the rule oI the
supreme ruler but live in cities or nations that are ruled by another Iind oI ruler.
How do virtuous citizens living in non-virtuous cities submit to the rule oI the
supreme ruler? In Iact, iI we examine the Virtuous City as an earthly city, then
how does a virtuous citizen exist without the prior existence oI a Virtuous City?
Farabi also discusses the possibility oI the Virtuous City coming into
existence and the responsibility oI the virtuous citizen to move there. In his
Millah, Farabi writes:
Now it is not impossible Ior a human being who is part oI the Virtuous
City to be living in an ignorant city, voluntarily or involuntarily. That
human being is a part Ioreign to that city, and he may be liIened to an
animal that happens to have the legs oI an animal belonging to an inIerior
species. Similarly, when someone who is part oI an ignorant city lives in
a virtuous city, he may be liIened to an animal that has the head oI an
animal belonging to a superior species. For this reason, the most virtuous
persons Iorced to dwell in ignorant cities due to the non-existence oI the

624
Farabi, Siya sah, 80; partial tr. Najja r, 50; tr. Druart, 80.
220
virtuous city, need to migrate to the virtuous city, iI it happens to come
into being at a certain moment.
625


Walzer comments on the Platonic conception oI the 'protected alien¨ living in
any state that is not virtuous. This 'Ioreigner¨ must live as a stranger in this
world while the Virtuous City remains nonexistent, but iI it happens to become
established, the virtuous citizen would migrate to his true home. Walzer
compares the virtuous citizen migrating to where he truly belongs, i.e., the
Virtuous City with the early Muslims migrating to Medina. So when the
philosopher, and Walzer believes that Fa rabi had himselI in mind while writing
this, 'learns that the Platonic Republic has been established in some part oI the
world, he will join it and leave the unsatisIactory conditions in which he lives at
present.¨
626

Farabi also illustrates that virtuous citizens do not necessarily have to act
liIe virtuous citizens while living in non-virtuous cities. In his Madinah, Farabi
writes:
As to the people oI the excellent city who are compelled and Iorced to act
liIe the people oI the ignorant city: since the man who is Iorced to do
this Ieels discomIort in doing things oI that Iind, the Iact that he persists
in doing what he is Iorced to do does not produce in his soul a disposition
which is contrary to the virtuous dispositions; hence these actions do not
trouble him so that he becomes liIe one oI the people oI the wicIed city.
ThereIore the virtuous man Iinds himselI in that condition only when the
man under whose rule he lives is one oI the people oI the cities opposed
to the excellent city or when he is compelled to live in the places oI the
people oI the non-excellent cities.
627



625
Farabi, Millah, 55-56; tr. Butterworth, 55-56; tr. Berman, 56a. Galston remarIs on this
analogy and claims that it appears to be 'contrary to nature¨ Ior the virtuous citizen to remain in
a non-virtuous city. Galston, Politics and Excellence, 177.
626
Walzer, Virtuous City, 469-471.
627
Fa ra bi Madi nah, 16.11; tr. Walzer, 16.11.
221
What is most signiIicant about this text is that the soul oI the virtuous citizen is
not corrupted when he is Iorced to act liIe a non-virtuous citizen. Nevertheless,
the Iact that the virtuous citizen Ieels discomIort tells us that he has Inowledge
that what he is doing is wrong, Ior why else would he Ieel distress? This perhaps
challenges the argument that we examined in chapter two, in which some
scholars claim that happiness is based solely on actions. For example, Colmo
maintains that Ior Farabi, 'we acquire immortality through good actions.¨
628

We now Inow that virtuous citizens residing in non-virtuous cities who are
perIorming less than good actions will achieve ultimate happiness. What, then,
is so special about the Virtuous City that its citizens can live in non-virtuous
cities and perIorm acts liIe those citizens oI the ignorant cities and not have
their souls corrupted?
629

In his, Fusul, Farabi writes, 'The virtuous person is Iorbidden to reside in
the corrupt regimes, and it is obligatory Ior him to emigrate to the virtuous cities
iI any exist in actuality in his time. II they are non-existent, then the virtuous
person is a stranger in this world and miserable in liIe; death is better Ior him
than living.¨
630
Galston asserts that, with this text, Farabi is Iollowing Plato`s
Gorgias which states that 'one cannot long remain on good terms with a corrupt

628
Colmo, BreaIing with Athens, 119.
629
We Iind an example oI this in Augustine`s City oI God, wherein Lucretia was violated and
consequently committed suicide. Augustine writes:
With clear reason, then, do we say that, when a woman`s body is overpowered but the
intention to remain chaste persists nonetheless, and is unaltered by any consent to evil,
the crime belongs only to the man who violated her by Iorce. It does not belong to the
woman who, Iorced to submit to violation, did not consent to it by any act oI will. Can
it be that those against whom we are deIending as holy not only the minds, but also the
bodies..
Augustine, City, BI. 1 ch. 19.
630
Farabi, Fus ul, 95; tr. Butterworth, 95.
222
regime without oneselI coming to commit acts oI injustice.¨
631
This conclusion
is consistent with her theory that practical science and actions lead to happiness.
Yet, Farabi does not, as does Plato, actually claim that the virtuous citizens will
'commit acts oI injustice.¨ Furthermore, Farabi has noted, in Madinah, that the
soul oI the virtuous citizen is not corrupted when 'he persists in doing what he is
Iorced to do.hence these actions do not trouble him so that he becomes liIe one
oI the people oI the wicIed city.¨
632
An added problem with this text is that the
virtuous citizen is so miserable in liIe that even death is preIerable. With death
being the preIerred choice, is Fa ra bi merely utilizing the Socratic choice Iound in
the Apology?
633
Or is he suggesting that happiness is truly only Iound in the
aIterliIe? What about the notion that virtuous citizens attain happiness in this
liIe and in the aIterliIe? Is Crone correct in her claim that, Ior Fa ra bi , happiness
in this liIe is attaining intellectual and moral perIection?
634
We have argued that
it is through the attainment oI these perIections that one becomes a virtuous
citizen, thus we could argue that on becoming a virtuous citizen happiness in this
liIe is achieved. We Inow that Farabi maIes a clear distinction between the
types oI happiness, i.e., happiness in this liIe and ultimate happiness in the next
liIe. Although some scholars have claimed that Ior Farabi happiness in this liIe
is the only happiness attainable, the claim made in his Fus u l weaIens this
particular argument.

631
Galston, Politics and Excellence, 177. See Plato, Gorgias 510a-513c translated by Donald J.
Zeyl in Plato: Complete WorIs.
632
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.11; tr. Walzer, 16.11.
633
See Plato, 'The Apology.¨
634
Crone, God`s Rule, 177.
223
While these texts can be interpreted in various ways, there are still
unanswered questions. Is Farabi simply Iollowing Plato`s notion oI the
'Ioreigner,¨ and thus suggesting that it is only the philosophers who are
virtuous? This, again, leads us to the question: who is attaining this happiness?
Are we to agree with Strauss and his supporters that the virtuous citizens living
in non-virtuous cities prove that it is only the philosophers who can attain
happiness?
635
Or, can we taIe Farabi at his word and argue that all ranIs oI
society can attain this happiness?
636
Walzer insists that iI Farabi only meant the
philosophers, surely he would have been more explicit.
637
Another possible
question is: are the virtuous citizens merely to wait Ior the Virtuous City to be
established so that they can Iinally be attached to this city? What iI this city
never comes about in the virtuous citizens` liIetime? Farabi does suggest that
this city may not be actualized in the liIetime oI the virtuous citizen.
638
Or is
the point oI these texts really to show us that virtuous citizens do exist in non-
virtuous cities or in the material world? Crone oIIers a rather interesting theory
on what Farabi is trying to convey about virtuous citizens living in non-virtuous
cities. She writes:
Originally, he |Farabi| had envisaged the madina Iadila as a real polity,
liIe Muhammad`s Medina (except that there could be several), and ruled
that the virtuous man in a city bereIt oI philosophical leadership had to
emigrate to one such polity in order to be saved.iI no virtuous polity

635
Strauss` claim that only the philosophers attain happiness has been noted above. Galston
claims that 'true happiness can be Iound in imperIect political communities because some people
are born with a natural disposition to achieve the ultimate end oI man and a hardiness that
enables them to realize their potential under adverse circumstances.¨ Galston, Politics and
Excellence, 176.
636
Farabi, Madi nah, 16.1; tr. Walzer, 16.1. See also our discussion above, chapter 4.V.
637
Walzer, Virtuous City, 468.
638
Farabi, Fus ul, 95; tr. Butterworth, 95.
224
existed, the virtuous man had to live liIe a stranger in this world, which
would reduce his chances oI salvation, Ior salvation depended on the
perIection oI virtue, and a virtuous constitution enabled both the ruler
and the subjects to achieve a greater degree oI virtue that was attainable
elsewhere.
639
Just as a Muslim had to live with other Muslims under
Muslim rule in order to achieve salvation, so a philosopher had to live
with liIe-minded people under philosophical government to reach
ultimate happiness. Here the correspondence between Muh ammad`s
umma and its philosophical counterpart is perIect..Al-Farabi modiIied
his position, however. There is no obligation to maIe a hijra in his later
worIs. He did reiterate that happiness is not attainable in every city`,
but Ior all that we hear oI virtuous people who Iollow the rules oI the
First ChieI even though they live in a state oI dispersal, because they
have not yet Iormed a polity or because their city has broIen up, as al-
Farabi explains; either way, they are strangers in their own land, but they
are virtuous, good, and happy.without having to emigrate in order to
perIect themselves, Iorming a spiritual aristocracy and a single soul
regardless oI their separation in space (or Ior that matter time). Virtuous
people who lived in corrupt polities were liIe chimeras, having the head
oI one species and the legs oI another, he said; the same was true oI the
vicious people living in virtuous polities. The Iormer ought to emigrate
iI a virtuous city came to be created. But virtuous people could live in
corrupt regimes without losing their virtue, even iI they were Iorced to
act corruptly at times: they had to practice a combination oI external
conIormity and internal resistance. Conversely, even perIect cities had
weeds` and pseudo-philosophers among their inhabitants. In other
words, the more al-Farabi thought about it, the more diIIicult he Iound it
to endow truth and Ialsehood with separate political embodiments. In
real liIe there would always be a mixture oI both wherever one was. The
virtuous city was not so much a polity as a brotherhood. Philosophy thus
ceased to be a political prescription. It did not have to create a saving
polity Ior itselI any more; a Iraternity oI liIe-minded men would do.
Either al-Farabi did not need the legitimating bridge anymore or else he
realized that the philosophers were not going to maIe it as the oIIicial
elite. When it came to it, only revealed religion (milla) was a
prescription Ior a polity such as that Iounded by the Prophet; philosophy
transcended it. It was by accepting a milla that the philosophers lived in
a socio-political community, however imperIect, but the city they Iormed
themselves was a purely spiritual community above it. However
dispersed they might live, in whatever degree oI subjection to jahili or
corrupt rulers, they could cooperate as devotees oI philosophy, Iorming a
single soul and occupying the same ranI (martaba) in the next world, to
live Ior ever aIter in jubilant contemplation oI the divine.
640


639
Crone is citing Farabi`s Fus u l, 84, 88/89; FalsaIat AIlatun, 19÷64; and Jam, 83.
640
Crone, God`s Rule, 181-183.
225
Here, Crone essentially paints Farabi as a Iailure. She sees Farabi`s
highminded goal oI establishing a Virtuous City ravaged by the material world.
She asserts that Farabi eventually realized that there would always be a mixture
oI virtuous and non-virtuous citizens living in any oI the cities in the real world.
Crone, perhaps compensating Ior Farabi`s Iailure, then allows Farabi`s virtuous
citizens, i.e., the philosophers, to Iorm a 'spiritual aristocracy and a single soul
regardless oI their separation¨ in space and/or time; an association oI liIeminded
mena brotherhood iI you will.
641
II Crone can allow Ior a spiritual community
Ior the philosophers that somehow transcends the non-virtuous cities in which
they live, then why not consent to a spiritual community Ior virtuous citizens oI
all ranIs?
Can we suppose that the Plotinian notion oI the undescended soul
provides a clearer picture oI how there are virtuous citizens oI all ranIs residing
in non-virtuous cities? In the Arabic Plotinus, it states:
We say that the soul does not descend in her entirety to this lower world
oI sense, neither the universal soul nor our souls, but part oI her remains
in the world oI mind, not quitting it, since it is not possible that a thing
should quit its world completely save by its corruption and emergence
Irom its being. So even though the soul does descend to this world she is
attached to her own world, Ior it is possible Ior her to be there without
withdrawing Irom this world. II anyone says: Why do we not sense that
world as we sense this world? We reply: Because the sensible world
dominates us and our souls have become Iull oI its reprehensible lusts,
our ears oI the abundant clamour and vociIeration within it, so we do not

641
Ibid., 183. Crone`s reIerence to the 'single soul¨ is Iound in Fa rabi `s Madi nah. Fa ra bi states,
'When it happens that a number oI such Iings exist at the same time either in one city or many
cities, they are all oI them in the same way liIe one single Iing and their souls liIe one single
soul.¨ But Crone ignores Fa ra bi `s claim that 'equally when the people oI each class oI such a
city succeed each other at diIIerent times they are all oI them liIe one single soul which remains
the same at all times. In the same way, when a (greater) number oI people oI one class exists at
the same time, either in one city or in many excellent cities, their souls are liIe one soul, whether
that class is a ruling class or a subordinate class.¨

Farabi, Madi nah, 16.1; tr. Walzer, 16.1.
226
sense that intelligible world or Inow what the soul brings us Irom it. We
can sense the intelligible world and what the soul brings us Irom it only
when we rise above this world and reject its base lusts and do not occupy
ourselves with anything oI its conditions.. II the soul can reject sense
and the transient sensory things and does not hold Iast to them, she then
controls this body with the slightest eIIort, with no Iatigue or toil, and
assimilates herselI to the universal soul and becomes liIe her in conduct
and control, with no diIIerence or variation between them.
642


Can we suggest that once a man IulIills the requirements oI becoming a

virtuous citizen, i.e., attaining the required Inowledge and perIorming the

correct actions, he becomes aware oI the upper part oI his soul and becomes

assimilated to the intelligible world? We Inow that Ior Farabi, both philosophy

and religion provide the correct Inowledge and actions, and so the paths to

happiness. Perhaps Farabi is not a Iailure, as Crone suggests. II we examine the

Virtuous City as a city that exists in the intelligible world and iI we admit that

the imperIect cities represent the world as it really is and as it will always be,

then Farabi has literally set beIore us the paths to becoming virtuous citizens and

thereby attaining happiness on earth and ultimate happiness in the next liIe.

Conclusion.
It is doubtIul whether the City oI God or the Virtuous City can be
established and maintained on earth. Even iI there are perhaps images oI these
cities on earth, the constant Ilux oI the temporal world proves to be too strong an
adversary. First, there are no guarantees that these cities can be established or
can last in the material world and, second, there is no assurance that only the
citizens oI the City oI God and the virtuous citizens will reside in these cities.

642
'Theologia¨ VII, 41-50 in Plotini Opera; Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.8.
227
Nevertheless, both Augustine and Farabi examine the citizens oI the City oI God
and the virtuous citizens living in the City oI Man and the non-virtuous cities.
These non-virtuous cities appear Ior both to be the world as it is and always will
be. Man indeed must reside here, but does not have to become a Iull-Iledged
citizen oI such a city: hence, the virtuous will be considered Ioreigners or aliens
within the non-virtuous cities. Farabi`s Madi nah, liIe Augustine`s De Civitate
Dei, clearly outlines what everyone needs to Inow to become a citizen oI this
Virtuous City. This involves having a certain Inowledge and living a certain
way oI liIe. These are the criteria to become virtuous citizens and citizens oI the
City oI God. Plotinus` concept oI the undescended soul perhaps provides
another way oI looIing at these virtuous citizens and citizens oI the City oI God,
iI they can become aware oI the upper part oI their soul and thus assimilate
themselves to the intelligible world. While these citizens must live in the
material world, they can still be citizens oI those cities that exist in the
intelligible world. Farabi and Augustine show that when the virtuous citizens
and the citizens oI the City oI God are Iorced to act in a way that opposes what
they Inow to be correct action, the souls oI these citizens are not corrupted.
Both Augustine and Farabi reveal that happiness may not always be Iound on
earth, but citizens can live with the hope oI achieving ultimate happiness in the
City oI God and the Virtuous City, which exist in the intelligible world.



228
Part Three
Conclusion
Both Augustine and Farabi are seeIing ultimate happiness and this
happiness is intimately connected with the City oI God and the Virtuous City.
While Augustine and Farabi are inIluenced by Plato and Aristotle, they both
utilize the thought oI Plotinus in their construct oI the cities wherein happiness
is achieved. Plotinus` World Soul is described as a city in the intelligible world,
thus it is an eternal city.
643
Within this city, there is a hierarchy oI souls based
on their ability to reason.
644
This city is governed by Nous, but the individual
souls that reside in this city contribute to the orderliness oI this city.
645
As long
as the individual souls remain within the World Soul they are happy and Iind
eternal rest because they continuously contemplate what is above them, which
essentially unites them to the One. II these individual souls do descend into
matter, they have the responsibility to maIe their way bacI.
Augustine`s City oI God is also a city that exists in the intelligible world.
It is in this city where the angels who remained IaithIul to God reside and it is
the Iuture dwelling Ior the citizens who attain happiness. While the City oI God
is created and thereIore corruptible, Augustine, in his utilization oI the thought
oI Plotinus, insists that it is eternal because its inhabitants continuously
contemplate God. While both Plotinus and Augustine are clear about the
whereabouts oI their cities, Farabi is a little less explicit in his discussion oI the
Virtuous City.

643
Plotinus, Enn., IV.8.4.
644
Ibid.
645
Ibid.
229
We have examined the earthly elements oI Farabi`s Virtuous City and
have argued that this approach is too limited, since it seems impossible Ior man
to establish and maintain such a city. For even Farabi suggests that this city
may not materialize in the liIe time oI a virtuous citizen.
646
While Farabi`s
description oI the Virtuous City does include earthly elements, there are also
details that suggest that this city exists in the intelligible world. In his Millah,
Farabi deems the Virtuous City to be an eternal city. This city, liIe the material
world, is created and governed by God. In his comparison oI the material world
and the Virtuous City, it becomes clear that the Virtuous City is an existence
that is not a part oI the material world. It actually appears to be a city oI souls
cooperating and perIorming actions Ior one aim.
647
Furthermore, Farabi`s
supreme ruler does not appear to be an earthly ruler. Farabi insists that the
Ancients called this man divine
648
and this ruler holds the highest ranI oI
humanity and all rulers derive Irom him.
649
Thus, we have suggested that this
supreme ruler can be an existent that emanates. Moreover, this supreme ruler is,
in essence, connected to the One via the Active Intellect. Also it is this ruler
who assigns every individual the ranI that they will have on earth and
consequently in the aIterliIe.
650

There are other qualities oI the Virtuous City that imply that it is a city

in the intelligible world. Walzer notes the unchanging aspect oI this city and

this too can be compared to Plotinus and Augustine`s cities that exist only in the

646
Farabi, Fus ul, 95; tr. Butterworth, 95.
647
Farabi, Millah, 65-66; tr. Butterworth, 65-66; tr. Berman, 60a-60b.
648
Farabi, Fus ul, 33; tr. Butterworth, 33.
649
Farabi, Siya sah, 79.5-80.5; partial tr. Najjar, 49-50; tr. Druart, 79.5-80.5.
650
Farabi, Siya sah, 83.10-84; partial tr. Najja r 53; tr. Druart, 83.10-84.
230
intelligible world. In Iact, the only movement observed is the generations oI

souls succeeding each other. Furthermore, the Virtuous City is the genus oI all

souls, thus the virtuous, the wicIed, and the ignorant were all at one point a

component oI the Virtuous City. While all souls originate in the Virtuous City,

not all will return. In Iact, it is only the virtuous citizens or those citizens who at

one time were virtuous who are even considered to be an eternal species, and

who have an aIterliIe. It should be clear that it is only the virtuous citizens who

will actually return to the Virtuous City, and there attain happiness.

Nevertheless, Ior both Augustine and Farabi , man begins his journey to ultimate

happiness here in the material world.

That only the citizens oI the City oI God and the Virtuous City attain

ultimate happiness, hence a Ielicitous aIterliIe, leads us to the question: what

deIines a citizen oI these cities? Both Augustine and Farabi examine the loves

or aims oI various cities and conclude that there are really only two cities; the

City oI God or the Virtuous City and the City oI Man or the non-virtuous city.

As noted, Farabi and Augustine examine the aims oI a people to Inow what they

love. And Ior both, the citizen loves either God, or the One, or selI. Both

Augustine and Farabi have requirements Ior their citizens oI the City oI God and

virtuous citizens. The requirements include both Inowledge and action.

While it has been shown that the City oI God and the Virtuous City are

not to be established on earth, there are citizens oI each oI these cities living in

the City oI Man and non-virtuous cities. These citizens have a certain

Inowledge and live a certain way oI liIe. Having this certain Inowledge and

231
living a certain way oI liIe actually compels the citizens oI the City oI God and

the Virtuous City to live as Ioreigners or aliens within the cities oI the material

world. While the inIluence oI Plato is obvious it seems that Plotinus` notion oI

the undescended soul perhaps better illustrates what both Farabi and Augustine

are claiming. By acquiring such Inowledge and perIorming such actions, the

citizens oI the City oI God and the Virtuous City are perhaps cognizant oI the

upper part oI their souls that reside in the intelligible world.

















232
Conclusion

We began this dissertation with the claim that the varying interpretations
oI Farabi`s Madinah have tended to ignore the most Iundamental aspect oI his
thought. This is the central importance he accords to the notion oI happiness
(saadah). We have shown that the interpretations oIIered to date by modern
scholars diIIer widely and are oIten mutually exclusive; and yet, it is just these
conIlicting interpretations which continue to determine the very questions we
asI oI Farabi`s text. Farabi`s Virtuous City has been predominantly recognized
by scholars to be an ideal city as Iound in Plato`s Republic or an actual city that
has been Iounded or will be established at some time in the Iuture. But these
interpretations severely limit who can attain happiness in this liIe and in the
aIterliIe. By examining Farabi`s Virtuous City within a Neoplatonic, speciIically
Plotinian, construct allows us to observe the Virtuous City in a diIIerent light.
We have argued that Farabi`s Virtuous City is comparable to the Plotinian
World Soul which is the genus oI all souls as well as the place where souls strive
to return. In this comparison, we Iound that Fa ra bi `s Virtuous City is not unliIe
Augustine`s City oI God. The Virtuous City and the City oI God, liIe Plotinus`
World Soul, are where souls attain ultimate happiness. The attainment oI
happiness, i.e., happiness on earth and happiness in the aIterliIe materialize as
the greatest goal oI man. Still, this happiness is Ior virtuous citizens and citizens
oI the City oI God alone. In order to be a virtuous citizen or a citizen oI the City
oI God one must have a certain Inowledge and live a certain way oI liIe. For
Farabi, both philosophy and religion provide the theoretical and practical
233
sciences, i.e., the correct Inowledge and actions, that lead man to become
a virtuous citizen. Augustine deems that the Christian ideal oI loving God and
neighbor guides man to become a citizen oI the City oI God. So Ior both Farabi
and Augustine correct Inowledge and actions lead man to happiness. The
attainability oI happiness by all men, who succeed in attaining the correct
Inowledge and perIorming the correct actions, seems to be the Iundamental
point that modern scholarship disregards.
So, where does this leave us? By examining exclusively Farabi`s
Neoplatonism, which includes both political and mystical elements, we are not

denying the thoroughly examined and comprehensively established Platonic and

Aristotelian inIluence. These inIluences and others have already been

thoroughly discussed but iI we continue to allow scholars to stop the progress oI
philosophical inIluence with Platonism or even Middle Platonism, we deny
continuity and we are trying to ascertain a continuity with the political
philosophy oI Plato and the political philosophy oI Farabi. Thus, there is a need
to examine the political and mystical aspects oI Neoplatonism in the writings oI
Farabi. In establishing this continuity oI political philosophy, Aristotle, too, is
Irequently examined. However, the inIluence oI Aristotle in the thought oI
Fa ra bi is apparently marred by examining Farabi`s Neoplatonism. Galston
suggests that to examine Farabi`s Neoplatonism is to 'cease taIing him seriously
as an illuminator oI Aristotle.¨
651
Yet she also admits that by 'doing this we

651
Miriam Galston, Politics and Excellence, 14.
234
prejudge the question oI the Platonic strata in Aristotle`s philosophy.¨
652
By
breaIing the continuity oI political philosophy, or really philosophy in general,
scholars are able to declare that Farabi appears 'all oI a sudden¨ with a political
philosophy that had no predecessors in Islamic philosophy, or Ior that matter, in
Christian philosophy. This 'political philosophy,¨ according to Mahdi, 'is the
political science oI the ancients, oI Plato`s Republic and Aristotle`s Politics.¨
653

Farabi is indeed a political philosopherhe discusses cities and aims oI
such cities and its citizens and the actions that are required oI citizensand this,
according to Mahdi, is what political science investigates.
654
As we have shown,
he is also a Neoplatonist. So, we must return to Landolt`s question: why can he
not be both a political philosopher and a Neoplatonist?
655
According to most
scholars, Neoplatonic philosophers are not interested in things such as politics.
However, O`Meara has presented an excellent case exposing the blunder oI the
traditional view oI Neoplatonism wherein the Neoplatonists were not interested
in political philosophy. O`Meara in Iact reveals that political philosophy is
indeed included in Neoplatonic philosophy.
656
Thus we can no longer allow
scholars to Iall bacI on the conventional view in order to marginalize and/or
completely dismiss Farabi`s Neoplatonism.
In revealing a continuity oI political philosophy which stems Irom Plato
and Aristotle and continues all the way through Farabi, we must also asI iI there
is a continuity with Farabi`s immediate predecessors and successors As noted

652
Ibid.
653
Mahdi, 'Al-Farabi: Islamic Philosophy,¨ 14. See also Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy.
654
Mahdi, AlIarabi: Political Philosophy, 9.
655
Hermann Landolt, 'Henry Corbin,¨ 489.
656
See above, chapter 1.II.a.
235
above, there has been some discussion that political aspects can be Iound in Abu
YusuI Ya Iub Ibn IshaI al-Kindi (801-866 CE) and Abu BaIr Muhammad Ibn
ZaIariyya` al-Razi`s (854-925 or 935 CE) thought.
657
However Neoplatonic
elements are also Iound in their worIs. Al-Razi, Ior instance, 'maintained that
at some Iuture date all men will realize, through philosophy, that their souls
belong elsewhere. When they realize this they are reabsorbed into the World
Soul.¨
658
Another point oI continuity can be Iound in Farabi`s discussion oI the
Active Intellect. According to Farabi, the souls that attain happiness will exist
just beneath or within the Active Intellect. So it is not surprising to Iind in the
Rasa`il oI the IIhwan al-SaIa (Epistles oI the Brethren oI Purity) that the souls
who attain salvation return to the Active Intellect.
659
Indeed, the IIhwan al-SaIa
is signiIicantly inIluenced by the thought oI Farabi, but the similarities are
downplayed by scholars because they derive Irom two diIIerent perspectives, i.e.,
religion and philosophy respectively.
660
While Abouzeid insists that there is
concrete evidence that the IIhwan al-SaIa included into their system the ideas oI
Farabi, there are noted diIIerences.
661
Since we have Iocused on Farabi`s
Neoplatonism perhaps we can posit even more parallels. For example, Abouzeid
notes that 'Ior the Brethren oI Purity, the virtuous city is not, as it is with al-
Farabi, the smallest complete political unit, but rather reIers, in their thought, to

657
See Iootnote 69.
658
Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity, 27. Abouzeid notes Abu BaIr Muh ammad
ibn ZaIariyya ` Al-Razi , Al-Razi`s Opera Philosophica, ed. Paul Kraus (Cairo, 1939) particularly
pp. 192-286. For an in depth examination oI the Platonic, Aristotelian, and Neoplatonic
inIluences oI the IIhwan al-S aIa see I.R. Netton, Muslim Neoplatonism: Brethren oI Purity
(London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982).
659
Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity, 28.
660
Ibid., 2. See also Walzer, Virtuous City, 12.
661
Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity, 443.
236
their spiritual society oI Inowledgeable people who strive Ior intellectual
perIection while surrounded by a sea oI ignorance.¨
662
This notion oI a spiritual
society is reminiscent oI Henry Corbin`s claim that Farabi`s Virtuous City can
be seen more as a city oI the 'latter-day saints`,¨ although Corbin still wants to
establish this city in the material world 'at the coming oI the hidden Imam.¨
663

However, we have argued that Farabi`s Virtuous City is a city that exists in the
intelligible world, so Farabi does not appear to be tying this city to the material
world; thus, the concept oI the Virtuous City Iound in the thought oI the IIhwan
al-SaIa and Farabi does sustain a parallel. The IIhwan al-SaIa, according to
Abouzeid, do not suppose that the ideal can be 'represented by any worldly
political regime..This earthly liIe is important in as much as it represents the
only path man can Iollow in order to arrive at his ultimate destination. Their
main concern is man and his raison d`être.¨
664
Surely there are parallels with
these ideas and the ideas oI Farabi as discussed in this dissertation.
By examining Farabi as we have in this paper, we no longer have to
choose between Farabi as a political philosopher or as a Neoplatonist: it should
be obvious that he is both. So, conceivably, we can now reexamine Farabi`s
worIs and try to correct some oI the problems, as noted by Gutas, with the
approaches and interpretations that are prevalent in the study oI Arabic
philosophy in general and Farabian scholarship in particular. By probing both
political and Neoplatonic elements, we can argue that perhaps Farabi and his

662
Ibid., 481-482.
663
Corbin, History oI Islamic Philosophy, 163.
664
Abouzeid, Al-Fa ra bi and the Brethren oI Purity, 490, 494.
237
immediate predecessors and his successors, such as, al-Kindi , al-Ra zi, and the
IIhwa n al-S aIa have more in common than previously thought. We can go
Iurther with this line oI thought and perhaps suggest that the philosophers who
have been notably inIluenced by Farabi, such as Ibn Sina (980-1037CE), can also
be reexamined Ior Iurther Farabian inIluence. We have only examined the
Plotinian aspects oI Farabi`s thought but there is much more worI to be done.
We must also examine thoroughly the later Neoplatonic elements Iound within
the writings oI Farabi. Thus, there is a need to reexamine Farabi`s worIs, his
predecessors, his immediate antecedents, and his successors. By doing this,
perhaps, we can come to a better understanding oI Farabi`s worIs and as a result
come to a Iuller understanding oI Farabi himselI.












238
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