Müneccimbaşı Ahmed Dede’s Thoughts on Ethics: Synthesizing Peripatetic Philosophy and Sufi Thought in Ishrāqī Wisdom


This article analyzes the chapter on ethics from Müneccimbaşı Ahmed Dede’s (d.1702) commentary Sharḥ al-Akhlāq al-‘Aḍuḍ, a practical philosophy of ethics, household management, and politics. Müneccimbaşı lived from the mid-17th to the beginning of the 18 th century in the Ottoman period. Firstly, considering the period in which Müneccimbaşı’s commentary was written, it can be seen as a renewal and adjustment of the old tradition in terms of moral/practical philosophy. However, in the context of philosophical ethics, the commentary aimed to renew and update the ancient philosophy not as a separation of methods but within the framework of expanding the area of integrated methods. The second aim expressed the problematic of combining peripatetic philosophy’s virtue theory with the method of purification and abstraction from physical, bodily pleasure and other things through mujāhada [spiritual struggle] and riyāḍa [asceticism] in Sufi thought in order to see and know the essence of the absolute lights, which is the purpose of Ishrāqī wisdom. Accordingly, virtue theory involves having the temperaments and behaviors arising from the powers of desire and anger from the human soul become mediocre and moderate in terms of quantity and quality through wisdom.


Müneccimbaşı ethics virtue ascetism practical perfection divine light