Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law & Political Science, University of Tehran, Iran
A PhD Candidate in Political Science, Faculty of Law & Political Science, University of Tehran, Iran
Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tusi is regarded as both a philosopher and a theologian, although theological themes and arguments are dominant in his work. The main objective of the present study is to focus on Khajeh Nasir's theological works in order to reveal the essence and nature of his political thought. A comprehensive understanding of Khajeh Nasir 's political and social thoughts could be gained by examining his philosophical views in his writings, particularly in Akhlāq-e Naseri as his most important work in the political-social domain. The following research question is posed in this article: What are the basic characteristics of the theological-political thought of Khajeh Nasir-al-Din Tusi? Since Islamic theology is the realm that considers the principles of religious creeds called Kalām; we shall pay special attention to this topic. Our approach is descriptive-analytical, and thus we conduct a text-oriented analysis of basic concepts such as taklif, grace, prophecy and Imamate in Khajeh Nasir's theological works.
Theologians generally begin their discussions with seemingly self-evident and rational principles, and then deduce the theological doctrines from those principles. What is ultimately elucidated in the epistemology and methodology of Islamic theology or Kalām is the intellect bounded by the revelation. The doctrinal and theological principles are fundamentally present as axioms and presuppositions in the Islamic-political thoughts. In certain and principal ways, there has always been a conflict between philosophy and theology, reason and revelation. In other words, philosophers had to defend the legitimacy of philosophy and wisdom before the court of Sharia. Therefore, a kind of epistemological fluctuations and uncertainties would be seen in their works. Khajeh Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, as a distinguished scholar, is no exception. On the one hand, he is the author of philosophical works in defense of philosophers against the attacks of theologians and on the other hand, he is one of the prominent Shiite theologians with the great works that address issues like prophecy, Imamate and the relation between society and religious faith. It is asserted that the ‘Grace of God’ is essential for happiness and prosperity of the human beings. The greatest example of this grace is to dispatch the holy instructors, prophets and Imams, to guide and purify the human beings, their communities or societies.
It is clear in Khajeh Nasir’s works that taklif is assumed to be the foundation of the human being’s ultimate and supreme destiny. The human being needs ‘divine grace’ through revelation and prophecy, because his reason alone is inadequate for finding a way to prosperity and achieving perfection. As a Shi'ite theologian, Khajeh Nasir describes Imamate along the prophecies, and believes the principles of faith, religious creeds and jurisprudence or Sharia are inseparable from politics. The benefits and blessings of revelation and religion would not be excluded and confined to the hereafter world. The human being in his very origin is related to God. He is created by God’s absolute wisdom and surrounded by his omnipotence and omnipresence. According to these facts, the God better knows the ways of happiness of the human being.
In this system of knowledge, the ultimate goal of the politics is to be at the service of the revelation and religion; here is the point of connection between religious creeds, jurisprudence and politics. Theology is the knowledge of the principles of Shari'a; and Shari'a is a set of individual and social laws that every person is obliged to obey in order to ensure both the good of this world and the good of the hereafter. The findings of the study demonstrate that the fundamental relation between religion and politics, the centrality of taklif and worship with all its requirements in approach to the human beings and human society, together with transcendent politics as the goal of the politics, are among the main characteristics of Khajeh Nasir’s political thought.