The Elixir of the Gnostics =
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Brigham Young University Press (2003)
Sadr al-Din Muhammad Shirazi (1572-1640), more commonly called Mulla Sadra, was one of the grand scholars of later-period Islamic philosophy and has grown to become one of the best-known Muslim philosophers. Iksir al-'arifin , or Elixir of the Gnostics , is unique among Sadra's writings in that it reworks and amplifies an earlier Persian work, the Jawidan-nama ( Book of the Everlasting ) by Afdal al-Din Kashani, or Baba Afdal. The underlying theme of Sadra's amplification is emblematic of Muslim philosophy: the importance of self-knowledge in an individual's journey of "Origin and Return," the soul's origins with God and its eventual return to Him. Everything, Sadra says, is on such a path, gradually disengaging from the material world and returning to a transcendent essence--all leading to a final fruition in which everything in the universe returns to God and finds permanent happiness. Philosophy, Sadra argues, is the most direct means to self-knowledge--and thus the best tool for navigating this journey.
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