The Civic Implications of the Mystical Thought of Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 MA in Islamic Political Thought, Department of Political Science, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran


Mystical texts are an important part of the intellectual heritage of Iran and Islamic World. In spite of the differences of opinion between scholars about the history of political thought in Iran, there is no doubt that mystical tradition was rich and influential in medieval Islamic period. However, most of the research conducted on these texts are in the form of biographies and had almost exclusively concentrated on the literary aspects and moral teachings of these texts. Little attention has been paid to the intellectual themes and implications of these texts for politics and civic engagement in public life in society. A critical reading for the purpose of gaining a deeper and more accurate understanding of  the political value of these texts can be useful in the analyses of the historical development of Iranian-Islamic thought. Furthermore, by doing so, we might find appropriate answers to the challenges of today's Iranian society. Abu’l-maʿālī ʿabdallāh Bin Abībakr Mohammad Mayānejī Known as Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni is one of the incomparable thinkers in Iranian-Islamic thought. He was considered one of the Sufi sheikhs of his time and had many disciples, some of whom had political influence and positions in the Seljuk political system. He died at the young age of thirty-three when the Seljuk executed him in 1131, but his works secured him a place in the history of Iran as a mystical philosopher. Henry Corbin, a French theologian and Iranologist with renowned expertise in Islamic philosophy and Sufism, has referred to him as a jurist, mystic, philosopher, and mathematician, but he is better known as a mystic among the Iranian scholars of Islamic-Iranian thought. Ein Al-Qozāt has not been recognized as a political
thinker in the literal sense or a writer who has directly been interested in politics, and thus his works have seldom been evaluated from this perspective. Indeed, some scholars have argued that “mysticism never seeks to add, know, rearrange or improve anything in the earthly world”, and mysticism as an independent epistemological realm is in conflict with politics as a science that is responsible for organizing the public arenas.
In the present study, the authors use certain components of Leo Strauss and Quentin Skinner's methodology to analyze important writings of Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni, particularly his letters in order to reveal the civic virtues and capacities of thought of this famous mystic, and find political significance not previously traced. The main research question to be answered is: How can civic life be organized by relying on the basic concepts of the mystical thought of Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni.
By civic implications, we mean virtues such as justice, love, friendship, and tolerance, which being at the junction of mystical thought and political thought, strengthen social relations and create the desired political order. In the view of Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni, justice is considered as an element that provides a basis for welfare for all members of society.
Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni considered love as an inherent thing and believed that the love of God is hidden in the human nature, and wrote that the love of a human being to another human being is useful in moving towards transcendental love. He described love as the cause of moral strength, the promoter of friendship, and the basis for the movement toward true love leading to public good and eternal bliss. By his attention to love, Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni rejected prejudice and called on different societies to nurture friendship. He considered all religions as being equal and worthy of respect, and saw all religions and sects on the path to love. In fact, he considered love as the basis for tolerance, acceptance of pluralism and reconciliation of societies. In spite of the unsettled situation of his time, which was full of prejudice and rage, he insisted on the solidarity and reconciliation of religions. He showed his conviction that the observance of the principle of tolerance is a necessity in society. In conclusion, the authors’ comprehensive analysis of Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedānis writings show a kind of systematic interactions between the various aspects of his thought, which was ultimately aimed at establishing a well-organized and just society free from crises, moral disorders and social conflicts. Introducing Ein Al-Qozāt Hamedāni as a great thinker in the mystical tradition with no interest in politics is an example of a contradiction in the narratives that have defined mystical thought in fundamental conflict with politics and political action, because of the characterization of mysticism as a promoter of apostasy and isolationism.  


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