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MATRIC NO : 114178
LECTURER : Prof zailan Moris


BIRTH : lived in the early part of the 7/13th century.
Life : He lived most of his life in kashan, that he spent some time
in prison accused of being a magician.
He is

in fact considered as one of the great saints in the central

of persia.

Afdal Al-din kashani or Baba afdal was at once poet,

philosopher and sufi saint.
a practicing sufi of the highest
which was given at this time to
of tasawwuf.

station, hence the title of baba

some of the outstanding masters

He lived a simple personal life while composing some of the

most beautiful quatrains of the persian language, writing many
philosophical treatises, teaching disciples and receiving visitors
from different walks of life in his native kashan.
His life was devoted to the practise of sufism, to contemplation,
meditation and invocation, but he was also a most creative
philosopher in the traditional sense and an outstanding artist
who combined the beauty of expression with subtlety of thought
and who wrote works ranging from the intricacies of logic to the
ecstasy of divine union.
Death : some of the earlier sources had stated the date of his
death as late as 707/1307, but some research has revealed that
he probably died at least fifty or sixty year earlier, possibly as
early as around 610/1213.
He was buried near in the town of maraq where to this day his
mausoleum is a center of pilgrimage.



The writings of baba afdal, almost all of which are in persian, stand
out as among the greatest prose works of the persian language
and unparalleled in persian philosophical prose.

They are to the various branches of traditional philosophy what the

gulistan of sa'di is to ethics.

Their literary quality has caused many authorities of persian

literature to consider them as almost a miracle (I Jaz) in the way
in which they are able to express the most flowing persian
language whose beauty is matched in the annals of persian
philosophic prose only by the persian treatises of suhrawardi.

Works attributed to Baba Afdal can be divided into four basic

categories: poetry, prose (Major Work), works of uncertain
ascription, and works of incorrect ascription :-

1. Arad-namah ( Treatise on Accidents )

. This is one of afdal al-dins most extensive and comprehensive treatises
dealing with cosmology, epistemology, logic and to a certain extent
ontology with special emphasis upon types of knowers and modes, station
and degree of knowledge. An appendix contains a summary treatment of
astronomy and physics.
2. Ashar ( Poems ).
. As yet there is no complete edition of all the poems of afdal al-din
although most of the quatrains have been collected by Naficy in his
. Seven Ghazal have also been included by Naficy in his introduction.
3. Ayat al-san ah fil-Kashf an matalib ilahiyyah sabah ( Portents of
divine workmanshio concerning the unveiling of seven divine
. Contain a brief discussion of the absolute for which kashani uses the term
huwiyyah, as well as a brief reference to the intelect, the soul and the
body which he defines in an illuminationist and platonic rather than
aristotelian manner.
4. Chahar inwan ( Four Titles).
. An opus comprised of selections of Ghazzalis kimiya-yi saadat on sufism.

5. Imani az butlan-I nafs dar panah-I khirad ( Protection from

the vanity of the carnal soul through refuge in wisdom ).
. A discussion of the value of knowledge as determining the worth
of the soul, the importance of seeking that knowledge which is the
source of all knowledge, this principal knowledge being selfknowledge. There is also brief discussion of the independences of
knowledge of both body and soul ( Understood as the psyche) and
finally the means whereby man can take refuge in true knowledge
or wisdom.
6. Jawidan-namah ( treatise on eternity ).
. One of the major works of afdal al-din, which commences with a
classification of the science on the basic of speech, action and
thought, then proceeds to a long discussion if the science of the
self wherein he deals with teology and theodicy as well as the
reason for the existence of diversity of religious forms.
7. Mabadi-yi mawjudat-I nafsani ( On the origin of psychic
. A summary treatment of the classification of being, substance and
accidents, and universal through which all particular are known.

8. Madarij al-kamal ( Degree of perfection ).

. Written first in arabic by afdal al-din and then rendered into persian by
. This is a treatise concerned mostly with ethics which in seven chapters
deals with perfection, its grades, what distingguishes various degree of
perfection, how one can achieve ethical and spiritual perfections and the
central role that knowledge plays in the attainment of the highest degree of
9. Makafib ( letters).
. Seven letters which are mostly answers to questions posed to him by
friends and disciples mostly on metaphysical, ethical and religious matters.
10. Al-mufid lil-mustafid ( A work profitable to those anxious to learn).
. This work is a synopsis of the teaching of afdal al-din based again on the
primacy of knowledge and written from a sapiental point of view . Some
manuscripts have attributed it to Ghazzali.
11 Mukhtasari dar hal-I nafs ( An Epitome on the soul)
12 Rah anjam-namah (Treatise on the path to the final goal)
13 Risala-yi ilm-I wajib ( Treatise on the knowledge of the necessary


Baba Afdals most universally recognized contribution to Iranian
culture lies in the field of literature.
In poetry he has been considered one of the two or three greatest
masters of the rob, while in philosophical prose only Suhrawardi
stands on the same level.
Baba afdal wrote none of the visionary treatises of the type for
which Suhrawardi is famous, his systematic expositions of the
teachings of the Peripatetic philosophers surpass Suhrawardis
similar works in clarity, smoothness, and liquidit.
Baba Afdal employs a great deal of Persian vocabulary where
others would have used Arabic, but unlike Ibn Sina he chooses only
attractive and mellifluous terms, making his works a delight to
read, nor does he neglect to employ the corresponding Arabic
terms where clarity demands them. That he was a careful stylist in
his philosophical works is shown by his letters, which are written
less formally and show a preponderance of Arabic words.
Baba Afdal follows the philosophical and logical (not the visionary
or gnostic [erfn] terminology of ibn sina and shows no obvious

Discuss psychology and ontology in terms of a
progression of both being and awareness that
culminates in the perfection of self and existence.
in the fulness of their actualisation, self and
existence are identical in both there is a clear
unfolding from the lowest inanimate level to the
highest level of self. awareness, which is the fully
actualised intellect, where existence and
awareness are one. it follows that the disciplines of
psychology and ontology both focus on the ascent
from potentiality to actuality.
we also need an explanation of how things come to
exist in a state of potentiality in the first place and
this is the basic role of comology

To be human is to seek after knowledge that will
increase ones humanity. humanity's defining
characteristic is the self-aware intelligence and
knowing that intelligence intelligently demands
focusing one's energies on self-knowledge. any
knowledge that does not aid in the quest for selfknowledge is in fact ignorance, and its fruit can only
be the dissolution and destruction of human nature.
Philosophy is valuable because people who meditate
upon its truths will look within themselves and come
to understand that they already possess everything
they seek. Man has no need of anything but