THE BEGINNING AND THE END Introduction
Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tusi With Allameh Hassanzadeh Amoli
Narrated by Mohammad Mahdi Me’marian
Nasir al-Din Tusi (1201—1274)
Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tusi was the most celebrated scholar of the 13th century in Islamic lands. The ensemble of Tusi’s writings amounts to approximately 165 titles on astronomy, ethics, history, jurisprudence, logic, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, theology, poetry, and the popular sciences. Tusi was born in Tus in 1201 and died in Baghdad in 1274. Little is known about his childhood and early education, apart from what he writes in his autobiography, Contemplation and Action (Sayr wa suluk).
Scholars and historians have no doubt that he was a Shia 12 Imam Muslim, and in most of his theological books he referred to the Twelve Imams and the necessity of their infallibility. One of the great works of Khajeh is that he built a large library in the observation area of Maragheh, and by the order of Hulagu he brought many exquisite and useful books that had been looted from Baghdad, Damascus, Mosul and Khorasan. Khajeh sent agents to the vicinity of the land to buy and send to him wherever they found scientific books. Whenever they came across useful and exquisite books, they would buy them all. He gathered about 400,000 books in his library.
Tusi’s major works are the following: (1) Astronomy: al-Tadhkira fi ‘ilm al-hay’a; Zij Ilkhani; Risala-yi Mu‘iniyya and its commentary. (2) Ethics: Gushayish-nama; Akhlaq-i Muhtashami; Akhlaq-i Nasiri, ‘Deliberation 22’ in Rawda-yi taslim and a Persian translation of Ibn Muqaffa‘’s al-Adab al-wajiz. (3) History: Fath-i Baghdad which appears as an appendix to Tarikh-i Jahan-gushay of Juwayni (London, 1912-27), vol. 3, pp. 280-92. (4) Jurisprudence: Jawahir al-fara’id. (5) Logic: Asas al-iqtibas. (6) Mathematics: Revision of Ptolemy’s Almagest; the epistles of Theodosius, Hypsicles, Autolucus, Aristarchus, Archimedes, Menelaus, Thabit b. Qurra and Banu Musa. (7) Medicine: Ta‘liqa bar qunun-i Ibn Sina and his correspondences with Qutb al-Din Shirazi and Katiban Qazwini. (8) Philosophy: refutation of al-Shahrastani in Musara‘at al-musari‘; his commentary on Ibn Sina’s al-Isharat wa’l-tanbihat which took him almost 20 years to complete; his autobiography Sayr wa suluk; Rawda-yi taslim and Tawalla wa tabarra. (9) Theology: Aghaz wa anjam (The Beginning and The End); Risala fi al-imama and Talkhis al-muhassal and (10) Poetry: Mi‘yar al-ash‘ar.
Allameh Hassan Hassanzadeh Amuli
Hassan Hassanzadeh Amoli (born 1928) known as Allameh Hassanzadeh, is an Iranian 12 Imami Shia philosopher and mystic. He has many works in philosophy, mysticism, mathematics, astronomy, Persian and Arabic literature. He has also corrected some of the most important philosophical and mystical works such as Isharat, Shifa from Avicenna and explanation of Fusus al-Hakam from Ibn Al-Arabi and has written descriptions on them. He has also taught mathematics for about 17 years. According to Hassanzadeh Amoli, Islamic philosophy and mysticism are on the same path. He also believes religion, philosophy,and mysticism are in harmony. He considers the claim that Islamic philosophy is Greek to be false; This is because Muslim philosophers have deepened and matured the ideas of pre-Islamic philosophers. According to one of his students, Hassanzadeh was most influenced by Mulla Sadra and Ibn Arabi.
He has written works in the fields of jurisprudence, philosophy, ethics, mysticism, religious wisdom, theology, mathematics, astronomy, Arabic and Persian literature, natural sciences, ancient medicine, alien and esoteric sciences, but most of his works and ideas are based on the Quran, Philosophy and mysticism. He has more than 180 publications of which some became the book of the year.
He considers the Quran as the source of divine knowledge. According to him, Nahj al-Balaghah, Sahifa al-Sajadiyyah, Usul Kafi, Bihar al-Anwar and other narratives have originated from the Quran. According to him, the sayings of the infallible Imams go back to the Quran. According to Allameh Hassanzadeh Amoli, religion is the knowledge of God, and this knowledge, since it is wide and extensive, includes the knowledge of the names and actions of God, the rules of God, and the Holy Quran. According to him, the truth of mysticism is this knowledge, and the original humanizing mysticism is in connection with the Quran, and it is the infallible Imams, human teachers and divine ambassadors who explain the humanizing instructions, ie the Qur’an, to human beings. Some of his works are about mysticism, Including “Elahinameh”, “Resaleh Laqa Allah”, “Resaleh Inneh Al-Haqq”, “Sharh Fusus Al-Hakam”, “Erfan wa Hikmat-e-Ta’ali”.
Mohammad Mahdi Me’marian
This servant is Mohammad Mehdi Memarian, son of Mohammad, son of Khalil, son of Hussein, son of Ibrahim Born in 1969 in Saveh, I was born into a religious family.
At the age of seventeen or eighteen, I started to acquire knowledge and pursued Islamic education After some time searching, I became acquainted with some divine mystics such as Ayatollah Behjat, Ayatollah Kashmiri, Ayatollah Baha’u’llah, Haj Agha Dolabi, and finally in the presence of Allama Hassanzadeh Rouhi Fedah (Amoli).
In the presence of Hazrat Allameh, I started to achieve perfection. And I confess that everything I have is noble from him and what is defective is from myself. I am proud to teach some of his books, which are really a mixture of Quran, mysticism and philosophy. During these years, I have studied mystical, philosophical, hadith commentary , history of Islam and other branches of theology.
In this essay I explain a book from Khajeh Nasir Al-Din Tusi with commentary from Allameh Hassanzadeh. I hope that I will be approved by God and his saints, especially the Imam of our time Hazrat Mahdi(A).
In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful
Allameh Hassanzadeh Comments:
Praise belongs to Allah, explicit and unexplicit. He has no beginning and no end, but he is the beginning and the end. Salutations to his prophets and guardians, especially to the best of them, Muhammad (S) and his Ahl Al-Bait (A). Hassan Hassanzadeh Amoli describes the following essays from Khajeh Nasir Al-din Tusi which have not been published yet: 1- Twenty chapters of Astrolabe 2- Majsati Ptolemy 3- Euclid’s Elements 4- Spherical trigonometry 5- Euclidean solid geometry 6- Sawuthusius elements 7- Otoloqus spherical motion 8- Esharat Avicenna Tajrid from Allameh Heli book (Kashf Al-Morad) 9- season investigation in calendar.
Some of the above books have been taught in Qom. Here we describe the beginning and the end essay of Khajeh Nasir Al-din Tusi. Seyed Heidar Amuli (Shia scholar and philosopher 8 H.G.) in Jame Al-asrar said: “The beginning and the end essay is written by Khajeh Tusi”. This book is a reference book in Hikmat Al-Muta’aliyah(Transcendent theosophy) known as Asfar (four journeys of intellect) of Mulla Sadra. Mulla Sadra used the beginning and the end essay from Sheikh Tusi in chapter 7 and 11 of his Asfar book. He mentioned that Sheikh was a great scholar. Mulla Faiz Kashani (student of Mulla Sadra) also used this essay in his book (Elm Al-Yaqin). Mula Hadi Sabzevari (great scholar and philosopher) also used this essay in his book (explanation of Asfar). One of our successes when we were teaching Asfar was to find all the reference books that were used by Mulla Sadra. We learned this essay from Sheikh Tusi to be extremely useful in describing truth of humans.
The main purpose of my explanation is to reveal important and practical facts and secrets of each chapter in the essay. It was decided not to describe in more detail since that might cause some confusion for some people and it would be exceptionally long, so my explanation might be used as an introduction for others to discuss each chapter in more detail. In each chapter we used the Holy Quran’s verses, traditions from the Ahl Al-Bait and wise words from some scholars to explain the key messages of each chapter. Sheikh Tusi called this essay “Remembrance of the beginning and the end”. This name is from the Holy Quran (Surah Muzzammil verse 19 “This is a remembrance and whoever wants, he may take a path towards his Lord”1).
In this essay, Sheikh Tusi explained human beings in each world except in chapter 2, 17, and in some other places. He briefly discussed about Lord and human’s instinct nature (Fetrah) but not in as much detail as Mulla Sadra and Avicenna discussed. This essay could be a significant help on self-knowledge. Many Muslim societies are not aware of the deep understanding of the Holy Quran’s verses; unfortunately, most of them are just understanding the apparent meaning of the Holy Quran’s verses and a few of them truthfully understand the inner meaning of it. With the following verse of the Quran, we start our explanation: “And he (Noah) said: Embark on it! In Allah Name shall be its sailing and its berthing. Verily my Lord is the Forgiving, the Merciful”2.
1- إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِ تَذْكِرَةٌ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ اتَّخَذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا 2- وَقَالَ ارْكَبُوا فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Khajeh Tusi’s Introduction
“Our Lord let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from your mercy. Indeed, you are the Bestower”. “Our Lord, surely You will gather the people for a Day about which there is no doubt. Indeed, Allah does not fail in His promise”1. Praise be to God who is the beginning of all things and the end of all things, but he is all of them. And peace be upon the prophets who are the visible path of the people from the beginning and the end, especially upon the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family.
A dear friend of mine begged me to write about what the seekers of the path to the Hereafter have seen, what is stated in the Holy Quran, and what prophets and saints said about resurrection, heaven, hell, and other things the people of insight observe. However, this supplication was unfounded in the sense that not everything is for everyone, and not everyone can see, not everything one can see he will know, not everything he knows he can say, not everything he says can be written. Seeing is not like knowing, knowing is not like telling and telling is not writing (The most certain would be seeing then knowing then telling and at last writing). But because he was fond of it, I had no choice but to do as much as possible. So, if this essay fails to mean what it means, it should not be reprimanded because the excuse is clear. And he and other practitioners should consider and study with satisfaction, and if they see any gaps, correction is considered obligatory.
“And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return”2, “Indeed, this is a reminder, so whoever wills may take to his Lord a path”3, “And you do not will except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise”, “He admits whom He wills into His mercy; but the wrongdoers – He has prepared for them a painful punishment”4, Oh God, show us the truth as truth, grant us its followers, show us falsehood as falsehood, and grant us to avoid it and guide me to your mercy for the sake of prophet Muhammad (S) who is your slave, indeed you are over all thing competent and you are sufficient for us5.
This essay includes 20 chapters.
- Attributes of the path of the Hereafter, its mystic seekers, the causes of ignorance by people, and its consequences.
- In referring to the beginning and resurrection and coming from the first nature and reaching there and mentioning the Qadr Night and the Day of Judgment,
- In referring to both worlds and mentioning the ranks of people in this world and in the Hereafter.
- In referring to the place and time of the Hereafter.
- In referring to assembling of all creatures.
- Mentioning the condition of the people’s guilds in that world and mentioning heaven and hell.
- In referring to the right path6.
- In referring to the book of deeds7 and the descent of angels and devils to the virtuous and the sinner.
1- رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ * رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ جَامِعُ النَّاسِ لِيَوْمٍ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ 2- وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ ۚ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ 3- إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِ تَذْكِرَةٌ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ اتَّخَذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا 4- وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا * يُدْخِلُ مَن يَشَاءُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ ۚ وَالظَّالِمِينَ أَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا 5- اللهم أرنا الحق حقاً وارزقنا اتباعه وأرنا الباطل باطلاً وارزقنا اجتنابه 6- الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ 7- صحیفه اعمال
- In referring to the rewards and reckonings and classes of the reckonings.
- In pointing to the weight of action (deeds) and mentioning about “mizan”1 (scale).
- skies complications2.
- In pointing to the inflation of Sur3 and the transformation of the earth and the sky.
- In referring to the situations that will occur on the Day of Judgment and the knowledge of the creation of the universe.
- In referring to the gates of heaven and hell.
- In referring to the fire of hell.
- In referring to rivers in paradise.
- In referring to the treasure of heaven and hell and the arrival of people to the first nature that they were.
- Referring to Touba tree4 and Zaqoom tree5.
- In referring to fair women with large eyes6.
- In referring to reward and punishment and God’s justice.
1- میزان 2- وطی سمأ 3- نفخات صور 4- درخت طوبى 5- درخت زقوم 6- حور العين
Allameh Hassanzadeh Introduction
Praise be to God who is the beginning of all things and the end of all things, but he is all of them. This complete word is a reference to monotheism from the point of view of the complete friends of God1. According to some of our scholars (may God be pleased with them), this is Islamic monotheism. “Verily the(true) religion with Allah is Islam”2. Since God Almighty is glorified from the beginning and the end, meaning he is eternal, and he is the beginning and the end of all creatures. Whoever has the beginning, and the end cannot be pure needless and independent3, pure perfection4 and aseity5. For this reason, we started with this sentence that “since He is free from the beginning and the end then He is the beginning and the end”. Know that Samadi’s existence6 is interpreted as absolute existence so he has no beginning and no end, but “He is the first and the last”7, basically He is the beginning and end of all.
For the first time, I have taken the love of the beginning and the end of this phrase from the perfume of it in my heart, then started to study it. I have learned that from the theologian Sabzevari in his commentary on Asfar, and then from the great mystic Sayed Haidar Amuli in Jame ‘al-Asrar. Sadr al-Muta’allehin says in the following narration about divine knowledge and the supernatural: “If existence does not exist, nothing will exist in the intellect and neither outside of it, but He is actually themselves and He is the one who manifests in different ranks and is apparent with their figures and truths, in the knowledge and the object”8.
As we have said, this sweet and pleasant essay has caused me to start learning about this. During Dhu al-Qaeda in 1389 AH, I received a copy of it which was printed in lead letters from a friend. I eagerly tried to reproduce it and finished rewriting it on the eighth of Dhu al-Hijjah in the same year. But I could not find the introduction which I saw from theologian Sabzevari. Therefore, it is doubtful that this essay may not be the beginning and the end of Khajeh Tusi, or if it is, it is incomplete, as it was stated on the back: “The beginning and the end of Khajeh Nasir al-Din Muhammad Tusi.”
After a few months, I found a collection of lithographs, a few essays from Khajeh Tusi: 1. Free Will and Fatalism9, 2. The Beginning and the End, 3. The World Cup10, 4. Jami’s Lavayeh, and 5. two lyric poems by the great mystic Agha Mohammad Reza Ghomshei. After comparing this with the one I have rewritten, I just realized that the introduction of Khajeh Tusi’s book was deleted. The reason for that probably was because Khajeh Tusi explained the Holy verse of Quran: “He is the First and the Last, the Apparent and the Hidden, and He is, of all things, Knowing”11. Such eliminations and distortions have been done in many books and essays, even in narrative and traditions. From the beginning, they wanted to do the same with the Holy Quran.
1- أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّـهِ 2- إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّـهِ الْإِسْلَامُ 3- صمد مطلق 4- كمال و حسن مطلق 5- واجب الوجود على الاطلاق 6- وجود صمدى 7- هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَ الْآخِرُ 8- ان الوجود لو لم يكن، لم يكن شىء لا فى العقل و لا فى الخارج بل هو عينها و هو الذى يتجلى فى مراتبه و يظهر بصورها و حقائقها فى العلم و العين 9-جبر و اختيار 10-جام جهان نماى 11ـ هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَ الْآخِرُ وَ الظَّاهِرُ وَ الْباطِنُ
“Because you have blue glass is why you see your world blue. You have changed the truth, change yourself, not the Holy Quran.”
Our essay on “the unity from the point of view of the mystic and the wise people”1 will be extremely useful for those who seek the truth, it would also lighten the true path for them. mystic Sayed Haidar Amuli in Jame ‘al-Asrar called this essay “The Beginning and the End”2.
Similarly, one of my dear friends begged me to write a commentary for this essay.
1- رساله وحدت از ديدگاه عارف و حكيم 2- و الحق أن هذا الكلام حجة قاطعة من طرف العلماء الالهيين على العلماء الرسميين من لسان مثل هذا الشخص الذى هو حجة واضحة من بينهم بالعلم و الفضل، و علم قائم من جملتهم بالشرف و الرتبة. و ايضا ليس كلامه فى هذا الباب منحصرا فى هذا بل له رسائل و كتب فيه أقلها «أوصاف الاشراف فى السير و السلوك» و «آغاز و انجام» و غير ذلك