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Kitab al-Maqalid al-Malakiitiyya (The Book of the Keys to the Kingdom) By Abi Ya‘qib Ishaq b. Ahmad al-Sijistani (d. after 361/971) Edited with Notes, Comments and Introduction By Ismail K. Poonawala au DAR AL-GHARB AL-ISLAM! CONTENTS page Introduction AL-Sijistani’s Life Al-Nasafi, al-Razi and al-Sijistant: ‘Their Missionary ‘Ac vites and Works as Reflected in Some Early Non-Isma‘ili Sources zg o 8 aw Tbn al-Nadim and his Kitab al- Fihrist xe 9 Al-Busti and his refutation of the Isma°ilis ... 13 Al-Baghdadi and his al-Farg bayn al-firag 15 Al-Tha‘alibi and his Adab al-mulitk 17 Ton Hazm and his Kitab al-Fisal fi?l-milal “ 19 Nizam al-Mulk and his Siyar al-muliik we 19 Al-Yamani and his ‘Ag@id al-thalath wa?L-: sabe fraa 26 Al-Shahrastani and his al-Milal wa’l-nihal ... 29 An Early Doctrinal Controversy in the Iranian School of Isma‘ili Thought 3 . 30 Kitab al-Mahsiil of al-Nasafi 30, Kitab al-Islah of al-Rizi 31 Kitab al-Nusra of al-Siji 31 Kitab al-Riyad of al-Kirmani “= ” 31 Shortcomings in the Kitab al-Mahsiil a a 33 AI-Razi's Corrections us 34, Al-Kinmani's critique of al-Razi and al-Sijistin’ =.= 37 Al-Kirmani's Critique of al-Nasafi mh 4B Al-Sijistani and His Times... a AT Kitab al-Magitid al-Malakatiyya: Its Structure and Organization ... ee 48 Kitab al-Magalid al-Malakatiyya: Its Contents 30 Kitab al-Maqalid al-Malakatiyya: Its Sources 7 Kitab al-Maqalid al- en and the Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safat os 09 Contents of The Book of the Keys to the Kingdom . 61 Chronology of al-Sijistani's works... bie 65 Introduction This introduction in English has several objectives. Firstly, it provides the academic without knowledge of Arabic or the reader of the Arabic text -- critically edited for the first time from two recent manuscripts of Indian provenance -- with some references to the life and works of its author Abi Ya‘qiib Ishaq b. Ahmad al-Sijistant, or al-Sijzi (d. after 361/971). Secondly, it scrutinizes the missionary activities of al- and his two senior contemporaries, viz., Abi Hatim Ahmad b. Hamdan al-Razi (d. 322/934) and Abu*l-Hasan Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Nasafi (d. 332/943), who also worked as missionaries in north-west Iran, Khurasan and Transoxania. Thirdly, it recapitulates the debate over a doctrinal controversy between al-Razi and al-Nasafi that had erupted around the beginning of the fourth/tenth century. Soon thereafter, al-Sijistani intervened in this debate defending the views of his teacher al-Nasafi and refuting the corrections suggested by al-Razi. Al-Sijistani’s role in this debate is important because it elucidates his intellectual background, orientation and the development of his thought as it evolved and was reflected in his later works. This summary of the dispute will pave the way for the next stage, which is to contextualize his Kitab al-Magalid al-Malakiiiyya (The Book of the Keys to Kingdom),' also called by its short title Kitab al-Magailid (The Book of the Keys), within the context of Islamic thought and specifically in Isma*ili thought. This will be followed by a brief review of al- Sijistani's times, the structure and organization of The Book of the Keys to Kingdom, its contents and the sources. Finally, it will be argued that the Kitab al-Magdlid al- malakitiyya tepresents a refined stage of earlier attempts by the author/s of the Rasd?il Ikhwan al-Safa? (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity) and al-Nasafi to adapt Neoplatonism * [would like to thank my student Eric Bordenkircher for reading the final draft, his valuable comments and polishing its rough edges. "The term malakiit occurs four times in the Qur°an: twice as malakiit al-samawat wa"l-ard (Strat al-An‘dm 6:75 and Sitrat al-Araf 7:185), and twice as bi-yadihi malakiitw kulli shay (Strat al- Mu’minin 23:88, and Sarat Yasin 36:83). I have avoided translating it as "Kingdom of Heaven" since that is omnipresent in Jewish and Christian religious texts. It is difficult to say how the word came into Arabic. The Aramaic/Syriac form is malkuta da-shmaya; the Hebrew form is malkut shamayin. EF, s.v. ‘Alam, ‘Alam al-djabarit, “Alam al-malakit, ‘Alam al-mithal, by L. Gardet. Malakat is the world of pure self-existent intelligibilia. Michot's translation of al-Agalid al-malakatiyya (as referred to by Ibn Taymiyya, see Arabic Tawthig nisbat al-Kitab, p 27) as The Keys of Sovereignty seems much less appropriate, given the contents of the book. Michot, "A. Mamliik Theologian's Commentary,” p. 199.