Joseph Kenny

Introductory Study
English Text
Arabic Text

Introductory Study

Al-Farb's Risla Zaynn al-kabr al-ynn opens with a presentation of the contingency for God's existence. Although it is a small and seldom quoted work, this section of his work is unsurpassed by any of his other writings. Before going into this work, let us see what the contingency argument is all about.

The contingency argument

Among the arguments for God's existence, that of contingency occupies a foremost place. Among the five arguments presented by Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) in his Summa theologiae, (1) it occupies the third place, after motion and causality, and before grades of being and design.

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus: We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated and to corrupt, and consequently they are possible to be and not to be. but it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existencewhich is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

Apart from Christian sources, Thomas had access to the works of Ibn-Sn which clearly express this same argument.

ln his `Uyn al-mas'il, Ibn-Sn (980-1037) clearly develops the distinction between the "necessary existent" (wjib al-wujd) and the "possible existent" (mumkin). (2) In the theology section of his encyclopedic work ash-Shif' he bases this distinction on the identification or real distinction of essence (dht) and existence (inniyya) in these things. (3) In his short work, Fu al-ikma, (4) he founds it on a distinction between the abstract essence (mhiyya) and the concrete essence (huwiyya). The latter distinction separates God from creatures which are multiple individuals in their species, but it does not apply to spiritual creatures whereThomas Aquinas points outthe abstract essence is the same as the concrete essence.

The constant dependence of all creatures on God for their existence is related to the question of creation from nothing, which Ibn-Sn introduced into Arab philosophy. (5) For him it was a support for his idea of a universe without beginning or end, whose existence always comes from God.

Apart from the idea of a universe without beginning, Muslim theologians, especially the Ash`arites, adopted into their own armory Ibn-Sn's distinction between necessary and possible being. Only it was not their preferred argument to prove the existence of God. They rather relied on the hazardous premise that the universe must have had a beginning, and therefore must have been created.

Al-Frb's other treatment of the existence of God

Al-Frb (875-950), in his major works doesn't anticipate Ibn-Sn's distinction. In his Mabdi' r' ahl al-madna al-fila and as-Siysa al-madaniyya, his starting point is "the First Existent" (al-mawjd al-awwal). (6) Instead of trying to prove such a being, al-Frb merely presents an outline of a Plotinian emanantist universe, with a first cause from which all other beings flow, one from the other. In his Ta`lqt he says that knowledge of the First necessary being is primordial (awwaliyya), and does not come by learning or acquisition (min ghayr iktisb). (7) On the other hand, in his Falsafa Arisls, al-Frb repeats Aristotle's argument for a first mover. (8)

Only in his Risla Zaynn al-kabr al-ynn and in ad-Da`w al-qalbiyya does he present the argument from contingency, saying that all possible being depends on and flows from a necessary being whose essence and existence are identical. The former of these two works is the one we now want to study.

Risla Zaynn al-kabr al-ynn

The title means "Treatise of Zeno the Great man of Greece". Who was this Zeno? In the first lines of the text al-Frb says he was a student of Aristotle. This is a case of historical confusion, since Aristotle had no such student. There were three Zenos among the ancient Greek philosophers: (1) Zeno of Elea, a pre-Socratic (c. 490-430 B.C.), (2) Zeno of Citium in Cyprus, a Stoic (336-364 B.C.), and (3) Zeno of Sidon, an Epicurean (c. 150-73 B.C.). (9)

All we can gather is that al-Frb's Zeno was pseudonym for some author whose treatises (ras'il) al-Frb claims to have obtained from some eastern Christians. Although al-Frb's work claims to be a commentary on Zeno, everything after the first paragraph is attributed to Zeno. Evidently, al-Frb was using Zeno, a quasi-mythical philosopher of the past, as a fictitious literary mouthpiece to express his own ideas.

As for his other works, al-Frb presents Platonic or Plotinian thought in an Islamic dress. The Greek pantheon yields to the "First Principle" (He does not use the word "Allh") and the heavenly intelligences. The philosopher-king becomes the Prophet, and the laws become the Shar`a.

Although I present the entire text of this short treatise, the focus of my interest is in the contingency argument for the existence of God. Although its expression is different, it is essentially the same argument as that picked up by Ibn-Sn and passed on to Thomas Aquinas, as seen in the text of the Summa theologiae cited above.

The only difference is that for al-Frb God is the universal Creator only in the sense that he acts through a chain of intermediate causes; He himself creates only one thing. For Thomas, however, all things depend immediately on God for their existence, as the following text form Summa contra gentiles (10) makes clear:

Then, too, the order of causes necessarily corresponds to the order of effects, since effects are commensurate with their causes. Hence, just as effects are referred to their appropriate causes, so that which is common in such effects must be reduced to a common cause. Thus, transcending the particular causes of the generation of this or that thing is the universal cause of generationthe sun; and above the particular governors of the kingdom, as, indeed, of each city in it, stands the king, the universal cause of government in his whole realm. Now, being is common to everything that is. Above all causes, then, there must be a cause whose proper action is to give being. But we have already shown in Book I that God is the first cause. Everything that is must, therefore, be from God.

The Arabic text presented here is from the Hyderabad edition of 1349 H., except that I added punctuation and revised the paragraph divisions.


Ab-Nar Muammad al-Frb

I saw some treatises by Zeno the Great, a student of Aristotle, and by the Greek Elder. Some Christians had written commentaries on them, leaving out some material and making some additions. I wrote my own commentaries on the essentials of these works as a commentator should. The first few of these treatises belong to Zeno, the Great man of Greece. He said:

The first chapter is to prove the existence of the First Principle; the second is about His attributes, the third about the relationship of things to Him. The fourth talks about prophecy, the fifth about revealed law, and the sixth about the last things.

1. A proof for the existence of the First Principle

If all things in the world of generation and corruption first did not exist and later came into existence. before coming into existence they were possibly existent, for were they impossible of existence they would never have come to be. And were they necessary existent they could never not exist. For something that is possibly existent to exist it needs a cause to bring it out of nothingness into existence. For everything that has existence not from its essence is possibly existent. And everything that is possibly existent has its existence from something other than itself. If that other is possibly existent, then what we say about that is the same as what we said about the first. So for something possibly existent to exist, it must necessary depend on something that necessary exists by its essence.

Nothing can be a cause of itself, since a cause essentially precedes its effect. For example, if we say that A is a cause of B, we mean that the existence of B is actually from the existence of A. The conclusion is that the existence of the cause precedes the effect, and a thing cannot have two existences, one which precedes and is a cause, and the other which is after and is an effect, so that a thing would be the cause of itself.

By this way we know that the essence of a thing cannot be a cause of the existence that comes to the essence, since the existence of the cause is the reason for the existence of the effect. An essence cannot have two existences, one of them giving and the other receiving. And there cannot be two things which are causes of one another, such as A and B, with A the cause of B's existence, and B the cause of A's existence. For if B's existence comes from A, then A's existence must precede B's and not be its effect. This leads to the conclusion that A, as a cause, must exist before B, and as an effect of B it must exist after B; thus at the same time it is existent and non-existent, and B is the cause of itself, since the cause of a cause is a cause. So if B is the cause of A and A is the cause of B, then B is the cause of itself, and that thing's existence must precede its existence. That is untenable.

That is not the case of two things in a chain, for they have a third thing binding them together. But possible causes cannot go on infinitely, since each of them is an intermediary, being caused under one aspect and a cause under another. Everything that is intermediary must have a limit, and a limit is an end, so that possible things must depend on the existence of a necessary existent, who is unaffected by causes, whether material, formal, final or efficient.

2. His attributes

He must he one, since in any pair one is first and the other is second. There is a natural precedence of one over two, even if they are together. For they would either share in everything, and in that case there would be no duality between them, or they would differ, and in that case one of them would have to be the reason for the other, since one of them would be necessary existent. If the other were necessary existent, neither of them would be distinguished and identified as necessary existent, but would be distinguished by something else. But there is no problem for something to he necessary existent if its existence is one as far as the meaning of its essence is concerned.

He cannot be a body or a surface or a point, since a body is composed of matter and form, and matter and form are two causes of a body, while a surface, line or point are founded in a body. But for a body to be founded in matter and form, and all that, contradicts being necessarily existent by essence. Therefore He is one in every aspect.

He understands His essence, and that by His essence, not by anything outside His essence witch would he a cause of His understanding His essence. By reason of His being an intelligence He is understanding (`qil); by reason of His essence being understood He is understood (ma`ql). By reason of His understanding His essence by His essence and not by anything else outside and apart from it, He is intelligence (`aql).

It may be surprising to say that He is intelligence, understanding and being understood, but that does not entail any plurality, once our statement is understood that He understands His essence by His essence.

He is living, since any of us is said to be living because he has intelligence, whereas He is intelligence itself, and someone who knows everything is all the more living. In His case, "living" and "life", like "intelligence" and "understanding" are one thing.

He is knowing, and his knowledge does not change, since He knows things by their intelligible reasons and the arrangement of their existence, and not by sense knowledge. Intellectual knowledge does not change, but what is obtained from the senses does change.

He is absolutely wise, since His wisdom is His essence.

He is willing, since in Him there is no opposition to things.

3. The relationship of things to Him

Nothing came from Him which does not fit Him. Were it not for Him nothing would remain in existence. Nor can He be said to have acted to gain perfection by His act, with the implication that His act is superior to and more worthy than Him, for that would mean that he was lacking in something and had to be perfected by His act, and this cannot be said of the Most High Creator and the First Intelligence who understands Himself.

From Him came an intelligence which is possibly existent from its own essence but necessarily existent from an Other; so duality comes about in this way. This second intelligence understands the First Intelligence and understands its own essence. By understanding the First an emanation [of another intelligence necessarily comes from Him, and by His understanding of Himself there comes from Him a form related to matter, that is, the soul of a heavenly sphere.

This should not be surprising, since we ourselves, by imagining something delightful and pleasant, experience some reaction in our members, and by imagining something sour experience a reaction of tremor and sheer revulsion. So why should anyone be surprised if an intelligence separated from matter should understand something and something should come into being as a result of his understanding, or that there should be duality or even trinity in the first creature. For there comes from him an intelligence as well as the soul of the sphere, which form is the cause of its matter actually existing.

The agent gave the latter existence by means of the former, resulting in the body of the sphere with its matter and form.

From one thing only one thing can come. Were two different things really to come from one thing, the cause would not really be one, as is apparent to anyone who gives the slightest consideration to the question. I heard my teacher Aristotle say that if two things came from something really one, the two would have to be either really different or one in every respect. If they were one in every respect they would not be two, but if they were different the cause would not be one.

The first creature, designated as B, understands its essence, as we have said, and the essence of his Creator, and there result from it an intelligence from its understanding the First Creator, and the soul of the sphere by its understanding its own essence. Its own essence is not one, but has an aspect that comes from without, namely, its existence which comes from the First, the Blessed and Most High. So this intelligence understands its Creator as one and real, and understands its own essence and its ordination for existence.

Then the third intelligence, designated as C, understands the Most High First Creator and its own essence, and there result from it an intelligence and the soul of the sphere of the fixed stars as well as the body of this sphere. It is not surprising that the second intelligence understands what pertains to its Creator and His essence and that three things should come from it, while other intelligences understand things and three things do not come from them. But it is surprising that someone should not know how these things come forth by an intellectual process that involves cause and effect. In this way you now can observe how a universal necessitating cause is not replicated; this will be easy for you to see by the slightest consideration.

The fourth intelligence, designated as D, understands the first, second and third intelligences and there comes from it an intelligence designated as E, a soul designated as F, pertaining to the sphere of Saturn, and the body of that sphere. This process goes on as far as the agent intelligence, which is called "the giver of forms". This intelligence constantly understands the First and constantly understands whatever is under the First. Forms come necessary from it, but the souls of the spheres help it in preparing causes for the reception of forms from it, just as a doctor does not give health, but prepares causes for the reception of health.

4. Prophecy

A holy prophetic soul, at the beginning of its purpose, at the beginning of its ecstasy, receives emanations in one strike, without any need of a reasoning process. A soul that is not holy receives intuitive knowledge by an intermediary and receives other knowledge by way of reasoning. The prophet lays down customs (sunan) and laws (shar'i`) and gets people to follow them by raising their desires and fears, teaching them that there is Someone who will repay them according to their deeds, rewarding goodness and punishing evil, and not demanding of them any knowledge that they are incapable of. For the level that belongs to knowledge is higher than anyone can reach.

My teacher Aristotle told a story he heard from his teacher Plato, that someone who towers with knowledge is higher than any bird can fly, and that the canopy of mental vision is more encompassing than any traveller can go around.

5. Revealed law

A prophet imposes on them instructions regarding deeds, such as alt and zakt. For alt includes a state of humble prayer, abstraction and preparation to receive the emanation of mercy and consciousness of God and his Prophet. Zakt includes justice, equity and care for the poor; it helps preserve general order in the world observed in other acts of worship. That is because it includes good morals, detachment of soul, avoidance of obstacles, and other benefits; it would require a long discourse to explain the wisdom of any one of them.

Revealed law has spoken about this, and we are only explaining what is in accord with the law and the Prophet. It concerns either intellectual pleasures or sensible pleasures, as Plato said: "Each man's tomorrow is as he hopes it will be." Note that I heard from my teacher Aristotle, who said he heard from Plato, who said he heard his teacher Socrates say:

Anyone who wishes to talk with the knowledge of wisdom should be a young man, open-hearted, not looking for worldly advantage, of a good temperament, so in love of knowledge that he prefers it to everything that the world can offer, truthful, not saying anything but the truth; he should be a lover of equity by nature, not by command; he should also be faithful, religious, occupied with physical labour and legitimate offices, not procrastinating in carrying out his duties. For anyone who procrastinates carrying out the duties that any of the prophets of God the Most High commanded and then comes looking for wisdom deserves to be shunned and left alone.

6. The last things

He should deny himself everything that the prophet of his religious affiliation forbade. He should agree with the majority in the formalities and customs, which the people of his time follow. He should not be coarse or of bad character, since wisdom is contrary to bad character. He should be kind to those of lower rank and honour those who are above him or of equal rank. He should not be grasping or plundering, nor be afraid of death. He should not amass wealth, except according to his needs, for one who bequeaths after his death what he kept for his needs while alive is smarter than someone who is preoccupied during his life with what he does not need. For preoccupation with seeking one's living is an impediment to knowledge, whereas bequeathing what remains from what one gained during his life is not an impediment to knowledge, and not an obstacle to obtaining a high rank in the next life. Perhaps his fellow labourers and companions can benefit from his possessions after his death; thus it becomes a blessing to himself during his life and to others after his death.

He should not despise learning, for Socrates learned much from his students; so did Plato and Aristotle. For knowledge is a buried treasure, and the one for whom God paves the way will find it. You do not despise learning from your servant or anyone of a lower, equal or higher rank when it comes to questions of how to make money; so [remember] that you are more in need of things that pertain to the next life and its order.

Avoid quarrelling with people. If you want to correct them, correct them with advice that is not reproachful. But their [father] who, passed on to them his bodily temperament should also create a good character in them; that is his job.

His tongue should echo good and truthful speech; he enriches his brothers with his own abundance. One who does that is truly wise, endowed with wisdom and its secrets. Anyone who acts to the contrary puts on the appearance of the latter like brass coated with gold. And if his soul leaves him, it remains in confusion and affliction. We seek refuge with God from the punishment of the next life.

شرح رسالة زينون الكبير اليوناني
للحكيم الفيلسوف المعلم الثاني
أبي نصر محمد الفارابي

رأيت لزينون الكبير تلميذ أرسطاطاليس وللشيخ اليوناني رسائل قد شرحها النصارى شروحا تركوا بعضها وزادوا فيها، فشرحت أنا كما وجب على الشارح شرح فص فأول هذه رسالة لزينون الكبير اليوناني. قال اليوناني:

الأول في الدلالة على وجود المبدأ الأول، الثاني في الكلام في صفاته، الثالث في نسبة الأشياء إليه، الرابع الكلام في النبوة، الخامس في الشرع، السادس في المعاد.

الأول: في الدلالة على وجود للمبدأ الأول

إن كان كل شيء في عالم الكون والفساد مما لم يكن فكان قبل الكون ممكن الوجود إذ لو كان ممتنع الوجود لما وجد، ولو كان واجب الوجود لكان لم يزل ولا يزال موجودا. وممكن الوجود يحتاج في الوجود إلى علة بخرجه من العدم إلى الوجود فكل ما له وجود لا عن ذاته فهو ممكن الوجود، وكل ممكن الوجود فوجوده عن غيره، وذلك الغير إن كان ممكن الوجود فالكلام فيه كالكلام فيما نتكلم فيه، فلا بدّ وإن يكون وجود ما هو ممكن الوجود يستند إلى الوجب الوجود بذاته.

ولا يجوز أن يكون الشيء علة نفسه لإن العلة تتقدم على المعلول بالذات، وذلك إذ قلنا "ا" علة "ب" فإنما نعني بذلك أن وجود "ب" من وجود "ا" بالفعل، وقضية هذا تقتضي أن يكون وجود العلة متقدما على المعلول ولا يكون للشيء وجودان أحدهما متقدم وعلة والآخر متأخر ومعلول حتى يكون الشيء علة نفسه.

وبهذا الطريق يعلم أنه لا يجوز أن تكون ماهية الشيء سببا لوجوده العارض للماهية لإن وجود العلة هو سبب في وجود المعلول. وليس للماهية وجودان أحدهما مفيد والآخر مستفيد، ولا يجوز أن يكون شيئان كل واحد منهما علة للآخر، مثلا "ا" و "ب" فيكون "ا" علة لوجود "ب" و "ب" علة لوجود "ا"، فإن وجود "ب" إذا كان من "ا" وجب أن يكون وجود "ا" متقدما على وجود "ب" فلا يكون معلوله، وذلك يقتضي أن يكون "ا" من حيث هو علة "ب" متقدما في وجوده على "ب"، ومن حيث هو معلول "ب" متأخرا في وجوده عن وجود "ب" فيكون في اعتبار واحد موجودا معدوما ويكون "ب" علة نفسه، لإن علة العلة علة، فإذا كان "ب" علة "ا" ويكون "ا" علة "ب" كان "ب" علة نفسه ويؤدي ذلك إلى أن وجوده متقدم على وجوده، وذلك باطل.

وليس كذلك حال المتضايفين، فإن لهما ثالثا أوقع علاقة التضايف بينهما، ولا يجوز أن تكون علل ممكنة لا نهاية لها، لإن لكل واحدة منها خاصية الوسط فتكون معلولة باعتبار وعلة باعتبار، وكل ما يكون له خاصية الوسط فله بالضرورة طرف والطرف نهاية فيكون استناد الممكنات إلى وجود واجب الوجود بريئا عن العلل المادية والصورية والغائية والفاعلية.

الثاني: في صفاته

ويجب أن يكون واحدا إذ كل اثنين فالواحد متقدم والثاني متأخر، وهذا تقدم طبيعي وهو تقدم الواحد على الاثنين، وإذا كانا معا فإما أن يشتركا في جميع الأشياء فإن اشتركا لم يكن بينهما اثنينية، وإن اختلفا فلا بد وأن يكون أحدهما سببا والآخر مسببا لإن أحدهما واجب الوجود، فإن كان الآخر أيضا واجب الوجود لم يتخصص أحدهما ولم يتعين لوجوب الوجود بل يتخصص بشيء آخر، ولا محالة من أن يتخصص ما وجوده واحد في مفهوم ماهيةه بوجوب الوجود.

ولا يجوز أن يكون جبسما وسطحا ونقطة لإن الجسم مركب من المادة والصورة، فالمادة والصورة علتان للجسم، وقيام السطح والخط والنقطة بالجسم وقوام الجسم بالمادة والصورة وكل ذلك ينافي وجوب الوجود بذاته، فهو واحد من جميع الوجوه.

وقد عقل ذاته، بل عقل ذاته هو بذاته لا بشيء آخر سوى ذاته يكون ذلك الشيء سببا في تعقله ذاته، بل عقل ذاته بذاته، وكان من حيث أنه عقل عاقلا، ومن حيث أنه معقول ذاته معقولا، ومن حيث أنه عقل ذاته بذاته لا بشيء آخر خارج ومباين عقلا. ويتعجب من يقول هو عقل وعاقل ومعقول، فإنه لا يقتضي التكثر في مقهومه قولنا عقل ذاته بذاته.

وهو حي لإن أحدنا يوصف بأنه حي بنسب العقل إليه، فهو نقس العقل، والعالم بجميع الأشياء أولى أن يكون حيا. والحي والحيوة، كالعقل والعاقل، في حقه شيء واحد.

وهو عالم لا يتغير علمه لإنه يعلم الأشياء بالأسباب العقلية والترتيب الوجودي، لا باحواس، والعلم العقلي لا يتغير والمستفاد من الحس يتغير

وهو الحكيم المطلق، لإن حكمته من ذاته.

وهو مريد، لإنه ليس فيه ضدية للأشياء.

الثالث: في نسبة الأشياء إليه

ولم يصدر منه ما لا يلائمه ولو لاه لما بقي شيء من الموجودات ولا يقال أنه فعل ليكمل بفعله، يعني أن الفعل أولى له وأليق به، فإن ذلك يقتضي أن يكون ناقصا استكمل بفعله، وذلك لا يجوز على الباري تعالى، والعقل الأول عقل نفسه.

فصدر عنه عقل له إمكان وجود من ذاته ووجوب وجود من غيره، وهو الاثنينية لهذا الطريق، وذلك الثاني عقل الأول وعقل ذاته. وبعقله الأول وجب عنه إشراق، وبعقله نفسه صدر عنه صورة لها تعلق بالمادة ونفس الفلك.

ولا يتعجب فإنا بتخيلنا المشتهى اللطيف يحدث لنا في بعض أعضائنا شيئا، وبتحيلنا للحموضة يحدث لنا انفعالا وقشعريرة وتجريد صرف، فهو يتعجب من أن العقل المجرد إذا عقل شيئا يحدث في الوجود من تعقله أثر وفي المبدع الأول اثنينية، وربما يعتبر فيه تثليث، فإنه حصل منه عقل ونفس للفلك وصورة علة لوجود المادة بالفعل، والفاعل استبقى أحدهما بالآخر، وجسم الفلك مع مادته وصورته.

لا يصدر عن الواحد إلا واحد، وإن صدر عن واحد اثنان مختلفان في الحقائق لم يكن حقيقة العلة واحدة محضة يعرفه من له أدنى تأمل. وسمعت معلمي أرسطاطاليس أنه قال إذا صدر عن واحد حقيقي اثنان لا يخلو إما أن يكونا مختلفين في الحقائق أو متفقين في جميع الأشياء، فإن كانا متفقين لم يكونا اثنين، وإن كانا مختلفين لم تكن العلة واحدة.

ثم عقل المبدَع الأول الذي علامته "ب" ذاته كما ذكرنا، وذات مبدِعه، فحصل منه عقل بتعقله المبدع الأول، ونفس فلك بتعقله ذاته. وذاته ليست واحدة بل لها جهة عرضت، أما الوجود عن الأول تبارك وتعالى فإنه عقل مبدعه واحدا حقيحيا وعقل ذاته بهيئة لها وجود.

ثم عقل العقل الثالث الذي علامته "ج" المبدع الأول تعالى وذاته فحصل منه عقل ونفس الفلك الذي فيه الثوابت وجرم الفلك. وليس العجب أن العقل الثاني عقل شأن خالقه وذ1ته فحصل منه ثلثة أشياء وسائر العقول يعقلون أشياء وليس يصدر منهم أيضا ثلثة أشياء، بل العجب ممن لم يعرف كيفية صدور هذه الأشياء على وجه عقلي سبي ومسبي، وبذلك تلتفت ههما إلى أن الكلي الموجب لا ينعكس مثل نفسه حتى يسهل ذلك عليك بأدنى تأمل.

ثم عقل العقل الرابع الذي علامته "د" الأول والثاني والثالث فحصل منه عقل علامته "ه" ونفس علامتها "ح"، وهو فلك زحل، وجرم الفلك حتى انتهى ذلك إلى العقل الفعّال الذي يقال له معطي الصور. وهو يعقل الأول على الدوام ويعقل ما دون الأول على الدوام، وجب عنه الصور، والنفوس الفلكية تعاضده بأن يهيئ للقبول منه أسبابا كما أن الطبيب لا يعطي الصحة بل يهيئ لقبول الصحة أسبابا.

الرابع: في النبوة

والنفس القدسية النبوية تكون في ابتداء الغاية في ابتداء نشوها تقبل الفيض في دفعة واحدة ولا يحتاج إلى ترتيب قياسي. والنفس التي لا تكون قدسية تقبل العلوم البديهية بالواسطة وتقبل غيرها من العلوم بطريق قياسي. النبي يضع السنن والشرائع ويأجذ الأمة بالترغيب والترهيب يعرّفهم أن لهم إلها مجازيا لهم على أفعالهم، يثيب الخير ويعاقب على الشر ولا يكلفهم بعلم ما لا يحتملونه. فإن هذه الرتبة التي هي رتبة العلم أعلى من أن يصل إليها كل أحد.

قال معلمي أرسطاطاليس حكاية عن معلمه أفلاطن أن شاهق المعرفة أشمخ من أن يطير إليه كل طائر، وسرادق البصيرة أحجب من أن يحوم حوله كل سائر.

الخامس: في الشرع

ويوجب النبي عليهم منبهات الأفعال كالصلوة والزكوة، ففي الصلوة تضرع وتجريد واستعداد لقبول فيض الرحمة وتذكر لله ورسوله، وفي الزكوة عدل وإنصاف وإمداد للفقراء، وبه يبقى النظام الكلي المحفوظ في العالم في سائر العبادات، ما فيه صلاح للأخلاق وتجريد للنفس وتنزيه عن العوائق وفوائد يطول الكلام في وجه الحكمة في واحدة منها.

فقد ورد الشرع به ونحن نبيّنه على وفق ما أمر به الشرع والنبي، وهو منقسم إلى لذات عقلية ولذ1ت حسّية، كما قال أفلاطن: "لكل امرئ كما في غده ما يرجوه." واعلم أني سمعت معلمي أرسطاطاليس أنه قال سمعت أفلاطن أنه قال سمعت معلمي سقراط أنه فال: ينبغي لمن يتكلم بعلم الحكمة أن يكون شابّا فارغ القلب غير ملتفت إلى الدنيا صحيح المزاج محبّا للعلم بحيث لا يختار على العلم شيئا من أسباب الدنيا ويكون صدوقا لا يتكلم بغير الصدق وأن يكون محبّا للإنصاف بالطبع لا بالتكلف ويكون أمينا متديّنا عاملا بالأعمال البدنية والوظائف الشرعية غير مخل بواجب منها، فمن أخل بواجب من الواجبات التى أمر نبي من أنبياء الله تعالى به ثم ورد على الحكمة فهو أهل لأن يُهجر ويُترك.

السادس: في المعاد

ويحرم على نفسه ما كان حراما في ملة نبيه ويوافق الجمهور في الرسوم والعادات التي يستعملها أهل زمانه. ولا يكون فظا سيئ الخلق، فإن الحكمة تنافي سوء الخلق. ويترحم على من دونه في الرتبة ويحترم لمن فوقه أو مثله في الرتبة. ولا يكون أكولا ولا متهتكا ولا خائفا من الموت ولا جماعا للمال إلا بقدر الحاجة، فإن من أورث بعد الموت ما يحتاج إليه في حال البقاء أكيس من أن تصير نفسه مشغولة في حال الحيوة بما يحتاج إليه. فإن الاشتغال بطلب أسباب المعاش مانع عن العلم، وتوريث ما فضل من النفقة والعمر لا يكون مانعا عن العلم ولا عائقا عن نيل الرتبة في الآخرة لعلّ غيره من أصحاب صناعته وشركائه ينتفغ به بعد موته فيكون خيرا في حال حيوته وبعد وفاته لغيره.

ولا يستنكف من التعلم، فإن سقراط كان كثيرا ما يستفيد من تلامذته، وأفلاطن كذلك و أرسطاطاليس كذلك فإن العلم كنز مدفون يفوز به من سهل الله طريقة إليه. فكما أنك لا تستنكف من التعلم إن تستعرض من غلامك وممن دونك في الرتبة وممن فوقك أو مثلك لتصلح به أسباب المعاش فإنك أحوج إلى أمور المعاد ونظامها.

وتدع الوقيعة في الناس، فإن أردت تؤدبهم فأدبهم بنصائح غير مؤلمة. وإن خالطهم ببدنه خالقهم بخلقه الحسن فله ذلك.

ويعود لسانه قول الخير والصدق ويغني الإخوان بما يفضل منه، فمن فعل ذلك فهو حكيم حقيقي يتمتع بالحكمة وأسرارها. ومن كان بخلاف ذلك يتبهرج مثله كمثل نحاس مطلي بالذهب. فإذا فارقته نفسه بقيت في حيرة وبلاء. نعوذ بالله من عذاب الآخرة.


1. Part I, question 2, article 3. He discusses the same argument in Scriptum super libros Sententiarum, I, d.3, q.1, a.1; Summa contra gentiles, I, ch. 16; II chs. 15 & 43; and De potentia, III, a.5.

2. Nos. 3-5; this work was for long falsely attributed to al-Frb; cf. R. Michot, La destinée de l'homme selon Avicenne (Louvain: Peeters, 1986).

3. Al-Ilhiyyt, maqla 3, fal 3.

4. Section 1.

5. Cf. `Uyn al-mas'il, 6.

6. In the opening chapters of each work.

7. Ta`lqt, n. 7.

8. Falsafa Arisls, n. 33-34.

9. See, for example, Friedrich Überweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. 3 (Basel, 1953).

10. II, ch. 15.