Fayz-i Kashani

Fayz Kashani, Mulla Muhsin, Muhammad ibn Shah Murtaza ibn Shah Mahmud (1598-1680). Scholar, mystic, jurist, transmitter of prophetic traditions, Qur’an exegete, philosopher, theologian, litterateur, and poet born in Qum. Fayz and his father, Mulla Shah Murtaza, his son, Muhammad ‘Alam al-Huda, his brother, Mulla ‘Abd al-Ghafur ibn Shah Murtaza, his nephew, Nur al-Din Kashani, and his nephew, Mulla Muhammad Hadi constituted a large family of scholars. Having been raised in Qum, Fayz departed for Shiraz and studied religious sciences under Sayyid Majid Bahrani and learned intellectual sciences from Mulla Sadra, the distinguished philosopher, and married Mulla Sadra’s daughter. He narrated hadith from his two masters as well as Shaykh Baha’i, Mulla Muhammad Salih Mazandarani, Mulla Muhammad Tahir Qummi, Mulla Khalil Qazwini, and Shaykh Muhammad, son of the author of Ma’alim. He authorized ‘Allama Majilisi and Sayyid Ni’mat Allah Jaza’iri to transmit hadith. He taught numerous students some of whom became distinguished scholars, like Mawla Abu al-Hasan Sharif Futuni ‘Amili Isfahani, author of the Qur’anic exegesis, Mir’at al-Anwar, ‘Alama Majlisi, author of Bihar al-Anwar, and Sayyid Ni’mat Allah Jaza’iri, author of Anwar al-Nu’maniyya; these scholars had been authorized to transmit hadith on his authority. Fayz had mastery in all disciplines of poetry and composed elegant poetry. He died in Kashan and was buried there. He composed about 120 works in different disciplines, like Wafi, including traditions from the four standard Shi’i compendia of hadith (kutub al-arba’a), with annotations and commentaries in 14 volumes, published in three large size lithograph volumes; Shafi, an abridgement of Wafi in some volumes; Nawadir, a collection of hadith unattested in the four standard Shi’i compendia of hadith; al-Ma’arif, on doctrinal principles based on the Qur’an and sunna; Nukhba, an abridgement of religious principles, sunna, nobilities and vices; al-Haqa’iq, including classification of standard hadith on the secrets of religion, different aspects of life, and morals; ‘Ayn al-Yaqin, Haqq al-Yaqin, and ‘Ilm al-Yaqin on philosophy and theology, all three have been published; Safi, Asfa, Musaffa, published Qur’anic exegeses; al-Haqq al-Mubin, on the methodology of extracting independent and religious judgments, published as a supplement to al-Usul al-Asliyya; Bisharat al-Shi’a, including arguments substantiating that Shi’ism is the school joining which leads to salvation; al-Lubb, a brief treatise on the creation of the world, theology, and philosophy; al-Lubab on the quality of divine knowledge of existent beings before and after their coming into being; Safinat al-Najat on the sources of jurisprudential rulings and a critique of the methodology of the experts of principles of jurisprudence; Mafatih al-Shara’i’, one of the best jurisprudential texts based on the Akhbari school on which commentaries have been written by some of most distinguished Shi’i jurists and religious authorities from the time of the author onwards, the best of such commentaries was written by Aqa Muhammad Baqir Isfahani, better known as Wahid Bihbahani, one of the most distinguished Shi’i authorities flourishing in the twelfth century; Mu’tasam al-Shi’a on religious rulings; al-Asnaf on the manner of acquiring knowledge of the secrets of religion; Muntakhab Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ on philosophy and intellectual sciences; Tashrih ‘Alam on astronomy and astrology; Muntakhab Abwab Futuhat Makkiyya on mysticism and Sufism, a commentary on some chapters of Ibn al-‘Arabi’s al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya; Fihrist al-‘Ulum, a brief treatise on all intellectual and narrational sciences; Minhaj al-najah, on a science whose learning is incumbent on all Muslim men and women; Arba’in on the nobilities of Hazrat Amir al-Mu’minin; Anwar al-Hikma, an abridgement of ‘Ilm al-Yaqin including further philosophical discussions; al-Mahajjat al-Bayza’ fi Ihya’ al-Ahya’, an abridgement of Ghazali’s Ihya’ al-‘Ulum, excluding some of the materials of the latter and replacing Sunni ahadith with Shi’i ones; Naqd al-Usul, an abridgement on the principles of jurisprudence as a discipline and a critique of the same; al-Usul al-Asliyya on the sources of religious rulings based on the Qur’an and sunna; Ulfat-nama on strengthening the ties of friendship among believers; Muntakhab-i Mathnawi-yi Jalal al-Din Balkhi, selections of Rumi’s Mathnawi; Muntakhab-i Ghazaliyyat-i Mawlawi in the Divan of Shams-i Tabrizi; brief commentary on Sahifa-yi Sajjadiyya; Sharh al-Sadr, his autobiography; a treatise on all his compositions including dates of completion; Kalimat-i Maknuna on the sources of the knowledge of people with intuitive knowledge; Kalimat-i Tariqa on different types of people in terms of speech and conduct; Kalimat-i Makhzuna on the knowledge of the people of intuitive knowledge and their ideas; Muntakhab al-Awrad on the invocations recited nightly, daily, weekly, monthly, and annually; Khulasat al-Azkar, invocations for different occasions; Jala’ al-Qulub on different invocations and the most significant matter referred to in religious obligations and supplications; Qurrat al-‘Uyun on the degrees of monotheism and belief in God; Abwab al-Janan on substantiating the necessity of establishing Friday prayers at the time of the occultation of the Imam of the Age; Shara’it al-Iman, studies of negation of belief and disbelief and their degrees; al-Tathir on purification of morals and the heart; Mizan al-Qiyama on the accounts of the hereafter; Mir’at al-Akhira on knowing the next world; al-Mishwaq on discovery of the truths and meanings of metaphorical expressions used in understanding love for God and his sacred essence; Tahyyij al-Shawq li-Ahl al-Zawq, the true path in the differences among different schools and specification of the school of truth; Shihab-i Thaqib on the religious obligation of establishment of Friday prayers in the occultation of the Imam of the Age; Asrar al-Salah; A’ina-yi Shahi; Nawadir al-Akhbar; Man La Yahzuruhu ‘l-Taqwim; Tashrih al-‘Alam; Divan of poetry; Mathnawis; Gulzar-i Quds, including elegies, qasidas, quatrains, and ghazals. The poetry of Fayz is pure wisdom. In his poetry, Fayz was mainly influenced by Rumi’s Diwan-i Shams and Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafiz, since both of them were erudite scholars in the fields of intellectual and religious sciences besides their being distinguished poets; similarly, only Rumi, Hafiz, and Jami possessed such qualities from among the multitude of distinguished Persian poets, like Firdawsi, Nizami, ‘Attar, Sana’i, Khaqani, Anwari, Amir Mu’izzi, ‘Asjadi, ‘Unsuri, and Sa’id. A distinguished erudite personality flourishing in the seventeenth century, Fayz reflects the fruition of the intellectual struggles of Mir Damad and Mulla Sadra on the one hand and Shaykh Baha’ al-Din ‘Amili and Shaykh Majid Bahrani and his circle of scholarship on the other. He was a versatile hadith transmitter, an erudite jurist, a distinguished scholar in the fields of theology and principles of jurisprudence, a mystic with illumined heart, an illuminationist philosopher and an heir to peripatetic reasoning, and a thinker who at times allowed himself to return to everyday life. Thus, he may not be regarded as a follower of Mulla Sadra, but he follows a school of thought designated as the Philosophical School of Isfahan. His voluminous collection of poetry in different forms includes qasidas, ghazals, qit’as, quatrains on an array of subjects ranging from nobilitie of the Prophet and the Imams and supplications to mysticism and ehtics.

Tarikh-i Adabiyyat dar Iran (5/ 328-336); Tarikh-i ‘Irfan wa ‘Arifan-i Irani (198-201); Diwist Sukhanwar (311-313).