Muhammad Husayn Tuni

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Muhammad Husayn Tuni
محمد حسین فاضل تونی.jpg
Personal Information
Full NameMuhammad Husayn Tuni
Well-Known AsFadil Tuni
Birth1298/1880-1, Tun in Khurasan
Studied inTun, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tehran
Death1380/1961, Tehran
Burial PlaceShaykhan cemetery in Qom
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsAqa Mirza Hashim Ishkiwari, Jahangir khan Qashqa'i, Akhund Fisharaki, Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Khatun Abadi, Adib Neyshaburi,
StudentsHasan Hasanzada Amuli, Jawadi Amuli

Muḥammad Ḥusayn Tunī (Persian: محمد حسین تونی) (b. 1298/1880-1 – d. 1380/1961) known as Faḍil-i Tunī (Persian: فاضل تونی) was a mujtahid, man of literature, teacher of theosophy and 'Irfan and Arabic literature at the University of Tehran. He studied in Tun, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tehran and benefitted from the classes of great scholars such as Adib Neyshaburi, Jahangirkhan Qashqa'i, Akhund Fisharaki and Aqa Mirza Hashim Ishkiwari. He had some works on Kalam, Islamic philosophy, theosophy and 'Irfan in style of books such as Hikmat qadim and Ilahiyyat. His fame was mostly in rational sciences. Hasanzada Amuli and Jawadi Amuli were among his students. He is buried in Shaykhan Cemetery in Qom.

His Birth

He was born in 1298/1880-1, in Tun, a village of Ferdows in Southern Khorasan province. His father Mulla 'Abd al-'Azim was a clergy and sent his son to Maktab (elementary school) before the age of education.

His Education

In His Hometown

After learning "reading" and "writing" in a short time, Tuni began learning the basics of Arabic literature and also memorized all the Qur'an. At the beginning of his education, his father passed away. In his hometown, Tuni studied Suyuti's commentary on Ibn Malik's Alfiyya (al-Bahja al-mardiyya) with Mulla Muhammad Baqir Tuni and al-Mughni with Aqa Mirza Husayn and also studied a part of Mutawwal as well.

In Mashhad

At the age of 17, he went to Mashhad to continue his education. There, his teachers were Adib Neyshaburi for Mutawwal who titled him "Fadil" (meritorious); Aqa Mirza 'Abd al-Rahman Mudarris Shirazi for a part of Mutawwal, Shaykh Baha'i's Khulasat al-hisab, astronomy and Euclid's thesis; Hujjat al-Islam Bujnurdi for fiqh and Usul and Shaykh Isma'il Qa'ini for Ma'alim.

In Isfahan

After six years, he went to Isfahan together with Shaykh Muhammad who later became famous as Shaykh Muhammad Hakim in order to learn philosophy and perfect his knowledge in fiqh and usul. At that time, Isfahan was the cradle of knowledge and known as Dar al-'Ilm (cradle of knowledge) and teaching religious sciences and philosophy was common there. Al-Fadil Tuni and Shaykh Muhammad rented a room there and began their education there enthusiastically but with poverty.

From the first days of staying in Isfahan, al-Fadil Tuni attended Jahangir khan Qashqa'i's class of Manzuma and after six years finished it. Jahangir khan taught Hakim Sabziwari's Manzuma in six years and explained most of Shifa, Isharat, Hikmat al-Ishraq and Asfar beside it. Simultaneously with learning Manzuma, Tuni learned fiqh from great scholars of Isfahan such as Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Khatun Abadi, Akhund Fisharaki and Sayyid Ali Najaf Abadi. He stayed in Isfahan for 11 years which according to him was the best part of his life when he used to spend his full time on learning, discussion, worshiping and self-building.

In Tehran

After 11 years of staying in Isfahan, al-Fadil had a trip to Khurasan and once again came back to Isfahan; however, in the middle of the way, when he arrived in Tehran, he received the news that Aqa mirza Hashim Ishkiwari, the famous teacher of philosophy had begun teaching the Sharh Miftah al-ghayb in the new Sepahsalar school; thus, he stopped in Tehran for some days and attended the class of Ishkiwari. Scientific power and the spiritual presence of Ishkiwari attracted al-Fadil so much that he changed his mind about going to Isfahan and stayed in Tehran. In addition to Sharh Miftah al-ghayb, he also learned Sharh Fusus al-hikam and Tamhid al-qawa'id from Ishkiwari as well.

His Teaching

After his teacher, Aqa Mirza Hashim Ishkiwariو passed away, Tuni went to Dar al-Shifa school and began teaching there. In the school of "political sciences and Dar al-Funun", he taught Arabic, fiqh and logic and since 1313 sh/1934-5, he began teaching Arabic and later logic and philosophy in Dar al-Mu'allimin-i 'Ali which was newly established. He also taught philosophy and Arabic literature in the Faculty of Literature and Humanities and faculty of Rational and Traditional Sciences since its establishment in the University of Tehran.

It is said that his classes were very instructive and informative. He taught different issues in a relaxed manner and calmly. He simplified and illuminated most complicated and elaborate issues and benefitted from the Qur'an, hadiths and poems from Rumi, Hafiz, Shaykh Mahmud Shabistari, Jami and others in his class and sometimes used humor in his speech.

His Scientific and Moral Merits

His scientific and moral merits were many. His incredible memory, accompanying competent teachers, great enthusiasm in learning and the many years of teaching and research made him gain a lot in Arabic literature, philosophy, 'Irfan and Qur'anic exegesis. Many teachers and great scholars acknowledged his knowledge and competence. In a letter, Ayatullah Burujirdi called him "'Imad al-'Ulama' al-Muta'allihin" (the pillar of theologian scholars). Muhammad Ali Furughi in the introduction to the translation of Funun sama'-i tabiy'i, Ali Akbar Dehkhoda in the entry of Ibn Sina, and Shahid Murtada Mutahhari in the introduction to al-Tahsil have acknowledged Tuni's knowledge, accuracy and service to science and philosophy.

Hasan Hasanzada Amuli and 'Abd Allah Jawadi Amuli were both students of Fadil Tuni and mentioned his name with great respect.

Al-Fadil Tuni greatly observed piety, obligations, purification of soul and helping the needy and disregarded worldly attractions. His properties were only a small house and some shelves of books.

Thanks to his great memory, al-Fadil Tuni did not need to note. He rarely used pen and his writing was very slow and basic handwritten style, therefore, his written works are limited and most of what is left from him are the class notes of his students which have been published as books. However, he has written short commentaries on many mystical and philosophical works including Asfar and the chapter about logic in Shifa and has well explained complicated issues.

His Most Important Printed Works

Most important printed works of al-Fadil Tuni are:

  • Jozwe-i Sarf (Tehran 1315 sh/1936-7): This almost comprehensive book contains Arabic analysis of some verses from the Qur'an which Tuni taught in "Mu'assisa Wa'z wa Khitaba" (the institute for sermon making) and published it himself. In this book, he has mentioned points well related to the verse he explains from Qur'an's exegesis, semantics, Kalam, theosophy and 'Irfan.
  • Gloss on Sharh Fusus al-hikam (Tehran 1316 sh/1937-8) which contains mystical points and is regarded as his doctoral thesis. This book contains explanations about the introduction of Dawud Qaysari on Sharh Fusus al-hikam. Badi' al-Zaman Furuzanfar has written an introduction on this gloss.
  • The grammar section of the books on "Arabic morphology, grammar and recitation" which was included in Arabic textbooks of the three years of high school in Iran.
  • "An anthology of the Qur'an and Nahj al-balagha" which is a collection of Quranic verses and maxims and some sermons from Nahj al-balagha with the explanation of vocabulary.
  • The pamphlet of logic which contains his writings in the field of philosophy.
  • Ilahiyyat (Tehran 1333 sh/1954-5) which contains the most important issues in theosophy. It is a very valuable and rich book in content which is the last work of Tuni.

Al-Fadil Tuni had a great contribution in Muhammad Ali Furughi's translation of Funun sama' tabi'i.

Books of al-Fadil Tuni which the Faculty of theology of the University of Tehran bought them with the help of Badi' al-Zaman Furuzanfar are kept in that faculty.

His Demise

Tuni was retired from the University of Tehran in 1954, passed away in 1961 in Tehran and was buried in Shaykhan cemetery in Qom. Jalal al-Din Huma'i composed a poem on the date of his death which is engraved on Tuni's grave. The journal of the faculty of Literature of the University of Tehran (issue no.3, vol.9, April of 1962) was published in the memorial of al-Fadil Tuni.