Edited By Muhammad Ali Khalidi

American University of Beirut cambridge university press

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For Amal and Zayd, who never knew each other


Acknowledgments page viii

Introduction xi

Chronology xli

Further reading xliii

Note on the translation xlvii

Al-Farabi, The Book of Letters i

Ibn Sina, On the Soul 27

Al-GhazalT, The Rescuer from Error 59

Ibn Tufayl, Hayy bin Yaqzan 99

Ibn Rushd, The Incoherence of the Incoherence 155

Index 181


I have incurred numerous debts in the course of preparing this volume. Among the scholars who have given me encouragement in pursuing the study of Islamic philosophy are Charles Butterworth, Albert Hourani, Basim Musallam, Parviz Morewedge, George Saliba, Josef Stern, and Paul Walker. My greatest debt is to my father Tarif Khalidi, who provided wise advice at every step, read the translation with great care, and saved me from numerous errors. The book was also expertly read in manuscript by one of the coeditors of this series, Desmond Clarke, whose philosophical and stylistic guidance were very valuable and helped to sustain me in carrying out the project. Hilary Gaskin, philosophy editor at Cambridge University Press, also gave much needed support and recommendations, and shepherded the book through the various stages of production.

A grant from the University Research Board of my home institution, the American University of Beirut, helped me to get started on this project during the summer of 2002. That summer, I was fortunate enough to be hosted by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, where I was provided with much needed office space and library facilities. I am very grateful to the Center's Director, Anne Betteridge, and Assistant Director, Anne Bennett, for their kindness and hospitality. A semester as a visiting professor at the University of Virginia freed me of administrative duties and allowed me to devote more time to this project than I could have in Beirut. I am grateful to colleagues there for stimulating discussion, particularly Jorge Secada, Daniel Devereux, James Cargile, and Mohammed Sawaie.

My debt to my wife Diane Riskedahl is of a different order. While this book was in gestation, she wrote her Ph.D. dissertation, in addition to carrying and giving birth to our son Zayd. That she also managed to read and comment on various parts of this book in manuscript is a testimony to bodily endurance and her generosity of spirit.

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