Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani
Hamid al–Din Abu’l–Hasan Ahmad b. ‘Abdallah al–Kirmani (996–1021 CE) was an Isma'ili scholar who served as a da'i, theologian and philosopher under the Fatimid caliph-imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah. He was called upon to refute the dissident da'is, who by proclaiming al-Hakim's divinity had initiated the Druze movement.
A prominent Ismaili da’i or missionary, he was one of the most learned Ismaili theologians and philosophers of the Fatimid period. Al-Kirmani rose to prominence during the reign of Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Hakim (r. 996–1021).
Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani’s date of birth remains unknown, but he seems to have spent the greater part of his life as a Fatimid da’i in Baghdad and Basra.
The central headquarters of the Fatimid da’wa in Cairo considered him as the most learned Ismaili theologian of the time. It was in that capacity that al-Kirmani played an important role in refuting the extremist ideas of some of the da’is. Al-Kirmani was summoned in 1014 or shortly earlier to Cairo where he produced several works to disclaim the extremist doctrines. Al-Kirmani’s writings, which were widely circulated, were to some extent successful in checking the spread of the extremist doctrines.
Of his corpus of nearly thirty works, only eighteen seem to have survived. His major philosophical treatise, the Rahat al-aql (Peace of Mind), was finished in 1020. In this work, Al-Kirmani intended to provide the reader an opportunity to understand how to obtain the eternal life of the mind, the paradise of reason, in a constantly changing world.
Some of his prominent works are:
- Rahat al-‘aql (Peace of Mind, or Comfort of Reason), completed in 1020 and considered his magnum opus
- Al-Aqwal al-dhahabiya, refuting al-Razi's argument against the necessity of revelation
- Kitab al-riyad, a book that propounds the early Isma'ili cosmology.
- Intellectual Life among the Ismailis:An Overview, Farhad Daftary, Intellectual Traditions in Islam, ed.Farhad Daftary, (I.B.Tauris, 2001), 97.
- Intellectual Life among the Ismailis:An Overview, Farhad Daftary, Intellectual Traditions in Islam, 97.
- Paul E. Walker (1999). Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: Ismaili Thought in the Age of al-Hakim. London.
- (French) Daniel De Smet (1995). La Quiétude de l’intellect: Néoplatonisme et gnose ismaélienne dans l’oeuvre de Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani. Louvain.
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