Ikwan al-Safa


An illuminating study of the mysterious Brethren of Purity’, the 10th century letter writers whose epistles, although often deemed heretical, exerted a profound influence on the development of Shi’i Islam.

“Its style is eloquent and lucid, and its arguments are coherent anddelicately articulated. The author shows clear signs of scholarly expertise in the field, combined with exegetical rigour and hermeneutic sensitivity in interpretation. The text is informative and its reading is enjoyable as well as engaging.” –Dr. Nader El-Bizri, The Institute of Ismaili Studies.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

One thought

  1. The Ikhwan Al-Safa existed over a thousand years ago but their message was visionary and is very relevant to 21st century Islam. The essence of their ‘Rasail’ or Encyclopedia of knowledge speaks to the elusive balance between revelation and reason that 21st century Islam needs in order to negate its absence from the global civilization. From those who are outright atheists, placing all their faith in reason and none in revelation, to those who are outright fanatic literalists, placing all their faith in revelation and none in reason, the expositions of the Ikhwan Al-Safa or Brethern of Purity offer us in the 21st century a framework for a happy and harmonious balance between revelation and reason. The whole ethos of the Ikhwan Al-Safa can be summarized in this short excerpt from the late 20th century:

    “In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation”(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)







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