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Jami' al-sa'adat (book)

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Jami' al-sa'adat
Author Mulla Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi
Original title جامِع السَّعادات
Language Arabic
Series 3 vol.
Subject Etichs
Genre Narrative
Published 1312 Sh/1933
English translation
En. title Jami' al-sa'adat: The Collector of Felicities
Translator Shahyar Sa'adat
En. publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt (Arabic: جامِع السَّعادات) is a book in theoretical and practical ethics in Arabic written by Mulla Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi (d. 1209/1795), the philosopher and jurist of the 12th/18th century. It is the first book which covers rational, philosophical, religious, and practical aspects of ethics.

Mi'raj al-sa'ada written by Mulla Ahmad al-Naraqi, son of Mulla Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi is somehow an abridgment of Jami' al-sa'adat in which ethical issues are explained in a clear way so that all people can benefit from them.

Position and Importance

Mulla Mahdi al-Naraqi was very knowledgeable in ethics and theosophy. He was also a great teacher of jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, rijal, and mathematics and wrote different works in these fields.

Some believe that the importance of the book is mostly because the author had great virtues and was faithful and virtuous. Another advantage of Jami' al-sa'adat is that other similar books have either worked on philosophical and rational aspects of ethics (e.g. al-Sa'ada wa l-as'a, Tahdhib al-akhlaq and Akhlaq-i Nasiri) or have addressed religious and practical aspects of ethics (eg. Ihya' 'ulum al-din, Kimya-yi sa'adat, and Mahajjat al-bayda') while Jami' al-sa'adat have discussed ethics from both perspectives.

Structure

According to the author, Jami' al-sa'adat only discusses one part of the ancient practical wisdom (i.e. ethics) and does not talk about its other topics (including "the management of the house" or "social politics"), since the author's intention has only been correction of the spiritual and moral purification.

In the introduction to the book, the author discusses the way to preserve moderation, general and special treatments of soul diseases, the faculty of intellect, issues regarding the faculty of anger, virtues and vices of the faculty of desire, studying virtues and vices of these faculties or common between two of them.

Jami' al-sa'adat includes three chapters:

  1. On preliminaries of ethics such as immateriality and immortality of the soul, the influence of human beings' nature on ethics, the role of education on ethics, value of ethics due to its subject and goal, the reality of human beings from different aspects and that the goal of happiness is resemblance to the origin or the Creator who is God;
  2. On different dispositions covering issues such as virtues and vices, discussions on the four virtues (i.e. wisdom, justice, bravery and chastity), the truth of justice, the theoretical intellect as the perceiver of virtues and vices, moderation and the extremities in ethics;
  3. On felicitous disposition including an introduction and four chapter.

Jami' al-sa'adat begins with two essential topics: immateriality of the soul which is also discussed preliminarily in many other books of ethics; and the other which is the challenge between the good and the happiness because the goal of spiritual purification is to reach the good and happiness.

The author believes that establishing religious laws and sending prophets has been to help human beings promote above the level of animals and devils and reach top heavens and it will not be achieved without purging vices and being adorned with virtues. This purification depends on recognition of destructive and delivering attributes, their functions and the way of treating vices and that is the truth, God has praised its possessors and its knowledge is necessary. This wisdom is the means of true life and godly happiness.

According to the author, theosophers of the past has made great efforts in explaining and spreading ethics due to their understanding; however, after coming of Islam moral points were explained in details so that what previous theosophers and mystiscs of different schools of thought and religions had mentioned were inconsiderable in comparison with them. Jami' al-sa'adat gathered a summary of religious points on ethics and a selection of what mystics and philosophers of the past had said.

Features

Attention to Previous Works

In the first and second chapters of the book, the author has quoted many points from Pythagoras, Pluto, Aristotle, Abu 'Ali Miskawayh and other philosophers.

It seems that in theoretical ethics, al-Naraqi has benefited from Abu 'Ali Miskawayh's Tahdhib al-akhlaq and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's Akhlaq-i Nasiri more than any other books. He regards Abu 'Ali Miskawayh the great teacher of ethics and the first Islamic scholar who has written a book on ethics.

Trusting Unreliable Hadiths

The author has trusted Mursal hadiths regardless of their authenticity and has not mentioned their references. He also quoted hadiths from some books such as Jami' al-akhbar and Misbah al-shari'a, some hadiths of which are forged.

References