In this work, Muhsin S. Mahdi - widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought - distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a new understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy. This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi has become essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy.
Muhsin S. Mahdi (1926-2007) was the James R. Jewett Professor Emeritus of Arabic in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. He published the critical Arabic editions of many of Alfarabi's works, as well as the definitive edition of the Thousand and One Nights and a pathbreaking study of Ibn Khaldun's philosophy of history.