Akhlaq-i Muhtashami (book)

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Akhlaq-i Muhtashami
AuthorNasir al-Din al-Tusi
Original titleاخلاق محتشمی
Series1 vol.
Published1377 SH., Tehran
PublisherDanishgah-i Tehran

Akhlāq-i Muḥtashamī (Persian:اخلاق محتشمی) is an ethical book written by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in Persian containing different issues in ethics. Many advice, maxims, wise words and analogies have been mentioned in this book. This book is more practical than theoretical.

This book has forty chapters in different fields of ethics. Three other treatises are brought after the forty chapters.

About the Author

Muhammad b. Muhammad Hasan al-Tusi known as Khwajih Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (672/1273-4) was among influential Muslim thinkers. He was the author of many books and treatises in ethics, logics, philosophy, Kalam, mathematics and astronomy, such as Akhlaq-i Nasiri, Awsaf al-ashraf, Asas al-iqtibas, Sharh al-Isharat, Tajrid al-I'tiqad, Jami' al-hisab, the famous book of Zij Ilkhani and al-Tadhkira fi 'ilm al-hay'a on astronomy. He also established the observatory of Marahgeh and the library of Marahgeh holding 400 thousand volumes of books.

Naming and Structure

It became famous as Akhlaq-i Muhtashami because Khwajih Nasir wrote this book for Khwajih Nasir al-Din 'Abd al-Rahim b. Abi Mansur Muhtasham Quhistan.

Akhlaq-i Muhtashami has 40 chapters. In this book, about every topic, verses from the Qur'an, then hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) and sayings from the wise are mentioned.

Content of the Book

In addition to verses and hadiths, Akhlaq-i Muhtashami contains views and sayings of Budharjumihr, Anushirvan, Roshanak, daughter of Dara and also Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Alexander, Pythagoras, and others. Khwajih Nasir tried to gather all select and right opinions about theoretical ethics from all sources available at his time, whether from the glorious Qur'an, prophetic hadiths, Sufis' and ascetics' beliefs, ancient Iranian thoughts and Indian and Greek philosophers, and especially benefitted from the sayings of Ikhwan al-Safa and Isma'ili da'is [missionary].

In the book, especially in the second and third chapters, he has shown his belief in Shiism and his unprejudiced opinion in mentioning the opinions of philosophers is a reason for his philosophical manner, open-mindedness and following scientific methods in writing the book.

The forty chapters of Akhlaq-i Muhtashami begin with the first chapter on religion and knowing the Creator and end with the fortieth chapter on stories, wonders, maxims and pieces of advice.

After the forty chapters, three other works are brought as following:

  • Tarjuma al-adab al-wajiz li l-walad al-saghir written by Ibn Muqaffa' and translated by Khwajih Nasir al-Din al-Tusi containing pieces of advice and instructions to the children and youth about manners of life.
  • Risala dar tawalla wa tabarra, in which Khwaja al-Tusi analyses the issue of tawalla and tabarra [Befriending and rejection] – which is among the signs of Shia – from a philosophical point of view. An important point is that the writing style of this treatise is much different from his other treatises and it is more a scientific text than a literary text, because in this treatise, the author avoids any approach leading to pretention and even avoids repeated and unfavorable additional comments.
  • Maqala fi fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (a) in which, many hadiths about the virtues of Imam Ali (a) are collected. One of such hadiths is that according to a hadith from the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a) and the Prophet Noah (a), the Prophet Abraham (a), the Prophet Moses (a) and the Prophet Jesus (a) are at the same rank.

Chapters of the Book

This book has 40 chapters on different religious and moral issues and contains many maxims and examples.

  1. on religion and knowing the Creator
  2. on knowing prophethood and Imamate
  3. on friendship and enmity and rejection
  4. on unity and keeping away from arrogance and hypocrisy
  5. on jihad and sacrifice in the way of God
  6. on wisdom and knowledge and caring about actions
  7. on obedience, worship and its benefits
  8. on supplication, charity and its benefits
  9. on God-wariness and ascesis
  10. on gratitude and patience
  11. on God's contentment and submission
  12. on tawakkul
  13. on act of goodness and avoiding the evil
  14. on keeping away from oppression
  15. on criticism of this world
  16. on turning away from this world and desiring about the hereafter
  17. on the harms of accumulating wealth
  18. on the harms of greed
  19. on the benefits of poverty over wealth
  20. on trustworthiness and avoiding betrayal
  21. on truthfulness and avoiding lying
  22. on the fruits of silence and keeping the tongue
  23. on the harms of the mistakes of tongue
  24. on goodness of temper and honorable characteristics
  25. on forbearance, forgiveness and controlling anger
  26. on the harms of envy and hostility
  27. on humbleness
  28. on criticism of arrogance and self-conceit
  29. on the merits of generosity and sacrifice
  30. on the vices of niggardliness
  31. on bravery and resistance
  32. on chastity and suppressing vain desires
  33. on friendship and honesty
  34. on associating with scholars and the good
  35. on avoiding assembly of the evil and the ignorant
  36. on characteristics of Sayyids and the good
  37. on opinion and tactic
  38. on seeking happiness and mentioning the good
  39. on the example, evidences, manners and advice
  40. on stories, wonders, moral points and advice

Tarjumat al-adab al-wajiz lil-walad al-saghir

Risala dar tawalla wa tabarra

Maqala fi fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin Ali (a)