An Examination of Authenticity and Content: Demonstrating The Epistle on Nafs al-amr Attributed to Jurjanī as Having Been Taken from al-Samarqandī’s al-Ma‘arif


This article examines the authenticity of the alleged epistle on nafs al-amr which has been attributed to Sayyid Sharīf Jurjānī since at least 971 A.H. The research have confirmed that the alleged epistle does not belong to Jurjānī, but rather it is an autonomous copy of a passage of Shams al-dīn alSamarqandī’s al-Ma‘ārif fī sharh al-Ṣahāif on nafs al-amr and its differentiation from the external world and the mind. Secondly, the study demonstrates the similarities and the distinctness between the philosophies of al-Samarqandī and Jurjānī, with references to Jurjānī’s thoughts on nafs al-amr in his other books. Hence, it is argued that the alleged epistle is weak to represent Jurjānī’s thoughts on nafs al-amr. Thirdly, upon examining a great number of manuscripts, the article reveals that Jurjānī himself or his students had probably copied the passage and written some notes on it. However, the manuscript was mistakenly attributed to Jurjānī later on. Thus, certain considerations have been made regarding the probabilities of this historical error. Lastly, the article evaluates al-Samarqandī’s thought on nafs al-amr based on the passage and shows the connection of al-Samarqandī’s thoughts on nafs al-amr with the truth theory of propositions. Based on some discussions which are written in most of the al-Ma‘ārif’s manuscripts, but absent from the published edition; it is discovered that al-Samarqandī has a new perspective on the debate on “elements of propositions: dhāt-‘unwān-waṣf” and “haqīqiyya propositions” between al-Abharī and al-Tūsī. As a result, the article points out the overwhelming need to publish and analyze the epistles on nafs al amr in a theoretical framework in order to uncover what Muslim philosophers have to say about the truth-maker theories.


Nafs al-amr Samarqandī Jurjānī truth theory propositions