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Faḍl-i Ḥaqq Khayrābādī’s (d. 1861), al-Hadiyya al-saʿīdiyya

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the physics of Faḍl-i Ḥaqq Khayrābādī (d. 1861) as it is found in his al-Hadiyya al-saʿīdiyya fī l-ḥikma al-ṭabīʿiyya, which is arguably the last independent work written within the tradition of post-Avicennan natural philosophy. The study particularly emphasizes Khayrābādī’s discussion of natural bodies with an eye to how he both criticizes earlier atomic theories while also trying to incorporate elements from them into his own continuous analysis of natural bodies. Additional subjects of discussion include Khayrābādī’s account of motion and time and their continuity, his critique of post-Copernican astronomy and defense of geocentricism, and finally aspects of his philosophical psychology as they apply to apprehension and perception.

Keywords: Faḍl-i Ḥaqq Khayrābādī, Hadiyya, natural philosophy post-Avicennan, atomism critique, motion, time, geocentricism defense, philosophical psychology

24.1. What Is the Hadiyya saʿīdiyya?

Al-Hadiyya al-saʿīdiyya fī l-ḥikma al-ṭabīʿiyya by the Indian scholar Faḍl-i Ḥaqq b. Faḍl-i Imām Khayrābādī (d. 1861) is perhaps the last independent work written within the Arabic-Islamic tradition of physics (Ṭabīʿiyyāt). Its exact date of completion is not known; however, since it is dedicated to Muḥammad Saʿīd ʿAlī Khān, one may confidently state that it was written between 1840 and 1846, which are the dates of his reign as the nawwāb of Rampūr (Hadiyya [Lahore], 7). Some reports that seem to elaborate on the standard and pervasive leitmotif of hurried and careless scholarly composition (Hadiyya [Multan], 20) claim that this work is a compilation of lessons the author used to give his son ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq (d. 1898) en route to the British East India Company Residency in Delhi. One such report states that Khayrābādī would write down a daily lesson, which he would impart to his son while they traveled on an elephant. When the section on the heavens was reached, the author’s students insisted that the various lessons be collected in the form of a book. The Gift (al-hadiyya) was a fulfillment of their request (Hadiyya [Multan], 12), and, within fifty years of being penned, it was incorporated into some madrasa curricula of South Asia (see the curricular list in Malik, 1977, 540).

It is very likely that the book immediately became a subject of discussion and study among scholars. Before 1877, objections to some arguments (including grammatical usages) had been put forth by Saʿd Allāh b. Niẓām al-Dīn al-Murādābādī (d. 1877) (Ḥasani, Nuzha, 7:221–22) and they received responses from Sulṭān Aḥmad b. Allāh Bakhsh (fl. 1922) (Ḥasani, Nuzha, 8:175–76), a student of the aforementioned ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq Khayrābādī. Already by 1875, ʿAbd Allāh b. Āl Muḥammad al-Bilgrāmī (p. 536) (d. 1887) (Ḥasanī, Nuzha, 8:303) had written a commentary on the Hadiyya, entitled al-Tuḥfa al-ʿaliyya, which was dedicated to the Nawwāb Muḥammad Kalb ʿAlī Khān of Rampur (d. 1887). In his introduction, the commentator mentions that he was asked to write his commentary when he suggested the printing of the Hadiyya to some publishers, so that the book might be made easily available. Here he also notes that the Hadiyya includes proofs disregarded by curricular texts, implying its suitability as a replacement of inferior works in the curriculum (Hadiyya [Lahore], 1–2). As the Hadiyya does not cover all the traditional sections on the human soul, it was augmented with five additional parts in a short appendix, entitled al-Hidāya al-hindiyya ʿalā l-Hadiyya al-saʿīdiyya, by ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq, who completed this task at the behest of Bilgrāmī. In addition to these engagements with the text, we are aware of anonymous margin notes in the very few witnesses preserved in Indian libraries.1 The quick printing of the Hadiyya explains the limited manuscript evidence and also the general dearth of its commentaries and glosses.

As an aside, the introduction of print technology for the production of madrasa texts had the same impact on practically all disciplines of Islamic scholarship. A case in point is the Sullam al-ʿulūm of Muḥibb Allāh al-Bihārī, which attracted the attention of almost ninety commentators and glossators in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Once the text began to be disseminated in lithograph, the commentarial engagement with the text (and so also the growth of the tradition it represented) generally disappeared. (On the impact of print technology on the rational sciences [maʿqūlāt], see Ahmed, forthcoming-a.) Lithograph and typeset prints of the Hadiyya are easily available in Pakistan and India.

The impact of the Hadiyya on subsequent Islamic scholarship in South Asia cannot be gauged at this stage of research, since we know precious little about intellectual history for that period and region. Still, one can assess the significance of the text on its own terms based on two factors. The first is that the Hadiyya is at the far end of a line of physics textbooks that can be traced back to the Ishārāt of Avicenna (980–1037) and the Hidāyat al-ḥikma of al-Abharī (1200–1265). Consequently, by comparing the Hadiyya with these other texts (as well as the commentaries on them), one can obtain a concrete understanding of the evolution of natural philosophy in postclassical Islamic lands. Indeed the evolution of this textbook tradition was driven by its own internal dialectic. A base textbook became the subject of commentary, and certain topics became focal points for commentary. A subsequent textbook author then distilled out and presented in simplified form the settled responses to those focal issues—should they be reached—or—as was just as often the case—those issues continued to be hotly debated. Additionally, the textbook author supplemented or introduced new material pertinent to a basic understanding of physics as it was understood at his time. Thereafter the process of commentary followed by distillation began again. Some sense of this exchange (p. 537) can be seen by a comparison of the content of these three works presented in the appendix of this chapter. Khayrābādī’s Hadiyya, then, in a real sense is an attempt to bring to culmination the field of Arabo-Islamic physics. It does so by initially laying out some basic definitions and rules, which are then deployed sequentially for an elaboration of an entire system with astonishing economy of argument. Thus the first part of this chapter presents the essentials of the structure and argument of the Hadiyya in an abridged form, so as to give the reader a panoramic view not only of the system of physics, but also an appreciation of the mechanics of the arguments undergirding it. Using this summary, others may hopefully begin fully to assess the Hadiyya’s contribution to the field of Arabo-Islamic physics.

The second factor that one should take into account when assessing the significance of the Hadiyya is that unlike other texts in the tradition, which frequently appear insular to a dynamic tradition of internal textual dialectic, the Hadiyya is concerned with developments in other fields, and tries to incorporate what is valuable while weeding out what seems questionable. For example, in partial response to post-Copernican developments in astronomy, the Hadiyya consciously incorporates a defense of a geocentric planetary model within its primary task of unfolding systematic physics. Also it draws upon kalām atomistic insights into the nature of motion and time and then integrates them into a physics that is committed to continua. Moreover, it also argues that the soul, as a unified entity, is responsible for all perceptual and intelligible apprehensions. What one sees in the Hadiyya is that while in general for his inspiration Khayrābādī returns to Avicenna’s Shifāʾ—which the subsequent textbook tradition frequently ignored in favor of Avicenna’s smaller encyclopedia, the Ishārāt—Khayrābādī often applies Avicenna’s argumentation in wholly novel, even anti-Avicennan ways. The second section of this chapter explores certain select instances of such disciplinary apertures and creative developments within the Hadiyya.

24.2. The Systematization of a Tradition: Structure and Argument

As one can see from a quick look at the appendix of this chapter, the structure of the Hadiyya is similar to that of the physics sections of Avicenna’s Ishārāt and al-Abharī’s Hidāyat al-ḥikma. In fact one may safely say that it represents the continuity of the Ishārāt tradition via the lens of the Hidāya and the commentarial tradition of the latter in the work of Qāḍī Mīr al-Maybudī (d. 909/1504) and, to a lesser extent, of Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1045/1635). In fact, the commentaries of Mullā Ṣadrā and Maybudī were the main interpretive traditions of the Hidāya studied in the South Asian curricula, which remains the case even today. Given this intellectual pedigree, most of the positions on various problems of physics are shared by all three works and, to this extent, the Hadiyya’s contribution to the discipline is generally limited. Its significance lies chiefly (p. 538) in its systematization of physics by appeal to a small set of principles, definitions, and rules, and its integration into that system of elements from other fields. This section aims to lay bare the system as a proof that unfolds in the course of the book.

Khayrābādī opens the Hadiyya with a description of the purview of the discipline of physics; he arrives at his positions by a method of division. His presentation may be summarized as follows.

  1. 1. Philosophy is concerned with discovering the states of existents.

  2. 2. These existents are either subject to man’s power and choice or not.

  3. 3. The former are the subject of practical philosophy and the latter the subject of theoretical philosophy.

  4. 4. Theoretical philosophy has three types of subjects: existents that require matter in their mental and extramental existence; existents that require matter only in external existence; and existents that do not require matter in either mode of existence.

  5. 5. That theoretical knowledge that concerns itself with subjects of the first type is physics [Hadiyya [Multan], 22–30].

  6. 6. Thus the subject of physics is bodies that require matter in their mental and extramental existence.

  7. 7. Bodies are said homonymously, that is, one way insofar as they are extended in three dimensions and another way insofar as they are natural.

  8. 8. Bodies insofar as they are extended and measureable are subjects of mathematics (4 above).

  9. 9. So physics concerns itself with the natural body, that is, a body insofar as it is subject to movement and rest, or insofar as it is capable of change, or insofar as it has matter, or insofar as it has a nature.

From this point on, the most important arguments and claims of the Hadiyya depend on an understanding of the natural body. Once this natural body is conceptually grasped, practically everything else is shown to be a logical unfolding and implication of its definition. Yet from his reading of works in the tradition of the Posterior Analytics (Kitāb al-Burhān), Khayrābādī is aware that no science demonstrates the definitions of its own subject matter. He also realizes the incomparable significance of defining the natural body for his entire project. Thus he writes:

The investigation of the essence (mahiyya) of the body—whether it is composed of indivisible parts or composed of matter and form, whether it is a simple continuous substance in itself or composed of substance and accident … —is not among the problems of physics. It is only among the problems of metaphysics, as we shall mention. … It has become customary, however, to mention these problems in the opening parts of physics because most of the problems [of physics] depend on these problems. One cannot come to have certainty about most problems of this discipline properly for as long as one has not investigated the true nature (ḥaqīqa) of the natural body.

(Hadiyya [Multan], 32–33)

(p. 539) Thus, it is this most significant discussion for the field of physics, that is, what a natural body is, that now occupies Khayrābādī for the remainder of his lengthy introduction.

As most of the conclusions argued in the other parts of the book rely directly or indirectly upon the proofs and positions settled in this opening chapter, it is suitable to lay out the material in a summary form.

  1. 1. The natural body is a substance.

  2. 2. It is possible to posit in this natural body an arbitrary extension (buʿd) (which is the length), and then posit another extension that is perpendicular to the first (which is the breadth), and then again a third extension that is perpendicular to the first two (which is the depth).

  3. 3. Thus the genus of a body is substance, and being extended in three ways is like the differentia.

  4. 4. This extended body is either simple, like an element (earth, water, air, or fire), or a compound of simple bodies, such as flesh, blood, and so on.

  5. 5. Compound bodies are constituted either of other bodies that have the same nature, like a clod of dirt, or of bodies of different natures, like an animal.

  6. 6. Each part of a compound body is a simple body, which is made of parts that are themselves not bodies, namely, as one will learn, of matter and form.

A brief note about point 3 is warranted here. Khayrābādī, who follows Maybudī very closely throughout the book, picks up a discussion from the latter’s commentary on the Hidāyat al-ḥikma. Whereas Maybudī was concerned with the subject matter of mathematics, Khayrābādī extends Maybudī’s insights to physics. Both thinkers argue the rather interesting point that the supposed extensions of the body are limited to the tajwīz ʿaqlī. This latter term refers to the supposition of something with a view to an actual reality (al-wāqiʿ) and with reference to the way a thing is in itself (fī nafs al-amr). This manner of supposition is contrasted with a taqdīr ʿaqlī, that is, one where no consideration of either of these things is taken into account. In other words, whereas a taqdīr would allow for false and absurd intensions and suppositions (such as “Zayd-as-donkey”), a tajwīz would not. The subject matter of physics, therefore, is bodies insofar as they exist in the actual world and insofar as they are considered in themselves. This means that physics is not concerned with the movement of a theoretical body, even if it is considered in itself, if this body is posited in an imagined, but nonactual, system. In turn, this means that physics is concerned with the essential accidents of bodies in themselves insofar as these accidents are valid with reference to a given system of existence. (See Hadiyya [Multan], 33–34 and Maybudi, 6–7; the inspiration for this discussion may ultimately have been drawn directly from Najāt, 135).

Khayrābādī now begins his most extended discussion of the book, namely, clarifying the nature of these nonbodily parts that constitute a simple body. That is because how one understands the nature of these parts, in turn, implies the nature of the composite body and the nature of the body, whether simple or compound, in turn, explains the (p. 540) essential accidents of body, such as a body’s change or motion, which make up a key element of the subject matter of physics proper.

The first task is to refute the possibility of atomism. Of historical note, this approach is not the first order of business in standard Aristotelian natural philosophy and indeed it does not even typify the approach of Avicenna’s Shifāʾ, where a refutation of atomism falls under Book III. Instead it represents the approach of Avicenna’s Najāt and Ishārāt and much of the post-Ishārāt tradition of physics. What is perhaps most notable about this new approach is its mixture of physics and metaphysics. This mixture of physics and metaphysics represented such a break with the earlier Aristotelian approach to physics, that many subsequent commentators in the post-Avicennan Islamic world, like Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (Avicenna and Ṭūsī, 23–24), felt a need to explain this novel cross-disciplinary presentation. Khayrābādī’s observation that an understanding of the essence of the body is a prerequisite for establishing most of the claims of physics is certainly an attempt to explain Avicenna’s novel reordering of the material.

Though the discussion about the constitutive parts is a reiteration of material found in earlier works, given its centrality for the unfolding of the larger system, it is perhaps suitable to present its most salient elements. The details will serve as a backdrop for understanding the integrity of the system as a whole. Khayrābādī states that the constitutive parts of a simple body may exist in one of four ways: they may (I) be finite in number and exist in actuality in the body; (II) be finite and exist in potentiality in the body; (III) be infinite and exist in actuality in the body; and (IV) be infinite and exist in potentiality in the body (Hadiyya [Multan], 36–37). Khayrābādī identifies the proponents of the four positions as (I) the majority of the mutakallimūn, (II) al-Shahrastānī (d. 1153), (III) al-Naẓẓām (d. 845) and some ancient Greeks, and (IV) the Peripatetic philosophers, Ishrāqīs, and the muḥaqqiqūn min al-mutakallimīn.

Khayrābādī argues for position (IV) by showing that the other three positions are philosophically wanting, and indeed all suffer from a similar malady. Before turning to his argument, it should be noted that both positions (I) and (II) require that the basic constitutive parts be finite in number. For both positions entail a limit to the divisibility of these parts. As such those parts are atomic in structure, a fact that both the respective proponents of these positions recognized and Khayrābādī assumes. Khayrābādī presents two additional variations of this proof, but both of them reduce to the fundamentals of the one presented here (Hadiyya [Multan], 37ff.).

His argument against atomism thus runs as follows:

  1. 1. A composite body consists of parts.

  2. 2. The parts either (a) meet or (b) do not meet (yulāqī).

  3. 3. If (2b), then there is no body, since the parts must meet to constitute a body.

  4. 4. If (2a), the parts that meet must either (a) entirely interpenetrate or (b) not.

  5. 5. If (4a), they entirely interpenetrate, then all parts have one location (ḥayyiz).

  6. 6. If all parts have one location, then the body has no size;

  7. 7. but what has no size, that is, has no extension, is not a body (defn. of natural body).

  8. (p. 541) 8. If (4b), the parts do not entirely interpenetrate, then either (a) they touch to form a body or (b) they partially interpenetrate each other.

  9. 9. If (8b), they touch, then a part of one part touches a part of another part, and so the indivisible part would be divisible, a contradiction.

  10. 10. If (8b), the parts partially interpenetrate each other, then an indivisible part has a part that interpenetrates and a part that does not, and so again an indivisible part would be divisible, a contradiction.

  11. 11. Thus there can be no actual indivisible part of a body, that is, atoms are impossible.

Since this argument has proven the impossibility of an actual indivisible part by means of the impossibility of its conceptualization, Khayrābādī states that the possibility of potential indivisible parts, that is, position (II), is also shown to be false, presumably because whatever is potential can be made actual, in which case the initial argument comes to play.

The argument similarly applies to position (III), namely that the basic constitutive parts of a body are infinite and exist as actual in the body (Hadiyya, 37–41). For consider one of the actually infinite parts that purportedly is the most basic constitutive part of the body: Either that part is indivisible, in which case it is an atom and the above argument applies, or it is divisible, in which case it is not one of the most basic actual constitutive parts of the body, but it was assumed it was, a contradiction.

This leaves one with the truth of (IV), namely that the parts of a body are infinitely divisible in potentiality. In other words, the natural body is continuous in itself having no actual parts, and yet is capable of potentially infinite division, even if this division is limited to a body only insofar as it is mentally (and not extramentally) instantiated. Khayrābādī is indeed keenly aware of the significance of this proof. For he writes:

Being receptive to infinite divisibility is among the accidents of the natural body insofar as it implies the potential to change. The investigation of what occurs to [the body] in this respect is an investigation in the discipline of physics (baḥth ṭabīʿī).

(Hadiyya [Multan], 44)

In other words, as noted above, physics does not consider the natural body except as it is in and of itself (fī nafs al-amr); rather, it uncovers the accidents belonging to it with reference to the body’s being a potentially divisible entity.

It is on the edifice of this proof about the continuity of the body and on its logical consequences that practically all the remainder of the physics of the Hadiyya is constructed. That is because once it becomes clear that the atomism of the mutakallimūn must be impossible, the body is shown to be continuous in actuality and potentially divisible ad infinitum. One can show as corollaries that the space in which a natural body exists must be continuous. Thus its motion through that space must be continuous too, as well as the time during which the motion occurs (Hadiyya [Lahore], 19, “tadhyīl”).

(p. 542) As noted above, the accident of the body that is the central point of interest is change. So how does an investigation of change develop from this point onward, and how does it relate back to the continuity and potentially infinite divisibility of the body? The remainder of this section highlights some examples.

  1. 1. Since the body is continuous, it must be continuous in itself and the continuity cannot be accidental to it. This is so because, otherwise, either the body in itself would consist in parts that are free from extension and continuity or it would be composed of atoms. The former possibility entails that a natural body is not a body, since a body was defined as having extension at the outset, and the latter has been shown to be false (Hadiyya [Multan], 45).

  2. 2. In itself, the body is composed of two parts or substances. , One of these parts inheres (ḥāll) in the other and supplies it with its attributes. The other part, namely, prime matter (hayūlā), is the substrate in which the other inheres. Prime matter subsists in itself,2 but it is neither continuous nor discrete, neither one nor many. Any attributes that it has qua natural body are due to that which inheres in prime matter, namely, the corporeal form (ṣūra jismiyya). The corporeal form, Khayrābādī tells us, is a substance that subsists in the other part and is in itself a single continuous thing through a single continuity. Based upon his earlier refutation of atomism and the consequent continuity of the body, he claims that the potentiality of divisibility is due to the matter and not the form (Hadiyya [Multan], 47ff.).

Once it has been established that a body is continuous and so potentially infinitely divisible and that it is made up of form and prime matter, Khayrābādī is naturally led into a discussion of the relationship between these two constitutive parts. He argues that they are bound to each other, not as inextricably united with respect to their existence—in the sense that parts are united to constitute the whole—but in a relation of the inherence of one in the other. The nature of the inherence, he goes on to argue, is the same for all bodies, including the celestial bodies. At this juncture, then, he is led to adopt a first position that seems to differ from earlier texts, such as the De Caelo, in physics: given that all bodies are constituted in exactly the same fashion:

It is necessary for all bodies—whether it is possible for them to be divisible extramentally or not (such as the celestial bodies are for them [that is, the philosophers])—to be composed of matter and bodily form. [This is so] because the bodily form is a specific nature (ṭabīʿa nawʿiyya) and, if a specific nature inheres in a substrate (maḥall), it does so due to its essential need for a substrate.

(Hadiyya [Multan], 52–53)

In other words, Khayrābādī sees no reason to differentiate between elemental and celestial bodies, since all bodies are constituted in the same fashion. In principle, (p. 543) therefore, the heavens are corruptible insofar as they are bodies, though they are incorruptible extramentally, since they have no natural contrary.

That bodies are all constituted in the same manner leads to the problem of their differentiation that is observed in the extramental world. In Khayrābādī’s words, “It has been established for them that the corporeal form is one species essence (māhiyya nawʿiyya) that is shared by all the elemental and celestial bodies” (Hadiyya [Multan], 67–68). The difference among bodies must, therefore, depend on something other than the nature of the body qua body. Khayrābādī writes:

We only said that the corporeal form is a species nature, because if [one instance of] being corporeal (jismiyya) is different from another, it is so because this one is hot and that one cold or this one has a celestial nature and that one has an elemental nature and other things that are associated with being corporeal while being extraneous to it. So the corporeal is one extramental existent and the celestial nature is another that is added extramentally to the extramentally existent corporeal by means of some other existent (bi-wujūd ghayr wujūdihi).

(Hadiyya [Multan], 53–54)

Thus we see that the corporeal nature that is shared by all bodies is one and the same, and so, with respect to the consideration only of the corporeal nature, all types of bodies are identical in all their essential features. The differentiation is due to specific natures that attach to bodies, not due to their corporeality, much as coldness and dryness attach to an elemental and simple body, such as earth.

According to the tradition of physics in which Khayrābādī is operating, species natures also are responsible for a body’s natural movement, place of rest, and so on. So Khayrābādī’s explanation, which is ultimately in keeping with the tradition, is to posit the corporeal form as a specific shared nature, but one that is a divested reality and so cannot be specified extramentally unless it is invested with differentia. He writes:

For the corporeal essence is an ambiguous nature (ṭabīʿa mubhama) that becomes a positive reality by and constituted through (tataḥaṣṣalu wa-tataqawwamu) differentia and is one with them existentially. It has no existence other than the existence [with] a difference and species.

(Hadiyya [Multan], 54)

In other words, the specific shared nature of a body is ontologically real, but has no existential reality, unless it occurs as a differentiated species.

Additionally, as is well known from the physics tradition, the fact that one shared undifferentiated corporeal form exists differently from another itself requires explanation. For surely, it cannot be the shared form that causes some bodies to be of one species and others to be of another—this would be to give preference to one thing over another without cause and would violate a central principle of Arabo-Islamic philosophy. Additionally, the cause cannot be the prime matter itself, since the prime matter is only a receptive cause and, as such, cannot be the efficient cause that generates the form. Moreover, the corporeal form cannot be the cause of the specifically differentiated body, since it requires prime matter, which is itself required for the definite shape (shakl) in (p. 544) which the bodily form exists. The solution to the problem, therefore, lies in the appeal to the idea that a noncorporeal cause emanates existence, so as to cause the matter to subsist through the species form it bestows. While Khayrābādī does not identify this third cause, he clearly has in mind one of the separate causes or Intellects, such as Avicenna’s famous Giver of Forms (Hadiyya [Multan], 66ff.).

Again, these introductory investigations constitute the premises and definitions for much of what is established in the remainder of the book. Indeed, in the vast number of cases, the proofs for subsequent positions depend upon the body’s being extended in length, breadth, and depth, the refutation of atomism, and the consequent continuity of the body, the finitude of the body, and the mutual concomitance of form and body.

As for the “essential accidents of the body insofar as it [has] the aforementioned modalities (ḥaythiyyāt),” this topic constitutes the first book of the Hadiyya following the introduction, and most of what he argues is rather close to the established tradition, especially as presented by Abharī via Maybudī. It is hence not necessary to highlight the material here in any detail but just to give a quick taste of its content. For example, (1) place (makān) is a real thing (amr wāqiʿī) and not a mere supposition, and it is the interior surface of a containing body that touches the external surface of the contained body; (2) the natural space (ḥayyiz) of the body, that is, the location toward which the body naturally tends and at which it rests, is determined by its specific form; (3) motion occurs in the categories of place, position, quantity, and quality; (4) motion is either essential/natural or accidental/forced, and so on. The second chapter, on celestial bodies, also rehearses positions and arguments from the earlier tradition, such as the spherical shape of the orbs and their circular motion, the eternity of the heavens, the movement of the heavens due to volition, and their incorruptibility. Finally, the third chapter similarly summarizes the positions and arguments found in earlier works regarding the number of the external and internal senses, the noncorporeal nature of the rational soul and the question of its eternity. Since Khayrābādī was executed before completing the Hadiyya, his son, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq, completed the last five chapters of the last book. Some of their contributions will be assessed in the following section.

24.3. Contributions of the Hadiyya

Despite the Hadiyya’s reliance on the earlier textbook tradition in physics, there are some interesting points of difference as well as emphasis or re-emphasis that may get lost in the details and technically formidable proofs. As we have seen in recent scholarship, it is such moments of departure—even when they are not salient and especially when they are forced by the system—that contributed to the diachronic growth of the philosophical tradition in postclassical Islam (see, for example, Ahmed 2013). Since the Hadiyya represents the last major text in traditional physics and had practically no commentaries, it is difficult to surmise whether such departures would have had any (p. 545) transformative effect. Still, let us take up three interesting examples where the Hadiyya’s creativity is manifest.

24.3.1. The Nature of Motion

Again, the proper subject of physics is the natural body inasmuch as it is subject to change and motion. Consequently, how one understands both natural body and motion greatly affects one’s conception of the science of physics. Khayrābādī’s understanding of natural body has already been discussed. As for his definition of motion (ḥaraka), this issue has a long history. Aristotle in his own Physics (3.2, 201a27–29), defined motion as the actuality (Gr. entelekheia; Ar. fiʿl wa-kamāl) of potential as potential. How to understand Aristotle’s definition itself became something of an issue among later natural philosophers. Certainly, an easy way to think of motion is to view it as the gradual emergence from potentiality to actuality. Avicenna rejected this conception on the grounds that it seemingly involves an explanatory circle; for “gradual” implicitly makes a reference to time, and time is subsequently defined in terms of motion (Physics, II.1 (2–3)]. (Time, according to Avicenna, who is himself following Aristotle, is the magnitude of [circular] motion with respect to before and after.) Consequently, Avicenna offers up what can only be called a hesitant and even at times opaque analysis of motion that allows him to claim that motion refers to a natural body’s being at a point for only an instant, and yet do so in a way that eliminates such blatantly temporal notions as “instant” or “gradual” (see Hasnawi 2011; McGinnis 2006; Ahmad forthcoming-b).

Post-Avicennan thinkers, however, did not all share Avicenna’s qualms about defining motion in terms of a gradual emergence from potentiality to actuality. Thus Abū l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī (d. 1165) argued that the purported explanatory circle was more apparent than real (al-Muʿtabar, 1:28–29). More generally, Suhrawardī (d. 1191) began questioning the very possibility of giving essential or “true scientific” definitions (The Philosophy of Illumination, I.1, rule 7). Finally, both of these traditions came together in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1210) in his earlier “philosophical” work, al-Mabāḥith al-mashriqiyya, who seemingly in agreement, reports the position of some of the eminent scholars (baḍ al-fuḍalāʾ) on the problematic account of motion:

Conceptualizing the true nature of “all-at-once,” “not-all-at-once,” and “gradual”—are all primitive conceptualizations owing to the aid of sensation. Certainly, we understand that these things are known only by reason of the now and time, but that requires a demonstration. It is possible that the true nature of motion is known by these things, and thereafter motion fixes a knowledge of time and the now/instant (al-āna), which are reasons for those first things’ being conceptualized, but in that case no circle is entailed. This is a fine answer.

(al-Mabāḥith al-mashriqiyya, 1, 670)

In other words, appealing to a gradual emergence allows one to define or at least understand what motion is in a cognitively primitive way, that is, by appealing to things better (p. 546) known to us. Thereafter we apply what is better known to us to get at a technical understanding, that is, something now better known by nature. No circle is entailed because there are two distinct conceptions of motion at stake: motion qua better known to us and motion qua better known by nature. Motion simply is not being understood in the same way in the two cases, and consequently, Avicenna’s purported explanatory circle rests on an equivocation. Whether al-Rāzī in the end actually endorses defining motion in terms of gradual emergence or merely thinks that Avicenna’s objection to doing so is not decisive is not entirely clear.3

Whatever the case, al-Abharī in his highly influential Hidāyat al-ḥikma does define motion as “the gradual emergence of potentiality into actuality (khurūj min al-quwwa ilā l-fiʿl ʿalā sabīl al-tadrīj)” (Hidāya, 1.9, 29). By the time of Khayrābādī, however, the Hidāya had become a battleground over the adequacy of al-Abharī’s definition. Thus, for example, some thinkers, like Mullā Ṣadrā in his commentary, reject the attempt to exculpate the purported circular account of defining motion in terms of gradual, and instead he returns to Avicenna’s technical definition from the Shifāʾ (Mullā Ṣadrā, Sharḥ al-Hidāya al-athīriyya, II, “faṣl fī l-ḥaraka wa-l-sukūn,” esp. 104).

Khayrābādī is clearly aware of this debate. While he apparently accepts the position that motion can be defined adequately in terms of a gradual emergence, he also wants to incorporate the advancements of the post-Avicennan tradition. So, for example, after presenting the Aristotelian definition of motion, he writes:

The truth is that the conceptualization of motion is not something that needs this definition [of Aristotle’s]. It is enough to say that it is the emergence from potentiality into actuality gradually, where the meanings of “gradual,” “little by little,” and “not all at once” are primitive conceptual notions (al-maʿānī al-awwaliyya), which is owing to the aid of sensation. Their conceptualization does not depend upon conceptualizing the true nature of time and the now/instant (al-āna), even if the now and time are causes for them in existence. As for the description that they mentioned, even if it is less known than the conceptualization of motion in the clear, well-known way, they still define it [i.e., motion] only by means of it [i.e., this description] for a basic understanding and propaedeutics for the positions they confirm about motion.

(Hadiyya [Lahore], 42)

Al-Khayrābādī’s point is that the idea of gradual and the like are primitive notions or brute facts, just as potentiality and actuality are primitive notions in Aristotelian natural (p. 547) philosophy. As such, no proof that they exist is necessary. Consequently, since they are primitive notions, they can be introduced into the definition of motion without fear of circularity.

Indeed, in his discussion of time (zamān) (Hadiyya [Lahore], 59ff.), he begins by boldly asserting that there is no doubt that within the soul one thing occurs after another; that notions like change, coming to be, motion, priority, posteriority, and simultaneity are all designated by time; that even an imbecile or child has a knowledge of this; and that everybody knows what age, year, month, day, hour, and the like are. Consequently, there is no reason to prove the existence of time. As for the philosophers’ proof for the existence of time, Khayrābādī in effect claims that it explains what external causes bring about these temporal increments. For the philosophers show that a certain continuous quantity or magnitude follows upon motion, which is susceptible to being divided into parts (ajzāʾ), which presumably we are to identify with the previously mentioned temporal increments, although Khayrābādī does not explicitly make this final point.

What is of note is that Khayrābādī never gives his own definition of time, but instead discusses approvingly what both mutakallimūn and Peripatetics said about time. So, for example, he completely omits the philosophers’ definition of time as the measure of motion with respect to before and after, while taking over their arguments concerning the continuity of time. The closest he comes to offering a definition of time is when he notes that some identify time with the collection of temporal increments (awqāt), like years, days, or other events, which everyone recognizes. This definition is in fact that of earlier mutakallimūn, who were working within a framework of atomistic or discrete magnitudes. Avicenna himself mentions this definition (Physics, II.10 (1)), and Khayrābādī repeats Avicenna’s account almost verbatim; however, unlike Avicenna Khayrābādī never refutes this account of time but instead seemingly clarifies it using Avicenna’s own purported argument for the existence of the time but again now employing that argument to show that the increments must be continuous and so potentially divisible. Khayrābādī, thus, is clear that these increments or parts of time are not temporal atoms but can be always be divided. Thus he goes to great lengths to emphasize the divisibility of temporal parts when discussing the now or instant (al-āna), which stands to time as a point stands to a line. In fact, he insists, following Avicenna, that the now is a limiting point (ḥadd) posited though an act of the estimative faculty. By mentioning the kalām account of time (admittedly neither committing himself to it nor critiquing it) and the Avicennan analysis of the now/instant, Khayrābādī has arguably embedded elements of kalām physics within a natural philosophy of the continuous.

Moreover, it is this conception of time and of the now, and the notions of gradual and all-at-once that underlie them, that Khayrābādī presupposes when clarifying what it means to say that motion is the gradual emergence from potency to act. Again Khayrābādī draws upon an idea from Avicenna, which Mullā Ṣadrā had picked up on and, ironically, used to argue against defining motion in terms of gradual emergence. Avicenna’s insight is that motion is applied in two senses: medial motion (ḥaraka tawassuṭiyya) and traverse motion (ḥaraka qaṭʿiyya). Traverse motion occurs when (p. 548) one observes an object in two different, opposing states, for example, being here and then being there. Now in the world, a moving object is not partially here and simultaneously partially there during its motion. Consequently, in the world, motion is not some continuous thing that at any moment actually extends between here and there in the way that the distance continuously extends between two points; rather, the relation between these two states is impressed upon the mind, and it is this mental impression that gives rise to traverse motion, that is, the idea of motion as a continuous extended magnitude.

According to Khayrābādī the more important sense of motion is medial motion, though he also accepts the reality of traverse motion. It is medial motion that properly explains “gradual emergence” and why notions like time and the now must be primitive. He explains it thus:

[Medial-motion] is the body’s being between the starting point and ending point such that at every now/instant (ān) that is posited during the time of the motion, it is at some limiting point (ḥadd) of that with respect to which there is motion [namely, either with respect to quantity, quality, place, or position] at which it was not there before [that instant], nor will it be there after it. Undoubtedly, then, when the body moves and departs from the starting point but has not reached the ending point, it comes to have some simple state, which is its being between the starting and ending points inasmuch as at any instant from when it leaves the starting point until it reaches the ending point it is at some limiting point along the distance at which it was not there before that instant. That is because if it were there before that, it would have been at rest there, and so not undergoing motion, but we had posited it as undergoing motion, which is a contradiction. Likewise, it will not be there after that instant, since if it were there afterward, it would be at rest at that limiting point, and so not undergoing motion, but we posited it as undergoing motion, which is a contradiction. This sense [of motion, namely, medial motion] is what decidedly exists during the emergence.

(Hadiyya [Lahore], 43)

In language that parallels al-Baghdādī and al-Rāzī’s response to Avicenna’s objection against defining motion in terms of gradual emergence, Khayrābādī continues that this is all known necessarily though the aid of the sensation. Avicenna had somewhat hesitantly suggested this very understanding of motion, realizing that he was radically departing from the earlier Aristotelian tradition. Yet issues of consistency may also have motivated Avicenna’s hesitancy. That is because in effect he is defining motion in terms of being at some point for only an instant, and yet he had rejected defining motion in terms of a gradual emergence precisely because it employed temporal terms, and so harbored a circular explanation. Khayrābādī has no such qualms, for again he takes the notion of “gradual” and “all-at-once” and so respectively occurring over time or at an instant, as properly basic. As with his discussion of time, Khayrābādī has taken non-Avicennan elements, namely, motion as a gradual emergence, and embedded them into his own physics using Avicennan tools.

(p. 549) 24.3.2. A Refutation of the Movement of the Earth

As noted above, the tradition of the physics of the Hidāyat al-ḥikma of Abharī inspired interest in the subcontinent mainly for its introduction and the first and (sometimes) second books. The third book, on the elements, is rather sparse in its treatment of the various sections, and neither Maybudī nor Mullā Ṣadrā expands this book considerably in their commentaries. On the other hand, Khayrābādī devotes almost two-thirds of his Hadiyya to the topics of this book. It is also this book that was completed by his son ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq at the request of Bilgrāmī.

One of the most interesting and original contributions of Khayrābādī in the third book is his seamless integration of a refutation of the movement of the Earth in the first section of the book, on the simple elements. This may be the first (and perhaps only) deliberate engagement with some elements of the Copernican theory and of its auxiliary arguments in the history of traditional Ṭabīʿiyyāt, even if Khayrābādī’s arguments rely heavily on earlier arguments. The arguments presented by Khayrābādī make it rather clear in what fashion the system of natural philosophy developed by him and the tradition he represented made it impossible to posit the movement of the Earth. (Before proceeding, it should be noted that the Arabic al-arḍ can refer either to our planet, Earth, or to the simple dry-cold element, earth. For clarity, we hereafter use the convention of indicating the planet with a capital E and the element with a lowercase e.)

There are three principles that are developed in the earlier parts of the Hadiyya that contribute to the systematic refutation of the movement of the Earth. In the order of their appearance in the book, these are (1) that distance and extension are finite; (2) that directionality is delimited; and (3) that earth has a rectilinear motive force (al-mayl al-mustaqīm) toward the lowest point that is natural to its species form, namely, what was traditionally identified with the center of the cosmos. On the basis of these three principles, the following types of arguments are offered after the elemental nature of the Earth is discussed.

  1. 1. If earth has rectilinear motion, as was established in the earlier parts of the book, then the Earth, which is primarily composed of earth, is stationary. Otherwise, it would either move upward or downward perpetually, since if it were to reach its natural place, it would come to be at rest; however, he had argued earlier (Hadiyya [Lahore], 24ff.) that the cosmos is finite in expanse. Consequently, the perpetual motion, that is, infinite motion either upward or downward, is impossible.

  2. 2. Another argument is that, if the Earth were moving upward, then anything that was also earth, say, a clump, would also move in the same direction. Since a larger clump of earth has greater motive force than a smaller clump, the larger clump would move upward faster than the smaller clump. However, one observes the opposite of this in reality, namely, the larger clump moves downward toward the Earth faster than a smaller clump. Similarly, if the Earth were moving downward, no clump smaller than it would (p. 550) ever reach it, when thrown upward, since the motive force of the Earth would be greater than it, causing the Earth to move faster (Hadiyya [Lahore], 83).

The other possibility is that the Earth does not have rectilinear motion but circular motion. Khayrābādī states that this is the doctrine of some ancient Greeks and of the foreigners of his own times. The latter hold that the Earth moves around a center from the west to the east. The observed movement of the celestial bodies appears as it does because the perspective of a person on the Earth is akin to that of a person sitting in a ship. Such a person would imagine the shore to be moving in the opposite direction relative to the movement of his ship. Refutations of this theory are of the following type.

  1. 3. The nature of earth has already been discussed and it has been demonstrated that this nature requires rectilinear motion and a specific motive force. It has also been shown that every body must have a motive force and that no body can have both rectilinear and circular motion and motive force.

If one were to disregard the proof of the rectilinear motion and motive force of earth and were to adopt instead, by way of concession and for the sake of argument, that the Earth does have a circular motion, then the following problems would arise.

  1. 4. A stone thrown at a perpendicular angle to the surface of the Earth often returns to the same point on the Earth. This would not be possible if the Earth were moving.

  2. 5. A clump of earth thrown westward would appear faster than a clump thrown eastward, because in the former case the Earth would be moving in a direction opposite that of the projectile.

Khayrābādī next considers the explanation, offered by the proponents of the circular motion of the Earth, that the reason the aforementioned anomalies are not observed is that certain forces, such as the air and water, which move with the motion of the Earth, balance them out.4 Thus one only observes the movement of the object that is essential to it, not the external forced motions. Khayrābādī responds with additional thought experiments in the following fashion.

  1. 6. Assume two ships with the same motive force, one traveling eastward and one westward. According to the argument of the proponents of the circular motion of the Earth, the reason the aforementioned anomalies are not observed is that they are balanced out due to the accidental motion of elements connected with the Earth, such as air and water. Thus, in addition to their own motive force, these two ships will also be affected by the accidental and forced motion of the water, which is moved accidentally by the (p. 551) motion of the Earth. In addition, the air above the water would also move as an accident of the motion of the water. As a result, the motion of the ship moving westward would be considerably faster and that of the ship moving westward would be very much slower or nonexistent; however, this is not what is observed in reality (Hadiyya [Lahore], 83ff.).

Khayrābādī offers a number of similar arguments in the pages that follow and ends the discussion with the statement:

The truth is that the doctrine of circular motion of the Earth is idle talk and includes horrendous things and prattle. We only expanded on [the task of] refuting it and gave details because the contemporary philosophasters mislead people and the weak of mind rely on their foolishness. The latter did not find any demonstration against them and found no way to refute them.

(Hadiyya [Lahore], 91)

Recent scholarship (see, for instance, Dallal 2010) has shown how Aristotelian cosmology had come to stand in a state of increasing tension with the requirements and project of astronomy and how, in the balance of such tensions, new models were produced in the premodern Islamic astronomical tradition. In the case under study, it appears that it is less the cosmological and more the kinematic and dynamic principles that led Khayrābādī to argue that the Earth is stationary.

24.3.3. The Unity of the Soul: Apprehension and Perception

Khayrābādī’s Hadiyya ends rather abruptly with a section on the unity and differences of souls with respect to their essences. In the Lahore lithograph, Bilgrāmī notes that the text would really and properly end with another five investigations on the soul that had been mentioned by Khayrābādī himself in his enumeration of the various doctrines concerning the soul. Since the work was not completed due to the dictates of fortune (li-sūʾ al-ittifāq), his son ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq Khayrābādī completed the remaining parts at Bilgrāmī’s behest some ten-odd years after the author’s death (Hadiyya [Lahore], 244).

Assuming that ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq faithfully presented the system Khayrābādī himself would have elaborated, we may consider his appendix to be a continuation of the Hadiyya. All five sections discuss various questions regarding the soul, particularly its relation to the body, its temporal generation and preservation after separation from the body, and the nature of its apprehension (idrāk). It is in this last subject, again in the interest of systematically defending and demonstrating certain other doctrines, that the text makes some interesting and new contributions.

The argument effectively has its origins in the vexed question of the relation of the soul to the body, and this relation is itself predicated upon conclusions reached in the course of the proof of the temporal generation and postbody persistence of the soul. In the second investigation (seventh in the series started by the Hadiyya proper), ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq advances the well-known argument that, though the rational soul is abstracted (p. 552) from the body in itself, it comes to be temporally generated insofar as there exists the suitable preparation in the body (due to the proper mixtures) for establishing an association (taʿalluq) with the body. In other words, the soul cannot be associated with just any body, such as with a rock or silicon, but only with a body that has been suitably prepared such that the body serves as the substrate (maḥall) for such preparedness and ultimately for the soul. When the body loses its proper mixture or suitable preparedness, it is divested of its association with the soul, and so is corrupted. In other words, it is no longer the same kind of body that it was before, namely, it is no longer a living body. In short, it is the body that is subject to privation and corruption.

This does not mean that the soul in itself serves as a substrate that is receptive of nonexistence and corruption. In fact, the majority of the Faṣl “On Humans,” which is from the final section of the psychology that Khayrābādī himself had completed, is a sustained effort to show that the rational soul of humans is not associated with matter. Thus, after arguing that the rational soul is unique to humans among animals, he dedicates an investigation to showing that the human soul cannot be a humoral temperament (Faṣl VII.1) and another one to showing that neither can it be a bodily organ (Faṣl VII.2). Khayrābādī then provides no less than five indications (dalīl) that the rational soul of humans in general must be free from matter (Faṣl VII.3). Consequently, the soul does not pass away with the passing of the body. The problems with these arguments notwithstanding (some of which ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq outlines), the central point is that the soul does have some kind of existence in itself (Hadiyya [Lahore], 7ff. [appendix]).

If one now turns to the fourth discussion in the appendix, where the topic is the nature of the relation of the soul to the body, the starting assumption, as demonstrated above, is that the soul is abstracted in itself and that it does not exist in any substrate (mujarrada fī dhātihā ghayr ḥālla fī shayʾ); rather, its relation to the body is like the relation of an artisan to his tools or that of a lover deeply attached to his beloved. In both cases, the former can subsist without the latter. It is at the end of this discussion that ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq engages in a conversation with some philosophers who claim that there are several different souls that employ the different parts of the body as their tools and that the conglomeration (majmūʿ) of these souls is called man. The proof of this, they claim, is, one, that one sees that plants only have a vegetative soul, but not the animal or rational souls, and, two, that animals have the vegetative and animal souls, but not the rational soul. This demonstrates that each of these souls (and the many others, such as the cogitative, sensitive, etc.) must be distinct from each other.

Given that the soul previously was shown to have an existence in itself and that the preparedness for its temporal generation was attributed to the association that it has with a body with a suitable mixture, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq finds the aforementioned argument for the multiplicity of souls to be untenable. He states,

The appetitive faculty (quwwa = nafs) existent in a plant, for example, is not the appetitive faculty existent in an animal, with respect to species. Similarly, the sensitive [faculty] existent in a nonrational animal is not one with the sensitive [faculty] existent in man with respect to the reality of the species. Rather, these two are one when (p. 553) taken in the sense of genus, that is, if their two senses are taken absolutely, without the condition of being mixed [with the body] or being abstracted from something that is other than it. For example, sensible is a single sense as a genus, even though it is a specific difference [constituting] animal [insofar as animal] is taken as a genus. So if this sense, that is, sensible, is taken insofar as it is fully invested (al-taḥaṣṣul) [with specificity], then it is something whose existence is complete, without there being any need for some other completion for it. This is how it is with respect to all animals. And if [sensible] is taken such that it is not independent with respect to its existence and that its existence and true nature are not yet [specifically] invested and its existence is not perfected, then this sense [of sensible] is different from the first sense, with respect to species, though it is one with it with respect to genus. The judgment that the sensible is different from the rational is only true with respect to the first type [i.e., the genus] and not the second type. So the sensible soul is different from the cogitative soul, but they are one with respect to man. And this is the doctrine about the appetitive soul in plants and in animals and in humans in relation to the sensible soul and the rational soul.

(Hadiyya [Lahore], 18f. [appendix])

ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq is pointing out that the appetitive soul, for example, is something unified insofar as it is a genus and divested of any particularity. As such, it may be taken to be a distinct soul. However, as positive realities (associated with a suitable bodily mixture), the appetitive souls in plants, animals, and humans are distinct and are constitutive of three different species, with each of which the appetitive souls form a unified and distinct existence. Thus, as positive and invested realities, the appetitive souls constitute distinct wholes with plants, animals, and humans. With this argument, then, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq intends to falsify the claim that a conglomeration of souls constitute each species. He then goes on to state that the various souls must be joined by something within a single species, much as the common sense (ḥiss mushtarak) joins the various senses. He writes, “This common thing in which these faculties are joined is something that each one of us feels (yarāhu) is his self (dhātuhu). …This thing is the first thing that joins [the faculties] and is the perfection of the body … and is the self (dhāt)” (Hadiyya [Lahore], 19 [appendix]).

With this doctrine of the unity of the various faculties firmly established, the arguments of the third section (eighth in Khayrābādī’s series) make perfect sense. Here the main issue of discussion is whether the sensible faculties apprehend particulars or whether the soul does so. Given that ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq is a proponent of the specific unity of all the faculties under one soul, his argument and ultimate position on this question should be predictable. He writes:

There is nobody who doubts that he is one and that it is he who hears sounds and sees colors. … So if each of the sensibilia had one thing that apprehended it and [if] there were another thing that apprehended the intelligibles, [the person] would not have a self (dhāt) to which he could point [and say that] “I apprehend all of these.” But this is the opposite of what everyone finds to be [true] for himself.

(Hadiyya [Lahore], 13 [appendix]; also cf. Najāt, 200 ff.)

(p. 554) With this and similar arguments, many of which are predicated on the systematic unfolding of the arguments above, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq seems to collapse the long-standing distinction between the rational soul, which apprehends intelligibles, and other faculties. To be sure, he is not claiming that the rational faculty is not distinct from other faculties insofar as they are genera. Rather, as noted above, the investment of the rational soul in a specific mode of existence as man, associated with a suitable bodily mixture, results in an entity whose parts are unified and nondistinct within a given self and species. The tensions and reverberations in the system of Ṭabīʿiyyāt and Ilāhiyyāt that may have resulted from this doctrine—especially in the area of eschatology and prophetology—of course never materialized.

24.4. Conclusions

The Hadiyya of Khayrābādī was intended as a textbook on natural philosophy. As such its main function was to present the system of physics current in the Islamic world at that time for a student audience, and so it is not a work of innovations or daring new arguments. Despite the overall conservative nature of the Hadiyya, it nonetheless is of considerable historical importance. First, it represents the far end of a tradition that begins with Aristotle, undergoes radical reinterpretation at the hands of Avicenna, and is subsequently submitted to intense criticism by such notable figures as Abū l-Barakāt, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Razī, Qāḍī Mīr al-Maybudī, and Mullā Ṣadrā. Consequently, it provides a terminus, if not road map, for those interested in the history of what might be called “Islamic natural philosophy.” Second, inasmuch as the Hadiyya is one of the latest Arabic textbooks on natural philosophy, if not the last, Khayrābādī has the benefit of hindsight and so can present Islamic natural philosophy in a much more systematic, elegant, and economical way than his predecessors. Indeed Khayrābādī is able to avoid many of the pitfalls and cul-de-sacs of those who went before him, as well as draw upon and even respond to multiple traditions. Third, and finally, even if frequently the Hadiyya repeats what came before it, there are still novel insights and creative twists, which make the work of inherent interest to historians of philosophy and science alike.


While table 24.1 is not a fully detailed table of contents of the Hadiyya (and even less so for the Ishārāt and Hidāyat), it does provide basic information for making comparisons among the three works, so as better to assess what is novel in Khayrābādī’s physical system. (p. 555)

Table 24.1 A comparison of Avicenna’s Ishārāt, al-Abharī’s Hidāya and Khayrābādī’s Hadiyya

Subject content




On the nature and definition of the natural body

Cf. Ṭūsī’s intro. to the physics of Sharḥ al-Ishārāt

Cf. Mullā ṣadrā’s intro. to qism II of Sharḥ al-Hidāya

Muqaddima, 1

Refutation of atomism

Namaṭ  1.1–4

Fann 1.1

———, 2

Establishing matter

———, 1.5–6

———, 1.2

———, 3

Form of corporeality cannot be stripped from matter

———, 1.7–10

———, 1.3

———, 4

The finitude of spatial magnitudes

———, 1.11

———, 1.3


Matter cannot be stripped from form

———, 1.12–16

———, 1.4

———, 5

On the species form

———, 1.17–20

———, 1.5

———, 6

On the manner of entailment between species form and matter

———, 1.21–27

———, 1.5

———, 7

On simples, e.g., plane, line, point (a prelude to place)

———, 1.28

Cf. Fann I.4

Fann 1.1.1

On void

———, 1.29–31

———, 1.6

———, 1.1.2

On space (with discussion of directions & natural place)

———, 1.32–35; namaṭ  2.1–4

———, 1.7

———, 1.2

On nature and the types of motion

Cf. Ṭūsī’s Sharḥ, namaṭ  2.5

Cf. Fann 1.9

Cf. Fann 2.2

On shape (with discussion of position)

———, 2.6

———, 1.8

———, 1.3

On motion (with discussion of rest & inclination)

Namaṭ  2.7–11

———, 1.9

———, 1.4

Defining motion and rest

Cf. Mullā ṣadrā’s Sharḥ, 1.9

———, 1.4.1

Explaining medial and traverse motion

Cf. Mullā ṣadrā’s Sharḥ, 1.9

———, 1.4.2

Six factors associated with motion

Cf. Mullā ṣadrā’s Sharḥ, 1.9

———, 1.4.3

The categories in which motion occurs

Cf. Mullā ṣadrā’s Sharḥ, 1.9

———, 1.4.4

Essential and accidental motion

———, 1.4.5

On inclination/motive force

———, 1.4.6

Inclination and forced motion

———, 1.4.7

Rectilinear and circular motion

———, 1.4.8

Body have only a single inclination

———, 1.4.9

Medial rest

———, 1.4.10


———, 1.4.11

Discussion of time

Treated in metaphysics

———, 1.10

———, 1.5

The essence of time

———, 1.5.1

On the now/instant

———, 1.5.2

Establishing the principle delimiting direction

———, 2.12–14

Fann 2.1

Fann 2.1

Simplicity of the celestial spheres

———, 2.12–14

———, 2.2

———, 2.2

Celestial spheres have circular inclination

———, 2.15–17

———, 2.3

———, 2.3

Celestial spheres are not subject to generation and corruption

———, 2.15–17

———, 2.4

———, 2.4

Celestial spheres revolve perpetually (dāʾiman)

Treated in metaphysics

———, 2.5

———, 2.5

The celestial spheres move by volition

Treated in metaphysics

———, 2.6

———, 2.6

Celestial spheres’ motive power is immaterial, i.e., an intellect

Treated in metaphysics

———, 2.7

———, 2.7

Celestial spheres’ proximate mover is a corporeal power, i.e., a soul

Treated in metaphysics

———, 2.8

———, 2.7

Elements and mixtures

———, 2.18–22

Fann 3.1

Fann 3.1–2

On Simple elements

———, 3.1

On mixture

———, 3.2

Composites bodies

———, 3.2.1

Whether the forms of the simple elements are retained in composites

———, 3.2.2

The magnitudes of the qualities of simple bodies in mixtures

———, 3.2.3

The mixture of the human body and temperaments

Cf. namaṭ  2.27

———, 3.2.4

Meteorological phenomena

———, 2.23–25

———, 3.2

———, 3.3


———, 2.23–25

———, 3.3

———, 3.4


Namaṭ  3

———, 3.4

———, 3.5

The true nature of the plant soul

———, 3.5.1

The faculty of the plant soul

———, 3.5.2

Biology and zoology

Namaṭ  3

———, 3.5

———, 3.6

The five external senses

———, 3.6.1

The five external sense organs

———, 3.6.2

The objects of sensation

———, 3.6.3

Human psychology

Namaṭ  3

———, 3.6

———, 3.7

The soul is other than a mixture

———, 3.7.1

The soul is other than a body

———, 3.7.2

The soul is separate from matter

———, 3.7.3

The soul temporally originates

———, 3.7.4

On the essential sameness and difference of souls

———, 3.7.5

Whether souls undergo motion in the body

———, 3.7.6 (appendix)

The persistence of the soul after the destruction of the body

———, 3.7.7 (appendix)

Whether souls perceiving particulars or only universals

———, 3.7.8 (appendix)

On the soul’s association with the body

———, 3.7.9 (appendix)

Ranks of the soul with respect to their perception

———, 3.7.10 (appendix)

(p. 556) (p. 557)


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                                                      (1) The latest dated manuscript of the Hadiyya, found in the Kutubkhāna-yi Qādiriyya, is from 1872 (private correspondence, Mawlānā Khushtar Nūrānī, 7 November 2011). There is also an undated witness in Dār al-ʿulūm Deoband, India; see Ẓafīr al-Din, Taʿāruf, 144.

                                                      (2) In other words, prime matter is something other than the form, and so really is something, and yet it is not some determinate reality.

                                                      (3) For al-Rāzī, as for Aristotle and Avicenna, the issue of motion's nature is closely linked with the issue of whether magnitudes are (potentially) infinitely divisible or atomic. Throughout his career, al-Rāzī's attitude toward atomism changed. Thus in works such as al-Mabāḥith al-mashriqiyya and his commentary on Avicenna’s Ishārāt he is disinclined toward atomism, whereas in later works such the Maṭālib al-ʿāliyya and al-Arbaʿīn fī uṣūl al-dīn he takes a decidedly pro-attitude toward atomism (see Dhanani 2015 and Ahmed forthcoming-b). The texts that appear most important for the subsequent tradition, which we are exploring concerning whether motion can be adequately understood in term of a gradual motion, are al-Mabāḥith and Sharḥ al-Ishārāt, although even in these works there is some question as to what al-Rāzī exact position concerning the nature of motion is.

                                                      (4) Khayrābādī’s objection to his adversaries’ response to these anomalies suggests that either he was not fully engaging with the Newtonian tradition of astronomy or he did not fully understand (or perhaps simply did not accept) the notion of inertia.