Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Muhammad Fariduddin Attar is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. His dissertation deals with the reception of Avicenna’s cosmology by the 12th century theologian and polymath Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī. He has lectured on history, philosophy, Islamic thought, and religion in several universities in Jakarta, Indonesia. He resides in Montreal, Canada.
Hermetic Cosmology in Islamic Philosophical Thought
Astrology, Celestial Divinities, and Occult Powers of the Soul according to Abū al-Barakāt al-Baghdādī, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, and Shihāb al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-Suhrawardī
This research project aims to develop a framework of inquiry that can shed light on the fascinating but complex interaction between philosophy (falsafa or ḥikma), theology (ʿilm al-kalām), and the so-called “occult sciences” (al-ʿulūm al-gharība) in the 6th/12th century Islamic East (mashriq). It will focus primarily on disciplines that closely connected to the Arabic Hermetica, such as astrology, astral-magic, and to some extent alchemy. The study will begin with Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), who developed the theoretical framework for the systematic examination of the universe as a unified physical system. It is through this model of inquiry that later thinkers, such as Abū al-Barakāt al-Baghdādī, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, and Shihāb al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-Suhrawardī would attempt to integrate the cosmological teachings of the Arabic Hermes (Idrīs). Each of these thinkers adopted aspects of the Hermetic tradition in distinct own ways and within the limits of their respective philosophical projects and methodologies. This research will outline their distinct approaches to Hermetic cosmology and argue that its inclusion is motivated by the need to offer an accurate, systematic, and rational account of the universe.
Co-author with Damien Janos (forthcoming) - A Comprehensive, Annotated, and Indexed Bibliography of the Modern Scholarship on Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (543–44/1149-50–1210). Brill: Leiden, 2022.
Assistant Editor - Blackwell History of Islam, ed. by Armando Salvatore et al. John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Hoboken, NJ, 2018.
Author - “The Metaphysics of Goodness According to Anselm of Canterbury and Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī.” In Philosophy and the Abrahamic Religions: Scriptural Hermeneutics and Epistemology, edited by T. Kirby, R. Acar, and B. Bas. Cambridge Scholars: Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013. 157-174. 2013.