This work provides an overview of the contributions as a thinker of Abu Ya'qub al-Sijistani, a 10th-century missionary whose writings reveal him as both a philosopher and an exponent of the intellectual understanding of Islam. The old problem of the meaning of science and religion and their interaction as reflected in the thought of an Ismaili author from the early Islamic period is now interpreted within the framework that brings together ideas and obscure doctrines surviving only piecemeal from medieval Arabic books and treatises.
Paul E. Walker is a historian at the University of Chicago.
Part 1 The Shiite renaissance - religion and science in the early Ismaili mission: the renaissance century; the intellectual dimension; the intellectual mission and its missionaries; the confrontation with philosophy; the personnel of the Renaissance; the school of Khurasan; two renaissance men; the literature of ideas. Part 2 The sources of truth: the quest for certainty; the wellsprings of truth; intellect and the ta'yid; the soul and its tarkib; the speaking-prophet and his ta'lif; the sacred interpretation and its founder. Part 3 The ladder of salvation: the excellence of humans; history and hierarchy; the Messiah; paradise. Part 4 The ultimate recourse in God and the tawhid: the problem of tawhid; intellectual anthropomorphism; creation; a language for theology; Al-Sijistani's contribution. Appendix: the study of al-sijistani and his works - a brief history and guide.