Farabi's virtuous city and the Plotinian world soul: a new reading of Farabi's «Mabadi' Ara' Ahl Al-Madina Al-Fadila»

Abstract
Happiness (sa'a>dah) materializes as the ultimate goal of man in Abu> Nas}r Muh{ammad b. Muh{ammad b. T{arkha>n al- Fa>ra>bi>'s Maba>di' A' Ahl Al-Madi>na Al-Fa>d}ila (Principles of the Views of the Citizens of the Best State). But happiness, i.e., happiness in this life and happiness in the afterlife, is only attainable by the virtuous citizen. The prevailing academic vision of Fa>ra>bi>'s Virtuous City essentially can be placed into two categories: either it is an ideal as found in Plato's Republic or it is an actual city that has been founded or will be established at some time in the future. The difficulty with both of these interpretations is that they limit who can attain happiness. I will argue that we must examine Fa>ra>bi>'s Virtuous City in a different light. I will show that Fa>ra>bi>'s Virtuous City is comparable to the Plotinian World Soul in which it is the genus of 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 Fa>ra>bi>'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 of Fa>ra>bi>'s Virtuous City with the Plotinian World Soul, we shall see that Fa>ra>bi>'s Virtuous City is not unlike Aurelius Augustine's City of 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 of Plotinus, Augustine, and Fa>ra>bi>, it becomes possible to illustrate how Fa>ra>bi>, like Augustine, utilized the Plotinian Triple Hypostases (The One, Nous, and the World Soul) in order to answer the ultimate questions: Why does man desire happiness? How does man attain this happiness? And most importantly, where can man attain this happiness?
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