It is philosophical treatise translated into English of Ibn Bajjah’s Kitab al-Nafs. The book has been divided into four faculties contains eleven chapters. In the end of this work the commentator has given the notes and reference about the main points to make it applicable and comprehensive.
Ibn Bajjah’s Kitab al-Nafs is now ready for the English readers. The Arabic text with the Arabic version of the Introduction and Notes prepared by the writer himself was sent to the “Revue de I” academic Arabe de Damas” Syria, long after the English translation together with the Arabic Text was submitted for publication to the Pakistan Historical Society of Karachi. The Arabic version, however, came out in the Arab World before the original work could see the light of the day.
In the year 1950, when the writer was in Oxford to do some research work in the field of Arabic Philosophy under the kind supervision of Dr. R. Walzar, the latter very kindly mentioned the Bodleian manuscript of Ibn Bajjah to the writer and advised him to select a portion thereof with a view to collate the same with the corresponding portion of the only other available manuscript writer and approved by the authorities concerned, it was discovered that the Berlin manuscript would not be available, as it was lost in the last Great World War.
It was only through the valuable criticism of Prof. S. Van Den Berg, the encouragement and kind care of Sir H.A.R. Gibb, and the very effective supervision of Dr. R. Walzar that the writer succeeded in completing the edition which was submitted to the University of Oxford under the title “IBN BAJJAH’S PARAPHRASE OF ARISTOTLES’S DE ANIMA” for the Degree of D.Phil. in 1952-53.
On the recommendation of Professor Paul Kahle, who visited Pakistan in 1956, the Pakistan Historical Society approved this small book to be included in its series of publications.
The writer feels deeply indebted to the above mentioned distinguished orientalist and to the office-brarers and members of the Pakistan Historical Society through whose kind encouragement, supervision and assistance this work is now in the hands of the readers.
The writer also records his deep indebtedness to Dr. Serajul Huq, Head of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies; to Professor S.M.Hossain, former Head of the Department, and ex-Vice-Chancellor, University of Dacca; and to the University of Dacca, for their help, encouragement and grant of Study Advance.
In the end, the writer also offers sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr. Beeton (now the Laudean Professor of Arabic in Oxford), and other Assistants in the Oriental Section, Bodleian Library, Oxford; to Dr. S. Moinul Haq, General Secretary and Director of Research, Pakistan Historical Society, Karachi; to the proof reader, printer, and assistants of the Society; for their very kind assistance in preparing the work, and bringing it out of the press.
The subject of this volume is the first edition of Ibn Bajjah’s Kitab al-Nafs with an English translation and historico-philosophical notes. The second volume will present Ibn Bajjah’s other psychological treatises.
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn al-sa’igh, known as Ibn Bajjah (dd. 533/1138), the fore-runner of Averroes, “the commentator par excellence”, has been unanimously regarded as one of the chief representatives of Arabic philosophy. He has been referred to by his contemporaries as the greatest exponent of Aristotelian philosophy after Ibn Sina, the shaykh al-Rais. But the world has hitherto remained so inadequately informed of and acquainted with his works as to know only a few tractates and Kitab TadbIr al-mutawahhid which last has been known through its Hebrew translation to Europe since the Middle Ages.
There are only two manuscripts of Ibn Bajjah’s works known, preserved in the libraries of Oxford and Berlin. I started reading Ibn Bajjah’s Kitab al-Nafs in Oxford with the hope of collating it with the Berlin manuscript which had been, as I learned afterwards from the Librarian of the Berlin Library and through the good services of Prof. P.E. Kahle, shifted to the Eastern zone of Germany during the World War II and lost. Now I have no other excuse for editing an Arabic text from single manuscripts, but the one which Mr. D. M. Dunlop offers in the beginning of his article entitled “Ibn Bajjah’s TadbIr al-Mutawahhid” when he says: “ if the difficulties and hazards involved in attempting to edit an Arabic text, particularly of an abstract character, from a single manuscript should have been pointed out, the reply was ready to hand that if the work were to be edited at all, it must be from the Bodleian manuscript and that alone.”
In these circumstances, I have had no choice but to decipher the whole manuscript which consists of 222 folios and to establish as far as possible the text of obscure passages with the help of parallels. The text of the kitab al-nafs was originally complete but, late on, Ibn Bajjah’s friend and disciple, al-Wazir ‘Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn al-Imam through whom his writings have survived, lost a few pages from the end of the book. Ibn al-Imam himself has expressed his regret for this book. Ibn Tufayl also, in the preface to his famous philosophical romance, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, mentions that Ibn Bajjah’s kitab al-Nafs and most of his works are incomplete.
Like kitab TadbIr al-Mutawahhid, kitab al-Nafs is always referred to by the author himself in terms that clearly indicate that it is his original and independent work, while he refers to other works of his as notes or commentaries on the works of Aristotle. Kitab al-Nafs is evidently an original work and is neither a commentary nor a paraphrase. But since in the arrangement of contents, and in the exposition of the fundamental psychological theories, it is more or less in conformity with most of the second and third books of the De Anima of Aristotle, it is not entirely wrong to call it a paraphrase of Aristotle’s De Anima composed by Ibn Bajjah.
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